Taking God At His Word, by Kevin DeYoung

Taking God At His Word

By: Kevin DeYoung

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – March, 2016

Book Suggestion March 2016Is the Bible really sufficient to direct me in this 21st Century? Can the Bible actually be the authoritative voice in my life? In light of all that we know in this age, is the Bible truly necessary?

Kevin DeYoung offers a compelling defense for the authority and sufficiency of Scripture as a clear and essential rule for the Christian life. Rather than burden the reader with overly technical language, the author addresses the necessity of Scripture in an easy to understand, yet persuasive manner, as he relates the biblical evidence for the authority of the Bible. I recommend this short (127 pages) but convincing work as a reminder of the sure foundation of God’s written word.

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Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration, by James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, James Montgomery Boice, R. C. Sproul

Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms

By: James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, James Montgomery Boice, R. C. Sproul

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – December, 2015

Monthly Book Suggestion December 2015Around the Holiday season families often look for ways to keep Christ in the forefront of their Christmas celebrations. Throughout the years our family has used Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration for that purpose. Compiled by R.C. Sproul there are Sunday devotions written by Sproul, James Montgomery Boice, James Dobson, and Charles Swindoll as well as activities, hymns, Christmas carols, prayers, and daily Scripture readings that guide the family through the four weeks of advent. The Scripture references progress through the OT prophecies about the coming Messiah into the Gospel accounts where those prophecies are fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. This is a helpful resource that reminds us of the reason for the season.

A word of caution is probably needed here for families with children under the age of 10. Christ in Christmas is not shallow material. This is not the usual “feel good” Christmas story book. The Sunday devotions are meaty and the prophetic references need to be thought through. However, that has the advantage of allowing for good discussion and a better understanding of the Bible. This book is probably best suited for families with older children. Nevertheless, those with younger kids can still benefit if parents take time to prepare in advance so that they can explain the concepts developed by the authors.

Christ in Christmas is a decent resource that will help you and your family better understand God’s plan of sending His Son into the world to be our Savior

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Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, by Morton H. Smith

Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms

By: Morton H. Smith

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – November, 2015

Book Suggestion November 2015While ordering a number of books sometime ago I was mistakenly sent a copy of Morton Smith’s Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. The bookstore’s error turned out to be my gain. Once I began perusing the work I eagerly paid the extra cost and kept it for myself.

For those that have never read the Westminster Standards or who have only read a section of the three pieces that make up that work, Morton Smith’s volume is extremely helpful. By providing parallel columns for the Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism, he allows the reader to compare the specific doctrines taught in these historic documents. Helpful Scripture references are also provided so that the reader is able to see the biblical basis for the theology, ethics, and practices of the Reformed Faith.

I highly recommend Dr. Smith’s work as an easy to use guide for theological study or reference.

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Five English Reformers, By J.C. Ryle

Five English Reformers

By: J.C. Ryle

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – October, 2015

Monthly Book Suggestion Octocber 2015Every so often Christians can be blessed by being reminded of the struggles that previous generations endured for the sake of the gospel. In 1890 the Anglican bishop, J.C. Ryle penned a small but powerful book entitled Light from Old Times. This little work has been reprinted and released by Banner of Truth Trust under the name, Five English Reformers.

J.C. Ryle details the defense of the gospel and the martyrdom of five English churchmen during times of severe persecution in their nation. In my opinion, the first chapter entitled, “Why were our Reformers burned?” is worth the price of the book. The accounts of John Hooper, Rowland Taylor, Hugh Latimer, John Bradford, and Nicholas Ridley demonstrate the truth that although Christians may suffer and even die for the sake of Christ, they serve a God who will not desert them even in their darkest hours. I pray that all who read this work will be strengthened in their faith and emboldened in their conviction to stand for the gospel of grace. As we read the testimonies of these Protestant martyrs may we be reminded that God was faithful to ensure (as Bishop Latimer said to Ridley when dying at the stake) that their death would “light such a candle … (that) shall never be put out.” By God’s grace alone that small candle lit a gospel flame that still burns brightly in Bible believing churches throughout the world today

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The Confessions of St. Augustine

Confessions of St Augustine

Confessions of St Augustine

The Confessions of St. Augustine, trans. Benignus O’Rourke (2013)

Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – September, 2015

The Confessions of St. Augustine is one of the few books that should be read by every Christian. Although there are many translations available it is often difficult to find one that is written in a style familiar to modern ears. However, I discovered a recent edition of this great classic translated by Benignus O’Rourke that is both readable and engaging.

Augustine began writing his “Confessions” while serving as the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa. Throughout this autobiographical work the author portrays himself as a sinner who had come to understand that God was pursuing him even as he was resisting the truth of the gospel. Once drawn to faith in Christ by the grace of God this man, who had turned his back on the Lord could write, “You touched me, and I burn with desire for your peace.” For Augustine, who sought fulfillment in pleasure, nothing in the world could be compared to the rest he finally found in the God who made him for Himself.

Written both as a call to conversion and a support for believers, Augustine’s words will remind us of the providential care and marvelous grace of God that is still active in our own Christian journey. Whether it is this version or another translation, I highly recommend The Confessions of St. Augustine to all those that desire God today.

Why I Am Not An Atheist: Facing The Inadequacies Of Unbelief, edited by David J. Randall

Why I Am Not An Atheist: Facing The Inadequacies Of Unbelief

Edited by David J. Randall

August 2015 Book ReviewThe Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – August, 2015

Following up with the theme from last month’s book selection in which the author attempted to encourage Christians to reach their unbelieving acquaintances, the book suggestion for August, Why I Am Not An Atheist, offers insight from eleven people with various backgrounds that give cogent reasons as to why they are not atheists. Each chapter contains evidence for the truth of the Christian faith as well as attesting to the weakness of an atheistic worldview. Among the contributors to this work is a scientist, CEO, psychiatrist, journalist, missionary and pastor. While each of the writers provide their own particular perspective on the topic, I found the observations by the psychiatrist Pablo Martinez to be particularly helpful. His discussion concerning the makeup of an individual as well as his/her relationship to others and to the world demonstrated the weakness of atheism and the strength of the gospel in relation to questions about the human need for identity, purpose, and hope. While only the Holy Spirit can bring a person to faith, I recommend this short but insightful book as an instrument that can encourage believers and challenge those that consider themselves atheists or agnostics.

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Engaging with Atheists by David Robertson

Engaging with Atheists by David Robertson

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – July, 2015

Monthly Book Suggestion July 2015Written by a pastor in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Engaging with Atheists attempts to encourage and equip the Christian to reach out to their friends and neighbors that have been raised with no recognition of God’s existence or that have discarded the Christian faith for various reasons and now consider themselves atheists. The author tries to help the reader understand the positions that atheists hold, common misconceptions about Christianity, and the questions atheists may inwardly have about the issues of life. Throughout this small book Robertson approaches his topic with a fairminded and gracious attitude, remembering that atheists are human beings made in God’s image and deserving of love and respect. I would recommend this short book as a starter for those who are interested in reaching their unbelieving friends with the gospel but often find it difficult to know where to begin.

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The Valley of Vision, Arthur Bennett

The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – June, 2015

Book Review June 2015Prayer is one of the indispensable articles of the Christian life. Yet, too often our prayers seem dull and without heavenly content as our minds wander off topic. Arthur Bennett has done a great service to the Church by providing a composition of Puritan prayers that help the reader to reflect deeply on the Lord and to humble him/herself in God’s presence. The Valley of Vision is the type of devotional that teaches us to pray as we think through the worship, longings, and petitions of saints that have gone before us. They have tasted the Lord and found Him to be faithful. May all those that purchase this book do the same.

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War And Grace by Don Stephens

The Pastor’s Monthly Book Selection – May, 2015

War And Grace
by Don Stephens

Monthly Book Suggestions May 2015As Christians, we all acknowledge that the gospel has the power to change lives. Unfortunately, many of us waver about that when we see so many people rejecting the good news of our Savior. In the book War And Grace, Don Stephens offers up 13 accounts of individuals that found Christ in the midst of the dark days of World War II. In this volume, the reader receives a glimpse of God’s redeeming power throughout every nation, tribe, and tongue as the author presents stories of people from many backgrounds, all finding the forgiving love of Christ in their lives.

Not only does the author give us a glimpse of men like Louis Zamperini (Unbroken), but he also relates the conversion of the man that lead the attack on Pearl Harbor, infamous Nazi war criminals, and British POWs that were savagely treated by their captors, only to find the power to forgive, from the Lord who forgave them.

I highly recommend this book as a testimony of God’s redeeming grace and as an encouraging reminder that our God is an awesome God.

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