Like a talented chef creating a stew, Author Dee Brestin has melded together scripture, real world experience as a mother, bible teacher, widow and prison minister, and the work of other Christian leaders into a book  worth savoring. The Jesus Who Surprises has two main  themes, 1) Finding Jesus in surprising places in scripture, such as the books of Isiah, Psalms, and Song of Solomon. 2) Finding Jesus in surprising times and places in our lives, such as when Brestin  lost her husband, and father of her children in his fifties.

Brestin does three things well in this book,

First she provides a strong, deeply researched case that  Jesus can indeed be found in action throughout scripture, even in the Old Testament.  She then illustrates how Jesus can be found in surprising places in our lives, particularly those where we need him most. She then explains how these two realities intersect.


Second she makes good use of real world examples to make this a book of action. Drawing on her own experiences, as well as those she has encountered as a bible teacher, and prison minister,  She shows how the surprising places Jesus can be found can give us stronger and happier lives. Brestin spends  a significant amount of time and effort on how this impacts our prayer life. She teaches us how to “Pray through the Psalms, and to use that to allow Christ to navigate us through the struggles life invariably brings our way.


Third she has created a book, born to be taught from ! There are discussion questions at the end of the chapter. Facilitator notes for  every chapter can be found at the end of the book. She has even provided videos for each chapter on her website ! This is in every way a book, not a “bible study,” but an empowering course or small group study could easily be created from it as Brestin has already done much of the hard work.


This is not a book to be read in one sitting. You will want to spend time with this book, to be immersed in it. Like the chef we talked about earlier Brestin has created a masterpiece.

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