Book Review – Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

Title:  Live Second:  365 Ways to Make Jesus First
Author:  Doug Bender
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publishing Year: 2012
Pages: 400
My Rating: 2 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

For a little while now I have been familiar with the I am Second videos.  The videos themselves feature prominent Christians (politicians like Mike Hickabee, sports stars like Tong Dungy, music stars like the former singer from Korn and models like Kathy Ireland to name just a few) explaining why God comes first in their lives.  If you have not checked them out already, they are worth watching.  Now, Thomas Nelson has published a 365 day devotional guide based on these videos.

The basic set-up is quite interesting in my opinion.  There are a total of 12 different sessions featuring different topics , each session consisting of 4-5 weeks of particular sub-topics.  You begin the week with one of the I am Second videos (internet links through QR codes) and then answering a few questions based on some Bible passages.  Each other day of the week begins with a Bible passage to read and consider.  Below each passage you will find the following headings:  Talk with God (prayer), Live it (application) and Tell it (teach it to others).

The biggest thing this book has going for it is the use of interactive media.  Not only are you watching videos, but you are interacting with others online who are going through the same sections.  Each day ends with an encouragement to tweet your lessons for other to benefit from and discuss.  I can think of many young people I teach who would eat this up!  But this feature intrigues me not just because of the “cool factor” this may have, but because of the idea of community this promotes.  Too often devotions are seen as only personal.  This idea tends to lead to subjectivity without much accountability.  Having and sharing your devotions with a community (even the if only the online Twitter community) does promote at least some sense of connection with other believers and may provide a little bit of push back and iron-sharpening-iron when needed.

The negative aspect of this book is its lack of depth.  This is not a devotional for mature Christians wishing to draw closer to God through deeper interaction in the Word.  I really was not impressed with the actual content.  However, as I alluded to above, I could see how this could be used by young people are may be new to the faith.   This book would help them formulate a helpful pattern of how to begin your devotional life.  It does promote stability, regularity and organization.

So, while this book certainly has many positive aspects, I can’t say it has earned my full recommendation.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

You can purchase a copy of this book here.

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