February 15, 2013 by admin
In Reformational Manhood, Greg Gibson presents a call to young men step into the God-given role that He has called them to embrace. This book is a challenge for men to be defined by the Word of God rather that what culture makes men to be. Gibson points out that a cultural view of manhood is depicted in media like the TV show Two and a Half Men. The picture given by the media is that men are to be lazy, addicted to sex, and selfish. The biblical view of men as a leader, a provider, and a warrior stands in stark contrast to the cultural view of manhood.
Reformational Manhood seeks to address the topics of: courage, the gospel, marriage, being a leader, being a provider, being a warrior, making decisions, and redeeming your time. These are all topics that are important to address because they are all areas in which many men fail. These topics are all addressed through a strong biblical and theological lens. Gibson does an effective job of handling the texts of scripture and constantly drives his readers to evaluate the truth of the text in determining the proper approach to the topic.
Gibson takes a very gospel-centered approach to the topic of biblical manhood. He is not into writing a book full of boxes to check off in order to become a better man. Gibson realizes the truth that we are all imperfect man trying to follow the perfect man – Jesus. Christ is seen as the hero of the book and is presented as the only truly perfect man.
Reformational Manhood is a concise but clear book that addresses the topics of manhood from a biblical and gospel-centered perspective. It is a quick read that is packed with biblical truth. Gibson’s call for men to become everything God created them to be is a needed reminder that points men back to their need for Jesus to transform them so they can transform the world around them.
Category Book Reviews, Christian Living, Culture, Youth Ministry | Tags: , Book Review, book reviews, Gospel, Jesus, student ministry, theology, Youth Ministry | No Comments
February 13, 2013 by admin
In Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live, David Platt challenges Christians to truly embrace the cost and lifestyle changes that the gospel demands. Like Platt’s previous books, Follow Me is a call for Christians to return to the truth of the texts rather than merely going along with American Christianity.
Follow Me begins with a chapter about Platt’s concern that there are many people in our churches that claim to be believers who are merely embracing a cultural Christianity rather than truly following Jesus. Platt then goes on to look at Jesus’ initial call to His disciples to follow Him and become fishers of men. This call is connected to both a cost of following Jesus and the call to be involved in God’s work in the world through the Great Commission.
Platt then addresses the cultural concerns of superficial religion, making Jesus your personal Lord and Savior, being a Christian without being involved in a church, and finding God’s will for your life. These are all very helpful and challenging chapters. Platt consistently points his readers back to the text to make sure our views of Christianity are defined by God’s Word rather than our cultural cliches.
Follow Me ends with a call for every Christian to be involved in disciplemaking. This is Platt’s term for the process of carrying out the great commission by sharing the gospel and helping people grow in their faith through a small group or one on one discipleship relationship. He paints a picture of the goal of disciplemaking and the biblical call for every believer to make discipled before laying out a practical approach through a personal disciplemaking plan. The final pages of Follow Me are truly a guide to develop your own personal disciplemaking plan.
Platt has written another engaging, biblical, and challenging book in Follow Me. This is a book that should be read with an open heart because God will challenge you through the Holy Spirit’s work in David Platt. This is also a book that drives the reader to action – living a faith that truly follows King Jesus!
Category Book Reviews, Christian Living, Church, Gospel | Tags: , Book Review, book reviews, church | No Comments
February 1, 2013 by admin
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart was not the book that I was expecting it to be. Over the last year in the Southern Baptist Convention, there has been a lot of debate regarding the effectiveness of “the sinner’s prayer” as an effective evangelistic tool. Since “asking Jesus into your heart” is term typically used with “the sinners prayer,” it would have made sense for this book to be on this debate. Instead of focusing on theological and ministry debates, JD Greear presents this book as an extremely helpful pastoral work for those who wrestle with doubting their salvation.
The topic of doubt and faith is something that is typically not discussed in church. Many Christians wrestle with whether or not they are truly saved, and like the title of the book suggests, they seek ways to try to get saved again and again just to be sure. Throughout the book, Greear is real about his own struggles with doubt. This book tells of his own theological wrestlings with the topic and finding rest in the finished work of Christ.
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart challenges readers to rest their faith not on emotions, their sincerity, or their performance but on Christ’s performance on their behalf on the cross. It is by seeing Jesus in my place and resting in Him that I can experience true assurance of salvation. In this gospel-centered book, Greear biblically defines salvation as belief and repentance. These are both works that God does in a person’s heart and life.
Greear encourages readers that the Christian life is defined by belief and repentance not just at its beginning but at every stage of life. When we fail or doubt, we are encouraged to once again embrace faith and repentance. This book is a great tool for Christians who are wrestling with doubt, which if we are honest is all of us at one time or another. Through his humorous and engaging writing style, Greear passionately calls us once again to embrace the gospel and Jesus work on our behalf. This book is an excellent read dealing with an important topic that many Christians don’t want to acknowledge exists.
Category Book Reviews, Christian Living, Cross, Gospel | Tags: , Book Review, book reviews, Gospel | No Comments
January 18, 2013 by admin
In Why Church Matters, Joshua Harris presents a short but challenging book about the importance of being involved in a community of believers through a local church. This book was originally released under the title Stop Dating the Church and builds off of the theme of church hopping as “church dating.” Harris seeks to call Christians who have opted for a version of solo Christianity to be a part of what God is doing in and through the local church.
Harris begins by painting a biblical picture of how God views the church. She is His bride, Jesus’ body, God’s family, and His temple. These metaphors alone describe the power, might, and place that God has given His church in the world. Though churches are imperfect, Harris calls Christians to look at the biblical priority of the church to see God’s desire for Christians to be involved with other believers in a local church.
Why Church Matters then gets extremely practical as Harris argues why we need a local church, 10 questions to ask when seeking a church, practical ideas for getting the most out of church on a Sunday, and a call to be on mission with the church. These chapters are all presented in a compelling manner and give Christians tools to use when seeking God’s will for the local church congregation that the Lord would lead them to join.
Harris has written a short but important book. In a clear and concise way, he presents a theology of church and a practical manual for Christians to think personally, practically, and theologically how they can best serve the church because, as the title suggests, the church really does matter.
Category Book Reviews, Church, Gospel | Tags: , Book Review, book reviews | No Comments
January 17, 2013 by admin
In The Grace Effect, apologist Larry Taunton effective weaves together a Christian apologetic with the story of his family’s adoption of their daughter, Sasha, from the Ukraine. The book is framed in the context of on-going conversations between Taunton and famed atheist Christopher Hitchens. Through Taunton’s work as the director of a foundation focused on the advancement of the Christian faith, he has developed a close friendship with Hitchens, which is an odd friendship because they believe in two fundamentally oppositional worldviews.
As an apologist, Taunton is constantly seeking arguments to present for the compelling nature of the gospel. As he travelled through the process of adopting his daughter, Taunton discovered that the lack of grace in a culture, which comes fundamentally from the Christian worldview, causes a culture to decline and become a place of no hope. The removal of the gospel from a culture deprives that very culture of hope, meaning, and vitality.
The Grace Effect is a compelling story of how Taunton’s presupposition came to life through his real life experiences as an adoptive father in the Ukraine. The Ukraine is a country that has personified the atheistic worldview that Christopher Hitchens supports. As Taunton walks the streets of the country, he sees the dark results of Hitchen’s worldview played out in the lives of real people. He is reminded once again of the power of the gospel and the Christian worldview to truly be a place of hope and healing for people and culture.
The book ends with Hitchens meeting Sasha. The child who has experienced extravagant grace through the gospel being displayed in the life of the Taunton family comes face to face with the atheist who promotes the cultural philosophy that negatively defined so much of the child’s life. As they meet, Hitchens is amazed by the child who overcame and saw that there must be something different about her. Though Hitchens remains in his worldview, the story of The Grace Effect made him come face to face with a real life apologetic of the power of the gospel.
The Grace Effect is an engaging book that weaves together theology, philosophy, history, and real life experiences into a page-turning story. Taunton truly presents a real life apologetic, through his daughter, and reminds his readers once again of the power of grace.
Category Book Reviews, Christian Living, Culture, Evangelism, Gospel | Tags: , Book Review, book reviews, Gospel | No Comments
January 15, 2013 by admin
In J. R. R. Tolkien- The Making of a Legend, Colin Duriez presents the compelling story of the man behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This biography focuses foremost on the shaping of these two famous works throughout the life experience of Tolkien, which makes this a fascinating book.
This biography is slow at times, but it clearly tells Tolkien’s journey from a boy who lost both of his parents at a young age to a writer whose books made a lasting mark on the world. The most interesting sections of the book are those that focus on Tolkien’s struggles as a writer alongside the Inklings, which included C. S. Lewis. From this biography, readers will see the importance of friendship and creative collaboration that led Lewis and Tolkien to emerge from the halls of British academia to well loved authors.
One of the greatest values of biographies is seeing the driving passions of the person being featured. Tolkien was a man who valued hard work and truly fell in love with his craft. The fantasy stories that began with Tolkien’s kids have become classics that still inspire readers and audiences to this day. In this biography, Duriez presents a clear and concise modern biography of a great storyteller whose life was truly a story to be told.
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December 21, 2012 by admin
In Journeys of Faith, the amazing grace of God in conversion comes alive. As Evangelical, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican Christians share their spiritual journeys, readers begin to understand that God’s work in the church is much larger than any one of our denominations can hold. This book tells the compelling stories of God’s work while also clearly describing the distinctives that make each one of these expressions of Christianity their own.
The four Journeys of Faith are told by Francis J. Beckwith (Catholic), Chris Castaldo (Evangelical), Lyle W. Dorsett (Anglican), and Wilbur Ellsworth (Eastern Orthodox). After each story is shared a scholar from another faith tradition responds to the initial essay. The response is then followed by a rebuttal essay from the original storyteller. This approach creates a conversation regarding the faith tradition being discussed. Though every journey is different and some faith traditions have very different theological points, it is clear that all of the people representing the traditions have a high view of God, the scriptures, and others who disagree with them from other faith traditions.
Though a reader is highly unlikely to change faith traditions from reading this book, the reader will have his or her mind opened to the different expressions of the Christian faith and will gain a greater appreciation for others who worship the same God in different ways. This is a very helpful, inspiring, and insightful book.
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December 14, 2012 by admin
In Courageous Teens, Michael Catt challenges teenagers to be young men and women of extra-ordinary courage. Based on the Sherwood Pictures film Courageous, this book is a wake up call to teenagers to be all that God is calling them to be. Catt writes on a teenage level and fills this book with compelling examples from scripture and history of people who were willing to stand for God no matter what it costs them. He challenges students to take up the opportunities that God has given them to be the difference and make an eternal difference on those around them.
Courageous Teens would make a great study for a student ministry small group. The book contains questions at the end of each chapter that would be helpful tools for students to wrestle with the practicalities of being Courageous Teens together in a small group context. According to Catt, a Courageous Teen possesses courageous faith, displays courageous leadership, embraces courageous priorities, and commands courageous influence. These are all character traits that clearly mark students of change.
Catt’s book is a good challenge to teenagers to be real about their faith and to allow God to use them to make an impact for His glory. This would be a good resource for students who are wanting to be more bold in their faith.
Category Book Reviews, Christian Living, Faith, Youth Ministry | Tags: | No Comments
November 30, 2012 by admin
In The Weight of Mercy: A Novice Pastor on the City Streets, Deb Richardson-Moore recounts her compelling memoir of her personal spiritual journey alongside “the least of these” on the streets of Greenville, South Carolina.
This journey began when God called Deb to leave her career as a writer to go to seminary. After seminary, God opened the door for her to be the pastor at the Triune Mercy Center. This local church that ministers to drug addicts, prostitutes, and the homeless was an odd place for someone to imagine starting in ministry. Deb is open about her struggles, successes, and failures, and she tells the compelling story of God’s work through the ministry to meet the needs of people. This book is truly a memoir of wrestling with the true depths of The Weight of Mercy.
The Weight of Mercy is a realistic and page-turning story of Deb’s struggles and God’s faithfulness to her and the people that Triune Mercy Center ministers to. This is an excellent read that will challenge and encourage you to trust in God’s faithfulness and personally evaluate what you are doing to help “the least of these.”
Category Book Reviews, Church, Grace | Tags: | No Comments
October 26, 2012 by admin
The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 is an intensely academic book presenting arguments for Jesus’ Messiahship from Isaiah 53. Unlike many other academic books, this is written with the clear intent and purpose of preparing a theological apologetic for Christians to use when witnessing to Jewish people who are still looking for the Messiah.
This book is edited by a New Testament scholar, Dr. Darrell Bock, and the president of Chosen People Ministries, Dr. Mitch Glaser. These editors bring together theology with practicality ans have selected excellent scholars to write compelling essays exploring Isaiah 53. This book explores Christian and Jewish interpretations of the text, the role of Isaiah 53 in Biblical Theology, and the role of Isaiah 53 in Practical Theology.
The Gospel According to Isaiah 53 is a challenging collection of essays that seek to bring a theological apologetic to Jewish people who have yet to comprehend the truth that Jesus is the Messiah.
Category Book Reviews, Evangelism, Gospel | Tags: , Book Review, book reviews, Gospel | No Comments