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.

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Hurting? This is an Excellent Read!

6 06 2018

downloadHave you ever read a book and you could only think of is the people that you needed to pick up a copy of it?  That is exactly how I felt as I began my journey with author Sarah Van Diest in her book God in the Dark:  31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In published by NavPress.  The words of this book were first written to a friend who was in great pain.  Knowing that there was nothing that she could do to make the pain go away, she resorted to praying and writing him letters.  Each day she would send her friend a small note with her thoughts on a section of Psalm 119.  Those small notes and a few more added just for the book are what you have in this devotional read.  This devotional is vGod in the darkry personal and each day’s read is short and concise.  This book of 160 pages is so full of truth, encouragement, Scripture, God, hope, and faith.  If I sound as if I’m gushing about it, then you would be correct.

I could just about tweet this whole book out, if that was possible.  Of course I commend this book to you or somebody that you might know that is in a dark place right now.  It is a wonderful reminder that God is always present in our darkness.  The same comfort that the author sought to bring to her friend who was hurting, can be brought to you.

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





I Have Found a Great Kids Bible

24 03 2018

images (2)Just recently I had a conversation with one of our children workers over what would be the best Bible to put into the hands of our children at the church that I pastor.  I wished I had known about the CSB Kids Bible, published by B&H.  This Bible fits the needs of a young child that is growing in love with the Word of God.

I love how you open the cover and the first two pages are so practical.  One shows you where you can go in the Scriptures when you are facing such problems as, being afraid, discouraged, worried, and other struggles that a child might have.  The second is a guide to help a young follower study the Bible.  Turn the page and you have a challenge for a young reader to grow in their Bible skills and what that growth could look like.  There is even a page in the beginning of this Bible that teaches a young reader how to have a quiet time with God including a section CSB Kids Bible Int Sampleof how to pray.

This Bible is filled with very colorful pages with study helps, summaries for each Bible division, maps, and topical concordance.

I believe one of the best things about this Bible in the CSB translation, which is very readable.  I love too the large, easy to read type.

All in all I believe that this is just another example of what the publishers of the CSB are doing to get the Bible into the hands of people, even our youngest readers.

I highly recommend this Bible.

I received a copy of the Bible for an honest review.





Solid Read on Worship

24 03 2018

11957eb“Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God—for who He is! And what He has done! Expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.”  That is how Louie Giglio describes worship in his book The Air I Breath:  Worship as a Way of Life published by Multnomah.  Giglio, who is the Pastor of Passion City Church and the Founder of the Passion movement, a movement hoping to impact a generation to live for the fame of Jesus Christ, understands worship.  His label that he helped create, Six Step Records, has been a leader in producing some of the best known worship songs of the past decade.  I believe this makes Giglio the perfect person to be speaking about worship to us.

This book, which is a short but impactful read, begins with showing us the truth that everyone is truly a worshiper.  He says, “You simply follow the trail of your time, your affection, your energy, your money, and your loyalty.  At the end of that trail you’ll find a throne; and whatever; or whomever, is on that throne is what’s of highest value to you.  On that throne is what you worship.”  That is powerful and so true.  We don’t have to teach people how to worship.  According to the author people are already prewired to do that.  The question is what or whom are they worshipping.

The remainder of this short book is an unfolding of the definition that the author presents.  I found the book very thoughtful, full of Scripture, and easy to read.  As a pastor I will find myself pulling this book down from my shelf whenever I’m in need to think about worship.  I certainly recommend it to you.

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





My Opinion: Go Buy this Bible!!!

21 02 2018

ApologeticsStudyBible_Hardcover_WithJacket@2x Apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia which means “defense” or “answer”.  It is commonly known as the practice of giving a defense of your faith.  In this post Christian era that we have been privileged to live in, wouldn’t it be nice to have a resource at your finger tips to assist you in that defense.  The publishers of the Christian Stand Bible, CSB, have done that with the CSB Apologetics Study Bible.  In this Bible they have brought together some of the best apologetic minds to help us with such a defense.

This Bible is truly a must have for almost all believers.  As you share the gospel you are always faced with questions and situations that require greater insight than you may feel comfortable delivering at the moment.  This Bible is filled with 134 articles on key apologetic subjects.  Want to know if the Old Testament is trustworthy?  You will find an article written by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.  Want to know about how the Bible was accurately copied down through the centuries?  Norman L. Geisler has an answer for you in this Bible.  How do you defend miracles?  Ronald H. Nash has an article on that very subject in this Bible.

Why a Bible?  What better place to put such material especially when its very content is being questioned.  This Bible includes 48 “twisted Scripture” sections for Scriptures that have been misunderstood.  You are able to see the apologist give explanation to help you have an objective answer in such a relative world that we live.

Each of the 66 books have an introduction written exclusively for this Bible.  The introductions along with the short study helps at the bottom of the pages of Scripture, help you have a greater grasp as to the reliability of the book that you are studying.  This is actually a good study Bible to have on yourself.

This Bible helps you by giving you profiles of 12 of the most prominent apologists from Thomas Aquinas to C.S. Lewis.

All of this and more is placed in the CSB translation which I find very easy to read and reliable.  I just love the type in these CSB Bibles.  It is very easy on the eyes.

I would say that every pastor and student of the Word needs to have this Bible on his shelf to read and to reference.  I’m thankful to have mine.

The publisher sent me a copy of this Bible for an honest review.





Marriage is Worth the Fight

21 02 2018

Imagine being a fly on the wall of a Christian couple as they battle to have what they call a gospel saturated marriage.  Imagine walking with them through their fights, their times of suffering, their struggles with sin, and their victories.  That is what you get in D.A. and Elicia Horton’s newest work entitled Enter the Ring:  fighting together for a gospel-saturated marriage.

D. 512b-d58LUL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_A. Horton serves as Pastor of Reach Fellowship, a church plant in North Long Beach, CA and as Chief Evangelist for the Urban Youth Workers Institute (UYWI). He is the author of three previous books before taking on this project with his wife. This is Elicia Horton’s first book, and apart from being married to D.A. and raising 3 children, she travels the country teaching and encouraging others through rap and poetry.  Both bring a wealth of experience and Biblical training to the writing of this book.

In this book the Hortons definitely do not come out of their ivory tower to teach us about marriage.  They truly take you on a journey through some of their ugliest and most painful parts of their marriage to show the reader the sufficiency of Christ in the life of a believer and his/her marriage.  They call for a gospel-saturated marriage and life in this book, a life that the gospel’s content and implications affect every part of the life and marriage.

The Hortons take us down different roads with each chapter.  In the first two chapters you see what Christian oneness looks like in a marriage and get solid advice on the importance of communication in the marriage and how to get to what they call Level 1 communication.  I must tell you that some of the sections on communication are hilarious as they give us a look into their own struggles.

Their chapter on going the distance gives practical advice on leading your marriage through times of suffering and pain.  Just as you found yourself laughing with the Hortons in chapter 3, you will find yourself feeling their pain in chapter 4.

The Hortons turn more to the Scriptures in their fifth chapter as they go in-depth into the role of husbands, wives, and parents according to the Scriptures.

In the next chapter they take up the subject of purity before and during the marriage.  You get to see the Hortons in very vulnerable spots in this chapter.  The story of the day when D.A. accidently posted an admission to looking at porn publicly when he meant to do it privately made for some interesting reading.

They finish the book off by taking an honest look at the pressures of finance.  We get to learn from their mistakes and also learn from their journey to freedom.  I absolutely loved what they learned while at Summit Church with J.D. Greear.  They even give a sample budget to start a couple off on their journey to financial freedom.

Their final chapter is a Scriptural discussion on what a Gospel saturated life looks like.

A section that I almost didn’t read was the Epilogue, but I’m certainly glad I did because there they address those who are unmarried.  It certainly made me think how I view them and how I’ve misused them in the past in our ministry.  That may be my favorite part of the book.

All in all I enjoyed the book.  I appreciated how the two authors bounced back and forth with their sections.  You get to see their teaching from both points of view.  I believe this will be a great read for a couple getting married or recently married.

I was presented a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review.





A Different Look at the Disciplines

12 02 2018

41WQr4W89ML._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I will never forget how one of my favorite books on spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life written by Donald Whitney, begins with the story of a young boy who is transported by an angel to Carnegie Hall where he is allowed to observe a future view of himself. In this future view, he effortlessly plays the guitar with great precision only to be told that that could be him if only he would practice.  In the words of Donald Whitney, “Discipline without direction is drudgery.”

Philip Nation, author of Habits for our Holiness:  How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send us Out, published by Moody Press, goes even a step further in his book on these disciplines in that he concludes that they are not just to make us holy, but also to make us ready for His mission.  Spiritual disciplines, according to Nation, don’t just allow us to have greater intimacy with God, but they have a missional purpose in them where they make an impact in the lives of the people we encounter.  I love how he makes that next step in this book showing us how to make it missional.  I don’t recall seeing that in other books on discipline that I have encountered.  The author is also very intentional to show in his book that love is the key.  His first chapter is all about this.  He wants us to love Him for Who He is and for our lives to reflect that love.  That theme of love is strung all throughout his book.  This is definitely more than a book of a list of things that we must do as Christians.

One of the characteristics that I believe makes this book on disciplines unique is the fact that it first gives you instruction concerning tackling a specific discipline alone; then it gives you instruction on how to do it with others.  He shows how togetherness brings a whole new dimension to the discipline.

Another characteristic of this book that I appreciated is how the author takes each discipline and shows how bringing this into your life would cause you to rely on God.  He shows you where your idols are.  He shows you how these disciplines cause you to trust God, trust His goodness, trust His sufficiency, and trust His love.

I believe that the chapter on fasting may just be worth the whole book.  Nations does a tremendous job of helping you understand the discipline and the true motivation behind it.  I found his words very convicting and convincing that this is something that I need in my life now.  I will be pulling this book back off of the shelf just to reread this section of the book.

I appreciated how he ends the book talking about the discipline of leadership and disciple making.  As his subtitle suggests, these disciplines are not just meant to grow us up but send us out.  At the end of the book he said, “It is time for you to live out the spiritual disciplines with love as the centerpiece and mission as the result.”  Love and mission.  That is one of the reasons I recommend this book.

This book is not your typical book on spiritual discipline.  If you have read the classics like Foster and Whitney, you will appreciate Nation’s fresh take.  I truly do recommend it for your consideration.

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