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30 Minute Reviews

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Here is another batch of 30-minute reviews. These are all books I have received over the past few weeks, but have been unable to read in full. Instead, I have given each of them at least 30 minutes and tried to get as much of a feel for the book as possible in that time.

Unseen Realities by R.C. Sproul – Unseen Realities is a rarity in that it is an R.C. Sproul title published by Christian Focus instead of Reformation Trust (which is associated with Ligonier Ministries). I have read quite a lot of what Dr. Sproul has written on the subjects of heaven, hell, angels and demons and he is always both biblical and practical. Dr. Sproul remains one of my favorite teachers and in this small volume–a collection of selected writings on the topics–he helps us understand those things that we must believe even without being able to see or touch them. He shows how these things truly matter and how they necessarily impact our lives in the here and now.

Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree – Since 1997, Sam Crabtree has been serving as Executive Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Unless I am mistaken, Practicing Affirmation is his first book and it comes with quite an interesting subtitle: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God. I would be tempted to say this is a niche topic except that (I hope!) we all seek to offer words of praise and affirmation to those who are not God. At some level, then, this book must apply to all of us. According to the publisher it “sounds a call to recognize and affirm the character of Christ in others. When done well, affirmation does not fuel pride in the person it refreshes, but honors God. All who are discouraged in relationships will find wisdom and practical insight in this book.” It comes endorsed by C.J. Mahaney, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Joni Eareckson Tada and includes a foreword from John Piper.

Men of the Word edited by Nathan Busenitz – “What is God’s calling for men? What character qualities does He value? What is biblical manhood, and how is it cultivated? The answers to those all-important questions are found in the lives of men of the Bible—men like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, and Paul. Every one of them struggled with the same issues faced by men today…which makes them highly relevant role models that define what a real man is from God’s perspective.” This book, edited by Nathan Busenitz and including contributions from a long list of men associated with Grace Community Church, seeks to challenge men on many different fronts related to work, worship, family, marriage and so on. It is appropriate for reading on your own or as part of a group study.

We Shall See God by Randy Alcorn – Here is rather a unique little book from Randy Alcorn. Alcorn has mined the sermons of Charles Spurgeon to find what the Prince of Preachers taught about heaven. He has then compiled this into 50 devotionals and added to them his own comments and insights. Here’s how the publisher says it (perhaps with a small measure of hyperbole): “In what is sure to become an instant classic, best-selling author Randy Alcorn has compiled the most profound spiritual insights on the topic of eternity from these sermons and arranged them into an easily-accessible, highly inspirational devotional format complete with his own comments and devotional thoughts. Whether you are familiar with the works of Charles Spurgeon or not, you are in for a treat, as Alcorn invites you to sit at the feet of the Prince of Preachers and discover timeless pearls of wisdom from one of the greatest theological minds of all time.” This is a very good little book for those who enjoy daily devotionals. You can read a sample devotional here.

  • Leadership

    We Need Qualified Leadership

    A few days ago I happened upon the page of an especially mega-sized megachurch. The church is about to undergo a leadership transition from an older man to a younger one and a page on the site lays out the process through which this new pastor was chosen. I read with a morbid kind of…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 21)

    A La Carte: Making tea and holding hands for the sake of the gospel / When Christian groups subvert religious liberty of Christians / How busy should I be? / 5 ways people worship themselves / A backwards birth into heaven / A new systematic theology / and more.

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    A La Carte (June 20)

    A La Carte: How to support the caregivers in your church / What we gain in following Jesus / The way we feel is not necessarily the way it is / The power and danger of habit / The man who introduced American Evangelicals to C.S. Lewis / and more.

  • Do Not Envy the Wicked

    Do You Envy the Wicked?

    It takes a long time for sinful instincts to become pure, for tendencies toward what is evil to be transformed into tendencies toward what is good, lovely, and pleasing to God. The man who quits drugs will still react when he catches a whiff and the woman who gave up alcoholism will still struggle when…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 19)

    A La Carte: The golden rule for hard conversations / Seven reasons you shouldn’t ignore beauty / The early church on entertainment / The uselessness of prayer / A thousand wheels of providence / Impossible, hard, and easy / and more.

  • Our Salvation Through Christ

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and this post is adapted from The Kindness of God by Nate Pickowicz (© 2024). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission. Just like the Old Testament, the New Testament teaches that this wonderful salvation is extended to us as a kindness. Paul opens his letter…