Friday, August 3, 2018

Book Review - Departing In Peace: Decision Making At the End of Life by Bill Davis

“Decisions at the end of life create deep anxiety for those involved. But it is possible to find peace and comfort amid the hard choices”– The Publisher. 
This book is undoubtedly the best book I have found on the subject. First, the author has had extensive experience on hospital ethics committees and has taught bioethics at Covenant College and Pastoral & Social Ethics at Reformed Theological Seminary. Second, his experience as a Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church of America has given him experience advising parents and children in making Biblically based end of life decisions. Third, the biblical analysis and practical advice offered have been read-tested, both in the hospital and in the classroom.
Dr. Bill Davis says “This book aims to make a more detailed biblical case for the principles found in the 1988 PCA Report on Heroic Measures, and to give more practical guidance about how to apply those principles, especially in the hospital setting of today.”
To give you a flavor for the type of advice Dr. Davis gives, the heart of the instructions he left with his doctor is the desire not to have medical means used to keep him alive unless the means are humanly likely to restore to him the ability to enjoy “the ordinary means of grace”. He says this because, in his words, “The delight of reading God’s Word and hearing it preached, the unity found in taking the sacraments with other believers, the peace and involvement known in corporate prayer, and the thrill of singing God’s praises together with God’s people are more fulfilling to our whole selves than anything else on earth.”  
While the book tends to be pretty detailed, it is quite readable and full of very practical advice. One of the chapters include six true stories. In this chapter Dr. Davis sets up the end of life situation, then works through the situation asking the kinds of questions the person or loved ones ask. He gives several options for answers and discusses the pros and cons of each, with his suggested response.
The book includes study and discussion questions at the end of each chapter, but the real bonus is the free and extensive lesson plans for a four-class series available at the publishers (P&R Publishing) website.
What follows are a few more endorsements.
“This book combines mature biblical teaching with the brass-tacks practical questions that we all face with the death of loved ones. These are the things that we don’t usually think about until they happen. I highly recommend Departing in Peace as essential preparation.”  —Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
“Dr. Davis is an exemplary teacher and guide. His personal experience with end-of-life issues and his experience as a guide to others are invaluable for those who want to be ready.”  —Richard R. Pesce, MD, MS (ethics), FCCP, FACP, Medical Director of Critical Care, Memorial Hospital, Chattanooga
“This book by Bill Davis fills a real gap in the literature. . . . Departing in Peace deserves to become the go-to book for those seeking solid guidance on difficult end-of-life decisions.”  —James N. Anderson, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte
“This book is a fine reflection on crucial issues of life and death. As we would expect from Bill Davis, it is careful, thoughtful, and biblical, and it will be genuinely helpful to families and pastors.”  —W. Robert Godfrey, Professor Emeritus of Church History, Westminster Seminary California

This book along with several other new books can be seen at Somethin's Brewin Coffee Shop in DeMotte. I also am always adding books to the list of recommended books at

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Check out my list of recommended books at

Also -  for those who live in DeMotte, Indiana be sure to visit Companion Books Bookstall at Somethin' Brewin Cafe on Halleck Street where you will find used and discounted books!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Book Review – Graciousness: Tempering Truth With Love by John Crotts

Real Practical Help and Motivation for Developing Graciousness

A self-righteous, angry person who is argumentative and lacking graciousness in dealing with others needs this book, but probably won’t be willing read it. Such a person would not think the book relevant. But rip the book in half and hand him chapters 6-10 and the book might just serve him as Nathan the prophet did David when Nathan said: “You are the man!”  These last chapters get practical and specific about what graciousness looks like and what behaviors need to change to make one gracious.

I found chapters 1-5 hard to wade through, as I am already convinced that graciousness is required of us. But I absolutely loved the clear, practical, detailed instructions given in chapters 6-10.

This book will well equip you to counsel or confront an ungracious person with tools that will really help. It will encourage you that change is not only required but possible.

I was given a review copy by Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for a fair review.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Help For Bible Teachers Tired of Moralistic Lessons

Bible teachers won't want to miss today's Kindle deal. This series of plenary talks on the book of Nehemiah comes out of the Gospel Coalition's 2014 National Women's Conference. Each chapter covers 2 chapters in Nehemiah, authored by some well-known favorites including Kathy Keller, Tim Keller, Nancy Guthrie, John Piper and D.A. Carson.

While the book has some excellent 'Reflect and Pray' questions at the end of each chapter, I found the reflections on how the chapter demonstrated thinking as an expositor incredibly helpful. The Introduction "On Exposition" and the conclusion "On Old Testament Narrative" by Kathleen Nielson made me happy to have purchased the Kindle version 2 days ago at full price, BUT you can get this treasure today on Amazon for $2.99. Don't miss it!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Great New Board Book!

The Biggest Story ABC Board book by Kevin DeYoung Illustrated by Don Clark

I knew this book would be good even before I saw it.  Kevin DeYoung is the author of the excellent children’s book The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden and several adult books.

From the publisher: “From Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to Zion and the new creation world, the Bible is telling one big story—the story of God's promise to deliver his people. Kevin DeYoung, best-selling author of 'The Biggest Story,' has written a new, 32-page board book to help kids ages 1 to 3 make connections from Genesis to Revelation and from A to Z”

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Two Wonderful Examples of How To Ask For Forgiveness

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

I enjoyed watching the Netflix TV series Anne With An E so much I just had to read the book on which it is based. I loved the way irrepressibly optimistic Anne, a bright 11-year-old orphan girl, used her wit and imagination to cope with the difficulties of her childhood. From the very beginning of this story, Anne captured my heart as she navigates her way through what promises to be a turnaround in her life.  

Perhaps of interest to those who attended Pastor Jims evening series on forgiveness, the story also just happens to have to two wonderful examples that illustrate so well what makes a good apology (express regret, accept responsibility, make restitution, genuine repentance, request forgiveness). The first is when Anne has to ask a neighbor to forgive her for being rude. The second is when Marrila, the girl's ward, has to ask Anne for forgiveness.

A friend of mine says he read this book 41 times when he was growing up. The storyline, the writing and the character development make this a very worthwhile and enjoyable read even as an adult.