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

A Fantastic Resource For Making Multiplying Disciples

 Veteran British church planters Steve Timmis and Tim Chester have put together a very helpful workbook for churches that desire to be more intentionally & strategically gospel driven. In three loaded sections this guide (suited ideally for discipleship, leadership teams, or small group’s of various kinds) covers six sessions on the Priority of Mission; six sessions on the Priority of People; and another six sessions on the Priority of Community and the last chapter which is on why “It’s all about the gospel.” This book is ideal as a workbook for church planting core groups, or churches that want to be more missional and multiplicational in their process of making and maturing disciples of Christ.

Each chapter stands alone and contains the following five sections:

Consider this – A scenario—often based on a real-life situation—which raises some kind of dilemma or frustration in gospel ministry.

Biblical background – A relevant Bible passage together with some questions to help you think it through.

Read all about it – A discussion of the principle, both in terms of its theological underpinning and its contemporary application.

Questions for reflection – Questions that can be used for group discussion or personal reflection.

Ideas for action – Some ideas or an exercise to help people think through the application of the principle to their own situation.

I think this is a phenomenal resource that helps a church think through how to contextualize the gospel message in its own unique setting. It is concise, deep, Christ exalting, biblical, gospel oriented, God-glorifying and extremely practical. I can’t recommend this resource highly enough.

 

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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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