Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Review: To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain

To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain. Matt Chandler. 2013. David C. Cook. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

Stated purpose of the book: God wants us to grow from being infants in Christ to being mature in Christ. That's what this book is about. How are we to mature, and how can we spot any "developmental delays"? My prayer is that as you read this book, prayerfully applying its challenges to your heart, God would use Paul's letter to the Philippians to show you what maturity looks like and to call you to pursue it all the more with all your might under His grace. (11)

I enjoyed reading Matt Chandler's latest book, To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain. It is a casual exploration of the book of Philippians. It does contain insights, as you'd expect, but the narrative is informal and lighthearted. In twelve chapters, he covers all four chapters of the book of Philippians. He discusses themes and applications. He doesn't do as good a job in providing true historical context for understanding and appreciating Paul's letter. He seems to be all about translating the themes of the book into modern settings, supposedly, to help contemporary readers "get" what the book is all about. I don't mind the personal stories or the humor. (And what he said about Texas weather was completely true!) But I thought The Explicit Gospel was a better book, a more thought-provoking book.

The book's greatest strength is how basic it is, also how accessible it is. It is not an intimidating read. In the right hands, this book could prove quite beneficial and be a perfect match.

In the logic of the gospel, there are no alternatives to Christ. Every other option is no option at all. When everything considered valuable in life is seen to be nothing in comparison to the glory of Christ, you learn rather well that Christ alone is worth living for. Christ alone is worthy of an entire life's affections and devotions. (36)
Gospel courage comes from gospel preciousness. (45)
You will find, if you seriously study Scripture, that outside of the idea of hell, there is no more terrifying idea in the Bible than God setting you free to run in the imagination of your heart. (70) 
Always remember the gospel, so you won't forget that God will not expect something of you that He won't both empower you to obey and forgive you for not obeying. Always, always, always seek the cross. (78)
In your world, do people have souls? I know that sounds like a simple question. Let me put it into context. When you sit down at a restaurant, as a believer in Christ, and a young man or young woman waits on you, do you think of him or her as having a soul? As being a spiritual creature? Or are you thinking, Just give me my drinks and take my order and hurry up? Or do you recognize the image of God in that person? Are you able to encourage, love, and serve your servers, even in a situation as simple as that? (81)
I think we often misunderstand our faith and put all the weight on our conversion, with very little expectation for what comes afterward. (97)
In Christ's grace, there is freedom to be honest and transparent. (107)
Never be satisfied with where you are in the area of spiritual growth. Cultivate an insatiability for more of God by examining your weaknesses, beholding the perfection of Christ, and finding good examples of strengths you want to develop. (119)
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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