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The Cross-Shaped Life

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Reviewing: The Cross-Shaped Life: Taking on Christ’s Humanity by Jeff Kennon

If there is one attention-grabbing topic in Christianity, it must be the cross. Further, it is not the cross itself that is important, but the One who hung on the cross to save humanity from their sins. Jeff Kennon revisits the cross and living like the One who died on the cross with a fresh perspective. At the risk of turning readers off, Kennon lays out The Cross-Shaped Life as both a theological academic work and a Sunday Morning sermon you might hear at the local community church. Yet, let’s not stop here because this only scratches the surface of Kennon’s work in The Cross-Shaped Life. Kennon does a solid job of appealing to the masses of Christianity, whether they are professional Theologians querying the meaning of life or are the newborn babe in Christ looking to grow their faith.

Kennon pens, “Jesus on the cross met the destruction of our sin head-on. All the power sin has over us and the death it causes Jesus embraced so that we could once again be what we were created to be, people in the image of God, reigning on the earth as cruciform people.” These types of thoughts and conclusions bring a fresh perspective to the cross of Jesus. Jesus is not a meme. He is not a trophy for Christians to hoist, and he is not our school mascot. Reading Kennon’s work leads the reader to see the value in themselves and the value God sees in them. While Kennon breaks down the depravity of sin and what it costs, later, he brings it back full circle to the cross and subsequently explores the true meaning of sacrifice.

This book is an easy read, not that the material or topics are easy to swallow, but that Kennon uses popular illustrations from our century to drive his points home. A few terms might cause the average Bible student to stumble, but overall, the book is well-written for most audiences. I would recommend this book for personal Bible study, small groups, and Bible schools (especially young adults). The book is versatile and will age well in the Christian genre for years to come.
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★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review. 
 Who are you? In what ways are others and your past shaping your identity?

What would happen if you believed that God was made flesh? What if you read scripture using the word "God" every time "Jesus" is mentioned? What difference does it make to you that Christ demonstrates how God would behave and think? 

The author examines how the theology of salvation and a personal savior shapes us, our obedience, service, and service. Don't miss this one.
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The Cross Shaped Life by Jeff Kennon is a reminder to Christians in this "look out for number one" mindset of society, that we are challenged daily to live our lives counterculturally: in humility, service, obedience and sacrifice - as the Hands & Feet of Jesus to those around us.  Built around the scriptural reference of Philippians 2:1-11, we are to live a "cruciform" or gospel centered life.  I enjoyed this book and felt it was an appropriate challenge for living to imitate Christ in 2022.  I was given a copy of this book by Net Galley and Leafwood Publishing to read and review.  Thank you for the opportunity to refresh my Christian walk!
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We in the western world, live in a self-centred culture. Kennon aptly quotes the Australian Pastor and cultural commentator, Mark Sayers as saying that we live in a "media-drenched landscape where vanity is no longer a sin; it is a virtue. Narcissism is no longer a psychological condition; it is now celebrated". Kennon calls us to drag our eyes away from the mirror, or selfie cam, and turn to the cross of Christ where we find true freedom in the paradoxical virtues of humility, service, obedience and forgiveness. It is a call to live a costly, countercultural life and this message is the medicine we all need - I certainly needed it.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on humility where Kennon challenges the reader to embrace the values of patience, rest, submission, graciousness and willingness to admit our wrongs to others. 

The Cross-Shaped Life is a challenging but refreshing read that makes the concept of "cruciform living" accessible and readily understandable to everyone.
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This book brought out some good ideas, but the writing was just a little boring to me. However, I do think the chapters were divided well and it would be a good book for people developing into the faith.
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The Bible takes the top two spots for the best books I've read all year. The Cross-Shaped Life is certainly in the top ten, probably top five. Since I'm closing in on a hundred books (97 to date), that is no small feat. Especially since, there is nothing in this book that struck me as incredibly profound, new, or revelatory.

Coach Wooden was one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. In twelve seasons he won the national title ten times. If you were to ask him, or Coach K, Jimmy Boeheim, or any other coaching great (including CBC coach Kirk Hanson) the secret to their success, they would almost certainly talk about teaching the fundamentals. Wooden believed this so much, one of the first things he taught all his new Freshmen was how to tie their shoes. I kid you not.

This book is the "shoe tying" lesson of Christianity we all need, but think we don't. Kennon's book is inspired by the Kenotic Hymn of Philippians 2 and is broken into two parts of four chapters each. The first part is the gospel. Kennon talks about what it means to be created in the image of God (our roots), and how we marred that image through sin (our ruin). Then he talks about the redemptive work of the cross (our rescue), and how the cross enables us to be justified before God (our restoration). The second part of the book talks about what our response to the gospel should be. If we are to have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Phil 2:1-5), then we should be living lives of humility (ch 5), service (ch 6), obedience (ch 7), and sacrifice (ch 8).

Kennon makes some good illustrations to his points throughout. He also has solid interpretations and applications of scripture throughout. There is nothing flashy here, but from cover to cover he is writing well about the central issues of our faith. This would be a great work to cover chapter by chapter over two months in your small group or Sunday School class. It would also make a great resource for a pastor planning a two-part sermon series. Even if not picked up for either of those purposes, it is a work that any individual would benefit from reading. In fact, I'll probably be buying a few copies as Christmas presents.
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This book is wonderful!  The author, Jeff Kennon, wrote on how we should be cruciform Christians (the purpose why we are here to serve others),  because Jesus Christ died by the Cross, a horrible death, in his love for us!  The references to the Bible and theologians back up his theme to live, how Jesus lived, and died for us.: Putting others before ourselves and serving others!  He backs up Jesus’s message referencing Bible quotes and interpretations from theologians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer!  Very inspiring!
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The Cross-Shaped Life
Taking on Christ's Humanity
by Jeff Kennon
Pub Date 21 Sep 2021
 Abilene Christian University Press & Leafwood Publishers,  Leafwood Publishers 
 Christian  |  Religion & Spirituality

I am reviewing a copy of The Cross Shaped Life through Abilene Christian University Press & Leafwood Publishers,  Leafwood Publishers  and NetGalley:

One of the oldest questions is who are we?  And the bottom-line answer is that we are created in the image of God. But when we ask what it means to live in the image of God, we cannot forget the cross.   We cannot forget the Cross because God came, took on our likeness, and died on the cross. So what does it mean to live in the image of a God who is willing to die on a cross?

Despite the fact that the Cross is a well known symbol in Western Society we are not prone to think of the cross as the key to our identity.  But in order to discover the heart of God, and therefore who we are to be as his image bearers, it is to the cross that we must turn.

The Cross Shaped Life takes readers into the story of God from creation to salvation, but it culminates in Paul’s words found in Philippians 2:5–11. It’s in these few verses that readers will discover that though our Western culture tells us that in order to find ourselves we must continue to acquire more prestige, power, and possessions, the truth is that we only discover who we truly are when we live lives of humility, service, and sacrifice on behalf of others.  

I give The Cross Shaped Life five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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Overall this was a very good book.        
A mature Christian may find the book "easy" or more introductory, but nonetheless it is a good reminder of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
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I was very curious about the author’s take on what is arguably the central concept of Christianity … to live like Christ.  There really is nothing terribly new here; however, the author does provide a highly accessible treatment of the subject that is useful for instruction and meditation for the Christian Life … why was the cross necessary and significant i covered in the first half; although we don’t get much in the way of how the cross actually calls us [Christians] to live Christ’s example [and how to do so] until the second half … with a fair amount of repetitive thought and discourse along the way.  Ultimately we get the idea that “Sacrifice” is “at the core of the cross” … meaning that we are called to walk a path of sacrifice in service to others.  … this probably won’t come of much of a surprise for most [devout] Christians; however, it doesn’t provide an opportunity to review how well we do it … and where we fall short and need correction.
Chapter 1: Our Roots
Chapter 2: Our Ruin
Chapter 3: Our Rescue
Chapter 4: Our Restoration
Chapter 5: Humility: A Life in Perspective
Chapter 6: Service: A Life Focused on Others
Chapter 7: Obedience: A Life of Depth
Chapter 8: Sacrifice: A Life under the Cross</spoiler>

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
#TheCrossShapedLife #NetGalley.
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