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30 Minute Reviews

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Here is another roundup of 30 Minute Reviews. These are noteworthy books that I did not have time or opportunity to read from beginning to end. Instead, I tried to spend at least 30 minutes with each—enough to get a sense of what the book is all about.

Athanasius – Simonetta Carr is building a fantastic series of biographical books for children and Athanasius now joins John Calvin, Augustine of Hippo and John Owen. Future volumes are expected to include Lady Jane Grey, John Knox and Jonathan Edwards. “A complex and fascinating character, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, is best remembered as the Father of Orthodoxy, upholding the doctrine of the Trinity against the Arian heresy. In the newest addition to the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, author Simonetta Carr introduces children to the life and times of this important church father who tirelessly defended the Nicene Creed, which many of us today recite as a confession of our faith.” This is a series you’ll want your children to have access to.

What Do You Think of Me? Why Do I Care? – This strangely-titled book comes from the pen of Edward Welch. I read it in manuscript form and wrote this blurb: “When we make people big, we necessarily make God small in comparison. This sin of pleasing people ahead of God, this fear of man, is the kind of sin we dress up and excuse and neglect; we have made it respectable. In What Do You Think of Me?, Ed Welch carefully, surgically, exposes people-pleasing for what it is. He lets it be ugly–all sin is ugly!–and offers a much more satisfying vision rooted in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Whether you are young or old (but maybe especially if you are young) you would do well to give this book a read.” This book is, in some ways, an extension to or expansion of Welch’s classic When People Are Big and God Is Small.

Gospel Wakefulness – Jared Wilson’s new title comes endorsed by Matt Chandler, Ed Stetzer, Trevin Wax and Scotty Smith, among others. Here is the publisher’s description: “We may know the gospel. We may believe it—even proclaim it. But we also may assume the gospel and become lethargic. In this book Jared Wilson seeks to answer the central question, how do we experience and present the gospel in a fresh, nonroutine way in order to prevent ourselves and others from becoming numb? His answer may be surprising: ‘by routinely presenting the unchanging gospel in a way that does justice to its earth-shaking announcement.’ We don’t excite and awaken people to the glorious truths of the gospel by spicing up our worship services or through cutting-edge, dramatic rhetoric, but by passionately and faithfully proclaiming the same truths we have already been given in Scripture.”

Lit! – Tony Reinke has done a service to Christian readers with this book, which is “A Christian Guide to Reading Books,” according to the subtitle. I wrote an endorsement for this book as well: “Tony Reinke does not just read, but he reads well, and these are two very different things. If you are not much of a reader, consider Lit a part of your education. Tony will teach you to read, to read widely and to read well. If you are already an avid reader, consider Lit an investment that will instruct you in how to read better. In either case, this book will be a blessing to you.” Here is what Crossway says: “Learn how to better read, what to read, when to read, and why you should read with this helpful guide from accomplished reader Tony Reinke. Offered here is a theology for reading and practical suggestions for reading widely, reading well, and for making it all worthwhile.”

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    A La Carte (May 28)

    A La Carte: What to do with the nice things people say / Old age syndromes to avoid / The amazing navigation skills of the dung beetle / 7 kinds of sacrifices / Hope in the grief of dementia / and more.

  • Managing Kingdom Causes with Sound Business Principles 

    This week the blog is sponsored by Redeemer University. The word “management” conjures up images of executives leading large corporations with the goal of generating wealth for shareholders. Think of “sustainability” and the lens widens to benefiting other stakeholders like customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Now, broaden your view even wider. Pan out–way out!…

  • Comparative Suffering

    Comparative Suffering

    It is something you tend to hear a lot when you have endured a time of significant sorrow or suffering: “I know it’s nothing compared to yours, but…” We have a natural tendency to compare—to compare our experiences to another person’s and to rank or rate them accordingly. The person who has suffered the loss…

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    A La Carte (May 27)

    A La Carte: Critical dynamics of criticism / Behind Jordan Peterson’s teaching is his own humanistic agenda / The Christian’s keystone habit / Getting out of the burnout pit / Is salvation by faith unfair to those who never hear of him? / That portrait of King Charles / Kindle deals / and more.

  • A Deadly Foe of Spiritual Growth

    A Deadly Foe of Spiritual Growth

    As we live out the Christian life and cooperate with the Holy Spirit through the precious means of grace, we face a number of foes, a number of enemies that mean to derail us from our pursuit of God. Of all those enemies, none may be more prevalent and none more deadly than complacency.

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    Weekend A La Carte (May 25)

    A La Carte: Don’t regret your past—redeem it / Parents, are you raising angry partisans? / You’re gonna lose everything / My husband and I keep fighting over the same thing / What are the “all things” I can do in Christ? / How are we handling generational differences? / Kindle deals / and more.