Food for the Soul
4/23/09 at 03:54 PM 0 Comments

Ferris Wheel or Thrill Ride?

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Dying to Live by Clive Calver
Dying to Live by Clive Calver

Dying with Christ

is the only true way to live

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." - Matthew 10:39

It's been said that Christianity is a "great adventure" marked by remarkable freedom and a heightened understanding of the value and sanctity of each moment. Christian faith is often represented as though it were a day at a theme park, replete with wild rides, wonderful surprises, and tantalizing perks and rewards. Many of us were attracted to Christianity because it offered something unique and inspiring: the opportunity to live a life marked by the same kind of power that rolled away the stone and raised Christ from the dead. But there's a problem-the power that drew us to the faith is conspicuously absent from our daily lives. What was once an exciting thrill ride of Spirit and emotion has turned into a slow and monotonous grind on the Ferris wheel of life.

In his new book, Dying to Live, Clive Calver tells how the excitement that characterized his conversion was slowly replaced by a melancholy and empty faith. He recounts the powerful realizations that led him back to a genuine and full faith in Christ that is richer than ever before. Calver gives some wonderful insight on 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. This power and abundance, according to Calver, can only be attained 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 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 "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, he brings hope to those stuck on the Ferris wheel of faith that greater power-even the power of the resurrection-awaits those who die to live.

Dying to Live by Clive Calver
Authentic Publishing March 2009
ISBN: 978-1-934068-80-9/154 pages/softcover/$16.99

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