Making the most of his time

Do you ever wonder what you’ll be like at 80?

I sometimes have a vision of myself as a kindly old chap with white hair that people think of as that Nice Old Mr Payne. What a gent!

Or sometimes I dream of being something more in the line of an elder statesman; still active, still vigorous, still writing, like a cross between Gandalf and JI Packer.

Another possible 80-year-old me are the wizened old guys I meet at the golf course, who are just finishing their round as I begin mine at 8:30 am, who have their own personal motorized carts, and who only need carry a 3-wood, a wedge and putter.

All this sets me to thinking of John Chapman, who blends something of all these three portraits in his 80-plus-year-old self. He is still delightful company, still active and publishing new books, and is at least an ex-golfer.

But the things about Chappo that I most admire, and most wish to emulate, are the two convictions that continue to drive him: that you never retire from loving people and wanting to tell them about the Lord Jesus; and you never need to stray very far from the cross of the Lord Jesus if you want to know what to say to them.

That’s essentially what drives his latest book, Making the Most of the Cross, a kind of sequel to his earlier best-selling book for seniors: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life.

Chappo wanted to write something that would direct people once again to the wonder and glory of the death and resurrection of Jesus—both those who have not yet put their trust in Christ, and those who have. And his method is extremely simple and effective.

In eight short simple chapters, he explores the meaning of the most extraordinary event in human history: the death and resurrection of Jesus. He starts by looking at the various facets of Jesus’ death: how it brings salvation, how it involves a substitute and a ransom, how it turns God’s anger and defeats Satan, how it brings justification, forgiveness and cleansing, and how it unifies the Christian community.

He then turns to the other side of this two-sided event—the resurrection—and in another seven punchy little chapters explains its meaning: how it establishes Jesus as the conqueror of death, the giver of life, and God’s king and judge of all; how it demonstrates the fullness, perfection and sufficiency of his sacrifice; and how it removes our fear of death and guarantees us a resurrection body like his for eternity.

In the third and final section, he shows how the death and resurrection of Jesus provides a pattern both of the future judgement, and of Christian experience in the meantime.

And all this in less than 100 pages, with the usual Chappo clarity, warmth and wit.

As an author, it’s a book to be proud of at any age. But that is not really the point. It’s a book to be used—to be given away to friends and family, and especially to those over 60. There are not many Christian or evangelistic books written with seniors in mind, but this is one of them. The print is large and friendly, and the language has the simple, direct dignity that also characterized Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life.

Buy this excellent little book and read it—you will be edified. And then give it away to someone who would benefit from hearing about the glorious death and resurrection of Jesus. That describe anyone you know?

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