Would Daddy Love Me More?

Here is a short board book written to relieve my daughter from the overwhelming burden of trying to earn her father’s love. That love cannot be earned. It is given.

I wrote the text and Andrew Nolan illustrated it for me. He did an excellent job, and it passed its ultimate review (Tanzen loved it).

Free PDF here: https://t.co/cQ8szmsoxV
Kindle book here: https://t.co/bwndJOxVqg

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Good Books

Here are some of the Good Books of 2015 and who I would recommend them to:

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Minds by Jen Wilken

Who should read it? Those who want to learn some new methods of studying their Bible

A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent

Who should read it ? Anybody who wants to appreciate the gospel more and see how it connects to daily life

Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

Who should read it? Anyone who has children, grandchildren, teaches Sunday school, or has any contact with children

Found In Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and our Union with Christ by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Who should read it? Anyone who wants to know more about their identity in Christ

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

Who should read it? Anyone who lives in a culture where homosexuality is present and endorsed

Proof: God’s Grace

Point: The doctrines of God’s grace are not a club with which to beat people, nor a logical sequence to foster our argument, but a window through which we may see more clearly our great God.

Book: Montgomery, Daniel, and Timothy Paul Jones. PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. Zondervan, 2014.

(For the full review follow the link above)

 

Path: The authors help to explain the doctrines of grace by jettisoning the confusion-creating acronym of “TULIP” in favor of their own, “PROOF.” They take the reader through each of the doctrines:

  • “Planned Grace – Before time began, God mapped out the plan of salvation from first to last. God planned to adopt particular people as his own children; Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for these people’s sins and as a substitute who satisfied God’s righteous requirements in their place (John 10:11 – 18; Ephesians 1:4 – 12).
  • Resurrecting Grace – Everyone is born spiritually dead. Left to ourselves, we will never choose God’s way. God enables people to respond freely to his grace by giving them spiritual life through the power of Christ’s resurrection (John 5:21; Ephesians 2:1 – 7).
  • Outrageous Grace – God chose people to be saved on the basis of his own sovereign will. He didn’t base his choice to give us grace on anything that we did or might do (John 15:16; Ephesians 2:8 – 9).
  • Overcoming Grace – God works in the lives of his chosen people to transform their rebellion into surrender so that they freely repent and recognize Christ as the risen King (John 6:44, 65; Ephesians 2:4 – 10).
  • Forever Grace – God seals his people with his Holy Spirit so that they are preserved and persevere in faith until the final restoration of God’s kingdom on the earth (John 10:27 – 29; Ephesians 1:13 – 14; 4:30).”

Favorite Quote: ““The message here was vastly different from what we were used to! Learning that there is no way to earn God’s forgiveness was so freeing.” (Kindle loc 2847)

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:
wants to see themselves and their God in a greater way
struggles with the terms “Calvinist” and “Arminian”
has ever used the phrase “I don’t know if I could worship a God like Calvin’s”

Living Christ

I recently read Robert L. Peterson’s biography entitled, “Robert Chapman: A Biography”. It was a challenging book, making me consider my own life. You can read the review here.

Here are several excerpts from the book:

“After hearing his first sermons some of Chapman’s friends offered the opinion that he would never be a good preacher. This undoubtedly cause him a lot of anguish, and his reply was telling: ‘There are many who preach Christ, but no so many who live Christ. My great aim will be to live Christ.'” (29)

“One of Chapman’s customs was to clean the shoes or boots of his visitors. After showing arriving guests to their rooms, he would instruct them to leave their footwear outside their doors so that he could clean them by the next morning. Typically they objected to his doing such a menial task, but he was quite insistent. One guest recorded Chapman’s answer to his objections: ‘It is not the custom in our day to wash one another’s feet; that which most nearly corresponds to this command of the Lord is to clean each other’s boots.'” (82).

J. Norman Case, missionary with Hudson Taylor, wrote, “The whole ordering of the household had in view not only the comfort, but the general spiritual, mental, and physical well-being of the many who came there for rest. It struck me at the time as being in its arrangement and conduct an ideal Christian household. The wisdom of retiring and rising early was forcibly taught by precept and example. Love and reverence for the Scriptures, and subjection thereto formed the very atmosphere of the house. There too, the ‘table-talk’ was turned to spiritual ends as I have never to the same degree elsewhere known. An ordinary meal became an agape, more helpful than many a long meeting. The living was plain but good. It was recognized that the body was the Lord’s, and should be treated accordingly. It was an ideal home for a tired or discouraged worker, or for a desponded or perplexed Christian. There one seemed naturally to be in the state of mind to hear the question and heed the exhortation to one of old: ‘Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.’ A stay there of days or weeks could not but deeply influence the whole aftercourse of a young Christian.” (82-83)

“In Chapman’s day the subject of prophecy was popular among many Christians. Although he occasionally preached on prophecy, he seemed not to have given it much prominence, in contrast to many preachers who gave the subject overriding importance. Perhaps he fel that too much ink and pulpit time were being devoted to a subject in which much interpretation was speculative and that such speculation was taking away time and energy from other essentials of the Christian life.” (169)

“Chapman new the difference between the essential doctrines of the Christian faith and those not essential to a saving faith. He did not permit his ego to defend nonessential, inferential doctrine at the expense of unity.” (172)

“During his last decade Chapman often said that those were the best days of his life. He had often prayed that his last years might be his best and God answered his servant’s prayer. Chapman reminded his friends that ‘the present times are the best for all of us; since our lot is cast in them, there is abundant grace to enable us to fully please God.’ He determined not to become a crotchety old man who just looked back at opportunities lost or what might have been. There was still abundant grace for living and pleasing God, and Chapman sought to serve the Lord as long as he was physically able.” (177)

Evangelism by Mack Stiles

Book: Stiles, J. Mack. Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus. Crossway, 2014.

Point: Evangelism is something the individual engages in along side of the rest of the body of Christ.

Path: Stiles addresses how the local church can “do evangelism” poorly, and then by clarifying terms, looking at the NT, and giving examples he shows how the church can cultivate a culture of evangelism.

Agreement: I really appreciated the focus on how the church works together to share the Gospel. We are not alone. As we share Christ with others, we can trust that God will use others along side of us to draw people to himself. It challenged me to think broader than handing out a tract and walking away.

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:
is interested in sharing their faith.
is seeking to help their local church.
is a church member.

The Spirit and our Prayers

One of my favorite devotional authors is Joe Thorn. Both of his books, Experiencing the Trinity and Note to Self, have been impacting. I would highly recommend them as they are Christ centered, short meditations for daily consumption.

This chapter from “Experiencing the Trinity” by Thorn was particularly impacting.

“The longer you follow Jesus, the better you understand yourself. And one thing continues to become clearer—you are weak. You now know that you do not have the strength you once thought you had. Weakness has become painfully evident in your loving, learning, and living. You aren’t incompetent or without gifts. But on your own you cannot be or do what God calls you to be or do. So, you pray. You pray because you know you need God’s grace to live, work, love, resist, overcome, and remain faithful. But even in the midst of praying you often sense your weakness. You do not know what to pray for, and you are tempted to quit. If you can’t even pray, then how can you find hope and help? One of the gospel blessings of the Holy Spirit is that you never pray alone…The Holy Spirit prays with and for you. His intercession is your assurance that God hears your heart whether you pray in words or groanings too deep for vocabulary” (Thorn, Trinity, kindle 897).

His comments reminded me of one of Tim Keller’s statement, “Don’t be afraid that you will ask for the wrong thing. Of course you will! God ‘tempers the outcome’ with his incomprehensible wisdom” (Keller, Prayer, kindle 1406).

What a relief! What a joy! What an opportunity!

Thorn’s books:

Thorn, Joe. Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God. Crossway, 2015.
———. Note to Self. Crossway, 2011.

Top Shelf Book – Dispatches from the Front

Book: Keesee, Tim. Dispatches from the Front: Stories of Gospel Advance in the World’s Difficult Places. Crossway, 2014.

Point: The person of Jesus Christ knows no boundaries, only fronts through which he confidently treads.

Path: Tim Keesee gives wartime correspondent information in a poetical and provoking narrative. He invites us to pick up the war cry of our King as he boldly leads his children in a victory of love. The stories which are written are meant to direct us to the task and revel in the Savior’s plan. In nature, they are both exciting and difficult, joyful and painful.

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  1. Is interested in missions.
  2. Wants to get a global view of their local faith.
  3. Would like to hear what Christ is doing around the world.

For a full review, use the link above.

There’s a book for that…Homosexuality and the Believer

Book: Hubbard, Peter. Love into Light: the Gospel, the Homosexual and the Church. Ambassador, 2013.

619QRcXh-cL._SL1500_Point: The answer to SSA (same-sex attraction) is the Gospel – shared, taught, and lived out.

Agreement: This is the best treatment I have read on the issues of homosexuality and the church’s response to it. I will be referencing this work again.

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  • Struggles with SSA
  • Has a friend or relative who struggles with SSA
  • Goes to church and wants to truly love others
  • Wants to know more about the big issues behind same-sex Marriages

There’s a Book for that: the Reformation

Are you:

  • interested in church history?
  • a lover of a good story
  • coming from a catholic or lutheran background
  • confused on what “Protestant” or “Evangelical” actually means

Than I would highly recommend this book: Reeves, Michael. The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation. B&H Publishing Group, 2013.

Point: A return to the authority of Scripture opened the eyes of the reformers to see justification by faith alone, and forever changed history.

Path: In a clear and engaging manner, Reeves explains the background, the major players, and the continuing effects of the Reformation. He gives sufficient information to peak interest, but does not dive too deeply into debates and arguments from scholars. I would categorize the tone of the book as something akin to “sarcastic storytelling,” and have to admit that it is very appealing! The story is engaging, there is both suspense and humor, and the broad picture of the Reformation Era is very helpful!

For a full review click on the title above.

Books of 2014

The internet is full of posts about what books to read in 2015, and the best of 2014. It can be intimidating to actually make a list and finish it. For me (Crystal), I chose to pick one book a month and try to get through that. When I made sure I read one, I found that I was able to finish several others.

Again this past year, one of my goals for 2014 was to read at least one spiritually beneficial book each month. By the grace of God, I reached that goal and was able to read through (and listen to) a lot of really good books! I have been very encouraged and challenged by a lot of what I read. I thank God for the men and women who have taken time to write good, solid books to help others in their walk with the Lord! Here is the list of what I read, with the ones in bold being those which especially impacted me:

January –

  • Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

February –

  • Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick
  • Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves

March –

  • Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper
  • How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stewart

April –

  • The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women and Work by Carolyn McCulley and Nora Shank
  • The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart by Christine Hoover

May-

  • Discipline by Elizabeth Elliot
  • Modest: Men and Women Clothed in the Gospel by Tim Challies, RW Glenn

June –

  • A Mom After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George
  • The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

July –

  • Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image by Hannah Anderson
  • Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood by Nicole Mahaney Whitacre
  • Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot and Cold Climate Cultures by Sarah Lanier

August –

  • A Quest for More by Paul Tripp
  • Tying the Knot Tighter: Because Marriage Lasts a Lifetime by Martha Peace and John Crotts
  • Burning Wicks by Polly Strong
  • Resolving Everyday Conflict by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson
  • The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn
  • CrossTalk by Michael Emlet
  • Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches by Russell D. Moore

(If you couldn’t tell, we took a vacation in August meant to be like a sabbatical and I had the chance to read quite a bit!)

September –

  • The Truest Thing About You: Identity, Desire, and Why It All Matters by David Lomas and D.R. Jacobsen
  • The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity by Barnabas Piper

October –

  • By His Wounds You are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman’s Identity by Wendy Alsup
  • Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms by Gloria Furman

November –

  • Found in Him by Elyse Fitzpatrick

December –

  • One With a Shepherd by Mary Sommerville
  • The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn
  • One to One Bible Reading by David Helm
  • Who Am I?: Identity in Christ by Jerry Bridges