Friday, August 30, 2013
Much of modern day preaching has downplayed the need for the Old Testament in today's church and Christian life. Focusing on the grace and love of God, the message that is conveyed, whether directly or indirectly, is that the Old Testament was about the law and therefore is not relevant in the age of grace. But, as author David Murray explores in his book Jesus on Every Page, it could be that the Old Testament does not contain a different message or a different Gospel at all. Perhaps it actually conveys the very same message as the New Testament, that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
David Murray is a professor in Old Testament and Theology, who Pastored in Scotland for 12 years prior to attaining his current position. The journey of understanding the Old Testament and seeing Jesus in the scriptures began many years ago for him, when he was asked to teach on Hebrew and the Old Testament at a newly formed seminary. Not knowing much of the Old Testament himself, he began to study. And the things he found, in his journey that has lasted many years, make up the contents of Jesus on Every Page.
Beginning with what the New Testament leaders, including Jesus, had to say about the Old Testament, the author builds a case that not only is the Gospel found in the Old Testament, but the writers of the passages actually knew that they were preaching the Gospel in their works. The second section of the book then proceeds to show in each chapter how Jesus is found throughout the Old Testament, in places like creation, the law, the appearances, the covenants and the prophets.
I found the book to be well researched and I enjoyed reading it. If you don't care for theology, then you may not find the book to be as interesting to you. The author attempts to avoid the technical aspects of Old Testament theology, and does a good job in making the book simple. But, there are times where you may find yourself having to read a portion over two or three times to understand the scope of the writing.
I received this book free from the publisher through the http://BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I do recommend this book to anyone who loves Jesus, loves the Bible and wants to know who the Bible says that Jesus is from cover to cover. Enjoy.
Friday, August 23, 2013
I must confess, I am not a big sports fan. I must also confess, I am not a big fan of men's ministry books. So, my expectations were not extremely high when I chose to read The Real Win, written by an NFL quarterback, Colt McCoy, and the Pastor of Austin Stone Church, Matt Carter. But I was pleasantly surprised and not at all disappointed by what I found in the contents of this great new book. It is a valuable resource for those who want to grow in their relationship with God.
One of the reasons I am not a big fan of men's ministry books is that I find they tend to emphasize stereo typical models of macho manhood and leave Biblical principles behind. But, in The Real Win, the authors do quite the opposite, and instead focus on Biblical manhood, what Biblical success is and how to apply this to the practical areas of our lives. And the Biblical definition of true success, as the authors define it, is made up of two primary components: who you trust and who you serve.
After defining success from the scriptures in the opening chapters, the book is then divided into four focus areas of winning. They explore winning at home, winning at work, winning in your character and winning over a lifetime. Colt and Matt both relate very personal areas of struggle, the challenges they often face and the Biblical principles to overcome these adversities. And though the book is targeting men, I do believe that women will gain great insights on men, as well as Biblical truths that they can apply to their own lives as well.
I received this book for free from "Water Brook/Multnomah Publishing Group" for this review. It even comes including a study guide at the end for small group discussion. If you want a book about macho manhood, this ain't the one. But if you're looking for solid, scriptural truth to help you in the everyday areas of life, you will find many concepts in The Real Win will assist you in living a life of winning over the challenges we all face each day. You may download chapter one of The Real Win at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/files/2013/02/SneakPeek_The-Real-Win.pdf
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Emotions are something that all of us have to deal with in life. Whether or not we allow them to control us and rule our lives, or whether we consciously decide to control them, however, is a decision that we must make each day. In the book Runaway Emotions, Pastor and author Jeff Schreve explores the place emotions have in our lives and how we can recognize what God may have intended them to communicate to us when we encounter them, so that we may use them properly to glorify God in our lives and put then in the place He intended, not ruling us but being ruled by us.
Jeff Schreve is the Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkanam Texas. While he was in college, he took a class on emotions one semester that opened his thinking to the role emotions play in our lives. Later, while Pastoring he did a series of sermons on emotions and the content of those sermons became the basis for this book. It is a subject than anyone can relate to, and the illustrations he uses can be readily understood by any reader, since all of us have experienced the same emotions, though under different circumstances.
The book is eight chapters long, each covering a different emotion, ranging from embarrassment to worry to guilt to depression. The author chose to address many of the most common emotions that we seem to wrestle with as individuals. The message he conveys in each chapter is that the emotion is a warning sign, and he addresses what he believes each emotion is trying to warn us. The cover shows a picture of a smoke alarm, which he actually sounded off in service when the series was first taught. For example, with the emotion of frustration. He states that the emotion is attempting to convey the warning that your God given desire for meaning and purpose is on fire.
I found the book to be practical and applicable, but not as engaging as I would have hoped (perhaps my emotion would be disappointment, but there was no chapter on that one). The material is definitely important, but I am a bit analytical and found myself questioning his conclusions for what each emotion is trying to tell us. He seemed to not have any solid evidence to support the validity of his conclusions, other than his own research that he used to form his conclusion. That doesn't make the conclusions wrong, just speculative. However, for anyone struggling with their emotional makeup, the book will be a good read.
I received this book free from the publisher through the http://BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. If you need help with your emotions, this book will be a good place to start. We all struggle with emotions and this book will be a helpful place to gain more understanding of the role of emotions and how to take control of their existence in our lives.