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Showing posts from March, 2014

Doing the Right Thing: Making Moral Choices in a World Full of Options by Scott B. Rae

Doing the Right Thing by Scott B. Rae

Doing the Right Thing: Making Moral Choices in a World Full of Options by Scott B. Rae Based upon the film series by Chuch Colson, Doing the Right Thing by Professor of Christian Ethics Scott B. Rae of Biola University, is a rush of fresh air through the issues of medicine, marketplace, and public life.  The book is short and succinct but chalk full of insightful wisdom on the major issues that we face today.  Rather than virulently stay away from the tough questions that cultural critics ask about Christianity, Scott answers these objections head on with honesty and transparency.  Lifting up the truth of God’s Word, sound logical principles, and a desire to see human flourishing as part of the goal of life, Scott is well equipped to give us very good answers to our questions, from outside and within the walls of the church. 
In the first chapter Scott draws o…

Knowing, Doing, and Asking Great Questions Talk

Knowing, Doing and Asking Great Questions
Resources Used:
Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber
1 Corinthians: A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary by Anthony Thiselton
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt

I.How do we know?  What role does our knowing tell about life and faith? A. Wentzville bus driver protects her students 1. Starting her route, she noticed a suspicious looking man in a Red Ford pickup (similar to the one reported in 2 attempted child abductions).  She called authorities, then drove each student up to their front doors, watching them get safely in their house. 2.How does the bus driver’s knowledge of prior news affect the present situation? 3.Could she have acted in a different way? B.Knowledge as responsibility (implicating us) 1. “Knowing can never be morally neutral, but is always morally directive.  We must not only know rightly, but do rightly” (Garber, 90) 2.How does our knowing implicate us in…

The Big Story: How the Bible Makes Sense Out of Life by Justin Buzzard

The Big Story by Justin Buzzard
How does the Bible relate to life and why does it matter to us?  These questions are at the heart of Pastor Justin Buzzard’s mind as he takes us the world of the bible and its story.  Divided into five acts and eight chapters, The Big Story takes us into the larger narrative at work in the Bible starting with Jesus and ending with Life.  The five acts that Justin describes follow this order: God, Creation, Rebellion, Rescue, and Home.  Using insights from biblical and systematic theology, culture, and his own life, Justin weaves together a powerful case for the overarching story of the Bible centered upon Jesus and how God is making all things new.
Writing from a Silicon Valley context where work is king and ideas are bandied about, Justin gets to the heart of the issues pretty quick.  In thinking about belief in God by writing, “But if you don’t believe in the God of the Bible, the Trinitarian…

Highway to Hell

Highway to Hell: The Road Where Childhoods are Stolen by Matt Roper
Injustice, human trafficking, sex slaves, all these words have a ring to our ears that is neither pleasant nor helpful in human flourishing.  Traveling down Brazil’s highway, BR-116, journalist Matt Roper and singer Dean Brody didn’t expect they’d find miles and miles of roads filled with men seeking sex from young girls who are trapped in prostitution.  Not only is the is the situation bleak but many times the very family members who are supposed to protect and provide for their young girls push them out in the streets to make money by selling their bodies.  Sickening, this drama plays out each day and each night on the long stretch of road winding through Brazil.  This book, Highway to Hell, is Matt and Brody’s experience first-hand with the ravages of prostitution along BR-116 and the hope that they might be a part of a change for the better, f…


Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Thabiti M. Anyabwile
This short book on the death and resurrection of Jesus by Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile is a timely look at the central crux of the Christian faith.  In five succinct chapters, Thabiti draws out the implications of the cross and resurrection through the lens of Scripture, from the Gospels and Paul’s writings.  The profound consequences of Thabiti’s study are a renewed faith in the gospel and a firm grasp of the apostolic roots of the events surrounding Jesus’ last days.  The book starts with a look at Jesus identifying with us in every way despite sin and revealing the Father’s love for us through the Son’s suffering. 
One of the highlights of the book was Thabiti’s insistence that the ministry of Jesus revealed the Father’s character at every step.   The sorrowful Jesus reveals the Father’s br…

Ten Days Without by Daniel Ryan Day

Ten Days Without by Daniel Ryan Day
We’ve all had grand visions of helping the poor, eliminating injustice, and working for peace at one time in our lives.  Yet, we forget about these dreams as soon as we line up to purchase our new HDTV.  Excess, greed, rampant disregard for others is a hallmark of our society.  Yet, the Christian is called to live for more than these fleeting passions.  Daniel Ryan Day in his new book, Ten Days Without, seeks to answer that gnawing at our soul for more through a journey to do without.  It all started with a question to his wife concerning shoes.  What would it look like if you entered a business place as an employee without shoes?  This initial question started a quest for Daniel to go without shoes in all places he walked for ten days, while also starting a blog.  The amazing response and the concern that talking abou…

Warfare in the Old Testament

Warfare in the Old Testament: The Organization, Weapons, and Tactics of Ancient Near Eastern Armies by Boyd Seevers
What seems at first like a title for a book straight out of an academic society, quickly turns into a illuminating and fascinating read.  The book, Warfare in the Old Testament, by Professor Boyd Seevers, takes what we know from the Ancient Near East concerning warfare into account by first weaving a story about a military warrior and then looking at the historical background of the people.  With chapters on Assyria, Babylon, Israel, Philistia, Egypt, and Persia, the reader gets a close up look at the various armor of the warriors, their military campaigns, and the role each people group played in the life of Israel.  With attention to detail and a keen eye for the worldview of each army, Boyd does a great job at getting us into the mind of an ANE army.  With full color maps and illustrations, …

Idiot Psalms: new poems by Scott Cairns

Idiot Psalms: new poems by Scott Cairns
Glimpsing the nature of religion poetically is a calling that Scott Cairns has taken up with vim and vigor.  In his new book of poems, Idiot Psalms, he seeks to capture the weight of a psalmist and the feeling of the congregant in his midst.  These poems evoke a playful seriousness that keeps the reader coming back for more, or in my case, coming back to read the same poem over and over again.  Cairns enters into the natural world of lightning and thunder as well as the perplexing study of theology in his poems, combining the natural with the supernatural which enlivens the imagination of its readers. Two poems had their red laser pointers on me as I read through this wonderful collection.  In First Storm and Thereafter, Cairns writes clearly about the lighting and thunder.                                 ‘What I notice first within                                                 This roug…

Eternity Changes Everything

Eternity Changes Everything by Stephen Witmer The future affects the present, not only the way we feel but the action we take in the meantime.  This new book, Eternity Changes Everything by Pastor Stephen Witmer is a deep look into eternity, how we view it from a biblical perspective, and how this can change our life.  Written in 12 short chapters, each section is hard hitting with keen insights into the tension believers face between a glorious future awaiting us and the present stain of sin in our lives.  Building on Revelation 21 as his key text, Stephen wants us to peer behind the veil and see God’s glorious future in the new heaven and new earth.  What turns out to be a quick read is actually a very illuminating and powerfully encouraging book that puts eternity into proper perspective.
Stephen says it rightly near the beginning of the book that, “The best thing about the new creation is God….You are go…