Book review: Reset: Jesus Changes Everything
Reset is a book about our relationship with Jesus. It is divided into two parts and connects personal experiences with popular illustrations in order to make theological statements. Nick Hall’s basic thesis is: Jesus can reset everything.
The first part is called “The Setup” and serves as a comprehensive founda- tion for the second. The first chapter intends to underline a state of awe, making us understand that we are made for something higher. “We were hard- wired to live in a state of awe” (17), the implication being that we are not made merely of biological cells and to live only hedonistic lives that cannot save us.
The second chapter introduces Hall’s life experience and how he became involved in organizing the PULSE meetings.* He uses this illustration of doing something meaningful and contrasts it to the meaningless lives we have when avoiding Jesus. “The needles, the pill bottles, the booze, the porn—it was a generation’s way of screaming, ‘Save me from myself. I can’t take this anymore.’
“The truth is we all want to be saved” (34).
The third chapter focuses on three main areas of life: the individual, the church, and Jesus. Individually, we are not interested in pretending to be some- one that we are not. The church does not fully explore its potential, which results in “a modern-day Exodus—liter- ally millions of Millennials walking away from the church” (41). And Jesus, who is misrepresented by the church, is not lame, not weak. On the contrary, “He is a man of great conviction, willing to go to the cross for what he believed” (43). It is this attractive Jesus that offers everyone a reset.
The second part of the book is titled “Hitting Reset” and describes eight areas in our lives where Jesus wants to reset us. Jesus wants to reset our faith, plans, self-image, relationships, purity, habits, affections, and, finally, our generation. Hall challenges his audience and connects his ideas with movies, song lyrics, Bible passages, and personal experiences. He concludes that growth is going to come only if our life is in accordance with God. Jesus invites us to trust Him and let Him grow us personally. The final chapter draws parallels to former great revivals and expresses the author’s desire for our generation to surrender fully (185). “The answer isn’t a four-step process, event, or program. The answer is a person. No matter what the question is, the answer is found in him” (186).
Hall’s book is not primarily a book on church growth, but there are some principles that can be applied in dealing with Millennials. The strong emphasis on music, emotions, and the abundant appearance of structurally placed illustrations can make this book a difficult read for other generations. His summary of the second chapter, “The basic idea is, we do not know what we are living for” (32), is clearly directed to the needs of the Millennial generation. Young people want to be invested in something lasting and should be given a chance to express their energy, passion, and compassion (25).
The most prominent aspect of this book is the author’s openness and transparency in sharing his personal experiences (57). This is something that resonates with his intended audience and gives him credibility. What really stands out is his claim that though many things in life can be boring, “but Jesus? He’s never boring. Life with Jesus is always on fire” (67). This con- trasts with the “lame version of Jesus” that Millennials seemingly were taught (43). He likewise gives a sample prayer to personal dedication for Jesus, which is really helpful.
Often in his book he states that we need to find the real Jesus. He talks about how we can “get as close to Jesus” (146) as we can. Another aspect that can be learned from is the need for role models. A highlight for the author in his ministry was when he met his role model, Billy Graham (125). Role models can give young people advice and guidance.
Resetting can take place only if the heart is in the right place. If we are not committed to Jesus and He has not reset our lives, then there will be no growth. The growth is not quantitive but qualitative.
This book is a recommended read, it will help answer Millennials’ questions about their relationship with Jesus, which can help them question their skepticism and experience a reset.
—Reviewed by Artur Boldt, a student working on his MA in religion in Cernica, Romania, Institutul Teologica.
* PULSE is a large ecumenical event held at the National Mall in Washington, DC, United States.
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