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Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing Hardcover – January 19, 2006
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What Really Matters Have the extremities taken over and left the core of your faith forgotten? Do you get confused by what you feel versus what is real? Let dynamic pastor C. J. Mahaney strip away the nonessentials and bring you back to the simplest, most fundamental reason for your faith: Jesus Christ. This book is packed with powerful truth that will grip your heart, clear your mind, and invigorate your soul. Chapters include "Breaking the Rules of Legalism," "The Cross Centered Day," and "Assurance and Joy." Get ready to behold a breathtaking view of what God intends to accomplish in and through you every day. You'll discover how embracing this cross centered life is both our highest privilege and greatest responsibility.
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"The message Paul had for Timothy is the same message God has for you. You need to rediscover the truth. They key to joy, to growth, to passion isn't hiding from you. It's right before your eyes.
It's the gospel." (p. 30)
Through the rest of this little book Mahaney does his best to help us come face-to-face with the purity of the Gospel and to fall in love with the reality of the grace of the Gospel.
"For when you're deeply aware of your sin, and of what an affront it is to God's holiness, and of how impossible it is for him to respond to this sin with anything other that furious wrath - you can only be overwhelmed with how amazing grace is.
Only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace." (p. 88).
In those two sentences Mahaney seems to identify the great challenge of our age: the absence of sin. As a concept, sin has been identified as a leftover from the dark ages that no longer applies to contemporary life. Perhaps a few quaint religious types still believe in sin but not the more intelligent masses. Mahaney is correct then that one will not love the gospel (or "cherish grace") apart from an awareness of their sin.
The intellectually honest seeker of God will consider the entire gospel narrative that begins with creation, then the fall, followed by God's relentless pursuit of mankind to reconcile and restore them to himself in that relationship that existed in creation! In that context the harsh reality of the cross where "Jesus does't just feel forsaken; he is forsaken" (p. 94) challenges the assertion that sin is just a quaint, outdated concept. Jesus didn't go to the cross because of a concept.
I appreciate Mahaney's challenge on p. 109: "Let the cross always be the treasure of your heart, your best and highest thought...and your passionate preoccupation."
Living the Cross Centered Life is a volume that should be part of your library and should be re-read annually.
C.J. continues to bring out the cross in everything in this dissertation of the cross centered life. C.J. goes into understanding the cross in defining our lives, feelings (experience), God's love, Gethsemane, our part in the cross (sin), our suffering, legalism, condemnation (with much more) and then just the practical application.
C.J. gives five practical ways to live a cross centered life:
1. Memorize the Gospel: Memorize those scriptures that remind us of the gospel (2 Cor 5:21; Romans 8:31-34; Isaiah 53:3-6)
2. Pray the Gospel: Since the Gospel is the reason we can approach such a holy God, continue to pray the Gospel as a reminder of why you can speak to such an awesome God.
3. Sing the Gospel: Find songs and CD's whose focus in on the great and glorious Gospel and not on man. Those songs that concentrate on what He has done for us.
4. Review How the Gospel Has Changed You: Looking to your past, not for condemnation's sake, but for the reminder of mercy and grace
5. Study the Gospel: Don't only study books on the Gospel or only on the New Testament, but study the Old Testament and see Christ's fulfillment of It. Making sure that our studies don't leave the Gospel behind but builds itself upon It.
I would really recommend this to any and all Christians. Great reminders of how the Cross should impact our lives and how it has freed us from condemnation and the errors of legalism.