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5 Stars Out Of 5
August 23, 2009
What an incredible book this is! It has taken me such a long time to go through this because it is so full of meat that I have to read, stop, and digest after sections of this book. I was challenged over and over as I read how to really listen to people, how to be real, how to show compassion and more. The book is great because it not only describes Christ-like-ness, it gives you exercises on what you can do to practice each character of Christ. It is kind of looking in the mirror, like James (of the bible) says, and actually practicing what you have learned. Many books leave you dry in this area. You, too, will not doubt be challenged and grow closer in your walk with the Lord, when you read this book. Makes a great devotional or small group study!
This is a deeply thought out book. Jan Johnson wrote a great book to help us understand who Jesus really was, so we can learn live the way he did. No phony "Christianish" rhetoric here. Johnson delves in deep to what being a Christian means and includes. She is a great writer and consistently makes me think in this book. Each chapter is devoted to a certain aspect of Christ's character and love for us. Jan Johnson also gives an extensive list at the end of each chapter on how to share and express what was learned in that chapter. It can also be easily used as a personal Bible Study. This is not a book that is light on spirituality, Jan Johnson is an in depth teacher. She gets down to the nitty gritty way Jesus lived, and you'll be wanting to sink your teeth into it's meat. I would suggest walking through this book slowly, and utilizing all of the resources Jan has supplied. You'll definitely want to soak as much of this book as possible.
To facilitate this life with God, we become willing to do whatever we need to do to connect with God in the next ten minutes even if it looks very different fro what the people around us do or what has been described in a book. As we connect with God, we change. (20)If you are dissatisfied with your devotional life and the practice of daily Bible reading then Jan's book is a great introduction to Ignatian Gospel contemplation and other spiritual disciplines. What seems to set it apart is that rather than presenting the disciplines, nor presenting them as methods for change, it authentically places Jesus in the center of your vision and lets Jesus lead... This is more than a devotional read it seeks to help us rediscover Jesus in a transformative way as we attend soul school. I found much more a multilevel and multifaceted curriculum thus it is not something you do once rather it introduces you to the reflective life. Thus each chapter can be repeated with new insights that we might fulfill our calling to be truly Christlike. However this book is not a manual it contains any personal experiences and insights from her life and therefore it is humane and reasonable. Living or at least seeking to live a Christlike life is not for the elite but for all of us. It is simply a matter of the will and motives.
When I first read the descriptions of this book, I must admit I was skeptical. I thought it sounded like it would be touchy-feely, me-centered, emergent-church babble. Im so glad I decided to read it anyway! Although it is about personal spiritual growth and, therefore, has an inherent degree of focus on self, it is far from what I would call me-centered. Johnson paints word pictures for her readers of a number of character qualities Jesus possessed and suggests ways that we can become more godly by focusing on and modeling ourselves after Him.The descriptions of biblical events are, in some instances, unorthodox. They did not, however, strike me as as the kind of unorthodox that tends toward a perversion of Scripture but, rather, the type of unorthodox that drags us out of our knowledgeable-Christian ruts and causes us to really see these events and absorb their import.What impressed me most about the book was its practical nature. While each chapter began with a description of how Jesus exemplified the particular trait under consideration, each one ended with a list of very practical exercises for the reader. Not every one will be for every reader. Not all of them are necessarily designed to be permanent practices, either - some of them are more along the lines of experiments. But every single one is an immensely practical way to work toward godly habits. As a reader who often finds myself thinking, I know, but HOW? I very much appreciated this. I will definitely be re-reading this one.
As always, I love Jan Johnson's works. In this book, she uses stories from the Gospels to draw out important points and make the text come alive. What's unique about this book is the listing of spiritual discipline ideas at the end of each chapter, including a way to meditate on the Gospel story we read in the chapter. Plus, there are discussion questions and ideas for practical application. I am about to use this book for a small group of women and I know the Lord will use it mightily; as He already has in my personal life.