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Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing Hardcover – January 19, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah (January 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590525787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590525784
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There may be no greater honor for a minister of the Word than this: his ministry has become nearly synonymous with the cross of Jesus Christ. His ministry has led people to the cross not just once, but time and again as they have come to reflect on the deeper meaning of Jesus' death. They have been led to see that "the cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough for its sparks to fall on us." Such has been the case with C.J. Mahaney. When I post a reflection on the cross it is not unusual for people to tell me or to comment on this site that they are now going to go and re-read <em>The Cross Centered Life</em> or listen to some of the cross-focused songs on the album <em>Songs for the Cross Centered Life</em>. His ministry is marked by a passion for leading people near enough to the cross that its sparks can fall on us.

I recently received an email from a person claiming to be a Christian, yet one who does not believe in Jesus. I was shocked. How could a person call himself by the name of Christ, yet not believe in Him? This person wanted to help me experience the power of God in my life, yet without Jesus Christ. That is impossible! Without the cross there is no Christianity. Without the cross we have no hope, no salvation. The cross stands at the very center of our faith and even at the very center of human history. We would be nothing without it.

The focus of those who love the Lord should be constantly upon the cross. <em>Living the Cross Centered Life</em> combines two of Mahaney's books (<em>The Cross Centered Life</em> and <em>Christ Our Mediator</em>) with new material.
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This book is truly a great one as C.J. Mahaney brings it all back to the cross. A lot of this book includes previous works, "The Cross Centered Life" and "Christ Our Mediator." I also had just listened to C.J.'s sermon from the 2005 Resolved Conference called "Interrogating the Legalist Within" so most of this was review. But if you have yet to read or listen to these, please pick this little book up, you will not be disappointed.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Knowing that I am given to over-statement I hesitate to say this, but I think "Living the Cross Centered Life" is one of the best books I have ever read. No piece of writing I can recollect has presented the Cross and its place in life to me in such a clear and profound way. I would not be surprised if this is a book I continue to go back to again and again for renewed passion for my Savior. In classic Mahaney style the book is engaging, biblically-based, and never stops short of spelling out the seriousness of the issue at hand. He spends the majority of the book looking closely at the Cross and what Christ accomplished for us and also includes some pratical steps at the end for developing habits that build a Cross-centered life.

I am aware that this particular work is a combination of some of his earlier writings with new material. Having not read those books I cannot tell you how unique this offering is. However, let me only say that this offering is unique. Among all the Christian-living and issues books out there, few that I know of inspire such a focus on Christ and the Cross as "Living the Cross Centered Life."
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Format: Hardcover
When was the last time you saw a professional ball game lost because of missed free throws, penalties, or an untimely error? Even professionals are capable of making elementary mistakes. And so it is in the Christian life. Those who have been Christians for many years and even those in Christian leadership can forget the most fundamental teaching in all of Scripture - the message of the cross (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

In Living the Cross-Centered Life, veteran Pastor and leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries, C.J. Mahaney seeks to focus his readers' attention on the cross of Christ. Far too often, believers get caught up in the latest fads or believe that they need to `move on' from the message of the cross. Mahaney argues quite persuasively for the centrality of the cross in living the Christian life.

Do you want to grow in your prayer life? Then realize that all effective prayer is ultimately rooted in the cross. Without Christ's death on your behalf, you could not even enter into God's presence.

Do you want to overcome temptation? Only grace sustains lasting change. Through the cross we overcome not only the guilt of sin, but also the power of sin (Rom. 6:18). The gospel empowers and motivates us in our ongoing pursuit of holiness.

This book helps one to grasp the need for the cross and develop a God-centered theology. We also enter into Gethsemane and appreciate the Savior's final agonizing moments on the cross.

Chapters 11 and 12 are two of the most significant chapters in this little book. Reading these chapters would deliver many from the chains of legalism and condemnation that threaten to rob believers of their joy.

Chapter 13 is filled with helpful suggestions to help readers live a cross-centered day.
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