Wide Awake Faith in a World Fast Asleep
By Rick James
In Jesus’ teaching, it is not evil, heresy, sin, or Satan that is the greatest threat to the believer. It is sleep. To be asleep is to be oblivious to being oblivious. The danger of sleep is the danger of carbon monoxide: it’s colorless, odorless, and you’re anesthetized before you know it—before you ever hit the floor. And this is why sleep (spiritual unreceptivity) received the sternest warnings from Jesus: “And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake” (Mark 13:37). In this age of waiting for the Kingdom we are the disciples in Gethsemane trying desperately to keep our eyes open to the realities of faith. To this purpose, scripture pokes us to “stay awake” (Rev 16:15), and “prepared” (Luke 1:17), always “watchful” (Col 4:2), and alert (1Peter 5:8).
Watch is a study in the “Stay awake”, “Be alert” passages of the New Testament. An exploration of how to remain watchful and wakeful, and the reasons why. Running through the Gospels and epistles is a clear, consistent theology of wakefulness. Biblical truths and teachings given by God to create in us and sustain in us, spiritual alertness. Watch is utterly unique in its focus and synthesis of this crucial teaching.
“Watch is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read in a long, long, time.”
— Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker
Lead Pastor of National Community Church
“Wake up! Open your eyes! You don’t want to miss this sweeping narrative of love and hate, good and evil, power and surrender. The author is God Himself. The evil antagonist is, of course, the devil. And the star? You, if you will take the role. All woven together with profound understanding of the realities of life, with startling analogies and crisp metaphors, epic battles and mind-blowing opportunities. And lots of humor. Most of all you won’t want to miss your part in this story for the ages!”
—Judy Douglass, Women’s Resources, Office of the President, Cru
“If you’ve ever watched a street artist in action, that’s Rick James: painting with words, dancing with his craft, evoking rather than pontificating, shepherding the reader toward the ‘aha!’ moment. As his theme emerges you will find yourself, like the street audience, applauding. This is the kind of good writing we need. This is also good worship, a true artist offering up his work for God’s glory and our enrichment. May we all stay awake enough to hear him.”
—Sarah Arthur, author of The Literary Guides to Prayer and The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us www.saraharthur.com
“Whether you grow up in a Christian community or come to faith later, the practice of that faith can be baffling. Rick James knows this well. Here he charts Christian life from its beginning in basic commitment to its end in glory. Casually, carefully, quickly, with personal stories and vivid illustrations drawn from both literature and ordinary life, he shows readers a clear path through the maze. Lest readers languish, he declares, ‘Wake up! Don’t just smell the flowers; follow Christ. Here’s how.’”
—James W. Sire is the author of The Universe Next Door and, recently, Apologetics Beyond Belief