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The Ordinary Hero: Living the Cross and Resurrection [Paperback]

Tim Chester
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 May 2009
The cross and resurrection provide the pattern for discipleship today, calling Christians to a radical new way of living.
The Ordinary Hero invites us to :
live out the radical implications of grace
apply the way of the cross: sacrificial love and service, to every area of life
accept the pattern of suffering followed by glory as normal
pursue spiritual power, not for its own sake, but in order to live the weakness of the cross
embark on risk-taking lives because we're focussed on the world to come

Says the author, 'This book strikes a note that is rarely heard today. In particular, the important themes of suffering followed by glory, and the hiddenness of the Christian life, are all but absent in contemporary Christian thought.'
The book concludes with a powerful story of an ordinary hero.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press (15 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844743772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844743773
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Dr Tim Chester is a director of the Porterbrook Institute which provides affordable, Bible-college level training for church leadership and missional church in the context of your ministry (www.porterbrookinstitute.org). He is a leader of The Crowded House, a church planting network (www.thecrowdedhouse.org). He blogs at www.timchester.co.uk. He has previously been Research and Policy Director for Tearfund UK and a part-time lecturer in missiology. He is the author of a number of books and series editor of The Good Book Guides (The Good Book Company). He is married with two daughters.

Product Description

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION

What's really important to you? What matters? Here's God's answer to that question. `For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures' (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

This book is about what it means to follow the Christ who died and who was raised. How should the cross and resurrection shape our lives? What difference do they make on a Monday morning?

One of the phrases the New Testament often uses to describe Christians is `in Christ' or `united to Christ'. You and I are in Christ. This means his death is our death and his life is our life. It means his cross is our model and his resurrection is our hope.

Perhaps rather surprisingly, when the New Testament writers tell us how we should live, they don't often point back to the life of Jesus. Instead they take us again and again to the cross and resurrection. Whether they're talking about marriage or conflict or community or money or opposition or leadership or temptation or work or suffering, they look to the cross and resurrection. So if you want to know how to live as a Christian, you need to understand how the cross and resurrection shape our lives. The pattern of the cross and resurrection needs to become our reflex, our habit, our instinct. We need to live the cross and resurrection.

I've tried to write without jargon words. But there's one exception, a technical word it's very difficult to manage without: the word `eschatology' or `eschatological'. Eschaton is the Greek word for `the last things', so `eschatology' is the doctrine of the last things or the future age. The complication is that the last things have already begun in history with the resurrection of Jesus. We already live in the last days. Paul says we are those `on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come' (1 Corinthians 10:11). Most Jews expected a last day, the day of the Lord, when God would intervene in history, defeat his enemies, raise the dead and vindicate his people. But with the coming of Jesus, this one event became two. Jesus has come and he is coming. The new age has begun, even as the old age continues, so that they overlap. This means the future is now and not yet. It means a past event can be `eschatological'. The resurrection of Jesus was an eschatological event: it took place in the past, but it was also the first act of the coming age. The church is an eschatological community: we live under the reign of the coming King. We're the place on earth where the future is already taking shape. So it's an `-ology' word, but we can't really do without `eschatology'. It's very hard to avoid it without replacing it with a couple of sentences each time. Sorry.

The death and resurrection of Jesus are the most extraordinary events in human history. That God's promised Saviour King should die was beyond comprehension for the people of his day. It was unthinkable. That the Son of God, God incarnate, Emmanuel, God with us, should die is extraordinary. And that he should be crucified, cursed, shamed, and die under God's judgment, abandoned by the Father - for the Jews this was weakness; for the Greeks it was foolishness. Yet this is the power and wisdom of God. It's the pivot of history, the centrepiece, even the purpose of history.

And then Jesus rose again. Whoever heard of a dead man coming back to life? A dead man now living. A condemned man now vindicated. This isn't just an historical event. It's an event that pushes the boundaries of history. It signals the end of history. It's the future invading history.

But here's the point I want to make. The cross and resurrection are extraordinary events that create extraordinary lives. When we are shaped by the cross and resurrection, our ordinary lives become exceptional, special, heroic. We become ordinary heroes.

Tim Chester


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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What does it really mean to follow Jesus. Health & wealth? Healing from sickness & pain? Perfect home life and deep, unfailingly fulfilling relationships?

How about following Jesus to the cross, taking up our own and following him in a 'long obedience in the same direction' (to quote another author, empowered by the forgiveness of the cross and the hope of the resurrection?

Christianity comes in many different forms. But only those that have the cross and resurrection of Jesus at their heart are the real deal.

Tim Chester does a good job in Ordinary Heroes to give an clear and readable explanation of what the Bible teaches on discipleship. It has been counter-cultural ever since Jesus taught it. This book is a fresh reminder of that. It is good stuff.

Why only 4 stars? Well nobody's perfect; but I would not know how to improve it!
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Still reading this amazing book. If anyone reading this is not a Christian you may not understand how a book about Christ, a cross and death can be so wonderful, but, this book get to the heart of how much Christ has done for a lost and found sinner, especially a tired world weary one, and re focusses you on the cross, His death, resurrection (yes its true He arose!) the power that gives, and where we will be after death and in eternity once saved by faith. That's for the ordinary everyday person. I look forward to the chapter ... 'the adventure of hope! Don't we just need that?
Hope you find the courage to get this book and read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Core 25 July 2011
Format:Paperback
This book is deeply biblical. Tim Chester explains what God has done, what this means for us, what the realities of modern life are, and how we should live as a consequence. Jesus said anyone following him was to take up their cross, and He established the pattern of suffering followed by glory. Unlike many weighty theological books, this one brings it home and shows what it means to do this in everyday, ordinary life. 10/10.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that makes me want to sing! 8 Nov 2013
By Nathan B. Shaver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
"During May 1738, Charles Wesley began reading Martin Luther's volume on Galatians while ill. He wrote in his diary, "I labored, waited, and prayed to feel 'who loved me, and gave himself for me.'" He shortly found himself convinced, and journaled, "I now found myself at peace with God, and rejoice in hope of loving Christ." Two days later he began writing a hymn celebrating his conversion." (Christianity Today, [...]
Ordinary Hero is a call to live a life shaped by the one "who loved me, and gave himself for me." Chester roots the call to discipleship firmly in the soil of Gospel truth, a welcome characteristic of his his writing. He clearly displays God's love and justice in the opening chapters that lead us toward humble confidence in God's purposes.
Chester wants us to consider how the cross and resurrection of Christ take shape in our lives as we sacrifice, serve, submit, deny self, and suffer in this life as we hope in the promise of bodily resurrection. His trademark of making direct application of the presented truth litters the pages of every chapter. He knows how to bring the proposition home to our hearts and gives us practicals ways to work it out in our members.
Eschatology is a key component of this work, but the untrained reader need not be intimidated. Chester's presentation stirs in us a desire to live in the already and not yet framework by biblically defining what the esoteric word means for the here and now and the future to come. His understanding is robustly biblical and shapes everything he writes about. A page rarely gets turned without being confronted with biblical citations.
This book stirred in me a deeper love for what God done has in Christ, for sinners like me. My heart has been enlivened to seek opportunities to live a cross shaped life with resurrection hope. One cannot help being stirred to live in the Spirits power within the context of Gods new community while reading Ordinary Hero. Very grateful for this work. Like Wesley's response to Luther, this book leads me to want to write a hymn of praise for what God has done for me in Christ.
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