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Tag Archives: Small Group Resources

Book Review: The Gospel Centered Life by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis

How To Live For God’s Glory

 This is a fantastic concise guide written by two experienced church planters in England designed for individuals, one-on-one, or in small groups. This is one of four books in a series of guides on the themes of being gospel centered. All four of these guides (also on the Church, Marriage, and Family) are loaded with great topics, questions for discussion, and saturated with good theology and biblically based. The best thing about this guide is that it is short, without sacrificing depth – for people who don’t have a lot of time, or simply don’t like to read. It gets you straight and to the point of discussion quickly – designed for action.

This book has 14 short chapters that each contain these elements: 1) A Principle based on the biblical topic being discussed; 2) Consider this – a short case study on the topic at hand; 3) a biblical background reading on the subject of the case study; 4) Read all about it – a brief discussion on the topic tying in the context, bridging the biblical passage, and it’s relevancy to the topic; and 5) Questions for reflection and discussion.

Here are the Principles and Key Biblical Passages Developed in the Three Sections of this book:

Part One: Gospel-Centered Change

Chapter 1: “A Life for God” – Principle: “It’s not about me—it’s about God and His glory.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from 1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1.

Chapter 2: “A Life for others” – Principle: “It’s not about me—it’s about loving God and others.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Matthew 22:34-40.

Chapter 3: “A Life of change” – Principle: “God is making me more like Jesus for His glory and my good.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Hebrews 12:1-11.

Chapter 4: “A Life of Miracles“ – Principle: “The Holy Spirit changes me through the gospel.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Romans 8:1-17.

Part Two: Gospel Centered Perspectives

Chapter 5:  “Look up to God” – Principle: “I respond to the gospel with daily repentance and faith.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Acts 20:17-24.

Chapter 6: “Look back to the cross” – Principle: “The cross is the foundation and pattern of my life.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Romans 8:28-39.

Chapter 7: “Look around at the Christian community” – Principle: “Belonging to Jesus means I belong to His community.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Colossians 3:1-17.

 

Chapter 8:  “Look forward to eternity” – Principle: “Eternal glory offers more than this life.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Hebrews 11:8-11, 24-26; 12:1-3.

 

Part Three: Gospel Centered Living

Chapter 9: “Decisions” – Principle: “My top priority is serving Christ.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:3-12.

Chapter 10: “Relationships” – Principle: “I have a duty of care for others that involves taking the initiative to serve and resolve conflict.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from James 3:1-4:12.

Chapter 11: “Friends” – Principle: “My willingness to speak about Jesus arises from my delight in Jesus.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Colossians 1:13-20.

Chapter 12: “Horizons” – Principle: “The gospel enlarges my horizons, giving me a concern for God’s world.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from Isaiah 12.

Chapter 13: “Possessions” – Principle: “God gives me blessing that I might glorify Him.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from 1 Timothy 6:6-19.

Chapter 14: “Suffering” – Principle: “God gives me suffering that I might glorify Him.” The Biblical background for this chapter comes from 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.

I highly recommend this book for all followers of Christ. The most beneficial way to read it will be in the context of community with other believers so that the many ideas in this book can be immediately fleshed out among real life. It is theologically sound, biblically saturated; Christ centered, and will truly help you live a more gospel-centered life.

 

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Book Review: Leadership Essentials by Greg Ogden and Daniel Meyer

Excellent Tool For Developing Maturing Christ Centered Leaders

Ogden in Meyer have done a great service to the church by putting together this helpful leadership mentoring workbook in order to bring bonding and multiplying influence to ministry oriented leadership teams. I have personally used the book for several years know with church staff, elders, deacons, interns, and in order to train budding leaders. I have found that each environment I’ve used it in, (one on one, triads, and groups up to 12) there has been good discussion, accountability, and encouragement towards Christ-like development.

The workbook is broken down into four sections with three chapters in each section:

Part One: The Character of a Leader

1)    Holy – Developing a vision of Christ-like Character

2)    Habitual – Cultivating spiritual disciplines to sustain leadership

3)    Humble – Keeping watch over your souls

Part Two: The Posture of a Leader

4)    Kneeling – Embracing servant love as our primary model

5)    Teaming – Building teams to accomplish our corporate mission

6)    Stewardship – Stewarding gifts, passions and personality

Part Three: The Vision of Leaders

7)    The Compelling Christ – Loving passionately the compelling Christ

8)    Embracing the Kingdom – Engaging people in mission

9)    Helping Others See – Lifting people out of lethargy and inertia

Part Four: The Shaping of a Leader

10) Taming Temptation – Facing the Dangers of money, sex, and power

11) Conquering Criticism – Handling criticism with humility and fortitude

12) Defeating Discouragement – Addressing disappointment, frustration, anger, and depression

Each chapter contains a core truth which flows from the Bible; a memory verse (there are actually several verses to memorize per chapter); an Inductive Bible Study with questions based on the specific topic being discussed; a classic reading on the topic; and leadership exercises or applications for each topic.

Overall it’s an excellent tool to use with current leaders; potential leaders; or even for any small group that wants to grow in the area of leadership and Christ-likeness. I have found it to be one of the best leadership development tools I have used in ministry and therefore, recommend it highly. It also makes a terrific sequel to Ogden’s previous workbook on Discipleship called Discipleship Essentials.

 

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