The Foreword

I was very pleased to have my friend Dr. Joel Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland: A Church Distributed in Longwood, Florida, and Spiritual Advisor to the President of the United States pen the Foreword for the print version of Big Buts of the Bible: A Revealing Look at Jesus Christ.

When I was a boy, sitting in church was torture and reading religious books was worse. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in God or because the preachers and authors weren’t trying to teach me, it was because they were trying too hard to teach me. They used big words and religious clichés and tried to answer questions I wasn’t asking. It is no wonder that when I felt called into the ministry decades ago, my main fear was that I would bore people to death.

Darin Michael Shaw to my rescue! I love this guy’s teaching! We worship God in the person who said, “I will no longer call you servants… I have called you friends” (John 15:15). Darin comes across as a friend telling one friend about another. Darin is a pastor down deep in his heart and it comes out through his fingers on a keyboard. The readers of his book won’t feel lectured; they will feel loved and led. You’ll feel loved in that Darin’s writing brings you closer to the heart of God, and you’ll feel led because his unique perspective brings clarity to what scripture is saying to us.

When you read this book it will be like he’s just talking to you… because he is just talking to you. He is not force feeding facts; he’s doing the “spinning food on a spoon/plane coming in for a landing in our mouth” thing… it is fun to take in! Lest you think this is a shallow read, please be warned: this book is filled with Bible knowledge. It is just cleverly embedded in great stories, humor and insights.

I admit, the title shocked me a little at first. I thought, “Is he just being irreverent to get more attention to the book?” Then I read it and was surprised to find perspectives of scripture that I had never seen before. As it turns out, the “buts” are a way to jar us into learning the rest of the story. Behind the humor and the boyish “aw shucks” humility is a pretty fine intellect. Whether you’ve rarely opened your Bible or you’ve studied scripture personally or professionally for a very long time, there is something for you here.

The ultimate reason I like this book is that its style and author reminds me of a Personal God whose name is Jesus. If Christianity is not a religion so much as a relationship, it seems to me that I would naturally be drawn to writings that are warm and winsome and witty. There is a personal dynamic in this book that puts us in touch with the God who walked among us; Who hugged children; Who wept when a friend died; Who drew close to lepers and sinners and wedding partiers. When we read a book we don’t want to just fill up our IQ (intelligence quotient), we want to fill up our EQ (emotional quotient) because it is the latter that will equip us to draw close to God and others.

So thank you Pastor Darin. This book really helps me in my relationship with God. It also helps me love other people better.

Joel C. Hunter