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The 7 Habits of Jesus: Faith Formation Handbook for Discipleship Paperback – December 7, 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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From the Author

     In 1979, I was sent to Kenya in East Africa as a missionary of the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC). It was an incredible adventure for my wife Denise and me. We had the good fortune to witness the beginning of Christianity's rapid growth in sub-Saharan Africa. It was no doubt providential that I was welcomed to Kenya by three missionaries who were about to return to the States for retirement. These pastors all had a lifetime of experience as Lutheran missionaries. Quite frankly, I welcomed their mentoring because I had not a clue as to what to do! So, these kind pastors, whose lives were dedicated to Christ's mission, took me under their wings. Most importantly, they steered me away from making ministry to the congregation the focus. Instead, they taught me to make Christ's mission to the world the congregation's primary focus. These pastors taught me that discipleship training was the critical way for believers to experience a relationship with Christ in their daily lives. They taught me how a congregation, through discipleship training, can turn away from an inward, self-serving focus, toward an outward focus on Christ's reconciling world-wide mission. Thank you Pastors Jim Dretke, Paul Volz, and Bob Ward! These pastors taught me that being a disciple of Christ cannot be limited to activity within the institutional church. 
     The Seven Habits of Jesus teach us how to be disciples both in the church and in our daily lives. The purpose of The Seven Habits of Jesus is to provide a practical way for us to learn and re-learn faith formation from Jesus and to grow in our openness to his presence, power, and promises in our daily lives. 
     There is no way to sugar-coat it; Protestant congregations are now experiencing very serious difficulties. The model of congregational ministry that so successfully evolved after World War II seemed invincible. This model of ministry, that many now refer to as the membership model, produced unprecedented growth in Protestant congregations for more than half a century. For a variety of reasons, this model is no longer working and many pastors and lay leaders now seek ways to grow healthy congregations. Sadly, a record number of pastors and dedicated lay leaders are becoming burned out and leaving their congregations.
     Congregations are looking for innovative ways to be faithful to God that will energize their ministry. Those congregations that seem to be weathering the storm have engaged in a discipleship model of ministry. A discipleship model of ministry is focused on Christ's mission of reconciliation to unite all people to God and to one another. Without discipleship training Christ's mission is too often limited to the confines of the congregation and does not relate sufficiently to one's daily life, let alone to one's encounter with the world. 
The Seven Habits of Jesus serves as a discipleship training resource through which the followers of Jesus may experience the benefits of living each day with him. When discipleship training occurs within a congregation, the mission and ministry of that congregation are given new impetus toward Christ's mission of reconciliation, that it may be experienced around the world today in an unprecedented manner!
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (December 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484190734
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484190739
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #898,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One of my passions as a pastor is encouraging people to focus their lives more intently on Jesus. To this end, I have read a lot of books on discipleship, but as a Lutheran (ELCA) pastor, one thing normally frustrates me about these resources: they inevitably focus on practices which we should do to follow Jesus better. It’s not that engaging in these practices is wrong, but that the resources put the focus in the wrong place. All that we do, all of the practices in which we engage, are merely a response to the grace and love God has shown us in Jesus: God acts first.

Enter The 7 Habits of Jesus. Pastor Robert Schmalzle does a superb job of framing discipleship habits (practices) as a response to God’s grace. As he says in the introduction, “The seven habits open our hearts to the wonder and mystery of Christ’s redeeming work in our lives, in our faith community, neighborhood, society, and in the world” (p. 27). This focus on discipleship as response continues with the very first habit: remembering our baptism. Martin Luther encouraged all believers to remember their baptism every day, for it was in baptism that God adopted us into God’s family and joined us to Christ’s death and resurrection.

Another example of discipleship as response occurs in his discussion of financial stewardship. Most resources title this section “giving,” but Schmalzle rightly refers to this as returning: after all, we are returning to God a portion of what already belongs to God. Good stewards know they don’t own anything – God owns it all (Ps. 24:1). One insightful corollary to this point is a comment he makes on giving time and talents in lieu of financial resources (p. 251). He notes that when people rationalize this decision, they mistake themselves to be the giver, when they aren’t: God is!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The discipleship program is great (deserves 5 stars). I used the cheaper kindle version to read it first to evaluate and decided to by the hard cover books for a course in my church. However, the kindle version is much harder to use. Until I got to the end I did not know what the smart phone icon meant. I first thought the book might have a QR scan that kindle could not display correctly, but it tells you that there is additional information to a particular page on a log in web page. The password is in the end of the book as well. As in the kindle you don't flick thorough to the appendix like you might in a hard cover, you miss out on that resource while you read the book. I like reading novels on kindle, but for a mixed workbook, it is less convenient. Making bookmarks, highlights and notes is possible, but it is less usable in a real group setting as the book suggests.
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I am a facilitator for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people in my school district. While presenting, it is very easy to draw parallels to tie in with the religious teaching/training. While I have just started to read this book, it will make an excellent Bible study group project. Easy to read and comprehend.
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Format: Paperback
The Seven Habits of Jesus is easy to read and understand as a textbook and workbook. It explains how one can on daily basis learn to be a disciple of Christ. The book provides for individual reading or a group setting to learn and follow the seven habits of Jesus.
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It just didn't meet the spiritual level and needs of our older church-going Lutheran Christians. It appears to be a good book that would better be directed to a younger (perhaps) unchurched audience. Thank you. S. Mostrog
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Very helpful for use as a way to train others in basic Christian discipleship and I do like how it is focused on Lutheran Christian discipleship. It would be helpful and probably give other denominations a lot more diversity in their teaching.
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Plan on a new Bible class and about 10 sermons based on book. Always love the Lutheran insight!
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For those who want to take the journey, the walk, this is an excellent step by step program!
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