The first chapter of this book, Under the Influence of Jesus: The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ by Joe Paprocki, opens with Mark 1:15, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” Paprocki explains what Jesus meant by “Kingdom of God”, when he frequently refers to it. It is an alternate reality, not a place but a state of being. The kingdom is not heaven, the Church, or you. The author explains in detail how Jesus offers us another way to be human. In each chapter, the author uses real life examples of how Jesus works in our lives. Chapter Six titled, “Out of Your Mind” compares the Make-A-Wish Foundation to how close we can fully enter the life of God. The Foundation doesn’t put children close to their dream. but they put the child inside their dream, just as God invites us to experience the divine life firsthand. We should not admire Jesus from a distance, but know him intimately.
Under the Influence of Jesus is not about getting to heaven, but experiencing more of a heaven on earth, a life with Jesus. The author really can identify with the Christians in today’s world. His examples, comparisons, and stories are all modern and relevant, which makes it easy to follow for young adults. He even compares a scene from, “As Good As It Gets” to our spiritual flabbiness. I mean, who hasn’t seen that movie, right? This book could very well have been a hard read if it was not laid out right, but the author inserts bulleted lists all through-out the book to help us to understand his points. Appropriate scriptures for each chapter are also placed throughout the book to give us a deeper understanding. Now don’t skip ahead, but I will let you in on a little secret. There is a matching game in the last chapter! Also in this final chapter, you will find suggestions on how to spread the good news of Jesus. I never knew how to talk to people about Jesus. I always wanted to let my faith shine, but I did not want to push people into my religion. Paprocki shows us in one of his bulleted lists how to speak with others using practical matters they are dealing with.
Being under the influence of Jesus is to be intoxicated with the Holy Spirit. We are called to bring others across the bridge to the nearness of God. This book will help us get there!