Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Title for the Wishlist: Unbroken

Tim Challies reviewed the book here, giving the book a glowing endorsement and calling it "one of 2010's must reads".

Here is the promo from the author, Lauren Hillenbrand:

My wishlist seems to be growing very quickly lately. I just received two books on singleness that I'm looking forward to reading: "Redeeming Singleness" by Barry Danylak (forward by John Piper) and "Washed and Waiting" by Wesley Hill. I'm so blessed and grateful to be able to enjoy such great reading material. Thank you, Lord for all of your mercies.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks!

The Parent of All Virtues Excerpt from the CT article:

"We have trouble being grateful because we fail to acknowledge our sinfulness and debt. Isn't that why we complain about every slight from family or friends?

"The truth is that we have so many things to be thankful for, including family, home, work, play, food, drink, and everything else that goes into daily life. But the God who provides these things has given us an even better gift: himself.

"God has revealed himself to us, giving us his Word, granting us faith and the Holy Spirit, hearing our prayers, and forgiving our sins. So, rejoice and receive the gifts of God, confessing him and his goodness. Or, as the psalmist says, 'Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.'"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Singleness with a Purpose

At the Gospel Coalition Brooks Waldron writes:

It is in light of the temporary nature of this present world, including the marriage calling, that believers in Christ are to strive towards that which is eternal—devotion to Christ. While all Christians are called to this devotion, it is the calling of singleness that puts on display the eternal nature of this devotion. Singleness demonstrates, in the present, the future reality of the church’s union with Christ, for in the age to come all will be as single Christians are now. Christ will be united to his people in marriage forever, and his people will all be single—devoted to him alone. Singleness glorifies God by communicating the message that love and devotion to Christ is primary and eternal. It says to the watching world: God is enough. God is sufficient. God is better than anything, or anyone, else. God is worth all the pain of following him. This is the meaning of singleness. It is high calling. And the message it communicates is not about the single person, but about God himself.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change

A brand new book is going on the top of my wishlist; it's called "Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change." The author also has a brand new blog by the same title available here.

Here is a brief introduction/description of the book (it's right in line with my current study interests and I hope will be of interest to anyone else who still checks in from time to time.):

The central claim in Christ Formed in You is that it is God’s purpose to change us by progressively making us more like Jesus, and that this happens only as we understand and apply the gospel to our lives. In this book we will explore the transforming power of the gospel from several angles.

Part One focuses on the foundations for personal change. We will look at God’s ultimate goal in transforming us, the key to transformation, which is the gospel itself, and the application of the gospel to our lives in specific ways.

Part Two then takes up the pattern of personal change. It explores the captivating beauty of gospel holiness with its demands that we both kill sin and grow in grace by the power of the Spirit, and the quest for joy that motivates us in this pursuit and strengthens us in the battle for holiness.

Part Three focuses on the means of personal change, the tools God uses to transform us. These final three chapters, while building on the foundation of the gospel discussed earlier in the book, are the most practical. We will learn how God uses spiritual disciplines, suffering, and personal relationships in the body of Christ to conform us to the image of Christ.

In addition, endorsements from Steven J. Lawson, Paul David Tripp, Kris Lundgaard and Del Fehsenfeld, along with a Foreword by Donald Whitney also add to the book's promise. Wishlist update completed. (

Friday, November 5, 2010

Recipients First: Then Participants

Kelly Kapic speaks about his book, "God So Loved, He Gave"

Here is some of what he says in the second half of the video:
"What the story of divine generosity is about is that we receive God's grace - Radical Grace- but then we become avenues of that grace.

"So, part of what we have to understand is that when we call one another to generosity, to giving, whatever we mean by those terms, it can't be anything, at least not for Christians, that is self-generated. We are not simply trying to pull something out of ourselves. We are not simply trying to make something out of nothing.  
"But he is inviting us into this floodstream of his generosity. On the one hand, we are invited to receive, and on the other hand we are called to give. To participate in this movement of God."
Check out the video and his website here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith

Isaiah 25:6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare

a feast of rich food for all peoples,

a banquet of aged wine—

the best of meats and the finest of wines.

7 On this mountain he will destroy

the shroud that enfolds all peoples,

the sheet that covers all nations;
8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears

from all faces;

he will remove his people’s disgrace

from all the earth.
The LORD has spoken.

9 In that day they will say,

“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the LORD, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Tim Keller ends his book "The Prodigal God, Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith" with this quote of Isaiah 25:6-8. (I added verse 9 to the end). I'm looking forward to going through the book over the next couple of evenings. I love how Dr. Keller usually seems to understand the real heart issues and God's loving and sovereign response in each situation. Looks to be a promising read.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are We Practical Evolutionists?

Had this idea tonight that if we can be practical atheists, why not practical evolutionists, too?
I mean, we profess God as creator and can give an awesome apologetic response for the evidences of creation and the intellignet design that is evident in nature. But... do we really believe in the source of this creational power -- the very Word of God??

God spoke the world into existence - He said, "Let there be light." and there was light.
The light couldn't make itself. Darkness cannot pick itself up by its bootstraps and become light in its own power.

No matter how many petry dishes and experiments that attempt to simulate primordial ooze we concoct, we'll never achieve the miraculous power of a single Word from the mouth of God.

Jesus is the Word of God and all things that are came through Him.

God's words have power, making dead bones come alive.

Dead things cannot make themselves alive any more than we can pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and be good people.
The Commandments of the Lord are not: you need to stop doing this and you must start doing that.
The Commandments of the Lord are perfect contain the enabling power to obey.
When Jesus says, "Go and sin no more," the word of His command has the same life-giving power as the original act of creation. Do we really believe in His power? Or are we practical evolutionists?

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

The first time I encountered this term, I was reading Dr. Michael Horton's book entritled, "Christless Christianity." The book was widely acclaimed by many evangelical church leaders for its deriding in the first few chapters of the Joel Osteen line of thinking of shallow optimism, aka, how to live "Your Best Life Now" in three easy steps. Yet, Horton goes on to cut to the quick of not just a few of those evangelistic preachers in his later chapters when he introduces the topic of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

What is MTD? Let's check out what the original authors who coined the term have to say. 

In Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton find that most young people subscribe to moral statutes that are not exclusive to any of the major world religions:

1.A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.

2.God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.

3.The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.

4.God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.

5.Good people go to heaven when they die.
While these points of belief were compiled from interviews with approximately 3,000 teenagers both in and outside of the church, estute theologians and pastors who have their fingers on the pulse of evangelicalism are noticing that much of what passes for preaching in pulpits is nothing more than the same.

If we are to have any discernable impact whatsoever on the unsaved, the unchurched, and the sheep in the fold, we MUST be about the gospel. People are simply bombarded with MTD. It's everywhere. The only thing that is radical anymore IS Christ. The Gospel itself. Do you know what the Gospel is? (Hint: it's not moralistic therapeutic deism).