Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books I Read in December

Gum, Geckos, and God: A Family's Adventure in Space, Time, and Faith by James S. Spiegel - This was one of four books I bought from for Megan this Christmas. If you live overseas, I highly recommend their site  - free international shipping folks. Professor Spiegel teaches philosophy at Taylor University where my in-laws graduated from. The 250 pages are a fun and simple read, but topics of the utmost importance are covered. Some of the questions that Spiegel's kids ask him include: Why do some people not believe in God? Why is it hard to be good? Who gets to go to Heaven? It is not uncommon for me to start a book and finish it months later, but Gum, Geckos, and God was a book that I knocked out in a few days. Earlier portions of it made me laugh out loud while later chapters made me really reflect on my own spiritual journey. I even read some of the conversations that Spiegel had with his children to my own girls.

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies - I was very happy to receive this book from my in-laws last month as a birthday gift. Once again, xie xie Fred and Carol. Tim Challies is my favorite blogger, and I usually visit his site every day. His first book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, was written two years ago and has been endorsed by many of Christian leaders whom I respect a great deal. A couple of those men include Pastor John MacArthur and Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is a 200-page book that consists of ten chapters, an appendix of discernment resources, study guide, and Scripture index. Tim Challies tells us how to devote ourselves to developing biblical discernment. His book is extremely relevant and a clear examination of an all-important topic that needs to be addressed more.

What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible by John Piper -  I decided to read What's the Difference? primarily because I want a better understanding of what God says about myself and my wife. Like most married men, I want a stronger marriage. This short book is actually one of the chapters from a much larger book called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Pastor Piper believes in complementarianism which is the theological view that because men and women are different genders, we are designed for different (complementary) roles and responsibilities. We are of the same worth before God, but we do not share the same authority and responsibilities in church and family. The Bible teaches that I am to lovingly lead, protect and provide for my wife and girls and that my beautiful and intelligent wife is to help me in my role. If you find that archaic, you need to read this short book to complement your reading of the Book. What's the Difference? is the seventh Piper book I have completed, and I hope to complete books #8 (This Momentary Marriage) and #9 (The Future of Justification) next month.

Ephesians 5:22-32

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Books I Read in November

Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck - A teacher in the middle school Bible department loaned me this book earlier in the school year. Why We're Not Emergent is a critical examination of the emerging church. Regardless of what camp you fall in, I highly recommend this easy to understand book that covers a somewhat fluid topic. I thought reading about the popular unorthodox views of the emerging church movement might make the conservative in me scream, but the writing styles of DeYoung and Kluck are a nice balance of the worlds of academia and entertainment. The crux of this book is that Christians must know the Truth. A proper understanding of what the Bible truly says is centered on the gospel - the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is not just our buddy and a nice moral teacher; He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42) and our great God and Savior (Titus 2:13). It is essential that we dive deep into the Word in order to have a biblical understanding of doctrines such as salvation by faith alone, the substitutionary atonement at the cross and the sovereignty of God. Having a solid biblical worldview will us to reach out to the weary and burdened with God's love in word and deed with grace and truth.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - For a few years I tossed around the idea of reading this children's fantasy novel and finally took the plunge after hearing a speaker at our fellowship talk about it last month. Fiction is not my cup of tea, but if there is anyone who could give me a taste for it, C.S. Lewis would be the one. Several years ago I read Lewis' classic, Mere Christianity, and I have had a growing interest in reading his fictional piece, The Screwtape Letters. I decided to read roughly a chapter a night to my girls who have seen both the BBC and Disney versions of the movie. It was a little difficult for Grace, my four-year-old, to always follow the story, but Rose, my seven-year-old, enjoyed hearing about the secret land beyond the wardrobe. Upon completion of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, both Rose and Grace have expressed on one more than one occasion their disappointment that I am not continuing on with Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia, the second of seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia series. Although I do not plan on reading more fiction anytime soon, I think there is a good possibility we will continue these adventures in the land of Narnia one day.

Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney - God has done an amazing work in the life of C.J. Mahaney. Mahaney is a man who understands humility, and a man who has taught me much about the cross of Christ. I highly, highly recommend watching his testimony on YouTube. Humility is the third Mahaney book I have read, and one that I just received earlier in the month. Xie xie Fred and Carol! I have had serious problems in the area of humility so I thought this fast read (a small book with less than 180 pages) could help me in the battle with my old nature. I found the last chapter, A Legacy of Greatness, to be particularly meaningful. Humility is a book that is easy to understand and contains a God-glorifying message.

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." James 4:10

A Reader's Review of The Shack by Tim Challies - The Shack is a very popular book amongst Christians and non-Christians, but I am one of many believers who find this New York Times best seller to be very unbiblical. I have read and watched a number of reviews of The Shack (Chuck Colson, Mark Driscoll, and Albert Mohler are other conservative evangelicals who have criticized The Shack), and Challies' free e-booklet continues the trend of showing me that what William P. Young writes in his book is dangerous and wrong. I realize my words here could offend and possibly surprise some, but I would encourage you to at least glance at Challies' 17-page review.