Monday, December 22, 2014

Life With a Capital L by Matt Heard

Jesus promised Christians would have abundant life, Life with a capital L. Maybe we can't put a finger on it but we know that is not the life we are experiencing.

Heard writes that the answer is not being more spiritual but being more fully human under God's direction. He desires that we embrace the significance of our existence as images of God. That means deep engagement in the physical and spiritual realms, living an integrated life. He helps us understand our deep longings, how they differ from pursuits and how they get mismatched.

The essential element, he writes, is grace, resulting from an authentic encounter with the God of grace. We live, loved by God, not just knowing so in theory. We are to let God's unconditional love, through the Holy Spirit, transform us.

He gives the experiences of Christians living with a capital L:
  • Freedom to be fully human (being vulnerable to trusting God).
  • Learning to pursue life by practicing righteousness (distinguished from legalism).
  • Heart is engaged (mind and emotions engaged, fully feeling grief, hope).
  • Beauty is experienced (engaged senses, connecting with God).
  • Illumination received from Scripture (the only true light).
  • Story, realizing ours is part of a bigger one.
  • Worship (in the right direction, identifying idols).
  • Love (the difference between a bucket and a pipe).
  • Time (numbering our days, grabbing the life out of each one).
  • Brokenness (surgery of the heart, beauty from ashes)
  • Heaven (compass of eternity)

This is an “about the topic” book, not a “here is how you do it” book. Heard gives the general concepts and teaching on the topics but there are no practical action steps given. Each reader will have to contemplate the topic and come up with action plan on their own. There is a DVD series available, with workbooks, and that might give a practical plan of action.

This book will probably appeal to career age Christians. He draws many spiritual lessons from literature (classic and contemporary), poetry, art, songs, movies, television, a pro football player, and his own life. Because of that, the book would be good for Christians who watch movies and television a great deal and don't read their Bibles very much. Those who are familiar with current entertainment stars but not Bible characters would likely relate to this book.

Matt Heard is a graduate of Wheaton College and Reformed Theological Seminary. He been involved in pastoral ministry for three decades, is a speaker, writer, and teacher. He most recently served as senior pastor of Woodman Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs for twelve years. He and his family live in Colorado Springs. Find out more at www.mattheard.com.

Multnomah Books, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review. 
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