Saturday, August 25, 2012

Church Planting is for Wimps, Mike McKinley

Light and easy read.   More of a biographic study of church planting than a how to manual.   Not the last book you will read on church planting but one that contains many principles whatever your experience of church planting.  What I really liked about this little volume was the honesty of the writer.  The author has a warts and all philosophy.  The open and honest humble approach of the writer is a ray of light amidst the super hero impression given by many who write on this sphere of church life.  While the setting is clearly North American and the numbers on a a grand scale there is much here from which anyone interested in church planting will prosper.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Taken up to Heaven, Derek Thomas

Having been asked to preach at a young people's conference day on the Ascension of Christ I thought that this book by Derek Thomas would throw some light.  I wasn't disappointed.  The book consists of eight chapters each one dealing with some dimension of the work of ascension.  As the author admits the material had it origins in a series of sermons preached on the subject.  Derek Thomas has done a good job in the translation of the sermons into this written format. The material is well set out and thoroughly applied throughout.  Useful to use as part of daily devotions.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Next Story, Tim Challies

This is probably the best and only book that you will need to read on the impact of the digital era but read it you must.  The chances are that you have read this blog page on your laptop, smartphone or iPad.  Great tools to thank God for.  But like many good things they can come to control our lives and even weaken them if not used correctly.  Challies covers the while spectrum here - Facebook, surfing, texting, information at your finger tips.  What I like about his thorough approach is that he is not saying - bin your devices - any nutter could do that. Challies goes deeper.  He gets to the Word and applies the Word to the digital world we live in.  If you do Facebook you need to read this.  If you send emails you need to read this.  If you surf the net you need to read this. If you google you need to read this. Get the point - you need to read this.  I guarantee that you will be blessed and challenged.
It made me think.  Why do I need to check my email so often?  Why do I always have my mobile in my pocket?  What does my search history reveal about me?  Why am I so tempted to turn on my computer as soon as I get up?
So as far as repentance goes - I am no longer turning my macbook on first thing.  My email won't be checked so often - once a day will do fine.  I will master my new iPad and not be mastered by it.
Footnote - I saw a man on the beach yesterday who needs to read this book.  He had obviously taken his ten year old boy to the beach for a time of fun together.  As he kicked the ball back and threw a stick for his dog all the time he had his phone in his hand.  I thought catch yourself on mate - you are not the prime minister or the president of the US.  And neither am I - so don't expect instant messages back - I may be with someone more important than the both of us.

The Pleasures of God. John Piper

The publishers state on the cover "voted one of the century's top 100 books by World Magazine." It would be easy with such a build up for a book then to be a real let down.  Thankfully it wasn't. In fact I think that this was the John Piper book that I enjoyed the most to date.  It was first published in 2001 and many of the themes in the book appear in his other volumes.  The book comprises 10 chapters:
The pleasure of God in His Son
The pleasure of God in all He does
The pleasure of God in His creation
The pleasure of God in His fame
The pleasure of God in election
The pleasure of God in bruising His Son
The pleasure of God in doing good to all who hope in Him
The pleasure of God in the prayers of the upright
The pleasure of God in personal obedience and public justice
The pleasure of God in concealing Himself to the wise and revealing Himself to infants
One of the many things that I enjoy about reading John Piper is that you have to think, but more than that, you have to pause to worship the living Lord.  Another factor by which I judge a book is how often I say during the read - I need to preach on this.  It is safe to say that this thought appeared as I read each chapter.
Thoroughly recommended.  Even for the appendix, "Are there two will in God?" it is worth the money