A few weeks ago, I wrote a different kind of post on here than ever before. I had the honor of reading an advanced copy of a book about preaching that had just been released, and while I had no obligation to write a post about it, I chose to because of the great content it contained. You can read that post here.
Since then, I was chosen to read an advanced copy of another book by one of the authors of Preaching Sticky Sermons. Brandon Kelley just released his second book, and just like the first, I have nothing but great things to say about the book. Preaching Sticky Sermons is a book that has a very specific audience of those of us that write and preach sermons.
Crucified to Life is a book that has a much wider audience. It is written for any of us that want to live our lives as a Christ follower in a freer and more abundant way. But it is more than that really. It is also for those that have not made the decision to follow Jesus with their lives yet, but want to know what being a Christ follower is really all about.
I am 33-years old as I write these words. I was baptized at the age of 11. Being a Christ follower has been the majority of my life (2/3’s so far if you need help with the math). One thing I can tell you from my experience in this time; while being a Christ follower is something that I have always wanted out of my life, I did not always know what that meant.
Christianity, if looked at from the outside, on a surface level, seems like any other religion. A list of do’s and don’ts that you control your life. A way to be a better person in the eyes of who you try to follow. But that is not what Jesus came for. He came that we might have abundant life, and that is what Brandon lays out so eloquently in Crucified to Life.
If you are looking for a book that you can quickly breeze through, but not really get a lot out of, this is not the book for you. This is a deep, thought-provoking read, but one that is very much worth the time. In fact, part of the process of getting to read an advanced copy is agreeing to provide a review on the Amazon listing for the book. We were not required to leave a positive review, just an honest one. Here is what I wrote as my review: “Challenging. Relevant. Deep. Just some of the words I can write in regards to this book. Brandon is an outstanding author with a great understanding of the challenges of the Christian life. Give his words a chance to open the freeing and vibrant life that only following Jesus can provide.”
I mentioned Christianity earlier as a religion, and that is what it is if you look at it on the surface. But Brandon does a great job of explaining that it is so much more than that when you really get into it. What is different in Christianity than any other religion? You have to sacrifice yourself in following any other religion, but Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we can be a Christ follower.
That does not mean that we do not have sacrifices to make in our own lives. We are called to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and follow Him. Jesus said in Luke 9:23-25; 23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Brandon deals with this issue directly in the pages of his book.
Other religions say that we have to do enough good in the name of our religion to outweigh all the bad that we have done in our lives. Christianity says you can never be good enough on your own, and that is why Jesus came; to pay the price for our sins. You are never too far gone for the love of Jesus to cover you. This life of being a Christ follower, and the freedom and abundant life that is attached, is open to all.
It is my prayer that you will be blessed by this book. Crucified to Life is one of those rare books that is deep and challenging, but it is also so relevant because in today’s world, we often miss the point. We think of life as a checklist; Yes I need to do that, no I cannot do that. Jesus is saying, follow Me. Lay down your life and become the new creation that only I can make you through you denying yourself, picking up your cross, and following Me with your whole life.
What about you? Are you Crucified to Life?
Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak