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"I have never met a person whose goal was to ruin his or her life. We all want to be happy, and we want it all of the time." So begins James Bryan Smith in The Good and Beautiful Life. The problem is, he tells us, we have bought into false notions of happiness and success. These self-centered decisions lead us further into the vices that cause ruin: anger, lust, lying, worry and judging. Eventually we find ourselves living a beautifully packaged life of self-destruction. Following the Sermon on the Mount, this follow-up to The Good and Beautiful God guides us to look behind these character flaws and to replace our false beliefs with Jesus' narratives about life in the kingdom of God.
How to Get the Most Out of This Book
1 An Invitation to the Good Life
Soul Training: Writing a Letter to God
2 Getting Heaven in Us
Soul Training: Play
3 An Invitation to Blessedness
Soul Training: Hospitality
4 Learning to Live Without Anger
Soul Training: Keeping the Sabbath
5 Learning to Live Without Lust
Soul Training: Media Fast
6 Learning to Live Without Lying
Soul Training: Silence
7 Learning to Bless Those Who Curse Us
Soul Training: Praying for the Success of Competitors
8 Learning to Live Without Vainglory
Soul Training: Secret Service
9 Learning to Live Without Avarice
Soul Training: Deaccumulation
10 Learning to Live Without Worry
Soul Training: Prayer
11 Learning to Live Without Judging Others
Soul Training: A Day Without Gossip
12 Living in the Kingdom Day by Day
Soul Training: Living One Day Devotionally
Appendix: Small Group Discussion Guide
James Bryan Smith is the author of The Good and Beautiful God and the Apprentice series. He earned his MDiv at Yale and his DMin at Fuller and is a theology professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. He also serves as the director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation at Friends University.
A founding member of Richard J. Foster's spiritual renewal ministry, Renovaré, Smith is an ordained United Methodist Church minister and has served in various capacities in local churches. Smith is also the editor of A Spiritual Formation Workbook, Devotional Classics (with Richard Foster), Embracing the Love of God, Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven, and Room of Marvels.
"Jim Smith is the most articulate, accurate and helpful writer of spiritual formation of my generation. I give this series my highest recommendation."
Todd D. Hunter, author of Giving Church Another Chance
"The Apprentice Series the the best practice I have seen in Christian spiritual formation."
Dallas Willard, author of The Divine Conspiracy
"The Apprentice Series is a treasure. Dr. Smith has thought long and hard about the process of human transformation into the likeness of Jesus. I urge you to buy these books immediately! Read them and apply them. Then live them out in the context of a loving community. You will not regret doing so."
Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and coauthor of Longing for God