by Jeff Kennon
In the cross, we discover not only who God is, but who we are made to be.
Who are we? This is one of the oldest questions, and the bottom-line answer is that we are created in the image of God. But when we ask what it means to live in the image of God, we cannot forget the cross. After all, God came, took on our likeness, and died on the cross. So what does it mean to live in the image of a God who is willing to die on a cross?
Though the cross is a well-known symbol in Western society, we are not prone to think of the cross as the key to our identity. Yet to discover the heart of God, and therefore who we are to be as his image bearers, it is to the cross that we must turn.
The journey of The Cross-Shaped Life takes readers into the story of God from creation to salvation, but it culminates in Paul’s words found in Philippians 2:5–11. It’s in these few verses that readers will discover that though our Western culture tells us that in order to find ourselves we must continue to acquire more prestige, power, and possessions, the truth is that we only discover who we truly are when we live lives of humility, service, and sacrifice on behalf of others.
Jeff Kennon is the director of the Baptist Student Ministry at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Paige, and three children, Krista, Justin, and Josh. He is a graduate of Texas Tech as well as Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees. In addition to working with college students and being an avid Texas Tech basketball fan, he is also a trained Intentional Interim Pastor. Check out jkennon.com to contact and connect with Jeff and to read his blog.
“In this insightful and readable book, Jeff Kennon tells the biblical story of how we are made to fulfill our human vocation by living a cruciform, or cross-shaped, life of service and sacrifice—of Christlike love for God and neighbor. Christians of all ages and churches need such a book, and such a life.”
—Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Baltimore
“Popular Christianity endorses the biblical command to imitate Christ, but Jeff Kennon reminds us that such imitation requires a cross. This book is a much-needed corrective to an upbeat, ‘God is in control,’ shallow, optimistic Christianity that discounts sacrifice and suffering. Kennon’s presentation of the grand biblical narrative reveals the truth of Jesus’s claim that the path to saving our lives is giving ourselves in service to others.”
—Fred Meeks, Emeritus Professor of Religion, Wayland Baptist University
“Too frequently, we forget that the great hope of the world is that as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, so shall we. Jeff Kennon unpacks the implications for this—what it means for understanding our humanity, and what it means for us as disciples of the God who took on flesh for us. Kennon gives us a great guide to recover what it means to be not simply a Christ worshipping people, but a Christ-formed people.”
—Myles Werntz, Director of Baptist Studies, Associate Professor of Theology, Abilene Christian University
“Jeff Kennon has gifted the church with a compelling call to cross-shaped living. Focusing on the ‘master story’ of Philippians 2:5–11, he shows how Jesus’s way of the cross becomes not only the source of our salvation but the shape of our lives. This book is a pleasure to read, offering a feast of helpful stories and insights from dialogue partners. But most of all, it invites us to practice lives of humility, sacrifice, and cruciform love.”
—Dean Flemming, PhD, Professor of New Testament at MidAmerica Nazarene University, author of Self-Giving Love: The Book of Philippians
“For much of my life and ministry, I have sought out the ‘more’ of Christian experience. The Cross-Shaped Life resonates with my desire to live out the deeper things of God and share that ‘more’ with others. This is a well-researched work that departs from trends and returns the reader to Christ’s cross for the foundation of all human life.”
—John Tanner, Pastor, Bono Baptist Church
“Cruciformity, a word not often used in church but described in Jeff’s book from the beginnings of Genesis to the pages of the New Testament. Jeff gives a clear biblical picture of what it means to be human in light of creation and the Cross. ‘I ask you therefore, will you follow Jesus? Will you give up seeking credentials, esteem, and power and instead focus on the needs around you? Will you not worry about what’s in it for me but instead, suffer if necessary, for the good of your neighbor? Will you be willing to be humiliated for the sake of standing up for the weak, the disenfranchised, and the hated? This is the path of the cross. This is cruciformity. This is living in God’s image. This is becoming human.’ Jeff’s words are counterculture, even counterculture to what we see in the Western Church. He opens up the richness of scripture to challenge the reader in how to follow Jesus!”
—Bruce McGowan, DMin, Retired, Texas Baptist Student Ministry Director Advocate of Dr. Jeff Kennon, servant to college students
“Reading The Cross-Shaped Life is like looking into a mirror to see if the cross is reflected in your life. It is a challenge to not only take a fresh look at the cross, but to embrace a life that leads to cruciformity. In a culture that hungers for prestige, it is a call to a humble obedience as exhibited by Jesus. It moves you from a biblical understanding of identity to practically living a life of obedience and sacrifice. The message of the cross is countercultural. Jeff Kennon’s writing will help you realign your life’s mission to be a cross-shaped mission, not a culture-shaped mission. I found myself not only eager to apply what I was learning but sharing concepts and portions of the book with our missionaries.”
—Brenda Sanders, Collegiate Missions Consultant, Texas Baptists, Go Now Missions
Demensions (inches) 5.5 x 8.25
Weight (pounds) .5