Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Book Review: A. W. Tozer: Three Spiritual Classics in One Volume

Weird title for a book, huh? Not really though. This book is a compilation of some of A.W. Tozer's greatest works: The Knowledge of the Holy, The Pursuit of God, and God's Pursuit of Man.

There cannot be enough said about the quality of the works that Tozer has written. These classic books have stood the tests of time, still being relevant and profitable reads after over half a century since their original publishing dates.

I don't think that much needs to be reviewed about the books themselves. If you have any background in Christianity, Tozer's work has most likely crossed your path at one time or another. If you have not had any opportunities to encounter his works, I encourage you-- read it! It will honestly be a life-changing experience. Now what needs to be reviewed is the format of the book itself. 


The book is hardcover with a very well designed dust jacket. The book uses a standard font for easy reading, and a plus side is the font isn't too small either. The book is a convenient size for any backpack, purse, or even to just keep in the glove compartment of the car. 

I do not hesitate to give this book 5 stars out of 5.

WHERE TO BUY THIS BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/W-Tozer-Spiritual-Classics-Knowledge/dp/0802418619/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534340582&sr=8-1&keywords=A.+W.+Tozer%3A+Three+Spiritual+Classics+in+One+Volume

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
See inside cover of the book for the bibliography on all 3 volumes.

FTC DISCLOSURE:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Book Review: Passion in the Pulpit

Here we are again, back to the "Pulpit" series. Dr. Jerry Vines wrote the first two books along with Dr. Jim Shaddix. In this book, Dr. Vines turns to Dr. Adam Dooley to teach preachers about the use of emotion in preaching and in the study of the Bible. I would consider Dr. Dooley an expert on the topic, having written his doctoral dissertation on Biblical persuasion, one of the main uses of emotion in preaching.

The authors call the emotions of the Biblical text the "missing exegetical link." I would tend to agree with them. They clearly show that most preachers do not understand the emotions that we use. We should be striving to have our emotion in the pulpit line up with the original intent behind the text. If there is a desperate plea, our emotion should show that desperation. If the author is overjoyed, then our face, our tone, and our body language should show that. 

I have been blown away with the quality of the two previous books of this series and have once again seen my expectations exceeded. This series is an instant classic and should be a primary part of every preacher's collection. A strong 5 stars out of 5. 

WHERE TO BUY THIS BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/Passion-Pulpit-Exegete-Emotion-Scripture/dp/0802418384/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1533566340&sr=8-2&keywords=passion+in+the+pulpit&dpID=51FtOJJ5AHL&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Vines, Jerry and Adam B. Dooley. Passion in the Pulpit: How to Exegete the Emotion of Scripture. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2018.

FTC DISCLOSURE:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Book Review: Screens and Teens, by Dr. Kathy Koch

As you read this post, you are most assuredly using a screen, unless for some reason you print my blog whenever I post. And Dr. Kathy Koch deals with our exposure to screens, specifically, as the title suggests, teenagers with screens. 

For starters, Dr. Kathy's book is so full of practical truth and knowledge. When someone reads this book, he is going to learn something. It naturally happens. Each chapter provides a new lesson for the person who is willing to study and learn more about technology from a Biblical perspective.

However, for being such a practical book, it is written in a way that is very academic. Each chapter is written as more of a continued essay than a book that parents should be teaching their children with. I would have liked to see this book be a bit more personal rather than essay-ish. 

Despite my disagreement with how the author chose to write this book stylistically, there is no denying that it is a great resource for Christians and the church today. I do recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who have teenagers in their life. 4 stars out of 5.

WHERE TO BUY THIS BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/Screens-Teens-Connecting-Wireless-World/dp/0802412696/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531138543&sr=8-1&keywords=screens+and+teens

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Koch, Dr. Kathy, Ph.D. Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.

FTC DISCLOSURE:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Book Review: Discerning Your Call To Ministry, by Jason K. Allen

When it comes to the ministry, perhaps no question is asked more than this: "Am I actually called to the ministry?" In this book, Jason Allen endeavors to answer this one difficult question with ten simple, Biblical questions. 

As I read this book, I reflected on my own call that God has placed on my life. Each of these questions reflected what I believe God has called me to do: preach His Word as a vocational minister and evangelize the lost. This book confirmed what I believed, but also helped me to see that I can help those who may be struggling with this call themselves. It is something that I will be challenged to do. 5 stars out of 5. 

WHERE TO BUY THIS BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/Discerning-Your-Call-Ministry-About/dp/0802414664

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Allen, Jason K. Discerning Your Call To Ministry. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016.

FTC DISCLOSURE:
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Martyrdom and Mission-- A Life-Changing Sermon (Preached by David Platt)

There may not be a more needed subject to talk about among our Christian faith in the world today than our dedication to the cause of Christ. When we think of the most dedicated Christians, I firmly believe that our minds should go to those who have given their lives for their faith. In this sermon, David Platt goes into why the martyrs of our Christian heritage were willing to give their lives for their faith, then asks us the question: How should we live in light of their example? I hope and pray that this sermon touches your heart as much as it has mine both the first time I heard it and every time I have heard it after.


For discussion questions on this sermon, go to--
http://s3.amazonaws.com/radical-net-assets/images/20180521155323/Martyrdom-and-Mission-Why-Reformers-Died-In-Their-Day-How-We-Must-Live-In-Ours-Discussion-Questions.pdf

For more by David Platt, go to-- 
http://radical.net/

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Control Freak on a Roller Coaster

Image result for roller coaster

My ministry journey began at a young age. At age 3, I told my grandmother that I would take over our church when my grandfather, my pastor, retired. As the years have gone on, God confirmed in my heart His call on my life to the ministry. And yet. . . 

There have still been changes in my life. Twists and turns as I have prayed about what God would have me to do with my life. For a time, I thought missions. Then it was career youth pastor before becoming a youth evangelist. Then it was back to missions again. I constantly look at my life and see a roller coaster effect that has engulfed me. If you've known me for any length of time, you know that I absolutely detest roller coasters. I can't get on them at all. I hate the feeling of not being in control of how my body is moving—that some outside force could take my body and move it in a way that would destroy it. That's how my mind has felt about my future. 


I have thought that I want to plan everything that I do in my ministry. That I will have a plan and trust God to help me bring that plan to pass.  But that's not the way God works. He has His plan that He wants to work in my life. He wants to make my control freak mind and take over the controls.  


There have been times where I have let Him take control, and He has blessed me for it. There have been other times that I have kept control, and He has used me in spite of myself. Yet I have found that through following His plan and surrendering to His will, God is able to use me and bless me so much more than following my own plans. 


So where have I come from? I used to be a guy who said that I will be an assistant and youth pastor only. I used to be the guy who said that I'll be the number two man in a church. You know where God has me now? He's changed my heart and wants me to be involved as much as I can in church planting, one of the biggest roller coaster rides of ministry. 


I may never get on a roller coaster again. I have no desire to do so. My control freak body can't get past the fears that come with it. But my control freak mind and heart have been learning and will continue to learn to submit to the God whose will is better than mine and whose plan is more detailed than mine. He controls the roller coaster better than I can control my body.


1 https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Wl-Ap2yUjYQ/maxresdefault.jpg

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Book Review: Student Ministry Essentials, by Steve Vandegriff & Richard Brown

Youth ministry is a unique part of the church's mission. There are so many angles that can be taken to reach teens, but only a few are very effective. Vandegriff and Brown lay out their philosophy for doing this here in Student Ministry Essentials.

The philosophy that these men take looks at three different parts of youth ministry: 1) leadership, 2) nurturing, and 3) reaching. In leadership, they talk about the developing of leaders in the church to help with the youth ministry, which includes the pastor, youth workers, volunteers, and especially the parents. Nurturing looks at understanding and developing the youths of today-- helping them grow to new heights. Reaching involves anything outside of your own services-- youth activities, partnership with other churches, and outreach into the community.

Each of these areas is a necessary one. There are so many charts, figures, and images to help one understand the concepts that are given in the book. I felt that the book was very basic at times, but that comes from giving the bare essentials of the message. For these reasons, I give 4.5 stars out of 5.

WHERE TO PURCHASE THIS BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/Student-Ministry-Essentials-Reaching-Nurturing/dp/0802412653/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524677458&sr=8-1&keywords=student+ministry+essentials

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THIS BOOK:
Vandegriff, Steve, and Richard Brown. Student Ministry Essentials: Reaching. Leading. Nurturing. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the MP Newsroom book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Book Review: When We Say Father

This is the final manuscript work of the great preacher Adrian Rogers before he died in 2005. Since he wrote it, his son Steve took it, edited it, and got it published. This book has been a great encouragement to me in growing my prayer life.

Rogers beautifully points out the significant elements of the Lord's prayer that we see today. The person, priority, provision, pardon, protection, praise, and promise of prayer are all present here in this book, as it is organized almost like a long alliterated sermon. This, for me, increases the readability of it because I can remember the previous points of the book better.

I love this book. Its principles are simple and yet still very much challenging as it digs into the model prayer set for us by the person who has the best relationship with God of any man-- Jesus Christ. 5 stars out of 5.

WHERE TO PURCHASE:
https://www.amazon.com/When-We-Say-Father-Unlocking/dp/1462771300/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522269100&sr=8-1&keywords=when+we+say+father

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THIS BOOK:
Rogers, Adrian, and Steve. When We Say Father: Unlocking the Power of the Lord's Prayer. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2018.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the BH Bloggers book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Book Review: Kingdom Collaborators, by Reggie McNeal

Another book on leadership. Some new concepts, but relatively average.

Many books have been and will continue to be written on leadership. This book, Kingdom Collaborators by Reggie McNeal, is another such book. McNeal's desire in this book is to truly see leaders who will take the world by the reins and collaborate with God to bring about revival and show people how to follow the ultimate leader-- God himself.

McNeal does a good job of relaying leadership principles, but if you have read any Christian books on leadership in the past, then you have no doubt seen them before. McNeal adapts some of them so there are good things that anyone can learn from this book. Ultimately, it is a good book with good principles, but we have heard this all before. 3 stars out of 5.

WHERE TO BUY THIS BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Collaborators-Signature-Practices-Leaders/dp/0830841431/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522175604&sr=8-2&keywords=kingdom+collaborators

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THIS BOOK:
McNeal, Reggie. Kingdom Collaborators: Eight Signature Practices of Leaders Who Turn the World Upside Down. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2018.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL: I received a complimentary copy of this book from InterVarsity Press, in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Book Review: The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies

Good, short resource

This dictionary is not necessarily a dictionary of the Bible. Rather, it is a dictionary of Bible doctrines, extra-Biblical terms and events, and Bible scholars. This makes it a bit different than other Bible dictionaries that you will find, but it is a good resource because of it.

This small dictionary gives some good definitions of what are often some terms that do not have definitions found in other places. It's easy to keep in a pocket of a bag to go along with your Bible, especially if you're going to be taking Bible classes and don't understand some of the terms used. 4 stars out of 5.

WHERE TO BUY THIS BOOK:
https://www.amazon.com/Baker-Compact-Dictionary-Biblical-Studies/dp/0801019079/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522089454&sr=8-1&keywords=the+baker+compact+dictionary+of+biblical+studies

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THIS BOOK:
Longman III, Tremper, and Mark L. Strauss. The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical  Studies. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2018.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Baker Book Bloggers book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.