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Showing posts from October, 2013

What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About

What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Jesus’ Bible Edited by Jason S. DeRouchie
A vibrant book on the Old Testament that is both theologically astute and pastorally sensitive, What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About is a real gem. Edited by Jason S. DeRouchie, Professor of Old Testament at Bethlehem College and Seminary, this book is an assemblage of some of the finest OT evangelical scholars from Stephen Dempster to Preston Sprinkle.  Rather than outline the book from a Christian canonical perspective, the authors follow the Jewish order by looking at the Law, Prophets, and Writings in order with an eye towards the progressive revelation of God’s work in history.  This academic book is unique in that seeks to identify three to six lasting themes in each chapter (23) that give an answer to the theological trajectory of each OT book while maintaining a focus on the transformative character of God’…

Memoirs of the Way Home: Ezra and Nehemiah

Memoirs of the Way Home: Ezra and Nehemiah as a Call to Conversion by Gerald M. Bilkes
This new book on Ezra and Nehemiah by Professor Gerald M. Bilkes of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary is a great snapshot of the Ezra and Nehemiah in both historical and practical perspective.  Bilkes writes, “They read more like the confessions of a humbled prodigal and bear an uncanny resemblance to the experiences of the younger son in Christ’s parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), traveling as he does from the far country back to the father’s house” (2).  The people of God are returning from exile to rebuild the temple and in the case of Nehemiah, to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem.  Gerald is keen to point out in his writing that the Jews responded to their covenant keeping God is often how people respond to the gospel today; some respond with their hearts changed and live out the gos…

Boot Camp

Boot Camp: Equipping Men with Integrity for Spiritual Warfare by Jason Hardin
Engaging in spiritual warfare is a topic and activity that all too often neglected in Christian circles.  Author Jason Hardin writes specifically about this topic directed toward men, as a way to call to engage the battle and take to heart the good news of Jesus Christ.  The book is divided up into three major sections centering on the beginning of the journey, integrity, and The Lord’s Armory.  The sections dive into what it means to see Christ for what he has done on our behalf, the goal of putting to death our sinfulness, and putting on the full armor of God. 
In the first chapter, Jason paints a picture of what potential is and how God is calling us to leave behind our complacency.  He writes, “Our King has spent time in the arena.  He knows what it’s like to have his face marred by the dust of the wilderness…..And now he looks to yo…

Life Change for Couples

Life Change for Couples by James M. Reeves
Life Change for Couples by James M. Reeves is a great resource for couples to work through the issues that come up in a marriage relationship.  James, senior pastor of City on a Hill church in Texas is a regular contributor to conferences and venues relating to relationships, emotional issues, and marriage.  As I began working through this book, I was initially challenged to ask the deep and thorny questions that come up when dealing with marriage.  James has a way of pulling no punches in this book and getting to the heart of the issues.  Whether in a small group of committed believers or as a couple, this workbook can go a long way in helping couples deal with their own sins and find healing through Christ.
The chapter on the emotional /spiritual principle was a particularly powerful chapter.  James digs into the meat of the emotional turmoil that goes on in marriage by asking some key ques…

A Hope Deferred

A Hope Deferred: Adoption and the Fatherhood of God by J. Stephen Yuille
Taking the 8th chapter of the book of Romans as his guide alongside his own personal adoption of a little girl from China, J. Stephen Yuille weaves together the doctrine of adoption from experience and Scripture.  What stands out in this book entitled A Hope Deferred is the book’s reminder of the way God has adopted his children into his family by way of Christ and the privileges that entails from united to God’s Son.  The combination of doctrinal teaching and narrative made the book a sure gem!  The book is broken up into 14 chapters with seven chapters delineating the doctrine of adoption through Romans 8 while including 7 chapters on Stephen and his wife Alison’s experience in adopting a baby girl.   
Stephen is wise to point out the three offices that Christ employs in his ministry, death and resurrection (prophet, priest and king).  Of Jesus being our king…

99 psalms by SAID

99 psalms by SAID Translated from German by Mark S. Burrows
A leading poet in Germany and a native of Iran, SAID has penned these new poems as a reflection of his struggle with the monotheistic traditions he grew up around and his own unique voice.  What comes across as blunt and boisterous, fierce and solemn, are his depth of feelings for such things as the atrocities of the last century while calling out his desire for the lord to act now.  Much different in tone and perspective than the Psalter, these psalms by SAID touch the entire gamut of emotions while remaining forcefully aware of the present situation of political and moral disarray.  SAID sounds a noisy gong in the midst of busy commerce and trade, asking his readers to become aware of the decadence and beauty that is all around them.
One aspect of SAID’s psalms that struck a chord with me is his insistence that the lord not be active just from a faraway distance but be mightily pr…

The Poverty of Nations

The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution by Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus
When title became available through the Crossway Blogger’s Program, I jumped at the chance of reading a book that synthesizes sound economic wisdom alongside winsome biblical ideas.  Barry Asmus, senior economist at the National Center for Policy Analysis and Wayne Grudem, research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary write from a free-market conservative position in the book while maintaining a biblical vision of human flourishing as well.  The Poverty of Nations is a book that engages questions on how countries continue in poverty (and why), but also how countries can seek to eliminate poverty-inducing practices that hold people in check.  The nine chapters that comprise The Poverty of Nations consist of issues of the goals, systems, and advantages of a free-market system while also engaging the approaches that run counter …

40 Days of Grace

40 Days of Grace: Discovering God’s Liberating Love by Rich Miller
This new book entitled 40 Days of Grace is author Rich Miller’s attempt to help his readers see that living by grace is much more fulfilling than any other path.  Each day of the journey has a short devotional, a Scripture passage, thought to chew on, question and a prayer.  Some days focus particular things in our culture that gnaw at people like the father wound, fear, or death.  Other days focus on dignity, victory or community.  The encouragement in this book is unmistakable. 
Rich says something simple yet profound on Day One.  He writes, “Living by grace doesn’t end when you come to Christ; that’s just the beginning” (18)!  Living by grace through faith is fundamental for the Christian.  We are not saved by grace and then go on to live a life of self-assured works without reference to grace, but grace is at the center of everything you do.  Rich is right to point…


Daybreak: A Guide to Overcoming Temptation by Nathan Ward
This new book entitled Daybreak by Nathan Ward, a professor of Biblical studies at Florida College in Temple Terrance is healthy dose of encouragement for any Christian who is serious about battling temptation.  The book is a short one at 108 pages but is full of sound wisdom about temptation, sin, Satan, and finding our hope in Christ.  The eight chapters are divided up into three sections; the call (ch. 1-3), the enemy (ch. 4-5), and temptation (ch. 6-8).  In the book you find much in the way of biblical exposition while Nathan also adds some practical paths to follow in dealing with sin. 
In his chapter on Satan, Nathan says some things that are very important in the struggle with the evil one.  He writes, “Although he does not come out and say so, Satan is questioning the very goodness of God and painting Him a miser.  Perhaps most significantly, Satan projects the picture of a false rivalry betwe…

Bake through the Bible

Bake through the Bible: 20 fun cooking activities to explore the Bible story with young children by Susie Bentley-Taylor and Bekah Moore
This new cookbook is not your average Betty Crocker spiral bound cooking guide.  Rather, this cookbook combines simple recipes that you can make with your children while exploring the biblical story that goes along with the recipe.  My 5 year old daughter and I made Creation cookies this week and had a blast doing it!  Rylee helped me pour the ingredients into a big bowl, roll the dough with a rolling pin, and decorate the cookies with sprinkles and candies.  We had a great time cooking including following the creation story of Genesis 1.
The cookbook has a great layout that combines a Scriptural retelling, a prayer, ingredients and equipment list, and step by step directions.  Included in the process is some questions to ask your children about the story to help them think through the meaning…

Behind the Shades

Behind the Shades: Hope Beyond the Darkness by Sheila Raye Charles
This new book, Behind the Shades, is the story of the famous singer Ray Charles’ daughter, Sheila Charles, and her tumultuous life getting caught up in drugs leading to her imprisonment.  Trying to win her father’s love, Sheila constantly yearned for her father’s attention amidst his busy career.  Through a combination of bad choices, having basically no father to care for her, Sheila tells of her time in prison and the way her and her mother looked at the enigmatic figure Ray for comfort.  Part of the book is Sheila’s inclusion of a manuscript her mother, Sandra Betts, had written about her time with Ray. 
The book points out the way that faith, including Sheila’s blossoming faith encouraged in prison through church can ignite a person’s calling.  From very early on, Sheila’s voice catapulted her onto the road of sure stardom.  Yet, thro…