Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Thousand Ways to Die: The Only Way to Live

Author: Rick James
Publisher: David C. Cook
October 2010
ISBN 978-1-4347-0204-3
Genre: Religion/Christian Life

It’s cliché, but true: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I was attracted to review this book solely on the cover art; the foot of a deceased person in the morgue, with the title of the book used as a toe tag. And yet, it is NOT the foot of a deceased person; there is none of the indications of death. It is a healthy, vibrant foot that appears ready to get up and walk out of there.

Which is the point that Rick James is striving for, I believe.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24 (KJV)

“And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (KJV)

For the author, this is the secret ingredient of kingdom growth. “While we may not need to be tutored on the abundant life of the gospel, we need to be reacquainted with its more than abundant death. But don’t let this scare you; death isn’t quite the same since Christ consumed it. It’s been tamed and domesticated – it’s the bee without the sting. We no longer serve it – it serves us.” (pp. 17-18) For the author, death is the opportunity of a lifetime. Death doesn’t mean dead, in the kingdom of Christ; death merely makes resurrection possible.

In this thoughtful and provocative work, Rick James fleshes out what it means to embrace the cross, to die daily, and to live abundantly in the freedom of that state. He engages the reader from the beginning with illustrations and anecdotes of Biblical principles which support his thesis: death is no longer an enemy. death doesn’t need to be spelled with a capital “D” any longer. death is the door to eternal life; in this world, and in the next.

Wow. The writing is fresh, engaging, and powerful. He uses illustrations that people can connect with, and then bridges them to principles that will transform peoples lives. This is a life-changing book. 332 pages. $14.99.

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