by Sarah Pennington
If you were to have breakfast with Jesus, what might He say to you? That is the question that Cedarville professor Dan DeWitt answers in his latest book, “Sunny Side Up: The Breakfast Conversation That Could Change Your Life.” Taking his cues from Jesus’ conversation with Peter in John 21, DeWitt explores some of the issues that hinder Christians in doing what they’re called to do. He also provides practical applications and questions for readers to ponder as they seek to improve in these areas.
“Sunny Side Up” is like a college class: the reader gets out roughly as much as he or she puts in. The book is small, only a hundred-odd pages. The style is conversational, non-threatening and even humorous at times. The content is easily understandable and often echoes lessons readers will have heard many times before. The casual reader could get through the book in an hour or less, then move on with her life with some new questions and ideas to think on and nothing more.
For the reader willing to listen, however, “Sunny Side Up” offers powerful truths and challenges that can significantly shape or even change a reader’s life and walk with God. DeWitt begins by reminding readers that without a deep, meaningful love for God, knowledge Him does no good. You can’t grow in a relationship if there isn’t a relationship to grow in. Throughout the rest of the book, DeWitt exposes the pitfalls that can get in the way of such a relationship.
In one of the book’s most compelling chapters, DeWitt explores the problem of pride. He bases this discussion on Jesus’ question to Peter: “Do you love me more than these?” Some sources say that “more than these” refers to Peter’s career as a fisherman or his friends and fellow disciples. DeWitt, however, has another answer. He argues that this question refers to the pride Peter demonstrated in declaring that he would never betray Jesus. He then points out how that same pride can appear in many ways in the lives of modern Christians. Throughout the book, similarly insightful interpretations of Scripture and practical observations of human nature make the book’s points applicable to almost everyone.
DeWitt also emphasizes the need for Christian community in the form of the church. However, his focus is not on what the church can do for us. Instead, he bids readers ask what they can do for the church. Again, he recognizes the frustration and idealization that keep many Christians from being effective in the church and he gives practical advice for how to deal with those issues. This advice is particularly significant in today’s culture that often treats church as just another consumable.
Although “Sunny Side Up” is marketed towards men, its message is one that Christian men and women alike can appreciate and learn from. DeWitt gives new and nuanced life and meaning to a very familiar passage and challenges readers in their Christian walk. Even casual readers will find questions that stick with them long after they put the book down.
Sarah Pennington is a junior professional writing and information design major and an arts and entertainment reporter for Cedars. She loves chai tea and dragons and is perpetually either reading or writing a book.
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