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New & Notable Book Reviews

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I love reading books, but I also love reading reviews of books. Reviews allow me to discover books I haven’t heard of, they teach me to think wisely, they allow me to better prioritize the books I am considering reading, and they sometimes provide a helpful second opinion on books I have already read. For all of those reasons I publish occasional round-ups of reviews written by other writers. Here are a few notable links I’ve collected recently:

Saving EutychusSaving Eutychus: How To Preach God’s Word And Keep People Awake by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell. Reviewed by Mez McConnell. McConnell has a somewhat lighthearted but very positive review of this book, one I have also read, reviewed and recommended. “So my Assistant Pastor bought this for my last week with the quip: ‘Saw this and immediately thought of you.’ He wasn’t laughing so much as I pushed him out of the nearest window when he wasn’t looking. First off, great title or what! I immediately liked the look of it just from that. If a book can hook you on the title alone then the publisher has done a great job. The downside of a tagline that promises to show us ‘how to preach God’s word and keep people awake’ is that these guys better be good! Failure to deliver would be an epic fail. Based on the real life biblical account of Acts 20, this book is only 8 chapters long and contains two helpful appendices at the end (obviously).” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Weakness is the Way by J.I. Packer. Reviewed by Gloria Furman. “Even just the title of this book flies my heart straight to Jesus, kindling afresh my desire to see him as he is. I’m reminded each day that only God’s strength can sustain and empower me for service, yet I’m tempted to desire worldly strength. JI Packer’s new book, Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength, emboldens those beset with weaknesses with the truth that our human frailty becomes real spiritual strength in and through Christ alone. Teaching from passages in 2 Corinthians, Packer describes ‘life with Christ our strength.’ In typical Packer fashion, this book draws the reader through the scriptural defense of an idea and hurls you into your daily mundane with a glorious picture of who God is.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Talk About GodWhat We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell. Reviewed by Michael Kruger. “Bell’s book … functions a lot like the Apple vs. Microsoft commercial that was popular a number of years ago. Microsoft was represented by an out of shape, poorly dressed geek, while Apple was represented by a thin, hip, well-dressed urbanite. In effect, Bell is arguing that God is not like Microsoft. He is more like Apple. God is relevant. He can keep up with the times. Unfortunately, being an apologist for the faith does not always lead one to uphold the faith. Indeed, there is a long history of folks who have sought to defend Christianity from critical attacks by simply changing the problematic portions of the faith. In other words, apologetics is not always about defending what we believe, but is sometimes about modifying what we believe. Apologetics is sometimes about giving Christianity an extreme makeover.”

Deserted by God? by Sinclair Ferguson. Reviewed by Starr Meade. “Ever have the nagging worry that maybe God has turned His back on you? Or perhaps, less dramatically, do you sometimes feel numb toward the spiritual things that used to be so exciting? Does the Christian life seem to give less than it promised when you began it? Sinclair Ferguson’s experience as a pastor tells him that many more Christians feel these things than will admit to it. If you ever feel this way, or if you work with others who sometimes do, you will find Deserted By God? to be an invaluable resource. At least, that will be the case if you’re willing to agree to several of its basic premises. … The book offers studies on ten psalms. Each study is a thoughtful, mini-commentary, highly practical in nature. Since, in every case of discouragement, the solution comes in our seeing who God is and how He meets our particular need of the moment, the book is highly devotional and worshipful as well.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Gospel Centered DiscipleshipGospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson. Reviewed by Erik Raymond. “I remember being asked to teach a Sunday School Class on Discipleship several years ago. I quickly found out that there are not a lot of good books out there on the topic. Thankfully things are changing! One especially helpful book is Jonathan Dodson’s Gospel Centered Discipleship. I really like this book. In fact, a number of us at Emmaus went through this during the last quarter. Dodson excels at making theology very practical and application very theological.” (Learn more and shop at Amazon or Westminster Books)

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    A La Carte (February 27)

    A La Carte: God doesn’t owe me kindness / Jordan Peterson’s “We Who Wrestle with God” tour / Does your church have an evangelist? / Putting Jesus first in a world of pleasures / Send help. My husband believes in me / and more.

  • Unite in Prayer with Persecuted Believers

    This week the blog is sponsored by Help The Persecuted. “Can I have a Bible?” The guard studied Qasem. “If you paint the walls of every cell in this prison, I’ll get you a Bible.” “Where is the paint?” And so Qasem, enduring what would ultimately be a three-year sentence for running house churches throughout…

  • Tell Me

    Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

    If you have spent any time at all on YouTube, you have probably seen videos of people hearing for the first time or people seeing color for the first time—videos of people who, through the miracles of modern science, have senses restored that had either been missing altogether or that had become dull through illness…

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    A La Carte (February 26)

    A La Carte: How not to apply the Bible / 30 people in the New Testament confirmed / Taylor Swift and Christianity / But I did everything right / 10 reasons the Old Testament matters to Christians / Kindle deals / and more.

  • We All Have To Do With God

    We All Have To Do With God

    Every one of us must deal with God. Every one of us must, at some time, face God. Every one of us must be prepared to give an account to God. For, as Scripture says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto…

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    Weekend A La Carte (February 24)

    A La Carte: Wherever he leads, he’ll go / Britain’s loneliest sheep / Helping your teen with porn / How do the Arminian and Calvinist views of election differ? / Exposing the good in digital distractions / Kindle deals / and more.