Posts Tagged ‘lord jesus’

The Way of the Christian Samurai: Reflections for Servant-Warriors of Christ [Kindle Edition]

April 21st, 2012

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Product Description
The Samurai were soldiers of feudal Japan who dedicated their lives entirely to their lords. In fact, the very title of samurai means “one who serves.” Legends of their skill, sacrifice, and service have been passed down for hundreds of years. As Christians, we are called to be both servants and soldiers of Christ. As this book demonstrates, there is much we can learn from the teachings and example of these legendary servant-warriors of Japan. We can respond to the call of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as Christian Samurai.

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Product Details
File Size: 219 KB
Print Length: 116 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0977223469
Publisher: Eternal Revolution; 1 edition (July 14, 2009)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B002HMCLGA
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Lending: Enabled

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Unique, Sound, and Very Practical August 22, 2007
By B. S. Copeland
Format:Paperback”If one were to say in a word what the condition of being a samurai is, its basis lies in seriously devoting one’s body and soul to his master…”

This quote, taken from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, appears on the back cover of WCS. As the quote illustrates, the teachings of the samurai are extremely relevant for Christians, for their single purpose in life was to serve their master and those around them. As the author points our in the book’s introduction, the title “samurai” literally means “one who serves.” The relevance of such a philosophy is obvious for Christians. We are called to deny ourselves and to serve God and our neighbor. However, in our selfish, individualistic culture, the idea of servant hood is entirely foreign to us and we tend to minimize the emphasis on the selfless nature of such servant hood.

The value of this book is in its ability to show us what true servant hood is by examples of the writings of the samurai of old. Of course, we have the perfect example of servant hood in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, it seems like we mythologize his selflessness because of the fact that Jesus is God. Its true that he is God, and that we can’t live up to his perfect display of sacrifice is undeniable. Nonetheless, we are called to live by his example and promised that the trials we face by imitating his self-denial will mature us to be more like him. I’m afraid that we Westerners have trouble living by Christ’s example because the mythological nature that we attach to his servant hood. What would help us is to see examples of people throughout history who lived by the philosophy of being servants who deny themselves on a daily basis to better serve their masters. God has provided us such examples in the samurai of the feudal period of Japan.

In the book, Paul Nowak deals with three main works written by the samurai and shows how their philosophy is practical to Christians. He also shows Scripture passages that parallel these teachings. Amazingly, many of the excerpts from the samurai works are basically rewordings of passages of Scripture. Quickly after I began reading the book I was absolutely amazed by the level of devotion that they aimed to live by. By no means am I more impressed with their example than I am by our Lord’s example. Rather, I was encouraged to see that these men actually displayed the self-denial and loyalty to their master that we are called to do. Keep in mind also, that the samurai were this committed to a fallen human. Our master is the perfect risen King who helps us by sending us his Spirit! How much better should our example of servant hood be? To me, it should be much better. Yet from the examples given in this book, we have a lot of work to do in order to surpass the pagan samurai in our devotion to our master.

After reading it, I have a much better sense of what service and self-denial is. More importantly, it has helped me see more clearly the example that Jesus set, and has encouraged me that I can do much more in imitating it. Also note that this is not one of those lame self-help books. It is thoroughly Christ-centered. It is also a very unique book. I’m pretty sure that it will be a while before I come across a book this unique in content, yet this sound in its message. I suggest this book to everyone but especially to people who are interested in Japanese culture, because it deals a lot with the writings of the legendary samurai who helped make the culture famous.

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Holy Warriors October 25, 2007
By Labarum VINE™ VOICE
Format:PaperbackA lot of people will get nervous about a book that suggests Christians have something to learn from the Samurai about how to serve the Lord. After all, weren’t the Samauri pagans? And doesn’t all of this reek of the sort of syncretism that attempts to equate all religions? It might except for two facts: Not all pagans were monsters and the modern West (including most of the Christians living there) have a lot to learn from the Samauri about the time honored concept of willing servitude.

Paul Nowak attempts to remedy that situation with The Way of the Christian Samurai. Consisting on excerpts from noted samauri masters (the samurai were a class of elite warriors in feudal Japan) with commentary noting applications to the Christian life, the book demonstrates how much modern society has lost in its quest for unrestrained egalitarianism. Certain passages in the New Testament – particularly those showing the deference given by the Apostles and others to Jesus (even before they knew His true nature as the Son of God) – can be misconstrued without understanding the cultural milieu wherein a respected figure was shown honor by those he visited and subservience by his followers. This is at odds with our own tradition on self-reliance to the point of self-centeredness that has led to the highly individualistic form of Christianity that has taken root in America (both on the liberal and conservative ends of the spectrum). The result is the claim of Jesus as Lord without fully grasping the import of claiming someone as Lord.

The samauri may not have been Christian but they did understand concepts that are applicable to the Christian life – often better than we. Integrity, loyalty, honor, service, courage, and self-sacrifice are all things that the samurai were instructed to live. Naturally, many failed in their personal lives but that is as true of Christian clerics as of samurai warriors. The important thing was that they understood the standard for which they strived while in many cases we in the postmodern world are oblivious to the existence of standards.

The excerpts on serving one’s lord are eye-openers for any Christian with a “soft” view of service that rarely goes beyond activities at their local church. The willingness of a warrior to give himself completely to his lord underscores what it means to make oneself part of the “body of Christ”. The Church, in this context, is not an abstract collection of like-minded individuals, but a concrete force sent out to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ a dying world.

To Nowak’s credit, he constantly emphasizes that the Samurai are not in any way Christian and the Samurai way is infinitely inferior to the Way of Christ. The samurai way is at times at odds with the Christian way and in these instances we are to reject the samurai teaching. However, we can learn how we are to serve our lord by the standards the samurai set in serving theirs. It is not a direct application of samurai teachings but one by analogy. It in a sense becomes comparable to how the early Church was able to utilize classical pagan philosopy in systematizing its own theology.

In all this talk of service, one might ask: What about freedom? Indeed, the Christian faith is certainly about freedom. It is about being freed from the bondage of sin but this freedom is found in placing oneself under the headship of Christ. Christians find freedom in becoming part of Christ’s body the Church when we place ourselves in service to Him. This does not at all correlate with the modern idea of freedom that insists we must follow our own desires, but looks back to a time when willingly placing oneself in the service of a great leader was considered a virtue not a vice.

The Way of the Christian Samurai is truly an unusual book among the many published that seek to link Christianity to various Eastern religions or philosophies. It’s uniqueness lies not in any success in doing so, but in its insistence that any such linkage must be judged by the known truths of the Christian faith. Given the limited focus of the book, its acknowledgment of the superiority Biblical teaching, and its usefulness in shedding light on often ignored facets of the Christian way, it is an important book that can be read with profit by those in the Church.

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Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

February 1st, 2012

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

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Book Description
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
What is Jesus worth to you?

It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…

But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?

In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple–then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a “successful” suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment–a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

Editorial Reviews
Review
Responses to Radical

“In his compelling new book, Radical, David Platt delivers a powerful picture of the church in America today that, on key points, stands in sharp contrast to what the Bible shows us about the person and purpose of Jesus Christ. David challenges Christians to wake up, trade in false values rooted in the American dream, and embrace the notion that each of us is blessed by God for a global purpose—to make Christ’s glory known to all the nations! This is a must-read for every believer!”
—Wess Stafford, president and CEO, Compassion Intl.

“We have moved into a generation of young leaders who have a passion to surrender the American dream if necessary in order to embrace fully, compassionately, and wholeheartedly a bigger dream—the Great Commission. I have never been challenged by an author more than I have by David Platt. Read Radical, be blessed, and be changed.”
—Johnny Hunt, president, Southern Baptist Convention, and pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock

“Radical will cause you to bounce on a spectrum between two words: ouch and amen. Tough truths do that. They challenge us to examine our lives and then choose the lasting over the temporary. Read Radical if you’re ready to live differently.”
—Gregg Matte, senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Houston

“David Platt’s book will leave anyone who sincerely engages with his challenge dissatisfied—and faced with a decision: What will authentic faith look like in my life? This book has the potential to revitalize churches today to practice a radical, biblical lifestyle that can transform society and reach a lost world.”
—Jerry Rankin, president, International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention

“The church of the Lord Jesus has been seduced by a skilled seductress: the American dream. David Platt exposes this enemy of authentic Christianity and provides a way of escape through a radical faith that leads to a radical obedience. I am not the same after reading it. I trust that will also be true for you.”
—Daniel L. Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“It is almost impossible to keep the idols of our own culture from influencing us, whether we want it to happen or not. This is certainly true when it comes to the so-called American dream. We need our eyes opened! We need to be called out! In this challenging and thoughtful book, David Platt shows us the way to live for Someone and something bigger.”
—Darrin Patrick, founding pastor, The Journey, St. Louis

“Sometimes people will commend a book by saying, ‘You won’t want to put it down.’ I can’t say that about this book. You’ll want to put it down, many times. If you’re like me, as you read David Platt’s Radical, you’ll find yourself uncomfortably targeted by the Holy Spirit. You’ll see just how acclimated you are to the American dream. But you’ll find here another Way, one you know to be true, because you’ve heard it before in the words of the Lord Jesus, perhaps most forcefully in the simple call ‘Follow me.’”
—Russell D. Moore, dean, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Through solid examination of the Scriptures and compelling testimonies from believers enduring persecution, my friend David Platt pulls back the curtain on subtle dangers weakening the church in our Western culture. Radical is the urgent call we need to care more about the spiritually lost and physically impoverished people of the world.”
—Ed Stetzer, president, LifeWay Research
About the Author
DAVID PLATT is the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a four-thousand-member congregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Widely regarded as an exceptional expositor, David has traveled and taught around the world. He holds two undergraduate and three advanced degrees, including a doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. David and his wife, Heather, live in Birmingham with their family.
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Product Details
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601422210
ISBN-13: 978-1601422217
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 5 ounces

Customer Reviews:
This review is from: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (Paperback)
In Radical, David Platt looks at how Christianity in America has become far too comfortable. He suggests that Americans have become more interested in pursuing the “American dream” than in fulfilling their obligations to Christ. Platt mentions that many Christians will go so far as to twist the Word of God to mean what they desire it to mean. With this in mind, Platt challenges the reader to a year-long journey to make radical changes for the cause of Christ.

Radical is the no-excuse, no-holds-barred work of a pastor who is fed up with what Christianity has become in America. In his passionate way, David Platt shares his burden about a Christian religion that has strayed far from what it is supposed to be. His book teaches and convicts readers. His goal is to help Christians see what they’re missing out on by holding back in their faith.

The book contains stories that will make you weep, as well as those that will shock you. It gives the readers a bold look at where Christians are failing in today’s society and how to bring about a positive change. Platt speaks with no apologies, and his message will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows, especially among the “religious” crowd. However, I found his radical statements to be true and straight down the line of what the Bible teaches.

Say “goodbye” to watered-down theology and “feel good” messages. While Platt’s message may not be popular, I believe it is God-sent.

This review is from: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (Paperback)
Radical, David Platt’s new book (his first) is a challenge to the American church to take back our faith from the “American Dream.” Platt, the pastor of four-thousand member The Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, pulls no punches, and somehow manages to disturb without offending.

In nine short and very readable chapters, he makes the case for a radical Christian faith–which SHOULD be the norm. He shows the shameful poverty of our faith amid the affluence of our lifestyles. He advocates a Great Commission mindset far beyond the tidy routines of our comfortable Christianity. He says, for example,

If Jesus is who he said he is, and if his promises are as rewarding as the Bible claims they are, then we may discover that satisfaction in our lives and success in the church are not found in what our culture deems most important but in radical abandonment to Jesus.

If people are dying and going to hell without ever even knowing there is a gospel, then we clearly have no time to waste our lives on an American dream.

Why would we ever want to settle for Christianity according to our ability or settle for church according to our resources?

After eight compelling chapters filled with writing like the above, Radical concludes with The Radical Experiment, a clarion call to “One year to a life lived upside down,” in which the reader is urged to commit to:

Pray for the entire world
Read through the entire Word
Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
Spend your time in another context
Commit your life to multiplying community

One might expect those challenges to seem like asking too much, particularly in light of some examples he gives. On the contrary, however, it is far more likely that the reader will be champing at the bit to rise to the challenge and respond to the call. In other words, ready to be radical.

This book was provided for review by the publisher, Multnomah Books.

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