30 Minute Reviews

Forgive me for sharing a list of 30 Minute Reviews even though I posted another batch yesterday. I have a big backlog of books piled up on my desk, and having spent at least 30 minutes in each one of them, I am eager to provide these short reviews. Publishers are releasing plenty of good books these days and I’m glad to be able to draw your attention to a few of them.

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Come to the Waters by James Montgomery Boice – Though James Montgomery Boice died over 10 years ago, his words live on. In this new book, D. Marion Clark has compiled a year’s worth of daily devotionals drawn from Boice’s sermons and unpublished writings. They are based upon texts from Genesis all the way through Revelation. In his introduction to be book Clark writes, “These devotions are not intended simply to make you a better person. They are to lead you again and again to your only hope–Jesus Christ–for glorifying God. If you ever heard Dr. Boice preach or if you have ever read one of his books, you will know roughly what to expect here: systematic, God-honoring, Christ-exalting exposition of Scripture that is not only preached but also applied.

Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith – One morning Scotty Smith decided he would open up the Bible, turn on his laptop, and begin praying through some of his favorite verses of Scripture. In order to force himself to move at a slow pace and in order to help with his concentration, he elected to type out these prayers. A few weeks later this had become a habit and from there a discipline and a delight. He began to share select prayers with a few friends, then with a list of people and then on a blog. I have often linked to or reprinted those prayers. Baker has now taken 365 of them and compiled them in a book aptly titled Everyday Prayers. What has always appealed to me about Smith’s prayers is that, compared to some other prayer books (such as The Valley of Vision) they are just so normal; they are in the language I use every day. For that reason I find them tremendously helpful.

How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home by Derek Thomas – In this book Derek Thomas explores Romans 8 which he declares is the best chapter in the Bible. “Here he finds an exposition of the steps through which God leads His people in the process of their salvation, but also loving counsel on such topics as prayer and resisting the Devil, as well as exhortations and comforts for weary pilgrims. Dr. Thomas begins at Romans 8:1 with ‘the best news imaginable-—believers’ just and deserved condemnation before God has been taken away by Jesus Christ’s work on the cross. He then contrasts earthly minded and spiritually minded people, showing that only those who are spiritually minded know life.” In 11 short chapters, each a good size for personal devotions, he exposits and applies the entire chapter. Though I have not read the whole book, I intend to return to it for devotional purposes.

If You Bite & Devour One Another by Alexander Strauch – Here is the publisher’s description of this book: “Conflict in churches is a pervasive problem we know all too well. If You Bite & Devour One Another is the only book of its kind, examining all the biblical passages on conflict and outlining key scriptural principles for handling various kinds of conflicts among Christian–whether personal disputes, issues of Christian liberty in lifestyles, congregational matters, or disagreements about important doctrines. The book emphasizes Spirit-controlled attitudes and behaviors through solid Bible exposition and true-to-life stories of Christians handling real-life conflicts in a Christ-honoring way.” This is another title that I fully intend to study when time permits. I am sure it will prove useful in my role as a leader within a local church.