Saturday, April 29, 2017

Book Review: Jesus Journey by Trent Sheppard

As Christians we believe that Jesus was not only God in the flesh, but that he was also fully human. He was 100% God and 100% man as He walked this earth. There have been many books are articles defending the divinity of Christ but there are not that many on the humanity of Christ.

Trent Sheppard attempts to explore the humanity of Christ, in his book, Jesus Journey. Sheppard looks at the relationship Jesus has with his family and his disciples. Sheppard also looks at the relationship Jesus had with God the Father. Throughout the rest of the book, Sheppard goes through various gospel accounts on how Jesus related to people and situations in His humanity.

This is book seems to be a more of a conversational book where there is no deep theological truths being proclaimed. While an author attempts to communicate the humanity of Christ, it is important not to water-down His divinity, which I felt Sheppard did at times. For example, Sheppard believed that Jesus was fully aware that He was God in the flesh, but was surprised that His earthly parents were shocked to find Him in the temple of the age of 12. Jesus knew men (John 2:24), which is why He never fully trusted in them. Sheppard was trying to make Jesus more human and less divine in this situation.

Sheppard wrote that Jesus's baptism was a defining moment for Him because He heard the Father's confirmation. Its almost as saying Jesus's baptism was the best day of His life. However, Sheppard does mention that the Resurrection was important because it was not a symbolic resurrection, but a bodily resurrection which Christians have believed since the New Testament times.

There are a lot of weaknesses in this book, which leads me to say this is one I would not recommend in studying the humanity of Jesus.

Thanks Booklook Bloggers for letting me review this book.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Resource To Help Those Who Are Suffering

Suffering is never easy no matter how long you have been walking with Jesus. A lot of people go through everyday whether we know them personally or not. Whenever someone goes through suffering, we want to help, but sometimes we are not sure how.

Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton have written a book to help those going through suffering and preparing those who have not faced it called, Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God's Purpose in Your Suffering. This video shares their stories:

For one week, you can purchase the book for 37% off or a pack of five for 50% off each book. This is happening at Westminster Bookstore.

Here are some other books on suffering you might want to consider as well:

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller

Spurgeon's Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those Who Suffer from Depression by Zack Eswine

Songs of a Suffering King: The Grand Christ Hymn of Psalms 1–8 by J.V. Fesko

For more on Kristen and Sarah's book, check out their interview with Equipping You In Grace

Around The Web-April 28, 2017

What Can Church History Teach Us About Wolves? by Kevin DeYoung

The True and Better Prophet, Priest, and King​ by Casey Lewis

God Plans for the Unexpected and Inconvenient by Jon Bloom

(Andy Davis)Memorized 42 Books of the Bible and You Can, Too by Donald Whitney

Your Child Should Learn about Human Sexuality before That Special Science Class by Josh Buice

The Worst Consequence of Skipping Church by Tim Challies

The Lord Is Never Late by Jared C Wilson

The 2018 Bethlehem Conference Giveaway continues until May 4th

For the past few months, my church has been going through the book of Exodus. It is has been a great study as we see God's sovereignty throughout this book and His plan for redemption. These two videos from The Bible Project gives us a brief overview of the book.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Schreiner And Thomas On Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation

Many Christian struggle with the assurance of their salvation. Many look at verse that make it seem salvation can be lost. Can salvation be lost?

I hope these two videos will help you answer that question. The first features Thomas Schreiner from Southern Seminary, who also talks about the warning passages. The next video features Derek Thomas from Reformed Theological Seminary

Recommended Reading:

Kept for Jesus: What the New Testament Really Teaches about Assurance of Salvation and Eternal Security by Sam Storms

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Review: The Curious Christian by Barnabas Piper

Ever heard the expression, "Curiosity killed the cat?" I am sure you have. You probably have no idea what it means. It simply means that if you stick your nose into someone's business, it might get you into trouble. Curiosity is an interesting word because we are a very curious people. Children are more known for this which is why it could get them into trouble.

When it comes to Christianity, should we be curious? Should we be curious about God and what the Bible says about him? Barnabas Piper says yes. Our curiosity should make us want to know more about God, which is what he discusses, in his book, The Curious Christian. Piper says that our curiosity will lead us to discover God in ways we have never before. Now, he is not arguing for an out of body experience or search through various religious texts, but he is writing to Christians to be curious about who God is. If Christians would be more curious about God then it will lead them into deeper truths about God.

Piper writes that knowing the Bible "should shape and influence and drive how we pursue all other areas of learning and curiosity. It should serve as the foundation on which our lives are built relationally, vocationally, and intellectually." We pursue knowledge from all other avenues, but for the Christian who wants to know God, they fail in looking at the Bible. All our knowledge of God should come for the pages of scripture.

Piper continues by saying Christians should always be asking questions. We have a limited view of God, but we can know him through his word. We should not fear our questions, which some Christians do fear because they do not want to be labeled as a doubting believer. Christians should always be learning about God through reading the Bible and other Christians books. Christians should be engaging with one another about this God who we serve and worship.

I get what Piper was trying to communicate. Christians are to be curious about God and not fear their questions about him. I appreciate that Piper kept it God-centered because a subject such as this one can lead people to look for the knowledge of God away from the Bible. I am not saying this book is off or bad, but it is one I would not pick up again anytime soon.

Thanks B&H Publishing Group for letting me review this book.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Review: The Life Of The Church by Joe Thorn

The Life Of The Church is the third book from Joe Thorn on the church. His first book deals with what the church believes while his second book deals with what makes up the church. This book deals with what the church is suppose to do in three certain areas as the mentioned in the subtitled: the table, pulpit, and square.

In the first section of the book, Thorn talks about the church as a community. It is no secret that most of our culture believes the church is the building, which the Bible tells us it is the people. Joe addresses our need for the community of faith and how it strengthens us as we walk with Jesus. Joe talks about the need for the church to meet in small groups whether in a home or another location where believers can read the word and pray together. Finally, in this section Joe addresses hospitality. Many people think hospitality is letting people into their home, which there is nothing wrong with that. Joe says hospitality is allowing people into your life at great costs to you. This little chapter on hospitality is much needed in the church today because many people have no idea what Biblical hospitality is.

The next section of the book deals with the pulpit, which is a no-brainer for most believers. Joe says a church is to worship God together. Yes, we can worship God alone, but a true believer seeks community with fellow believers and worships God together as a family. As we worship, we are to worship God in spirit and in truth based on the written of Word of God. Speaking of the Word, that is what the church is to be proclaiming. Joe mentions Liturgy which many churches don't know what this is. A good liturgy, according to Joe, takes the Christian from guilt to praise. To make the Christian see the ruin of their sin and the grace that God has given them in Christ. Joe does say there is no Biblical grounds for a liturgy, but he can testify to the benefits it can bring.

The final section of the book deals with the church being sent out into the world. The church is not a retreat for the saved, though many churches have made it that way, but it is where we receive our marching orders from the Savior. Joe encourages his readers that we must participate in the culture around us. Whether it is a neighborhood watch program or a soccer team. We must be engaged with the culture in various ways. We are also to be in conversations with the culture. That means evangelize. Share Jesus using words, which is something Joe stressed on. Finally, Joe addresses multiplication which means being involved and interested in churches beyond your walls. Being involved in church planting and church revitalization.

Joe Thorn once again delivers another great book on the church. Just like his other books, the chapters are to the point for anyone to pick up and read.

Thanks Moody Publishers for letting me review this book.

Music Monday: He's Coming Soon by Redeemer Round Rock


The day is coming soon
When darkness reigns no more
Sin will be erased our brokenness replaced
By Jesus our Lord

He’s coming soon He’s coming soon
His name is faithful and true
The one who conquered death
is making all things new
Our king is coming soon

He will come on the clouds
With fire in his eyes
A jealous King who loves relentlessly
Coming for his bride

Until that day
Oh Spirit live and lead
through us your hands and feet
that all might taste and see

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Apostasy Is a Tragedy

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).

(W)hat is apostasy? It’s desertion. When you desert what you once held dear or turn away from what you once treasured, you commit apostasy. To apostatize is to embrace the Christian faith, then reject it later on.

In the USA apostasy happens every day. In fact, studies show that an alarming number of young adults leave the faith during their time in college. Despite being reared in Christian homes, involved at church, even baptized as teens, when these young adults head off to university, they desert the faith in droves. And statistically speaking high percentages never return.

How do we respond to news of someone forsaking the faith? Does it tear us up inside? Are we overtaken, like Paul, with heartache and astonishment?

Apostasy ought to grieve us deeply. For what could be sadder than for someone to turn his own life-story from gospel triumph to heart-rending tragedy!

Paul is astonished because he knows apostasy is such a tragedy.

Apostasy is tragic because it means that individuals desert the gospel. Those who apostatize typically don’t see it that way; they often think they’re enhancing, rather than abandoning, the gospel. Surely the Galatians didn’t think they were abandoning the gospel. But this, Paul says, is precisely what happens when you add anything to the gospel. The gospel equation is this: Jesus + Anything Else = Nothing! Which is why Paul accuses the Galatians not of adding to the gospel but of turning to “a different gospel” altogether (1:6).

When we apostatize, we also desert grace. This is what makes the Galatians’ situation so sad: they’d been called “in the grace of Christ” (1:6). But now they’re abandoning this place of grace in order to return to a place called bondage (cf. 4:9; 5:1).

But the real tragedy of apostasy is this: we desert God. To apostatize is to forsake the living God for a dead idol, a golden calf of our own making. This is what the Israelites did at the base of Mount Sinai; this is what Paul sees the Galatians doing after his departure. Like Israel of old, his converts are “so quickly” (1:6) turning from him who called them.

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” . . . And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” (Exodus 32:1-4, 7, 8)

The Apostle Paul, then, like Moses, confronts wilderness apostasy. The Galatians, like the Israelites, are forsaking the God who called them out of Egyptian-like bondage to sin and are turning to a different gospel—a lifeless idol that can neither speak nor save. They think they’re improving the gospel, but what they’re actually doing is forging a golden calf in the furnace of unbelief. This is the real tragedy of apostasy: we try to improve the gospel, only in the end to find we’ve abandoned it for an idol made by human hands.

Adapted from Galatians: Gospel-Rooted Living by Todd Wilson

Friday, April 21, 2017

The New City Catechism

A Catechism is defined as "a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts." Crossway and The Gospel Coalition have put together a brand new catechism called The New City Catechism.

Tim Keller explains what this catechism is about:

For one week, Westminster Bookstore has a single copy of the catechism for 25% off. If you wish to purchase more, you get 5 copies for 50% each. If you are a church leader, and want to purchase this book for your congregation, you may purchase a case of 50 books from 62% off each copy.

If you wish to do a little more in depth reading of the catechism, there is The New City Catechism Devotional which is only $11.00 for one week as well.

The Gospel Coalition also has an album based on the catechism which you can download for free:

Around The Web April 21, 2017

TIME reveals 100 Most Influential People of 2017

Survey Reveals Many Evangelicals Are Confused About Adultery by Joe Carter

David Steele reviews John MacArthur's latest book, The Gospel According To Paul

Please Stop Giving Bad Invitations by Josh Buice

Stop Calling Hebrews 11 The “Hall of Faith” by J.A. Medders

The Original Jesus Juke by Russell L Meek

God Does Not Answer "Selfie" Prayers by H.B. Charles, Jr

What Your Biology Teacher Didn’t Tell You About Charles Darwin by Phil Moore

R.C. Sproul reminds us that it is not the doctrine of justification by faith alone that saves us, but it is Christ.

John Piper on being ready to fight temptation.