Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I made the commitment back at the beginning of the year to read at least one book per month this year. I've listed the ones I've read so far with a recommendation for each.
Books I've Read:
Forgotten God by Francis Chan
This book is a great follow up to Crazy Love. In fact, I have started suggesting that people read this book before reading Crazy Love. This book is not meant to be a huge discourse on the Holy Spirit. Instead, Chan challenges the believer to examine the tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit by the church which has led to a personal ignorance for many believers concerning the indwelling person of God within them. Chan does not seek to teach a thorough theology on issues such as gifts of the Spirit or baptism in the Spirit, etc. Instead, he leaves the reader wanting to do more personal study on the Spirit themselves. I'm very grateful for Chan's efforts to call churches and her members back to a lifestyle that involves daily relying on the Spirit's power. If we truly have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, then our lives have to look way different from someone who doesn't.
Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond by Darrell Bock
This book is a great introduction to the varying views of the millennial reign mentioned in Revelation 20. Coming into this book I confess I had very little knowledge or understanding about the 1,000 year reign of Christ. Having completed the book, I have now been given a detailed description of the most popular opinions among theologians today. The book is actually written by three different authors who give their Biblically based understanding of what and when Revelation 20 is describing. Each author also writes a brief response to the other two authors' viewpoints, providing a great experience for the reader. Not only do you get a firsthand understanding of each millennial viewpoint, you also get very thorough critique of the each viewpoint as well. This book will provide a great introduction to anyone looking to better understand the millennial reign.
Heaven Misplaced by Douglas Wilson
This book is a presentation of the "postmillennial" position on eschatology and the 1,000 year reign of Christ. While I do not hold to this position, Doug writes in such a way that you want to believe what he is saying. Doug focuses on the mission of the church being to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. His hope is that the church will succeed in her efforts and the world will mostly be "christianized" before the second coming of Christ. While I long to see none perish and all come to repentance, I have a hard time reconciling some of his statements and beliefs with the passages of Scripture dealing with the Second Coming. Having said that, I think this book is very beneficial in that it presents a very readable and understandable work on the postmillennial theological system. Plus I have a great respect for Doug ministry's and the humility the Holy Spirit has worked inside of him.
The Smell of Sin by Don Everts
This book is actually a very random purchase made by me and my sister probably over 10 years ago. I don't know of anyone else who has ever read this book or owns it or has ever even heard of it. My sister and I simply liked the title and we bought it. Having now read it I can say that it does offer some benefit to the Christian who is looking to better understand sin and the fight we have against it every day. I was encouraged throughout the book to raise my own understanding of the seriousness of sin to a more Biblical level. Too often I compare my sins to the sins of others and judge my actions to be less than serious based on how they compare to the "real sinners of this world." But God is continuing to make me aware of my own wretchedness and I'm thankful for this random book that I own and the appeal it gave to me to recognize my sin and fight to kill it on a daily basis.
What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
This is a fantastic short read on the saving power of the Gospel. I am personally thankful for an author who recognizes the great need the church has to understand the good news message she has been called to take to the ends of the earth. Way too often I encounter self proclaimed Christians who struggle at best to explain exactly what the Gospel is. If we claim to be saved by the good news of the Gospel message it is pertinent that we have a working understanding of the message that we claim has the power to change us for eternity. This is a short read, making it easy for almost anyone to take in. I would highly recommend anyone who is uncertain of what the Gospel is. If you cannot confidently say that you know the good news, this book is for you.
Booklets I've Read:
Fight Clubs by Jonathan Dodson
Serves as a good reminder for the importance of accountability groups within the church. Fighting sin cannot be done alone, nor did God ever intend for us to try. The only way we can kill sin in our life is to do it together. This book made available by Mark Driscoll's website offers a helpful approach for how to seek this type of relationship out.
Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle
A solid booklet on the need for men within the church to step up and take spiritual responsibility for their lives. I highly recommend the advice laid out in this book to all men but also to women too. I think it paints an accurate picture for the type of expectations women should place on the men in their lives.
Found: God's Will by John MacArthur
A great booklet on how to know God's will for your life. I love the approach that MacArthur lays out but I love even more how the approach is shown to be so Biblically based. It is an incredibly short read but has the potential to change your life forever. We can actually know God's will for our life. I'm thankful that John MacArthur has helped me realize that.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
My former pastor in Virginia gives a good reminder about how to get ready for the teaching of God's Word. I will do my part this week to prepare responsibly to teach. I would encourage you to do your part to prepare responsibly to listen and learn. You can read his suggestions here.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Thoughts from a pastor on the recent movie "Nightmare on Elm Street." I must say that I highly disagree with him. For the most part I believe that a follower of Christ should avoid the horror genre. Let's not fall into the trap that we must know and experience evil in order to have God glorifying conversations with lost people. I don't need to know what lost people are involved in to lead them away from sin. Let's be innocent to evil and experts in righteousness instead. (Rom. 16:19)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I heard the rumor but tried to ignore it. Jennifer Knapp's song "Refine Me" from her album Kansas has long been one of my favorite songs. It reflects the ongoing struggle we have with sin and the need we have for the Lord to change us. Jennifer left the Christian music industry back in 2003 and went to live in Australia. Upon her return this year she announced her decision to live in a lesbian relationship for the past 8 years. She is continuing to pursue this sinful relationship as she begins a new musical journey, separate from the Christian world. I find myself both saddened and angered by these developments. Saddened because of the choices she is making and the lifestyle of rebellion she is living. Angry because of the deceitfulness of sin, the failed joy that it promises and the hurt and brokenness it causes. Sin is to be hated and we are to long for the Second Coming to indeed come soon so that sin and death can be dealt with for good. In the meantime let us all head the lyrics of Knapp's song "Refine Me" and the teaching of Hebrews 3:12-14. Let us rely on the Holy Spirit to refine us every day from our own evil desires and let us "take care" to exhort each other regularly (daily) so that none of us become hardened to the deceitfulness of sin.
Lord...Come with your fire, burn my desires
Lord...My will has deceived me, please come and free me
Lord...My will has deceived me, please come and free me
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Man if I could spend one day with anyone in this world (besides my wife :) I would spend it with Francis Chan. Not because he knows more than anybody else. But because I think he really wants to get to Christ. I'd love to walk side by side with him on that journey. Listen to him discuss the radical life we are called to here.