Saturday, July 30, 2011

Towards Spiritual Maturity, William Still

An old proverb says that good things come in small packages. This 6o page book by the late William Still proves the case. The book comprises seven short chapters covering the work of Christ and growing in the Christian life. As it says on the recommendations on the back page it is one of those books to be read and reread. There is help here for the young Christian and the maturer believer. It is classic Still, cross centred, God honouring, heart warming and life changing. The chapter on the armour of God is especial helpful.
If you find them cheap on the internet or a box lurking on a bookshop floor and can get them for a good price buy and give away. It is published by Christian Focus.
Here is a quote to whet your appetite, God is the only worker, for all that we do in Him is by His power. Those who seem to serve Him and fight for Him must be morally, intellectually and emotionally convinced that all the glory is His, and that the uncreated God will never share His sole prerogative with His creatures. What He shares are His blessings, and the man in Christ can have His fill of them - certainly more than He seeks. p55
Loads available on Amazon or for those with a Kindle

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lament for a son, Nicholas Wolterstorff

This little gem published by Eerdmans is simple and honest expression of the grief of a father for his son who died in a climbing incident. Each page has the outpouring of a grief stricken father. These personal accounts of one man's wrestling with God will help any who grieve to articulate the agony of their own heart. These are brave and thought provoking musings of a father who obviously loved his son very deeply. There is an obvious progression in the book as the father moves from the dark reality of loss to the hope of the resurrection.
There is one area that gives concern in the writings of this father. In several places he would appear to over state the suffering of God as he speaks of God's pain and the anguish of God. While there is no doubt that the God of the Bible understands us perfectly and the God man on the throne of heaven has experienced all that we face we need to take great care not to attribute to God dimensions of our character that may not be the same for one who never changes. I wonder if the writer is straying towards the error of patripassianism. With this significant caveat this book will be of help to any in the midst of grief.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Wisdom from Bridges on The Christian Ministry

There is as much benefit in the right choice of books, with which we should be most familiar, as there is in the election of other friends or acquaintances, with whom we may most profitably converse. No man can read everything, nor would our real store be increased by the capacity to do so. The digestive powers would be overloaded for want of time to act, and uncontrollable confusion would reign within. It is far more easier to furnish our library than our understanding. p46

Monday, July 04, 2011

Invictus, John Carlin

This is certainly a case of the book being better than the film. A fascinating read of how Mandela steered and planned his way to the top to lead a nation out of the horror of apartheid. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Language a bit strong for my liking in a few places but it was in the setting of quoted rugby player conversation. As far as lessons. Probably the example of Mandela in the effort that he took to understand people that he might lead the to a better understanding.

The Blind Side, Michael Lewis

A light holiday read. Not very often can someone say that the film is better than the book - but that is my assessment of this book. Don't waste your money on buying this - the film is much better. The storyline of this true story is fascinating - rich Christian American family take in a a poor black teenager who they love and shape to become a leading NFL hero.

Cry the Beloved Country, Alan Paton

David Powlinson of CCEF fame somewhere recommends this volume. I bought this last year and only got round to reading it on holidays this summer. Of the hundreds of books I have read over the years this is the best written by a long shot. It is a novel following the heartache of a black South African pastor searching for his rebellious son. Many key features of life are illustrated in this wonderful book. While many see it as a classic that traces the racial tensions of South Africa there is much more here by way of Biblical lessons. On every page we are reminded how broken this world really is. The reader is also reminded of the root of all trouble - sin.

Song of the Nighingale, Helen Berhane

This is a short and not very well written book that is absolutely fascinating. It recounts the details of the life of a woman imprisoned in the most appalling conditions in Eritrea. Her crime was sharing her faith in Jesus Christ. While there was a lot of theological head scratching at some things in this little volume one cannot help but be impressed by the desire that this woman has to share the faith. I couldn't help think - would I stand firm in the faith under such conditions?

The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, John Piper

I read this a few years back and read it again on holidays as I ran out of Sabbath day reading and turned to my wife's collection. This is Piper at his best in biographical analysis. This volume covers Luther, Augustine and Calvin. Each biography covers the basics of the life of the individual and then Piper's wonderfully penned applications and challenges from the life of. Much here to challege the pastor who is called to feed the people of God.

I Can Plod, John Appleby

This is a biography of the founder of modern mission, William Carey. It is not wonderfully written but the the power of Carey's life shines through all the same. It is one of those biographies that you will need to read with a pen and paper - the lessons just pour forth. Appleby has a great grasp not only of the life and work of Carey but also provides a thoughtful assessment of the times in which Carey laboured. One thought keeps striking me when I read this book - where are the Carey's of today? Where are the men and women with a passion for reaching the unreached? The lessons from the life of Carey are legion:
1. the Lord blesses hard work.
2. Persistence is vital in the work of the kingdom.
3. To reach the lost great effort will be required.
4. To mission effectively in a different culture a well integrated team is required.
The writer makes a mistake on page 198 - he says in a footnote the word for baptise always means immerse - that is very much disputed.

Taming the Tiger, Tony Anthony

Someone gave me this book as a freebie and like all freebies it sat in my desk for a while, after a few months was put on a shelf and then on a tidy up nearly got dumped. For some reason having put it in the waste paper basket I retrieved it and thought - I will give this a read. And what a read! It is the biography of Tony Anthony, three times world king fu champion. Not the sort of biography I usually go for. I was struck by the mercy and power of God to save and to keep those for whom Christ died. I was reminded that as believers we have a great deal of growing to do and God is faithful even when we fall. I was struck by the grip of grace that God has on His children. I was struck as to how the Lord delights to use his people in bringing others to faith.
Well worth the read. Authentic publisher.

Sermons to the Spiritual Man WGT Shedd

I read the counterpart to this volume (Sermons to the Natural Man) a few years back and found it very beneficial. This volume is exactly what it says in the title - sermons to the spiritual man - 26 of them to be exact. Each sermon has that typical Shedd approach - intensely thorough and imaginatively illustrated. I used this volume as a warm up for my daily devotions. Each sermon contains enough to inform the mind with new insights on the passage or text and stirring application to strike the heart.
My volume was hard back and published by Banner