When God Wants to Drill a Man

10 04 2018

When God wants to drill a man,
And thrill a man,
And skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
To play the noblest part;

When He yearns with all His heart
To create so great and bold a man
That all the world shall be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways!

How He ruthlessly perfects
Whom He royally elects!
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him

Into trial shapes of clay which
Only God understands;
While his tortured heart is crying
And he lifts beseeching hands!

How He bends but never breaks
When his good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And which every purpose fuses him;
By every act induces him
To try His splendor out-
God knows what He’s about.

– Anonymous


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.

One of My Favorites…an Encouragement to Those Who Suffer

13 03 2018

556456I have never text as many quotes from a book to anyone but as I read Kiss the Wave:  Embracing God in Your Trials written by Dave Furman and published by Crossway, I could help sending those messages to my wife.  You see my wife suffers from chronic pain and fatigue.  Being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Lupus has not only taken a toll on her physically, but mentally and spiritually.  Dave Furman, pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, suffers from a nerve ailment that leaves him in severe pain and the inability to properly use his hands.  When Dave wrote this book he did so from a life of experience.  The result was one of the most powerful books that I’ve ever read on the subject of suffering and the Christian’s response to it.  I can’t recommend this read enough.

The book’s title comes from a quote from Charles Spurgeon where he said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”  Spurgeon knew pain and depression.   He didn’t just sling those words out.  He knew the waves.  Dave Furman knows the waves as well.  Both Spurgeon and Furman are not asking you to just try harder in painful times, but rather learn to embrace God in the midst of the suffering.

The author seeks to help you embrace God by offering up the following chapters:

  • He Can Surf Any Wave – a look at the Mark passage where Jesus walks on the water where Jesus reveals His character to his disciples.
  • He Is Our Refuge – an encouragement to see God’s presence in the midst of our times of suffering and the value that recognition brings.
  • The Ultimate Rescue Mission – a view of the implications of Christ coming to this earth as a baby and how that should sustain us in our pain.
  • The Greatest Exchange in All of History – a look into the crucifixion, the fact that Christ took our place, and the magnificent grace of God that has been shown us. What effect does this have on us in our times of suffering?
  • God Is Not Dead – what does the resurrection of Jesus promise us? What hope do we have because of this promise?
  • Look, I Am Your Father – a look into the fact that God has adopted us and what it means to be His child when we suffer.
  • He Really Knows Every Hair on Your Head – a call to meditate on the fact that you are known by God and why we shouldn’t search out a cheap substitute for that fact here on this earth.
  • The Waves Have a Glorious Purpose – a look at John 15 and the pruning process. What purpose might God have when He prunes us?
  • Weakness Is Always the Way – a study of why we should glory in our weakness and how God uses it.
  • You Are a Part of Christ’s Body – a wonderful study of how even the weak parts of the body are necessary in the Body of Christ.
  • The Wave Maker Will Carry You to Shore – a reminder that even in our darkest moments that God never loses us and that we can persevere.
  • Extreme Makeover – a call to look to our future where God has prepared for us a permanent home and new bodies.
  • Heaven Is for Real – a reminder to us that heaven is on the way and that we are able to live in light of eternity while struggling in moments of pain here on this earth.

Here is a cool video with him discussing the book: 

Seeing my own wife struggle with pain regularly may have caused me to read this book with greater intensity, but the truth is that I found it to be a great source of encouragement.  Do you know somebody that is struggling?  Order this book for them.  Please it in their hands.  They need the truth that this book, which is based on the Word of God, will bring.

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

A Practical Read on Church Health

28 02 2018

Every January the gyms fill up with people who made the New Year’s resolution to get fit.  It is a time that the year round gym rats do not enjoy, but what gets them through this season of the year is the fact that it will be short lived.  Before long they have their space once again as one by one people step out of their routines.  They do so because fitness is tough and it takes great effort.

In much the same way church fitness requires the same tenacity and effort.  In Building the Body:  12 Characteristics of a Fit Church, Gary L. McIntosh and Phil Stevenson attempt to show what it is goi41sKF0GQxPL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ng to take to build a fit church.  Realizing that not every church is at the same place, they have divided each chapter into a section of teaching about that particular characteristic, followed by practical advice on how to improve in that characteristic according to where your church was in the process.

Likening the church to a body that is getting healthy through cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition, this book, published by Baker Books, takes you through a list of 12 characteristics that are needed for each section.

I found the teaching section with each characteristic to be rich with nuggets of truth.  I really thought that part of the book was well done.  Where the chapters lost me just a bit was when the authors attempted to give practical application on how to improve.  Because I do not pastor a church that they would describe as elite, advanced, or even intermediate I found myself feeling that this was not written to me.  I found myself struggling through those sections.

One of the parts about this book that was helpful was the chapter that allowed you to track your church’s progress as to its health by evaluating your church in each section. Following this evaluation is a short guide leading you to set goals on improving your health.

All in all I feel that this will be a book that I will refer back to at some point as I seek to build the church that I pastor.  In short I have read better written books on church health but I certainly would not discount this read either.

I was given a copy of this book 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.