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Showing posts from December, 2015

Hymns of the Heart

Hymns of the Heart: Discovering God in the Psalms by Adam Faughn
Have you ever needed a guide to reading the book of Psalms in the Old Testament?  Has it ever occurred to you that focusing on certain psalms will help you in your study of the Bible?  Adam Faughn helps his readers get in the heart of the psalms as he looks at 35 of them in his new book, Hymns of the Heart: Discovering God in the Psalms.  The book is designed to open up the prayer and worship book of the OT and help us discern the meaning for today.
Adam gets into each psalm by looking at the structure, theology, and message of each psalm for today.  With an appreciation for the historical context of each psalm, Adam weaves together scholarship, story and application that helps the reader understand each psalm in its context.  With most chapters being around 10 pages, you can easily pick up the book and learn more about each of the 35 included psalms.  One thing I really thought was done well in this book was Adam’s insist…

Notables Books Worth Reading

Here are a few books I'm reading this Christmas season that you might also enjoy:



Sean Michael Lucas is Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and a wonderful church history scholar as well.  He taught at Covenant Seminary while I was there and his prior book on On Being Presbyterian is my go to book to introducing people to the historic Presbyterian faith.  This new book traces the roots of the PCA from early on in the 19th century, through the ruckus that was caused between the North and the South Presbyterian bodies and stretches toward today with the founding of the PCA in 1973.  With an eye toward the theological shakeup with the beginning of Union Seminary and the emergence of social gospel emphases, Lucas does a great job at identifying the roots that eventually came to be the PCA.  This is much more than a book on the PCA but a book on Reformed identity and the shaping of a story that affects a much broader Protestant evangelical contingent.

1-3 John (Reformed Expository Commentary)

1-3 John (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Douglas Sean O’Donnell
Every week we say it in worship after our admission/confession of sin, the single verse from 1 John 1.9 that states, “If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all righteousness.”  This succinct truth delves deep into our hearts for it brings out two simple yet profound concepts; namely our confession and God’s faithfulness to forgive.  In this new commentary on 1-3 John by Pastor and scholar Douglas Sean O’Donnell, the author gets into the heart of these three small books near the end of the NT canon with wit, wisdom, and clarity.  Douglas states early on his book that John had two purposes in writing his epistles; pastoral in that he wrote to bring assurance of faith to his readers and second, polemical, upholding the truth of the incarnation among those who wanted to deny Christ’s full humanity (xiv).
Commenting on 1 John 2.14 where John signals his audience of yo…

Empire of Sin

Empire of Sin by Gary Krist
This new book by author Gary Krist chronicles the twists and turns of life in New Orleans round the turn of the 20th century.  The book takes into account two murders, the growing up of the grandchildren of former slaves, and centers on the period between 1890-1920.  For anyone familiar with Krist, his writing is penetrating, historically grounded, and gets you right into the center of the action with clarity and wit.
The early part of the book looks at Detective George Long and his investigation of the murder of Joseph and Catherin Maggio, Italian immigrants who ran a small grocery story.  Immediately we find the junior detective and the senior detective (Long) coming up with different scenarios concerning the person who committed the murders.  Yet, the one piece of evidence that was still puzzling to them was a chalk message that was found earlier in the day with the words, “Mrs. Joseph Maggio is going to sit up tonight just like Mrs. Toney.”  The clue was …

Newton on the Christian Life

Newton on the Christian Life by Tony Reinke
Many Christians know the name John Newton by the perennial hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ but what they do not know is that Newton’s life is quite a remarkable story.  Tony Reinke, in his new book on Newton entitled, Newton on the Christian Life, writes with clarity and encouragement for all those wanting to know Newton more and to see in his life a devoted follower of Christ.  The book delves into his shipwreck of a life in the slave trading industry and also his work with William Wilberforce, but focuses more acutely on how Newton saw the varied Christian life, from its sorrows to its joys.
What is often not known about Newton is that he was an extraordinary pastoral letter writer.  Reinke notes, “Newton’s superb letter-writing skills, marked with spiritual clarity, self-deprecating wit, vivid metaphor, motive-piercing acuity, and insights of blazing glory, all help to explain why Newton’s pastoral influence spread far beyond the village of Olney, be…