Wednesday, May 28, 2014


The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The great- est adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable. 
John Piper, A Hunger for God [Wheaton: Crossway, 1997], 14

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best book ever

I rarely read a book twice.  It is not that I take it all in on the first read by any means, but just that there are so many good books to read.  So any book I reread must be something special.  I have just finished this morning my annual read of an all time classic, the ultimate best seller. I never fail to find something new in it.  Though some bits were a tough read the overall story line was dead simple to spot.  The leading character takes the stage in the first few pages and appears in virtually every chapter.  At some stages early in the book it seems that the author is putting in a lot of unnecessary detail but only later do you work out that it was all there so that the main character will be seen as so unique.  At several stages in the plot it seems that evil will win, in fact there is one great climax moment when it seems that the book is about to come to an abrupt end as the leading character gets put through some vile torture and executed.  But then there is a masterly twist in the tail when the lead rises from the dead and is made king over everything.
Every time I read this book my heart is drawn out to this main character.  I am finding that I want to start all over again and reread to see what more I can find out about him.  And there is one other thing - reading this book was utterly different from every other read in 2013.  Something happened in my heart when I read this, not every time, but on many occasions - it was as if author was addressing me, pointing out things in my life.  Yet again it just sort of got a grip of me, I was in the plot line too.
There is only one thing for it - starting tomorrow  I am going back to the beginning and if I am spared to make the 31st December 2014 I will have read it through one more time.

Engaging with Keller

This book published by Evangelical Press does exactly what it says in the title.  This book is a series of well written, thorough papers that seek to interact with some of the teachings of Tim Keller.  The chapters are written in a balanced and gentle manner and at the same time clearly set out the issues that are just under the surface in some of the preaching and teaching of the popular American minister.  The areas that the writers highlight include what Mr. Keller teaches about: sin, hell, the trinity, mission, evolution and ecclesiology.  For any student for the ministry or minister who reads or listens to Keller this is a must read.  For years I have benefitted and been blessed in reading and listening to Tim Keller. I don't intend to stop that having read this book. But I will read and listen in a more informed manner.
As well as high lighting areas of concern in Keller's ministry this book also stirs the preacher to guard his doctrine and teaching closely.  While our ministries will not have the audiences that Keller's has, nevertheless a group of people are being moulded by our preaching and teaching - so let us be on our guard.  Useful book for seminary students to study and debate.  It will hone your ministry for good.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Psalter Reclaimed, Gordon Wehham

This Crossways publication is a collection of articles based on addresses that Bible scholar Gordon Wenham has given.  There are eight chapters.
What are we doing singing the Psalms?
Praying the Psalms
Reading the Psalms canonically
Reading the Psalms Messianically
The Ethics of the Psalms
The Imprecatory Psalms
Psalm 103 The Son of steadfast love
The Nations in the psalms
This is a good read and a must for any theological college student wanting some deeper examination of God's songbook.  You will not agree with all that you find in these chapters but it will deepen your appreciation of the Psalter

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hidden, The Secret of more in plain sight, Mark Buchanan

Mark Buchanan is a Canadian pastor and writer.  It has been a number of years now since I read his super book, Your God is too Safe.  This volume is based around II Peter 1v1-9 with each chapter working out in detail the components that Peter states are vital for a useful life.  Buchanan has some interesting and stimulating comments on each of the key characteristics - faith, virtue, knowledge, self control etc.  His style of writing in a strange sort of way is compelling reading and at yet at times frustrating, as for me, he gets carried away in his  description of details, pouring in every word in the Thesaurus.  You will certainly not agree with everything that he writes especially when he tends to speculation about the details of Peter's life.  However this is a worthwhile read and certainly thought provoking.  A useful stimulating read for any wishing to live a life of useful for the Lord Jesus and for anyone preparing a series of addresses on the life of Peter.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, John Volume 1, J.C.Ryle

The more I read of Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels the more that I am convinced that no Christian home should be without a set of these devotional commentaries on the gospels.  With each volume Ryle seems to crank up the intensity of comments.  This first volume on John's gospel only covers the first six chapters of the gospel.  Ryle's comments are as usual pithy and heart warming.  But this volume takes his notes to a whole new level.  Often in this volume the footnotes exceed the commentary.  But even the notes, which are his gleanings of his reading are filled with a host of good things.
Forget the perfume, aftershave or whatever this coming season of present exchanging and buy something that will last and make a real difference.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Risk is Right, John Piper

This is more a booklet than a book as it comprises just over fifty pages.  It is vintage Piper, calling the people of God to a life of active risk taking service for Jesus Christ.  The subtitle is as good as the title, Better to lose your life than waste it.  After a forward by David Platt the book has eight short chapters each designed to push and entice followers of Jesus Christ out of their comfort zone and into battle.  Piper writes this book to give readers and taste for the more substantial book "Don't waste your life."
If you are looking for a giveaway booklet to stir friends for the new year this is it.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Crazy Busy, Kevin Deyoung

This book caught my eye because I am 50 plus and far too busy.  But I guess I am not on my own.  It is just a short book of 120 pages but is packed with dynamite.  Be prepared to have your sin exposed as the writer gets to the heart of why we are often crazy busy.  After an opening chapter or two to set the scene the writer then gives seven reasons why we are so busy.  Each chapter is well written, honest and hard hitting.  The final chapter is the best of all.  There are no self make overs offered in this little volume, just honest heart searching and the only remedy clearly presented.
Highly recommended for all you busy people.  If you are too busy to read a 120 page book it is time to get a grip.

Because He Loves Me, Elyse Fitzpatrick

This is a masterly application of the gospel to the life the believer.  If you haven't yet realised it most believers suffer from spiritual amnesia and this book is designed to help you remember.  It comprises some twelve chapters and in each of these the gospel is clearly explained and gentle pressed into your heart.  The writer is a skilled communicator with that wonderful knack of getting the healing balm of the message of Jesus' life, death and resurrection slipped right into where we need it.
If you are prone to discouragement, depression, or just being downcast - you simply must read this.
Each chapter ends with some questions which could easily be expanded to form the basis of a small groups study. Excellent material here too for the preacher who needs to learn to apply the gospel to the people of God.