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To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain

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To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain
Author Matt Chandler & Jared C. Wilson
Narrator David Cochran Heath
Runtime 5.6 Hrs. - Unabridged
Publisher christianaudio
Downloads ZIP M4B MP3
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Using Paul's radical letter to the Philippians as his road map, Matt Chandler forsakes the trendy to invite readers into authentic Christian maturity.


The short book of Philippians is one of the most quoted in the Bible, yet Paul wrote it not for the popular sound bites, but to paint a picture of a mature Christian faith. While many give their lives to Jesus, few then go on to live a life of truly vibrant faith.


In this disruptively inspiring book, Chandler offers tangible ways to develop a faith of pursuing, chasing, knowing, and loving Jesus. Because if we clean up our lives but don't get Jesus, we've lost! So let the goal be Him. To live is Christ, to die is gain—this is the message of the letter. Therefore, our lives should be lived to Him, through Him, for Him, with Him, about Him—everything should be about Jesus.

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Using Paul's radical letter to the Philippians as his road map, Matt Chandler forsakes the trendy to invite readers into authentic Christian maturity.


The short book of Philippians is one of the most quoted in the Bible, yet Paul wrote it not for the popular sound bites, but to paint a picture of a mature Christian faith. While many give their lives to Jesus, few then go on to live a life of truly vibrant faith.


In this disruptively inspiring book, Chandler offers tangible ways to develop a faith of pursuing, chasing, knowing, and loving Jesus. Because if we clean up our lives but don't get Jesus, we've lost! So let the goal be Him. To live is Christ, to die is gain—this is the message of the letter. Therefore, our lives should be lived to Him, through Him, for Him, with Him, about Him—everything should be about Jesus.

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Insight Into Philippians
To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain by Matt Chandler and Jared C. Wilson is a solid commentary on the book of Philippians and its applications to Christians lives today. It starts with a quite helpful historical and cultural introduction to the period when the book was written and some insight into Apostle Paul, the author of the book.

The main focus of the book is on spiritual maturity and going beyond being a Christian who relies on others to give them spiritual food and being able to devour the word of God for themselves. With reference to the book of Philippians, he goes through several attributes of a spiritually mature person such as fearing God, humbly and passionate pursuing God and rejoices even in the hard times.

Personally I found this book a bit forgettable but that could just have been that I was having a busy week at the time and didn't really latch onto the heart of the book. It does have some good points but not life changing based on my experience.

The narration was well done, as it was easy to listen to and it flowed nicely.

This book would be great for anyone looking for more insight into the book of Philippians and how it applies to their life today.

This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 3/8/2014)
What I Needed to Hear
Lately I have been listening to more and more audio books. It is so convenient to listen in the car, in the kitchen, or during the afternoon when I rest a bit. Recently, I finished To Live Is Christ/To Die is Gain by Matt Chandler. One of my favorite books in the Bible is Philippians and I was excited to listen to this new book. The narrator, David Cochran Heath, does an excellent job and I enjoyed listening to him.

There is nothing new or profound in this book and that's ok. Sometimes we just need a reminder of what the Christian life is all about. Matt reminded me over and over that my sanctification is not a one-time deal...that I will continue to grow and mature in Christ every day. And this takes work; not work to be saved but to grow. He reminds the reader that "while we are not saved by our striving and in fact saved from our striving, we are also saved to our striving--a striving after Christ." It was a good reminder that I need to also be striving to live out my salvation.

The book as a whole was a great encouragement to me to focus on Christ, to put Him first, to rejoice in Him, and to live for Him. I appreciate that message!

Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audiobooks at christianaudio.com.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 11/13/2013)
Excellent Bible teaching in a helpful, accessible style.
To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain, was the first book I’ve read by Matt Chandler. Chandler is a young pastor in Dallas who faced a scary ordeal with a brain tumor, but whose testimony shone through even the darkest days of suffering. Chandler is connected with the Acts 29 church planting network and the Gospel Coalition. I jumped at the chance to read this book, thinking he would open up to some of his own struggles at death’s door. I didn’t find that, but I did find a lot of excellent teaching in a helpful, accessible style.

The book is a Bible study on the book of Philippians, and a masterful one at that. Chandler draws you in to the text, fleshes out helpful context by describing Paul’s mission to Philippi and at one point sketching the entire life story of the Apostle Paul. Chandler can paint a picture well, and he also has a pulse on where the average church attender is, spiritually. His book challenges and woos, it focuses on the Gospel and attacks any kind of legalism, yet he is inviting and encouraging too. He shares a lot of stories, many of his own life and family, but only once does he briefly touch on his struggle with cancer. But that aside, the book is an excellent treatment of perhaps the most loved epistle of Paul.

The Christian Audio version of the book plays nicely, although I missed hearing Chandler’s voice do the reading. Having heard him in person and listened to an mp3 online, his distinctive voice would make the title even more appealing. But the reading is done very well, and easy to listen to. I enjoyed To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain as I drove back and forth to work, and it made for an excellent devotional time as I prepared for my day. In any format, this would make for a great devotional read. The message of Philippians will challenge you to live a joyful, confident Christian life, that doesn’t shrink from declaring the gospel and living a sacrificial life for Christ’s glory, whether we live or die.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by christianaudio.com as part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.

Overall
Review by / (Posted on 10/17/2013)
The Value of Spiritual Maturity
We’ve all met people who self-identify as Christians for no reason other than a hazily remembered response to an altar call from their youth. If these individuals did not self-identify as Christians, no one who knows them would have the slightest reason to suspect the ‘heart change’ that took place years back. If they are Christians at all (a matter up for debate, to be sure), they are far from mature believers.

However, even among the more obviously sincere believers, maturity can be hard to find. This is due largely to the simple fact that maturity is hard. It’s easier to stick with the milk; the meat can be tough to digest. But Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in the Dallas area and president of the Acts 29 network of churches, wants to encourage his readers to take the plunge into spiritual maturity—or, to continue Paul’s metaphor, to rip off a big ol’ hunk of steak and get chewing. The framework for this discussion of spiritual maturity is Paul’s letter to the Philippian church—as Chandler points out, the only church that doesn’t get a reprimand for blatant immorality or bad doctrine. But even though the letter is rebuke-free, it’s full of challenging material and admonitions to pursue spiritual maturity.

Chandler begins by looking to the book of Acts for some information on the background of the church at Philippi—a church that began with the conversion of Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. (Chandler likens her to a successful fashion designer—a Coco Chanel, perhaps, or a Donatella Versace—though I’m not sure there’s a biblical case for all the assumptions he makes.) The church eventually includes a slave girl once under the control of demons (though again, I’m not sure we know from Scripture that she became a believer; it’s certainly possible that the demon was exorcised and she went her merry way without believing at all) and the jailer who imprisoned Paul and Silas before his own miraculous conversion. It is to this church that Paul is writing.

Having explained to us a little bit about the church, Chandler spends the rest of the book describing the attributes of one who is spiritually mature: He lives a life worthy of the gospel (Chapter 2), he fears the Lord (Chapter 3), he is humble (Chapter 4), he passionately pursues Christ (Chapter 5), he is broken and open about his sin (Chapter 6), he is discontented with and fights that sin (Chapter 7), he is centered on the gospel (Chapter 8), he rejoices in the Lord even in hard times (Chapter 9), he trusts God instead of worrying (Chapter 10), he seeks to glorify Christ regardless of his circumstances (Chapter 11), and he is content—a skill he learns from the Scriptures (Chapter 12).

In his previous book, The Explicit Gospel, Chandler directly addressed the tendency of the modern American church to just ‘assume’ the gospel—to take it for granted that those in attendance knew the gospel already, and just go from there. This tendency, Chandler argued, resulted in a heckuva lot of folks who, despite warming the pews for a really long time, never really understood the gospel at all. He made a convincing case for explicitly sharing the gospel on a regular basis. He spotted a problem and wrote to address it.

This is not that sort of book (though it does include the anecdote of the ‘fainting goats’ that was previously featured in The Explicit Gospel). Instead, it’s a general exhortation to Christians to progress toward the spiritual maturity outlined in the book of Philippians. It will come as no surprise to those familiar with Matt Chandler and his work that this book is soundly orthodox (notwithstanding some narrative liberties taken with the text). Chandler’s discussion of Christian maturity is spot on, and certainly convicting.

Near as I can figure, this ‘new’ book is really just his 2009 Philippians video/DVD sessions (with accompanying study guide) repackaged in book format. I don’t know why it’s been repackaged as a book, but then I guess it doesn’t hurt to put out another gospel-oriented book on Philippians.

Chandler is at his best when he describes real-life anecdotes applying the truths he’s learned—specifically, the health struggles endured by himself and his family. Discussions of ‘rejoicing in all circumstances’ really gain credibility when the author relates, for example, the horror of watching an ambulance speed off to an unknown hospital, his seizing infant son and worried wife inside. His discussion of his own harrowing and spiritually challenging experiences resonated with me a lot more than his attempts to ‘fill in’ the narrative details of biblical stories.

I confess I wasn’t blown away by the writing (though it’s certainly not the worst I’ve read from the pen of a pastor—those who are gifted speakers are not, after all, necessarily gifted writers). Then again, that may have been due, at least in part, to the fact that I listened to the audiobook version (not read by Chandler, sadly), and these sorts of works tend to be better absorbed in paper format. If nothing else, it’s a lot easier to take notes and mark helpful or challenging passages when you’re holding an actual book.

Still, if you’re looking for a solid study on the book of Philippians, and/or if you or someone you know is looking to grow past young faith into greater maturity, you could do a lot worse than this book.

I received this audiobook for free from ChristianAudio.com in connection with their Reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 10/2/2013)
on the book of Phillipians
I have finished listening to a book called To Live Is Christ To Die Is Gain by Matt Chandler and Jared C. Wilson and is read by David Cochran Heath.

About the book:
The short book of Philippians is one of the most quoted in the Bible, yet Paul wrote it not for the popular sound bites, but to paint a picture of a mature Christian faith. While many give their lives to Jesus, few then go on to live a life of truly vibrant faith.

In this disruptively inspiring book, Chandler offers tangible ways to develop a faith of pursuing, chasing, knowing, and loving Jesus. Because if we clean up our lives but don't get Jesus, we've lost! So let the goal be Him. To live is Christ, to die is gain—this is the message of the letter. Therefore, our lives should be lived to Him, through Him, for Him, with Him, about Him—everything should be about Jesus.

My thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up to review this book. At first it was hard for me to get into the book and follow along as I listened. For this reason I would like to listen to the first couple of chapters again and see if I get anything new out of it. I did enjoy the book though the longer I listened and was encouraged as a Christian. Philippians is one of my favorite books of the Bible and as the author says there are many well-quoted verses from this book. What stuck out to me was to be reminded that these were not just nice little sayings. To be reminded of what Paul was living and had endured was an encouragement to me. I also liked how the author talked about early Christians in great detail. This made these Christians seem more real to me than they have previously reading about them.

The narrator David Cochran Heath did a good job reading and I enjoyed listening to him read.

I received this book for my review from the christianaudio Reviewers Program.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 9/25/2013)
Good book for the newer believer.
I listened to this audiobook anticipating a life story revolving around the scripture which Paul gives in in Philippians emphasizing that whatever happens to us in our life, it is all part of God’s plan for our lives.

Unfortunately instead of listening to a life-story, this book is one more study of the meaning of Biblical texts.

It appears from his descriptions, that he leads a “seeker friendly church.” I also belong to a seeker-friendly church in which the pastor dresses more casually and the music is quite contemporary. I hear many, many instances of people coming to the church with a friend or just plain to check out the church only to find a very friendly, warm, inspiring church family.

The difficulty in churches such as the author’s and ours, is helping new believers grow in Christ and become mature Christians. Matt Chandler appears to be addressing this need through this book. He brings contemporary language and examples into the book frequently to illustrate his points in a way that is understandable to the new believer.

For me, the book contained very little that was new to a mature Christian. For this reason, I can recommend the book to anyone who wants a better understanding of living life for Christ in all of life’s circumstances but I cannot recommend the book to someone who is already mature in Christ and has a substantial knowledge of the scriptures.

I was given a free audio version of this book for my agreement to review it but this has not influenced my personal impressions of the book.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 9/24/2013)
A good series of topical messages on the Christian life
To Live is Christ to Die is Gain Matt Chandller and Jared….

If you are looking for an in-depth study of the book of Philippians keep on looking. This is not it--not that Matt Chandlers’ book based on the book of Philippians isn’t good or worthwhile. It just isn’t a deep book. It is more like topical messages on the Christian life using Philippians as a base of operations.

In his opening chapter the author writes that Philippians contains a lot of coffee cup verses, verses that get printed on coffee cups and T shirts. For example, “For me to live is Christ” or “I can do all things through Christ” are favorite slogans for cups and T shirts. Chandler basically takes these “coffee cup” verses to talk about what the Christian life should be. For that reason it is a good book especially for new believers. What I am looking for in a book on Philippians is language study and cultural context.

That being said I appreciated Matt’s introduction to the church in Philippi. In a section entitled “The Blessed Backstory” he talks about the first coverts and gives them flesh. Lydia is not just a seller of purple, she is a fashionista. The jailer is the blue collar guy sitting in the pew, tired and bidding his time until kick off.

There are some memorable lines, Nobody stumbles into godliness ever. ... There is no autopilot mode for the Christian life. I also appreciated Chapter 9 Rejoice. It reminds us of the context of the book, Paul in prison but the gospel unfettered.

I have not heard Matt Chandler preach so I don’t know if the audio version did justice to his preaching style but I thought the narrator did a good job with timbre and modulation. My one pet peeve with most narrators I have heard from christianaudio.com is pronouncing Jesus’ (the possessive) as “Jesuses”. I know that is an accepted pronunciation but I find it grating.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 9/23/2013)
Excellent exposition of Philippians
Matt Chandler is a man who lives, breathes, preaches, and writes about the wondrous gospel of Christ. I want to be more like him. Because of his battle with brain cancer, he understands mortality and suffering more than most who live in America. I can’t think of a better person to take on an exposition of the book of Philippians for the masses than him. And that is exactly what he sets out to provide with his excellent book, To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain.

Chandler introduces the book as a commentary of sorts on Philippians, but one that focuses on the picture of true Christian maturity that Philippians provides. He admits that Philippians contains many famous “coffee mug verses,” and one of his stated goals is to restore the grittiness of Philippians. One of the ways he does this is by rooting the book in its historical context, and demonstrating how the Apostle Paul, the writer of Philippians, lived out the principles put forth in his famous letter.

As I was reading, I had the sense of Chandler preaching the words to me. Almost like the book is one long, extended sermon. I mean that in a good way, because it’s a very good sermon! I had the same experience reading another of his books, The Explicit Gospel. The words are full of passion and insight, and he doesn’t hold back from taking on difficult concepts. However, the book remains accessible and intensely personal. I found myself squirming more than a little as Chandler unpacked some of Paul’s more extreme statements (“Do not be anxious about ANYTHING,” “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS,” “…if ANYTHING is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” etc.) Paul intents his readers to actually live this stuff out, Chandler reminds us, and it’s only possible through the gospel of Christ.

What amazing picture of Christian maturity Philippians presents us! And what a masterful job Matt Chandler does drawing our attention to it! Like Philippians itself, To Live is Christ… is more descriptive than prescriptive; meaning Chandler lets the Bible speak for itself and leaves the reader to apply the principles to his or her life. This isn’t a book about process; this is a book about the ideal we all strive for. And isn’t that what we lose sight of most often? Maybe we don’t need more “discipleship” programs. Maybe we need to be completely captivated by Jesus as both our Savior and our perfect Example of humility, trust, joy, and peace. Paul was, Chandler is, and we should be.

To top it all off, David Cochran Heath does an excellent job narrating the audiobook version. I highly recommend this book.

Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 9/23/2013)
Very Good
I received this book courtesy of Christian Audio for the purpose of writing a review.

Narrator Thoughts: I have heard Matt Chandler preach several times. The narrator did a pretty good job of conveying the message, he didn't convey the passion that Matt and Jared put into the book. It was good, just not as good as it could have been.

Book Thoughts: I enjoyed this book in many ways. It encouraged me to look to Christ and not focus on myself. His thoughts about finding everything that we need in Christ was reaffirming everything that God has been teaching me. They weren't new thoughts, but I liked the passion and presentation of this message. All-in-all a great book.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 9/18/2013)
Some endearing an some dangerous qualities
This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute (www.desertbibleinstitute.com).

In his book To Live is Christ; To Die is Gain Matt Chandler often makes allusions to the relaxed approach he and his congregation take to such issues as dress, titles, and other perceived superficial formalities. This cavalier approach ends up being the mixed curse-blessing of this book. While Chandler clearly takes his relationship with God very seriously, he periodically doesn’t seem to take himself or his audience all that seriously. This casual attitude makes the topics in his book very approachable; however, it causes Chandler to gloss over (over even misrepresent) some important theological issues and may leave his more conservative readers feeling slighted by his nonchalant tone on serious, heart-felt topics.
Early on in the book, there are a number of strong qualities. One of the most obvious is how Chandler makes great parallels between the importance of physical and spiritual growth. Additionally, he is vibrantly clear on how man was made to become physically, mentally, and spiritually strong over time – not instantly. To a lesser degree, he also ties this into the concept that sanctification is a process while salvation is a gift. The problem that he runs into early on (and throughout his writing) is that in many of his attempts to contemporize biblical people or events he injects more than the Bible says. Clearly, he means to make his writing more accessible by doing this, but what results is a lot of unsubstantiated guesswork that often is not presented as such. In doing this, Chandler falls prey to the same issue that a number of contemporary pastors do. When a teacher lays down false assumptions as his groundwork, his conclusions are not only questionable but dangerous. In the end, Chandler was far more on the mark than he was off the mark; however, bad methodology is never something to ignore.
Later in the book, one of Chandler’s most redeeming qualities was his analogies. He shares a number of stories (the lion and the goat was a particularly good one) that help the reader understand his point. Here he is not embellishing what the Bible says; but instead, he is showing how the Spirit taught him about important, complex, scriptural ideas. He combines this with rapid-fire, point-by-point scripture references these sections of his book both scholarly and endearing. Unfortunately, this scholarly quality is often offset by regular use of the vernacular and slang to such an extent as to border on profane in one or two spots.
By the end of the book, I liked it for its approachability and analogies, but I would not recommend it due to its surface interpretations and overall common feel. If you are looking for the basics and you are a bit rough around the edges yourself you might find this engaging. If however you are looking to be scholastically challenged or spiritually uplifted, you might want to look a little further. While this book is good, it is not as great as I hoped for based on Chandler’s earlier works.
Finally, David Heath did an outstanding job of narrating this book. The thought I kept having was that I want him to do my next audiobook. He is clear and concise in his reading. His pacing is excellent and seems to have put in a great deal of time into looking for where pauses and emphasis would be most appropriate. Heath is one of the best non-fiction narrators that I have heard in a while.

Trent Nicholson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Desert Bible Institute, President

Dr. Nicholson is a member of the christianaudio review program. To learn more, visit their website at: www.christianaudio.com.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 9/18/2013)