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Showing posts from November, 2012

Bold as Love

Bold as Love by Bob Roberts, Jr.


Bold as Love: What can happen when we see people the God does by Bob Roberts, Jr.
Conversion and Christianity have for years between synonyms for a world religion that has at its heart the desire for all people to follow Christ.  Yet, in our desire in evangelism we have lost sight of loving our neighbors, treating them more like boxes on an assembly line waiting to be shipped out of the warehouse.  Pastor Bob Roberts Jr, no less a Southern Baptist, challenges readers in his new book entitled Bold as Love to meet Jesus’ challenge to love our neighbors head on.  Rather than operating with a conversion mentality, Pastor Roberts says that the Roman Road of salvation method will not do in our global culture, but a posture of listening, engaging and building relationships is the way through (13-14).  The challenge is all the more worthwhile when the founder of Saudi Arabia’s modern intelligence service, Prince Turki Al-Faisal pushes y ou to build relationship…

Fully Alive

Fully Alive by Ken Davis is a pointed look at living life to the fullest, a journey to not succumb to the temptation to give up on life. One of the goals of the book is to recognize the obstacles any person faces in life and to face them head on by examining what these obstacles are and to provide steps to get past them (36). Although this was helpful if you are not aware of your obstacles, the most helpful part of the book was the section becoming fully alive physically.

Davis does not approach the issue of weight and health from a do this and you will lose weight mentality. Rather, he focuses in on the fact that being healthy allows for you to more fully glorify God and be full alive about all of life (40). More than this, if our goal is to get to a certain size, we are making a goal that is too small, for after we accomplish that goal there is nothing else. Instead, learning to be committed daily to live fully to God's glory, we can become healthy in a long term sense. I think…

Unstoppable

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic


Many already know the story of Nick Vujicic, being born with no arms or legs.  Rather than focus on his past, this book Unstoppable focuses on how faith increases our motivation for action in the world without regard for what the world thinks of us.  What I really enjoyed about his book is the way Nick took the experiences of defeat, difficulty and failure and turned them around to serve people and God.

Early on in the Matters of the Heart chapter, Nick tells the story of him falling in love with Danae, now his wife.  He writes, "The powerful yearning of the heart is one of the most essential human needs.  Yet when we look for love, we open ourselves not only to being loved, but also, unfortunately, to being hurt" (50).  Nick took the risk and was hurt at times after seeing Danae for the first time, wanting to find our more about her, and then being stymied on the second connection as she had a boyfriend.  As the conversation went on, Nick found …

Mercy's Hands and Feet

The Weight of Mercy: A Novice Pastor on the City Streets by Deb Richardson-Moore
Is she crazy?  Has she gone off her rocker?  These questions came to mind early on in this wonderful book entitled The Weight of Mercy by Deb Richardson-Moore.  Going from the limelight of journalism to the grimy, maddening world of ministry to homeless men and women at Triune Mercy Center is quite a change to say the least.  Yet, as the story unfolds in the book, Moore is confronted with the widening scope of God’s mercy among people who were addicted, abused, and who brought upon themselves much ruin.
Early on in the book, Moore writes, “On most days, I felt I’d stepped into a funhouse.  It was a surreal place, in which Butch and Deloris – the two people I most depended on – sniped and whined and, I was sure, spoke disparagingly of me to the homeless people we served” (46).  Butch would continually yell at Pastor Moore and want to shorten up the hours for caring for the homeless.  Yet, through all this…

Catholic Spiritual Practices

Catholic Spiritual Practices: A Treasury of Old and New Edited by Colleen M. Griffith and Thomas H. Groome
The great advantage of a collection of essays like these is that they reveal the both the meaning and practice of the spiritual practices in a concise manner.  The disadvantage of this book and books like these is you only get a little taste of the subjects considered which only gives you an appetite to discover more works on the various subjects.  Initially, what I really enjoyed about his book is that it illuminated some Catholic practices that I thought obscure from my Protestant understanding, or, I didn’t really know how the practice connected to the concrete expressions of everyday faith.
Commenting on the modern disconnect between the terms ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’ Colleen Griffith writes, “A spirituality that is disconnected from religious tradition is bereft of both community and history; it has no recourse to the benefits of a larger body of discourse and practice, …

Cut to the Heart

Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul David Tripp
Deep sadness and a powerful sense of relief came to me after reading Paul Tripp’s new book entitled Dangerous Calling.  The sadness of knowing that I minister often, even daily, out of a supreme sense of my own worth, estimated by my own accomplishments without regard for the connection I have with others.  Yet, this sadness of realizing my own sick selfish pride was not without a dose of relief, a feeling and thought that what I am clutching onto is rubbish in the sight of a Redeemer who loves me, died for me and pursues me with his love.  No, I wouldn’t say this book was good in the sense of making you feel a certain enjoyment as if basking in entertainment.  I would say that this book is great because it takes the surgeon’s scalpel and digs down into the marrow of our self-congratulatory nature and brings to the surface the awe, majesty and glory of God in relationship to a bleeding Savior…

Muslims and the Good News

Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World? By Tom Doyle with Greg Webster Pastor Tom Doyle, full time missionary in the Middle East and Central Asia has spent over 11 years spreading the good news of Jesus Christ among Muslims.  In his time in ministry, he has witnessed many Muslims who had specific dreams and visions of Jesus.  Despite the Muslim rule of law in many countries that says that if you convert to Christianity, death will be your end, many Muslims are pursuing Jesus after having these powerful dreams of him.  Yet, as Pastor Doyle attests, Jesus is awakening Muslim culture in powerful ways.
One of the great things about this book is that you get a glimpse of Muslim people getting glimpses of Jesus through dreams in many different countries.  The book is divided by chapter but also by country, chronicling the work of God in such countries as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria.  We get a sense of the difficult situation in these Middle East countries through Doyle’s …

God as Spirit in Judaism

Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism by Rabbi Rachel Timoner
Reading the title of this book is quite puzzling to me, seeing to it that I find glimpses of God as Spirit in the Old Testament as pointing to the coming of the Messiah, yet I had not thought much about this theme.  Rabbi Rachel Timoner helpfully puts into perspective what is meant by God as Spirit in Judaism by dividing her book into three sections: Creation, Revelation and Redemption.  At the beginning of the book, she takes time to explain what is meant by both the terms ‘God’ and ‘Spirit.’  She writes, “Judaism’s primary innovation was its understanding that God cannot be reduced to any thing we know-not a body, an object, or a natural force” (xiv).  The poetic expressions and prophetic voices that reference God’s body are understood as metaphor, helping us to relate to God rather than describing who God is.  Part of the difficulty in seeking to describe God as Spirit is that by saying God is spirit might actually r…

Journey to the Kingdom

Journey to the Kingdom: An Insider’s Look at the Liturgy and Beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox Churchy by Father Vassilios Papavassiliou
Having never set foot into an Eastern Orthodox Church I was a bit intrigued by the title of this book.  Growing up in my childhood in a Roman Catholic Church, I was aware of the similarities in both the Roman and Eastern churches.  Yet, I was not aware of the rich liturgy, iconic usage and focus on the journey to the kingdom of God that we find drawn out in this book.  The destination on this journey is none other than the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of the Trinity which finds it purpose in the Eucharist (9-10).  Early on in the book, Father Vassilios explains that both Christianity and the Divine Liturgy are separate from the natural world in that they require a perspective from the inside to fully grasp their meaning. 
What was most enjoyable about this book on the Orthodox faith was the clear presentation of certain concepts or practices in the ch…

The Bondservant's Life

John Brenner Chandler in his book The Bondservant's Life aimed at a very large task of providing a foundation for understanding prophecy and calling people into a deeper knowledge of God. Although I applaud the book for encouraging readers with some basic principles of the Christian faith, from hermeneutics to adoption, I found the books' aim disappointing. At times, we get a dose of apologeics (p.231ff) on topics like the Sabbath and Christmas, and at other times we get explanation of biblical texts (p.314)like Jesus' high priestly prayer.

Chapter 8 on the role of the law was good in that Chandler wrote about the law's use in ancient Israel as a guardian and as promoting the way life should be conducted (Ten Commandments). Later on in the chapter he recognizes that the law produces death for those today by pointing out the futility of their own strivings after perfection (Chandler relies heavily on Luther here, 156). Furthermore, Chandler helpfully locates the law with…