Saturday, December 31, 2011

Walking as Jesus Walked by Dann Spader

1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” This book is for people who want to study the life of Christ and understand what it means to walk as Jesus walked. It is designed primarily as a small group interactive study but can be used by individuals as well.
The study is designed so that each week begins with an introductory overview. There follows five days of personal study in preparation for the group meeting. As the end of each lesson are questions for deeper reflection.
Here is a sample week from this study:
Getting Started: What would it be like if, just for one day, Jesus became you? What if He walks in your shoes, lives in your house, does your work? What would it be like if, for one day, Jesus lives your life with His heart?
After all, Philippians 2:5 does say we should have the same mind (heart) as Jesus. We are called to think and act like Jesus. Looking at Jesus' habits, commitments, and behaviors is at the heart of this study. It helps you discover not only what Jesus did, but also how He did it.
“Walk” is peripateo in the Greek. It means, “following, making progress, regulating one's life, or conducting oneself” after the pattern of another person.
Readers are asked to record their initial impressions of what it means to walk as Jesus walked.
Day 1: One way to study the life of Christ is to study His message. Readers are asked to look up several verses and write what they convey about Jesus' message. There are also questions aimed at revealing how people responded to Jesus' message. Reflection questions ask about identifying themes in Jesus' message, contemplating what might be missing from His message, and then summarizing His message.
Day 2: Another way to study the life of Christ is to look at His methods. Readers look up various passages to identify some of the methods Jesus used. Reflection questions ask readers to identify methods thought to be radical, methods missing in contemporary ministries, and methods that need to be developed personally.
Day 3: Dann wants to make sure his readers will not just concentrate on saying the right things (message) or acting the right way (methods). He wants Jesus' life to be a model, requiring a look at the complete pattern of His life. This requires looking at Jesus' humanity, His behavior as a man in real time and place. We look at our humanity in relation to His. Various verses are given, challenging readers to look beyond Jesus' message and method, identifying the example of His life.
Reflection questions ask about what is most challenging, if it is hard to believe one could think and act like Jesus, and if it is possible to miss the true meaning of Jesus' life.
Day 4: The reader is asked to look at two statements that summarize Christ's life and mission: the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Deeper reflection includes determining the context of the verses, how a lifestyle of “love” silences critiques, and what it means to make disciples who can make disciples.
Day 5: Jesus says, “Follow me.” (John 1:43; 21:22) The Greek is akoloutheow, “to walk in the steps of, to conform to, or to follow behind closely.” Jesus has blazed a trail and we are to follow. Readers look up verses describing Jesus' preincarnate existence. Next are verses describing Jesus' resurrected existence. Readers are reminded that we are not called to follow Christ in His preincarnate existence nor His resurrected existence, but his incarnate existence. Deeper reflection questions ask about how Jesus' existence as preincarnate and post-resurrection differ, are similar, what has been found most challenging this first week, and something realized.
And that is just one of the ten weeks of study! Other weeks concentrate on Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Jesus and prayer, Jesus and obedience, Jesus and the Word of God, Jesus exalting the Father, Jesus loving others, and Jesus discipling others.

This is an excellent study. It covers every aspect of life and how Jesus is our model. I highly recommend it.

The author's prayer is that this book would help people gain a fresh look at Christ and see His humanity as a model of how God intended us to live. Dann has been studying the life of Christ for over thirty-five years. He is continually finding new insights about living for Him.
Dann is the founder and director of Sonlife ministries and serves as a consultant to more than eighteen denominations developing youth and church leadership. He has written several leadership training manuals. He lives in Illinois with his wife and family.

There is more information online as Dann introduces each week at A leader's guide is also available at that site.

Moody Publishers, 181 pages of study. Publisher product information.

I received a complimentary copy of this study from Moody Publishers for the purpose of this review.

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