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The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ (The Apprentice Series) Hardcover – December 11, 2009


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The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ (The Apprentice Series) + The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love (The Apprentice) + The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows (The Apprentice Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Apprentice Series
  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (December 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830835326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830835324
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jim Smith is the most articulate, accurate and helpful writer of spiritual formation of my generation. I give this series my highest recommendation." (Todd D. Hunter, author of Giving Church Another Chance)

"The Apprentice Series the the best practice I have seen in Christian spiritual formation." (Dallas Willard, author of The Divine Conspiracy)

"The Apprentice Series is a treasure. Dr. Smith has thought long and hard about the process of human transformation into the likeness of Jesus. I urge you to buy these books immediately! Read them and apply them. Then live them out in the context of a loving community. You will not regret doing so." (Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and coauthor of Longing for God)

About the Author

James Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School, D.Min., Fuller Seminary) is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and a writer and speaker in the area of Christian spiritual formation. He also serves as the director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation at Friends University. A founding member of Richard J. Foster's spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. Smith is also the editor of A Spiritual Formation Workbook, Devotional Classics (with Richard Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven and Room of Marvels.

More About the Author

James Bryan Smith (M.Div., Yale University Divinity School, D.Min., Fuller Seminary) is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, KS and a writer and speaker in the area of Christian spiritual formation. He also serves as the director of the Christian Spiritual Formation Institute at Friends University.

A founding member of Richard J. Foster's spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. Smith is also the author of A Spiritual Formation Workbook, Devotional Classics (with Richard Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven and Room of Marvels.

Customer Reviews

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This is our second book from this series..
Judy Kelly
Here is a book full of real life examples of how and why life is better in the kingdom of God HERE AND NOW!
Joyce Morrice
I am using this book in a small group study.
Angela Uden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Hjalmarson on January 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Smith opens the second book in the Apprentice Series like this:

"The great preacher and founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley (1703-1791), was once approached by a man who came to him in the grip of unbelief. "all is dark; my thoughts are lost," the man said to Wesley, "but I hear that you preach to a great number of people every night and morning. Pray, what would you do with them? Whither would you lead them? What religion do you preach? What is it good for?"

Wesley gave this answer to those questions:
"You ask, what would I do with them? I would make them virtuous and happy, easy in themselves, and useful to others. Whither would I lead them? to heaven, to God the judge, the lover of all, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant. What religion do I preach? the religion of love. the law of kindness brought to light by the gospel. What is this good for? to make all who receive it enjoy God and themselves, to make them like God, lovers of all, contented in their lives, and crying out at their death, in calm assurance, "O grave where is thy victory! thanks be to God, who giveth me victory, through my Lord Jesus Christ."

Smith lays out four components of change: the mind, disciplines, community and the Holy Spirit. But he recognizes that the dominant content of the mind is found in stories: narratives that make up the content and texture of our personal histories. The change agent is the Holy Spirit. Smith writes,

"The Spirit leads us to Jesus, reveals the Father, exposes falsehood, offers correction, and gives us the needed encouragement that make growth and transformation possible. The Spirit helps us change our narratives by leading us into truth, enlightens us as we practice the disciplines, and binds us together in community.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin A. Simpson VINE VOICE on February 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a gem. While the cover design is aesthetically pleasing, the pages contain great stories, and the theological prose is enjoyable and accessible, of foremost importance for the prospective reader is that in The Good and Beautiful Life we have a fantastic resource for the transformation of human character into the likeness of Christ. The second in a series of three, this book is yet another valuable resource for those on the Christian journey, and perhaps even for those outside the Christian faith seeking to learn more about where the Christian life might lead.

Throughout this series of books Smith cogently argues that "we live at the mercy of our ideas and our narratives," and it is through this lens the content of our spiritual lives is examined and then challenged. Each chapter within this installment presents a common narrative that many people hold that leads to anger, lust, lying, vindictive competitiveness, vainglory, avarice, worry, or judgmentalism, and then challenges that narrative through the life and teachings of Jesus. Smith relies on Jesus's teachings in the Sermon on the Mount as paramount for instilling the virtues that oppose these vices, reinforcing the Jesus narratives with an accompanying spiritual practice. In this book, those practices are writing a letter to God, play, hospitality, keeping the Sabbath, a media fast, silence, praying for the success of competitors, secret service, deaccumulation, prayer, a day without gossip, and living one day devotionally. The practices are simple, yet powerful, and the instructions Smith provides are very easy to follow.

I found this book to be an excellent follow up to the first volume in The Apprentice Series, building well upon the ideas presented in The Good and Beautiful God.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Conner VINE VOICE on August 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. It's the second in a trilogy, and I read The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love With the God Jesus Knows (The Apprentice Series) first, which I recommend to other readers (the first volume delves a lot into the structure of the books, and this volume gives a brief overview and plunges in). My main complaint with the first book was that it was very basic, and while it served as a good reminder and a terrific discipleship tool, it had little purely instructive value for someone who has been a Christian for a while. This book does not have that problem, and I enjoyed it much more. The chapters follow the basic outline of the Sermon on the Mount, so the reader is challenged with issues like judging, lust, lying, avarice, and other issues that plague Christians at every point in a spiritual journey. Some chapters were difficult to read because Dr. Smith was doing such a great job at pinpointing the underlying insecurities that lead me to be, for example, greedy and materialistic. I didn't agree with every part of the book - like his mentor Dallas Willard, Dr. Smith has an unusual interpretation of the Beatitudes - but every part was presented humbly and faithfully, so that I even learned from the ideas with which I didn't agree. Those who enjoyed the first book will not be disappointed with the second, and those who (like me) found the first to be of limited value will surely be able to embrace the new challenges presented in this book. I highly recommend it and look forward to engaging with the text in a discipleship setting.
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