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The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing

von C. J. Mahaney

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1,074614,409 (4.17)1
Remember Jesus Christ? Although it seems almost too obvious, the center of our faith is surprisingly easy to forget. Dynamic pastor C.J. Mahaney shows how to overcome our tendency to move on from the gospel of grace. Finding joy in the gospel -- whose promises allow us to escape condemnation whenever it attacks -- helps us avoid the prevalent trap of legalism. With practical suggestions, Mahaney demonstrates the difference between knowing the gospel... and making it the main thing in daily decisions and daily living. What Are You Centered On? Sometimes the most important truths are the easiest to forget. It's time to get back to the starting point of the Christian life--the cross of Christ. Jesus' work on your behalf must be the central motivation for your life and faith--the main thing. "Never move on," says C.J. Mahaney, who shows you how to center every day around the cross of Calvary and how to escape the pitfalls of legalism, condemnation, and feelings-driven faith. Tap into the gospel's power and see how a cross centered focus can transform your life today!… (mehr)
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8/10 ( )
  mark_read | Aug 13, 2020 |
This little book is easy to read, and a great reminder to keep the main thing the main thing. It's particularly useful for Christians who rarely read books, or for those struggling to find the time to read anything more substantial. ( )
  markbarnes | Jan 29, 2015 |
What keeps the Christian’s perspective on target for eternity? The cross. The cross-centered life is the one paradigm that will keep Christians focused on the freedom that exists in this bondage-wrecking world. The very essence of faith is the cross of Christ. It sets us free from bondage of a normal life to living a supernatural life, even one living on earth. Several times he addresses three things that rob the Christian from joy: Subjectivism; Legalism and Condemnation. Each of these pulls the Christian from the cross and takes His joy away. He writes, “We never move on from the cross, only into a more profound understanding of the cross.” I also appreciate his discussion on “feelings.” He writes, “We allow our feelings to guide our thinking, and we shouldn’t…that should be left to God’s Word alone.” This direct, easy to read volume will get you back on track to a simple pure devotion to Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 11:3).
  bhult | Apr 18, 2012 |
This book may be small in size, but it has had a big impact on me as I read it. If I could I would buy a copy for all my friends and give it to them to read. As the subtitle states, it is all about keeping the gospel the main thing in our lives. This author did a good job of defining legalism in his book, of explaining the difference between justification and sanctification, and of giving practical ways we can all keep the cross the center in our everyday lives. This is one I will be reading again, and hopefully sharing with others. I highly recommend everyone read this book. ( )
  judyg54 | Dec 28, 2011 |
The Cross Centered Life is a small book, the gift-sized kind that you can breeze through in an hour. I read it more slowly over a period of some weeks with my adult Bible fellowship group, and I'm glad that I did. This is a deceptively simple little book; the truths that it treats are anything but obvious. Or rather, they are obvious, but we manage to miss them anyways.

The book's message is summed up in the subtitle: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing. It is amazing how good we Christians are at replacing the Cross with other things. Maybe it's a social cause like stopping abortion or defining marriage, or a denominational creed. It could be all our church activities, all the things we do because we are Christians. What it really boils down to in most cases — and this is the main thrust of the book — is that we have slowly, even unconsciously, become legalistic in our thinking.

Legalism is an insidious thing. A woman in our study commented that she didn't think the legalism chapter applied to her, but as she read it she was astonished to see herself in its pages. Legalism isn't just about following a lot of rules and being uptight. Mahaney talks about legalism as a plate-spinning activity, the plates being all your obligations as a Christian. When you can keep all your plates spinning in the air, you've earned God's favor and He will then show you grace. But if you drop one... oh boy, now you've done it. The woman I mentioned was saying how she would sometimes abstain from participating in the Lord's Table because she was "bad" that week and did not feel worthy. And then she would be proud of her abstention ("I'm so holy for not just taking this lightly!"). Crazy, right? She was basing her right to take Communion on her personal worthiness. But since when have any of us ever been worthy to partake? We are so quick to base our relationship with the Lord on our performance. Those weeks we've been "bad" are when we need most to partake of the Lord's Table.

The inevitable result of legalistic thinking is condemnation, because none of us can keep all our plates spinning perfectly all the time. When we don't measure up to what we think is God's standard, we live with guilt. What really struck me about this was Mahaney's statement that we can't make up for yesterday's failures with today's obedience. Taking this down to a practical level, I don't make up for my unfocused, lazy prayer time yesterday by being all good and disciplined and focused today. My actions don't cancel each other out; I can never get rid of my past guilt by doing the right thing now. I have to accept the fact that yesterday's failure, yesterday's sin, is already paid for. I can't do anything or be good enough to get rid of it; it is already gone. This is such a simple, obvious truth, but truly transforming when applied to everyday life.

I appreciated Mahaney's thoughts in the chapter on subjectivism, in which he argues against the "follow your heart," feelings-oriented message of our culture. What we know always trumps what we feel, because our emotions and experiences can be very deceptive but God and His Word never change. However, I felt that Mahaney's point is weakened by the fact that there isn't a single Scripture quotation in that section. And it's all about trusting what we know, the truths of God's Word, over what we feel! My husband led the discussion on that chapter and supplemented it with some great verses (Jeremiah 17:9 on why we should not trust our feelings; Romans 8:28, specifically the first three words ("And we know..."), and a few others).

Having come from a very experience-driven denomination, I know how dangerous subjectivism can be. My Christian life, though encompassing some good doctrine, was mainly spent seeking mountaintop transfiguration moments with my Lord... instead of walking down into the valley and living for Him there. If I felt spiritual, that meant I was, and my feeling that way was how I pleased God. The good feelings associated with hyped youth rallies and emotional altar times were like a drug, and I had to keep seeking more and more of them for the feelings to come back. I thank God for bringing some maturity into my thinking in this area. Subjectivism just sets us up to fail and is so destructive.

All of these things — legalism, condemnation, subjectivism, etc. — are distractions from the whole point of the Christian life, which is the Cross. We should never get over it, never graduate from it, never "mature" past it. It is the living reality that changes us daily. And yet it is so easy to marginalize. That's why I'm thankful for short, sweet little books like The Cross Centered Life, to aid the Holy Spirit's conviction in me when I am guilty of orienting my life around something else. This may be a very basic, "duh" treatment of the topic, but I'm not above it; the biblical truths it contains apply to me, right here and right now. And for my fellow believers: I bet they apply to you too. Recommended. ( )
4 abstimmen atimco | Feb 21, 2010 |
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Remember Jesus Christ? Although it seems almost too obvious, the center of our faith is surprisingly easy to forget. Dynamic pastor C.J. Mahaney shows how to overcome our tendency to move on from the gospel of grace. Finding joy in the gospel -- whose promises allow us to escape condemnation whenever it attacks -- helps us avoid the prevalent trap of legalism. With practical suggestions, Mahaney demonstrates the difference between knowing the gospel... and making it the main thing in daily decisions and daily living. What Are You Centered On? Sometimes the most important truths are the easiest to forget. It's time to get back to the starting point of the Christian life--the cross of Christ. Jesus' work on your behalf must be the central motivation for your life and faith--the main thing. "Never move on," says C.J. Mahaney, who shows you how to center every day around the cross of Calvary and how to escape the pitfalls of legalism, condemnation, and feelings-driven faith. Tap into the gospel's power and see how a cross centered focus can transform your life today!

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