THE CHRIST-CENTERED LIFE:
HEAVEN CAN BE NOW
This second (as yet unpublished) book in the Christ-centered series takes up from where the first book left off and continues to expand on what it means to live in a Christ-centered way. The book further explores the Christ-centered worldview and how that affects long established traditions. This book is complete. The content of the book is summarized here:
This opening section details new practices that I have adopted. It begins with why I no longer refer to the “Bible”, but instead refer to the Scriptures of the old covenant and the Scriptures of the new covenant. It also details why I say that Christ and Christ alone is the Word of God, and that the Scriptures are the word of God.
In an opening section that really needs the reader to have read the first book in the Christ-Centered Life series, I then go on to question what “mission” is and what it is not, since “mission” is not a Scriptural word. This section then explores ‘The Great Commission’ and sees that title as misleading and unhelpful since it refers not to a commission, but to a dispatch. I then explore what the true commission was for Jesus’ own disciples, and therefore what it means for us. The section continues by thinking about Israel and her place in the body of Christ, before concluding by exploring the fact that we are human beings, not human doings.
The second chapter looks in detail at what it means to be personally commissioned by Jesus and the significance of this true commission. It asks pertinent questions and looks back to the garden and seeks a lesson from history before exploring in depth the true commission that Jesus gives to every one of his disciples.
The third chapter looks in detail at what prophetic living is, and the great importance of discerning source, rather than merely examining the prophecies themselves. It shows that prophecy is not just “Thus says the Lord” but rather it is that the whole of our lives that should be prophetic as we live Christ-centered lives. It examines the true nature of prophecy and shows how to handle Scripture as prophecy. It then goes on to show that prophecy must never be used as a weapon against people in order to further our own aims, status and reputation. The chapter then examines the glory of God in Christ, and what it means to live in that glory, and what it does not mean. The chapter concludes by considering the key subject of intimacy.
This chapter spends a lot of time looking at the blind beggar whose story is told in John 9, and seeing the reactions of the ‘Blame Shifters’ and the ‘Law Enforcers’. It then looks at how we can become ‘Grace Givers’ as we live and move and have our being in the grace of God that was revealed in and through Christ. It examines the truth that grace is always on God’s term and not our terms, and it looks at the ‘Person of Grace’. The chapter concludes as it examines ‘Grace Outworked’ and sees how ‘Grace Suffered’.
This very important chapter begins by examining the concept and reality of what are often called ‘Soul Friends’. It looks at the treasure that is non-sexual intimacy through the relationships of David and Jonathan and then of Jesus himself and John. It examines the ‘Hero in the Shadows’, without whom David would never have become king. It considers ‘The Picture Frame’, and its significance for me personally. It looks at ‘Pressing On’ and ‘Pressing in’, and shows that intimacy requires real effort and commitment. The chapter concludes by considering the subject of ‘Damaged People’.
In this chapter we look at the gifts that God gives to his children and consider in depth how those gifts should be used – and how they should not be used. We see that all of God’s gifts are to be used in the context and reality of servanthood, and that ‘Godly Wisdom’ is needed if we are to use the gifts in a Christ-centered way. We look at ‘Naked Scripture’ – that is, Scripture with nothing added on, and we examine ‘The Foundation of Prophecy’.
We consider the source and use of ‘All Good Gifts’ that God gives to his children, and then we see that being flows into doing – never the other way round. We examine the truth that there is ‘One Body’ – not two or many – and the word describing that body is union – NOT unity. We take an overview of God’s gifts before we distinguish between the ‘Prophetic and Prophecy’. The chapter concludes by examining ‘Conscience’.
This chapter begins by seeing that power – God’s power – is made manifest in the context and reality of relationships. We consider a ‘Prophet Without Honor’, and that means ‘Redefining Family’ in a new way. ‘Relationships’ lie at the heart of God’s power made known. We consider the fruit of the Spirit, and also what it means – and does not mean – to be filled with the Holy Spirit. After ‘Speaking Personally’, I then examine the ‘Manifest Presence of God’ before moving on to consider the subject of ‘Danger’ in relation to God’s power at work. The chapter concludes by looking at ‘Fasting’.
This chapter begins by looking at ‘Baptism in Water’ and it takes time to explore that subject in depth purely from Scripture – not from tradition. Any tradition. We see that water baptism is ‘A New Beginning’ before going on to examine from Scripture the ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’. I emphasize again and again how important it is to exclude our own traditions and prejudices from such a study. We see that baptism in the Spirit marks out ‘A New Way of Life’ and that this means ‘Learning Utter Dependence’ if our lives are to be truly Christ-centered. The chapter ends by looking at ‘Life in the Spirit’.
This chapter considers the unpopular subject that we are ‘Anointed To Suffer’, and that this ‘Anointing Outworked’ is the way of Christ-centeredness. How much we would all like to avoid the thought of suffering, but we cannot. Suffering is an unavoidable part of human life. Do we suffer because of ourselves? Or because of Christ in us?
The ancient Hebrews knew the power of words, and it is a reality that we must experience and grow into. ‘Blessing And Curses’ are a common part of our everyday lives, yet we so often fail to recognize them for what they are. No wonder the consequences of our words can often surprise or shock us. We examine the ‘Power of Promises’, and the real power of broken promises. We finish this chapter by looking at ‘Two Sons’.
In “The Christ-Centered Life: Deep Calls to Deep” we looked briefly at the gospels from a Christ-centered perspective, and this major chapter examines them in greater detail. We look at ‘The Four Gospels’ and how they have both commonality and diversity. We see ‘No End in Sight’, and we explore the reality that ‘Testing Stretches Us’, before we consider how important it is that we are daily ‘Handing Over’ ourselves in submission to the Christ. We look at ‘Outcasts’ and ‘Religious Behavior’, and examine the essential nature of discipleship before closing the chapter by looking at ‘All Peoples’.
This vitally important chapter builds on the foundations that were established in “The Christ-Centered Life: Deep Calls to Deep” and takes a deeper look at ‘Fatherhood’, ‘Name’, ‘Kingdom’, ‘Provision’, ‘Forgiveness’, and ‘Trials and the Evil One’. We examine the essential nature of ‘Accepting the New Covenant’, and then expand the subjects from the first book in this way:
‘Fatherhood: Be Worthy’
‘Name: Examine Yourselves’
‘Kingdom: Discern the Body’
‘Provision: Judge Yourselves’
‘Forgiveness: Understand Discipline’
We look at ‘Living the New Covenant in Christ’, and at the essential differences between ‘Contract and Covenant’. We live in a society that is very familiar with contracts, but that barely recognizes the existence of covenants. In today’s world, marriage is often no longer a covenant relationship – but rather it is a contract relationship with get-out clauses and the like. We go on to examine ‘New Covenant Grace’ before concluding the chapter with ‘Higher, Deeper, Beyond’.
This chapter looks carefully at the ‘Authority of the Christ’ and examines what it means to live our ‘Hope in Christ’. We examine the ‘Supremacy of Christ’ – a supremacy that was won at the cost of ‘So Great a Loss’. We look at ‘Life In Christ’ and see that ‘Life Is Christ’. We ask the very important question: ‘What Is Church?’ We examine ‘Renewal’ and ask what it really is from God’s perspective. We explore ‘Family and Church’ and consider what ‘Team Leadership’ looks like as we all seek to follow ‘The Team Leader’. We take a look at ‘The Team’ itself and to the one who is ‘Coming Again’ before concluding the chapter by considering ‘Medicine Or Poison?’.
This chapter proclaims that ‘Jesus the Christ Is The Center’. It is not that he should be made the center, but rather that we receive the revelation that he really is the center, and that nothing can ever change that. We examine ‘The Gift of Jesus’ and see that ‘He Is Everything’. As we turn again to Scripture, we look at ‘The Curses of Verses’ and consider ‘The Great Responsibility’ that is ours. We examine the ‘Challenge of Children’ and consider the whole subject of ‘Childhood’ and what it means. We look at the ‘Christ-Centered Community’ and see what it is – and what it is not. We examine ‘Mountain Moving Faith’ and relate all of this to:
The Context of Israel
The Context of the Demonic
The Context of Faith
The Context of Responsibility
The book moves to its conclusion in this final chapter by looking at issues related to faith. I begin by revisiting the new practices that I mentioned at the start of book, and asking ‘Are New Practices Necessary?’ We consider ‘A New Way of Doing’ as our ‘Faith Expressed’ shows our lives to be truly Christ-centered. It is about ‘Living the Life’ and this involves every part of our being. The book closes with brief thoughts on: