Restating the Obvious

Well today is the first day of my wanting to review and possibly discuss a book titled "The Cross Centered Life" by C.J. Mahaney and I would like to state here that most, if not all, of the material I will be presenting here is not original to me. I will be drawing upon much of what Mr. Mahaney has already presented in his book. I also have several copies of the book at home and for those that are interested I can probably get a copy in your hands for the cost of shipping alone. Just let me know and we will see what we can work out. Now on to my task at hand... George Orwell once said, "sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." (1) For us as Christians I have been taught, and I believe, that it is our first duty to examine the cross. Too often when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we quickly move on to "more practicle" matters of Chrisitianity. But if we really examine all that Christ has accomplished for us in and through the cross we will see that it all ties back to the cross. There is nothing about our faith that is independant of it. It is the expressed thought of C.J. in this book (and his new book "Living the Cross Centered Life") that we should live our lives cross (and thus Christ) centered. Do any of the following questions describe you? * Do you often lack joy? * Are you not consistantly growing in spiritual maturity? * Does you love for God lack passion? * Are you always looking for some new technique, some "new truth" or experience that will pull all the pieces of your faith together? (2) If so, and I know from time to time I do, you are straying from the cross as the center of your life. In our walk with Christ the most important truth is the easiest to forget (3). What is our profession of faith? What is the gospel? That Christ became man. That He walked the earth revealing the Father and lived a completely sinless life. That He was crucified for our sins as our perfect substitute. He rose again to defeat death. And He then ascended to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for those who have accepted Him. Most of us learn this from day 1. Sometimes it is what we have to "get over" in order to accept Him as our Lord. But too often once we profess our faith in Christ we are then lead on from the cross to learn about the "other aspects" of our faith. C.J. reminds me in this book that we should never forget where we have come from (4). "Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity." (Psalm 32:2 esv) Jerry Bridges is quoted as saying "The gospel is not only th emost important message in all of history, it is the only essential message in all of history. Yet we allow thousands of professing Christians to live their lives without clearly understanding it and experiencing the joy of living by it."(5) And another author, John Stott, is also quoted, "All around us we see Christians and churches relaxing their grasp on the gospel, fumbling it, and in danger of letting it drop from their hands althogether."(6) In the coming weeks as I continue to re-read and review here this book it is mostly for my edification as I try and digest it. Absorb it more, and turn it over and over in my mind. not to try and discern some new truth about my faith, but to learn and understand more about what makes my faith in God different and distinct from any other religion in the world. I share it here with those whom read my blog, and my friends, so that maybe we can all bounce ideas and questions off of each other, and this the body of Christ grows together. Even though we are seperated by miles and computer terminals, we can edify one another. Before I go on though - this is by no means a substitution for a local body of belivers. We should all be in fellowship with others that we can meet with, face to face. A group of brothers and sisters in Christ where we can be a part of each others lives. To celebrate each others joys and voctories. To come alongside one another in times of trial and woe. Although we can grow together via this medium, it is no subsitute for being a part of a local church. The rest of this week my 'normal' ramblings will continue - as well as my taking the time to review questions or comments from those who post them. God Bless you all. :) (1&2) pg 16 (3) pg 8 (4) pg12-13 (5) Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace (Colorado Springs, Col.:Nav Press, 1994), 46. (6) John Stott, Guard the Gospel (Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, 1973), 26. Verse for today: Acts 2:42-47, esv And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

1 comment:

ALP said...

Interesting. I looked at this book this past weekend actually. Didn't buy it but I was reading parts of it at the store.

Going to digest what you wrote for a bit.