Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Masculine Mandate, Richard Philips, Reformation Trust

Sadly many men have lost their way - some become arrogant and abusive others effeminate and weak - and that is just in the church. This book is a tool for making real men. Real books have hard backs and a dust cover - so this book was off to a good start. The content is first class. Unlike many books for men this one is rooted in the Scripture. The writer takes the principles of Genesis and presses them in to all the avenues of a man's life. There are 13 chapters with good discussion questions at the end. The book is comprised of two parts: Understanding our mandate (1-5) and Living our mandate(6-13). Chapters 1-5 cover the basics of the principle of keeper king. Chapters 6-8 work this out in marriage, 9&10 in the family, 11 in friendship amongst men, 12 in the church and 13 finishes off with a general chapter on servants of the Lord.
Every wife or prospective wife should buy this for her man. Every man who loves his wife or is looking for one should read this book and inwardly digest by the grace of God.
Ideal for a men's fellowship or reading through with another man on a one to one.
My father used to have a saying about a real man - "he had hairs on his chest like shot leaks!" This will put some spiritual hair on your chest.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Message of the Resurrection, Paul Beasley-Murray

This is the last in the series of my reading on the resurrection for this year. This book is part of the IVP Bible Themes Series. The writer takes each of the main NT references on the resurrection and gives a short commentary. This is a very helpful study with good insights from the original language. The sound exegesis is matched by warm application. One or two areas in which I would disagree with the writer especially in a few side references to baptism. This is a well worthwhile read, informing the mind and touching the heart. There is an accompanying study guide at the end which would be fruitful of itself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preaching Resources on Esther

Just finished a series on Esther. Had hoped to get through in about 4 sermons but became 7. Some resources that I found useful.
The NIV Application Commentary, Karen Jobes. Helpful and a must for preachers.
Esther & Ruth, Reformed Expository Commentary, Iain Duguid. Useful preaching ideas.
The Gospel in Esther, Stephen Sykes. A bit fanciful in places but thought provoking.
Unspoken Lessons about the Unseen God, Derek Prime. Typical Welwyn. Not great deal of depth, useful for devotions.
God Behind the Scenes, Luter & Davis, Expositor's guide to Historical books. I didn't like this at the start but it sort of grew on me. Helpful for some study on Hebrew words and some interesting reflections.
Esther, Joyce Baldwin, Tyndale. Helpful.
Lectures on the book of Esther, Thomas M'Crie. Very helpful solid insights. Reprinted
Tim Keller (Redeemer Central)
Ian Hamilton (Cambridge Presbyterian)
Christopher Ash (Gospel Coalition)
Geoff Thomas (Gospel Coalition)
Andy McCracken (Sermon Audio)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Unspoken Lessons about the Unseen God, Prime

This is one of the Welwyn devotional commentaries which I read while preaching through Esther. Nothing deep here, mainly Bible reading note level. Some of the links to Christ are a bit simplistic. Having said that this is a useful devotional commentary for a daily devotions. Not much by way of assistance for preaching.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Planting New Churches, Ed Stetzer

This is supposed to be the A-Z on church planting from one of the leading church planting gurus. It is a substantial volume of over 30 chapters with a mountain of references. Stetzer has obviously done quite a bit of research for this volume but sadly his field of planters seems rather limited with not a hint of a confessional or presbyterian planters in view . While there was much that was interesting in this volume I had some major criticisms. The writer's comment that the reformation church was not a mission church is simply not true. That got under my skin early on in the volume. I did find his section on what makes a church planter and the section on understanding the culture helpful. However the lists of nuts and bolts on planting was rather tedious and a tad American. I am glad that I persevered to the end and found some helpful points to reflect on. Generally a useful read.

QI - not!

Stephen’ Fry’s “Quite Interesting” was far from that on Saturday 12th November when Mr. Fry launched an assault on the teaching of the Bible. Stephen Fry, a well-known and outspoken atheist simply couldn’t help himself spread his bad news, that there is no God.

In jocular manner he stated that there never was a worldwide census as mentioned in Luke 2 and that there was simply no truth in the fact that people had to return to their birthplace under Roman census. Mr. Fry said that Luke’s record was a fabricated idea to make it look that this was a fulfillment of the Old Testament Scripture.

As the merriment of bashing the Bible continued Jesus birth was referred to as something like getting Santa to Lapland.

One would expect a Cambridge graduate and someone of Mr. Fry’s ability to have studied a little deeper before he made such remarks.

For anyone caught off guard by Mr. Fry’s remarks here is something to chew over. Mr. Fry’s remarks are old hat. As far back as 1890 in Schurer’s History of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus, the worldwide census and the return to a home place was questioned. But these objections are so easily answered.

Firstly with regard to Mr. Fry’s remarks that there never was an empire wide census. His statement is simply not true. Augustus was known in history as a very methodical man. It is widely recognized today that Augustus instituted three censuses in this period. (Tacitus Annals 1.11; Dio Cassius 53.30.2). Also other census taking cycles are now known to have been in place from this time. (Buried History 9:113-132). When Luke writes all the world he is not speaking of all the world as we know it but the Roman world and especially the area in an around Palestine. And again it is recognized that regular census taking took place in Syria, Gaul and Spain.

Secondly with regard Mr. Fry’s comment – even if there was a census which there wasn’t they were not allowed to go to home towns. Again – Mr. Fry is obviously not a scholar. The Romans allowed the Jews to keep all sorts of customs even tax exemption every seventh year (Antiquities 14.10.20). And allowing the Jews to go home for census was no big deal and something that they were willing to do to keep the peace.

I can’t help but feel sorry for Mr. Fry. How foolish he looks to be making comments before the nation that are based on outdated and well answered 100 year information.

I am looking forward to the episode when Mr Fry and his friends do the Koran bashing bit.