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Thoughts on the Christian life in a fallen world

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Taste and See - John Piper

Savoring the supremacy of God in all of life. 125 daily meditations. The title of this book is based on Psalm 34:8 - Taste and see that the Lord is good. The book consists of 125 meditations that are about 2 pages long each, but packed full of Biblical wisdom. The author states. "I hope what pervades all the readings is a savoring of the supremacy of God." and it does. The author packs more theology into 2 pages that a lot of authors have in 200 pages. I am a big John Piper fan and I really enjoyed this book. In the back there is a subject index, a person index and a scripture index. The reader can easily find a subject that is addressed. I have to mention www.desiringgod.org that contains more than 30 years of sermons and articles free of charge.
John Piper needs no introduction to most people in reformed circles. He is the author of more than 50 books and this is his latest, and it is definitely worth recommending. These are meant to be daily readings, but you may find yourself reading more than one at a time. John Piper is one of the authors that I enjoy and can recommend without question.
Published by Multnomah and a copy of this book was provided for this review.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Good and Angry - David Powlison

Redeeming anger, irritation, complaining, and bitterness. Can we redeem our anger? And can it ever be good? Everybody gets angry, sometimes for the right reasons, but what do we do with it?
Can you be both good and angry? This is the question this book does a good job in answering.
Recommendations from D.A. Carson, Randy Alcorn, and Joni Erickson Tata. This book id divided into 4 sections, Our experience, what is anger?,how to change, and tackling the hard cases.
The introduction states"We are sitting down together at the kitchen table for a long, slow, heart to hert talk." and that's the way this book is written in an easy to read style. Anyone who is interested in the role that anger should play in our lives should read this book. The author has a section at the end of each chapter titled Making it your own, in which questions are asked application from the chapter.
Also readers are encouraged to highlight the sentence that caught your attention from the chapter and why. All good ideas. I enjoyed everything about this book, even the bright red cover and quality of paper. The author is executive director of CCEF and a counselor with over 30 years experience. This is more than just a book about human nature, you will probably see yourself or someone you know in these pages. Hate can be good when we hate the right things.
"Where there is no evil, you will find no anger."
In the last chapter titled the Final Word, and it ends with Psalm 150, when pure joy continues forever.
The most practical chapter is Chapter 13, taking your anger apart to put it back together. How to deal with irritation and questions to ask yourself. Overall a very practical and useful book.
I have been given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review.
Published by New Growth Press, www.newgrowthpress.com.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Rooted - Banning Liebscher

The Hidden Places where God develops you. Over time we should develop deep roots in Chrsit, and when storms come in this life, we will still be standing by God's strength. Using the life of David, the author is describing how we must have roots befroe we can go into the world. The first notice that sent of warning bells was an endorsement by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Then in further research that the author was actually on staff at Bethel church for 18 years.
The author is the leader of Jesus Culture, that has branched off into music and church off shoots, and there are some Christians that are not aware of their dangerous practices.
While the concept of being rooted in God;s word is a good one, I con not recommend this book because of the dangerous practices of Bethel and Jesus Culture.
One example of a dangerous practice:http://bereanresearch.org/activating-the-kids-at-bethel-redding/
and another:http://pointingtojesus.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-dangerous-teachings-of-jesus.html?m=1
It is shocking to me that many others are accepting and inclusive of these practices in the name of unity, and rely more on felt experiences and emotion, rather than what the Bible teaches.
I have been provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

What Does God Really Promise - Carolyn Larson

101 questions and answers about God's promises, the church, and the future. Illustrated by Amylee Weeks. This is the companion book to Can I really Know Jesus? see above. written and illustrated by the same authors. In the Introduction, the author states, "Questions aren't wrong. In fact theyy are helpful because they express a desire to learn and understand." I can agree with that statement, but in fact, this does not seen the right format to address these 101 questions. Divided into three parts, Part 1 is Promises God made to His children, Part 2 related to the church, Part 3 Promises for the future.
There is some good advice on question#41 Is Jesus the Only way to God? the author states, " remember that any teaching that goes against the Bible is false teaching."
This book is very similar in format and theology to the other 101 questions book, and my comments are applicable for both.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review.

Can I Really Know Jesus? - Carolyn Larson

101 questions and answers about Jesus, salvation, and prayer. Illustrated by Angelee Weeks. This book consists of 101 questions and answers, each one limited to one page each, in which the question is presented, and a answer offered. I found it to be a rather limiting format. Foe example. on question #72 we read, What is the Prayer of Salvation? part of the answer is "you may often hear ministers suggest that people repeat a prayer after them tin order to accept Jesus. That is fine. They are just trying to make things easier. But there is nothing special about the specific words they suggest."
While it is true ther is nothing special about the exact words, You don't find this instruction to pray this prayer anywhere in the Bible.
Also, on question#46, What Does it mean to accept Jesus? Part of the answer they offer is "You cannot really enjoy a gift or benefit that is offered to you until you choose to receive it." and But we cannot benefit from Jesus' sacrifice unless we accept it." I really don't believe this to be the case.
It is not relying on our response when Jesus said it is finished. It was completed, and did not make salvation just possible, but actually completed it for those that He has chosen.
Illustrations of butterflies and flowers throughout will probably appeal more to the feminine audience. I found the book to be a bit shallow on the  theology side, to answer some of these questions with a one page general answer is doing a dis-service. The illustrator is said to have a "whimsical and refreshing art style." I was kind of disappointed, and I really cannot recommend this book.
Published by Tyndale Momentum, a division of Tyndale publishing.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review.