Great Resource on Christian’s View on Money

15 10 2018

61kMMml7EkL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_So many personal financial talks begin with education and a budget.  That is not where Paul David Tripp in his book Redeeming Money:  How God Reveals and Reorient Our Hearts says begin.  In this book published by Crossway, Tripp takes us to the heart of the problem which happens to be the heart.

Tripp, who has been responsible for over 30 books or video series brings years of experience as a counselor to this book.  This book is filled with examples from those years of people who have allowed money to destroy them.

He encourages us to look at ourselves and believes that money is one of the principal ways to demonstrate who you think you are. By looking at a person’s relationship to money, you get a sense of that person’s identity.  Therefore, he tells you to take a good long look at your heart.

I personally took a lot away from his chapter 4 entitled:  Money and the Grace of Surrender.  In that chapter he looked at the Lord’s Prayer as a guide for us to surrender to the Lord and change our views of money.  He says, “Financial sanity doesn’t begin with hard work and careful budgeting, although both are beneficial.  Money sanity begins with surrender, a surrender that rescues us from ourselves and frees us to use what God has provided in the way he intended.”  From there he unpacks the Lord’s Prayer in a very helpful manner.

This will definitely be a book that I will refer back to as I come across this subject again in my life and preaching.  It is filled with convicting truth.  It made me think through my own personal view of money.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers for an honest review.


Leaders Who Bring Life to Their Teams

18 09 2018

9780735290945If you are going to be the president of an organization that exists “to unify and equip leaders who love the Church” then you might want to know a thing or two about leadership.  Tyler Reagin, President of Catalyst, has taken on the subject in his newest book entitled The Life Giving Leader:  Learning to Lead from Your Truest Self, published by Waterbrook.

Reagin has had the opportunity of sitting under the leadership of Andy Stanley and has been influenced greatly by some of the leading leaders in the world including Craig Groeschel, who wrote one of the two forwards (the other is written by Andy Stanley).

Reagin unashamedly approaches leadership from a Christian perspective and encourages Christians to embrace their lives as leaders in this book.

His premise in this book is that we should breathe life into the people that we lead and spends the entirety of this book showing how that can be accomplished.  He encourages us to not see people as an interruption to our day but rather that they are our day.

I appreciated his words on self-awareness, something that I have struggled with in the past.  There have been plenty words spilt on awareness so I was happy to read discussion on this topic.

He ends his book with a discussion on a leaders call to sweat, sacrifice, surrender, and serve.  I found these chapters convicting and helpful.

Reagin in my opinion does a great job of balancing hard work with the need for down time and family.  He sets an example to his own team in this area.

All in all I believe that this is going to be a helpful book for those who wish to lead.  It certainly will go well with this year’s Catalyst theme:  Fully Alive.

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I honestly liked the book.  You will too.

Great Tool for Women

7 09 2018

9781433644207The leadership with the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) have spent this past year putting out one specialty Bible after another with great success.  They have done it again with The Study Bible for Women.  Dorothy Kelley Patterson, wife of former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson, was the General Editor on this work.  The Managing Editor is Rhonda Harrington Kelley has influenced many women through her role as adjunct professor of Women’s Ministries at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  They both worked with scholarly women from all over to produce a work for women that was put together by women.

The Bible features your standard but helpful introductions and study notes that you would find in a study Bible.  This study Bible begins with a great article written by Patterson on how to study the Bible with tips on beginning.

The Bible all throughout has articles on Biblical womanhood, character profiles of different women in the Bible, answers to difficult questions, and doctrinal studies.  In the Bible you find timelines, charts, maps, and reconstructions.  Each book ends with either a devotional word of application, celebration, or encouragement.

Of course CSB in my opinion is a well thought out translation that is easy to read and understanding.  I love the font and text size in their Bibles.

In my humble opinion this Bible would be a great tool in the hands of a woman that desires to study the Bible and I do recommend it to you.

I received a copy of this Bible in return for an honest review by the publisher.


One of My Favorite Reads

5 09 2018

-bE2DwAAQBAJ            From time to time I read a book that makes a significant impact on my life.  The kind of book that cuts you deep but you can’t stop reading it.  It challenges you in your walk and in your heart.  Bob Goff has written such a book in Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People published by Thomas Nelson.  There is no wonder why this book has hit bestselling list as did his previous book Love Does to which this is a follow-up.

Bob Goff is a lawyer, speaker, world changer, and story teller.  He uses the art of story to bring across tremendous truths in this book.  In his book he says that we should follow the practice of Jesus who just loved everybody always.  Yes, we are to love the difficult ones too.  He says in his book, “I don’t want to get to heaven and have Jesus tell me my big opinions blocked someone’s view of Him.”

Goff sucks you in with story after story.  Almost every chapter is a story and some stories are extended over several chapters.  Each story has been taken from his life and each one has a tremendous lesson attached to it.  He encourages you to view people through the lenses of Jesus.  In the end his desire is for the world to see less of us and more of Jesus in our lives.  “I want people to meet you and me and feel like they’ve just met everyone in heaven,” says Goff.

Probably one of the greatest parts of this book is his challenge for you to love difficult people and he gives practical advice on doing that.  We are talking good, solid, advice.

I could fill this review with quote after quote from this author.  Probably the most powerful story is his last.  I found myself in tears reading it.

There is a reason why this book is a best seller.  His next book will be as well.  If you have never read Bob Goff, you need to.  His book needs to be your next purchase.  You will thank me.

Follow this guy on twitter at @bobgoff.  You will love his daily wisdom.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.  This was a pleasure.

Encouragement for the Small Church Pastor

5 09 2018

41qsejNasDL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_In over 25 years of ministry I’ve been to several church conferences.  I will admit that there have been several times where I’ve come home either feeling guilty for not pastoring well because I didn’t measure up to the success that was displayed at the conference, or I’ve come home and tried to implement their blueprint for our ministry when it just didn’t fit.  In the end it almost seemed like a worthless pursuit.  Since 90% of the churches are composed of 200 or less people, it makes sense for somebody to focus on the small church.

Karl Vaters speaks to the small church pastor in his newest book:  Small Church Essentials, Field-tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of Under 250 published by Moody Publishers.  Finally, there is a book for the rest of us.

Vaters authored The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches, and the Small Thinking that Divides Us (2013), speaks extensively at conferences on the topic of the small church, and writes a blog on small churches for Christianity Today. He has put a lot of thought on the subject.  He even pastors a small church and shares stories in his book on how he has had to overcome many of the challenges in his pastorate as small church pastors all over.

One of the first things Vaters does in his book is alleviate this feeling of insignificance that small church pastors may feel at times because of the size of his church. He grows through great lengths to show that small doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy and that our goal should be becoming a great small church.  Personally I found this very encouraging.

What I found helpful was the practical advice given in this book on tackling the issues and problems that arise in a small church, that a larger church doesn’t have.  From dealing with difficult people to dealing with a lack of resources, there is some truly helpful tidbits in this book.  I even found myself convicted a few times for how I’ve handled things recently.

All in all I believe that this will be a helpful book for small church pastors.  I could see small church pastors meeting together to go through this book.

I have always been a small church pastor and probably will remain in that role.  In closing I believe that there is a special place in Heaven for those pastors who work 40 hour weeks while pastoring a flock.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to read this book.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review.  I’m thankful for the opportunity.

A Helpful Discipleship Tool

20 06 2018

511qvWGbDyL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_We know that the gospel has the power unto salvation, but what other effect does the gospel have upon our life?  That is the subject of the new book by Dr. Jason K. Allen entitled Being a Christian:  How Jesus Redeems All of Life. This book of 160 pages published by B & H Books is a very helpful book to show us how the Christian life can be lived out in practical ways when it comes to your past, your marriage, your family, your time, your money, your work, your recreation, your mind, and your church.

As I was reading this book, I could help but think how this could be a useful discipleship tool for someone to use with a young Christian.  It could be used in a mentor/mentee situation or a small group to help that Christian learn how this new life can be lived out.  I remember how it took me years to understand what the Lord wanted of me in those areas of my life which are covered in this book.

With that in mind, I do recommend this book to you today.  I would suggest that you read it first for yourself.  It will challenge in you in the different areas of your own life.  Then, I would suggest that you pick up a copy for somebody that you are discipling and bring them through it as well.  See how God wishes to redeem all of us.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

Great Book on Battling Sexual Sin

15 06 2018

41qeSqVJniL._SY346_There is hardly a few weeks that go buy that I don’t have a conversation with somebody about sexual sin.  Whether it is a young man struggling in the church that I pastor or it is seeing it first hand as the male that I’m ubering around in my car is trying to convince the girl with him to come back and cuddle just a bit, it is evident that we do live in a broken world.  Paul David Tripp talks about this world gone crazy in his book Sex in a Broken World:  How Christ Redeems What Sin Distorts, published by Crossway.  In this book he doesn’t deny that we are sexual beings, but we live in a world that is not sexually healthy but is deeply broken.  In this world God does not promise us that we will not struggle, but rather He has given to us the best gift ever in it—Himself.  As a matter of fact according to the author, “The cross is our guarantee that in all our struggles with sex, no matter who we are and what those struggles may be, God will give us everything we need.  If He willingly gave us His Son, we can rest assured He will gladly supply what we are not able to supply for ourselves.”  There can be victory in this area of our lives!

In this book Tripp takes a close look at the brokenness of this world but challenges the Christian to not use that as an excuse to chase sin.  He encourages the Christian to take a good long look at his/her own heart and ask the question of whether or not your heart is controlled by a higher pleasure of God, which is greater than any other pleasure you could seek.  The question is this:  Is God the master of my heart?  Everything else falls into place after that.  In this book the author goes in great detail to show us that we must have a heart-controlling love for God that can protect us in this world that we live in.

Tripp completes his book with some practical advice on how to find victory in this area of your life.  He points to hope found in the gospel and in the power of God.  He says, “When you begin to understand that you’ve been invited to a meal that will never end, that you’ve been welcomed to the King’s table forever, you’ll quit looking to sneak a bite at other tables.”  Understanding what we have in this relationship with God, goes far in the victory we all need.

This is going to be a book that I keep close.  It is going to be a book that I recommend time and time again because of the pervasive nature of this sin and this sinful world that we live in.  I found many of the truths in this book to be applicable not only to sexual sin, but any sin.  This is one that you need on your shelfs not just for yourself, but for those you love.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.