I say man must fall upon this Gospel and be broken to pieces and in deep consciousness lie prostrate, like a man that is powerless, unable to move hand or foot. He must only lie motionless and cry: Almighty God, merciful Father, now help me! I cannot help myself! Christ, my lord, do help now, for with only my own effort all is lost!
A nice long list of books that are cheap on Kindle right now. I read and/or reference Kindle books on my Kindle, on my computer app, iPad app, and phone. No reason not to have some of your library through such good ebook deals!
Yes, suffering is a mystery, but it is not a mystery without at least some explanation. Besides, life may be hard, but God is good—much more so than we can possibly imagine. And he stands ready to give, well, perhaps not the answers the world would like, but to give the One who holds all the answers in his hand.
Tim Keller does a righteous job of showcasing to us, and to the world, that Jesus is worth trusting. Period. End of argument. After all, when they hang you on a cross like meat on a hook, you have the final word on suffering.
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!
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.
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.
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.
As a pastor I spend most of my money on books I want to read and reference. But I'm always on the lookout for solid books that are geared for those without a theological education. It's too rare to find a book that can be of significant value for both, like Jesus On Every Page (book website). This is a helpful resource.
Dr. David Murray is a growing voice in evangelicalism, and I'm glad to see it. You can read him at Head Heart Hand blog. More...
Dr. David Murray, president of HeadHeartHand, is the Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He live in Grand Rapids with his wife, Shona, and four children.
At just about 200 pages (plus study questions, and the very helpful Scripture and Subject indexes) Dr. Murray gives us an accessible and simple book on seeing Jesus in the pages of the Old Testament. I very much enjoyed the first four chapters where Murray explains how he went from someone who saw the Old Testament as a bit of an embarrassment who used the New Testament to bring contrast and relief to discovering Jesus everywhere in the OT. He talks about finding direction to read the OT this way from Jesus, Peter, Paul and John in the New Testament. I think there are many in our churches who need to take this journey with Dr. Murray.
As a pastor who preaches from the Old Testament somewhat regularly, I recognized myself in David's journey as well. In some ways I still struggle. I feel a lot better about preaching from the New Testament than the Old. I need this reminder too. David quotes a gem from Gleason Archer, a wonderful and eye-opening statement:
How can Christian pastors hope to feed their flock on a well-balanced spiritual diet if they completely neglect the 39 books of Holy Scripture on which Jesus and all the New Testament authors received their own spiritual nourishment?
Provocative. I'm encouraged to dig in and help my people dig in to the OT. Here's the outline of the main section of the book. Murray gives us 10 ways we can find Jesus in the Old Testament:
Christ's Planet (Jesus in Creation)
Christ's People (Jesus in OT Characters)
Christ's Presence (Jesus in OT Appearances)
Christ's Precepts (Jesus in OT Law)
Christ's Past (Jesus in OT History)
Christ's Pictures (Jesus in OT Types)
Christ's Promises (Jesus in OT Covenants)
Throughout these chapters you find an abundance of insights, lists, points, word pictures, etc. He covers the OT broadly, but in more detail than you might think. You don't make your way through these chapters thinking that Dr. Murray is a top-notch scholar, though he obviously is. You read realizing Dr. Murray is speaking of the King and Savior he knows deeply and devotionally. And reading Jesus On Every Page should be a devotional experience for the reader.
Tim Challies explains this book well by writing that David Murray "focuses less on the stories and more on the story; less on the heroes and more on the Hero." If you want an introduction to each book of the Old Testament, a theology of the Old Testament, or something else, you need to look elsewhere for other excellent books. The real strengths of this book are its big picture view of the Old Testament and the accessibility of this book for all Christians and not just scholars or pastors.
Another way to look at Jesus On Every Page is as an introduction to Christology. It's not quite marketed that way, but it works. It works well. It's will serve as an introduction to Jesus in a way many haven't seen. Good on Dr. Murray for offering it to us.
I recommend Jesus On Every Page. The cover alone made me want the book! And the content was just what I hoped it would be. How many of our people will have so much of Scripture "unlocked" beyond the moralistic OT teaching they've heard or the assumptions they have of the OT through this book? Get your copy, and give some away. It's a resource I'm glad to keep on my shelf for future reference and to encourage my church to pick up. Here's where you can get yours: Amazon | Kindle | WTS.
I'm also offering a free copy of Jesus On Every Page to my readers. Simple.
1. Tweet or share on Facebook --> Check out the new book from David Murray, Jesus On Every Page http://bit.ly/Xeverypg <-- and then...
2. Comment below (be sure to input your real name and email so I can notify a winner) with your favorite OT book and why (keep it short). I'll use random.org to choose a winner from the comments below after the weekend.
The combining of the words ‘open-air’ with the word ‘preaching’ is likely to elicit a wide range of images and opinions in the mind of the person reading them. For some they bring to mind the great evangelists of the explosive revivals of the eighteenth century — Wesley, Whitefield, Tennent, and Edwards; or the prophets of the Old and New Testaments — Jeremiah, Isaiah, Peter, and Paul. While for others, these words conjure up negative images of angry street heralds, with sandwich boards strung over their shoulders, thundering down threatenings of heaven upon all who would wander unawares into their field of preaching. Whatever one happens to think about, few typically associate the practice of preaching in the public square with the missional church movement. Because the missional church places such a high priority on practicing evangelism in the context of ongoing discipleship — on mission and in community — the thought of preaching to strangers who are dissociated from church or discipling relationships may seem at first to be counterintuitive. It should not be.
It's time to enjoy grace anew -- not the decaffeinated grace that pats us on the hand, ignores our deepest rebellions and doesn't change us, but the high-octane grace that takes our conscience by the scruff of the neck and breathes new life into us with a pardon so scandalous that we cannot help but be changed. It's time to blow aside the hazy cloud of condemnation that hands over us throughout the day with the strong wind of gospel grace. You 'are not under law but under grace' (Rom 6:14). Jesus is real; grace is defiant; life is short; risk is good. For many of us the time has come to abandon once and for all our play-it-safe, toe-dabbling Christianity and dive in. It's time, as Capon put it, to get drunk on grace -- 200-proof defiant grace.
I asked on Facebook, Twitter, and to one particular friend through email which books would be most helpful in thinking about/doing ministry to the poor. Here's what I got (with an attempt to put them in order of those most mentioned). I can't comment on most of them because I haven't read them, so don't see this as my recommendation. But you might want to look into these. I am. Also feel free to add more recommendations in the comments.
I have a booklet that includes both Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions as well as his short Advice to Young Converts (see online & Amazon). Most of us think of Resolutions this time of year, but his Advice to Young Converts is a nice, quick read and reminder toward what the aim of our lives as disciples of Jesus should be. Here are a few of my favorite points. He explains his points further in the booklet and has a total of nineteen.
1. I would advise you to keep up as great a strife and earnestness in religion in all aspects of it, as you would do if you knew yourself to be in a state of nature and you were seeking conversion.
2. Don't slack off seeking, striving, and praying for the very same things that we exhort unconverted persons to strive for, and a degree of which you have had in conversion.
3. When you hear sermons, hear them for yourself...
6. Be always greatly humbled by your remaining sin, and never think that you lie low enough for it, but yet don't be at all discouraged or disheartened by it.
7. When you engage in the duty of prayer, come to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or attend any other duty of divine worship, come to Christ as Mary Magdalene did.
13. When you counsel and warn others, do it earnestly, affectionately, and thoroughly.
15. Under special difficulties, or when in great need of or great longings after any particular mercies for your self or others, set apart a day of secret fasting and prayer alone.
18. In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ's hand, keeping your eye on the mark of the wounds on his hands and side.
19. Pray much for the church of God and especially that he would carry on his glorious work that he has now begun. Be much in prayer for the ministers of Christ.
I listened to Mark Dever's 9 Marks interview with Mack Stiles (& others) on Contact Evangelism last night. I was provoked to good thoughts on evangelism as well as some questions about my approach. I just realized I'm still holding a bit of inner dialogue on some of the things they said, so I thought it would be good to share. Books that were mentioned in/influenced the conversation included...
I don't usually post my favorite books of the year as a list, probably because I feel like compared to music it's less complete. I tend to spend the most time reading things that are of interest, that's for review, or that's scratching an itch as a pastor or disciple, etc. It's not a hobby as with music that I can do when also doing other things. Much of it is work or based on need. So it's just different for me.
But we all have books that have significantly affected us during the year. I figured a "The Reader Speaks" list would be a great place for getting a variety of books listed that we could all benefit from. So share your #1 book, a few faves, a Top 5 or 10, faves according to genre, or whatever works for what you consider to be the best books of 2012. ALSO (per Jared Wilson's comment), feel free to list books not published in 2012 but that you read in 2012. If you have an affiliate account somewhere and you know how to link your books in the comments with html, feel free. For other readers, if you see a book you like, use the affiliate links. It blesses those in ministry around you.
The power of the gospel comes in two movements. It first says, “I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe,” but then quickly follows with, “I am more accepted and loved than I ever dared hope.” The former outflanks antinomianism, while the latter staves off legalism. One of the greatest challenges is to be vigilant in both directions at once. Whenever we find ourselves fighting against one of these errors, it is extraordinarily easy to combat it by slipping into the other. Here’s a test: if you think one of these errors is much more dangerous than the other, you are probably partially participating in the one you fear less.
This is outstanding on "Longing for Wholeness." It's spot on for what my family is experiencing at the moment, and has been experiencing the last few years. Mark Talbot is apparently writing a book on profound suffering titled When the Stars Disappear. I look forward to buying that book, that has been his labor for years now, in light of this excellent teaching from Talbot at the Desiring God's Works of God Conference. Please watch or go listen to/download the audio. (via JT)