If there’s one word that captures what happens when we make the choice to follow Jesus, it might just be transformed. Disciples of Jesus are not supposed to remain as they are, but instead we are transformed into something new, into the likeness of Jesus. It’s this transformation that Caesar Kalinowski writes about in his new book Transformed. Kalinowski, however, isn’t only concerned with the fact that we are being transformed, but also what we look like after we have been transformed. He writes, “The Bible teaches that if we are in Christ, we have become part of a family of missionary servants, sent as disciples who make disciples. This is who we are. This is our new identity.” And the more we are able to believe and wrap our minds around this new identity, “the more our lives will be transformed.”
Many of us became Christians with little challenge to live out the identity of being a sent people. We understood the great commission as a call to do overseas missions and not primarily a call to make disciples in the places that we live and work. It’s this identity as a sent people, however, that Kalinowski roots the rest of his discussion of the new identity of a follower of Jesus Christ. From there, he explores our identity as a family, as missionaries, as servants, and as disciples.
Transformed does a great job of capturing what a transformed life and community looks like. The rest of the book describes the rhythms that the Soma community have embraced. They live as a story-formed people, they listen, they eat, they bless, they celebrate, and they take time to re-create.
One thing I appreciated the most was how transparent he was about the struggles of doing this. Every chapter was very encouraging and inspiring to do live the transformed life, but he was also honest about how each of the pieces of this life can be difficult. I think so often we read books about Christian life and how wonderful it is and the books aren’t honest about how hard or difficult this life is. It’s a good life, but it’s hard, risky, dangerous, and frustrating. Kalinowski is honest about these struggles and realistic about what happens in life.
I think if you were to read it with your community you would be inspired to live out this new life together. In short, I hope that you read this book and catch the vision for what a transformed life and community looks like. I want to leave you with a quote that does a great job of helping us picture what this community looks like.
“What if you were part of a group of friends who all lived near one another or worked at the same place, and you all started blessing at least three people each week? You lived in a rhythm of blessing, asking God, ‘Who do you want to show your love and care to today?’ What would that say about your identity and who God is to those around you? Do you think people would notice if you lived in this rhythm? Do you think they would begin to wonder, What is up with you? Why are you people this way? They will, and they do.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan through netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”