Showing posts from December, 2018

Review: Speaking Truth in Love by David Powlison

Speaking Truth In Love by David Powlison was a good book. It is 193 pages long with short chapters. I think it is worth a second read through. I challenged my perspective of the church and understanding of counseling. He takes a broad view of counseling.

PREMISE "This book is on how we are to live together.... This book is also about how we can live.... This book is also about how we will live.... This book is about how we treat each other, how we work together, how we help each other." p. 1
"Speaking Truth in Love isthe second in a series. It builds upon Seeing with New Eyes.... This second book is about 'counseling'  the process of love. Part I [Chapters 1-9] will wrestle out how to speak the truth in love in order to do counseling ministry well. Part II will hammer out ways to shape and reshape communities of faith in order to do church well. In other words, this second book describes living right. We will glimpse essential dynamics of relationship and sketch…

Review: Can I Know God's Will? by R.C. Sproul

Can I Know God's Will? by R.C. Sproul. This is a concise book, 100 pages, and 4 chapters long. It is part of a series on crucial questions. The cost is great, FREE, for at least the kindle version. If you want a paper copy, it is $2.50 right now. You can also get them for your logos program here. There are 50 questions he covers for free. R.C. is understandable and rooted in history. I would have liked to have read more of his perspective, but it is a fine book for what it covers.
ChaptersThe Meaning of God's Will The Meaning of Man's Will God's Will and Your JobGod's Will in Marriage Quotes"If prostitution is the world's oldest profession, surely fortune-telling is the second oldest. 'Tell me of tomorrow' is the pleas of the stock market speculator, the competitive businessman, the sports forecaster, the young couple in love." p. 2
"Having been a Christian for some fifty years, with the study of theology my main vocational pursuit, I find…

Review of Finding Guidance for Everyday Decisions

God's Will: Finding Guidance for Everyday Decisions by J.I. Packer and Carolyn Nystrom is a great book. This was 247 pages long and an excellent read. It has 10 chapters

PREMISE"This book was born out of anxiety for the many whose anxieties about guidance gives them nightmares as to what might happen to them if they make a mistake at this point. We saw their fear as having a twofold source: failing to appreciate the greatness of the grace of God and falling into superstition about the way guidance is given. We wrote accordingly. In these chapters, we have tried to make three things clear. God’s guidance is a covenanted aspect of his larger ministry of grace in guarding us against sin’s toll and Satan’s malice in order to bring us safe and sound to glory. Second, our quest for guidance should be thought of as essentially a quest for the wisdom we need to cope with all the demands for a decision thatcomese to using our waking lives. Rather than with just a few big ones. Third, t…

Review: CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet by Michael R. Emlet

CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet by Mike R. Emlet. This is his first book. He was a family physician for 12 years before becoming a counselor and on staff for CCEF. CrossTalk is 11 chapters and 178 pages. I thought he wrote well and used interesting analogies, words, and questions. Each chapter ends with some thought-provoking questions that help you put into practice what he is teaching. I think this is an excellent resource for counselors, pastors, elders, and curriculum to work through in a class.
Premise "Consider this book a hybrid of sorts, a resource to help you understand both people and the Bible more thoroughly. This book gives attention to interpreting the biblical text and interpreting the person. Both skills are necessary if you are to minister in a way that correctly "handles the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Both are necessary for effective ministry." p. 4 Goals "...Your life would be increasingly shaped and transformed by the sweeping s…

Reflecting on the New Year, Anniversary, or Birthday with Donald Whitney

Every year my wife and I go over these questions by Donald Whitney. They are so good.

1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

As we look to the New Year. Take a moment to …

Review: Anne of Green Gables a Surprisingly Enjoyable Book

Anne of Green Gables I just finished Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Admittedly, it was a slow start. However, it grew on me. The rich imagination, the dramatic heart, and the romantic undertones were lovely. This is a wonderful children's novel. I hope to read the next in the series. I picked it up after seeing Tim Challies post on why Anne of Green Gables was one of his favorite novels. I encourage you to read it.  FAVORITE QUOTES "...When you are imagining you might as well imagine something worthwhile." - p. 13 (Anne)
"In geometry, Anne met her Waterloo."
"The world looks like something God has imagined for His own pleasure, doesn't it?" (Anne)
"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world" p.125
"I don't want to cheer up. It's nicer to be miserable!" p. 218
"We resent the thought that anything can please us when someone we …

Change Your World Through Prayer Making Praying for an Hour Easy

In 1997 I was in London at a church and was looking for something to read. I found this book, Change Your World Through Prayer by Bennie Mostert. In his book, he has a prayer wheel that has been helpful for me.
There are lots of permutations on how to pray for one hour. I have used this from time to time. One way I have used this tool is in journaling. Another way this tool has been helpful for me was during my last run. I went on a seven-mile run and broke my audio cues down to every half mile and changed the way I prayed every time the cues came on. It was great. It helps when you enjoy running.

When I searched for this prayer method online, I found a very similar wheel by Dick Eastman from his book in 1978.  The Hour That Changes the World: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer. This book was published by Chosen Books. His Amazon bio states,

Dick Eastman is international president of Every Home for Christ, a global evangelism ministry that has planted over 2.3 billion gospel messages…

2018 Best Christian Book Recommendation Compilation

I love Tim Challies. He is one collating machine. On his post yesterday he put many Christian top recommendations down for people to read.

You can read it all here.

The one book that stood out on his list that might make mine in 2019 is:

Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been. From what I hear the audible version is terrific!

Best Book List of the year Lists of lists

Every year people come out with lists of their favorite books. What I have done is put together some links for sites with book recommendations. Maybe I have missed some. If you have a book recommendation or link to a site, I would love to hear back from you.
Christian Links:The Gospel Coalition Best Books of 2018 These were written by Kevin DeYoung. I have read two of these and recently reviewed one of the books, Help for the New Pastor.
Russel Moore's Favorite Books of 2018. Russel Moore is an Evangelical Leader with the Southern Baptists and his book selection fits his interest but is interesting. Both Kevin and Russel Moore liked the book
Them: Why We Hate Each Other--and How to Heal
Christianity Today's 2018 Book Awards
2018 Christian Book Awards 
25 Books John Piper Loves to Recommend this article came out last month on Desiring God and includes books that are all-time favorites of  John Piper.   Other Interesting Links: Amazon has a list - Best Books of the Year So Far by ca…

Review of the book "Help for the New Pastor" by Charles Malcolm Wingard

Help for the New Pastor: Practical Advice for Your First Year of Ministry I just finished this book by Charles Malcolm Wingard. It had some very good advice. Dr. Wingard has thirty some year of pastoral ministry experience in five churches. The book was comprehensive and directive.
Chapters:Understanding Your Call to MinistryPreparing for Pulpit MinistryPreparing and Delivering a Sermon Practical Advice on Preaching Leading WorshipThe SacramentsChurch Administration Growing through ConflictHome VisitationPracticing HospitalityCounseling Weddings Hospital and Hospice CareFuneral Your Denominational DutiesThe Character and Habits of Effective MinistersSmall Things That Yield Big ResultsA Long and Fruitful Ministry QUOTES:  "There is no escaping adversity. Unless you are firmly persuaded that God has summoned you to pastoral ministry, you will falter, grow weary, become discouraged, and fail." p. 3 "Eliminate distractions when you're studying, at home, and with the Lor…

Pray for David Powlison as he Deals With Inoperable Stage 4 Cancer

David Powlison, author of books like:
Seeing with New Eyes, and Speaking Truth In Love, gave an update this week on his health. He has stage 4 pancreatic cancer that is inoperable. From the CCEF's website, "David Powlison serves as CCEF’s executive director, as a faculty member, and as senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary. David has written extensively on biblical counseling and on the relationship between faith and psychology. " I have benefited greatly from this man of God. Please keep him in your prayers.

One Year After Book Review

One Year After by William R. Forstchen. I checked this book out from the library on Tuesday. Wednesday night I thought I would read a bit before bed. I could not put it down. Nearly five hours later, pumped with adrenaline I finished the book. This is the second in the series, following a man by the name of John Matherson. Three EMP's were detonated above the US triggering a Global Nuclear war with an impact on every continent. John Matherson is a retired military officer and local college professor in a small mountain town in North Carolina. He was home with his family when this event occurred frying all electronic devices. Now the country is picking up the pieces. This book picks up where the first left off, two years into the crisis.

The book is three hundred pages long. There is no sex described in the book, and there is some language and definitely violence. I would personally let a sixteen-year-old read it, but not my fourteen-year-old.

This book will make you want to stock …

2019 Reading Challenge by Tim Challies

I look forward every year to Tim Challies' Reading Challenge. I love how mixes up the genres and sub-genres to read. To read how it works click here. Below is his graphic you can download for free.

Kyle Rudolph Man of the Year Youtube Video

Maybe I am a sucker for a great youtube video, or perhaps I like heroes, or maybe both. Take a moment to watch this tribute to Kyle Rudolph. It sounds like he is using his position and wealth to care for those who are less fortunate and making an impact. 
I don't know Kyle's faith, but certainly, he is living out according to Luke 12 this saying of Jesus, "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." Being a wealthy American, it has struck me that I too have been given much by the Lord and want to steward my wealth and opportunity for God's glory. It is much easier said than done. 
Blessings Kyle Rudolph

Review: One Second After by William R. Forstchen

One Second After, by William R. Forstchen, was a gripping novel I read this summer. One of my friends living off the grid loved this book and recommended it.

One Second after documents what would happen if an EMP (an Electrical Magnetic Pulse) created by a nuclear warhead detonated miles above our atmosphere was set off? Using his military and historical background, Forstchen explores what a small town in North Carolina might experience. The book is based on real technology and gives the reader some things to consider. The EMP crashes the national economy, money doesn't have any value, food becomes scarce, all computerized equipment is knocked out, and hunting becomes critical. When you finish reading the book, you will want to stock your pantry, buy a generator, and consider a wood burning stove.

This is the first in a three book series following a character by the name of John Matherson. I am excited to read the next books. It certainly makes you think.

The book reminded me of L…

Review: The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone-Especially Ourselves This New York Times Bestseller by Dan Ariely was a great read. I loved the research and personal stories that filled his pages. Not too often can a social scientist keep the attention of the average joe. The book is not that long - 282 Pages.

Some questions he explores:

Does the chance of getting caught affect how likely we are to cheat?How do companies pave the way for dishonesty?Does collaboration make us more honest or less so?Does religion improve our honesty?
There’s one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says “yes,” he is a crook. —GROUCHO MARX p. 1As Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Morality, like art, means drawing a line somewhere.” The question is: where is the line? p. 28We generally believe that we have a privileged view of our own preferences and character, but in reality, we don’t know ourselves that well (and definitely not as well as we think we do). Instead, we observe ourselv…

Review: With: Reimagining the Way You Related to God by Skye Jethani

With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God by Skye Jethani is a wonderful book pushing us to reevaluate how we view God. Do we view ourselves over God, or under God, or for God, or against God? Skye argues the Bible calls us to view ourselves with God.

In these two hundred some pages you will be challenged and encouraged to rethink what you know.
My concern is that we are inoculating an entire generation to the Christian faith. p. 3Voltaire said three centuries ago: “If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor.” p.61It is certainly not wrong to ask God for things— he invites us to ask. But when this becomes the entirety of how we relate to him, we are placing ourselves at the center and expecting God to orbit around us. p. 69“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” - C.S. Lewis Quoted on p. 70

Goodbye George H. W. Bush

I just finished watching this eulogy. Wow! What a legacy. 

Book Review of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer was an interesting book to read.
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter (Amazon).  I could not put this book down. There were some terms that I was unfamiliar with, but I enjoy being stretched.  The book does use some foul language. It has nearly 3,000 four plus stars on Amazon. It is about 230 pages long.  QuotesLong captivated by the writing of Leo Tolstoy, McCandless particularly admired how the great novelist had forsaken a life of wealth and privilege to wander among the destitute.

Review: Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy

Chasing the Prophecy by Brandon Mull is a fun conclusion to the Beyonders Trilogy. It is full of some fun twist. Jason and Rachel appear again with a large cast of characters that range in ability to beat back Maldor and his gang. Brandon does a fine job keeping the reader engaged. It is about 500 pages but moves along fast. There is no sex or language in his book; however, there is lots of killing.  I had fun reading it and discussing it with my son.

Other books by Brandon MullSeeds of Rebellion Review
A World Without Heroes