A true stimulus in a spiritual recession
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." - Matthew 10:39
These are some crazy times. We find ourselves in the midst of an economic crisis and an uncertain future. Our politicians are scrambling for solutions, Wall Street is teetering on the brink, and the average American is struggling with, or knows someone who's struggling with, job loss and financial ruin. Many analysts contend that this crisis is a corrective, a shift in the direction of our economy resulting in necessary adjustments that will ultimately lead to a more balanced financial framework. Regardless of the explanation, people are scared, and they're looking for something not only to stimulate the economy, but also to stimulate their search for meaning in life.
In his new book, Dying to Live, Clive Calver offers a powerful corrective to the human soul that injects hope and peace into a world that is looking for something real. Calver gives some wonderful insight into what it means to "re-start" a stale Christianity in favor of a walk with God that is marked by true power and abundant life. But Calver's proposed stimulus isn't found in a surface Christianity filled with the excesses of legalism and emotionalism. Instead, he sets forth the idea that true life, true power, and true stimulus can only be achieved through death.
Dying to Live is in the same vein as the great writings of Francis Schaeffer, who often wrote about "the centrality of death" in the Christian life. Calver writes that, in his own experience, "It was becoming clear that Jesus' death on the cross had achieved two things: It showed me the way to live and it showed me the way to die." Death for the believer means transformation through the work of Jesus and not "self-improvements in my old life."
After seven years as head of World Relief, a ministry dedicated to partnering with the local church to help the most vulnerable people on the planet, Calver decided to return to pastoral ministry in order to teach the church what he had learned about living a life of lasting impact and eternal meaning. Dying to Live embodies Calver's long running commitment to presenting a clear picture of the gospel in a way that is seminary deep, yet dinner table authentic.
More than anything, Calver's message in Dying to Live bucks the trend of much of today's Christian literature by warning against the excesses of "programs and processes" that lead to greater individual benefits. Instead, he argues, "When we stop trying to prove or to improve ourselves, God can step into our lives in a fresh way." Rather than offering works-based platitudes and step-by-step plans for growth, Calver simply and effectively calls us to "surrender our inner nature and priorities for a higher purpose."
Dying to Live deals with the epic themes of crucifixion, surrender, sacrifice, giving, and exchange in a way that points believers to give up their own efforts in light of the completed efforts of Christ. Calver calls on the power of death to bring the thrill and spark back to the Christian life. In so doing, his stimulus plan brings hope to those mired in a recession of the soul.
Dying to Live by Clive Calver
Authentic Publishing March 2009
ISBN: 978-1-934068-80-9/154 pages/softcover/$16.99