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Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families
Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families
by Douglas Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.93
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clear and passionate call to fatherhood, November 19, 2012
Douglas Wilson's Father Hunger speaks to the issue of 'fatherlessness' within the culture at large and its impact on families. Bringing together contributing factors ranging from poverty to crime to economics within the pages of this book is clear call for men to once again lead their families. While societal issues are examined, it is the biblical framework Wilson brings to the topic which is most important.

He supports his views upon clear scriptural foundations, and is not ashamed to declare them. Wilson believes men are breadwinners (page 106) and women can't be ministers (page 128). He also notes with the Western church does not yet know the impact of "centuries of an effeminate ministry" will have on generations to come (page 132).

While this might come across as blunt, harsh, or even sound like a "man-gone-wild-with-scripture-to-put-a-woman-in-her-place," one would do well to read and put his views in their printed context.

Below is a selection of quotes from Father Hunger (along with page numbers) which serve as a backbone to understanding his views:

"We live in fatherless time (20)."

"What is masculinity? Simply put, masculinity is the glad assumption of sacrificial responsibility (41)."

"A related mistake that is readily made is assuming headship and authority are tied to bossing everybody around. In addition, we think that submission means we are arguing for necessary inequality. But that is not what it means in Scripture at all. As we have just seen, the head of Christ is God. Paul tells us elsewhere that Christ did not consider His equality with God something to be grabbed at, but rather emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (Phil. 2:5-9)... Christian men who are taught the ways of Christian masculinity are being taught to imitate Jesus Christ. But when Jesus taught us masculinity, He did this by submitting Himself to the point of death (42-43)."

"The Bible does not teach that women as a class are subordinate to men as a class. Each woman is to be subject to her own husband. It has been too infrequently pointed out that this means she is not subject to all the others. Still less does the biblical requirement mean that mean are superior to women (143)."

Even with this brief sampling, there will no doubt be critics of the research and the scriptural interpretation/application Wilson brings to the subject of 'fatherlessness.' However, there is no way to avoid the realization the family is in crisis today, and 'fatherlessness' plays a role in that crisis.

Whether you agree or agree to disagree (or you just want to disagree!) Wilson brings a deep, passionate voice to this issue and expresses clearly his desire "to urge men to embrace the high calling of fatherhood (199)."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Booksneeze as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Charity and Its Fruits: Living in the Light of God's Love
Charity and Its Fruits: Living in the Light of God's Love
by Jonathan Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.37
41 used & new from $5.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Read to understand Edwards, read to grow deeper in Christ!, November 12, 2012
Reading through Kyle Strobel's edition of Jonathon Edwards' Charity and its Fruit will not only give the reader greater insight and understanding into the theological vision of Edwards it will bring him to life to new generation of readers. Charity consists of 15 expositional sermons based on 1 Corinthians 13.

While many tend to think of Edwards' Religious Affections or his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God they will see a side of Edwards that focuses on the Christian's life and the relationship between love the believer's life in Christ. Utilizing Edwards' work as the basis for this edition rather than the one from his great, great grandson, Strobel provides introductions, notes, definitions and cross references from other writings of Edwards to bring greater clarity to Charity.

These additions will guide those not as familiar with Edwards as they progress through each sermon. At the same time it serves to deepen the appreciation those who are well-read in Ewardian theology.

Charity will prove to be an excellent reference work for sermon/study preparation on 1 Corinthians 13 but greater still it can be read as a personal devotion source, one chapter (sermon) at a time. It is well worth the effort and time to read this edition carefully, prayerfully, and with the purpose not just to understand Edwards better but to understand better the believers relationship in Christ and what it means to live in the light of God's love!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Today is Your Best Day
Today is Your Best Day
by Roy Lessin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.68
57 used & new from $0.01

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Today is not about me, July 13, 2012
This review is from: Today is Your Best Day (Hardcover)
In this 60-day devotional by Roy Lessin, Today is Your Best Day uses scripture to focus on God's work in the believer's life. Topics include Christ's indwelling, serving the Lord, humility, love, redemption through Jesus' blood, grace, peace, the Holy Spirit, prayer, the cross, and heaven.

It can easily be seen how such a book would encourage many who are experiencing dark and challenging days. While I do not negate that, the overall impression of the book left me feeling like I was the center of God's love and attention and it was all about me. Again, there are definitely seasons in life when a believer needs to be reminded of the love, grace, mercy, peace, and indwelling of Christ. However, at the end of the day it isn't about me, it is about Him.

The book might be strengthened if practical suggestions were listed encouraging the reader to act on the various points, to serve others in their community, to share the gospel with others. With little focus on evangelism, discipleship or serving others Today is Your Best Day would not be my first choice of devotional material.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New Leaf Publishing as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2012 10:43 AM PDT


The Truth About Grace
The Truth About Grace
by John F. MacArthur
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.99
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A helpful reminder and corrective, July 13, 2012
This review is from: The Truth About Grace (Paperback)
One of several books in "The Truth About..." series, The Truth About Grace is a compiled from previous books by John MacArthur. As such, this book is classic MacArthur. In five brief chapters grace is defined, explained, and explored. Misunderstandings about grace are addressed. Some practical implications of living a life out of grace are discussed. Overall, this book serves as a great refresher for believers but also as a great resource to help anyone gain a deeper understanding of God's grace. This book brought me back to the throne of God's grace and several times I found myself reminded of how amazing His grace has been and continues to be in my life.

I greatly appreciate the helpful reminder (and corrective) that God's grace leads to changed behavior. MacArthur summarizes grace in this manner, "True grace is more than just a giant freebie, opening the door to heaven in the sweet by and by, but leaving us to wallow in sin in the bitter here and now. Grace is God presently at work in our lives.."Grace" that does not affect one's behavior is not the grace of God (Loc 1138 of 1204, Kindle ed.)."

Other books in "The Truth About..." series include "The Lordship of Christ" and "Forgiveness."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Booksneeze as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Small is Big
Small is Big
by Tony Dale
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.99
67 used & new from $3.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars helpful overview of missional church planting, July 13, 2012
This review is from: Small is Big (Paperback)
Small is Big is the story of Tony and Felicity Dale (co-authored with George Barna). With experience in the house church movement in the UK, the Lord directed them to move to Texas. Through a season of doubt, frustration, and ultimately growth, they began experiencing a similar move of God as they began a house church and watched God multiply this small gathering of believers exponentially.

By intentionally being small a greater emphasis can be placed on 'making disciples.' They assert, "The great commission tells us to make disciples, which is far more than a "decision" or "prayer of salvation." God wants disciples, not mere converts (102)." This desire to see disciples who will in turn make disciples who will make disciples is at the heart of how Tony and Felicity minister.

I recently attended a conference and had the opportunity to hear first hand the story of Tony and Felicity. It provided a great opportunity to interact with a couple who lives, breathes, writes, and speaks about the subject of disciple-making, missional church planting and reaching others.

This book was a bit of fresh air from many of the books I have recently read about missional church planting. I would compare those books to reading the KJV and Small is Big as reading the NIV! Don't take that as disparaging the other books. It is merely an observation. I have passed on other books to friends who have had a challenge grasping some of the concepts of missional church planting but when I shared Small is Big those friends understood the concepts better.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well
Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well
Price: $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid overview of the big picture!, July 13, 2012
I have greatly benefited from the increased awareness within Evangelicalism regarding the meta-narrative of the Bible. With editors like Grudem and Schreiner (I am not as familiar with Collins) I knew this book would not disappoint.

Vern Poythress provides an extremely succinct and helpful introduction to the book. This "Overview of the Bible's Storyline" sets the stage for the 13 chapters. God's ultimate plan is revealed through promises and predictions and then they are fulfilled. Sometimes these promises/predictions are explicit and other times they are symbolic. Since the time of Adam, sin has been an issue between God and man throughout the Bible. As such, the redemption of mankind only through the sacrificial death of Jesus is the big picture theme of the Bible.

The following 13 essays provide a helpful (and at times corrective) understanding of how the books of the Old Testament relate too and connect with the New Testament, in particular as they relate to Jesus Christ. Not only do the essays cover a range of helpful topics, provide an overview of reading various genres of the Bible, the book also contains a series of three helpful timelines of Old Testament, Inter-testament, and New Testament history.

Exploring various aspects of genre, culture, and history, Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible, is a quick reference resource for Bible teachers and pastors as well as a helpful primer for anyone desiring to understand better the big picture of the Bible.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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Desiring God, 25th Anniversary Reference Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
Desiring God, 25th Anniversary Reference Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
by John Piper
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.15
58 used & new from $4.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read (and a definite 'read again')!, July 12, 2012
This 25th Anniversary edition of Desiring God is the book from which flows the heart and passion of John Piper's ministry. These meditations are presented through 10 topics ranging from money to missions and conversion to suffering. I found myself almost journaling through each page. Piper has a way with connecting biblical truth with a wide range of philosophers and thinkers to present a solid case for being a 'Christian Hedonist'.

The theme running throughout the book (as well as the foundation of Piper's ministry) is summarized in this statement, "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him." In this 25th anniversary edition, Piper asserts this message, "continues to be a spectacular and precious truth in my mind and heart. It has sustained me into my second half-century, and I do not doubt that it will carry me Home (10)."

For Piper, Christian Hedonism is more than a theme, it is a "philosophy of life (28)" based on five convictions. In summary, every person has a desire to be happy, which is good, not sinful. This desire should not be resisted nor denied, rather we should seek to nourish the desire until we are satisfied. To fully satisfy the deepest happiness one must find it in God, not merely from God. In other words, "The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever (28)."

I found myself challenged, convicted, confessing sin and encouraged. These meditations will clear the spiritual cob-webs and lethargy from your life. It will restore and renew the joy of salvation. Piper references the joy of salvation as spoken by Jesus in Matthew 13:44 where a man finds a treasure in a field, and in his joy sells all that he has to by that field.

Piper writes, "A person discovers a treasure and is impelled by joy to sell all that he has in order to have this treasure.... Christ becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy - a crucified and risen Savior who pardons all our sins, provides all our righteousness, and becomes in His own fellowship our greatest pleasure (70)."

At this season in my life the chapter on Missions has been extremely convicting. Highlighting the dramatic increase in reaching the nations yet recognizing the increased awareness of unreached/unengaged people groups, this chapter calls believers to be "World Christians (232)" who will reorder their lives around the global cause of proclaiming the Gospel to the nations. Rather than being a call for every believer to go the the ends of the earth, it is a solid presentation to be engaged through prayer (and for those called to go, then GO) to enter the Lord's battle to save the lost.

Not only have I read the book once, but I downloaded the free pdf for my kindle app and have read it again. This is one book that has earned a high spot on my 'read again' list. You can also click here for additional resources related to Desiring God.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
by Mark Driscoll
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.47
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read with discerment..., May 14, 2012
Much has already been written in way of reviewing Mark and Grace Driscoll's book Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together. If you want to read more detailed reviews, check out the one by Tim Challies, Denny Burk, or Aaron Armstrong. They are worth taking the time to read.

I have to admit I read this book several months ago and put it on the shelf without reviewing it for several reasons. After stepping away from the book for some time and then reviewing my highlights and notes my initial thoughts regarding the book have changed somewhat.

From the beginning let me state I appreciate the ministry of Mark Driscoll. While he has made his fair share of mistakes he has also repented of them and demonstrated a humble spirit to listen to others as he has grown. The status he has reached as a pastor, speaker, and author bring with it great blessing and also great distresses. This is true for any person in ministry. Driscoll himself acknowledges he has "a lot of fans as well as foes". [1]

My overall impression of this particular book is summed up with one word: discernment. Read this book with great discernment. It is not for everyone. In fact, I would only recommend this book to other men if we were going to walk through the book together.

The Driscoll's are extremely open, honest, and transparent about their sexual past and present. They speak without holding back and throughout the book share with great passion. The first part of the book addresses particular issues surrounding marriage such as friendship, the character of a husband, the character of a wife and dealing with past issues. There are great truths and practical applications woven together with biblical references.

Anything with the word Driscoll and sex will be no doubt be controversial. I readily admit there are some topics discussed that I would not address from the pulpit, but I agree with the Driscoll's that these are topics that people are asking behind closed doors. The chapter that seems to be getting most of the attention is titled "Can We ______?" (Chapter 10).

Nothing is off limits and this is where some readers will be turned off. Again, I think these are issues that people struggle with, ask questions about, and attempt to search for answers. I would much rather them turn here than do a Google search. But here is where some discernment comes into play. I read this chapter, and the book as a whole, and understood it to be typical Driscoll. That is meant to be a compliment! He is addressing issues to a particular audience and uses particular terms, phrases, and tones. I have no problem with that. These chapters will not be for everyone and for the record he doesn't present these issues as a cart blanche excuse to sin. I think there is a balance, as uncomfortable as it may be for some to read about it.

I found the transparency refreshing. However, the book could be strengthened with additional and more solid biblical and gospel focus (I think the book does have a gospel foundation, but it is weak at best). The book would also be strengthened by additional editing as a sermon series was formatted for a book. Maybe the lesson from this book comes down to this: a sermon series does not a book make!

Read with discernment!

[1] Real Marriage, Kindle edition, location 872 of 6460.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Booksneeze as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Gospel-Centered Discipleship
Gospel-Centered Discipleship
by Matt Chandler
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.66
66 used & new from $2.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on discipleship I have read!, April 5, 2012
Discipleship is a very fuzzy word within church circles. It can mean anything and everything, from a Discipleship Training Union hour (similar to Sunday School in Southern Baptist Churches) to one-on-one chats over a cup of coffee. Curriculum exists to guide those who endeavor to 'add' this extra time of learning to their schedules and others use a more relaxed approach and just read a chapter a week of a particular book (say James or Colossians).

Much discipleship is centered on providing additional knowledge to believer's who are already constipated with knowledge. This extra knowledge 'helps' the believers mature. Other forms of discipleship are so informal and infrequent that the Bible, much less anything spiritual is ever discussed. One method utilizes 'mature' believers to pass on treasured knowledge to others while the opposite extreme views relationship and just hanging out as a greater priority than learning what the Bible teaches.

Enter Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathon Dodson. "Disciple is an identity; everything else is a role," asserts Dodson (page 29). With this in mind, he presents three aspects of discipleship which forms the basis of his book. These three aspects include rational, relational and missional. In other words, a disciple is a learner, connected to a family, and engaged in God's mission. From here a clear and precise case is established for engaging in gospel-centered discipleship.

What was of particular interest is Dodson's analysis of the current emphasis between rule keeper and rule breaker as it relates to one's identity (discipleship) in Christ. On one hand there are those religious rule keepers who ensure they and everybody else is 'following' Jesus. These are the legalists who thrive on 'accountability' as they project an image of holiness before the Lord. Dodson's definition of legalism speaks to the heart issue at stake, "Legalism is the tendency in the human heart to measure our worth by how well we perform... Religious disciples don't think of themselves as legalists. They aim for a spiritual image (page 70)."

On the other side of the aisle are the libertines, those disciples who thrive to "find meaning in freedom from rules (page 72)." They focus on the freedom and liberty they have in Christ, the forgiveness they have received, and the need to go against the rules. Dodson states, "Disciples who operate on spiritual license perceive themselves as liberated, set free from the bondage of more conservative Christians. Instead of believing the lie of performance - If I perform, God will accept me - they believe the lie of license - Because God has forgiven me, I'm free to disobey (page 72)."

As such, a never-ending cycle develops where rule keepers work harder to keep the rules and rule breakers go all out and break the rules. This brings us to the gospel. Because of the gospel we now know we are not bound to rules. Therefore our identity is not found in keeping or breaking them. We are bound to Christ! Our identity is to be found in Him!

To work out this 'gospel-centered discipleship' approach Dodson brings a healthy rebuke to believers for neglect of the Holy Spirit. This is true of many in Reformed circles. In the name of being 'cautious', 'safe', or 'avoiding excess' Dodson shares how one member of his church assesses the situation, "This reaction to "Spirit-related" excesses has reduced the Spirit to the status of what one member of our church refers to as "the bastard child of the Trinity (page 87)." What follows is perhaps the clearest explanation of the work of the Holy Spirit, especially in the context of our identity in Christ and discipleship, I have read in some time. This chapter alone makes the book worth the read!

The final section of the book provides an overview of how Dodson and his church have applied the gospel-centered discipleship approach. Relying on small groups of 2 or 3 individuals, called fight clubs, who meet regularly to confess sin, repent, pray, encourage, etc. with the focus being on Jesus. Confessing sin and repentance is what is missing in so much of today's discipleship.

With these two extremes of rule keepers and rule breakers, both of whom tend to believe they are perfect and everyone else is wrong, one discovers neither group is actually growing and maturing into Christ-likeness. In the words of Dodson, "A gospel-centered disciple rejects the pursuit of perfection and embraces the gift of repentance... Repenting Christians are growing Christians (page 85)."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


The Road to Missional: Journey to the Center of the Church (Shapevine)
The Road to Missional: Journey to the Center of the Church (Shapevine)
by Michael Frost
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Missional What?, March 26, 2012
It seems every few years or so some term becomes a buzzword in contemporary Christianity complete with supporters and critics. It wasn't too long ago everyone was exploring what 'emergent' was or wasn't and the same is happening with the word 'missional.' While the idea/concept has been around for some time, it wasn't until the past month or two that I really began reading about this term. As I read Frost and Hirsch's book, The Faith of Leap: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure & Courage, I found words to describe many of the issues I was struggling with as a Christian in this post-modern, 21st Century world. While that book was at times a bit hard to chew on, Michael Frost's The Road to Missional: Journey to the Center of the Church provides a more clear and direct explanation of what is meant by 'missional.'

Frost asserts, as do many other leaders, thinkers, pastors, and authors, that being missional is more than adding 'things' to existing church structures. Whether it is additional evangelism events or coffee shop Bible studies, these added things miss the overarching call for a complete paradigm shift within the church. In fact, Frost explains his use of the word 'missional' is a way 'to describe the wholesale and thorough reorientation of the church around mission (p. 16).' It is at this point in the missional discussion that fear sets in and ears are shut off from hearing/listening to the discussion. Missional is not a style, a fad, an event, a program. It cannot simply be added along side of existing church structure. It is a process of reorienting one's mindset and church away from some of the traditional aspects of 'church' which is what scares the wits out of many existing church leaders!

I describe this reorientation as moving from a 'come and see' to a 'go and tell' perspective. Missional involves evangelism, discipleship, worship, fellowship and ministry but it is more than engaging in those areas at church. It is a radical call to live out the gospel each day. It is a way of life. It is a process of moving away from 'attractional', the idea of 'come and see', to 'incarnational' living, the 'go and tell' perspective.

Frost describes it as 'a lifelong calling to service, sacrifice, selflessness, and effort. It will be worked out in neighborhoods and people groups around the world, and fueled and led by the least likely saints (p. 21).'

As such, it moves beyond mere attractional church growth ideas and reorients oneself and the church to the missio dei, or mission of God. Frost clearly states 'mission is not primarily concerned with church growth. It is primarily concerned with the reign and rule of the Triune God. If the church grows as a result, so be it (p. 24).' Again, these are the types of statements that can scare church leaders tremendously. It seems to fly in the face of existing paradigms of ministry which tend to focus on attractional methods to increase church attendance. The missional church model seeks to move beyond buildings and increases in church attendance as the goal and focus on changed lives as the goal.

Frost presents in very clear terms how this reorientation is shaped through evangelism (Chapter 2), through church membership (Chapter 3), through holiness (Chapter 4), and through reconciliation and justice (Chapter 5). The final chapter describes how one lives an incarnational, missional life.

I could go on, but you would benefit more if you get a copy of the book and read it yourself. Be warned, you might not agree with every principle, thought, or component of shifting paradigms. However, I believe you will be challenged to examine your own life as you journey to the center of the church.

To close, I will leave you with these words from Frost as he describes why he has held onto the definition of missional:

"... the wholesale and thorough reorientation of the church around mission, a mission that includes evangelism, but more: a mission that is anchored in the task of alerting people to the rule of God through Christ and which can never be reduced to the recruitment of new attendees at our meetings; a mission that hopes in the ongoing work of God to redeem all things and set everything right in accordance with his will; a mission that by its very nature must be lived out incarnationally, in close proximity to those to whom we've been sent; a mission that is cross-shaped and calls its followers to the disciplines of sacrifice, service, love, and grace; and a mission that delights in beauty, flavor, joy, and friendship, that lifts us up and fills us with the same fullness of life we see in Jesus (p. 146)."

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