Great Book on Politics and Culture for the Beginner

20 06 2019

downloadI’ve always been told that you don’t talk about religion or politics but Bruce Riley Ashford has done both with his newest book Letters to an American Christian published by B&H.  Ashford is the Provost/Dean of the Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also serves as Professor of Theology and Culture. He is a Senior Fellow in Public Theology at the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (Cambridge, UK) and a Research Fellow at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.  His book is a 256 page read written as a series of letters to Christian, a new believer who is struggling to bring his faith into hot political topics of the day.

In a day where Christians are all over the place with their political views, the author through these series of letters teaches us how to not ignore the hot button issues of our day but also come across in a Christ like manner.  Not having read much on the Christian’s involvement in the political area and in culture, I found myself challenged by the content in the pages of this book.

The first section of his book deals with a Christian view of politics and public life and challenges us to find balance in our political lives.  We cannot ignore it but at the same time we must not forget our Christian values while engaging it.

The second section of his book deals with various hot button issues of our day like religious liberty, free speech, a woman’s right to choose, Black Lives Matter, political correctness, small vs. big government, supreme court interpretation of the constitution, gun legislation, education, the environment, nationalism, war, gender, and fake news.

He finished up the book with a discussion concerning the Christian hope for American politics.

Some have criticized this book for not giving us enough and have blamed the author’s decision of putting this in letter form as the culprit, but for somebody who hasn’t read much on this subject, I found it to be a great way of getting across the truth.  To me, the average Christian can take this book and find application.  Perhaps he will write something more in depth in the future that will satisfy the desires of the academic world.  For the average Christian in the pew, this will be a solid read.

I will be referring back to this book as I attempt to engage this world that we live in and speak about our role in engaging it.  I do recommend it.

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Tony Evans Puts Out Another on Spiritual Warfare

8 06 2019

91J-dy-y1BLUnderstanding that you are at war, understanding the enemy, and understanding the tools that God has given us, is vital in winning the spiritual battle that we face each and every day. Tony Evans, in his book Warfare: Winning the Spiritual Battle, helps provide the tools that we need to be successful in the fight.

Evans, the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas Texas, has given us through Moody Publishers a 224 page book for this. This goes well with earlier works that he has published such as Victory in Spiritual Warfare Bible Study Book: Field Guide for Battle published in 2016, Victory in Spiritual Warfare: Outfitting Yourself for the Battle published in 2011, and Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare published in 2015. The subject of spiritual warfare is one that he is quite familiar with and this shows in his newest work.

This book helps us understand that so many of the problems that we face each day are a result of this war. He discusses the battle that we face individually, in our families, in our church, and in society. He helps us
understand the enemy that we face in Satan as well as his demon force that he uses each day against us. Something that I found surprising was his discussion on the spiritual allies that we have in Angels and in Jesus Christ Himself. To be honest, I have not put a whole lot of thought into that in the past.

Evans ends his book with a helpful discussion of our authority and our weapons that we have have at our disposal so that we can win the battle. He reminds us throughout the book that we are already victorious and that we need to live each day fighting from victory and not just for it.

I found this book to be easy to read and devotional. It is full of Scripture references and would be a helpful tool to be used by anyone that find themselves in a battle. I do recommend that you pick it up.





Solid Read on Joseph

2 05 2019

John Lennox, author of Joseph:  A Story of Love, Hate, Slavery, Power, and Forgiveness, is not your ordinary run of the mill authors.  He is professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Oxford and an associate fellow of Oxford’s Said Business School.  His book published by Crossway offers up a very practical look at the life of Joseph.

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He begins the book not with the birth of Joseph but actually in the beginning of the Bible to show how the Scripture leads up to this character that will consume most of the Book of Genesis in order to give us context.

With each chapter he gives us not just an account of what has happened in that Scripture to give us a proper understanding, but he has also given us practical application to our Christian lives.  He even takes us to the New Testament to bring in even further application.

I personally appreciated the section on forgiveness and reconciliation as it came to me during a personal time of pain and hurt.

I believe that this book is a great tool to be used by any pastor teaching or preaching through this section of Genesis.  You will find this scholarly at times but not a difficult read.  I do humbly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book to review it for the publisher.

 





Great Read for Those Who Suffer

13 03 2019

556777Suffering comes in many shapes and sizes.  No matter the shape or size, it comes.  It comes to us all at some point in our lives.  For author Paul David Tripp in began October 19, 2014, when a trip to the hospital began a long and difficult journey that he is still on.  In his book entitled Suffering:  Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, Tripp shows us what God has taught him on his journey and teaches us how to properly respond when suffering visits us.

This is a great book!  From the start the author shows us how suffering reveals our heart to us.  Tripp says, “When the thing you have been trusting (whether you knew it or not) is laid to waste, you don’t suffer just the loss of that thing; you also suffer the loss of the identity and security that it provided.”  It strips away those things from us and shows us what we are trusting in.  He goes on to say, “Your responses to the situations of your life, whether physical, relational, or circumstantial, are always more determined by what is inside you (your heart) than by the things you are facing.”

From that the author revealed my heart.  He pulled no punches.  This is not a book that just warms your heart, it challenges you to take a look at your heart.  He said, “Suffering confronts us with the fact that life is not about us but about God.  It is not about our glory but his.  It’s not first about our pleasure but about his.  It’s not about our plans for us but about his will for us.  It’s not about our control but his.  It’s not about our little kingdoms but about his.  It’s not about our successes but about the display of his majesty.”  Wow!  That is humbling.

After leading us through all the traps that we find ourselves in when going through a season of hurt and pain he begins to talk about where to go for comfort.  He encourages us to not let our reason for suffering to define us but rather allow our identity in Christ Jesus define us.  He spends considerable time getting us to think through the implications of our identity in Christ.

The author has such a grandiose view of God and this comes out in these final chapters.  Once again the writer gets the reader to think through how we sometimes replace God with something else only to discover it stripped away in suffering.  His encouragement is to place this awesome God that we have in His rightful place.

I highly recommend this book especially to someone who is finding themselves in a difficult place.





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.