Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘martin luther’

Happy birthday to my sweet 5 year old twin girls today! It’s hard to believe I am the dad of a 6 year old and two 5 year olds (along with 2 other little ones)!

This week: better to be sorry than safe, Doug Wilson on time management, being a do-it-yourselfer in the gospel, and social animals.

“It is better to be safe, rather than sorry…ONLY IN AN AIRPORT SENSE!”
(Mockingbird Blog)

When safety is the goal, we stand on our own two feet.  This then puts us on the defensive because we must maintain our own perceived idea of perfection. In this posture, grace is a noun; it is what I need from God to help me maintain my perfection and stay safe. This is contrasted with being sorry, which places us on our knees. Grace then is a verb, God’s unmediated forgiveness and mercy towards the imperfect.  Therefore, the importance of being sorry, rather than safe, is central to understanding the Gospel.

Seven Thoughts on Time Management (by Doug Wilson)

The point is fruitfulness, not efficiency. You should want to be fruitful like a tree, not efficient like a machine.

We Are Seasoned Do-It-Yourselfers (by Tullian Tchividjian)

As it was with Martha in Luke 10:38-42, so it is with us: we just have to be doing something. We can’t sit still. Achieving, not receiving, has become the mark of spiritual maturity. With this in mind, Martin Luther wrote, “To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.” The hardest thing to do even as believers in Christ is to simply sit down and receive something…

Looking for Joy in All the Right Places (by Collin Hansen)

Until we truly begin to understand and embrace the strong-group model of the church as a family, we will have neither the theological foundation nor the social capital necessary to act in a manner diametrically opposed to the dominant culture of radical individualism. We will successfully swim upstream against the raging river of personal sin and selfishness only in the context of community as God intends it.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Books I briefly review in this post (click to jump to a specific book):

My Top 5

Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo

Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

Here I Stand by Roland Bainton

Hidden Smile of God/Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ by John Piper

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert


Other Interesting Reads

The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer

Freakonomics/Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner


Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo

“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” Ephesians 4:13-15

This might be the best parenting book I have ever read. I’m not exaggerating! Priolo is helpful and practical and yet not overwhelming. Here are his key points:

  1. Use the Bible in instructing your children!
  2. Teach in the moment!
  3. Convict using the Word. Use Scripture to demonstrate to your children where and how they are in sin.
  4. Correct: Intentionally hone in on your children’s sin and work with them to seek change.
  5. Setting good habits for your children is not to be underestimated and requires grace giving training.
  6. Use of the rod must always include reproof, always with the Word of God.

I was convicted through Priolo that I have not been using the Word to make things clear to my older 3. I have even been lazy and have been using unbiblical terms and language, like “frustrated” or even “fussing.” I also think I can take short cuts during times of discipline with my kids and short change them in teaching them and helping them grow. I appreciated how Priolo’s book managed to simplify parenting for me. Parenting and life in general, can feel so incredibly complex most of the time. It’s not complex. Biblically, it’s not. In parenting, Scripture is the primary source and guide. It’s not an option to not use it. Scripture is not simply a tool but a bit more than that. Priolo even outlines how in the NT the use of the Word to bring about change and godliness parallels the Holy Spirit’s work in us. Compare Ephesians 5:18-6:9 and Colossians 3:16-4:1. I highly recommend this book and wish that I would have read it 5 years ago!

‘Oh, it’s not that He [The Holy Spirit] is unable to work if you don’t cooperate. It’s that He has not promised to work apart from the Bible.”


Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

“The human heart is indeed a factory that mass-produces idols. Is there any hope? Yes, if we begin to realize that idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced… What we need is a living encounter with God.”

This book surprised me. I read Prodigal God at the end of 2009 and was just destroyed by it and the fresh complete exegesis of Luke 15:11-32. Counterfeit Gods might be better. Keller walks you through different idols we tend to wrestle with in modern America and parallels these struggles with men and women of the Old Testament. Keller gives you a new perspective on Abraham, Jacob, Leah, Jonah, and others. His final chapter with his closing thoughts on Jacob is alone worth the cost of the book. Keller is thorough when it comes to the idols we battle and then he keeps coming with the gospel in response.

“Idolatry distorts our feelings. Just as idols are good things turned into ultimate things, so the desires they generate become paralyzing and overwhelming.”


Here I Stand by Roland Bainton

“Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.” – Martin Luther, Diet of Worms, 1571

Bainton gives us an informative, seemingly complete, and very entertaining biography of Martin Luther. What a stirring and yet encouraging read! If you only have a cursory knowledge of Martin Luther as the catalyst of the Reformation and maybe even the story of how God saved him, or even if you know more about Luther, you have to read this book. Bainton paints Luther as one of us, a man who definitely sought God with all he had but a man with sin, not perfect, who struggled often just as we do. Luther was not the #1 catalyst of the Reformation. Jesus was. Luther can’t even be accurately cast as the #2 catalyst of the Reformation, you have to give that credence to the Vatican who so vehemently and publicly responded to Luther’s 95 theses that it more than blew up in their faces and we were given an unprecedented access to the Bible and renewed faith in Jesus as the center of our salvation and hope.  Luther’s life is a story of a man very much in touch with his own sin and Jesus’ death for it all whom God used in a huge way, a man whose thoughts reverberate with us to this day.

The Hidden Smile of God/Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ by John Piper

“The question is not whether we die, but whether we will die in a way that bears much fruit.”

These two books are #2 and #5 in John Piper’s “The Swans are Not Silent” series which are based on annually given biographical sermons at Desiring God’s Pastor’s Conference. The Hidden Smile of God deals with the topic of the fruit of suffering and depression in the lives of John Bunyan (late 1600s, wrote Pilgrim’s Progress), William Cowper (late 1800s, poet, friend of John Newton), and David Brainerd (early 1700s, knew Jonathan Edwards). Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ deals with the cost of bringing the gospel to the nations in the lives of William Tyndale (early 1500s England), Adoniram Judson (1800s, first American missionary), and John Paton (late 1800s, Scottish missionary to the New Hebrides cannibals). Both are worth the read simply to get an introduction to these men of God and their trials and struggles. Judson and Paton are 2 of my heroes, men who laid down their lives in pioneer missions. Hidden Smile surprised me in how much it encouraged me. Bunyan was an unbelievable testimony to the Holy Spirit and Cowper and Brainerd are helpful in the reality of their struggles with melancholy and depression.

“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust him for his grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.”

-William Cowper, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”


What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert

“The Bible is the story of God’s counteroffensive against sin. It is the grand narrative of how God made it right, how he is making it right, and how he will one day make it right finally and forever.”

God, man, Jesus, response. The Gospel is that simple but you can’t leave any of those out and still call it the Gospel. Gilbert does a great service with this book, systematically simplifying the Gospel for us and then digging into the essentials. It was a good refresher for me in what the Gospel is and in the importance of sharing the words of the Gospel with others. You cannot read this book and then decide to sit back and keep the knowledge to yourself. Gilbert stirs you in the essential truths of the gospel and to walk in confidence in living it and sharing the gospel with those who do not know it or understand it. This book is a short read and good giveaway to others, good both for building up a believer and for a friend wanting to understand the heart of the Bible.

“There could be nothing healthy at all in Christians who couldn’t care less how we define and understand the gospel.”


Other Interesting Reads

The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

“Everything belonged to him [Kurtz] – but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of darkness claimed him for their own.”

I finally picked up this book, the masterpiece that Conrad is known for, about a man’s journey to the heart of Africa in search and in expectation of a confrontation with one man, Kurtz. This story is about his journey but truly about Kurtz, the man he is to meet and confront and Kurtz’s descent into darkness and madness. The first 40 pages dragged a bit for me, it was very difficult to get into, but then the book takes off and you, like the narrator, are just anticipating the meeting with Kurtz and seeing him face to face. An extremely good read. We identify with the narrator, Marlowe, but like him, we grow to identify with Kurtz. Would we do differently than Kurtz? In the deepest part of our hearts, the darkness in our flesh, I think we have to be honest and say we find a Kurtz. That’s the beauty of this story. You’re fascinated with Kurtz but the journey is Marlowe’s.

The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer

Yes, I did plow through all 4 books this past Spring. My thoughts are here and here for my recommendations and why I think this series is so polarizing and so engrossing.

Freakonomics/Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

“Knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes a complicate world much less so. If you learn to look at data in the right way, you can explain riddles that otherwise might have seemed impossible. Because there is nothing like the sheer power of numbers to scrub away layers of confusion and contradiction.”

Freakonomics can be summed up by one word: incentive. What are we motivated by? What incentives work? How does this affect our society? From cheating sumo wrestlers and teachers to prostitution to gang finances and accounting, the first book is a fun and interesting read about practical economics. I love how the notion of innocent altruism is simply wrecked by research and experience. We were made to seek reward! The question is in what? Not in this world. The authors don’t give a solution but definitely infer how many different ways of satisfaction we seek and how it never ends. Freakonomics to me is all about how the world is broke and unsatisfying and yet how thirsty and seeking we truly are. Super Freakonomics did not measure up to the first for me. It did not have the same depth and just was not as fun of a read as the original. Read the first, don’t bother with the second.

Read Full Post »