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The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ (Apprentice (IVP Books)) Hardcover – January 11, 2010
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book makes the disciplines of the Christian life accessible. Anyone who wants to become more like Jesus will find the principles and challenges both helpful and enjoyable.Published 3 months ago by George W. Oakes
The Divine Conspiracy for the rest of us. A very practical book on practicing the Sermon on the Mount.Published 3 months ago by mark gannon
I had to read this book as part of a seminary course. 95% of required readings are those really dry, dreary and boring books that I would probably never want to read if I had the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Shaun L.
Wonderful book. Would recommend it to others. Our Pastor is preaching from it. I have tread James' first book. They are both a blessing. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Colleen Dodd
I liked the book for it's points and challenges but so many euphemisms it took a lot of back reading to make those points stick.Published 6 months ago by Laurie Allyn
Very convicting book about walking out the Sermon on the Mount in your everyday life. I love this book.Published 8 months ago by Lisa C