Revolution of Character by Dallas Willard and Don Simpson is an accessible overview of Willard's work Renovation of the Heart. Simple, without being sRevolution of Character by Dallas Willard and Don Simpson is an accessible overview of Willard's work Renovation of the Heart. Simple, without being simplistic or, as John Ortberg would say, "Dallas for Dummies." It is a useful little book for those seeking to understand what revolution of character might look like. Personally, I preferred Renovation of the Heart, but I think many readers may actually prefer this one.
Also, a not insubstantial observation: This book was written by Simpson and not Willard, though it is heavily indebted to Willard. That fact should not ultimately detract from the book, but is important to share....more
I cannot imagine a more appropriate author to write a book on humility than Jerry Bridges. He has written some of the most influential and widely-receI cannot imagine a more appropriate author to write a book on humility than Jerry Bridges. He has written some of the most influential and widely-received books in Christian publishing, each with a trademark Bridges style--a deeply practical style, saturated in the Gospel, and consistently humble. The Blessing of Humility (2016, Navpress) does not disappoint.
At a short 95 pages, The Blessing of Humility uses the beatitudes as a launch-pad for exploring humility. Quite honestly, I would never have made the connections between the beatitudes and humility that Bridges did, but I believe he is correct. He describes them as "humility in action."
There are several good books on humility (and, of course, CS Lewis' chapter in Mere Christianity) and this is a welcome addition. If you are interested, may I humbly recommend this excellent little book. ...more
I've read every book Larry Crabb has written, including the lesser known two volume Adventures of Captain Al Scabbard. Most of them I have read severaI've read every book Larry Crabb has written, including the lesser known two volume Adventures of Captain Al Scabbard. Most of them I have read several times. When people ask me my favorite, I am never sure which to choose--I love most of them. His latest book, A Different Kind of Happiness (2016, Baker) is no different. Several months ago, I read an electronic copy of the book and offered my impressions. At the time, I wrote, "It is no exaggeration that Dr. Crabb has had a profound impact upon me, my family, and the community of believers to which I belong. Like his favorite prophet, Jeremiah, Dr. Crabb has a message that challenges the status quo: ultimately the Bible is about relationship. His latest book is a welcome yet challenging call to a lived relational theology. He reminds us that growing in sacrificial other-centeredness is not easy but it is the way of Christ, which is a critical message for the body of Christ." (from the back cover).
Last week, I received a package containing a physical copy of the book and I was just as excited about receiving the paper copy as I was to review the electronic one and I have already read it again. Like many of Larry's books, this one is my favorite. A Different Kind of Happiness demonstrates Crabb's continued maturing as an author and Christ follower. It is also the clearest explanation of what might be called a relational theology. He is a wise sage and to me a valued mentor.
One of the ideas that has formed Crabb's thinking is that the Trinitarian God exists in perfect relationship and therefore, as His image bearers, we also were created to relate. However, our ideas of what constitutes Christian love is often anemic and self-centered. In this book, he uses Scripture to show us how God calls us to a deeper, sacrificial love. Because relationships, like all of creation, have been affected by the fall, each of us have "the lingering corruption of self-centeredness" that can stain all of our relationships. "We all fall short of the glory of God, the relational glory of God."
All of us on some level recognize the importance of love. But perhaps we don't know what true love--sacrificial love--Christlike love--really is. What if true happiness develops when our love is modeled after Christ's sacrificial love? Christ loved those who didn't deserve it. He loved them when they rejected him. That includes you. That includes me.
In the second half, Dr. Crabb explores in some depth what he calls the 7 questions of spiritual theology:
Who is God? What is God up to? Who are we? What's gone wrong? What has God done about our problem? How is the Spirit working to implement the Divine solution to our human problem? How can we cooperate with the Spirit's work?
These seven questions provide a useful framework for a lived relational theology and are worth pondering in some depth.
For all the positives of this book, and there are many, a caution is in order. This book will unsettle you. If you are willing to honestly consider what Dr Crabb has to say, you will feel uncomfortable. Reflecting upon God's word and Christ's life, Larry asks us to love deeply and sacrificially. He calls upon us to love those who don't deserve it because none of us do. He exhorts us to love even while people are sinning against us as he loved us when we were (are) sinning against him.
This book contains a prayer that I have written out and pray as often as I can: "Whatever the cost, make me a little Christ. Father, may Your Spirit open the eyes of my heart to see your beauty so that I am left with no greater desire while I live in this world than to reveal Your Son's love to others by how I relate."
I received a free copy of this book from Baker Books in exchange for my review. The reviews presented within are my own. Although this book was provided free of charge, it is a testament of my enjoyment of the book that I have purchased 10 more to give away to others. ...more
Over the last several years, it seems that there has been more attention to the relational aspects of the Christian faith. There have always been someOver the last several years, it seems that there has been more attention to the relational aspects of the Christian faith. There have always been some people writing about relationships, often the biblical counselors, but the focus has spread. More and more, Christian authors are recognizing that the Trinity is not simply incidental to Christianity, but essential--not just what is, but what must be, if God is love.
The Power of Together: Discover the Christian Life You've Been Missing (2016, Baker) by Jim Putman is a wonderful addition to this growing body of books. Putman is the pastor of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho and has developed and promoted what he calls "relational discipleship". Matthew 28 reminds Christians that we are to go and make disciples and Putman (rightly) surmises that making disciples happens in relationship. On page 66, he wrote, "That's what discipleship looks like--learning to love in real relationships."
Perhaps what I most appreciated about the book is that Putman brings to it a balanced wisdom. He doesn't come from a naive perspective where every one simply holds hands and tolerates everyone else. He knows, from lived experience as a pastor, that relationships can be difficult. Difficult conversations can and must happen in order to continue to grow as disciples of Christ.
Putman is a churchman in the best sense of the word. He strongly advocates for engaging in a local church and staying in a local church even when things get tough, because they will. Churches are made up of messy, sinful people, yet they are God's plan for the world. If God is relational (He is) and love is expressed through relations with God and others (it is), then it happens in the church.
In sum, The Power of Together captures my hope for the church. I desire to see the church become more intentionally relational in the way that God has called us to. Putman's book helps us on the way.
I received a copy of this book from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review. The opinions presented here are my own....more
I've read or listened to this book four or five times in the last few months. I cannot get enough of the dialog between Willard and Ortberg. There isI've read or listened to this book four or five times in the last few months. I cannot get enough of the dialog between Willard and Ortberg. There is so much wisdom packed into so few pages. Do yourself a favor and either read it or listen to it. ...more