New & Notable Books (July)

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received boxes of them and, in sorting through the pile, some have risen to the top.

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LifelinesLifelines for Tough Times by Mike Fabarez. Here is how the publisher describes this one: “When tough times hit, we often find ourselves vulnerable—to doubt, fear, worry, even depression. We ask, ‘Does God care? Has He forgotten me?’ So why does God allow suffering? Author Mike Fabarez—who is well acquainted with deep pain himself as the father of a special-needs child and as a pastor who has counseled many through life’s hurts—looks to the truths of Scripture for answers. Along the way, he shares how complete trust in God alone can restore your confidence and hope; the power of focusing on God’s eternal goals for you in life’s temporary setbacks; God’s promises to love and protect you no matter what happens. This book will not only help you understand why God allows suffering—it will provide you with the resources to stand strong, rest in God’s care, and endure!” It comes with endorsements from John MacArthur, Joni Eareckson Tada, Jay Adams, and others. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

60 People60 People Who Shaped the Church by Alton Gansky. “The Church exists today in its current form because of the people who have come before us. From a consummate storyteller comes this collection of inspiring biographical sketches of people who played pivotal roles in advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. In rich prose and spanning twenty centuries of church history, these engaging narratives range from the well-known to the obscure, highlighting personalities such as Josephus, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Galileo, John Calvin, Blaise Pascal, Jonathan Edwards, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Wilberforce, G. K. Chesterton, and many others. Readers will feel the past come alive and mingle in their minds with the present state of the Church, encouraging and galvanizing them to live their own faith courageously in our time–and shape the Church of the future.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

ExaltingExalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah by James Hamilton. This is the publisher’s description of the series: “Edited by David Platt, Daniel L. Akin, and Tony Merida, this new commentary series, projected to be 48 volumes, takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition. Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah is written by Jim Hamilton.” This series is sound, readable, and affordable. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Grace WorksGrace Works! by Douglas Bond. The publisher says, “When the church downplays the gospel, it breeds its own assassins: moralists who yawn at the notion of free grace in Christ alone. Douglas Bond sounds an alarm but also offers encouragement, a celebration of grace, and biblical solutions that work in our lives.” Michael Horton says this about it in his endorsement: “Anyone familiar with Douglas Bond’s other works will know him as a great story-teller. This book is about the greatest story of all: the gospel. Issuing from the faith of a recipient of God’s good news and the care of a shepherd, any wounds inflicted here will be those of a friend. Grace is not the enemy of works, but the only proper source. It s amazing how many ways we can get that wrong usually, as Doug argues, by incremental and often imperceptible changes. There is a lot of wisdom in this book, but none greater than the wisdom that Christ is and gives us in his gospel.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

People of GodThe People of God by Trevor Joy & Spence Shelton. “The most powerful asset a church has is it’s people. People of God is a challenge to the men and women of the church. It is a challenge to believe what God says about his people still applies to the church today. It is a challenge not to settle for church as just a program. It is a challenge to return the ministry of God to the people of God. People of God lays out the theology and practice of community. Authors Spence Shelton and Trevor Joy seek to show why community is central to the Christian life, and how to practice it in the 21st century church. Whether you are a pastor or a volunteer leader, People of God aims to equip and encourage congregations as they build a culture of discipleship in the life of their church. The authors draw on experiences and learnings from their time leading two of the fastest growing congregations in America to give you principles that can apply in a church of 50 or 15,000.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

Christianity on TrialChristianity on Trial by W. Mark Lanier. “Does the Christian faith hold up under scrutiny? What does science tell us about the plausibility of a god? Can we trust the alleged eyewitness testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus? These questions are worth investigating in order to find an answer solidified in fact and evidence. Mark Lanier, one of America’s top trial lawyers, uses his experienced legal eye to examine the plausibility of the Christian faith. Bringing science, current knowledge, and common sense together in a courtroom approach, this ‘trial’ elucidates a rich understanding of God and a strong foundation for Christian faith.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)