Sunday, November 30, 2014

John MacArthur - Servant of the Word and Flock by Iain Murray

             I am not an avid follower of John MacArthur, although I have read and reviewed a couple of his books and have listened to some of his sermons over the years. However, I do recognize that he is a gifted Bible expositor, a well loved Pastor by many and, undoubtedly, one of the most influential Christian leaders in the United States and other parts of the world. And so, when I discovered that writer Iain Murray had written a biography of the beloved Pastor only a few years ago, I was glad to obtain a copy on my own and to review it. The book, entitled "John MacArthur - Servant of the Word and Flock" was worth my time.
            First, Iain Murray is a gifted writer and crafts the details of John's life into a splendid tale. The book was relatively easy for me to read, and I finished it within a little more than a day of purchase. Next, it was not overly detailed, as by the author's own admission it was not his intention to write a complete chronicle of Dr. MacArthur's life. And by means of this reduced chronicle, it made the book easier to finish.
            Like any good biography, the author recounts the events of the author's childhood and upbringing, including a little detail about his parents, including his father, Jack MacArthur, who had also been a Pastor and probably the most prominent influence on John MacArthur's ministry. The book does describe the events of  his conversion, college years and Pastoral ministry at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where Dr. MacArthur has served as the Pastor for decades.
            Iain Murray also takes the time to discuss not only controversial teachings that arose in the ministry over the years, but also some failed ventures in the church and trials along the journey. I was glad for his honesty. But, since Mr. Murray is a reformed minister himself, I do feel some of his agreements were a little bit quickly too affirming with some points of doctrine, rather than objective, while on others he states the areas he wishes Dr. MacArthur would change or emphasize more of in his teachings. However, this was not a serious enough issue to warrant not enjoying the work.
            Whether one agrees with everything Dr. John MacArthur teaches or not, as even his own friends don't at times, it would be difficult to argue that he has not dramatically impacted the Christian world in one way or another. This biography will serve to give you a good glimpse into his life and may challenge you to delve more deeply into the Word of God, which he so passionately proclaims that you might grow into the image and the knowledge of God. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Iran:The Coming Crisis by Mark Hitchcock

            There appears to never be a shortage of books on Bible Prophecy and end time events in the United States. However, there does at times appear to be a lack of understanding of the subject by masses. Mark Hitchcock is one author who has become well known on the topic of prophecy in recent years. I had not previously read any of his works and I was given a copy of "Iran: The Coming Crisis" to read for free through the book review program for bloggers, available at I was not required to write a positive review.
            First, this book was first published in 2006 and was written in the context of Iran coming into more prominence on the world scene at the time. Second, the author is a pre-tribulationist This is reflected in his views throughout the book, and he does explain the reasons for his position. A couple of things are in his favor in the book, one of which is the need that there is for people to understand Bible prophecy. Second, he is obviously very intelligent in both scripture and political events. Many of the things you may have missed in the news, he covers quite well.
            I did not, however, find this book to be simple enough for me. While I recognize the importance of explaining current events in the light of Bible prophecy, I felt that the world events were overemphasized at the expense of the scripture they support. It would have been nice to have focused primarily upon the scriptures, as a teaching tool and the events to support them, rather than the other way around. Also, since the book was originally published in 2006, it would have been nice to see this newer edition updated with information that has come out since 2006.
            Who should read this book? Anyone who loves to study Bible prophecy, or anyone who wants to understand a little better about what is going on in the nations of the world and what scripture says about it. If you are a frequent TV viewer of world news, you might benefit better than others who would otherwise be lost in the information. Jesus declared that He is coming soon. I hope that this book will make you more certain of that fact and help to prepare you for when He comes again.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Misfits Welcome by Matthew Barnett

              Some Christian books are meant to be Bible teaching tools. They contain a lot of scriptures and focus on helping people learn and grow from the text. But at other times, we all can use someone who shows us present day examples of those who have been transformed by these Biblical truths and are living testimonies of what the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can do in someone's life, no matter how far gone they feel that they've come from God's grace. My new selection for a book review this month, "Misfits Welcome" by Matthew Barnett falls into the latter category. It was given to me for free through the book review program for bloggers, provided by and I was not required to write a positive review.
             Nearly two decades ago, Matthew Barnett became the founder of The Los Angeles Dream Center. Space fails me to provide a detailed description of the dozens of outreach programs that this ministry serves in their city, but "Misfits Welcome" documents much of their work in the lives of broken and hurting people. Do you feel like you're a misfit and that God could never love you or use you? Then perhaps you should read further. The author draws from a wide range of individuals whose lives have been changed for the better by the power of Jesus Christ at work in them. And not all of the examples are of hopeless people. Some of the stories included are of those that the world might call 'successful", who used their talents, time and treasure in a life impacting way.
             The book's chapter titles include "The Misfit in us All", "Misfit Dreams" and "Misfit Expectations". The chapters discuss the topic covered and use the stories of transformed lives to illustrate the principles contained therein. I found it difficult not to quote many of these stories to my family as I read through the book. There are so many amazing dramas that are unveiled that I was compelled to keep reading and hear more of the victories others had found. And, you may find the stories of both their Children's minister and Youth minister to not be the typical 'how I got into the ministry' saga. But, you will find them to be a testimony to God's goodness in someone's life.
             In summary, I am glad that I read this book and hope that you will also. It made me say 'that's what ministry is supposed to be about' and put in me a desire to ask myself how I can do more to affect the lives of not only those that the world labels 'misfits' but the lives of everyone I have the opportunity to connect with on this side of eternity. I hope that it will do the same for you.