Here is one more reminder that Truth for Life (Alistair Begg) is featuring Seasons of Sorrow this month. You can purchase it for just $7 or get it free with a donation of any amount. It has never been easier to get a copy to read for yourself or to give away.
(Yesterday on the blog: How We Worshipped on One Sunday in August)
Rhys Laverty has shared what could prove a very helpful session to use with your youth group.
“Expositional preaching is enjoying a revival. Why?” In a longform article, Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra tries to get to the bottom of it.
This article considers those people who may spend a good deal of time with a church even though they have not yet become Christians. It suggests we consider them as a distinct category and make sure we don’t overlook them.
“It’s Back To School time! As parents, grandparents, guardians, friends and others in the community, we begin a new school year with many concerns, apprehensions, and hopes. What better way to begin this school year than to begin in prayer? Here is a Back to School Prayer Guide to help you both now and throughout the school year. This prayer guide is general enough to fit all types of education (public, private, co-ops, college, homeschool).”
Jill Noble: “I clearly remember the conversation where I was misled about the importance of women’s friendships. This wrong information was presented to me in the direst of tones and with the most earnest of facial expressions.”
Most of us know the connection between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Essenes. But who were these people?
I have never attended a church that had too much Bible. It would be very nearly impossible to let God’s voice through God’s Word be too prominent in our gatherings.
No man falls through his own weakness merely; if he rely on God, the strongest foe cannot shake him. —Adam Clarke
You Might also like
By Tim Challies — 9 months ago
May the Lord be with you and bless you today.
I’ve added a collection of Kindle deals that includes some general market historical titles—perhaps a good option for some holiday reading.
(Yesterday on the blog: The Collected Best Books of 2022)
Christmas Music: A Witness For Us or Against Us
This is a thought-provoking reflection on Christmas music. “While this music is everywhere during this season, how many people realize that the words on their lips are serving as a witness against them?”
The Crushing Obligation to Keep Doing More and More
Kevin DeYoung: “Surely there are many Christians who are terribly busy because they sincerely want to be obedient to God. We hear sermons that convict us for not praying more. We read books that convince us to do more for global hunger. We talk to friends who inspire us to give more and read more and witness more. The needs seem so urgent. The workers seem so few. If we don’t do something, who will? We want to be involved. We want to make a difference. We want to do what’s expected of us. But there just doesn’t seem to be the time.”
The Counterintuitive Christ
“Everything about the circumstances of the coming of Christ into the world was counterintuitive. We tend to pride ourselves on the fact that we know this. However, the more we bring the pieces together into focus, the more astonishing it all becomes. Consider…”
Does Jesus Still Sympathize with Sinners? The Compassion of the Risen Christ
Mark Jones considers Jesus’ compassion and whether he still sympathizes with us.
The Rightful Place of Suffering in the Life of the Christian
“There is a rightful place for suffering in the lives of those whom God loves. Expect it, prepare yourself for it, and be faithful through it” says Amy Hall.
Andrew Thorburn Vindicated (and before Jesus returns too!)
“If there’s one thing we know as Christians is that we won’t always get vindicated in this age.” And yet occasionally…
Flashback: No Low Too Low
He came to serve, and there is no service that was too low for him to do. His birth would provide a glimpse of his entire life, and a fitting introduction to the kind of life he would lead.
God’s silences are His answers. If we only take as answers those that are visible to our senses, we are in a very elementary condition of grace. —Oswald Chambers
By Tim Challies — 7 months ago
As you know, I like to do my best to comb through the new Christian books each month to see what stands out as being not only new, but also particularly notable. I received quite a number of new titles in February and narrowed the list down to the ones below. I have included the editorial description for each. I hope there’s something here that catches your eye!
The God Who Judges and Saves: A Theology of 2 Peter and Jude by Matthew S. Harmon. “Even though Peter and Jude wrote their canonical letters almost 2,000 years ago, the church today still faces similar challenges as their original readers. What do these short, overlooked books have to teach Christians today about God, humanity, and God’s redemptive plan? In this addition to the New Testament Theology series, Matthew S. Harmon examines the unique themes of 2 Peter and Jude as well as their common ground, addressing topics such as false teaching, God’s authority, and the new heavens and the new earth. Analyzing the historical and biblical context of both books, Harmon helps readers understand how these key themes apply to them today—giving Christians comfort and motivation in the face of serious challenges and opposition to the gospel.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation by Collin Hansen. “Millions have read books and listened to sermons by Timothy Keller. But which people and what events shaped his own thinking and spiritual growth? With unfettered access to Keller’s personal notes and sermons–as well as exclusive interviews with family members and longtime friends—Collin Hansen gives you unprecedented understanding of one of the 21st century’s most influential church leaders. Spend any time around Timothy Keller and you’ll learn what he’s reading, what he’s learning, what he’s seeing. The story of Timothy Keller is the story of his spiritual and intellectual influences, from the woman who taught him how to read the Bible to the professor who taught him to preach Jesus from every text to the philosopher who taught him to see beneath society’s surface. For the first time, Hansen introduces readers to Keller’s early years: the home where he learned to tell stories from the trees, the church where he learned to care for souls, and the city that lifted him to the international fame he never wanted.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Evangelical Pharisees: The Gospel as Cure for the Church’s Hypocrisy by Michael Reeves. “Scripture warns believers of hypocrisy—called the ‘leaven of the Pharisees’—and its potential to spread quickly in the church. Outwardly appearing as devout religion, this legalism hides destructive pride, idolatry, and even apostasy. Unfortunately, pharisaism is still a problem among evangelicals today. How does Jesus instruct the church to recognize and defeat one of its deepest theological issues? In this clear, compelling call to spiritual reformation, Michael Reeves helps believers reject pharisaism and embrace gospel integrity. Studying 3 essentials of Christian doctrine that the Pharisees misunderstood—their approach to Scripture, understanding of salvation, and disregard of regeneration—Reeves shows readers how to embrace a biblical, Trinitarian, and creedal understanding of the gospel necessary for true reformation.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
Refreshment for the Soul: A Year of Daily Readings from the ‘Heavenly Doctor’ by David MacKinnon. “A pastor of forty years who has throughout his ministry found the Puritans to be a great source of spiritual encouragement, David MacKinnon presents here 366 extracts from the works of the Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes, which may be used each day of the year by readers as an aid to devotion. Each extract has been carefully selected, and a suitable accompanying Scripture text provided at the start of each daily reading. Occasional antiquated words in the original have been updated, and overly long sentences have been shortened, but all with a view to retain Sibbes’ flow and meaning for present-day readers. For those who have never encountered Sibbes before, this volume will serve as an excellent introduction. All will find in these daily readings spiritual refreshment for the soul, coming from one who in his day was known, appropriately, as the ‘heavenly doctor.’” (Buy it at Amazon)
Truly, truly, I say to you: Meditations on the Words of Jesus from the Gospel of John by Adam Ramsey. “The most precious words this world has ever heard came from the voice of Jesus. ‘It is I, do not be afraid’; ‘I am the Light of the World’; ‘I go to Prepare a Place for You’; ‘It is finished.’ These are just some of the powerful, life-renewing words spoken by Jesus in the first century. As we read them in John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit makes these same words come alive in our hearts today. With devotions and prayers from Adam Ramsey, along with insights from the 19th-century “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon, you will encounter Jesus through these pages and experience the transforming power and tender comfort of his voice. These 40 devotions are ideal for Lent, with two extra special reflections added for Easter Sunday and Monday. They can also be used at any time through the year, to deepen your own walk with Jesus. As Jesus’ words of grace and truth shine a light into your heart, you’ll learn more about yourself. But more importantly, you’ll learn more about him, as you marvel at his character and find yourself captivated by his presence.” (Buy it at Amazon)
Right Thinking for a Culture in Chaos: Responding Biblically to Today’s Most Urgent Needs edited by John MacArthur & Nathan Busenitz. “In an age of moral and spiritual decline, you will inevitably face pressure to view truth as something subjective, shifting, and ultimately unknowable. Yet the Word of God stands in bold contrast against this postmodern sentiment. The absolute truth of Scripture is timeless, extending even to today’s most heated controversies. From the bestselling team behind Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong comes Right Thinking for a Culture in Chaos: a biblical response to contemporary issues like gender identity, government authority, deconstruction of faith, critical race theory, and more. Each chapter illuminates how the principles of God’s Word equip you to honor Him in an increasingly corrupt world. You’ll also be encouraged by the profound hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ—the only remedy for humanity’s brokenness. No matter what society teaches, God’s Word cuts through the haze of confusion with the light of truth. Right Thinking for a Culture in Chaos encourages you to ground your convictions in Christ and His all-sufficient Word.” (Buy it at Amazon)
Don’t Hold Back: Leaving Behind the American Gospel to Follow Jesus Fully by David Platt. “The New York Times bestselling author of Radical challenges Christians to break free from an American gospel that prostitutes Jesus for comfort, power, prosperity, and politics—and fully pursue the true gospel that exalts Jesus above all. Pastor David Platt believes we’ve gotten really good at following a really bad gospel—one that worships American ideas over biblical truth. It’s time for disillusioned, discouraged, and divided Christians, and the next generation, to follow Jesus into a different future. But we have to make a choice: an American gospel or the biblical gospel. Worldly division or otherworldly unity. Compromise with the idols of our country or commitment to God’s call in our lives. In Don’t Hold Back, Platt encourages followers of Jesus to take necessary risks and find unimaginable reward as we: work for—not against—each other, especially when we disagree; turn the tide on centuries of racial division in the church; trust all of God’s Word with conviction while loving everyone around us with compassion; do justice with kindness, and experience the good life according to God; play our part in spreading the gospel to all the nations of the world. We can experience the full wonder of Jesus and transcendent beauty of his church here and now. But in order to do so, some things need to be different. Starting not in ‘those people,’ but in each one of us. With the gospel in our hearts and God as our prize, let’s press on and don’t hold back.” (Buy it at Amazon)
5 Puritan Women: Portraits of Faith and Love by Jenny-Lyn de Klerk. “The writings of the Puritans have had a recent resurgence, but many Puritan women have often been overlooked or misunderstood. As mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and wives, the vibrant faith of Puritan women has much to teach modern day readers. In 5 Puritan Women: Portraits of Faith and Love, Jenny-Lyn de Klerk shows how the lives and writings of Christian women encourage the beauty of holy living and provide practical wisdom for the home and the church. Each chapter portrays a different Puritan woman—Agnes Beaumont, Lucy Hutchinson, Mary Rich, Anne Bradstreet, and Lady Brilliana Harley—telling their stories of devotion, lament, and family. By studying their faith journeys, modern readers can learn more about their roles in church history and glean insights into the Christian life.” (Buy it at Amazon)
Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh: New Clues for an Old Problem by Kenneth Berding. “Paul’s enigmatic ‘thorn in the flesh’ in 2 Corinthians has baffled interpreters for centuries. Many offer suggestions as to the identity of Satan’s messenger; others despair that the puzzle is unsolvable. In Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh: New Clues for an Old Problem, Kenneth Berding reopens the case. He follows a trail of clues that includes ancient beliefs about curses, details from Paul’s letters, Jesus’s own suffering, and the testimony of the earliest Christian interpreters. Berding offers twenty criteria―some familiar, others neglected―that any proposal must explain. While the usual suspects fall short, Berding suggests a new solution―one that satisfies all the evidence and gives us a fuller view of Paul. Far from an abstract puzzle, Paul’s own suffering is relevant to Christians today. Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh is an accessible study that casts new light on Pauline studies, first–century background, and theological and pastoral concerns.” (Buy it at Amazon)
The Coming of the Holy Spirit: Why Jesus Sent his Spirit into the World by Phillip D. Jensen. “When we seek to understand the person and work of God’s Spirit, we are often so concerned with personal theories or current controversies that we fail to listen carefully to what God himself teaches in the Scriptures. The Coming of the Holy Spirit begins with the very centre of what the Bible teaches about the Spirit: Jesus will fulfil the Old Testament prophecies and pour out the Holy Spirit on his people. The book explores the five promises of Jesus about the Spirit in John 14-17 and then traces the fulfilment of those promises through the rest of the New Testament—in the Pentecostal outpouring of Acts 2, the progress of the Holy Spirit’s world mission throughout Acts, and the ongoing work of the Spirit in initiating, continuing and completing the Christian life in all its dimensions (personal and corporate). In this important and unique work, Phillip Jensen draws on a lifetime of biblical exegesis and preaching to unfold not only the depth and richness of the Bible’s teaching about the Spirit, but its centre and emphasis. Having done this important work, he then goes on to deal with many of the secondary issues that have often dominated our discussion of the Spirit. This is a groundbreaking book of immense importance because it follows the Bible’s own emphasis in teaching about the Spirit, and in doing so teaches us to know the true and living God, who is the Spirit.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
The Holy Spirit by Robert Letham. “The Holy Spirit is God and indivisible from the Father and the Son. Robert Letham thus develops a holistic and canonical view of the Spirit in the context of the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, and redemption. Heeding the cumulative wisdom of God’s people through the ages, he touches on disputed matters with care and grace—ultimately providing a deeply biblical, irenic, and engaging contribution to our understanding of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.” (Buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)
By Tim Challies — 2 years ago
There may be no language as quirky and irregular as English, nor any language whose words can have such varied meanings and whose letters can be pronounced in such a multitude of ways. That’s the premise behind this old poem I stumbled upon in an old anthology. It it titled, rather unimaginatively, “The English Language.” It’s a good and fun one to read aloud.
A pretty deer is dear to me,A hare with downy hair:I love a hart with all my heart,But barely bear a bear.‘Tis plain that no one takes a planeTo have a pair of pears;A rake, though, often takes a rakeTo tare away the tares.All rays raise thyme, time razes all;And through the whole, hole wears.A writ, in writing “right,” may writeIt “wright,” and still be wrong—For “write” and “rite” are neither “right,”And don’t to wright belong.Beer often brings a bier to man,Coughing a coffin brings.And too much ale will make us ail,As well as other things.The person lies who says he liesWhen he is but reclining;And, when consumptive folks decline,They all decline declining.A quail don’t quail before a storm—A bough will bow before it;We cannot rein the rain at all—No earthly powers reign o’er it.The dyer dyes awhile, then dies;To dye he’s always trying,Until upon his dying-bedHe thinks no more of dyeing.A son of Mars mars many a sun;All deys must have their days.And every knight should pray each nightTo Him who weighs his ways.‘Tis meet that man should mete out meatTo feed misfortune’s son;The fair should fare on love alone,Else one cannot be won.A lass, alas! is something false;Of faults a maid is made;Her waist is but a barren waste—Though stayed, she is not staid.The springs spring forth in Spring, and shootsShoot forward one and all;Though Summer kills the flowers, it leavesThe leaves to fall in Fall.I would a story here commence,But you might find it stale;So let’s suppose that we have reachedThe tail end of our tale.