Always in God’s Hands (A Review)

Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards by Owen Strachan

A new year is just around the corner and this latest title provides a devotional resource that will introduce readers to Edwards’s God-exalting writings on a day by day basis. Owen Strachan ,who coauthored The Essential Jonathan Edwards and teaches at MBTS,  has given readers daily excerpts from the works of Edwards as well as Strachan’s reflections upon the various excerpts.

Strachan’s work in this devotion helps give an introduction to Edwards thought as well as providing contemporary reflection. This devotional will be a helpful resource in the new year, not just in introducing readers to the writings of Edwards, but also in thinking big thoughts about a big 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.

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Rewire Your Heart by David Bowden (A Review

Rewire Your Heart: Replace Your Desire for Sin with Desire For God by David Bowden

David Bowden in his latest title provides a helpful resource for readers in the lifelong battle against indwelling sin. This book is firmly in the tradition of such classics as John Owen’s Mortification of Sin giving readers an understanding of how to fight sin that is rooted in the truth of Scripture.

In 14 chapters Bowden helps readers see the true nature of the battle of sin and the vital importance of addressing the heart issues behind our struggles with sin. He provides a biblical understanding of sin which is necessary motivation in battling sin. Bowden corrects many poor strategies in battling sin such as the avoidance ethics that focuses more on the avoidance of sin than the active pursuit of drawing near to God. Bowden clearly shows that battle against sin is in reality a battle for delight in God.

There’s not a reader that won’t benefit from this book. Throughout this book Bowden draws from some of the best classics in the Christian tradition on the issue of sin and in doing so provides an accessible and understandable battle plan. This is a battle all Christian will face until the their dying breath and this book will provide fresh motivation, instruction, and encouragement in this battle.

Disclosure: I received a 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.

A. W. Tozer: Three Spiritual Classics in One Volume: The Knowledge of the Holy, The Pursuit of God, and God’s Pursuit of Man: A Review

A. W. Tozer: Three Spiritual Classics in One Volume: The Knowledge of the Holy, The Pursuit of God, and God’s Pursuit of Man

A.W. Tozer was one of the great preachers of the mid-twentieth century. His sermons and his writings, including the three in this present volume, exhibit a man immersed in the life of God. Tozer wasn’t an academically trained pastor or theologian but he was a pastor-theologian with a profound understanding of the things of God.

This volume brings together three of Tozer’s greatest and most influential works. The first classic found in this edition is Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy. This work is in my opinion one of the best works on theology proper, it’s profoundly biblical and rooted in classic Christian orthodoxy. In  a time where many theologians were attempting to redefine the divine Tozer points readers to the biblical understanding of the triune God. Readers will be in awe of the perfections of God if they read this work. The second classic is Tozer’s treatment on the Christian life The Pursuit of God. In ten shorts chapters Tozer distills the biblical truths surrounding our lifelong pursuit of God as believers. In these chapters Tozer speaks to realities that were and are distant realities in American evangelicalism. The third classic is God’s Pursuit of Man which focuses in upon the realities of the Spirit in the Christian life.

Contemporary evangelicalism is greatly lacking in men like Tozer who was so immersed in the things of God. This volume with his three most significant books is a helpful corrective to much of the shallow theology and anemic spirituality found in many pulpits and pews. Read Tozer and you will see the heart of one who has penetrated the veil in his pursuit of God.

Disclosure: I received a 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.

The Forgotten Church : A Review

The Forgotten Church by Glenn Daman

Rural ministry hasn’t been an area of ministry that had garnered a lot of attention either in the publishing world or at the denominational level. Glenn Daman’s title The Forgotten Church seeks to make sure that rural churches are not forgotten and rural ministry is not ignored. It’s all the better that this book is a written by a rural ministry practitioner instead of someone detached from the realities of rural ministry.

In the portions of this book Daman illustrates how historically there has been a tendency to neglect rural ministry showing that the current conditions are nothing new. He continues in the book to dispel myths that have arisen clouding people’s understanding of rural areas, this section is particularly important as there is a major disconnect between urban and rural culture in America right now. He shifts to providing an understanding of issues that shape rural culture such as race and poverty. The closing chapters of the book help the reader develop a theological understanding of rural ministry, the impact rural churches have, and  a guide to partnering between church both rural and urban.

My ministry experience has been in rural areas and because of that I have a great appreciation for the fact that Daman wrote this book and that Moody published it as most preparation for ministry seems geared toward suburban/urban ministries rather than rural areas. I would commend this book to my fellow rural ministers but I would also recommend it to urban pastors so that they could gain a greater appreciation for rural ministry and even a desire to partner with rural churches.

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.

The Storm-Tossed Family : A Review

The Storm-Tossed Family by Russell Moore

Russell Moore president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC has written in my opinion his best book to date. The Storm-Tossed Family provides readers with a realistic and biblical understanding of the family which is all the more important given the many forces and pressure working against the family.

In fourteen chapters Moore explores some of the most important realities of family. In the early chapters he helps readers to see the importance of the cross shaping our understanding of family life, the reality of spiritual warfare in family life, among many other important issues. Each chapter is thoroughly rooted in the truth of Scriptures and provide helpful correctives to misconceptions about areas of family life both inside and outside of the church. His chapters on parenting and aging are particularly helpful.

In recent years many accusations regarding the trajectory of Russell Moore’s views on issues particularly pertinent to the issues addressed in this book. Those making such accusations would be better served reading this book as it dispels the criticism many “discernment” bloggers levy against him. This book has application for every believer whether married or single. It has been particularly helpful to me this week in preparing to teach on the family from Ephesians 5 this coming Sunday. In short this is one of the best books on the family I have 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.

Through My Father’s Eyes (A Review)

Through My Father’s Eyes by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney

In this title Franklin  Graham provides a heart felt look at his father’s life and prolific ministry. While not an unbiased source Franklin provides a first hand account of his father that sheds light on who Billy Graham was outside of his pulpit ministry. Clearly evident in this work is the love Franklin has for his father which is one of the greatest testimonies any man could have.

In thirteen chapters Franklin explores Billy Graham’s marriage to Ruth, his spiritual life, his ministry, and his interaction with the broader culture. The greatest weakness of this book is that at times it becomes more of a defense and promotion of Franklin than a remembrance of his father. For instance the recounting of the resistance to placing Franklin as his father’s successor at BGEA seems out of place in this work and diminishes the chapter. Another example of where the focus seems unduly placed on Franklin rather than his father is the final chapter in which Franklin recounts Trump’s election and Franklin’s role in it, that seems to miss the purpose of this book in memorializing his father who was famously nonpartisan and ministered across political lines.

Despite the times when the focus seems to shift off Billy Graham to Franklin himself overall this is a good read and provides the reader a greater appreciation of the life and ministry of Billy Graham.

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.

Letters to an American Christian (A Review)

Bruce Ashford, provost of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a valuable resource for Christians seeking to navigate our current cultural and political milieu without compromising Christian conviction.

Written in the form of letters to a young Christian in college Ashford addresses a wide range of issues. He addresses the role faith plays in the Christians public life, making clear that one’s faith influences life in both the public and private spheres. Ashford often makes clear that often times there is a reductionistic understanding of issues such as immigration on both the right and the left.  He helps readers think through hot-topic issues such as transgender movement and how Christians should respond to it.

I hope this book would have a wide readership and that those who read it will actually be moved to more thoughtful interaction with the issues of our day. If social media is any indication many believers are more prone to knee-jerk reaction than thoughtful response to the challenging cultural issues of our day. If you’re a parent of a teenager I would strongly recommend getting this book and studying it alongside your child. If your a pastor or youth pastor it would be a beneficial resource for believers of all ages.

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.

Jesus Revolution (A Review)

Jesus Revolution: How God Transformed an Unlikely Generation and How He Can Do It Again Today by [Laurie, Greg, Vaughn, Ellen]

Jesus Revolution by Greg Laurie & Ellen Vaughn

Looking at our contemporary context many find themselves asking if anything can transform a drug-addled and sexually confused culture. In this book which recounts how a generation which was much like the current one saw a mighty work of God. In this book Greg Laurie and Ellen Vaughn provides readers an eyewitness account of the Jesus Movement of the 60s and 70s especially as in relation to Laurie, Chuck Smith, and Calvary Chapel in California.

Having not had a great familiarity with the Jesus Movement I have found this book to be both historically informative and encouraging. Like any revival in the history of the church there were extremes and at times false converts, but as is seen in this book there was lasting good that occurred as a result of that movement. As the authors note in their concluding chapter, “Revivals are unorganized, messy, and fraught with risks for those who are not wearing the full armor of God (p. 245).”

I hope other readers will be as encouraged by this book and see the need of revival in the church today. While revival, a genuine work of God, cannot be manufactured it is something we should all pray for.

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.

The Call (A Review)

The Call by Os Guinness

The Call since its original publication 20 years ago has become a spiritual classic. In this work Os Guinness provides readers with a better understanding of the biblical teaching regarding the call of God.

In thirty chapters Guinness addresses the many different aspects of God as they are found in Scripture ranging from such topics as the call to be a distinct people in the world today to the final call of death in which believers are called home. This book is biblicaly rooted and gospel-centered. In every chapter one finds there is material for reflection and conviction. For instance in chapter 20 Guinness addresses the dangers of greed in relation to God’s exclusive call on our life. He points to the contrast of a calling economy and a commercial economy, pointing readers the fact that we are to live life for God’s sake. The chapters are short and this edition includes a study guide in the back to help readers reflect on the call of God. This book would lend itself well to either reading in a group study or as a daily devotional.

This book would prove to be beneficial to both believers and nonbelievers who are expressing interest in Christianity. I would heartily recommend this rich and engaging book to all readers.

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.

When We Say Father (A Review)

When We Say Father by Adrian Rogers and Steve Rogers

Adrian Rogers was one of the most important Southern Baptist pastors of the 20th century. He was a prolific preacher and author. One of the final writing projects Adrian Rogers undertook before his death was this book which has been edited and completed by his son Steve. In this book Rogers expounds Jesus’s teaching on prayer as found in Matthew’s gospel.

This book provides a devotional and practical look at Jesus’s teaching on prayer, specifically the Lord’s prayer. In six chapters Rogers addresses the petitions found in the Lord’s prayer providing insight on how these petitions should continue to shape and form our prayer life today. In the final chapter Rogers addresses the promise given regarding prayer in Matthew 7, namely that God promises to answer diligent prayer that is in accordance to His will.

If you’re looking for an easy to understand book on prayer this would be a great title to read or to pass on to new Christians.

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.