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Called: The Crisis and Promise of Following Jesus Today

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The most urgent call upon Gods people is to live as followers of Jesus.

The most indicting critique against the church is as simple: its failure to do so.

As the leader of an evangelical theological seminary that trains men and women as leaders for the church and society, Mark Labberton writes:

"People ask many questions about how their lives relate to the world. What are o
Kindle Edition, 177 pages
Published September 20th 2014 by IVP Books (first published April 1st 2010)
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Robert D. Cornwall
Mark Labberton is the new President at Fuller Theological Seminary -- the seminary from which I received my M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees. The seminary sent my a copy of the new book -- as is true, I assume, of all alumni. I wanted to read it because I wanted to get a sense of his vision for the church and for the seminary. Fuller is an evangelical seminary, though one with a significant mainline presence. I'm always wondering where I fit into the mix.

The book is focused on our calling to follow Jesu
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Summary: Understanding our calling to follow Jesus and seek God's purposes for the flourishing of the world is key both to a life well-lived and a church that fulfills its mission. This book explores the contours of what it means to live a called life.

Mark Labberton has a vision of a church filled with people living out in daily life the call to follow Jesus and seek the flourishing of God's purposes in God's world. He sees the lack of the fulfillment of that vision expressed in lost churches th
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
I found Labberton's writing style difficult--I think these may be sermons that have been brought together into a single volume. There's something disjointed about the project as a whole and I cannot say that I particularly enjoyed the book. There were some significant insights buried in the book:

For example, Labberton's identification of our first vocation as "to be the beloved" (100) Locating our beloved-ness as a first order priority is a significant insight that other books on vocation overl
Mike Graef
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Follow Me," says Jesus. Even when "Exile" is the new situation in life, in times like these when we celebrate the change from "spiritual but not religious", when the big church builder days seem to be over, and yet when the "call" is stronger than ever -- Mark Labberton's book is centering, freeing, encouraging and empowering -- for individual Christians and for the Church. This book will be tremendously helpful -- either to one or to a congregation.
David Cowpar
This book was given to me when I was in Fuller (it is written by the President of the college) and I've only read it now.

It's a great book. Talks a lot about how we Christians think we live in the Promised Land but we're actually in Exile and need to reorient our thinking to match our reality.

The main point: follow Jesus! What a great point. Love it

Next main point: make the first things first. Those things like following Jesus should be our concern. I don't think he quotes it but a good summary
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for those who want to be effective believers in this present time.

The author reminds us that we are living in exile not in the Promised Land of milk and honey. And, so how should we live?

Lots of good things to ponder in this book.
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the quickest read, but a deep and important conversation about call, vocation, privilege and practice in community for those who long to follow Jesus.
Jen Bradbury
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the church world, people talk about being “called” a lot. But what exactly does it mean to be called? Mark Labberton attempts to answer this very question in his book, Called: The Crisis and Promise of Following Jesus Today.

According to Mark, the “primary call of God that creates and defines the church” is to follow Jesus. He expands upon this idea by saying “The heart of God’s call is this: that we receive and live the love of God for us and for the world.”

I love how all-encompassing Mark’s
This was truly an excellent book. The writing style was skillful, smooth and engaging. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because of some repetitiveness and jingoistic wording--but it's supremely worth the read anyway.

Labberton clarified many issues of "call" that have caused stumbling, anxiety and angst to many Christians, including myself in adolescence and early adulthood. There is the pervasive idea that all of us have a unique call from God--a particular niche that He wants us to
Samuell Bennett
Oct 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book rather feels like Labberton really wants to write a remarkable book to mark his ascendancy as president of a seminary, so he is trying to redefine a lot of things to make it seem new. An example would be let's call faith "wisdom" instead.

I was required to read this book as part of a seminary course. The assignment was to also write a paper on the author's assertions where there was sufficient Biblical support and assertions where there was not. Assertions where there was insufficient
Eric Black
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Called begins with great promise and then seems to slacken. Labberton’s focus is not helping the reader know God’s particular call for that person but is the general call from God to all believers in Christ to be formed by Christ. Those looking for specific guidance can skip to the last chapter for the barest outline for discerning a particular call.

The questions ending each chapter are the best part of the book. These questions are usually worth focused time.
Randy Frye
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an important and helpful book on living out Christian faith in the world. It's a bit more academic than similar books on the topic, for which I subtracted a star. He really gets rolling in the second half of the book. The Epilogue is downright inspiring. One nice feature is the suggested practices at the end of each chapter. They do an excellent job in leading the reader into a personal exploration of the chapter's topic.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
The idea of promised-land Christians and exile-type Christians being compared and contrasted is helpful for new ways of thinking. I wish this idea could have been fleshed out a bit more clearly and succinctly. Also I like the perspective that God's call involves community. It's not just about me. I pushed through and wondered if this is required reading at Fuller in some classes.
Rob Steinbach
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great short read for those who want a bigger yet simple understanding of our call as followers of Jesus. I found it also rejuvenating for those of us who’ve been living out our calling but may need encouragement or a tune up toward that end.
Henry Haney
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We are all called by God. Mark Labberton does a great job in this book of simplifying what that means. He masterfully lays out the basics of how to follow Jesus in such a powerful way that even those that have followed for many years would be inspired and challenged by reading. Great book.
Hamish Baxter
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A small but deeply encouraging book that rightly encourages loving God and others to take priority in our lives.
Michaela Weller
More simplistic than helpful.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A study book. We read this book in Bible study and had such good discussions.
Brian Hui
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Doesn’t tread much new ground, nor does he present it in a particularly refreshing or compelling way.

Comes from an affluent, white, American and historically churches perspective.

But I do appreciate the critique on Christianity that has fused with the American Dream.
Becky B
Mark Labberton addresses some common issues and misconceptions among Western Christianity. He calls on Christians to start living as God would have them live. To put first things first (greatest commandment) and let everything else fall in line appropriately afterward. To curb consumerist tendencies and come to the Church looking to contribute, serve and help, not be served. To recognize that this present life isn't the Promised Land, but more like exile and a smooth ride is not promised, but th ...more
Feb 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book addresses the broader dimensions of calling in a way that revives the historic concept of sacred vocation. The emphasis is not on calling as a narrowly defined activity, rather it inverts that argument to express a vision of how all our activities are influenced by our calling. It speaks to the rank and file of the church about how our social engagement can (and should) be a profound statement of our discipleship to Christ.

Each chapter concludes with questions and suggestions for the r
Oct 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This is not a book about how to find your calling--at least not in the traditional sense. It is a book about how everyone of us who considers ourselves to be followers of Jesus is called--has the calling--to live His way of love and humility. So, if you're looking to learn what to study or what career path to follow, this is not the book for you. It's a good book, though. I especially liked the constant reminders that we do not live in the promised land. When we think we do, we are set up for di ...more
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
4.5 stars. Most of us fall into the trap of thinking of calling as an individualistic, systematic process. We act as if the whole point of calling is to figure out whether to switch employers.

This book encourages readers to consider calling in more relational terms. Calling is always lived out in a community of believers, and should primarily flow out of our desire to be Christlike. I particularly liked the author's comments on what it means to be a people in exile.

I read this book because I'm a
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This little book exceeded my expectations by expanding on my understanding of my Christian calling. Labberton started by painting a picture of ways in which the Church misses the mark in attempting to follow God's call, continued by reminding believers to contextualize their call, and ended by noting that there is a difference between the primary call given to all believers and the unique call we might experience as individuals.

I found this book to be well-written, divided into manageable sectio
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Don't let this small book fool packs a lot of punch.

The topic of God-inspired calling and vocation has been done nearly to death in cliche treatment by many authors; however, Dr. Labberton lights up the pages of his book with a refreshing and inspiring re-view of the concept of "calling."

Salted with compelling stories, stop-and-think moments of perceptive vision, as well as poetic creative imagery and practical application, this book and its concepts are accessible to any audience and
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book. Lots of great concepts challenging people to think. Such as:
In discerning God's will: First things and Next things.
Living in a "promise land" community vs. an "exilic" community.
My only complaint is that the book begins with 2 chapters focused on how the church is missing it's mission. His comments are challenging but it might chase off the reader who bought the book to help them find their way and they might think this is just another book wanting to change the church.
Anna Townsend
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ideas are so deep and dense in this book, reading it is like wading through treacle, a rich experience, but not easy. In many ways it reads as a manifesto; it is a treasure of universal truths, which I love. I wish I was reading it as part of a discussion group, I believe I would get even more out of it if I had others to talk to about it.
The chapter on suffering, particularly suffering as an artist, is wonderful, I have never read anything like it before. A must read for any suffering arti
Karl Mueller
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Fuller Seminary alumni, I received a free copy of this book by the new president of Fuller Seminary. I must say this is an excellent book on God's call on our lives as Christian. It is well balanced and thoughtful. It is very pastoral. If you are looking for a 3 steps to finding God's will for your life, this is not the book to read. However, if you are looking for a fuller understanding of what God is calling all of us to be and do - this is a book you should read.
Dec 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Content was OK, but I had two problems with this book: (1) Rather than constantly snipe with generalities about everything bad about the church, why not provide some concrete stories of churches who are doing it right? Not every church is the utter failure described here; (2) The end of chapter exercises are designed for loners. Where are the group exercises? It takes two to be a disciple. No one can do it alone.
Dec 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy read. Very practical, encouraging, and balanced perspective on calling. I appreciated the many practical examples of people from the author's ministry who demonstrated this material was not mere theory. The book would be helpful to any Christian seeking to serve the Lord in all aspects of life, and not just for seminary graduates.
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Mark Labberton is president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Prior to that Labberton served for a number of years as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California. He has also served as chair of John Stott Ministries. Today he continues to contribute to the mission of the global church as a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission. He is the au ...more

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“The vocation of every Christian is to live as a follower of Jesus today. In every aspect of life, in small and large acts, with family, neighbors and enemies, we are to seek to live out the grace and truth of Jesus. This is our vocation, our calling. Today.” 3 likes
“Local churches are often microcosms of the same sociology as any other part of life and bear little evidence of the new humanity Jesus seeks.” 2 likes
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