Review of Encountering God Through Expository Preaching

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Encountering God through Expository Preaching by Jim Scott Orrick, Brian Payne, and Ryan Fullerton is a masterful treatment on the issue of expository preaching. While many books have been written on the subject of preaching in general and expository preaching in particular, in the church there is still a continued drift away from giving expository preaching its proper place in the life of the local church. As noted in the introduction expository preaching is central and indispensable to true worship.

This book is divided into three main sections. The first section addresses the character and life of the man called to preach God’s word, proper Scripture interpretation, the benefits of exposition and the value of topical messages when done in a biblical manner. The final three chapters of the first section cover the role of the Spirit in the sermon and preaching, these chapters elevate the overall contribution this book makes to the vast collection of books on preaching as far too often attention is paid to the mechanics of preaching at the expense of attention to the necessity of God’s work in preaching.  The second section addresses delivery, Scripture reading, and understanding the structure and genre of biblical texts. The final section covers the use of manuscripts, outlines, and preaching without notes.

This book  highlight the intended purpose of preaching as a means of encountering God through his word as it is faithfully expounded. I would highly recommend this book to any pastor.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Ten Book Recommendations for Pastor Appreciation 2017

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Every year I compile  a list of book recommendations for Pastor’s appreciation month. They would benefit any pastor who receives them as gifts next month. If you’re a pastor and get a gift card consider one of these titles. For previous years lists check these out 2015 and 2016.

  1. Revitalize by Andrew Davis (reviewed here).
  2. Progress in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix (reviewed here).
  3. Pastoral Theology by Danny Akin and R. Scott Pace (reviewed here).
  4. Preaching in the New Testament by Jonathan Griffiths (reviewed here).
  5. The Way of the Dragon or the Lamb by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel (reviewed here).
  6. The Legacy of Luther edited by R.C. Sproul and Stephen Nichols (reviewed here).
  7. God the Son Incarnate by Stephen Wellum (reviewed here).
  8. Becoming a Pastor Theologian edited by Todd Wilson and Gerald Hiestand (reviewed here).
  9. The Pastor as Minor Poet by M. Craig Barnes
  10. The Work of the Pastor by William Still

Review of Real Love in an Angry World

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In Real Love in an Angry World Rick Bezet addresses the tension of holding on to truth and being graceful at the same time.

This book in nine chapters helps readers see how to handle disagreement without resorting to a scorched earth policy which seems to be the practice of many in our day. There are too ditches that the author shows that many fall into, maintaining truth without grace or abandoning truth. Both ways end up in a ditch, the only path forward for believers as the author points out is grace and truth, truth and love.

Given how fractured our society is this book is a helpful correction to much of the divisiveness found inside the church. A look at the comments section on any website, Facebook, or Twitter would clearly demonstrate how greatly needed books like this are. If your struggle with how to hold on to your convictions while maintaining a tactful and gracious Christian witneess this book will show how to deal with those who disagree inside and outside of the church.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of The God Guarantee

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The God Guarantee by Jack Alexander is counter-cultural clarion call to biblical generosity.

In this book Jack Alexander addresses the primary reason most people are not generous, fear. In addressing fear Alexander points readers to the sufficiency of God’s provision promised in Scripture and proved by the experiences of saints throughout history.

If you struggle with fear restraining your generosity this book will help you move from fearfulness to faithfilled generosity as you minister with His resources to the needs around you trusting His provision.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of Do Your Children Believe?

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In Do Your Children Believe Terence Chatmon provides a resource to help thinking through the spiritual legacy you leave your family.

In this book three main sections. In the first section the lack of intentionality in shepherding children spiritually is addressed. The regular absence of families from church due to extracurricular activities is addressed as well as the fact that parents cannot instil values and practices in their children that they themselves do not possess and practice. The next section begins walking the reader through the steps of planning and putting in practice steps that will help shape a spiritual legacy in the coming generation. The final section points to the importance of putting God first in shaping a spiritual legacy and His sufficiency to bring about the spiritual legacy we seek to leave for coming generations.

In a day and age where there isn’t much intentionality in shaping the spiritual lives of families I think this is a great resource. I believe one of the greatest reasons that the church has been loosing younger generations is owing to the fact that believing parents have not been intentional in shaping a spiritual legacy in the lives of the children that would bless generations to come. I would commend this book to any parent or church leader that wants to think through the practicalities of thinking through a spiritual legacy of multigenerational faithfulness to God.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of When Parenting Isn’t Perfect

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In When Parenting Isn’t Perfect Jim Daly and Paul Asay provide a resource that is relevant to every stage of parenting as it is never perfect.

One of the main arguments found in the first section of this book is that too often parents set their sight on perfection in raising their children and in doing so often crush the spirits of their children. Rather than alienate children in a pursuit of perfection parents must parent their children in reality. The second section addresses the practical realities of parenting from knowing your children to knowing your spouse and working well together as parents. The third section addresses the reality that you are parenting a human being and not a robot, while we may have great influence over our children we really can’t control them especially as they grow up and become more independent. The final section looks at the long-term view of parenting especially the transitions that lead to children becoming adults.

In a world of broken families Jim Daly shows how even and especially imperfect parenting can shape children for the better. Over all as a book that is supposed to be a Christian book on parenting Daly’s book focuses more on his personal experience than Scripture, which is the main weakness of this book.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of The Treasure Principle

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Few authors have written as clearly and insightfuly on the issue of money and possessions as Randy Alcorn. In this revised and updated of The Treasure Principle Randy Alcorn provides a look at the heart of biblical generosity.

In seven short chapters Randy Alcorn cuts through so much of the cultural clutter that has clouded the church’s understanding in regards to issues of money. In this book Alcorn makes clear that rather than money being something we accumulate and use for our own personal pleasure we are to leverage our financial resources for eternity.

This book is a classic that should be picked up and read.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of Progress in the Pulpit

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Progress in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix have written a resources that belongs on every preacher’s reading list. As one who benefited from their previous work Power in the Pulpit during my college years I was excited to see this work come to print.

This book is comprised of four main sections. The first section defines the task of preaching and the factors that shape it in and out of the pulpit with attention given to the cultivation of godliness, developing a preaching plan, and discipleship in and out of the pulpit. The second section addresses development of the sermon covering issues such as Bible translation, sermon points, word studies, and most importantly how to preach Christ-centered sermons. The third and final section addresses issues regarding delivery such as clarity of communication, giving an invitation, evaluating preaching, and teaching about preaching.

One of the most important chapters in this book is chapter 4 in which Jim Shaddix addresses the relationship between personal discipleship and pulpit discipleship. As Shaddix notes in his introduction to the chapter there is an assumed division between the pulpit and discipleship which in my opinion has probably contributed greatly to unhealthy churches. The last chapter was also particularly helpful in explaining the importance of teaching people the importance of preaching and how preaching is itself and act of worship.

Whether you’ve been in the pulpit for weeks or for years there is something in this book that will help you make progress in the pulpit.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of Pastoral Theology

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Pastoral Theology by Daniel Akin and R. Scott Pace is a book that stands apart from other books on the issue of pastoral ministry. Whereas many books on ministry focus more on the how-to of ministry the authors of this book provide a biblical theology of pastoral ministry.

This book is divided into three main sections. In the first section the authors provide a look at the trinitarian foundation of pastoral ministry. In a day where pragmatism is so emphasized it is refreshing to read a book that emphasizes the character of God and the importance of having one’s identity centered in Christ. The second section provides a look at the issues of anthropology, ecclesiology, and missiology. The authors rightly point the leaders to the relationship of God’s grace and compassion in the ministry. The last section addresses the practical God commanded tasks that underscore the work of pastoral ministry. The authors address the pastor’s role as under-shepherd of God’s flock, the role of preaching,  and the priority of family in pastoral ministry.

I believe that this is one of the most important books on pastoral ministry that has been written in recent years. I would commend every pastor to buy this book and read it as what is lacking in much of evangelicalism today is a biblical understanding of pastoral ministry and this book is a helpful corrective to that.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Review of The Unreformed Martin Luther

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The Unreformed Martin Luther by Andreas Malessa provides a look at Luther that helps separate the man from many of the myths that have come to surround him.

Andreas in this works addresses a wide range of things attributed to Luther, some of which even I was unfamiliar with. In twenty-five chapters this book helps readers gain a more historically accurate picture of Luther. It is easy to think of Luther as some fire-brand revolutionary but as seen in this book the actual story of Luther is different. Luther’s intention was to actually see reformation in the Catholic church.

I think works like this in church history are invaluable for modern-day readers. Many times we can make figures from the past into larger than life figures blurring the line between historical fact and fiction. Some of the myths that are addressed and dispelled such as the story of Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door might upset some readers, but in matters of history we must go where the evidence leads rather than holding to myths that cannot be substantiated.

In light of the coming celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation I would commend this book to anyone seeking to better understand the man who played such a pivotal role in the history of the Christian church.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.