Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Life Together

Reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together at the moment.  What about this for some thinking. Read and ponder.
"Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves.
By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both.
A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves this dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.
God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians which his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together.
When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first the accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller

The Christian book scene is awash with books on marriage.  Some are better left on the shelf as they are filled with self help DIY philosophy, you can do it ideology.  This book on marriage is very different and is a must read not just for everyone who is either married or planning to be married but for single people also.  The subtitle of the book summarises the content well - "Facing the complexities of commitment with the wisdom of God."  It is filled with solid Biblical exegesis and warm clear application of the Biblical principles that are well unpacked.  What this book does that so many books on marriage don't do - is to get you to the cross.
 It is made up of eight readable and thought provoking chapters:
1. The secret of marriage
2. The power for marriage
3. The essence of marriage
4. The mission of marriage
5. Loving the stranger
6. Embracing the other
7. Singleness and marriage
8. Sex and marriage
Every now and then I come across a book that I think - if I had a spare £200 I would buy twenty copies and give this to all my married friends.
I will take the cheaper option and say - if you are reading this and are married - then love your spouse by buying this read it and live it in the grace of God.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

JC Ryle Mark

Just finished going through Ryle's Expository Thoughts on Mark in my daily devotions.   Like the other volumes the text of the gospel is broken down into short portions and a two page warm and devotional comment made.  This is exceptional reading for daily devotions or family worship.  Not sure if the Banner of Truth publisher's offer is still in place for ministers.  I got the whole seven hardback volume set for £15 (minister's rate).  No Christian home should be without a set of Ryle.   In this volume Ryle starts to add just a few footnotes which are well worth the read.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Embracing Obscurity, Anonymous

The subtitle is, Becoming nothing in the light of God's everything.
In a day and age when self and promoting self is of the essence of life this is a needed book to call us back to Christ like humility.  It is a book to remind us to be content with who we are in Christ. Ten short snappy chapters to help you untangle yourself from yourself.  Be ready to be hurt and challenged.
This is a must read for every young Christian and a few older ones too who haven't stopped looking in the mirror.
Perhaps I should wipe this blog?

Right in their own Eyes, George M. Schwab

This 240 plus page commentary is part of a series edited by Tremper Longman III.  The book is an absolute must read if you are preaching through Judges.  It divides up into three main sections.  The opening section comprises three chapters to give the reader the tools to read the book with proper understanding.  The second section goes through the twelve cycles of the judges and the concluding section has two chapters on the conclusion of Judges.
This book has the balance of depth and application.

Judges Resources

Just finished preaching through Judges in 16 sermons and thought I would recommend a few commentaries and resources that I found helpful.
The New American Commentary, Judges, Ruth, Daniel Block, B&H Publishing ****
The NIV Application Commentary, Lawson Younger Jr., Zondervan ***
The Preacher's Commentary, David Jackmann, Thomas Nelson ***
Such Great Salvation, D.R. Davis, Baker *****
Right in their own eyes, George M. Schwab, P&R Publishing *****
Online Sermons
Michael LeFebrve
Carl Truman