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Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change Paperback – November 8, 2010
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"a very clear and carefully written book...a gift to the church" --Themelios
Those who apply the message of this insightful book will, by God's grace, find themselves growing into authentic Christlikeness." --Steven J. Lawson, Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Mobile, AL --Back Cover
"This is a Gospel primer that I will recommend again and again." --Paul David Tripp, Pastoral staff of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA --Back Cover
"Christ Formed in You is evangelical spirituality at its best!" --Del Fehsenfeld III, Pastoral Services Director, Life Action Ministries --Back Cover
"Brian Hedges sets the fullness of the gospel to work on the lives of believers, wielding it like a craftsman to shape us into images of Christ." --Kris Lundgaard, author of The Enemy Within --Back Cover
From the Back Cover
"Brian Hedges brings a beautiful clarity to our understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and pulls together a comprehensive patchwork of the Gospel's implications for everyday life. The result is a precise and practical picture of a lifestyle rooted in grace. This is a Gospel primer that I will recommend again and again." --Paul David Tripp, Pastoral staff of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA
"With clarity, balance, common sense, and a relentless commitment to keeping his eye on the goal, Brian Hedges sets the fullness of the gospel to work on the lives of believers, wielding it like a craftsman to shape us into images of Christ." --Kris Lundgaard, author of The Enemy Within and Through the Looking Glass
"Brian Hedges combines credible exegesis with astute theological balance in his approach to spiritual formation. And he wraps it all up with a thoroughgoing Christ-centeredness that is practical and winsome. Christ Formed in You is evangelical spirituality at its best!" --Del Fehsenfeld III, Pastoral Services Director, Life Action Ministries
"Brian Hedges has done the church a great service in writing this book, which reveals the God-intended path of sanctification. The ultimate goal in spiritual maturity is to transform believers into the image of Christ. Those who apply the message of this insightful book will, by God's grace, find themselves growing into authentic Christlikeness." --Steven J. Lawson, Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Mobile, AL
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Part 1: The Foundations for Personal Change - All five chapters in this section are related to how the gospel powerfully changes us to conform us to the image of Christ.
Part 2: The Pattern of Personal Change - Focuses on four key areas of growth in the Christian life - Holiness, Dying to Sin, Understanding and Applying Grace, and the Quest for Joy.
Part 3: The Means of Personal Change - Three chapters on "how" to become more like Christ - Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines; Preparing for and the purposes of suffering; and living out the Christian faith in the context of community.
The book also has a very extensive section of helpful notes, a general index, and a Scripture index.
I think this is an especially good book for young believers or Christians that would like to see the interplay of the gospel with reference to what saves us, and how we walk in that salvation. I think what would make this book more helpful is a study guide or application questions at the end of each chapter. I think this book could easily be used and very beneficial for a small group, and even for a membership class - because it covers many of the essential teachings related to becoming a disciple of Jesus.
Shepherd Press graciously provided a free copy of this book for my honest review.
For a number of years, Pastor Hedges has been my go-to reviewer on Amazon. His reviews have always been thoughtful, helpful and extremely well written. He has introduced me to the sublime writings of authors such as David Paul Tripp and Sam Storms. Last May when I went on Amazon to checkout his recommendations, I happened to stumble upon the fact that he himself had written a book. I bought it immediately. It was a no-brainer.
As to the content of the book, I will leave that up to the other reviewers who have done a much more thorough and elegant job than I could ever do. And why are there only 6 reviews? There should be hundreds. Let me just summarize it by saying that it is the most complete and compelling explanation of the Gospel that I have ever read. And at age 63, despite being in church leadership at times and for many years a Sunday School teacher, I had difficulty articulating the Gospel.
Well this thing has just kept snowballing. I have given away more than 20 copies. I gave one to my pastor and he was so impressed with my enthusiasm that he suggested that I lead a community group basically just teaching through the material in CHRIST FORMED IN YOU. We began meeting last night. This is our format. I have tentatively broken down the book into 36 lessons, approximately 3 per chapter where they divide naturally. I will spend 10-15 minute reading that section allowing myself and others to occasionally interject short 1-2 sentence thoughts. Afterwards, we open it up to 30-40 minutes of discussion followed by 30-? minutes of prayer and lastly, fellowship. I am not requiring anyone to have already read the section beforehand, although I am encouraging as many as possible to read ahead on their own. In this way, those who because of circumstances can only make it infrequently will not be intimidated. I am also assigning one Bible memory verse from each section. This is selfishly for my own edification since I have struggled for years with this. Last night, we went over the Back Cover, the Forward and parts of the Acknowledgements. (Thanks Mrs. Hedges for teaching your son how to write and Shepherd Press for encouraging him to publish this book!)
I have even adapted the material for use with my 3rd-4th grade Sunday School class. I will be dressed as John the Baptist as we are going through the New Testament this year using Bruce Hellen's excellent GOD'S GREAT DRAMA series. But for the first 10 minute, I will be teaching the kids the three R's of why God made us- to reflect, to relate and to reign (pgs. 28-29).
Pastor Hedges has even inspired me to come up with an analogy of my own, albeit imperfect. It has to do with the Gospel and our journey as Christians. Before God saves us, we are like expensive, beautifully manufactured digital cameras. Unfortunately, we don't come from the factory with a memory card and even though we can be turned off and on, we are basically useless, unable to perform the purpose for which we were designed. When God saves us, He puts a powerful memory card in our hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit. It is perfect and has been" imprinted with the character of Jesus." ( See Notes Chapter 8:29.) Now we can "image" Christ. But we still have a problem. We originally came with an inexpensive, fixed focal length kit lens. The images we create are somewhat blurry and limited. So at a cost, we go out and purchase progressively more and more expensive lenses: zoom lenses, wide-angle lenses, macro lenses. Over time our reflections of Christ become clearer and we begin seeing Him from many different perspectives. Recently, my son-in-law who along with my daughter are serving as missionaries in Cambodia and himself a semi-professional photographer encouraged me to buy a much faster portrait lens. The images are amazing. Someday, although it will cost me a lot of money and I will have to give up other things, I hope to buy a L-Series Professional lens. Then the images will be almost perfect.
In essence, this is what this book has done for me. I see Christ more clearly and understand the holiness of God better. By the way, this is only my second review! The first was for the Flowbee Haircutting System.)
Sadly, there were a few "pages" in this Kindle edition that must have omitted a line or a few words as the flow of the sentence was disrupted.