Author, The Pressure’s Off (2002,2012)
Founder/Director of NewWay Ministries
Scholar in residence at Colarado Christian University and visiting professor at Richmont University
Serves as spiritual director for the American Association of Christian Counselors
B.S. in Psychology, Ursinus College
M.A. in Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois
Larry Crabb: The Pressure's Off
TWO WAYS TO LIVE
Dr. Crabb says each of us choose one of two paths in life: the Old Way or the New Way. Millions of Christians are following Jesus to gain a better life of blessings now. This is what Dr. Crabb refers to as the Old Way of living. For example, if you want good kids you raise them according to Christian principles; if you want a good marriage you follow a biblical model for marriage; and if you want God to bless your ministry you follow godly principles of leadership. He says these people believe in the Law of Linearity.
The problem with this way of living is that God is not a vending machine. “We don’t insert the proper change and reach into the tray to lay hold of the sweet blessing we want,” shares Dr. Crabb. Life doesn’t work that way. Yet in the Christian life he says we sometimes believe that by living a faithful life of obedience to biblical principals we ensure the “good life” of blessings.
Dr. Crabb says there’s a new way to live, and it’s better than the old way. With the New Way to live, we no longer depend on a linear relationship between performance and blessing to arrange for the life we want. The blood of Jesus opened a new way of living in which our pursuit is the better hope of nearness to God. Living better might or might not improve our circumstances. These people want something more than the Better Life of Blessings. They want to draw near to God despite their circumstances. They are living under the Law of Liberty.
LIVING THE NEW WAY
“We don’t have to make this life work. The pressure’s off,” reveals Dr. Crabb. Nothing we do guarantees the blessings we want in life. For example, good parents more often than not have good kids than bad parents, but not always. Christian leaders who serve God faithfully often enjoy His blessing in their lives and ministry, but not always. There is no guaranteed linearity between righteous living and visible blessings. The problem with the Old Way of living is it often never leads to enjoying God or to becoming like Him. It is preoccupied with using God, not knowing Him. On the other hand, if we live the New Way we encounter God, experience community, and become like Christ. Sometimes God’s presence is felt and sometimes unfelt, but God’s presence is always active with us. Eventually, we experience joy and are released to live for Christ and to love both God and others. Dr. Crabb says the New Way leads to intimacy with God. If you want to live the New Way of the Spirit, then:
- Reflect on where you are. Take time to reflect and be honest about what is happening in your interior world.
- Recognize the fork in the road that is always before you. Choose to draw near to God when something goes wrong in your life instead of trying to handle it yourself.
- Refocus your goals. Remind yourself that our hearts were made for God and we find no rest until we find our rest in Him.
- Realize what God provides as the means of grace. Humble yourself to receive grace. It requires death of pride and self sufficiency
- Reorient your prayer life to match New Way living. Dr. Crabb suggests using the Papa Prayer:
Present yourselves to God as you are.
Attend to where you notice God’s presence or absence.
Purge yourselves of whatever might be keeping you from noticing more of God.
Approach God with abandonment and confidence. Get to know Him and enjoy Him.
Dr. Crabb was raised in a Christian home. At the age of eight he made the decision to accept the Lord as his Savior after attending a Christian boy's camp. The speaker at the campfire meeting told Dr. Crabb he could choose to burn in the fires of hell or go to heaven. He says the choice was not hard. In graduate school, Dr. Crabb became an agnostic. He figured that being a Christian psychologist was not different from being a psychologist who happened to be a Christian. So he made a decision to give up Christianity that lasted about two years. He started reading the writings of Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis. They were the two mentors who brought him back to his faith in his third year of graduate school. After graduation he taught in the psychology department at the University of Illinois for two years eventually went into private practice. “I wanted freedom to think without having to be accountable to people with a totally different philosophical mindset from mine,” shares Dr. Crabb. He wanted the freedom to pursue what he felt was Christian counseling. Once again, he stumbled; and God was soverign. During his 10 years of private practice, he became persuaded that the community of God’s people was meant to be the place where the deepest healing takes place. “I came to the conclusion that real healing has less to do with technical intervention and more to do with profound relational engagement. I realized that the context for this engagement needs to be in the community of God’s people—and that’s the church,” reveals Dr. Crabb. Years later, a comment from noted author and teacher Dr. James Houston significantly impacted my thinking and message. He said, “If the church is going to experience a second reformation, this one dealing with sanctification as the first dealt with justification, then we’ll need to recover the doctrine of the Trinity and understand its implications for human community.” He began to ponder what the Trinity and community have to do with sanctification in counseling. He discovered the transforming power that is released when people learn to enter the kind of community that God has enjoyed in the Trinity. And he realized we can develop that kind of community with the resources provided by the New Covenant. What needs to happen to people happens in community. When he began to understand that, Dr. Crabb thought, “I’ll begin to focus on the resources that are inherent in the community of people who are in “new covenant” relationship with God.”
THE PRESSURE’S OFF
His book, The Pressure’s Off, was first released in 2002. Ten years later, Dr. Crabb’s book is being rereleased. He hopes the book will continue to be a paradigm for people following Jesus, to abandon the Old Way and embrace the New Way of living. An eight week workbook is included at the back of the book.
Dr. Crabb recently underwent a second round of surgery for cancer that was removed fourteen years ago from near his pancreas and now has returned to his liver. The surgery went well and no other treatment is needed at this time.
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