The Sermon on the Mount is more than great ideas by a great teacher. It is a way of life. Randy Harris invites you not just to understand these great teachings but to live them in ways you never before imagined.
I have heard Randy Harris speak several times. He is definitely one of the great Christian thinkers of our generation. This book's thesis is how Christians would behave if they truly tried to live by the Sermon on the Mount. Excellent book. Deep thoughts. It makes you think and, more importantly, it will challenge you to examine your life.
- I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviews in exchange for an honest review -
I enjoyed this book, I did. Taking a look at the Sermon on the Mount is an idea I really like, and I love the emphasis on actually living out the teachings in this "sermon." How do these teachings apply to our life, how we are to live, how we are meant to treat others along the way? This book addresses just that. We are told on page 11 that "this book is not just a study of the Sermon on the Mount. It's a way of discovering what Jesus says so we can do what Jesus says."
I enjoyed the chapter titled "You Are Blessed," where the author talks about how Jesus started his teaching with blessings, instead of starting with the commands, showing that we are blessed and loved without having to do something first to earn it. The way the author puts it is by saying (on page 32) "You're trying to make yourself loved rather than doing it out of response to the love that God's already given."
My absolute favorite quote from the book, though, can be found on page 129, where the author says : "When you follow Jesus Christ it will never lead you to hurt or marginalize any group of people; when that happens, that's not just bad living - that's a result of bad doctrine. True teaching doesn't do that. It loves. It embraces. It transforms. It never humiliates. It never abuses. It never puts down."
I loved so much of this book. It really was an interesting read, and I'm glad to have read it. I would recommend it to any Christian.
I read this book twice this year since we were using it as the basis for our church's study of Jesus' sermon on the mount. I found it easy to read, yet challenging (in a good way) to apply. It is best read in community. Our church office staff read a chapter each week and discussed it in our staff meetings. I would then discuss the chapter again with my Sunday School class after watching the companion dvd. The material was written with a focus for such discussions and lends itself well to helping people wrestle with what it means to follow Jesus' teaching. The suggested exercises at the end of each chapter give practical direction in making application of the lesson. I would highly recommend this for any group desiring to know Jesus better and live the life he has taught us to live.
The apostle Paul has a line that has always been irksome: "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." It reeks of audacity and arrogance! But, the idea is sticky - ethics is teleological (I think), in that we all follow others and are headed somewhere.
The question of how to pick the next book to read is always a bundle of excitement for me. I love it. Books are perhaps the best way to get inside someone else's head. They impact us and even shape us, whether we want them to or not. And sometimes, I like to pick books largely because the author is someone I would like to be more like.
This book is mostly the Sermon on the Mount with a bit of commentary and some challenging insights. I thought it was great! I cannot think of a better summary of Jesus' teaching than Matt. 5-7. When we ask what it means to be a "Christian" or, better yet, a disciple/follower of Jesus, perhaps the best answer is reading the Sermon on the Mount. And I can think of few others I'd rather hear their thoughts about this sermon than Randy Harris. Intelligent, gracious, insightful, well-read, full of wisdom and love.
When I think of the type of person I hope to be in 40 years, I think of people like Randy Harris. He embodies what he teaches, and I hope to read more of his books and several he recommended.
Harris is a good writer and provides a practical approach to these well studied verses (Matthew chapters 5-7). His entire focus is on living these passages. The first two words of the title are taken literally here: living Jesus. What does it mean to actually turn the other cheek, or not judge? What does it mean to be salt and light? How do I live if I am to be this way? Harris doesn’t believe these are unachievable goals or metaphor; instead they describe an entirely different way of life. Not a set of rules, but a different perspective. Orthopraxy. This book makes a good study for Bible class or simply a book to read while sitting in your recliner, as I did. Perhaps the most interesting angle in this book is that Harris asks whether Jesus actually intended for us to live like this, or was this a statement of an unreasonably high standard that we may strive toward but will never reach this side of heaven. Harris takes the position that we are charged to actually live these standards. Not a heaven study, but a practical read of these passages.
This is an excellent study devotional book covering the Sermon on the Mount. At first, I was concerned that it was going to present the message of the sermon in a way that felt both imperative and yet also impossible. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Randy Harris broke the message down into the core message in a way that I had not previously experienced, and left me hopeful that despite the my personal failings, I could truly live it out. Things like commitment, integrity, and love are the base ingredients which Jesus weaves through the various practical instructions. I'd recommend this book to individuals and small groups alike. It is worth the investment.
If you haven't read Randy Harris, you are missing out. One sentence with quick wit and sharp humor is followed by a sentence that will have you reflecting on it the rest of the day. This book in particular doesn't just give you an idealistic way to live, but practical steps to follow in every day life. I won't spoil it, but there are some things we will be implementing in our family life. Pick it up and challenge yourself to live out the words of Jesus.
I’ve led discussion groups several times using this book and video. Excellent material requires little prep from the group leader ~ it teaches itself! I learn new things each time I go through it. If you were to “master” anything in God’s Word, the Sermon on the Mount would be a great pick, and Randy has really helped me see this more clearly.
We talk a lot about the “Sermon on the Mount,” but it’s not often we see people living it. This is why books like Living Jesus are important, helping us learn to put into practice some of the most difficult exhortations in the Bible. Randy Harris writes, “I’m not attempting to write a scholarly book on the Sermon on the Mount. I’m trying to provide a field manual for living the life Jesus wants for us” (12). Harris urges his readers to ignore the perspective of “Jesus raising the bar so high that we can only try and fail and so learn a lesson about the grace of God,” stating, “This isn’t ‘Suggestions on the Mount’” (13). We are encouraged to take seriously the words of Christ and live them. “This is not only a life that should be lived. It’s a life that can be lived” (22).
Harris breaks the text down into twelve sections, providing practical commentary on each passage, after which several discussion questions are provided for group study, as well as a few challenging examples for living each section. The book concludes with a description of the covenant Harris has made with a group of college students to take seriously the Sermon on the Mount, to memorize it, and hold one another accountable to living it daily. The “Monk Warriors” of Tau Chi Alpha (“Toughest Christians Alive”) may seem a bit gimmicky—we are talking about impressionable college students—but the journey they share is provided as an example of how to “live Jesus,” not the way. Further aid comes by way of suggested reading material and the DVD series by Harris upon which Living Jesus is based (not having seen the series myself, I cannot comment on its effectiveness, though I would recommend the book on its own).
One consideration I offer is realizing an holistic approach to living the Sermon on the Mount after reading Living Jesus and attempting to live particular sections at a time as they are suggested. Harris has provided a welcome alternative to the boring, redundant, and ill-approached sermons on the “Sermon” many of us have heard all our lives, but it is only a stepping stone in actually living the life into which Jesus calls his disciples. It is good to spend separate periods of time learning to live out all the different avenues talked about by Christ, but they also must not be used as substitutes for the final stage of holistic living. Indeed, it is time to “live Jesus.”
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from ACU Press/Leafwood Publishers as part of their ACU Press Bookclub Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I am a big Randy Harris fan. In this book he covers in 12 chapters Jesus most famous speech-the Sermon on the Mount. I have read the words many times but Randy made me look at it differently. He also encourages you to live out what Jesus was conveying to us. Hence the title of the book-Living Jesus. At the end of each chapter is a suggestion of how you can live out what is brought out in each chapter.
My men's Bible study group covered it in six weeks. We used the DVD that goes along with the book. Let me warn you that the DVD is really Randy stating orally almost exactly what he has set out on the pages of the book.
I am leading a Bible study on the Sermon on the Mount, using the Life Guides curriculum. This book is a great supplement to that material. I appreciate that this book is thought-provoking and challenging while including additional questions, yet it does not feel really heavy or as if it's trying to be a commentary.
This would be a great resource for someone who wants to do an independent study of the Sermon on the Mount or who needs supplemental material for leading a Bible study.
I thought it was a good study on the sermon on the mount, I liked that he started at the end for the first chapter, pretty basic, but great for newer Christians. Randy is very sound in his belief and I look forward to reading more of his books.
Loved his previous books, but this one was lacking. Judging - everyone does it? Please. That doesn't make it right. Weak. There IS good stuff in the book, but overall it's lacking a focus on love, which Jesus was all about. Very disappointed in this book, especially after reading his others.
Great little book. We used it as a small group discussion guide (with the DVD) for a small group meet up in my home. It helped with discussion and got us into the Sermon on the Mount in a productive way.
Great practical read for those trying to bring alive the sermon on the mount. It helped me to better understand what it means to live this out day to day. A great foundation for a multi-week Bible study series. Great video series which accompanies the book.