The Briarpatch Gospel: Fearlessly Following Jesus into the Thorny Places

The Briarpatch Gospel    Shayne Wheeler was my youth pastor before he left to plant All Souls Fellowship in Decatur, GA—a church which I joined a few years later my freshman year of college. After a collective 10 (?) years, I am no stranger to his stories and teachings. And yet, despite the familiarity, The Briarpatch Gospel’s woven words brought true conviction, and a reminder of the deep affection of God. The message is clear, If we claim to follow Jesus, our path leads straight into the midst of the shadows and prickly places of our lives and the lives of others. Of course, we are not alone, though it may be terribly difficult not to feel like that sometimes. Going into the “briarpatch” would be devastating and impossible, except it comes with Christ. It comes with his strength, with his promises, and his love. The Briarpatch Gospel walks right up to those issues that are complicated and painful for the Church, her congregants, those outside and those unsure. It walks into them with rolled up sleeves and a soapy rag called Jesus.
You could get through the book quickly. It is very readable, filled with humor, anecdotes and layman’s language, but I wouldn’t suggest flying through it. Let it challenge you. Let it change your lifestyle and your worldview. Let it encourage you because “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

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