My Recommendations: Book of the Week, June 26

Pastoral leadership in corporate worship requires both passion and wisdom. John Newton was just such a pastor. He not only pastored his church through his sermons and letters, he also wrote worship-filled hymns. Beyond Amazing Grace: Timeless Pastoral Wisdom from the Letters, Hymns, and Sermons of John Newton, compiled and edited by J. Todd Murray, breathes the rarified atmosphere of the Word of God through a man of God. Newton’s pastoral example and words will rekindle spiritual fire in the reader’s own heart and life. D. A. Carson wrote of this book, it “deserves to become a classic in confessional evangelical spirituality, on par with Andrew Bonar’s Memoirs of M’Cheyne.”

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, June 19

Seven weeks ago I recommended the Grand Canyon companion to this guide book in the True North Series. This volume takes users on a trek through the landscapes of both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks identifying evidences of the biblical flood in Noah’s time and talking about biblical creation. The four authors (John Hergenrather, Tom Vail, Mike Oard, and Dennis Bokovoy) present a creationist’s viewpoint of earth’s history. They offer travel tips, maps, details on the vast forests, grasslands, geysers, trails, flowers, hiking trails, wildlife and more–all vibrantly portrayed in many full color photos. If you visit Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons, take the opportunity to study the majesty of God’s amazing creation with this volume in hand. Families will find the guide helpful for explaining the wonders of these parks to their children.

Another companion volume in the True North Series is Your Guide to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

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Identifying the Imperatives in Biblical Narratives

Narratives occupy a large portion of the Bible, whether its pages record the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph or the wanderings of Israel in the wilderness, or the events surrounding the judges and kings of Israel, or the stories of Ruth or Esther. And, those are just part of the Old Testament narratives. The Gospels and Acts in the New Testament also contain much narrative. The old saying is that “narratives describe, but don’t prescribe.” Sounds good. But, as with many such sayings, it is over-simplified and actually ignores explicit instruction from the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. Preachers and teachers need to learn how to carefully discover the imperatives within narratives.

As a contributor to ParkingSpace23’s blog, I posted a blog on this very topic. Although it merely scratches the surface (believe me, there is far more to tell and to teach about it within both testaments), I hope you will click on the following link Implications or Applications?: Preaching Biblical Narratives, read, and start identifying the imperatives of biblical narratives.

How much seminary training does a missionary need?

A sense of urgency characterizes nearly everyone who believes that God has led them to become missionaries for the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, many consider going to the mission field with either minimum training or with no formal training at all. Why go through years of seminary training? “Will it actually prepare me for missionary service?” “If God could use someone like Charles Haddon Spurgeon, William Carey, or John Calvin with no formal theological education, why should I seek such training?” “Isn’t it wasting time and ignoring the urgency for getting to my mission field?” If you’re asking these questions, you are not alone. As an experienced missionary (15 years in Bangladesh), this blog presents my answers to such questions.

As a contributor to ParkingSpace23’s blog, I posted an article with regard to preparation for missions ministries. If you click on the following link How much seminary training does a missionary need?, you will be able to read that blog post. Hopefully, it will either help you to decide on what training you need for missionary service or help you counsel someone who is asking that very pertinent question.

“Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day

Memorial Day marks the national commemoration of those American warriors who gave their lives for our nation on the field of battle. We take the time to honor their memory, to decorate their graves, and to remember their sacrifice. David provided us with a wonderful song, an elegy, preserving the memory of two such warriors for the nation of Israel: King Saul and his son Jonathan. My meditation on 2 Samuel 1:17-27 was published yesterday on ParkingSpace23’s blog, Click on the following link “Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day, read, and keep on remembering those who served our nation as soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen. Do not allow their memory to die. Pass their story on to the succeeding generations. Remembering their service and honoring their memory belongs to every day of the year, not just Memorial Day.

My Recommendations: Book of the Week, May 22

What do Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor have in common? Let’s count the ways: (1) All were fervent evangelical Christians? (2) All served Christ with all that they had. (3) All left behind a tremendous legacy of faithfulness and godliness. (4) All were based in England. (5) All were contemporaries. (6) All knew each other and encouraged one another and gained energy for ministry from one another. (7) All are the subjects of John Piper’s seventh book in his series entitled The Swans Are Not Silent. A Camaraderie of Confidence (Crossway, 2016) should be high on your reading list for 2017. Our team of local church elders is reading through this book and discussing it as part of our elders’ meetings. The volume would make a tremendous gift to your pastor or to one or more of your elders. Or, you could do what I did with the first book in this series (Legacy of Sovereign Joy)–I gave it to our two sons and to our two sons-in-law, because of the impact it had on my own ministry. This series of Christian biographies comprises one of John Piper’s greatest gifts to all of us.

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