Jim Holmes: Jim, you first contacted me more than a year ago, and mentioned you had written a book. You had labored long and hard over the project, but you also communicated to me that you wanted to run it through an editing process. This proved to be the intersection of two Jims; my life has certainly been the better for meeting you. I enjoyed reading your sample chapters immediately I saw them, and I sensed how much of a passion you have for the topic—living a life of reckless abandon for the Savior. Tell our readers how it is that you first felt the burden to write this book.
Jim Albright: Quite simply… It’s what I’ve learned about God. He has taught me how utterly faithful He is as I have, with much trembling at times, simply obeyed Him. As I say in the book, “We can do all He says because He will do all He says!” It’s true. He is our license to live our faith as big as we dare! I wanted to say this about Him. I needed to say this about Him. It’s the life God has redeemed every Christian to live–a life of glad reckless joy obedience!
Jim Holmes: The title is an intriguing one—“Uncareful Lives” That seems to be almost a contradiction of everything we are taught in Western culture. The pundits tell us to seek secure jobs, not to risk ourselves, not to do anything that may cause embarrassment, to be sure that we have an emergency fund in our bank, to have life and medical insurance, a well-primed pension, and so many other earthly securities. Would you make a few comments to our readers about (a) why you called the book “uncareful” and (b) whether you really are encouraging your readers to live in ways that some may consider irresponsible?
Jim Albright: The title came from the passage God used to change the trajectory of my life. I had been a businessman for twenty years when God called me to preach. I wanted to preach. It was burning in my bones to preach but I was just afraid to leave the security. It didn’t look like the responsible thing to do. God took me to Hebrews 11 and challenged me on what I professed to believe. And, of course, when you read God’s definition of faith in that great chapter and then look at the lives of the men and women listed there, you immediately recognize that real faith is never principally concerned with being careful but only with being faithful. Real faith will always take us beyond the commonsense life of conformity. Real faith always transcends the current resume. It’s one of God’s better gifts to us–an invitation to walk on the water with Him. Do we believe He’s God or not? Real faith says, yes! And then joyfully steps into the uncareful life of radical obedience!
“Real faith is never principally concerned with being careful but only with being faithful. Real faith will always take us beyond the commonsense life of conformity.”
Obviously, irresponsibility is in the eye of the beholder. There were people in my life who said as much as I left business to go to seminary at forty-two years of age. Was Abraham irresponsible to leave the security of what he knew? Was Moses irresponsible to stand before Pharaoh and challenge him? Was it irresponsible for David to step in front of Goliath? Well, from a strictly human perspective, most would say, yes. But this is what every born-again Christian knows and understands–if the Creator-God has put it in your heart to do it, it would irresponsible not to obey. Of course the true life of faith is never a careless, reckless, thoughtless or rash kind of life, rather, it is a bold, daring, courageous, and abandoned kind of life in obeying Jesus Christ.
Jim Holmes: In a nutshell, what is the message or burden of your book?
Jim Albright: Our God is God! He is breathtakingly awesome! We can live Hebrews 11 because He is who He is! If we really believe this, we must really live this. Life is way too short not to give all of ourselves away to Him! And here’s the deal–every born-again Christian desperately wants to go with Jesus. My book is simply an exhortation to get on with it!
Jim Holmes: Your life seems to have been a series of adventures, especially since you quit your job in corporate business. What is the greatest challenge that you encountered along the way?
Jim Albright: The biggest battle was the first step. It was leaving the commonsense herd-life. It was cutting the cord of career security. It was that first step out onto the water. The first step was the hardest, beyond that it’s been pure joy. As I say in the book, Karen and I love the surfing metaphor. All we have to do is keep our balance and stay on the board. All we have to do is take the ride. All the power, direction, force, speed, and timing are in the wave. God is our wave. We’ve learned that our job is simple: just maintain our equilibrium, and He does everything else.
Jim Holmes: You mention your wife Karen several times in the book; does she share the same passion that you do for living uncarefully? And what did she think of your putting pen to paper to write your story?
Jim Albright: Yeah…She’s hopelessly in love with Jesus Christ. She knows He’s God and she knows He’s good. She would follow Him anywhere. Karen is just a perfect wife in the most important sense; she is always “all in” with God. She has always been my biggest cheerleader. She was jazzed about the book and was indispensable in the editing process.
Jim Holmes: As I was working through the book from an editing point of view, I was struck by the number of OT and NT characters who lived by faith and who were called to do remarkable things for God; should we, as modern-day believers, expect to have to face the same kinds of challenges? Could you let us have some examples of how modern Christians might have to apply some of these principles?
Jim Albright: Yes, of course! If God-believing, Word-doing faith pleases God, which Hebrews 11:6 clearly says is true, certainly we can expect that He will perpetually bring us to crossroads of faith throughout our lives. God loves faith, and what every true Christian discovers as we genuinely begin to walk with Him, is that we love it too. It’s just one God-encounter after another. It’s addicting. Once you’ve tasted that kind of life, you can’t live small anymore.
God means for His people to bring Word-doing faith to bear in every circumstance of life. There is not one area of life exempt from radically believing and obeying Him. Christianity is pretty simple. Jesus says, “Follow Me!” And real believers get up every day and do just that.
Jim Holmes: Tell our readers—what was the trigger that put you into a writing trajectory?
Jim Albright: The Lord gave me the title five years before I ever started writing. I knew I wanted to say these things about Him; in fact, I needed to say these things about Him. It was my great honor and joy to give testimony to His faithfulness in our lives. I could not, not do it. I had to tell everyone what I’ve learned about Him. Radically going with Christ is just the best life available. Life is way too short to settle for anyone or anything else. His words in John 14:21 are true. In obedience He “discloses”Himself! It doesn’t get any better!
Jim Holmes: Now here’s a request that might be a hard one: Could you let us have a favorite paragraph from your book?
Jim Albright: What a terrible question to ask an author! [Laughter] Too many favorites to mention but I will share one of the closing paragraphs of the book as I challenge readers to embrace the uncareful life of walking intimately with Jesus Christ:
I know, some of you are looking at the wind and waves and feel you need to opt out on the water-walking thing for one very good reason or another. What is Satan telling you? Is he telling you it’s impossible? He’s right. Is he telling you it’s risky? He’s right. Is he telling you it will be costly? He’s right. Is he telling you your life will radically change in unpredictable ways? He’s right. Of course he’s right! He’s merely parroting what God has already told you about discipleship. This is not new information! C. S. Lewis insightfully writes, “It is a remarkable fact that on this subject Heaven and Hell speak with one voice . . . What Heaven desires and Hell fears is precisely that further step, out of our depth, out of our own control.” Satan wants you in the boat. You’re no bother to him there. You pose no threat to him there. It’s those pesky water-walkers he hates. He knows they’re the most dangerous people on the planet! They’re the ones God uses to turn the world upside-down!
Jim Holmes: What other books do you have in mind to write?
Jim Albright: I have three more in my head right now. I’m actively working on one of them. I love the breathtaking power, genius and exuberance of God displayed in the created order. It’s in my heart to write about this. The project is intimidating but I feel Him leading me on.
Jim Holmes: How can people get a copy or copies of your book?
Jim Holmes: Are you open to special speaking projects, etc., as you get this book into the public arena?
Jim Albright: Yes of course…It would be a tremendous honor and great joy!