Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Free E-Book Alert – Why Trust Jesus?

The last decade has shaken our trust in personal safety through terrorist attacks, school shootings, economic turmoil, and war. Our trust has been shattered in other areas as we have seen hypocrisy in governmental leaders as well as in the church.

We are looking for relationships that are authentic and full of life, but we have many questions in regard to faith, reason, suffering and even the person of Jesus himself. Author and speaker Dave Sterrett helps us answer these and other questions:

-Why Should I Trust Jesus when So Many Other Spiritual Paths Exist?
The foundation of trusting in Jesus is that he is true. But if absolute truth does not exist, then to say that “Jesus is the Truth” is a meaningless statement. Many definitions of truth fail, but a good definition of truth is “that which corresponds to reality”; simply put, truth is “telling it like it is.”

-Why Should I Trust Jesus When All I Need to do is Trust Myself?
Human knowledge is real, but it has its limitations. Jesus, however, is all-knowing. He knows everything about me. He knows everything about you. He knows what you are thinking. He knows what you are feeling. He understands you better than you understand yourself! This is one of the many good reasons for us to pray to the Father in the name of the Son.

-Why Should I Trust Jesus in the Midst of Suffering and Death?
The ultimate foundation of Christianity is a historical event: the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. A man who walked this earth in history claimed to be God, died on the cross, and bodily rose from the dead.

Many people in today’s culture, both Christians and non-Christians, have questions about why and how to trust Jesus. But there is hope! He is worthy of our trust.

Download Why Trust Jesus? here.

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Free E-Book Alert – All in Good Time

All in Good Time by Maureen Lang  Caldwell has a dream: to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver’s roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan, and nearly every bank in town has turned her down. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.

Henry Hawkins has a secret: though he owns the most successful bank in town, his initial capital came from three successful raids on Wells Fargo coaches. Now he’s the most eligible bachelor in Denver, but to protect his criminal past, he’s built a fortress around his heart. Not even the boldest matchmaking mother can tempt him . . . until the day Dessa Caldwell ventures into his bank requesting a loan.
Though he’s certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa’s passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House . . . and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission—but he also threatens to bring Henry’s darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God’s, between safety and love.

Download All in Good Time here.

Recommended by John Piper

This morning on Facebook, John Piper posted this:  “To help you pray, over 200 pages of Bible promises for under a dollar, Kindle edition.”  So, here’s the amazon description of the book:

Take Words With You” is a comprehensive compilation of approximately 1500 promises and Scripture prayers (ESV) to provide tangible traction to our prayers. It is intended to fortify our prayers with God’s Word and to build a strong faith in God in the one praying. It is also intended to better align the believers praying with the will of God, which God has promised to answer:

This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (1 John 5:14)

Purchase the book here.

Helpful Book Reviews – 03-30-13

Taking God Seriously by J. I. Packer – Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know is primarily intended for those people: sincere, everyday Christians who don’t know why they believe what they believe or how that belief, generally speaking, translates into God-honoring behavior. In an almost too-quick 175 pages, the reader gets a thoughtful introductory foray into evangelical thought—“ventures in adult catechesis,” as Packer puts it. Or you could call it “mere Christianity.” – Alex Duke

Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher – Among the book’s strengths are its illustrations. For example, Dutcher compares Reformed theology to a windshield of all things. “I am concerned that many Calvinists today do little more than celebrate how wonderfully clear their theological windshield is. But like a windshield, Reformed theology is not an end in itself. It is simply a window to the awe-inspiring universe of God’s truth, filled with glory, beauty, and grace. Do we need something like a metaphorical windshield of clear, biblical truth to look through as we hope to marvel at God’s glory? Absolutely. But we must make sure that we know the difference between staring at a windshield and staring through one.”  – Tim Challies

The Christian World of the Hobbit by Devin Brown – Brown explores the world Tolkien made in a new book The Christian World of the Hobbit(Abingdon Press, 2012). In this work, he demonstrates how Tolkien’s Christian worldview bleeds through his written works and permeates the world he made. This aspect of Tolkien’s work is puzzling to many. His books have almost no references to God or anything remotely similar to church or religion, and yet they are hailed by many as Christian novels advocating a Christian worldview. Sure there is a fight between right and wrong, and right wins — but is that enough to classify the book as Christian? – Bob Hayton

Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp – Every once in a while, I come across a book that changes my life. Not very often, but every once in a while. “Dangerous Calling” by Paul David Tripp is just such a book. If you are a pastor or in full-time ministry work, buy it….TODAY and then make it the next book you read. I have put this in my personal list of the Top 5 most influential books I’ve read. It’s that good. In fact, it is this important a book for pastors.  – Dan Burrell

Free E-Book Alert – Salvation Accomplished by the Son

While this is a free e-book, its not the entire e-book that is being offered.  However, it is a significant portion of the book that available for download and the actual content contained in the free download appears to be worth mentioning on this blog.  Here’s a word from the fine folks over at Crossway:

As you prepare for Easter, we’d like to help you reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection. Through the first week of April, we’re offering a free download of a significant portion of Robert Peterson’s Salvation Accomplished by the Son: the Work of Christ. In these chapters, Peterson explores Christ’s saving work and offers an in-depth look into Christ’s death and resurrection.

You can download the free material here or purchase the entire book here.

Free E-Book – Evidence of the Resurrection

Each week Rose Publishing offers free e-book pamphlets/charts on a variety of different topics.  This week Rose is offering Evidence of the Resurrection.  Here’s the product description:

Was Jesus a real person? Is there evidence that he rose from the dead? Can you trust the witnesses? The bestselling Evidence for the Resurrection pamphlet answers each question and addresses each theory with historical, archaeological, and cultural proofs. This 12 panel pamphlet, which can be read in half an hour, presents evidence and logic that has convinced critics over the years and will equip you to with the right information when you talk to someone who questions the resurrection story. Evidence for the Resurrectionis perfect for Easter, Resurrection Sunday, discipleship, new members, confirmation, and outreach.
12 panels, fits inside most Bibles, 8.5 x 5.5 inches, unfolds to 33 inches long

Evidence for the Resurrection addresses 11 common objections and theories held by skeptics. The objections include:

  • Jesus was a mythological figure
  • Jesus was just a man
  • Jesus’ followers made it all up
  • The witnesses were unreliable
  • The physical resurrection of Jesus was not that important to the early Church
  • The New Testament is not reliable
  • The resurrection is not important

Theories held by skeptics include:

  • The eyewitnesses hallucinated
  • Jesus did not die on the cross
  • Jesus’ body was stolen
  • Everyone went to the wrong tomb

For each of the objections and theories, Evidence for the Resurrection provides an answer from eyewitnesses who wrote the Scriptures, historical Church documents, and ancient archaeology records, among others. The evidence in this short pamphlet will cause even long-time believers to celebrate the glory of the resurrection with each reading.

Evidence for the Resurrection also includes a one-page answer to the question, “What is the Resurrection?” and a page of “Closing Statements,” that includes additional evidence that Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected from the dead. Additional references are also provided.

Download the book here.

Why Christians Should Read Fiction

Dr. Russell Moore reminds us why Christians ought to read fiction.  Posting on his blog Moore writes,

Fiction can sometimes, like Nathan the prophet’s story of the ewe lamb, awaken parts of us that we have calloused over, due to ignorance or laziness or inattention or sin. One night, in the car on my way home, I was talking by telephone to my eighty-six year-old grandmother. She was telling me a story about the last time she saw my grandfather alive. She told me about feeling the coldness of his feet as she changed his socks in his hospital bed, about how his eyes were focused on her, though he couldn’t speak. She talked about how, when the nurses told her she had to leave, she kissed him, told him she loved him, and that she could feel him watching her as she left the room, for the last time. I knew she had lost my grandfather. I know that people die. I know “Husbands love your wives” (Ephesians 5).

But that story awakened something in me. It prompted me to hold my wife with a special tenderness when I walked in the door. I had imagined what it would be like to say goodbye to her in that way, and, suddenly, all the daily pressures of kids and bills and house repairs and travel just seemed to fit in a bigger context. Fiction often does the same thing. When I read Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Illych, I gain an imaginative sympathy with something I might avoid in the busyness of life: what it’s actually like to die. When I read Wendell Berry’s stories of Henry County, Kentucky, I can gain insight on what it would be like to face losing a family farm in the Great Depression. This fiction gives a richer, bigger vision of human life.

Read the whole post here.

Free E-Book Alert – The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul is one my favorite Bible teachers.  The Lord has used Him in my life to help show me some key Biblical themes and concepts.  In this book, Dr. Sproul speaks to the necessity of the Cross.

Dr. R.C. Sproul surveys the great work accomplished by Jesus Christ through His crucifixion the redemption of God s people. Dr. Sproul considers the atonement from numerous angles and shows conclusively that the cross was absolutely necessary if anyone was to be saved. Opening the Scriptures, Dr. Sproul shows that God Himself provided salvation by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross, and the cross was always God s intended method by which to bring salvation. The Truth of the Cross is an uncompromising reminder that the atonement of Christ is an absolutely essential doctrine of the Christian faith, one that should be studied and understood by all believers.

You can download the book here.

30 Books Stephen Altrogge Thinks You Should Read

Stephen Altrogge posted a list on his blog of 30 books he thinks every Christian ought to read.  Here’s a few he mentioned (and that I’ve read):

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul – This is not a safe book. If you read it you will find yourself trembling before the holiness of God.

Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul – Have you ever struggled with the doctrine of election? In this book, R.C. Sproul dispels common myths about election and shows how it is actually a very glorious doctrine.

Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney – How can we live in the joy and freedom of God? How can we grow as Christians? By keeping the gospel as the central thing in our Christian lives.

Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper – There are few books that have my understanding of what it means to love God than this one. Loving God is more than just duty, it is delight.

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever – Who should evangelize? What should we say when we evangelize? Mark Dever answers these questions and more in this short book.

Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. by Kevin DeYoung – How can you know God’s will for your life? Find out by reading this book.

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem – This is the most helpful theological reference I own. If you have questions about demons, the Bible, church government, the Holy Spirit, or just about anything else, you can find the answer here.

Read the whole list here.

Book Review: Galatians for You by Tim Keller

Title: Galatians for You
Author:  Timothy Keller
Publisher:  The Good Book Company
Publishing Year: 2013
Pages: 198
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

Galatians for You is an apt title for this new commentary by Tim Keller.  In this short book Keller unpacks a great deal of thought-provoking doctrinal content and challenging personal application of said content.  It is incredibly easy to read and can be understood by new and old Christians alike.  Tim Keller, like R.C. Sproul, possesses that unique gift of having a highly-intellectual mind and the ability to communicate to the common man.  This is seen best in the appendix concerning the New Perspective on Paul.

In this book in particular, Dr. Keller unpacks Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.  The key issue at stake here is nothing less than the gospel itself.  Anyone familiar with Tim Keller realizes his passion for this subject.  Anyone who reads this book walks away with a clearer understanding of just what the gospel is.

The reader is also warned against the counterfeit gospel (which is not a gospel) of legalism.  Keller defines legalism as “looking to something besides Jesus Christ in order to be acceptable and clean before God.” (page 54)  In contrast, “In the gospel we discover that trusting in Christ brings God’s full and complete favor and approval.  When He sees the believer, He sees Jesus (3:25-27) –  and so He says to us, ‘With you I am well pleased’ (Mark 1:11).  God is pleased with us.” (Page 34)

Whenever I think of Galatians, my mind goes back to a Sunday school flannel board with pieces of fruit pressed against it.  These are fruits of the Spirit which I am supposed to have or cultivate if I am a true Christian.  So, I especially found pages 151-157 extremely helpful in interpreting this concept of fruit bearing in light of the gospel.  Keller is quick to remind us that real fruit is gradual.  In other words, it grows over time.  An apple doesn’t just merely appear out of thin air.  The fruit of the Spirit grows as well as the Holy Spirit does His sanctifying work within us over time.  Keller also reminds us, “Our approval and welcome from the Father rests not on our character or actions, but on His.  We are free to acknowledge where we have given up ground to the sarx in our lives; free to confess where we have not sought to keep in step with the Spirit; free to realize where we have confused our gifts or natural abilities with the fruit of the Spirit.” (page 155)

This book is a gift to the church.  Buy it; use it; give it to a friend.  I think new Christians in particular will find it most helpful.  But, really, anyone who is struggling with legalism and is therefore having difficulty seeing the gospel for what is would benefit from this work.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

You can purchase a copy for yourself here.