Spent some time with Mud and the Masterpiece this week. John Burke’s latest, it is a masterpiece itself and immediately joins the required reading list for anyone who wants to reach people at crowd’s edge.
(Be sure and see the special offer at the end of my review!)
Burke, the founding pastor of Austin’s Gateway Church, is the author of two previous books; No Perfect People Allowed: Creating a Come-as-You-Are Culture in the Church and Soul Revolution: How Imperfect People Become All God Intended. If you’re sensing a trend, your eyes don’t deceive you. With 16 years as the lead pastor of one of the very best examples of how to reach people in a post-modern, post-Christian culture, Burke is both passionate about the mission and a very compelling story-teller.
Mud and the Masterpiece: Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of Jesus is a rare book. Both inspiring and convicting, I found myself thinking that’s how it should be and why don’t I live that way again and again. Packed with stories of real-life heartbreak, brokenness and transformation, it’s thickly laced with Jesus’ own interactions with people in the Gospels.
In chapter one, Burke references the story Jesus tells in Luke 15 about the return of the prodigal son and the way the father in the story treats his son. Comparing it to the story of the discovery of a rare Rembrandt masterpiece, torn and muddied in a dumpster, he asks, “How would you treat this painting? Would you treat it like trash? It’s covered in mud, stained and torn–is it worthless? Do you treat it like it’s worthless? Or do you treat it like it’s a million-dollar masterpiece that needs to be handled with care and restored?”
And that’s the question that drives the book. Can you “see past the mud and even the damage to recognize the immense value of this one-of-a-kind work of art?” Taking his cue from “the life and interactions of Jesus with sin-stained and muddied people,” Burke challenges all of us to a transformational perspective. What if we saw people through the eyes of Jesus?
Along with a careful examination of Jesus’ interactions with people is the reminder that the Pharisees focused on the mud and not the masterpiece. Burke makes a very compelling case that the reason people are drawn to Jesus but not His followers is that “many Christians are NOT like Jesus–we don’t really see what Jesus sees in other people. We don’t really feel the way Jesus felt toward people straying far from God, living messy lives.”
More than a look at how Jesus interacted with people, Mud and the Masterpiece is a look at how we can go on mission with Jesus. Part two of the book looks at the actions of Jesus and illustrates very well how “we can be part of something that impacts the world around us.” Further, every chapter ends with a question for reflection and an action step to try. Perfect for individual or group use.
I love this book! Along with No Perfect People Allowed, Mud and the Masterpiece immediately takes its place on my recommended list for anyone trying to live a life or build a ministry that reaches people far from God at crowd’s edge. I highly recommend it!
Take advantage of this offer and help a special project
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