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Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing Hardcover – January 19, 2006
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Praise for C.J. Mahaney
“Every Timothy needs a Paul. C. J. is mine…and this book contains his life-message. It is my handbook for pursuing a cross centered life. Read it yourself, and let God realign your life.”
-JOSHUA HARRIS, Pastor and bestsellign author
“C. J. Mahaney is the most spiritually infectious Christian I know! His passionate pursuit of Christ is so enviable to me because it flows out of both his own daily contemplation of the Savior as well as his intimate knowledge of the Word of God. Would to God that all true believers be infected with a huge dose of the same kind of enthusiasm for living the cross centered life. If you read and seek to apply what C. J. skillfully writes in this wonderful book, you just might find yourself contracting the same glorious disease he has, with the joyful hope of spreading it all around!”
-LANCE QUINN, Pastor-teacher at The Bible Church of Little Rock, Little Rock, Arkansas
“You’re holding the book you want to read to begin living the Christian life. You’re also holding the book you want to read to help you continue living the Christian life. There’s no other place to begin living the Christian life than at the cross. There’s no other place to keep living the Christian life than at the cross. C. J. Mahaney’s Living the Cross Centered Life will help you do that.”
-MARK DEVER, Senior pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, D.C. and author of Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
“My friend C. J. Mahaney gives us a fresh look at our Lord and His cross. He lives the cross centered life, and is therefore qualified to talk about it. C. J. has a passion for Jesus and His people, and I was drawn closer to Jesus through this book. What higher complement could I offer?”
-RANDY ALCORN, Bestselling author of The Grace and Truth Paradox and The Tresure Principle
“C. J. Mahaney is one of our generation’s most genuine and heartfelt proclaimers of the cross of Jesus Christ. In this unexaggerated book, readers will encounter the winsome zeal of a man who has found in Christ the greatest of treasures and a joy that must be shared.”
-DONALDS WHITNEY, Author of Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and How Can I Be Sure I'm a Christian?
“The great nineteenth century Scottish pastor, Horatius Bonar once wrote, ‘If we would be holy, we must get to the cross and dwell there.’ C. J. Mahaney takes us to the cross in such a way that we can indeed dwell there. This is a book to be read and reread many times. Its message will never grow old or out of date.”
-JERRY BRIDGES, Author of The Pursuit of Holiness
“With tenderness and power, C. J. illustrates the critical difference between snacking on the benefits of the cross, versus surveying the wonders of the cross. It’s the difference between living as consumers, versus loving as the consumed…the difference between having a theology of grace, versus running boldly to the throne of grace. This
is a must and magisterial read!”
-SCOTTY SMITH, Senior pastor at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee
About the Author
C. J. Mahaney leads Sovereign Grace Ministries in its mission to establish and support local churches. He served as pastor of Covenant Life Church in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., for twenty-seven years before handing the role to Joshua Harris. He is the author of The Cross Centered Life, Christ Our Mediator, Humility: True Greatness, and Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know . C. J. and his wife, Carolyn, have three married daughters and one son. They make their home in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
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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.