If you’re looking to cry, laugh, and have your jaw drop, then you should take some time and read this book from my friend Jeremy Courtney. This book is the telling of his families time and trials living in Iraq for the past several years. It certainly hasn’t been easy for them, but it has been an interesting ride… if you read the book, you’ll find out why.
I’ve known Jeremy before I met him “officially” in college at Howard Payne University. My brother was leading a guy’s Bible study at his rent house in Brownwood and I came to see if I would attend undergraduate there. At that meeting, I recall Jeremy (skinnier than than he is now), exposing his heart in a way that I had ever seen. It was raw, vulnerable, and powerful.
I got to know Jeremy in a personal way my first few years at HPU as he led a similar Bible study for guys in his dorm room that forced me to be more vulnerable and honest with others than I had ever actually been with myself! I’d never had this level of accountability or honesty in confession of sin, but also in the asking of critical questions of the Bible. Not questioning the Bible, but thinking, studying, and reflecting on the Bible. In essence, learning to read the Bible. Jeremy helped shape that in me. I was forever changed and challenged by him (still am).
It was my first year in Seminary when Jeremy, who attended a Seminary down I-35, approached me about what God was doing in he and Jessica (his wife) in moving them to the Middle East. It wasn’t like I had a trust fund, but they invited me to sacrificially give, and I did. I’m still not sure how that worked (where the money came from), but I gave. I was a full-time seminary student, and my main source of income was as a trash man on campus.
But I loved Jeremy, and knew that whatever he was up to, Jesus would be made famous.
Fast forward several years and you have this book. It’s weird to read a story you saw unfolding via email and personal conversations. As I was reading the stories, I found myself at times saying I remember that! Other-times, I recall sitting outside an office door hearing tense conversations and praying for peace for the situation, but also that no matter what, for the fame of His name to expand. I mean, this is what our mutual mentor had invested into us – make Jesus famous.
Here are a few of my favorite snippets:
Love first; ask questions later. (8)
I don’t lean left or right. I lean in. I lean forward, because that’s where love lives. (39)
We’re convinced that almost all the good things God has to give us come somewhere beyond the edges of “Too Small!,” out where people lose their lives and become alive to a new way of seeing the world. (43)
“Dear Sheikh, which is a greater sin in the eyes of God: to let a child suffer and die to preserve your reputation, or to become friends with your enemy?” (79-80)
In the end, however, love, once born in your heart, is a lot like the light of the sunrise, driving out darkness, overwhelming our senses, casting out fear. Love had been born in our hearts for the people of Iraq, and though the stakes were high, fear was on the run like so many shadows as the sun ascenders its noonday throne. (118)
This book – you should read this book. It’s the accurate unfolding of the life of my friend, and they’re doing what God has given them the ability to do of investment into the Kingdom. If you’d like to buy a copy, you can receive a free copy of the book when you donate to the cause HERE. But if you become my 500th follower on Twitter, I’ll send you a copy of the book for FREE!*