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.

A Great Conversion Story

Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber 

Once in a while, I like to read a book that stretches me and a book I would not ordinarily read. When the Kindle version of this book recently went on sale I purchased it and was rewarded with a well-written look into the life and mind of a Canadian women who won a full scholarship to study literature at Oxford.

Arriving in London as an agnostic, the memoir describes her conversion to Christianity in the midst of liberalism. The stretch in this book for me was understanding the quotes from Byron, Lewis, Milton and other romantic period writers.

What I liked about the book was the story of God’s pursuit to capture this women’s heart and the skill of the author in showing how faith is compatible with intellectual pursuits. In this regard, it reminded me of Rosario Butterfield’s The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.

This book is not for everyone, but if you are looking for a gift idea for someone who likes memoirs, conversion stories or well-written literature, this one is a good bet.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review – One Nation Without Law: The Rise of Lawlessness, the End Times and the Power of Hope by Phil Hotsenpiller

So much written about prophecy tends to be narrowly focused and speculative. However, Phil Hotsenpiller has made a helpful contribution to understanding the source and working of evil in the passage of time toward the return of Christ. He shows how lawlessness, as the bible predicts, increases as we reach the end times, giving specific examples from history.  At the same time, the author encourages us to endure to the end, as the victory over lawlessness is assured.

While I do not agree with all the correlations between historical events and the bible, I was convinced that I need to reconsider the special place that the nation of Israel has in God’s heart and the future ingathering of the Jews. A worthwhile read.

I was given this book by Chosen in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Book Review - Treasures in Dark Places by Leanna Cinquanta

It is true what many reviewers have said; this book is hard to put down. Part of the attraction for me, is that I am in the process of reviewing my thoughts on whether the healing, visions and dreams that existed in the early church, continue today as means God uses to guide and use in building believers up in the faith. For that reason I very much enjoyed her well written account in chapter 2 of her reoccurring dreams and the role that played in her decision to follow Christ, go to Bible school and go to India.

The book has no stated purpose, but can easily be read as an autobiography. As such, I found it an intriguing read, full of adventure, lovely descriptions of the many places she lived and the homeschooling environment she grew up in. I think Leanna Cinquanta is a very gifted writer and story teller.

This book was a joy to read, informative about the great work being done in India and caused me to stop and pray for those in extreme poverty and subject to human trafficking.

I was given this book by Chosen in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Book review – Bible Studies on Mark by William Boekestein

Bible Studies on Mark is a handy reference book for a teacher leading a small group through Mark’s Gospel. This short guide is written from a Reformed Theological perspective and draws on such authors, pastors and scholars as Dan Doriani, John Calvin, Louis Berkof, Kent Hughs and from the historic Reformed confessions and catechisms.

Each chapter ends with eight questions; a good mix of observation, interpretation and application. The book is sufficient for a short, moderately placed look at the book of Mark.  If you are looking for a deeper study that models for the student how bible study is done, I would recommend Sinclair Ferguson’s Let’s Study Mark.

I was given this book by Reformed Fellowship, Inc in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Book Review - Finding Forgiveness: Discovering the Healing Power of the Gospel by Stanley D. Gale

Answers to most questions you have about asking for or receiving forgiveness can be found in this well illustrated and biblically faithful explanation of forgiveness. New believers will find some well roasted meat to chew on.  Mature Christians will discover new richness to the theology found in the old hymns and catechisms as author Stanley Gale sometimes summarizes his exposition of scripture with one or more of these.

The inclusion of questions at the end of each chapter makes this book suitable for a small group study.

This book is an expanded version of his pamphlet “Why Must We Forgive”. Stanley Gale has added a really helpful chapter on “What About Forgiving Ourselves?” The writing is clear, concise and his explanations are well developed, making very helpful distinctions in the nuances of words often used carelessly in conversation.  The inclusion of many personal stories makes this an enjoyable read that communicates well the essential theological understanding of forgiveness and the implications for putting it into practice.

I found Gale’s answer to the question “Why does John say that God is ‘faithful and just’ to forgive us when we confess rather than ‘faithful and merciful’ most enlightening. In this, as in the rest of the book, there are clear connections to the finished work of Jesus Christ as what we trust in. He calls this “Kingdom Currency”. Gale says “Mercy does not give us the consequence deserved. ‘Just,’ however, necessarily captures the transaction involved in forgiveness, how that forgiveness was achieved.”

The second most helpful discussion for me was the discussion around the inadequacy of “apology” to achieve authentic forgiveness.  An apology may recognize a wrong, but it does not necessarily bring about a plan of action to address a wrong. In contrast, saying “will you forgive me” engages the other person and brings about the beginning stages of reconciliation.

Are you having difficulty with forgiveness?  This book is a timely, helpful, uplifting and encouraging read.

I received this book from Reformation Heritage Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review - Christ All Sufficient: An Exposition of Colossians by Brian G. Hedges

This book has the best characteristics of Puritan writing while possessing the clarity and simplicity with depth that Brian Hedges brings to this exposition of Colossians. Following the practice of some of my favorite Puritan authors Brian Hedges opens the book with an outline of his exposition. The main body of the book then expands on each point in the outline, bringing in differing historical interpretations and the thoughts of more contemporary theologians and writers. Every chapter wraps up with a concise summary and possible applications.

This commentary would be a very helpful addition to the library of any preacher, bible teacher or diligent student of the bible.

I received this book from Shepherd Press in exchange for an honest review.