Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Review: "When Sinners Say I Do"

Another book on marriage, really?  Yes, really.  If you love to learn by reading and want an exceptional book on marriage than you should read this one.  Dave Harvey, Pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church, i.e. C.J. Mahaney and Josh Harris, has done the church a great service.  Within ten chapters Pastor Harvey sets out ten biblically strong and practical topics.  He begins with the foundational doctrine of sinful humanity.  This may seem obvious, but this book is a light doctrinal thesis on what is sin and how it damages our lives, and especially our marriages.  With amazing clarity he helps us navigate who we are before a Holy God and therefore who we are for our spouse.  Without using phychological jargon and only biblical jargon he helps us inspect our lives with God's law and grace.  He also deals with mercy, forgiveness, and grace as related to our marriages.

Did I like this book?  YES!  I am leary about marriage books, but once I got started into this one I realized I was taking it for granted and had to go back and re-read the first two chapters.  It was then I realized I was hooked.  Pastor Harvey gives great insight into sin, the glory of God, mercy, forgiveness, and grace and applies it appropriately to our marriages.  Is this a marriage book?  Yes, but only after being a well crafted book about the goodness of Jesus despite our sinfulness.  I will reference this book again and again, and will probably require its reading for marriages I counsel.  As a Pastor myself, I would use this book not for newlyweds, but for those one to two year marriages, who are struggling.  The young marriage that realizes that their spouse and their marriage isn't all bliss.  I would strongly encourage any married couple who needs a boast in the theology of their marriage to read this book. 

This book was given to me by Shepherd Press as a review in exchange for my honest and realistic review. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Deep Preaching Book Review

There have been many a book on preaching, but one like this has not come along in a long time. While most preaching books spend a lot time on exegetical work or why preaching is so important and why expository preaching is better than another type Dr. Edwards book goes somewhere most books do not.  Few too many preaching books will only give a cursory taste of the topic that "Deep Preaching" dives so deeply into.  At most a preaching book may give a chapter, Dr. Edwards devotes an entire book.  What is that most under-appreciated topic, yet is so necessary?  Prayer, fasting, and meditation over a text to be preached! 

For four chapters "Deep Preaching" explores some reasons why preaching is important and why a need to preach deeply is mandatory.  Then the book explodes in the last six chapters on this deep topic of prayer.  Dr. Edwards expands on how to use the classic spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and meditation to strengthen one's sermon.  He calls this aspect, "Closet Work."  This is a great way to describe this necessary aspect.  An aspect that goes between the exegetical work and the homoletical work. 

Once the author's intent is discovered, the exegetical work, then the preacher must go and wrestle with the Lord until he comes out of that closet with that text having done devastating reformation to the preachers soul.  Only then should the preacher stand before a congregation and expound the text. 

Every preacher MUST read this book.  We know how to parse and we know how to collect illustrations, but do we really know how to stay in the closet until we come out with a piping hot meal that Jesus would be proud to serve?  I propose most preachers do not, and this book will call us back to the vital ingredient of preaching. 

Uncommon Life Book Review

"The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" is a great way to start your day!  Written by a classic man, who has numerous accolades from all his successes and is a solid believer in Christ Jesus.  Mr. Dungy gives his readers a small dose each day of a scripture plus his own personal insights from that verse.  Throughout the week each day is broken into seven themes:  core, family, friends, potential, mission, influence, and faith.  Core has to do with your integrity and the others are pretty self explanatory.  In the introduction it reads, "The goal is not only to engage your mind, but to also challenge your heart."  This is done with a challenge at the end of each devotional called an, "uncommon key." 

I have enjoyed reading this book each morning because it is simple, not hard theological truths, just everyday manhood stuff.  I can read one day in about 2 - 3 minutes, but to really gain from these insights one must use the "uncommon key" at the end to really engage one's life.  This has been beneficial and is "the key" to really growing from Mr. Dungy's insight.  My only complaint would be the opposite side of the coin that I just mentioned.  The coin being the devotionals simplicity, one side being its simple truths, the other side of the coin being that some of the scriptures are not given their full theological depth.  Some verses that have huge doctrinal truths behind them are treated in a simple proverbial form.  

This would not stop me from recommending this book.  It truly is a good book and deserving of any man's time.  With father's day coming up in the not to distant future this would be a great book to give as a gift.

In fact Tyndale House Publishers, who provided this book to me for free in exchange for my review, has also provided a gift certificate for someone of my choice to give to.  I only ask that you respond to this post with a comment why you would like a free copy of "Uncommon Life" book.  Even if for yourself or as a gift for someone else. 

Video for "Uncommon Life"

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Radical is SUPER Challenging!

Radical is a Keith Green song that convicts the snot out of you.  Radical is a John MacArthur sermon that tells you you have been in to see the King and you left changed.  Each chapter digs a little deeper into your view of the American dream and dares to challenge it against the Lord Jesus Christ.  David Platt is a true prophet for our modern day. 

What I liked about this book:  nothing.  But not a "nothing" like you think I mean.  I didn't like it because it did what the Word says God's truth will do.  It divides out thoughts and our intentions and reveals them for what they are.  I am not comparing this book with Scripture, but Mr. Platt teaches in this book straight from the biblical text, and when that is done the truth is unavoidable. 

I am considering making this book a prerequisite for my church to read with me in the hopes that it will drive all of us to a deeper place with the Lord Jesus.  David Platt has done Americans a great dis-service, but for the Kingdom of our God and Savior he has done what is necessary.  Shown us our idols in America.  We are to repent.