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A Few Good Reads

A Few Good Reads September 8, 2016

photo credit: solidether via photopin cc
photo credit: solidether via photopin cc

Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge—They’re Old Liberalism
Andy Stanley has caused no small amount of controversy in the last few weeks over his new sermon series. “Who Needs God” is designed to address those who grew up in church but later abandoned the faith. Stanley’s desire to bring folks who walked away from the church back into the fold is laudable, but the message he has been preaching goes astray. David Prince helpfully walks through what Stanley has been teaching and shows that his message isn’t that new. In fact we went through this 100 years ago. His response blends biblical exegesis with relevant historical theology, and we need to hear it. “Stanley argues that our faith is based on the resurrection and not the Bible. Severing the Scriptures from the resurrection is the very thing that Jesus said could not be done, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead’ (Luke 16:31).”

Simple Ways to Spark a Lukewarm Devotional Life
We all know what it is like for our devotional life to suffer. There are times our Bible reading and prayer times feel as stale as old bread. Tim Challies offers some practical ideas for breathing life into your devotional times again. “Sometimes a plan is the problem and sometimes a plan is the solution. If your reading is infrequent and unstructured, why don’t you think about finding and following a plan? While we typically think of annual plans that begin in January, there are also great plans that run for weeks or months. A three- or four-month plan may be just the thing to get you through to the end of the year.”

Grieve Your Loss in Another’s Pain
In an excerpt from his new book, Being There: How to Love Those Who are Hurting, Dave Furman talks about the loss his wife Gloria has experienced in helping him through his physical disability. He shows why it is okay for those who care for another who is in pain to grieve the loss they experience through the care that they give. “In some ways, our grief as Christians is amplified because our hearts of stone have been made hearts of flesh, and now we hurt for other people differently. You hurt for your family and friends who are suffering. It’s imperative that you’re honest about the pain that you’re going through. Rather than just trying harder and keeping it to yourself, it’s important that you grieve your loss and come to terms with reality.”

The Haunted Hayride of Human Approval
I would rather be beaten with a stick than to disappoint people. This is not an overstatement, I struggle mightily with the desire to please people, and I know I am not the only one. The desire to make everyone happy is an endless treadmill that leaves you exhausted and empty on the inside. Marshall Segal helps us understand the danger of longing for human approval and the antidote for it that we find in the Gospel. “Perhaps the single most significant hindrance to Christian witness in the world today is our hunger for human approval. By nature, we think more about what people think of us than about what they think of Jesus. We crave acceptance and dread rejection — which inclines us toward whatever might improve others’ perception of us. And that will very rarely, if ever, lead us to call them to repent from their sin and believe the gospel.”

Married for God: Making Your Marriage the Best it Can Be
Few families in our culture have been untouched by the pain of divorce. It seems that in our culture that is obsessed with personal happiness, we are willing to quickly jettison a marriage when things get hard, not realizing that there is a greater purpose in marriage or that enduring through the hard times makes a marriage more joyful in the end. In this new book, Christopher Ash reminds us of the beauty and sacredness of marriage by pointing us to the truth that we are married for reasons bigger than our own happiness. “By realigning our hopes, expectations, and goals for marriage according to the Bible, we will discover the deep joy and lasting fulfillment that comes from a God-centered marriage.”


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