Love devotional-style books, but looking for something a little bit different?
Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First is from Doug Bender and the I am Second movement. Perhaps known most in the online world for their powerful, memoir-style videos interviewing peoples of all kinds in their faith journeys, I am Second aims “to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others.” The Live Second book holds the same mission.
As the author states in the introduction, the devotions aim to “challenge you to consider what life would look like if Jesus were first” and “inspire your reflection and challenge your daily routine.” These devotions speak in a challenging way. Nothing here is fluff, but all focused on reminding us God is First.
This book is one of the first social media integrated books I’ve read. Set up in weekly themes of one-page daily devotions, each page offers a verse, a Scripture reading, a one- to three-paragraph devotion, and questions to spur action in our own lives. Each devotion includes a specific hashtag to interact with others pondering the same topic on Twitter. The first devotion of each week shares a link to one of the well-done I am Second testimonial videos (or a QR code to find the video in the print version). It’s honestly hard not to watch these videos. The last devotion in each week usually quotes a larger section of Scripture and offers a chance to worship, surrender, and praise. Readers are strongly encouraged to read these devotions in community, and act on the principles as a community, too (which would likely be most effective).
The reflection questions offered do allow for open-ended introspection, but the same questions were offered week after week. I hoped for some more specific questions or guiding questions. The devotions are strong, and as the author states in the introduction, are not always going to be “encouraging” in a positive, affirming sense, but rather a pow, make-you-think sense. The devotions remain truth-founded, convicting, and cause inward reflection to spur outward reaction. This devotional could serve as a solid reading plan (roughly 1-2 chapters of reading each day), easily incorporated into study time with a brief devotion and call to action.
Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the book (besides the social media aspects) are the prayers. Short but influential, these prayers can be earnestly prayed as is, or used to spur more thoughts in your own heart. One of my favorite prayers (and one I’ve prayed several times since reading it):
“God, I want to make you First in my life. I struggle and I stumble and I need your help, but I want to be Second.”
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free from the BookSneeze program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.