Jesus at the Center of My Messy Life

Tales from the Next Step Community

The Next Step Community is a group of people, like you, who are trying to follow Jesus. Jesus at the Center of My Messy Life includes heartfelt articles, stories, anecdotes, and devotions from the first year of the Next Step Community blog.

This anthology of insights and perspectives will help you take a small next step on your journey of faith. With refreshingly honest struggles, keen biblical insights, and a spirit of discovery, the authors and contributors from The Next Step Community will help you see your own faith life in a new light.

Bloggers and contributors from Year One of The Next Step Community blog.
Bloggers and contributors from Year One of The Next Step Community blog.

Real Insights from Real People

You won’t find any silver bullet answers here; just real people trying to make sense out of the adventure of following Jesus. You can come with your misgivings and doubts, with your thrills and triumphs, with your personal failures and your unique joys. You will find people like you who will help you into a deeper dependence and more vibrant relationship with Jesus.

Try something,
anything, look for Jesus
and see what happens!

Kim Longden

You can do this. And even when you can’t, God’s grace is sufficient. It’s going to be OK.

Justin Rossow

Contributors to the book include Ann Gillaspie, Naomi Rossow, Miriam Rossow, Pat Maier, Valerie Matyas, John Cordrey, Jamie Wiechman, Steve Wiechman, and Rachel Hinz.

Seasons and Themes of Following

These 66 articles, written by a baker’s dozen of authors and contributors, each explore a facet of the adventure of following Jesus in your everyday life. The opening section covers seasons of life that you will recognize from your own experience. From the start of major league football in the fall, to holiday celebrations in the winter, to a fresh batch of ducklings in the spring, you’ll find humor and insight in the change of seasons and lives.

Of course, 2020 was also a unique year, and our author’s and contributors prayerfully considered Covid and other cultural realities. Coming to grips with your personal experience is easier when you have a friend walking with you.

The theme of following Jesus runs throughout the book, and it also gets its own section of articles focused specifically on discipleship and everyday life. The partnership between Next Step Press and Visual Faith™ Ministry helped shape the first year of the Next Step Community, so you will also find a section dedicated to Visual Faith practices. All of our authors, contributors, and illustrators share a common goal: to help you delight in taking a next step following Jesus.

Featured authors for the book include Kim Longden, Katie Helmreich, Kristeen A. Bruun, and Justin Rossow.

Authors who Encourage and Inspire

In our first year, the Next Step Community team posted 163 blogs that resulted in 20,223 views. That’s a lot of small steps following Jesus! The 66 articles included in this anthology are the best of the best. Four authors contributed to that body of work more than any others, and the last section of the book gathers some of their most engaging writing in one place.

Kristeen Bruun takes an honest and faithful look at her own life and the lives of the people around her. She often challenges herself to see things differently, and in so doing, transforms our ordinary experiences into invitations to follow Jesus. From pedicures to ponderous tomes, from price tags to children’s rhymes, Kristeen opens us up to seeing the Spirit at work all around.

Brought to you by Next Step Press

Katie Helmreich’s writing combines her faith and her family life. You’ll find practical tips for leading family devotions. You’ll catch a glimpse of the weariness and frustration that seems to hound motherhood. But you will most clearly see dependence on Jesus shining through the ups and downs of common, ordinary, everyday life. From fireworks to burnt cookies, from growing pains to treasure hunts, Katie invites us into a vibrant attitude of exploration and discovery!

Kim Longden approaches following Jesus as an adventure of discovery. You’ll see her experiment with something new, and invite you to do the same. You’ll see her try and take a small next step and then look for what Jesus is inviting her into next. Kim’s attitude of excitement and experimentation is contagious. From little things, like adding some music to family devotions, to big things, like preparing for your child’s surgery, Kim opens us up to a way of living that looks for the Spirit’s work and leans into dependence on Jesus.

Vibrant, and often personal, Justin Rossow’s voice is a mix of casual and academic. He’s the kind of guy who relates a difficult parable to a casino slot machine or explores the cultural implications of how a toddler got his rather convoluted name. Justin often has a unique (if not peculiar) way of looking at the word. Yet if you adopt his perspective, even for a moment, chances are you will end up seeing Jesus a little more clearly.

Jesus at the Center of My Messy Life is a real, engaging, and inspiring look at the ordinary joys and challenges of following Jesus. Read it as a devotion, gift it to a friend, or explore it with your small group: this collection will help you delight in taking a small step following Jesus.

Order a copy or check out the Table of Contents on
Discover more from the Next Step Community at

Hear editor Justin Rossow read selections from the book: