(*DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE AS PART OF THE LITFUSE PUBLICITY BLOGGERS PROGRAM, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. NO OTHER FORM OF COMPENSATION WAS GIVEN, AND ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE MY OWN.)
Back Cover Copy:
We all tell stories to each other—stories about what happened when we were kids, stories about last night, and stories where we dream about the future. Some stories are funny, some are amazing, others are sad, but they all have something in common—each of us is the hero of our own story. Our thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams take center stage. But when it’s all about you, it’s also all up to you. You have to make life work, find meaning, and hope for the best even when you mess up or things go badly wrong.
But what if we were made for something different? What if the main character in our life story isn’t us, but it is the God who became like us and is now with us? What if being fully human means knowing him and growing to be like him? What if the way to be fully alive is to be caught up in Jesus’s story?
This 52-week devotional book and small group resource is designed to help you live with Jesus in his gospel story—the good news that your sins are forgiven, your future is assured, and following him is the only meaningful way to live. No matter your age, where you live, who your family is, or what your past, God wants you to experience the freedom that comes in being secure in his love.
Divided into three parts, starting with creation, each section progressively explores the idea that the whole Bible is the unfolding story of Jesus. Through this grid, who Jesus is and why we need him will shape your understanding of freedom and grace and how you grow to be like him. This yearlong study for teenagers and young adults is designed for individual devotional times, but a small group discussion guided by a mentor would help participants to absorb and live out the truths of each week’s teaching.
I’m a sucker for well-written devotionals. In fact, I’ve got another devotional lined up for next year. (Call me a Boy Scout, because I’m always prepared.) Anyway, as soon as the opportunity to review this book landed in my inbox, I jumped on it. Its premise intrigued me. A devotional geared towards teens? I love those! The tagline even states “A Teen’s Guide Towards Learning & Living the Gospel”. “Get Your Story Straight” isn’t just for learning the Gospel, but for developing a plan to live the Gospel as well. Isn’t that what we teenagers need? It’s important for us as young Christ-followers to formulate a plan on how exactly we will display our belief in the Gospel in our daily lives. This formulation is paramount because most of us will arrive at college in less time than we realize. Isn’t it better to have a solid foundation in the faith before then?
I think so.
But, then again, my opinion is only worth two cents.
So, let’s get on with the details on how this book can help you not only learn the Gospel but live it.
The layout of this devotional is appealing. It guides you through examining passages of the Bible, but it doesn’t hold your hand. You complete various tasks on five days of the week, so you have a “day off” on Sunday. The thought-provoking questions stimulate your mind. If you weren’t sure of your ideas on the passage you read, then the questions will help narrow your thoughts so you can form an opinion. That aspect of the devotional proved helpful to me, as I often don’t have the mental power to ruminate on a Bible passage throughout the day.
While the book contains ample space for you to write, I often ramble. (As if you guys didn’t know that already.) So, I opted for a pretty little notebook instead. This allowed for me to write my thoughts down early in the morning, so my great brain was free to do great brainy things. This is probably my favorite aspect of this devotional, believe it or not. It provided me with specific outlets for my thoughts on a passage. I was able to clear my mind and prepare for the rest of the day.
Like I said before, different days hold different questions for you to complete.
On Day One, you read various passages from the Bible and follow instructions that assist you in examining the passages.
On Day Two, you read an anecdote that helps you understand the previous passages’ applications in daily life.
On Day Three, you reread the Scriptures and your opinions on the previous days and sift through your thoughts by answering more questions.
On Day Four, things get deeper. You reread the passages and answer more cerebral questions to help you further analyze how the Scripture is relevant to your life.
On Day Five, you finish your examination of the previous passages by journaling your thoughts about them. It’s also important to say a prayer inspired by the passage, asking the Lord to further reveal the meaning of His Word to you and help you apply it to your life.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
You’re expected to complete this devotional in 52 weeks. It’s possible to complete the devotional in more or less time than that, but I don’t recommend it. The devotional is best utilized on a consistent basis. When you’re delving into the Word, contemplating its meaning and relevance on a daily basis, you’re building a habit. Imagine you’re trying to build a writing habit. Would you try to write every day, or would you skip a few days here there? You know, be all passive and stuff. If you’re serious about building a habit surrounding reading the Bible, definitely complete this devotional with the time limit in mind.
This devotional isn’t contingent on beginning at the start of the year. You can pick this up at any time and not feel out of place. That’s part of the reason why “Get Your Story Straight” is at the top of my favorite devotional list. It doesn’t require you to read it at the beginning of the year. You can pick it up anytime, and still get the full experience. Most devotionals leave you feeling like you jumped on the train a little too late. It will contain special messages during holidays, summertime, and other similar times of the year. Kind of makes you feel left out when it’s the middle of summer, and you’re reading about the true meaning of Christmas.
At least, I end up feeling that way. I’m a little needy, though.
Get Your Story Straight contains three parts, separated into various chapters (weeks). Each “week” contains a new topic for you to mull over. For example, week 36’s title is “From the Outside In”. Can you guess what you’ll be analyzing during that week?
While the chapters titles are too numerous to list here, please note that they are all interesting and well done. That’s all the information I shall divulge. Because you really want this devotional already. I don’t have to convince you further.
To conclude, this devotional is wonderfully developed. I haven’t seen one like this in a while. It’s great to see this kind of devotional written for teens since it solves a problem most of us face: how do we apply the Gospel to our lives? How can we embody the Gospel?
And the Lord sure knows that we don’t need any more problems added to our hormone-fueled lives.
Get Your Story Straight is well-written, it doesn’t get between you and the Gospel, doesn’t excessively hold your hand, and lets you form your own ideas about passages from the Bible.
If you feel so inclined, pick up this devotional at the following retailers. I promise that it will be worth your time. (Or please support your local bookstore. Those guys rock! Be a rockstar, too. You know you want to.)
SO, WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK?
- Those between the ages of 12-19
- Those considering/entering college
- Those who are away from home/family for an extended period of time
- Anyone who is experiencing difficulty applying Scripture to their daily lives
- Anyone who needs help in discovering and analyzing the Word
So, are you a fan of devotionals as well? What do you like/don’t like about devotionals?