By Trip Kimball
Westbow, Bloomington, 2012
Trip Kimball is passionate about the Good News of Jesus Christ. He's made it his mission in life to speak about the truth of the gospel and live out loud the transformative freedom the gospel message brings. He does this by subtracting the religious jargon that pollutes the message while intentionally preserving reverence and awe of God. And Trip genuinely loves people.
I know this about Kimball first hand because he is a friend and a mentor. He is a missionary big brother to me who, in our first meeting at a dinner one night in St. Petersburg, Florida, he shared, passionately, a heart to be a thinking man with brain completely engaged with making the gospel clear to whoever God brings into his life to share it with whether across the street or on the other side of the planet.
This is clear in his life and he articulates his heart and his mission clearly in his book The Mystery of the Gospel - Unraveling God's Story.
Kimball does some cool stuff with this book. It's neatly divided into 12 chapters that make accessible the different features of the gospel without complication.
Pull quotes are distributed throughout the book and they work well as points of reference or markers for the reader as different topics and questions are dealt with.
My favorite chapter in the book is chapter 8, The Emmaus Road Encounter. If you're familiar with the New Testament, then you know that this is where Jesus keeps his post resurrection identity from two guys he joins on the road to travel with. They're strangers to Jesus and Jesus is content to come off as a stranger to them. If you don't know the story, get this book and read about how un-religious Jesus is as He presents Himself to the people He's come to save. He has fun messing with them as He explains Himself and His mission. Classic Jesus.
"Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked to us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us," they exclaimed. Kimball quotes Luke 24:32 appropriately as he describes from the Bible what actually happens in our hearts as we hear - or for that matter share - truth from God's Word about Jesus. This experience changes both the messenger and the audience. That's how powerful this gospel is and that's what Kimball explains in his book.
Kimball wraps up with the section entitled "Unraveling the Gospel for Others." Kmball's book isn't about simply explaining the gospel so you have some kind of working knowledge of its construction. This book is about equipping you, the reader, with necessary tools along with the skill and confidence you need to bring change into the lives God has given you to influence.
Finally, I love the appendix. It includes biblical terms and - I love this - "Christianese". I wish that I didn't know these Christianese terms so well. Sadly, none of the terms seem strange or unfamiliar to me. I fear these terms come to me too easily and I’m challenged to clean up my language so the gospel makes sense to those unfamiliar with the Bible or have not had a reason to go to church.
This book is a must have manual for understanding the gospel and sharing it clearly. Buy your copy here.