Author Topic: My Grace Library  (Read 1189 times)

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Offline OldDad

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My Grace Library
« on: Wed May 15, 2013 - 09:29:03 »
What I'd like to do here is share some of the grace oriented books I have read over the years, along with brief reviews of the books written by me sometimes and others sometimes. Also, if you have read a grace oriented book that has helped you learn and grow in understanding, please feel free to share it!

I will share in roughly chronological order in which I read the books.

NOTE: God's Holy Word occupies the #1 spot on everyone's list of books on any spiritual topic. That's a given, so I will not be so presumptuous as to review the contents of the Bible.

Grace Walk, by Steve McVey



This is the book that basically kickstarted my journey into grace. I literally stumbled over this book...

We were in the process of leaving a church we had served, sacrificed and suffered for for several years. Our finances were in shambles, and we had no prospects for the future. We had managed to scrape together the money to get the boy's Christmas presents out of layaway at Walmart, so on the last day to pick up layaways I trudged to the store. The line was long, I went to the counter and took a number - it was 92. I looked up at the now serving sign - it was displaying the number 14... Great, only 78 people in front of me!

As I walked to the end of the line, I passed one of those Christian book displays that are sometimes found in Walmart stores - a spinner rack with a header card on it that read, "Good Family Reading." Some of the books had fallen or been knocked off the rack in the crush of holiday shoppers.  I wasn't looking down at all when my foot kicked one of the books. It shot forward, stopping about 10 feet in front of me.

I picked up the book and read the title - but it was the subtitle that caught my eye, "What you've always wanted in the Christian Life..." I knew I was going to be in line for awhile, so I took the book to the back of the line and began to thumb through it, skim reading as I went. In just a moment or two, I had seen enough to know I needed to turn to page 1 and read from the beginning.

I read for the next hour and a half as I inched my way toward the front of the line. I ended up spending my last cash money to buy the book, paying for it along with our layaway.

I do not exaggerate in the least when I say that, apart from the Bible, this book has had a greater influence on my life, my ministry, and my family than anything else I have ever read. Through the years I have purchased and given away dozens of copies. I could not recommend it more highly.

Below is a review of this outstanding book, written by Paul Ellis of eascapetoreality.org

Quote
This zinger of a book has been around for almost 20 years and has sold over a quarter of a million copies. The punch line of Grace Walk is found in the first chapter:

“Jesus Christ will do more through us than we could ever do for Him.” (p.9)

The theme of Grace Walk is, stop trying to make things happen for God, and let Him live His supernatural life through you. God won’t bless the works of your flesh. Rather, He will allow us to come to the end of our self-sufficiency so that we might learn to rest in Him. He is the vine and you are the branch. Apart from Him you can do quite a lot, but none of it will last. So quit trying and start trusting.

Struggling or resting?

Many Christians today are struggling; they’re struggling to get by, struggling to get the victory, struggling to overcome. As Steve McVey warns in his book, there’s a red flag right there. If you’re struggling then you’re not resting, and if you’re not resting then you’re not living by faith. You’re probably walking in the flesh by trying to make things happen in your own strength. As McVey explains,

“God never intended for the Christian life to be a struggle. The Holy Spirit should flow from the life of the Christian as naturally as breathing. But many Christians are hyper-ventilating trying to do something for God.” (p.72)

If you are trying to live up to some personal expectation of what it means to please God (“I must pray,” “I must evangelize”), then you are living under law. If you succeed, you will be filled with self-praise. If you fail, you will feel self-pity. In either case, death will be the result because the law always produces death (Rms 7:5).

The key to breaking out of this motivation-condemnation-rededication cycle, is to realize that your self has already been co-crucified with Christ. You must take this on faith (it’s in the Bible).

You cannot live the Christian life. Only Christ can live the Christian life and He wants to live His life through you. Do you trust Him to do that?

The Christian life is not a set of rules or values or expectations; it is Christ expressing Himself through you. Two thousand years ago Jesus walked the earth in a human body. Today He still has a body – it’s His church! – and He wants to reveal Himself to a sick and dying world through that body. But that cannot happen when those in the church are on a flesh-trip preoccupied with self-effort.

Jesus doesn’t want your service; He wants you! Your job is not to produce fruit, but to bear His fruit. To the degree that we are walking in self-sufficiency, to that degree we are walking in the flesh. In Grace Walk Steve McVey puts it like this:

“Before I understood that Christ is my life, my whole lifestyle was characterized by an obsession with right and wrong. Yet, if one is not abiding in Christ, every action is wrong. To abide in Him is to walk in faith; to fail to abide in Christ is to walk after the flesh. Anytime we do things on our own, it is sin, regardless of how our actions may appear.” (p.108)

When you try to do the right thing you invariably end up doing the wrong thing. A preoccupation with right and wrong means you’re living under law. You’re eating from the wrong tree. What you’re doing may be outwardly “good,” but it’ll produce death instead of life. And worse, there will be no end to it for the law will never say “enough.”

A changed life or an exchanged life?

Jesus didn’t suffer and die to give you a new start, but to give you a new life – His life! It is idolatrous to reduce the life of the Spirit to a set of values and disciplines. Such things may appear helpful but they are not. They minister death and condemnation just as effectively as the tablets of stone. So how, then, are we to live? According to Steve McVey,

“Real Christianity is not an imitation but an expression of Christ within us… As we abide in Him, we rest and work at the same time! We rest inwardly while He works outwardly. This is God’s designed method of Christian service. Anything else is empty religious ritual, regardless of how successful or spiritual it may appear.” (p.174)

Jesus used words like “rest” and “easy” and “light” to describe the Christian life. If that doesn’t come close to describing your life, do yourself a favor and read Grace Walk. It will set you free!





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My Grace Library
« on: Wed May 15, 2013 - 09:29:03 »

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #1 on: Wed May 15, 2013 - 11:28:16 »
Thanks, OD! I'm putting that one on my list of 'next' to read.

I teach a women's class at our church and one of the things I struggle with is injecting the message of grace into the lessons. It can be more difficult than one would think.

Lively Stone

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #2 on: Wed May 15, 2013 - 12:38:45 »
Thanks, OldDad! I am ordering that book today!

Offline OldDad

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #3 on: Wed May 15, 2013 - 19:54:25 »
Thanks, OD! I'm putting that one on my list of 'next' to read.

I teach a women's class at our church and one of the things I struggle with is injecting the message of grace into the lessons. It can be more difficult than one would think.


Check this out - it's Grace Walk as an 8 session small group or class study!

http://gracewalkresources.com/item.asp?PID=521


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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #3 on: Wed May 15, 2013 - 19:54:25 »
Pinterest: GraceCentered.com

Offline Nevertheless

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #4 on: Wed May 15, 2013 - 22:32:01 »
Cool!

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #4 on: Wed May 15, 2013 - 22:32:01 »



Offline ChristNU

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #5 on: Thu May 16, 2013 - 08:47:28 »
Classic Christianity, by Bob George



I consider myself very blessed that it was the gospel of grace that I initially responded to, and that the Spirit immediately led me to so many great grace teachers, beginning with Bob George. A man who was also a great influence in Steve McVey's life. His first book Classic Christianity is indeed a classic, one that I continually go back to, to re-ground myself in the truth of Gods infinite Grace.

http://classicchristianity.com


Offline OldDad

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #6 on: Thu May 16, 2013 - 10:27:11 »
Classic Christianity, by Bob George



I consider myself very blessed that it was the gospel of grace that I initially responded to, and that the Spirit immediately led me to so many great grace teachers, beginning with Bob George. A man who was also a great influence in Steve McVey's life. His first book Classic Christianity is indeed a classic, one that I continually go back to, to re-ground myself in the truth of Gods infinite Grace.

http://classicchristianity.com



I 100% agree - Classic Christianity is one of the books I planned to post here! Simple to read and understand, and written with a counselors heart, CC is one that belongs of any list of grace-oriented books.

I recently started reading Bob's latest book, Jesus Changes Everything - and it is excellent as well!





Offline OldDad

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #7 on: Fri May 17, 2013 - 08:15:09 »


Brennan Manning lived a full life - he was a Marine in Korea during the conflict; a priest who left the priesthood to marry the woman he loved; he was a brickmason, a long shoreman, a dishwasher in France, a speaker, and an author. He wrote 20 books, one of which, The Ragamuffin Gospel, is one of the bestselling Christian books of the last 50 years. Manning was also an alcoholic - sometimes a recovering one, sometimes not - who wrestled the sinful addiction that dogged him to the end of his life.

I started reading Ragamuffin in the early 1990's, and stopped halfway through - unable to handle the radical implications of one way unconditional love from the Father.  I came back to it again a few years later and read it in one sitting. I suppose I have read it a dozen times since then.

When Brennan Manning died last month, I read it again and was blessed yet again. More devotional than theological tome, Ragamuffin is full of stories, and will likely expose readers to writers from streams of Christianity they have not previously been aware of.

Another highly recommended book - here are some challenging words from The Ragamuffin Gospel:

Quote
Put bluntly, the American church today accepts grace in theory but denies it in practice. We say we believe that the fundamental structure of reality is grace, not works–but our lives refute our faith. By and large, the gospel of grace is neither proclaimed, understood, nor lived. Too many Christians are living in a house of fear and not in the house of love.

Our culture has made the word grace impossible to understand. We resonate with slogans such as:

“There’s no free lunch.”

“You get what you deserve.”

“You want love? Earn it.”

“You want mercy? Show that you deserve it.

“Do unto others before they do unto you.”

“By all means, give others what they deserve but not one penny more.”

A friend told me she overheard a pastor say to a child, “God loves good little boys.” As I listen to sermons with their pointed emphasis on personal effort–no pain, no gain–I get the impression that a do-it-yourself spirituality is the American fashion.

Though the Scriptures insist on God’s initiative in the work of salvation–that by grace we are saved, that the Tremendous Lover has taken to the chase–our spirituality often starts with self, not God…We sweat through various spiritual exercises as if they were designed to produce a Christian Charles Atlas. Though lip service is paid to the gospel of grace, many Christians live as if only personal discipline and self-denial will mold the perfect me. The emphasis is on what I do rather than on what God is doing. In this curious process God is a benign old spectator in the bleachers who cheers when I show up for morning quiet time. Our eyes are not on God. At heart we are practicing Pelagians. We believe that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps–indeed, we can do it ourselves.

Sooner or later we are confronted with the painful truth of our inadequacy and insufficiency. Our security is shattered and our bootstraps are cut. Once the fervor has passed, weakness and infidelity appear. We discover our inability to add even a single inch to our spiritual stature. Life takes on a joyless, empty quality. We begin to resemble the leading character in Eugene O’Neill’s play The Great God Brown: “Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of the earth and sky and sea? Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?”

Something is radically wrong.

Our huffing and puffing to impress God, our scrambling for brownie points, our thrashing about trying to fix ourselves while hiding our pettiness and wallowing in guilt are nauseating to God and are a flat out denial of the gospel of grace.

Lively Stone

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #8 on: Fri May 17, 2013 - 08:39:23 »
 ::amen!:: and  ::amen!:: OldDad!

Offline ChristNU

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #9 on: Sat May 18, 2013 - 08:49:16 »
Classic Christianity, by Bob George



I consider myself very blessed that it was the gospel of grace that I initially responded to, and that the Spirit immediately led me to so many great grace teachers, beginning with Bob George. A man who was also a great influence in Steve McVey's life. His first book Classic Christianity is indeed a classic, one that I continually go back to, to re-ground myself in the truth of Gods infinite Grace.

http://classicchristianity.com



I 100% agree - Classic Christianity is one of the books I planned to post here! Simple to read and understand, and written with a counselors heart, CC is one that belongs of any list of grace-oriented books.

I recently started reading Bob's latest book, Jesus Changes Everything - and it is excellent as well!






  ::thumbup::   I'm a New Covenant man.  ::nodding:: 




Offline ChristNU

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #10 on: Sat May 18, 2013 - 08:57:07 »



A man whose personal pain was used to point us to freedom in Christ, in as real a way as there ever was. At peace now in the loving arms of his Lord and Savior.

“The Christ within who is our hope of glory is not a matter of theological debate or philosophical speculation. He is not a hobby, a part-time project, a good theme for a book, or a last resort when all human effort fails. He is our life, the most real fact about us. He is the power and wisdom of God dwelling within us.”

― Brennan Manning


Offline Nevertheless

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Re: My Grace Library
« Reply #11 on: Mon Jun 03, 2013 - 10:32:44 »
Grace Walk, by Steve McVey



This is the book that basically kickstarted my journey into grace. I literally stumbled over this book...





My copy came in the mail Saturday. I'm halfway through it, and it's good. I think I'll read it a second time through as soon as I finish.

This one came in the mail today -




It's next on the list.


Quote
Review
Anyone who reads through Grace Immersion is going to come out clean and refreshed, feeling like weights have lifted off them and most of all their hearts melted in wondrous gratitude to Jesus. But the impact of this book won't end with the reader. As people grasp the message within, their lives will then contagiously impact those who are around them because of the grace they are immersed in. What an incredibly needed message is within these pages about grace, which can literally turn around someone's entire understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. --Dan Kimball, Pastor, Vintage Faith Church, Santa Cruz, California, Author of They Like Jesus But Not The Church --Dan Kimball

Every Christian I know is looking for what this book describes... And nobody says it with more depth or more humor than Rene Schlaepfer. If you find yourself needing grace to start over, to overcome a crippling habit, or to let go of guilt, you have picked up the right book. What's at stake? Everything! Every church has scores of people living under dark clouds of condemnation, guilt and hopelessness. Christians and the Christian church are at their best (and most attractive) when and only when they are set free by grace! --Ray Johnston, Senior Pastor, Bayside Church, Granite Bay, California, President of Developing Effective Leaders --Ray Johnston

If you find your life is dry and joyless, Grace Immersion will help you find the laughter again. And not just through funny stories. Rene gets to the delightful heart of God s love for you. God's grace is the theme of the whole Bible, so how do we miss it? You'll rediscover it here in bite-sized daily doses that will change you to the core. --Bill Butterworth, Speaker, and author of On The Fly Guide to Balancing Work and Life; The Promise of the Second Wind and When Life Doesn't Turn Out Like You Planned --Bill Butterworth
About the Author
Rene Schlaepfer is senior pastor of Twin Lakes Church near Santa Cruz, California. Weaving in the story of his own journey from legalism into grace, Rene explains in Grace Immersion how to understand and apply the freeing concept of God's grace to your own life.

 

     
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