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Showing posts from August, 2016

Greater Than Gold

Greater Than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption by David Boudia with Tim Ellsworth
The Rio Olympics in the summer of 2016 were an exhilarating time for athletes from around the globe, not least of which were the US Olympic diving team.  We only get a small snapshot of the training of these dedicated athletes. David Boudia, 10m platform diver and winner of the gold medal in London tells his story of heartbreak and victory in his compelling book, Greater Than Gold.  In its pages, Greater Than Gold takes us inside the competitive spirit of David, his quest to become better in his diving, but also looks at his struggles with drinking, his encounter with a teacher who loved him enough to share the good news with him, and his life after believing in Jesus Christ.
One of the humbling and gracious parts of the book was David’s memory of his devoted family, and how they carried his dream with him.  David writes, “On those days, she’d pick me up at school at two in the afternoon…

The Book of Esther by Emily Barton

The Book of Esther by Emily Barton
Set in Eastern Europe in 1942, in a small of nation of warrior Turkic Jews, Emily Barton has given us a novel that brings together historical vision, well-developed characters, and a plotline that moves along steadily.  The main character, Esther, is a conglomeration of wisdom, shrewdness, and prophet, seeing the way in which events will soon turn out ahead of time.  The women in the community forge traditional older ways of living with an eye towards mercy, helping those refugees who flee into the land with knitted hats, scarfs, and other wearable items. 
One of the beautiful ways that Barton develops and brings out the character of Esther is through the combination of her received religious tradition and her experience of life as she leaves her father Josephus.  Barton writes, “For three years, Esther, a legal adult had fasted on Yom Kippur, but that was different: spiritual in nature but for a purpose.  And on the Day of Atonement all one did was p…

Unreasonable Hope

Unreasonable Hope by Chad Veach
That couldn’t happen to me if often our response to the unimaginable that others are experiencing in this world.  Yet, often the fright of a long and painful road is just the path we are on, despite our desire to run away.  In his new book, Unreasonable Hope by pastor Chad Veach, he tells the story of his family, specifically his long journey with his daughter Georgia’s disease, lissencephaly. This disease is a rare brain disorder that causes her to have many seizures and setbacks.  Fighting feeding tubes and hoping upon hope that things would become normal as other children experience, Chad and his wife knew that they were in for a difficult life, they just didn’t realize the immense struggle.  This book is Chad’s grasping at how to love and serve God even in the midst of a terribly rocky road with a child who suffers so much at the hand of this disease.
The honesty with which Chad shares his life is to be commended, even when he feels a deep sense of he…

Get to know the New Testament

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized Edited by Michael J. Kruger
This introductory book on the New Testament, written and edited by present and former professors at Reformed Theological Seminary is quite a different book than most Introduction works.  For one, the authors spend little time on issues surrounding authorship, provenance, and dating, and rather focus on the message and theology of each individual NT book.  Secondly, the book is specifically designed to address concerns beyond a literary approach but dive into whole book theological matters, which is a real aid to those preaching and teaching through an individual book. 
In his discussion about Jesus being the new Torah, Dr. Reggie Kidd mentions that “Matthew wants readers to know that the Torah is being fulfilled in Jesus. Holy Scripture was always about something and Someone beyond itself. Again and again, Matthew quotes scriptural formulas to let his readers know that Jesus is upd…

A Doubter's Guide to the Ten Commandments

A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments by John Dickson
Minister, teacher, and public commentator for the veracity of the Christian faith, including its Scripture, John Dickson has given us a wonderful book on the Ten Commandments called A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments.  From their inception, the Ten Commandments have been an ever present reality in art, film, literature, and culture.  We often believe that these commandments have changed our life, but John explores this words as also providing a path for the good life. 
One of the central affirmations of John’s look into the Ten Commandments comes in the beginning of his book when he writes, “So what are the key motivations for ethics in the Bible?  One of the central inspirations for pursuing the Good is pretty much the inverse of fear of punishment or hope of reward.  It is the knowledge that you are already loved and redeemed by the Almighty (28).”  Written in the prologue of the commandment passage in Exodus 20 is the …

Eschatology

Eschatology: Biblical, Historical and Practical Approaches Edited by D. Jeffrey Bingham and Glenn R. Kreider
This new book that celebrates the birthday of Dr. Craig Blaising, pioneer in the field of eschatology and dispensationalism.  Written by 30 scholars and teachers, many who are personal friends of Dr. Blaising, this volume ranges from biblical perspective on the Second Coming and end times all the way down to a contemporary engagement of the theology of Jurgen Moltmann.  Written from primarily a Baptistic perspective, these chapters give us a robust view of how evangelicals might view the end times with a lens towards the present kingdom of God and its future installment.
Drawing on the work of Blaising regarding the unity of biblical theology as a whole, D. Jeffrey Bingham writes in the first chapter, “The continuity of the Testaments is to be found in the one Christ to whom they both witness in their own inspired manner.  They tell us of a Christ who is not outside of the creati…

God's Word, Our Story

God’s Word, Our Story: Learning from the Book of Nehemiah, Edited by D.A. Carson and Kathleen Nielson
What is needed in our world is not a slender vision of God and a massive vision of human flourishing.  We desperately need to hear and interpret God’s Word in a way that first signals glory to Him and secondly calls us to a robust living where grace and holiness are met.  In this new book on the book of Nehemiah, God’s Word, Our Story,  various Gospel Coalition authors bring together much wisdom on Nehemiah, our place in God’s story, and the  mighty God behind it all.
Kathy Keller begins our study with a look at the rebuilding of the Temple but primarily looking at the reign of King Cyrus.  She writes with clarity, “But whatever Cyrus’s motives were, God had promised through Isaiah and Jeremiah that Cyrus would be his shepherd—Isaiah actually uses that word, shepherd—to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. So here we see the first of many examples of the Word of the Lord finding its fulfil…