The symbol for Christian faith is a man nailed to a wooden cross. It could have been something like the Wal-Mart yellow smiley, but it's not. More than lepers and mustard seeds, death is the dominant New Testament metaphor for the Christian life. This book is about the little "d" of death that shows up in endless ways in our lives. We might never die for our witness, but our reputation sure can. And we can all experience the death of a dream, a job, a relationship, a hoped-for future. There's no need to push or shove or wait in line; everyone gets a chance to die.
When Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him, he is describing a path of death, not a path to death. By focusing on death merely as an event, we've failed to see it as a process, and thus missed or avoided its many smaller manifestations. We think of death as and ending, rather than as the vehicle by which we experience life. Death is the means by which we walk in, and live out, the resurrected life. If it's life that you want, then consider A Million Ways to Die. You'll be on the road to resurrection from deadening religiosity into vital, abundant life with God.
About The Author:
Rick James is Publisher of Crupress, the publishing arm of Campus Crusade. A graduate of Syracuse University (BFA) and of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.Div.), he worked in advertising before entering ministry. His work as Copywriter and Art Director at Young & Rubicam, New York garnered awards including several Addy's and an Andy. After a series of spiritual "coincidences," Rick and his wife, Katie, felt God leading them into full-time Christian ministry. Responding to that call, without being quite sure of where God was leading, Rick resigned from his job at Young and Rubicam and by faith walked away from Madison Avenue. Soon after, he and his wife joined the campus staff withCampus Crusade for Christ. They ministered on campus for six years during which Rick was the Campus Director at Rutgers University in New Jersey. In 1993 he took on the role of Director of Ministry Expansion for the Mid-Atlantic states, pioneering new campus ministries involving several thousand students.
Starting in the late 1990s Rick began functioning in several different roles and increasingly devoted time to speaking and teaching, traveling to dozens of campuses and conferences each year and speaking to thousands of students. He also began to speak evangelistically to college audiences and engaged in evangelistic debates. He was also invited to lead several national development projects, including rewriting the Bible study and discipleship material of Campus Crusade, as well as conducting several national media campaigns.
Rick has been on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for twenty-one years. In his current role he is responsible for writing, producing, and marketing ministry resources to staff and students. He also serves the ministry as an adjunct to Research & Development as well as a major conference speaker.
Rick has written almost all of Campus Crusade's recent ministry materials: Bible study and discipleship curriculum, devotionals, books, magazines, apologetics and evangelistic tools (he has written and designed most of the CruPress resources.) Books written for Campus Crusade staff and students include: Postcards from Corinth and Flesh: An Unbreakable Habit of Purity in a Pornographic World.Ministry resources he has created can be viewed at CruPress.com. This is his third project in which he has sought publication outside of Campus Crusade. His Jesus Without Religion (IVP, 2007) has sold 114,000 copies. Moody Press paid him to ghostwrite Porn Nation (Moody, 2007) for author Michael Leahy. He has also written for John Maxwell's Catalyst, and for Relevant magazine.
Rick and his wife, Katie, have three children and live in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Over the last few months I have read a number of books that challenged me to really think about how I am living as a Christian. Am I really living like Jesus challenges his disciples to live - to take up my cross, die to self, and follow Him, despite what may happen because of it?
I can say for sure not near as much as I should, and I was reminded of this as I read A Million Ways To Die: The Only Way To Live by Rick James. I was a very easy to read and understand book that implores Christians to really "die to self" and live for Him in all that we do. You will be both challenged and inspired as you work through James' book, which is written in a very relational, friendly style (I much appreciated this).
Here is one statement made in the book that has really resonated for me:
" I have no idea what it will be like to love and worship God in heaven. But whatever it's like, it will not involve the endurance of suffering and evil. We have an opportunity that comes around only once every eternity to express our love through sacrifice. Each day contains opportunities to die little deaths in order to demonstrate and declare our love for God and those we value most - a unique window of opportunity that only a fallen world can provide" (p. 302)
If you want to be challenged to be bold in your walk with God, I highly recommend reading this book. You will not be disappointed. I know I sure wasn't.
BUY IT: You can purchase A Million Ways To Die by Rick James online, directly through David C. Cook - it is also available through your local Christian bookseller
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of The B and B Media Group Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***