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Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church

{This post may contain affiliate links of items that I personally have used and loved. Thank you for your support of this blog and our family by purchasing through our links.}

“The Reformers viewed the gospel as not one thing 
among many in the life of a church 
but rather the means by which the Church exists. 
When the gospel is rightly declared and applied to God’s people, the Church becomes a ‘Creature of the Word.’ 
She understands, embraces, and lives out the reality of 
Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection 
in more than her doctrinal statement.”
from Creature of the Word

I have been so blessed recently with some fabulous books to read and review!! This next book, Creature of the Word, is no different! This book came out just recently and has 3 authors: Matt Chandler and Josh Patterson, who are both on staff with The Village Church. And Eric Geiger who is a vice president for Lifeway.

This book makes much of the gospel. This book makes everything of the gospel. As a Christian, I have to ask, shouldn’t we all?

I feel like the answer should be simple, but it’s not.

“…a huge difference…the difference between knowing the gospel and being consumed by the gospel, being defined by the gospel, being driven by the gospel. It’s one thing to see the gospel as an important facet of one’s ministry. It’s quite another to hold firmly to it as the centerpiece for all a church is and does, to completely orbit around it.” from Creature of the Word, p. 5.

I would like to say that I am consumed and driven by the gospel. I would like to say that I see evidence of this in my church. But, the truth is, I’m not sure I do. At the start of this book, I was wondering what exactly a church looks like that is centered on Jesus and the gospel.

First of all, what is the gospel?? “the gospel is God’s reconciling work in Christ – that through the life, death and resurrection of Christ, God is making all things new…” from Creature of the Word, p. 7-8.

As I kept reading, I began to see what the authors believe is a gospel {and Jesus} centered church.

“A church that is centered on Jesus looks more and more like Jesus.” from Creature of the Word, p. 21.

Now this is something that is practical to me. I can look around and see things in my own life and in the life of my church that LOOK like Jesus and DON’T LOOK like Jesus. I can see areas of growth needed. I can see places where the hands of Jesus are being used. I can see Jesus! {And sadly, I can see where Jesus isn’t wanted.}

There are a few things that the authors suggest a Jesus-centered church should be doing:

  • worship
  • community – we weren’t meant to live this thing alone!
  • serving
  • multiplying – “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” Charles Spurgeon
And as you move through the rest of the book, you will find more practical applications for church goers, church leaders and church pastors. 
“The healthier the (church) culture, the more likely the church will impact the community around her.” from Creature of the Word, p. 96. {Hmmm, this definitely gives some food for thought!! How is my local church impacting the community? Thankfully, in my own personal church, I can see MANY ways this is happening!!}

All in all, I loved this book. Oh, the section on prayer is very convicting. But this review is getting quite long!! As I mentioned earlier, I have had quite a few books to read and review lately…but this one left me wanting to go back and read it more slowly. This is the kind of book I’d love to take to my small group and discuss…so that we could examine our own lives and see how we can better look like Jesus and preach the gospel with our lives to the community around us.

What about you? What about your church?
Does your church look more and more like Jesus with each passing year?
What can we do to make it look more like Jesus?
How do we live with the gospel as our driving force, our desperate need? 

**to read my thoughts on other books I’ve been reading recently, click here
**I received this book free of charge in exchange for sharing my thoughts here on the blog. All opinions are my own. 

My Favorite Books of 2011

{This post may contain affiliate links of items that I personally have used and loved. Thank you for your support of this blog and our family by purchasing through our links.}
As you know, I love reading!! So, I thought it would be fun to share my favorite reads from 2011. These books did not all come out in 2011, but that is when I read them, so I’m adding them to my list. :)
What about you? I’d LOVE to hear what your favorite books were from this past year? I need to start making my list for 2012!!
These book are NOT in any particular order…
1. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are – so good, I’m already reading it for the 2nd time in 2011. :)
3. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World – the best book I’ve ever read on prayer.
8. The Mailbox- the only fiction book on my list! I do not read a lot of fiction, but I did read several, and this was my favorite of the ones I read in 2011. :) It was a great, quick read!
 
**If you scroll down through my “Books I’m Reading” category…you can read more of my thoughts on these books, and others I read that may not have made my Favorites list.