Asking the Right Questions

19 01 2018

How important it is that when you are reading Scripture to step back and ask the right things.  It is not how much Scripture you read, but how much of the Scripture do you get into your mind and heart.  Asking questions as you read the Word is so helpful.  Get a journal, read a passage, and ask these six questions.

Habits 1


When a Guy Gets a Gal Book…

17 01 2018

31M+Us4KNaLSo what do you do when you order a book that was written for women only and you are a guy?  You read it because you have women in your life.  I’m married to one, the father of one, and pastor many.  Because of this fact I pushed on to read the book Refresh:  Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands written by David and Shona Murray and published by Crossway.  This book written primarily from the point of view of Shona Murray is a companion to David Murray’s earlier book Reset:  Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture, which was written primarily to men.

This book was written out of Shona’s personal experience with depression and lies heavily on the material that David wrote in his earlier book.  In this book Murray speaks out of her experience and shows how she would go on to refresh her own life in what she has coined as the grace-paced life.  She invites the reader to come to her Refresh Gym and learn this life.

Murray believes that the life of trying to meet every demand thrown at us is not healthy and leads you down some dark roads.  In this book she offers an alternative where you are refreshed along the way.  Using the analogy of what she calls the refresh gym she covers different areas that a lady can go down to refresh herself in the grace of God.

The author has given us a well written guide here.  Each chapter is extremely practical and is extremely Biblical.  You can tell that this author has spent time contemplating the Word and everything she writes is scripturally based.  You can also tell that she has spent a great deal of time reading on each subject to which her chapters are based.  She doesn’t just tell you to rest, but she goes through great lengths to show you the value of it.

Her goal is to get a person back to resurrection life, the place that she found herself at once again.  She doesn’t shy away from the difficult and controversial subjects either.  She bravely gives her opinion on subjects that she knows will rub others the wrong way.  I believe that she has done this with great expertise.

Having received this book has made me want to read the companion volume penned by her husband.  This is a book that is so desperately needed in our world of fast paced living.  I hope to pass this on to the ladies in my life.  Although I’m a guy I have committed myself to making some needed changes as well.

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

What Are You Planting?

16 01 2018

My quiet time this morning is in Hosea 10.  In that chapter it reads:  Hosea 10:12-13 (ESV) 12  Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. 13  You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors,

fallowIsrael had sown into their lives the wrong things and because of that they had gotten themselves into a mess.  It made me think about what am I sowing into my own life.  In verse 12 He calls for them to instead sow righteousness and that they would reap steadfast love.  God just wants us to love Him.  He just wants our love.  He has been so very good to us.  He has been generous to us.  Why wouldn’t we do that?  He calls them to break up the fallow ground and seek the LORD.

In our world of social media it is so easy to see people planting the wrong things into their lives and getting the same results as always.  I’m like, “Well there they go again.”  There has never been a sin that has done a single good thing for anyone but yet we continue to plant the same seeds and we continue to get the same results.  We get a huge mess.  We get marital and family difficulties.  We get unhappiness and misery.  We get what we have planted.

Why not try something different?  Why not break up the hardened fallow ground of your heart today and seek the LORD.  Plant something different in your life and watch the results.  Seek your Creator God!  Seek the one who has redeemed you or is able to redeem you.  He knows what is best for you and me.  So take the plow today and break up the ground.  Seek Him.  Get into His Word.  Pray to Him!

Shhhh. God is Speaking.

10 01 2018

9780735291089Lean in and listen.  That is the message of Mark Batterson, New York Times best-selling author in his book Whisper:  How to Hear the Voice of God published by Multnomah.  I’m going to be perfectly honest with you.  I’m a skeptic when so many people proclaim that they have heard the voice of God.  I’ve always have stated, “How did you know it was God’s voice and not the pizza that you had the night before?”  So when I received this book to read and review I will be honest with you.  I was skeptical.  What can this guy teach me about listening to God’s voice?  Just read the Scripture and you will hear God’s voice I’ve always thought.  I will tell you that Batterson softened up this skeptical mind of mine by keeping his commitment to Scripture while exploring the different ways that our Father speaks to us.

Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C., has written several popular books over the years like The Circle Maker and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.  He is very good at weaving an abundance of stories with the truth that he has gleaned from Scripture.  This book holds your attention and is easily read.  I found myself running to twitter to quote him several times.How did Job survive hell on earth_ _He fell to the ground in worship._ If you want to make it through the tough times, you have to give God the sacrifice of praise. I know that's easier

The book is broken up into two sections.  In the first he speaks about the power of a whisper and talks about the power of silence and listening.  In the second section of the book he speaks about the seven love languages that God uses to speak to us.  As stated before in each section he is committed to Scripture but very skillfully speaks about the ways that God uses to communicate to us and how we might take full advantage of that means.

God doesn't love us because of who we are. God loves us because of who He is.When we succeed, God says, _I love you._When we fail, God says, _I love you._When we have faith, _God says _IThe chapter on pain is just about worth the whole book.  I know that I will be pulling this book back off of my shelf to reread that section in the future.

All in all I do highly recommend this book.  I can see why Batterson has been so successful in the past with his writing.  This was my first work of his to read but it won’t be my last.  I want to go back and read the books that put this author on the map.

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

CSB Has Done It Again!

5 01 2018

9781462753673.front05CSB has done it again.  This past year they have rolled out one after another of fantastic specialty Bibles with such hits as the She Reads Truth Study Bible and the Spurgeon Study Bible.  Once again they have hit another home room this past year with the completion and publication of the Disciple’s Study Bible edited by Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church and founder of Replicate Ministries.
Robby has become one of the nation’s top leaders in discipleship, and he brings a wealth of experience and tools to this Bible.  This Bible is made not just for your own personal discipleship but is a tool that you can use to disciple others.  To top it off it comes in the CSB translation, which is extremely readable and strives to be Biblically accurate.

This Bible includes the F260 Bible Reading Plan, which is a two hundred and sixty day reading plan that brings the reader through the foundational passages of Scripture.  It enables the reader to read the heart of the Scripture by reading 1 to 2 chapters a day, 5 days a week, and 52 weeks of the year.  It gives the reader a manageable plan that keeps them from growing discouraged and give up on their commitment to read and digest the Word of God for themselves.  Included in this plan are memory verses that tie in with the Scripture that you are reading that week.

I know what you are thinking.  You are asking us to read less of the Bible?  Yes, but the F-260 plan and this Bible encourages you to keep a H.E.A.R. journal of your reading.  This Bible has the journal pages already included.  They are easily found with the green colored border on the page.  As you read the Scripture you are encouraged to Highlight the verses that speak to you; Explain what this passages means; Apply what God is saying in these verses to your life; and Respond to what you’ve read.  You are able to make your notes directly into the Bible.  You will always have a copy of what God said to you on that particular day, and by journaling you are reinforcing the truth into your heart and mind.

At the bottom of each page of this Bible are study notes to help the reader understand the Scripture that he is reading.  Each book of the Bible has a well written introduction to give you a grasp on what is about to be read and an outline of the book.

This Bible is helpful in helping you launch and maintain a D-Group, a closed group that is gender exclusive that meets together for the purpose of accountability, reading God’s Word, and Scripture memorization.  There are several articles in the Bible that will help you have a healthy D-Group.

As a matter of fact, this Bible towards the end has one after another well written articles on discipleship.  You have the opportunity to learn from someone who has seen discipleship work not only in his own life, but in the churches that he has served.  This is a great help to the believer who wants to be obedient to His Lord in this area.

I will be perfectly transparent with you.  I have been keeping a H.E.A.R. journal for over a year now and have led others to do the same.  I’ve personally seen the benefits of a D-Group and personal discipleship.  I’ve been waiting for this tool to be available and here it is.

Robby Gallaty tells us that “we must get into the Word until the Word gets into us!”  It is time for believers to lay down books about the Word until we get the Word into us.  This is not a day, in my humble opinion, for the spiritual fortitude that comes from reading 1 or 2 verses and a cute story.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by His Word.  This Bible will enable you to have big faith in the upcoming days.

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

Great Discipleship Tool!

4 01 2018

51Ngo61rBaL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Bearing Fruit:  What Happens When God’s People Grow is the latest book by author/pastor Robby Gallaty.  Robby is the Senior Pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN and has become a leading voice for discipleship within Christian circles.  This book is the third and final book in a series which began in 2013 with Growing Up:  How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples followed by Firmly Planted:  How to Cultivate a Faith Rooted in Christ in 2015.

In Bearing Fruit, the author attempts to work through the concept of sanctification, defined by Gallaty as the “process whereby Christ lives His life through us.”  He states that the entire process is God’s doing from start to finish but when it happens, God brings forth fruit.  All of us should strive to be fruit bearers.

But what is that fruit?  That is the question that Gallaty attempts to explore in this book by going to the seven places in the New Testament where the word “fruit” is located.  He then explores the following:  The Fruit of Repentance, Fruit of Ministry; Fruit of Sanctification, Fruit of Righteousness; Fruit of Good Works; The Fruit of the Spirit; and The Fruit of Praise.

I found this book to be a powerful read, especially when you put it up aside the other books in this series.  This will be an excellent discipleship tool that can be used in a small discipleship group setting.  It would be helpful to go through this book with what Gallaty has called a “D-Group:  a gender-exclusive, closed group of three to six people who meet weekly.  He does a great job of really going deep in each of these areas.  If you are like me, you will be underlining quotes along the way.  This book is full of repeatable material that can benefit believers in their walk with Christ.

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