I’ll be candid. When I was sent the book How to Start a Riot by Johnathan Storment in the mail to review I wasn’t all that happy. I said, “Oh boy! Another book about Acts.” I learned that I definitely shouldn’t judge a book by the synopsis the publisher gives me. Actually, I learned that in this case you SHOULD judge a book by its cover. I mean, it has a hand grenade on the front cover, so immediately that got my attention.
The first paragraphs are so attention grabbing, so enthralling that I found it hard to put down. As I read the introduction I was captivated. God has used Jonathan Storment to put into writing something that our churches in America so desperately need: a call to action! The premise of the book is that the resurrection of Jesus is so radical, so monumental, so amazing that it literally changes the power structure of the world. If you’re like me, when you read Acts, you probably on several occasions have stopped and scratched your head asking, “Why isn’t my church like that?”
Storment does an absolutely masterful job of bringing historical exegesis and textual exegesis to the front-lines and reopening our eyes to the incredible narrative of Acts. He reminds us that it isn’t just a paradigm for us, but that it is Acts is a divine invitation to incredible adventure. The Book of Acts has it all – riots, intrigue, courtroom drama, harrowing rescues, near-death close calls, miracles, humor, and love. The way he interweaves personal stories and illustrations also had me chuckling often. The writer is very honest, humble, and concise in what he’s being used by the Spirit to get across. What exactly is he trying to get across: the church is a revolutionary movement! It turns the world on its head! It threatens the “powers that be.” it brings to the forefront of civilization the God who is restoring Creation one person at a time!
The most poignant thing that struck me as I read the last page was that not only do I want to be part of a church like that, but that I CAN be part of a church like that! The quotes he uses to kick off every chapter, the way he weaves and links the whole story together: It. Is. Life-Changing. I’ll be honest. Any church or Christian that’s feeling discouraged or ineffective: READ THIS BOOK! Buy it in cases to give to your members. Share it with friends. Share it with family. It really is that important of a book.
Acts is not some ancient, irrelevant historical account – not even close. It’s the story of the fledgling church who dares to take God at His word and change the world. However, unlike most revolutions in their time or ours, they don’t fight with bullets and bombs. They wage war on evil and injustice with love, compassion, and prayer.
If you’re looking for a summer read that makes you feel all warm, fuzzy, comfortable, and able to give yourself a theological pat on the head…this book is NOT for you. If you’re looking to read something that will turn your worldview on its head and inspire you to be bold in Christ no matter what, then pick this book up now. I have already recommended and loaned this book to several people. So now what are you waiting for? Get up, go by the book, and go change the world in Jesus name. It’s time to support your local Jesus Revolution.