Foreword to Centering Jesus by Sharon Hodde Miller

Centering Jesus releases into the world in three months on August 22!

You can pre-order now from Amazon or wherever you buy Christian books. You can still save 20% if you pre-order from NavPress.

I’m happy to announce that author and pastor Sharon Hodde Miller has written the foreword! Sharon and her husband Ike lead Bright City Church in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. She has a Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is the author of numerous books.

She is a gifted speaker and writer and I was thrilled when she agreed to write the forward. Here is what she had to say.


Foreword to Centering Jesus
by Sharon Hodde Miller, Ph.D.

Early in our marriage, my husband and I lived in a house serving as caretakers for the owners. The home was enormous and beautiful, with soaring glass windows that overlooked a private lake. We often joked that it was the nicest home we would ever live in (it was!), and its crowning jewel, displayed proudly in the center of the downstairs floor, was an antique Steinway grand piano.

The piano was a classic black with real ivory keys. Whenever I slid onto the bench, I half expected Frank Sinatra to materialize beside me and croon. The piano was like a time capsule and a work of art all bound up in one, save for one notable exception: the sound. Although this piano was capable of producing transcendent notes, it had not been tuned in years. In its neglected state, the sound came out tinny, dissonant, and harsh. That is the problem with musical instruments. No matter the quality of their materials, no matter the genius of the master who crafted them, no matter how conscientiously they are stored, instruments drift. Without regular attention and care, their sound wanders, which is why they require constant retuning.

I occasionally think back on that piano, because the human soul is so much the same. The early theologian St. Augustine once explained that every one of us is born incurvatus se—”curved in on ourselves”—until Jesus intervenes in our lives and unbends us, pointing our souls back towards our created end in him. Unfortunately, this is not a one-time fix. If left to ourselves, our souls will inevitably drift back to this inward facing position. That is why we—like a fine musical instrument—must constantly by re-tuned to, and by, Christ.

However it’s not just our souls that need re-tuning. When I survey the state of the church right now—the division in our communities, the corruption in our leadership, the individualism in our theology, and the gleeful indulgence of outrage—there is a jarring dissonance. It is clear to me that our discipleship needs re-tuning. Christ-likeness is not, after all, the sort of thing one stumbles into. Without intentionality, without consistency, and without eyes fixed squarely on the Lamb of God, our souls, our methods, and our institutions will all naturally…drift.

That is why this book is so important. The message of Centering Jesus is a clarion call to radically and dramatically re-center our lives—and our churches—around Jesus, not because we have abandoned him, but because we have crowded him. We cannot possibly tune our souls to Christ amidst a cacophony of competing allegiances.

When we fail to center Jesus, we will center something else, and I have lived the anxiety and insecurity of that misplaced focus. But, I have also experienced the chain-breaking freedom of centering my gaze on Christ alone, which is why I was so eager to write this foreword. Both I, and Derek, desperately want the same freedom for you.


Sharon is exactly right!

We need to re-center our lives and churches around Jesus not because we have abandoned Jesus altogether “but because we have crowded him.” Isn’t this true? How many times do our hearts and churches get cluttered up with so much activity and business that Jesus gets pushed to the periphery?

This is why I wrote Centering Jesus.

It is a book that can help declutter our spiritual, moral, and community lives so that Jesus, the reigning Lamb of God, may once again take center stage.

You can pre-order Centering Jesus now from Amazon or wherever you buy Christian books. And remember you can save 20% if you pre-order from NavPress.