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Thoughts on the Christian life in a fallen world

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Unashamed to Bear His Name - R.T. Kendall

Embracing the stigma of being a Christian.  "In our increasingly secular society, being a Christian carries a cost." The author recommends "welcoming the stigma with both hands." The begins with the author's personal background which will help the reader understand perspective.  The book comes with recommendations from none other than Dr. James Dobson.  Reviews how the Gospel can be offensive and how others in the Bible have suffered this stigma.  I was glad to see a strong argument for eternal salvation in Chapter 8 titled Out on a Limb.  Chapter 9, The Reason the Jews missed their Messiah,  will be interesting reading especially for those of Jewish descent.  The author is a graduate of Southern Baptist Seminary and was the Senior Minister of Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years.  Dr. Michael Youssef who wrote the forward calls this "a book that every serious Christina must read."
I would agree that this is good reading for anyone who thinks they are the only one that is attached the stigma of Christianinty.  The world can be offended by the gospel,  but to take heart and have faith, persevere and be strong.
This book is published by Chosen, a division of Baker publishing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Re-Focus - Jim Daly

A Powerful Call to a Gentler Action.
The author is president of Focus on the Family, taking over when James Dobson left the organization.
According to the author,  "This book isn't about what's going badly in the culture,  but rather one about how Christians should respond to it."  And the author makes a lot of good suggestions to follow in doing this.  One of them is how to refocus our efforts to live for God.
There has always been a "culture clash" , always been "two kingdoms", for Christians in every time throughout history. In the section on politics,  I do agree with the statement "I believe government is God-given, and that the aim of government is to restrain evil."  that the author makes.  There is also a few interesting paragraphs on the interactions of Billy Graham and Ronald Reagan. 
Also a story about Bishop John Hughes and his one man influence that was instrumental in changing Irish immigrants behavior in the 1840's and 1850's in New York City, and probably influencing the image of America that we have today, demonstrates how one man can change a culture.  Mr. Daly suggests a willingness to have a conversation,  active and respectful listening,   thinking before we speak and praying before we think, as tools he has used to influence our culture.  Several examples of his time with Focus on the Family,  both good and bad,  are given as how to, or not to, use these skills. It is refreshing to hear him admit his own weakness in some areas.  Growing us in a broken home the author says "did nothing to prepare me for my role as leader of the world's largest family-based Christian ministry in the world,  yet it did everything."  It has given him a unique background and perspective on understanding the importance of the role of the family in our culture.  With chapters with titles such as The Clash of Two Worlds,  Don't Be a Miserable Christian,  and No One is Beyond the Reach of God,  the author is giving us many practical applications.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about Focus on the Family in general and the President of the organization in particular.  On the internet at www.focusonthefamily.org and www.zondervan.com.
I have been provided a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of review.

Twelve Unlikely Heroes - John MacArthur

How God commissioned unexpected people in the Bible and what He wants to do with you.
Introduction explains what a hero is to our culture, in contrast to what the Bible says is a hero. In this book, the author devotes each hero to a chapter, 12 in all.  Some will be familiar people, and some will not.  He mentions Old Testament and New Testament figures such as Enoch,  Joseph,  Mariam,  Jonah,  Esther, and James.  These were men and women who were not perfect, but were used by God.  We all tend at times to think that the people in the Bible were larger than life extra special people,  but the truth is they were regular people who faltered,  struggled,  and sometimes failed.  Some of these heroes are mentioned in Hebrews 11 "Hall of Faith" list.  He goes deep into history on the background and context of each person and how they fit into the history of God's plan. 
What kind of people does God use to accomplish His work?  People like these 12 unlikely heroes, and people like you and me if we are willing to be used by Him.
The author is pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA since 1969, and has a media ministry called Grace to You.  It can be found on the web at www.gty.org or 800-55-GRACE.
I have received this book at no cost from Booksneeze for the purpose of review.