Showing posts from October, 2018

Evidently, evildoing also has a threshold magnitude.


Review: Redeeming Church Conflicts: Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care

Redeeming Church Conflicts: Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care
I just finished this book and found it to be helpful. Tara Klena Barthel and David Edling take 16 chapters to explore Acts 15 and the conflict in the early church and how that relates to the peacemaking principles Ken Sande has developed with his ministry at Peacemaker. I really enjoyed the questions at the end of each chapter, and further reading intrigued me. If you pick up this book, read the appendix. It offers guidance on how to select a mediator.

For a book about dealing with a midlife crisis or evaluating life check out my previous post here.

Review: Lost in the Middle

Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God
WOW! Paul David Tripp's writing is so valuable. Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, War of Words, Age of Opportunity, his new book on Parenting are all great.Lost in the Middle is one more to add to the list. It has significantly helped me think through my stage of life. He deals with idols of the heart and the disappointments. He works through dreams that can eclipse our love for God and what life is about. His book is worth a second time through. 

Do you struggle with discouragement as you look back at life or forward to what is to come? This book is for you. Are you coming up to the midpoint of your career or life or are you looking at sunset of your life? This book is for you. Lost in the Middle is definitely one of my top picks this year. 
Note, he is a bit repetitive and gives many stories to illustrate his points. But I found them to be very helpful. 

Next year I hope to read his new book on suffering, titled: Suffering: Gos…

Reviewing Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung

I just finished this book by Kevin DeYoung Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will. It was only 122 pages of reading and on Kindle cost $1.59, but the content was worth way more than that. I struggled in my late teens and twenties with God's will considerable. I remember agonizing over what college I should go to, what classes I should take, what major should I be, whom I should marry, and what my occupation should be. This book breaks down the anxiety that accompanies such decisions. Kevin is humorous, biblical, personable, readable, pastoral, and reasonable. I think this would be a good gift for senior in high school or one to discuss with your older kids.

"God doesn’t want us to merely give external obedience to His commands. He wants us to know Him so intimately that His thoughts become our thoughts, His ways our ways, His affections our affections. God wants us to drink so deeply of the Scriptures that our heads and hearts are transform…

Praying the Bible

The first post is an easy one. It is a book review.

How do you pray?

Prayer can be hard. Let me encourage you to pray the Bible. Donald Whitney is a blessing to the church as a pastor, author, and professor. He wrote Praying the Bible which I have just read and found it to be an encouragement to my own prayer life.

The reality is that the types of things we pray don’t change. We pray for our family, work, school, healthy, safety, provision, and the same old things about the same old things. The end result of praying the same old things about the same old things results is boredom, shallowness, and a wandering mind. Praying the Bible counters this head on.

John Piper has said, "If I try to pray for people or events without having the word in front of me guiding my prayers, then several negative things happen. One is that I tend to be very repetitive…. I just pray the same things all the time. Another negative thing is that my mind tends to wander."

Robert Murray M’Cheyne sai…

Practicing the Power

I was able to hear Dr. Storms teach through some of this material at the 2018 Bethlehem Seminary Pastor's conference. The book Practicing the Power, like the other books Sam has written, is very readable. He includes stories that keep you engaged but more importantly illustrate what he is talking about and explaining from scripture.  I consider myself a continuationist, seeing that all the spiritual gifts are for today. However, this book pushed me because my definitions of "prophecy" did not totally line up with Storms. His biblical and rational argument was strong enough to change my perspective. He presents his views graciously and humbly. Even, if you already know you disagree with his perspective on the Holy Spirit and today, I think you will be encouraged by his earnest desire to follow the Bible and pursue more of God and have his church do as well. If you are wondering who Sam Storms is, this is his bio from Amazon. "Sam has spent 39 years in ministry as…

A Forest a Flood and an Unlikely Star

I just finished reading A Forest a Flood and an Unlikely Star to my children. It was amazing! The third in a series of books, Dr. Myhre captivates you with a tale that is very foreign to the American reader. You are swept away to some made up land that does not sound so made up. She stretches the reader with her use of the English language and African. She also stretches the reader with the moral dilemmas between good and evil and forgiveness and hate. Some of the plotlines are predictable but all were enjoyable.

As far as content to be aware of, she mentions the struggles of AIDS and polygamy but is not graphic. There is no foul language in the book. The violence seems mild to me, death is part of the story. Some men are mentioned as drunk, and there is no sex mentioned in the book as far as I remember. I felt comfortable reading this to my kids who range from 13 to 2.

As I read, I was captivated and moved to tears hoping some of the moral messages would be passed down to my kids.


Preaching and Preachers

I just finishedPreaching and Preachers
It was amazing. I highly recommend the book for anyone who has a preaching or teaching ministry. Sometimes you are lost in what he says. Sometimes you wonder what he was thinking. And other times you heard the voice of God speak and fill the room you read in. It was so refreshing. May God use our preaching to inspire great worship of God. 


Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
A Forest, A Flood, and an Unlikely Star by J. A. Myhre
Practicing the Power by Sam Storms
Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney

Setting Our Affections upon Glory: Nine Sermons on the Gospel and the Church

REVIEWSetting Our Affections upon Glory: Nine Sermons on the Gospel and the Church by Martyn Lloyd Jones is a wonderful book. Chapter three struck me as incredibly à propos for our day. Many people either try to water down the church to the culture to make it palatable or they think it best to do away with the church. The Doctor deals with this and more. I highly recommend this book for everyone. 

CHAPTER TITLESThe Acid Test - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18The Great Watershed - 1 Corinthians 2:10What Is the Church? - Acts 2:42The Church Today: The Road to Emmaus - Luke 24:25-27"So Great Salvation" - Hebrews 2:1-4Evangelism: A very Modern Problem - 1 Thessalonians 1:5The Highway to Revival - Exodus 33:1The Narrow Way - Matthew 7:13-14A New and Living Way - Hebrews 10:19-22FAVORITE QUOTESMy friend, you cannot be a Christian, you cannot be a member of the Christian church unless you know something about the conviction of sin. (p.53)
There is only one hope for this world, and that is the c…

Fellowship with God

Fellowship with Godby Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a pretty good read. This is the third book I have read of his. It consists of 13 short messages of his and 142 pages long. These all are sermons on 1 John. Mysticism was probably the most eye-opening chapter. He highlights the dangers of mysticism.
CHAPTERSThe Christian and the WorldFull and Lasting JoyHow to Know the JoyThe Apostolic DeclarationChristian ExperienceAll Because of ChristKnowing GodMysticismThe Holiness of GodSinWalking in the LightThe Blood of Jesus ChristJesus, His Son FAVORITE QUOTESYou cannot make shortcuts in the christian life. p. 40We can never be in communion with others until we are in true communion with God. p. 65Every act of preaching is in a sense nothing but a reminder of Jesus Christ and what he came to do. p. 65 RELATED POSTSSetting Our Affections Upon Glory by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience

Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience by M. David Sills was an excellent book. It raised important issues for the church today. As money goes out for missions how do we steward it in a way that is effective? The focus tends to be now on the Unreached People Groups (UPG's). That is not bad. But in some cases that leaves countries and nations with a vacuum that is being exploited by cults and culture to attack the young mission efforts. Dr. Sills does a scholarly job but his work is not so esoteric that a layperson or pastor is stuck scratching his head. He does not offer easy answers but raises questions and points the reader back to the Bible for help. I highly recommend this book and would like to re-read the book in the future.

The book is 227 pages long and has 10 chapters. Each chapter has interesting quotes from professors, pastors, and missionaries and ends with suggested further reading.

Teaching Them: The Great Omission of the Great Commission…

Red Like Blood: Confrontations with Grace by Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington (Review)

This book Red Like Bloodby Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington was an encouraging read. The subtitle was Confrontations with Grace. It is a gritty look at grace through the trials and sin struggles of everyday people. I tried to picture who would I give this book to. After finishing it, I think it would be great for a guy who wants to learn more about grace. The stories drive the point home. It helped me in my own battle to live for God today.

The book is 220 pages long and a decent read. They quote people who have had an impact on my own spiritual journey like: Tolkien, G. K. Chesterton, Jerry Bridges, C. J. Mahaney, and Joni Eareckson Tada. The cultural references will date the book in several years, but the themes will last forever.

RELATED POSTS Reaching and Teaching by David Sills
Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones Johnstown Flood by David McCullough A Forest, A Flood, and an Unlikely Star by J. A. Myhre Practicing the Power by Sam Storms Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney

Valiant Ambition

So, you think you know history, and you read a book that challenges that thought. Valiant Ambition is one of those books. Famous people like Benedict Arnold and George Washington gain clay feet. Nathaniel Philbrick explains these two larger than life figures in this well documented and driving story Valiant Ambition. It is 448 pages and a New York Times Best Seller. I highly recommend this book. You won't be disappointed.

RELATED POSTS Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Reaching and Teaching by David Sills Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones Johnstown Flood by David McCullough A Forest, A Flood, and an Unlikely Star by J. A. Myhre Practicing the Power by Sam Storms Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney

No Wonder They Call Him Savior

I just finished No Wonder They Call Him the Savior: Discover Hope In The Unlikeliest Place by Max Lucado. I really enjoyed the book. He writes short punchy chapters. You can read on and just ponder it or you can read a bunch and walk away encouraged. It is about 170 pages and came with a study guide. I think you will enjoy it.

Here is a sample from my favorite chapter was Come Home...

The practice of using earthly happenings to clarify heavenly truths is no easy task. Yet, occasionally, one comes across a story, legend, or fable that conveys a message as accurately as a hundred sermons and with ten times the creativity. Such is the case with the reading below. I heard it first told by a Brazilian preacher in São Paulo. And though I’ve shared it countless times, with each telling I am newly warmed and reassured by its message.

The small house was simple but adequate. It consisted of one large room on a dusty street. Its red-tiled roof was one of many in this poor neighborhood on the outs…

Gospel Eldership

I just finished this book, Gospel Eldership: Equipping a New Generation of Servant Leaders by Robert Thune. He did a wonderful job working through ten chapters on eldership. This study on eldership would be great for prospective elders. It is well grounded, offers a breadth of questions that are thought-provoking. Each chapter has questions to work through. The perspective is reformed and complementarian.

It would be well augmented by the reading of
Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faithby Wayne Grudem, The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflictby Ken Sande, Alexander Strauch's book Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership, And John Whitmer's book The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church
The book is 130 pages long and published by New Growth Press.

Chapter Titles Include: 

Servant Leadership (Exercise: "Know Thyself")A Biblical Approach to Church Leadership (Exercise: …

A Call to Spiritual Reformation

D. A. Carson's bookA Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayersis amazing. This wonderful book had provocative questions that help one's prayer life. It is motivating and inspiring and propels an individual or group to greater devotion to God. It would be great for a book study or personal study. And it certainly is worth a second read. 

Chapter Titles
Lessons from the School of Prayer The Framework of Prayer (2 Thessalonians 1:3–12) Worthy Petitions (2 Thessalonians 1:1–12)Praying for Others A Passion for People (1 Thessalonians 3:9–13)The Content of a Challenging Prayer (Colossians 1:9–14)Excuses for Not PrayingOvercoming the Hurdles (Philippians 1:9–11) A Sovereign and Personal GodPraying to the Sovereign God (Ephesians 1:15–23) Praying for Power (Ephesians 3:14–21) Prayer for Ministry (Romans 15:14–33) 205

9 Marks of a Healthy Church

Mark Dever's Book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is fantastic! I love reading Mark Dever's material. He grabs you with each chapter, makes relevant arguments, and pushes the church in directions that are critical for us all. I have read so many great books this year; this book is one of them. Every pastor should read it. I am so thankful for Mark Dever.

Below are the Nine Marks,
MARK ONE: Expositional Preaching MARK TWO: Biblical Theology MARK THREE: The Gospel MARK FOUR: A Biblical Understanding of Conversion MARK FIVE: A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism MARK SIX: A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership MARK SEVEN: Biblical Church Discipline MARK EIGHT: A Concern for Discipleship and Growth MARK NINE: Biblical Church Leadership

He argues that there are other Marks and these are not the necessarily most important Marks. They happen to be the most essential ones for the church at this time in history from his perspective.

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration is such a wonderful book. Wow, I never knew how horrible the Black experience was in America. I still probably don't know much of it. This book follows three real people who typify the diverse migration from south to north in the Twentieth Century. It is really worth a read for all Americans. I loved the book.

This was a National Bestseller and Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Alexander Hamilton

I recently finished the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. This book was so great! Chernow brings life and humanity to the Founding Fathers of America. Things were the not ideal we learn about in grade school. The more perfect union was less than perfect. The author did a fabulous job and it is a must read for all who want to know American History.

Did you know, Hamilton was responsible for the national banking system? He wrote most of the Federalist Papers that helped organize our government. He was so prescient. He predicted the Civil War and the need for a standing army, and military academies. He founded the Coast Guard and was an essential part of Washington's staff.

He rose out of the ashes of foreign birth with parents that separated, though never married. His drive and intelligence got him far, but his lack of self-control and pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to his wife whom he loved and caught in a blackmail situation. He confessed it all. Consequently,…

Child Proof: Parenting by Faith, not Formula

I just finished the book, Child Proof: Parenting By Faith, Not Formula. It was an enjoyable read. This book was a quick (163 pages) biblical look at parenting the heart of a child. It ends many of the chapters with some great suggestions for application as well as questions to explore more. The second half of the book deals with parenting specific situations that a parent might encounter (i.e., Parenting a difficult child, an anxious child, or a child with disabilities). The author, Julie Lowe, illustrates with funny stories of her parenting. She is a licensed professional counselor with eighteen years of counseling experience. She has six kids. So she knows what she is talking about.

"We will always wrestle with our own sins in parenting, and we must always be mindful of how our own agenda can subtly warp our parenting choices" (p. 24).

"Christ-centered parenting means that we have not made our children the center of our home life so that all things revolve aro…

Age of Opportunity

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, Second Edition (Resources for Changing Lives)
I just finished this book. It was great. I love Paul David Tripp. The book is 296 pages long and deals with teens. It moves quickly as Paul illustrates with stories, personal and imagined, to help the reader grasp what he is getting at. He uses scripture well to point to the divine principles that guide his insight into parenting teens. What struck me most was the reminder to think intentionally about what I am doing to shape my children in the midst of disobedience. And not just shape them into whom I want them to be but help them see God in the middle of our problems.

Part One: Clearing the Debris
1. Age of Opportunity or Season for Survival?
2. Whose Idols Are in the Way?
3. What is a Family? A Definition
4. What is a Family? A Job Description
5. Parents, Meet your Teenager
Part Two: Setting Godly Goals
6. Goals, Glory, and Grace
7. There's a War Out There
8. Convictions and Wis…