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.


Seminary Can’t Teach Everything

8 05 2018

558146Seminary cannot teach you everything that you need to know.  Seminaries are valuable and the contributors to this book are quick to let you know that their sections are not an attack on the idea of seminary, but rather an honest observation that there are some things you can’t learn unless you are in the trenches.  Whether it is learning to stay long term in a ministry or knowing what to do when no door opens to minister, this book covers a variety of subjects.  15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me is a series of 15 chapters written by different contributors and published by Crossway.

Below is a summary of each chapter.

Chapter 1 is entitled:  Knowledge and Credentials Aren’t Enough.  In this chapter the contributor, Jeff Robinson Sr., reminds the pastor that the ministry is not for the faint of heart.  He reminds us here just because you have credentials, doesn’t mean that you are confident; that unfortunately ministry means war; and that pastors are in need of God’s grace most of all.

Mark Vroegop was given the topic of what to do when your church is dying.  In this chapter he gives seven pieces of advice that he learned while helping a church make transition.  How important it is that you love, depend on God, and trust God in the pastorate.

Daniel L. Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, tackled the topic of how to shepherd your wife in chapter 3. The highlight of this chapter for me was his seven ways to bless your wife.

Jeff Higbie, pastor of Faith Evangelical Church in Underwood, North Dakota, had the topic of how to pastor people who are different from you.  Coming from large metropolitan areas to rural North DaKota was a challenge for Higbie, and in this chapter he addresses the differences that a pastor might face and how to serve well in the midst of them.  Probably his best piece of advice is that “every pastor is interim” so serve well.

Matt Capps spoke out of a painful experience in his life when he had differences of opinion with the senior pastor of the church that he pastored.  That led him to tackle the subject of how to follow your lead pastor when we disagree.  In this chapter he speaks from his mistakes and lessons learned.  The unity of the church always is to be cherished in such a circumstance.

Having solid Biblical leaders is a must in the local church.  Juan Sanchez takes up the topic of how to lead your leaders in chapter 6.  In this chapter he thinks through what Biblical leadership looks like and how to search for it and build upon it with leaders that you call alongside of you in your church.

Teaching your kids to love and not loathe the church must be intentional.  Matt McCullough tackles this subject in chapter 7 bringing his experience as a pastor’s kid from a dad who did it well and from his experience of being a pastor with kids.

John Onwuchekwa knows pain from loss in his own life.  In chapter 8 he is given the task of speaking about shepherding your church through seasons of suffering.

When do you know when God has called you away from the ministry that you are in to another ministry?  Harry L. Reeder speaks to this and once again he speaks from personal experience giving practical biblical advice.

There will be conflict in a church whether it is between members, between members and the pastor, or between staff members.  Jay Thomas does a great job in this chapter of taking all of these conflicts to the gospel.

Vermon Pierre speaks on the needed subject of fighting for your relationship with God.  How does a pastor keep from becoming dry and discouraged?  Helpful advice is given in this chapter.

How do you be a good shepherd to sheep that sometimes can bite?  That is what Dale Van Dyke tackles in his chapter.  In this chapter he meticulously discusses how to build trust which is a necessity if you are going to be their shepherd.

Scott Sauls was almost Tim Keller’s successor.  Almost.  His chapter comes from his pain of disappointment when that dream was snatched away.  The chapter entitled, The Temptation to Make a Name for Myself, gives solid advice about living for a name that is way bigger than yours.

Phil A. Newton discusses the value of a long tenured pastorate in his chapter of things that he did not learn in seminary. Also speaking from his experience of pastoring South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, TN.  In his own words, “Seminary academic focus didn’t teach me about the oy found in deep roots.”

Collin Hansen is the editorial director for the Gospel Coalition but his desire at one time was to pastor.  When that didn’t happen right away it made him question what he felt was his call.  Once again from his own pain he speaks to the subject of what to do when you are not called to a position.

This is a good short read for any pastor in my opinion.  I was impressed how many of the contributors spoke out of their own painful situations.  The lessons learned are valuable.

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