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Cruciform Press

August 23, 2011

Grieving Hope and SolaceThe death of a loved one is something we usually prefer not to think about…until we have to. If a Christian close to you were to die, would you know how to grieve biblically? That is, would you have a clear understanding of all that the Bible teaches on the subject of Christians in the afterlife, so that your grief could bring glory to God, as well as hope and comfort to your soul?

I doubt that many of us are really prepared to grieve to God’s glory or—just as important for the sake of the church—to help others do so. When death strikes close by, we need something more solid to hold onto than a vague sense that our loved one is now “with Jesus.” We need the comfort, hope, and solace of Scripture. We need wisdom.

Grieving, Hope and Solace: When a Loved One Dies in Christ, is probably not quite like any book you have ever read, and this is largely due to the deep wisdom and intense God-centeredness of the man who wrote it.

Many of you will be familiar with John Murray, the late professor from Westminster Theological Seminary who wrote the classic, Redemption Accomplished and Applied. In regard to an upcoming conference at which he was scheduled to preach, Murray once said of this book’s author, “If Al Martin is to be there I really think he should be asked to take the three evening services proposed for me. He is one of the ablest and most moving preachers I have ever heard…I have not heard his equal.”

Pastor Albert N. Martin shepherded the people of Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, New Jersey for 46 years. He was a Reformed Baptist at least a quarter-century before anyone considered it to be cool. Now retired from ministry, he has written this book to recount what he learned from the death of his wife, Marilyn, at age 73.

His book has been endorsed by Joel Beeke (“Al Martin weaves together personal tenderness and biblical teaching in this sweet book of comfort…), Steve Lawson (“Albert N. Martin is a seasoned pastor, skilled teacher, and gifted writer who has given us a priceless treasure in Grieving, Hope, and Solace.), and many others. Joseph Pipa, President of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, wrote,

Occasionally, serendipitously, we stumble upon a rare finding: turning the corner and being met by a glorious moonrise, discovering a painter or musician who touches us in the deepest recesses of our being, or reading a special book. This little book by Pastor Al Martin has been such an experience for me; written from profound biblical insight, tested by experience, Grieving, Hope and Solace: When a Loved One Dies in Christ is a delightful, edifying book, which you will want to read and re-read. Whether you are a pastor or counselor, one who is experiencing the pangs of grief, or a member of the church who wants to be useful to others, you need to read this book. Of particular use to me, is how the book helps one to train his mind and emotions for the ‘rough door of death.’

When a book about death is being called delightful, something very interesting must be happening.

The early reviews confirm the promise this book holds out. Kevin Fiske wrote , “I had no idea that I’d be so immensely impacted in such a short amount of time.” And Terry Delaney at Christian Book Notes brought a unique perspective to his review: “I have worked in a funeral home the past couple of years… I have seen plenty of death and preached numerous funerals…It is a rare occasion when there is true faith in Christ present before, during, and after the time of death….Sadly, most members of local congregations are not prepared to die nor have they been taught to biblically grieve the death of a loved one or friend. Albert Martin, through his own struggle to correctly grieve and give God glory at the same time has penned a resource that is clear, concise, and necessary for the church today.”

Grieving, Hope and Solace is the August release from Cruciform Press, the publishing company I co-founded. Learn more about the book and read excerpts here. We put out a new, short book the first day of each month, and if you sign up for a subscription you can get them for as little as $3.99.

July 26, 2011

Licensed to KillThis may be the season for breezy beach reading (I’ve done a little bit of that myself), but that hasn’t stopped people from saying very nice things about a hard-hitting new book by Brian Hedges—a book that deals with sanctification.

The July book from Cruciform Press (a company I’ve co-founded), Licensed to Kill: A Field Manual for Mortifying Sin, has been endorsed by Tullian Tchividjian, Joe Thorn, Bob Lepine at FamilyLife Today, and Wes Ward at Revive our Hearts. In his review, Terry Delaney at Christian Book Notes called it “an excellent and much needed resource today in the church” and added “I recommend it to every believer.”

So far, though, I’m most excited about the review at the blog, Before Dawn with the Son. Here are some of my favorite parts.

There have not been many modern books that have kept me riveted as PM rolled into AM, but this little book by Hedges definitely did the trick….as you fly through this book you will be consistently struck with Gospel-drenched, sin-hating truth that confronts, convicts, and encourages you to make a more concerted and genuine effort to fill your life with the “holy violence” of slaughtering your indwelling, God-hating sin.

A highlight of this text is the immensely practical nature of the whole book…I do not know if it is Hedges’ writing style or the subject manner or a combination of both, but this text spent a good amount of time in practical issues and I enjoyed it immensely.

I do not believe it would be an overstatement (or a slight) to call this John Owen-light….For 117 pages you cannot really ask for more!

The best place to learn more, read samples, or pick up a copy is at the Cruciform Press site, where you can get Licensed to Kill for as little as $3.99.

June 21, 2011

Smooth StonesSo far, two reviews have come in for Smooth Stones: Bringing Down the Giant Questions of Apologetics, by Joe Coffey, this month’s book from Cruciform Press.

Both reviews affirm our purpose in publishing the book: to give Christians a simple introduction to six key issues pertaining to the plausibility of Christian faith:

  1. Is there a God?
  2. Does science disprove God’s existence?
  3. Is the Bible authentic and true?
  4. Why is there evil and suffering?
  5. Aren’t all religions the same?
  6. Is Jesus for real?

There are two basic ways to discuss your faith with non-Christians. You can testify to what Jesus has done and speak of your own life—how Christ has changed you through the gospel and what being a Christian has meant for you, your family, your church life, etc. That’s the “fruit” side.

The other way is to talk about why Christianity makes sense.

Almost any substantive conversation with unbelievers about Christianity will touch on both topics.

We might talk a lot more with unbelievers about how we have been changed if we felt we could talk more freely, confidently, and intelligently about why our faith makes sense. Smooth Stones offers us a way to do that.

Both reviews point out Joe’s acknowledgement that the most important thing is for us to be able to discuss the “fruit” part—that’s where the core of our faith lies—but the book itself majors on the “makes sense” part to try to shore us up where most of us are especially weak.

And why are we weak? Because we don’t feel equipped to say anything intelligent. Because we fear the emotions that can be brought up in conversations with unbelievers. And because we fear being ridiculed or dismissed.

In offering basic, street-level apologetics for everyday Christians, this book can unmuzzle you to speak freely about your faith with confidence and clarity.

As the book emphasizes, “the Christian faith is built on a tremendous amount of credible evidence. You don’t need to be a scientist, an historian, an archaeologist, or a philosopher to understand why belief in Jesus makes perfect sense.” Or to speak of it to others.

Buy it at Cruciform Press for as little as $3.99.

May 10, 2011

But GodCruciform Press is a different kind of publishing company in that we release one book each month, always on the first day of the month. And not only that, but we invite people to subscribe to our books so each month you can automatically receive that new book. We think it’s a great model!

Cruciform’s new book for May is titled But God: The Two Words at the Heart of the Gospel and it is written by Casey Lute. The great preacher and theologian James Montgomery Boice wrote that “If you understand those two words—’but God’—they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely.” And that is what Lute seeks to do in this book—to make those words central to the Christian life.

I was interested (and encouraged) to see an early review of the book by blogger Louis Tullo. He said that But God “delivers what this young yet powerful publishing company is building a reputation for – books with rock-solid theology and packaged in an engaging and accessible form. Lute’s word study sweeps over three central aspects of scripture – God’s covenant with Israel, God’s plan for salvation through Christ, and God’s act of applying the work of Christ to believers – in a way that brings the sovereignty of God into powerful focus.”

While I’m boasting about the book, let me point out something else Tullo says: “I am also an eBook subscriber of Cruciform Press. It is the most valuable $3.99 I spend monthly and would highly recommend subscribing.”

If you would like to learn more about the book or about Cruciform Press, visit CruciformPress.com where you can find it in a variety of book and e-book formats (for as low a price as $3.99).

April 01, 2011

Every month, on the first day of the month, Cruciform Press releases a new book. And this month our book is Jimmy Davis’ Cruciform: Living the Cross-Shaped Life. Employing the symbols of the cruciform cathedral and the Celtic cross, the aim of this book is to cast a vision for the Cruciform Life, living as disciples of Jesus who are being shaped by the cross (gospel) into people and churches who share and show the cross (gospel) as they live the vertical life of loving God with all their head, heart, and hands and the horizontal life of loving people as Christ has loved them.

CruciformThe book has garnered some enthusiastic endorsements and reviews. Paul Miller (author of The Praying Life) says “Jimmy Davis loves the cross. This little book will open your heart up to see how the cross is the center of all of life. Well done.”

Tullian Tchividjian writes “In Cruciform: Living the Cross-Shaped Life, my friend Jimmy Davis compellingly demonstrates that the gospel is just as necessary and relevant after you become a Christian as it is before. Jimmy shows from personal experience how a lack of passion and purpose, focus and fervor, compassion and conviction, is always due to distance from the now-power of the gospel. I pray that through this book you will rediscover the beauty and brilliance of the gospel in brand new ways.”

Let me give you one more. Pastor Scotty Smith says “Cruciform is a theologically grounded and redemptively freeing picture of a life spent boasting in the cross of Jesus. Avoiding the distortions of both repressive legalism and irresponsible antinomianism, Jimmy Davis helps us understand how the indicatives of God’s grace lead to the imperatives of obedient love. This book will help many people understand what the gospel-driven life is all about.”

If you would like to learn more or if you’d like to buy Cruciform, visit CruciformPress.com where you can find it in a variety of book and e-book formats (for as low a price as $3.99).

March 03, 2011

Every month, on the first day of the month, Cruciform Press, the publishing company I co-founded, releases one new book (yes, just one). This month’s book is an interesting and unique one. It’s titled The Organized Heart and is written by Staci Eastin.

Before I get to Staci’s book, here is something that may interest you: a Cruciform Press Sampler. It includes chapters from each of the six books we’ve published to date, which makes it a great way of getting an overview of our titles. It’s available as a free download.

The Organized HeartBack to The Organized Heart. Here’s our description of this book:

The fight against chaos is universal, whether it be the outward chaos of disorder and frenzy or the inward chaos of fear and self-criticism. Even if we already know how to do better, something falls apart between our good intentions and getting it done.

Most books on organization just add more rules to your life, whether it be another plan, another calendar, or another method. This book will show you a different, better way that is grounded in the grace of God.

Jesus taught that true change doesn’t come by the addition of more rules, but from the inside out, with a change of the heart that only the gospel can bring. When you identify the heart problems behind the chaos in your life, lasting change can happen. This will not only reduce the stress in your life, but help you be more effective in your service to God.

And here is what a few people (including my bride) are saying about it:

“Staci Eastin packs a punch with this short book. But it’s a gracious punch, full of insights about our disorganized hearts and lives, which is immediately followed by the balm of gospel-shaped hopes. It is ideally crafted for use with accountability partners and small groups. In fact, because of our common tendencies to either dismiss the obvious or obsess over failure, I’d definitely recommend reading it in tandem with a faithful friend. Because of the Holy Spirit’s active presence, there is always hope for change. Open this book with that great truth in mind and you’ll find much to ponder!”

Carolyn McCulley, fellow procrastinator and author of Radical Womanhood and Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?

“In The Organized Heart, Staci Eastin gives us a refreshing look at organization from an uncommon but incredibly important perspective: the spiritual. This is critical because without understanding the spiritual dimension, all of our productivity techniques ultimately backfire. So instead of focusing on adding new rules, she focuses on the heart. Specifically, she helps show how to avoid letting leisure, busyness, perfectionism, and possessions from becoming idols—and does so in a way that is encouraging and uplifting rather than guilt-driven. This inside-out approach should be helpful to women who are looking to be more organized but know that simply adding on another method is not enough.”

Matt Perman, Director of Strategy at Desiring God, blogger at whatsbestnext.com, and author of the forthcoming book, What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done.

“Organizing a home can be an insurmountable challenge for a woman. The Organized Heart makes a unique connection between idols of the heart and the ability to run a well-managed home. This is not a step-by-step how-to; instead, Eastin looks at sin as the root problem of disorganization, and strives to help the reader understand biblically how to overcome this problem. She offers a fresh new approach and one I recommend, especially to those of us who have tried all the other self-help models and failed.”

Aileen Challies, Mom of three, and wife of blogger, author, and pastor Tim Challies

If you would like to learn more or if you’d like to buy The Organized Heart, visit CruciformPress.com where you can find it in a variety of book and e-book formats (for as low a price as $3.99).

February 03, 2011

Intentional ParentingAs you know by now, I am one of the co-founders of Cruciform Press, a publishing company that is seeking to give Christian publishing a bit of a “reboot.” Each month, on the first day of the month, we release a new book. And this month’s book is a good one. It is written by Tad Thompson and titled Intentional Parenting. Here is just a brief description:

There are literally thousands of books available on how to live various aspects of the Christian life.

Of these, at least a couple of dozen pertaining to family life and child training are well worth reading.

This is not one of those books.

This book is designed to help you take those other books, as well as all the sermons, teachings, and exhortations you have received on child training and leadership in the home, and make sense of it all.

Pastor Tad Thompson has assembled a biblical approach to effective family discipleship. Let him share it with you in this clear, encouraging, accessible book.

This is not another book of tactics and techniques. It is a book of strategy for parents who want to be intentional about discipleship in the home.

Dr. Joel Beeke says the book is “a practical page-turner that encourages fathers to engage the hearts of their families with truth and grace. In an age when truth is either ignored or despised, it is refreshing to see a book written for ordinary fathers who want their families to be sanctified by the truth (John 17:17). Thompson writes with grace which reminds us that parenting, like every aspect of Christian discipleship, flows from the sweet mercies of Christ.”

If you would like to learn more or if you’d like to buy Intentional Parenting, visit CruciformPress.com where you can find it in a variety of book and e-book formats (for as low a price as $3.99).

January 03, 2011

Reclaiming AdoptionEach month Cruciform Press releases 1 new book, and our book for January is one we are very excited about. Reclaiming Adoption brings together some of today’s best thinkers on the subject of adoption, people like Dan Cruver (of Together for Adoption), John Piper, Scotty Smith, Richard Phillips and Jason Kovacs.

Here is a description of what you’ll find:

One of the ambitious dreams that Reclaiming Adoption and its authors share with the Apostle Paul is that when Christians hear the word adoption, they will think first about their adoption by God. As it now stands, Christians usually think first about the adoption of children. Reclaiming Adoption sets out to change this situation by providing breathtaking views of God’s love for and delight in His children — views that will free you to live boldly in this world from God’s acceptance, not in order to gain it.

Reclaiming Adoption begins by examining Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son because it ultimately puts God the Father’s love on display — a love that embraces the younger son with uninhibited joy (Luke 15:20) and goes out to entreat the self-righteous older son to come join the celebration (Luke 15:28). The book is premised on the belief that behind the Parable of the Prodigal Son(s) is Scripture’s teaching on adoption. The story of the Bible is that God the Father sent his only true and eternal Son on a mission, and that mission was to bring many wayward and rebellious sons home to glory (Hebrews 2:10) in order to adopt them into His family.

That is the Story behind the story of the Prodigal Sons. It is the only story that gives our stories any meaning or significance.

Dan Cruver and his co-authors are convinced that if Christians learn to first think about their adoption by God, and only then about the adoption of children, they will enjoy deeper communion with the God who is love, and experience greater missional engagement with the pain and suffering of this world. That’s what this book is about. What the orphan, the stranger, and the marginalized in our world need most is churches that are filled with Christians who live daily in the reality of God’s delight in them. Reclaiming Adoption can transform the way you view and live in this world for the glory of God and the good of our world’s most needy.

The book has already garnered all kinds of glowing endorsements and reviews. You may like to visit the book’s web site to read some of these. And you will want to visit CruciformPress.com where you can buy the book in print, e-book or Kindle formats.

December 01, 2010

Servanthood as WorshipAt the beginning of every month Cruciform Press releases one new book. Our book for December is Servanthood as Worship: The Privilege of Life in a Local Church by Nate Palmer. As someone who absolutely loves the local church, I’m really excited about this one.

Here is a description:

Browse a Christian book website or bookstore and notice all there is for leaders and would-be leaders. There are studies of leaders, keys to leadership, and tips on becoming a leader. Books that promote servanthood tend to be about leadership. But how many books inspire us simply to serve one another?

The appeal of leadership has hijacked the biblical call to servanthood. As a result, we major on a role that will only ever be held by a few, and we largely ignore a role that ought to be held by every Christian. Whatever happened to servanthood?

Servanthood as Worship offers Christians a biblical understanding of their calling to serve in the church, motivated by the grace that is ours in the gospel. It has the potential to revitalize service teams in churches across the world, from church plants to established congregations.

And here is what people are saying about it:

“In an age where the church can be likened to Cinderella – beautiful, but largely ignored and forgotten – Nate Palmer’s brief book forces us to rethink both the church and our relationship to her. In an age where egocentrism ensures we sing, ‘O say, can you see – what’s in it for me?’ on a weekly basis, Palmer forces us to say instead, ‘How can I best serve the church?’ Looking at the needs of others rather than one’s own is possibly the most serious deficiency in the church today. Reading this book will help redress the deficiency. I heartily recommend it.”
– Derek W.H. Thomas, Richards Professor of Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson); Minister of Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS

“Think of these pages as a handbook. Put this handbook into the hands of your people and you will give them a sustainable, practical vision for serving in the local church that is powered by grace. Along the way, they will also pick up a mini theological education.”
– Justin Buzzard, pastor, San Francisco Bay Area; author, BuzzardBlog.com

“In our media-crazed, me-first culture, the art of the basin and the towel has been shoved off onto those who get paid to serve – certainly a call to serve in humility can’t be God’s will for all of us, or could it? In this helpful little book, Nate Palmer gets at the heart of our resistance and portrays our dear Savior’s humiliation in his acts of service for us – not only as our example but also as our righteousness. I strongly recommend this book.”
– Elyse Fitzpatrick, author of Because He Loves Me

There is also an early review you can read.

You can buy Servanthood as Worship at Cruciform Press (where you’ll find your lowest prices) or at Amazon; it’s available in printed book or e-book formats. You may also like to consider subscribing to Cruciform Press in which case you will get the best prices and receive a new book every month.

November 01, 2010

Wrestling with an AngelOne of the most exciting parts of founding Cruciform Press is the ability it has given me to bring great books to print. And after co-founding the company the first person I got in touch with was Greg Lucas. I knew Greg as the author of an excellent blog—one that had drawn me in with its “lessons in the life of a father learned through the struggles of his disabled son.”

The result of getting in touch with Greg is Cruciform’s new book for November: Wrestling with an Angel: A Story of Love, Disability and the Lessons of Grace. It’s quite a book, if I do say so myself. And I’m not the only one. I’ve been reading it aloud to my kids and they are enjoying it a lot (“Just one more chapter! Please!”). I am receiving emails from people who bought a copy at the Desiring God conference last month and they are raving about it. The early reviews are uniformly positive.

Here are just three of the book’s endorsements:

“Witty…stunning…striking…humorous and heartfelt. In our culture which is so quick to devalue life, Wrestling with an Angel provides a fresh, honest look at one father’s struggle to embrace God in the midst of his son’s disability. Can sheer laughter and weeping gracefully coexist in a world of so much affliction? Greg knows all about it. And inside these pages he passes on his lessons of grace to us. I highly recommend this wonderfully personal book!”
— Joni Eareckson Tada, Joni and Friends International Disability Center

“I didn’t want to read this book. I knew these tear-stained but hope-filled pages would jostle me out of my comfort zone and shake me up. C.S. Lewis wrote that he paradoxically loved The Lord of the Rings because it ‘broke his heart’—and Greg Lucas’ writing does the same for me. And it’s for that reason that I heartily commend this book—especially for dads. This is just the book many of us need to taste afresh the goodness of God and the grace of the gospel even as we long for the day when this broken world will be made right.”
— Justin Taylor, Managing Editor, ESV Study Bible

“This is not primarily a book for parents of special needs children. There is only one disability that keeps a person from heaven. It is not physical or mental like Jake Lucas’ condition. It is the sin that lives in our hearts. Jake’s father, Greg, is a captivating storyteller. When he writes about life with Jake, I recognize God’s grace and loving persistence in my life. I want more!”
— Noel Piper, author, and wife of pastor and author John Piper

Here is an editorial description:

“It sounded at first like something out of an old horror movie. I thought maybe someone was just playing around, but then I heard it again and again, a loud piercing cry, and less like Hollywood every time. The windows were down in my police cruiser on that warm fall day, but I still couldn’t tell where the sounds came from. I began looking around for the unlikely sight of someone being disemboweled in a mall parking lot on a Saturday afternoon. Seeing nothing, and still hearing the screams, I called in a ‘disturbance.’ Around the next corner I found the source of the commotion.” So begins Greg Lucas’ captivating account of life as a husband, a police officer, and Jake’s dad. Jake Lucas, the first of four children, lives with severe physical and mental challenges. Caring for him each day is an ordeal few of us can imagine, and this story of Jake’s first 17 years is not one you will soon forget. But the remarkable thing is how the whole narrative is saturated with wonder at the grace and goodness of God, who brings hope and promise through his Son into the darkest of circumstances. In this book, we see that Jake’s problems are our problems, only bigger, and the challenges of caring for him carry profound lessons about God’s care for us. Wrestling with an Angel is about tragedy and laughter and pain and joy. It is about faith and grace and endurance and God’s unfailing, loving wisdom daily being worked out in each of our lives, whatever the nature or extent of our difficulties. Here is a book that may explain faith to you in ways you never quite grasped, through a life few of us can relate to. When it is all done, we come away better able to live as Christ calls us to live.

Interested? The book is currently available in print and PDF formats, with audio book and e-book coming very soon. Buy it here. And why don’t you consider a subscription which will get you each of the books we release over the coming 12 months?

Still need to be convinced? Then why don’t you download a sample chapter and see what you think. I think you’ll be hooked.

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