I completed reading The Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney. Here are a few excerpts that I highlighted:
- “The gospel,” writes Jerry Bridges, “is not only the most important message in all of history; it is the only essential message in all of history.”
- all living lives [are] centered on something. But is it the right thing?
- “I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is constantly in danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy, by relatively peripheral insights that take on far too much weight. Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry.”
- Legalism is seeking to achieve forgiveness from God and acceptance by God through obedience to God. In other words, a legalist is anyone who behaves as if they can earn God’s approval and forgiveness through personal performance.
- it’s impossible to resolve issues of yesterday by doing better tomorrow.
- William Law writes, “We may justly condemn ourselves as the greatest sinners we know because we know more of the folly of our own heart than we do of other peoples.”
- Far too often we choose to passively listen to ourselves. We sit back and let our view of God and life be shaped by our constantly shifting feelings about our ever-changing circumstances.
- The cross centered life starts with biblical thinking. Are you going to build your life on what you feel or on what is real?
- our emotions shouldn’t be vested with final authority. This should be reserved for God’s Word alone.
- we should “expend our energies admiring, exploring, expositing, and extolling Jesus Christ.” And we can do this regardless of how we feel, because the gospel exists independently of us.
- That which is subjective changes regularly, like shifting sand. But that which is objective is built on the solid rock of the gospel.
- An ongoing awareness of grace reminds Paul of the appalling sin from which he has been delivered; an ongoing awareness of sin keeps him dependent on grace.”
- Only the person who understands that the cross is the center of all human history can understand the Old Testament. Through the lens of the gospel, the Bible truly becomes one book telling one story: the story of sinful man, a holy God, and His plan of salvation through the substitution of Himself for His people.
- In the darkest night of the soul, Christians have something to hold onto that Job never knew— we know Christ crucified. Christians have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God’s love, they cannot escape the cross.
- Comfort in suffering can never be found by focusing endlessly on the suffering itself, for suffering always contains an element of impenetrable mystery. Hope and comfort and perseverance in the Christian life come from meditating on the cross and the God of the cross.
One book that Mr. Mahaney recommended as a must read for all pastors was Cross and Christian Ministry: The Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians by D.A. Carson. I bought the Kindle version of this book and am part way through. I will posts some excerpts from this book shortly.