- Paul and the Faithfulness of God by N.T. Wright - $7.99 (1,700 pages!)
- Recovering the Reformed Confession by R. Scott Clark - $0.99
- Meet the Puritans by Joel Beeke - $2.99 (800 page book)
- Puritan Evangelism by Joel Beeke - $0.99
- Salvation by Grace by Matthew Barrett - $0.99
- Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of his Life & Thought by Stephen Nichols - $1.99
- Tributes to John Calvin - $1.99 (600 page book)
- Hero of Heroes: Seeing Christ in the Beatitudes by Iain Duguid - $1.99
- The End of the Law (NAC Studies) by Jason Meyer - $0.99
- Enthroned On Our Praise (NAC Studies) by Timothy Pierce - $0.99
- Sermon on the Mount (NAC Studies) by Charles Quarles - $2.99
- The Ten Commandments (NAC Studies) by Mark Rooker - $2.99
- The Church: Why Bother? by Jeffrey Johnson - $2.99
New Music - Out Today
Recent Noteworthy Books
Saturate by Jeff Vanderstelt -- I've been able to spend some time with Jeff the last few years at conferences and Soma School. Remarkable guy with a remarkable (and simple) vision for the church being the church. And the vision, as I have experienced it first hand, is being realized. A book I wish I could gift to every one of my pastor friends.
Blind Spots by Collin Hansen -- "It's easier to associate only with our own. But anyone in the world can have that kind of community....True community results only from a miracle." Hansen explains and why the Church is are divided into three groups and how all three are important and should unite us.
The Reformation Study Bible (ESV) ed. R.C. Sproul -- Gorgeous and very useful. I use the ESV Study Bible every week, almost daily, and the RSB will now be used weekly as well.
Mea Culpa by Kyle McClellan -- I served in a volunteer capacity with Kyle as he pastored a church in Lexington, Kentucky over a decade ago. This is a book about his service as a young pastor who made some mistakes.
Bonhoeffer's Seminary Vision by Paul House -- As a guy who juuust missed having Paul House as a seminary professor (he left SBTS just as I arrived), I always look for chances to learn from him. Here's another opportunity specifically concerning theological education.
17 Bucket List Fried Chicken Restaurants -- Steve is getting HUUUNGRY!
5 Solutions for Churches that are Stalled -- "It's one thing to spout off statistics about stagnant churches, but it's a whole different sack of potatoes to acknowledge that your church has stalled. So I won't tell anyone that you're reading this. Our little secret. Here are five things you do when your church stalls."
- God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment by Jim Hamilton $5.99 ($29 in paper)
- God is Love by Gerald Bray $5.99 ($28 in paper)
- Salvation Accomplished by the Son by Robert Peterson $4.99 ($29 in paper)
- The Deep Things of God by Fred Sanders $2.99 ($14 in paper)
- How God Became King by N.T. Wright $2.99 ($17 in paper)
WTSBooks.com has a big sale on Kindle books, including these for $1.99 each...
- Systematic Theology by John Frame ($45 book!)
- Ministries of Mercy by Tim Keller
- The Shepherd Leader by Tim Witmer
- Puritan Papers Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4, Vol 5 ed. J.I. Packer (Fantastic vols with essays/lectures on Puritans on various topics. I've used these for years.)
What A War Artist Brings To War (Richard Johnson)
I’m heading back to Afghanistan this week to spend some time with the U.S. International Security Assistance Force troops overseeing the end of combat.
As I was packing it all up recently I decided to also pack all the gear and supplies into an information graphic on what a visual journalist brings to war. So here’s what is in the old kit-bag this time around
"It gets the neurons to fire and expands the mind."
...churches should seek to establish a dynamic of ministry that cycles between church to campus. As the church impacts the college campus, the campus is enfolded into the life of the local church, and then that church equips those students to walk with God and labor for the gospel back on campus.
Dear College Students, Read These Books (Matt Smethurst)
This year I’d like to recommend six books for three different groups of students: non-Christians willing to learn about Christianity, new Christians, and students serving on (or preparing for) a ministry leadership team.
The Good Book Company continues to show their seriousness about Scripture and Bible study with their God's Word For You series by adding 1 Samuel For You and Titus for You by Tim Chester. If you order soon, you get Chester's 1 Samuel and Titus bible study guides for each book free with purchase.
Other books in the For You series...
- Galatians by Tim Keller
- Judges by Tim Keller
- Titus by Tim Chester
- Romans 1-7 by Tim Keller (WTS has at a nice discount right now)
- A list of future titles, authors, and timeline for release
Other books, new or new to me, that I've just picked up or started reading...
For the Glory of God (Kindle, WTS) by Daniel Block | I was able to sit in the original seminary class that my friend, Dr. Daniel Block, taught on Theology of Worship. This book is the fruit of years of teaching this class. I've been asking him for years about when he would write this book and wondering at the good this resource will do, and I'm glad it's finally in my hands.
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway | Certainly not new, but I'm reading through it and it's a delightful read.
Live (DVD/Handbook) by Rebecca Manley Pippert | The Good Book Company has sent me a copy of this DVD and handbook. It's for new believers and not-yet-believers. I haven't been able to check it out yet, but Tim Keller says, "These studies by Becky Pippert are clear and accessible, yet substantial and thoughtful explorations of how to be grounded and grow in Christian faith. They evidence years of experience working with people at all stages of belief and skepticism. I highly recommend them."
Can You Believe It's True?: Christian Apologetics in a Modern & Postmodern Era (WTS/Kindle) by John Feinberg | Just gifted this by Crossway and I'm excited about it.
Some massive discounts on important theological books...
- Evangelical Theology by Michael Bird ($5.99)
- The Christian Faith & Pilgrim Theology by Michael Horton ($7.69 & $5.99)
- Historical Theology by Gregg Allison ($5.99)
- Plant by Darrin Patrick, Mark DeVine, Ed Stetzer ($4.39)
- Entrusted With The Gospel by Andreas Kostenberger ($2.99)
- The End of the Law by Jason Meyer ($2.99)
- Theologians of the Baptist Tradition by Timothy George & David Dockery ($2.99)
- God's Indwelling Presence by Jim Hamilton ($2.99)
- Believer's Baptism by Tom Schreiner & Shawn Wright ($2.99)
Here's a smattering of new and notable books that are on my radar and on my shelf.
- Preparing Your Teens for College (WTS | Kindle) by Alex Chediak - $2.99 for Kindle right now! Get it quick. I did as I have three teenagers.
- Proof (WTS | Kindle) by Daniel Montgomery - So excited about this one I bought 2 and already gave one away.
- Taking God At His Word (WTS | Kindle) by Kevin DeYoung - Getting lots of love.
- Grace In Addiction (Kindle - only $4.99!) by John Z. - From Mockingbird books. Saw this from their list of Mockingbird conference booktable books. Using it for a series of sermons I'm preaching called Eternity Junkie.
- To the Ends of the Earth (WTS | Kindle) by Michael Haykin and C. Jeffrey Robinson Sr. - On Calvin and "missional"? I'll bite.
- The Unfinished Church (WTS | Kindle) by Bob Bentz - "Honest yet hopeful"
- The Gospel (WTS | Kindle) by Ray Ortlund - Everyone needs to read and listen to Ray.
- Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully (WTS | Kindle) by John Piper - He talks about Whitefield, so I will read.
- How Not To Be Secular (Kindle) by James K.A. Smith - Christ and Pop Culture discussion board conversation about this book made it a must-buy for me.
- Jesus or Nothing (WTS | Kindle) by Dan DeWitt - New Crossway book seems like it will be helpful for skeptics and doing apologetics. Short and sweet.
- Eternity Changes Everything (Kindle) by Stephen Witmer - The Good Book Company sent me this book and I'm using it during my Eternity Junkie sermon series.
- Rediscovering Eden: The Gospel According to Ecclesiastes (WTS | Kindle) - This one is on order.
Anything else good come out that you want to recommend?
- Center Church by Tim Keller ($3.99)
- The Final Days of Jesus by Justin Taylor ($0.99)
- The Call To Joy & Pain by Ajith Fernando ($3.99)
- How Long O Lord? by D.A. Carson ($3.82)
- The Jesus Storybook Bible ($3.99)
- Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian ($0.99)
- Our Triune God by Phil Ryken ($3.99)
- Love or Die by Alexander Strauch ($3.99)
- From Heaven He Came and Sought Her ($3.99)
- For the City by Darrin Patrick & Matt Carter ($3.79)
- What's Your Worldview? by James Anderson ($0.99)
- The Insanity of God ($2.99) & The Insanity of Obedience ($4.99) by Nik Ripkin
- Gospel & Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear ($2.99)
- Finishing Our Course With Joy by J.I. Packer ($0.99)
- Young, Restless, Reformed by Collin Hansen ($3.49)
- Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper ($2.99)
- Subversive Kingdom by Ed Stetzer ($2.99)
Unfortunately too many who view the world through social media lenses know John Piper more for his "Farewell, Rob Bell" comment more than most anything else. I've been blessed by Dr. Piper's ministry for years. First discovering him through Desiring God and then a mad scramble to read the rest of his key books (Let the Nations Be Glad, Future Grace). Then Bruce Ware let me borrow boxes of John Piper sermon tapes, which I devoured while at work during seminary years.
I heard Piper speak at Southern Seminary where he called the seminary dangerous because it's beautiful and safe. I asked him about whether tax exempt status for churches caused us to not speak out more and he just said we need to be bold. I heard Piper speak at The Founders Conference in Birmingham where he spoke on mission and caused me to aspire to become a missionary to a Muslim country. I heard Piper speak on mission again at the International Mission Board gathering at Ridgecrest, NC where I asked him to sign his books for me during a youth event and asked if he felt odd signing books since it means he's a "celebrity." He said he doesn't seek it out but won't say no. We got to chat with Noel several times as during the conference as we dropped off our kids to the same place for childcare during the week-long event. She was dropping off Talitha. I've been to the Desiring God conference and the Desiring God Pastor's conference and got to sit at lunch with other young pastors and Dr. Piper and grill him on ministry, hot theological topics, and more.
Nameless other Piper podcasts, books, pamphlets, lectures, and sermons have blessed me over the years. I often talk about my favorite-ever sermons as Piper sermons. I love "Running With The Witnesses" because I so easily fall in love with things that don't help me run the race. I have been influenced by Piper on theology, fasting, mission, ecclesiology, how to deal with theological disagreements, sin, suffering, and far too much to even try to list.
I say all this to say I get to go with a church friend to drive to hear John Piper speak on Jonathan Edwards today at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL. So I've been thinking about how I got to this point, the point of spending several hours in one day to go hear one man speak. Am I so gripped by his celebrity? Am I just a fan-boy?
I've been around long enough to not see John Piper as a hero or a celebrity. I go to hear a wise and sinful man speak about another wise and sinful man who both know their sinfulness and need for grace. I go to hear a man who knows himself well enough to realize he must pursue pleasure in God because of his great propensity to pursue pleasure in anything else. I don't go to see someone who's popular, but someone who has poured his life into mine through various means and who is coming near. So I'm thankful I get to be poured into again.
I thank God for many saints, near and far, famous and completely unknown, who I owe so much. One will be speaking on Edwards. One will be sitting with me listening to Piper. One I have known mostly through books and sermons over years and the other I've known for a short time and we meet together every week to discuss theology, Calvin's Institutes, family, and faith. I'm blessed by and thankful for both, and both play an important role in my life. God is merciful to provide us such great gifts.
- The Man Christ Jesus by Bruce Ware ($1.99)
- Jesus' Blood & Righteousness by Brian Vickers ($1.99)
- Center Church by Tim Keller ($2.99)
- Finishing Our Course With Joy by J.I. Packer ($4.99)
- How The Gospel Brings Us All The Way Home by Derek Thomas (FREE)
- A Model of Christian Maturity by D.A. Carson ($3.99)
- Gospel by J.D. Greear ($2.99)
- The Crucified Life by A.W. Tozer ($1.99)
- Is Jesus The Only Way by Phil Ryken ($1.99)
- How to Stay Christian In Seminary by David Mathis & Jonathan Parnell ($1.99)
- Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala ($2.99)
- Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas ($2.99)
- The Ever-Loving Truth by Voddie Baucham ($0.99)
- What Does The Lord Require? by Walter Kaiser ($3.99)
- A Loving Life - Paul Miller ($5.99)
- God In The Whirlwind - David Wells ($5.99)
- Finishing Our Course With Joy - J.I. Packer ($3.99)
- What's Your Worldview? - James Anderson ($4.99)
- Spiritual Warfare - Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura ($5.99)
- Father, Son, & Holy Spirit - Bruce Ware ($1.99)
- The Cross & Christian Ministry - D.A. Carson ($2.99)
- Brothers, We Are Not Professionals - John Piper ($2.99)
- One With Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation by Marcus Peter Johnson ($4.99)
- Brothers, We Are Not Professionals ($2.99) & Let the Nations Be Glad ($2.51) by John Piper
- Against the Gods: A Polemical Theology of the OT by John Currid ($3.99)
- Fallen: A Theology of Sin by several authors ($4.99)
- Still Sovereign by Schreiner & Ware ($4.39)
- Gospel-Centered Teaching by Trevin Wax ($2.99)
- What is a Healthy Church by Mark Dever ($1.99)
- The Finished Work of Christ by Francis Schaeffer ($4.99)
I Don't Worship God By Singing. I Connect With Him Elsewhere by Donald Miller -- This is an important post and an important issue. I don't agree with Miller but he speaks for many and evangelicals and pastors need to talk about the issues Miller brings up and respond reasonably and not just react.
So, do I attend church? Not often, to be honest.
Like I said, it’s not how I learn.
Miller's follow up post - Miller responds to certain comments he received after the initial post and elaborates on what he's already said.
While I love the traditional church, I love it like a foundational part of my past, as though it were a University I’ve graduated from to join a much larger church those still in the University program are quite suspicious of.
I’d say half of the most impactful people I know, who love Jesus and tear up at the mention of His name, who reach out to the poor and lonely and are fundamentally sound in their theology, who create institutions that feed hundreds of thousands, do not attend a traditional church service. Many of them even speak at churches, but they have no home church and don’t long for one. They aren’t wired to be intimate with God by attending a lecture and hearing singing (which there is NOTHING wrong with) they are wired to experience God by working with Him.
Journalists at Sochi Tweeting Their Experiences -- If you aren't following Sochi journalists, now is the time to start. This is frightening, sad, and ridiculous.
Romans 1-7 For You by Tim Keller is out. About this series of books...
• READ: As a guide to this wonderful letter, helping you appreciate the great gift of righteousness with God.
• FEED: As a daily devotional to help you grow in Christ as you read and meditate on this portion of God’s word.
• LEAD: As notes to aid you in explaining, illustrating and applying Romans 1–7 as you preach or lead a Bible study.
Worldview Responses to the 2014 Grammys -- I love the idea of collecting short-ish responses to a cultural event. You get very different thoughts often from people who view the event from very different angles. I love the response from Greg Thornbury of King's College. Here's the opening paragraph of it...
If you heard the sound of yawning around America this morning, it wasn't because the country stayed up too late watching the Grammys, it's because we've gotten bored with them. The Grammys once mattered because pop music mattered. Once upon a time, J. Edgar Hoover monitored the movement of rock stars like John Lennon because he was a perceived political threat, because he was anti-establishment. Nowadays, our rock stars are the establishment, and that's not very, well, rock and roll.
I'm fascinated by a couple of new titles for sale at WTSbooks.com. In particular, the description of What's Your Worldview...
How do you view the world?
It's a big question. And how you answer is one of the most important things about you.
Not sure what you'd say? Join James Anderson on an interactive journey of discovery aimed at helping you understand and evaluate the options when it comes to identifying your worldview. Cast in the mold of a classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, What's Your Worldview? will guide you toward finding intellectually satisfying answers to life's biggest questions—equipping you to think carefully about not only what you believe but why you believe it and how it impacts the rest of your life.
Endorsements by D.A. Carson, John Frame and others.
Tim Keller endorses David Wells' new book, God in the Whirlwind...
In this important book, David Wells begins the process of bringing his influential critique of late modern culture and the church down into practice. Here we have a ‘practical theology’ for conducting the church’s life based on the reality of a God of ‘Holy-love.’ This particular way of understanding and preaching the doctrine of God, Wells believes, protects the church from either being co-opted by the culture or becoming a ghettoized subculture. Decades of teaching theology is boiled down here into accessible, practical chapters. I’m glad to recommend this volume.
- An Infinite Journey: Growing Toward Christlikeness by Andy Davis ($4.99)
- Preaching: A Biblical Theology by Jason Meyer ($5.99)
- Spiritual Warfare by Brian Borgman & Rob Ventura ($2.99)
- What is the Meaning of Sex by Denny Burk ($4.99)
- Still Sovereign by Tom Schreiner & Bruce Ware ($4.39)
- The Church by Mark Dever ($1.99)
- The Pastor's Justification by Jared Wilson ($4.99)
- Shame Interrupted & Running Scared by Ed Welch ($2.51)
- Spectacular Sins by John Piper ($2.99)
- Telling the Truth by D.A. Carson, Ed ($5.98)
- To the Glory of God: 40 Day Devotional on Romans by James Boice ($2.51)
- Grounded in the Gospel by J.I. Packer & Gary Parrett ($3.99)
I was looking at my shelf and thinking there are some helpful books for reading around the holidays (though not holidays based books) that have come out this year. Here are a few...
UPDATE --> I added one more on top from Matt Anderson. He talks about all the pondering we should do...
Matthew Lee Anderson: The End of Our Exploring (or Kindle) | A great time of year to look to have our questions answered and answers questioned is Christmastime, New Year's, the end of a year and the start of another. We need to question well.
Timothy Keller: Encounters With Jesus (or Kindle) | This is an eBook series (chapter by chapter) finally packaged into a hardcover book. Each chapter is on a personal encounter someone had with Jesus. It's helpful for those who want to know better how to share the faith better, and for those who may need an encounter with Jesus.
Jim Belcher: In Search of Deep Faith (or Kindle) | I'm working on a review for this book, but let me just say here that I've enjoyed pacing my way through it as a meditation not only on the faith, but thinking of the faith of my kids and my responsibility as a Father to make our faith come alive to them. A worthy topic during the holidays and any day.
Timothy Keller: Walking With God Through Pain & Suffering (or Amazon | Kindle) | While Christmas is a happy time for many, it's a time of significant grief and struggle for many too. I'm very thankful for Dr. Keller's take on this subject and for providing this substantial book. It's not brief, so probably not for those fresh into suffering.
Kevin DeYoung: Crazy Busy (or Amazon | Kindle) | Christmas and New Year's is a nice break from the regular work cycle, but also for many of us shows just how busy we can make the un-busy times. Why not take a break and read this short book and see if it doesn't help to reorder your life, especially as the new year approaches.
Elyse Fitzpatrick: Found In Him (or Amazon | Kindle) | A book on "the joy of the incarnation and our union with Christ." Perfect for this time of year, though for every time of year. Many chapters end with a hymn to help us learn to worship because of what we just read.
Tullian Tchividjian: One Way Love (or Amazon | Kindle) | "Inexhaustible grace for an exhausted world." If you are anything like me, you know you need to remind yourself every day of grace. Bathe in it over Christmastime by reading Tullian.
All in the $3-$4 range...
- Susan Cain: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
- Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point | Blink | What the Dog Saw | Outliers | David & Goliath
- David Allen: Getting Things Done
- Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habit
- Cormac McCarthy: The Road
- Veronica Roth: Divergent | Allegiant
- Kevin Deyoung: Crazy Busy ($1.99)
- Michael Reeves: Delighting in the Trinity
- Andy Crouch: Culture Making
- Gloria Furman: Glimpses of Grace
- Rodney Stark: The Triumph of Christianity
- Timmis & Chester: Everyday Church ($1.99)
New books to Note:
- Tim Keller: Walking With God Through Pain & Suffering (WTS | Amazon | Kindle)
- Tullian Tchividjian: One Way Love (Amazon | Kindle) -- Glorious Ruin is still FREE for Kindle
Cheap Kindle Books:
- Christine Hoover: The Church Planting Wife ($1.99)
- Derek Prime & Alistair Begg: On Being A Pastor ($2.99)
- Jared Wilson: Gospel Deeps ($2.99)
- Stephen Miller: Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars ($1.99)
- John Calvin - A Heart for Devotion, Doctine, & Doxology (FREE | Kindle)
Jen Thorn, Joe Thorn's wife, has a new website. Bookmark it, Feedly it, read it. She's a gem.
John Wesley on the Discipline of Reading by Brian Hedges
Reading requires discipline. But the investment of time yields great dividends for our personal life and ministry. The depth and breadth that reading will add to our thinking and preaching are surely worth the effort. Fellow pastors, do not neglect reading!
10 Ways to Become a Better Preacher by Justin Buzzard
In my opinion good preaching is something that flows through the heart of a man who is excited about Jesus because he’s personally enjoying the love of Jesus. I think the single most important thing a pastor can do is wake up each day and focus his energy on enjoying Jesus and having as much fun as possible. This is the only thing I know of that will protect you from the burnout most pastors experience from the relentless strain of preaching and leading a church. I don’t think there’s much power in preaching grace if you yourself are not reveling in grace.
Is a Deacon Just a Servant? by Russell Moore
The question is not whether deacons serve or lead. Leadership, scripturally defined, is servanthood. The question is in what way do deacons lead. Deacons maintain the unity of the Body by giving leadership to the serving of temporal needs. They’re not a corporate board, nor are they a spiritual council of directors. They serve the Body by removing potential obstacles to unity by meeting human needs.
20 Great American Cities for Writers --> Go Chicago!
If you can’t live somewhere that isn’t a big, bustling city and you don’t want to pay New York City or California rent, you can’t beat the Windy City, which boasts great bookstores like Myopic in Wicker Park, Powell’s in Hyde Park, and the best place to get your weird zine/chapbook/comic fix: Quimby’s. There’s plenty of art and architecture to admire, wonderful coffee from local roasters like Metropolis, nice-sized and somewhat affordable places to live, plenty of great bars, schools like the University of Chicago, writers and poets like Adam Levin and Lindsay Hunter calling the place home, the Printers Row Lit Fest … All of which is to say, Chicago plays second literary city to nobody.
- The End of Our Exploring: A Book About Questioning and the Confidence of Faith by Matthew Lee Anderson (Amazon & Kindle)
- The King In His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testament by Tom Schreiner (WTS | Amazon & Kindle)
- Not By Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking By Faith by Jon Bloom (WTS | Amazon & Kindle)
- Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (WTS)
- Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative by Sam Storms (WTS | Amazon & Kindle)
- Covenantal Apologetics: Principles & Practice in Defense of Our Faith by K. Scott Oliphint (WTS | Amazon & Kindle)
A bunch of C.S. Lewis books are cheap for your Kindle...
- Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold ($2.24)
- On Stories: And Other Essays On Literature ($2.51)
- The World's Last Night: And Other Essays ($2.51)
- Of Other Worlds: Essays & Stories ($2.51)
- A Mind Awake: An Anthology of C.S. Lewis ($2.51)
- All My Road Before Me: The Diary Of C.S. Lewis, 1922-1927 ($2.99)
- The Four Loves ($2.24)
- Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly On Prayer ($2.51)
- Surprised By Joy: The Shape Of My Early Life ($2.24)
- Reflections On The Psalms ($2.24)
- The Business Of Heaven: Daily Readings From C.S. Lewis ($2.51)
- Present Concerns ($2.51)
- Poems ($2.51)