The four gospel witnesses—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—testify that Jesus Christ spoke seven distinct times from the cross, concluding with "It is finished!" (John 19:30). Traditionally, these seven sayings have been associated with seven words: forgiveness, salvation, relationship, distress, abandonment, reunion and triumph.
Inspired by Christ's last words, Rev. Charlie Holt has created a new series, the Christian Life Trilogy, which is designed to fuse evangelical-style small-group programs with his own liturgical background.
The program shows people how to live a "crucified life"—one that mirrors Christ Himself.
"I tell my congregation, if you want to get raised from the dead, what do you have to be first? Dead," says Holt, the rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church and School in Lake Mary, Florida. "You can't get resurrected unless you have first died. That's not a literal physical death, but we have to die to self in order for the Lord to do what He wants to do in us, to make us completely new. That's the crucified life."
The three books are designed with specific seasons in mind. The Crucified Life is a study for use during Lent. The Resurrected Life spans Easter to Pentecost. Finally, The Spirit-Filled Life follows Pentecost, the celebration of the Holy Spirit's arrival.
"The Christian Life Trilogy is written to be used as a church-wide campaign (in which) everybody in the whole church focuses together on the cross, the resurrection and the role of the Spirit" Holt says. "When you do that, you are focusing on the heart of the Christian message during the heart of the church year, and that is incredibly powerful and transformative."
To learn more about the curriculum, visit christianlifetrilogy.com. —Taylor Berglund