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.

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.

Ten Book Recommendations for Pastor Appreciation 2018

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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 last year’s list go here.

  1. Susie by Ray Rhodes (reviewed here).
  2. 12 Faithful Men edited by Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson (reviewed here).
  3. High King of Heaven edited by John Macarthur (reviewed here).
  4. Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey (reviewed here).
  5. Preaching by the Book by R. Scott Pace (reviewed here).
  6. Preaching as Reminding by Jeffrey Arthurs (reviewed here).
  7. Walking Through Twilight by Douglas Groothuis (reviewed here).
  8. Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom Rainer (reviewed here).
  9. Some Pastors and Teachers by Sinclair Ferguson.
  10. The Preacher’s Catechism by Lewis Allen

 

 

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.

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.

Passion in the Pulpit: A Review

Passion in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Adam Dooley

Those who have studied preaching in seminary, and even some who have not, may be familiar with the concept that logos,ethos, and pathos are the essential parts of preaching. Much attention is given to logos, the content of epreaching, and attention is given to ethos, the character of the preacher, but pathos, the persuasive nature of preaching is often neglected or even ridiculed. This title helps serve as a corrective to that neglect and disdain.

In this book author Adam Dooley provides an exploration of each topic in the various chapters with Jerry Vines providing illustration of how the principles at hand are applied in the pulpit. One chapter that particularly stood out to me was the second chapter, which serves as a warning against personality driven preaching. I do have to disagree with what was said in chapter 4 when it states, “Though the Law is not binding as a moral standard for believers, it remains a relevant hermeneutical  key that helps us understand God and ourselves better (68).” Overall though this book is a helpful resource giving practical tips on how to be a better and more convincing preacher, pointing to the importance of heart felt preaching in persuading others of the truth of the Word.

I would commend this book as a valuable resource for any preacher. It offers practical insight and application in an area of preaching that is often ignored by preachers and writers.

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.

Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, Wife of Charles H. Spurgion(A Review)

Susie by Ray Rhodes

Susie Spurgeon, one of the most influential women in church history, has been one of the most neglected in terms of Christian biography. This neglect has been remedied in Ray Rhodes’s masterfully research biography due to be released September 4, 2018. Ray has scoured over primary sources to provide as full of an understanding of her life and contributions as possible.

As author Ray Rhodes notes there is scant information on the first twenty years of her life. It is with the calling of her future husband as pastor of New Park Chapel in London that the reader really begins to know Susie. Rhodes sheds light on Susie’s initial impressions of her future as well as the progress of their courtship. Susie’s role as mother to twins Thomas and Charles also brings to attention the sacrifice that the family made arising from the vastness of Spurgeon’s ministry. One can imagine that if Susie had not been a devoted and godly mother they would have turned out very differently.  She shared in the sufferings of her husband as well as bearing her own physical sufferings that took a serious toll on her health. These sufferings proved to be what led her to pursue a ministry that she is greatly known for, providing books for impoverished pastors and missionaries. It is in books that Susie has greatest legacy not only in the ones given as a support for those in ministry but also those written by her.

For those who have appreciated the life and labors of C.H. Spurgeon this title is truly a treasure that has been unearthed. While many of Spurgeon’s biographers will give some information on Susie such as their courtship, her illness, and her book fund. None of them have put in the painstaking effort of researching her to such an extent where she comes alive on the page, which is exactly what Ray Rhodes has done in this work. I’d highly recommend this title because as with her husband’s life story hers is one that has much to teach us today.

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.

Dangerous Good: A review

Dangerous Good by Kenny Luck

The church and our country is facing a crisis with men. Many Christian men are living in conformity to the ways of the world as opposed to the identity they are called to in Christ. In this book pastor and author Kenny Luck provides a wake up call to men.

In ten chapters Luck addresses areas in life men need to address to be a force for dangerous good in the world. Luck addresses issues such as our identity in Christ, morality, treating women with dignity, and courage. I think the first two chapters are the most important as he focuses on men neglecting their Christian identity and the moral confusion found among young men. That confusion was illustrated in the murder of Christopher Lane who was killed in cold blood because teenage boys were bored and wanted to kill someone. In a society where men, even Christian men, are becoming increasingly isolated and immoral this book is greatly needed.

I would commend this book to all men, especially Christian men.

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.