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Thursday, June 23, 2016

"It's Complicated" (Jack Haberer)

TITLE: It's Complicated: A Guide to Faithful Decision Making
AUTHOR: Jack Haberer
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016, (180 pages).

Seeking God's will is not as simple as saying, "It's all in the Bible." The more sweeping or simplistic a person says, the less satisfying it becomes, especially for earnest seekers. If we are honest with ourselves, we are sometimes guilty of some or all of the following. We give simplistic answers to issues that are inherently complex due to the many different factors and scenarios. Our answers in turn become reductionistic as we cut the real problem down to our size, just because we are unable to appreciate the extent of the real problem. In turn, we betray the trust that others have placed on us. Better to say we don't know or to put down some disclaimers first. In a nutshell, life's issues are often more complex than we think, more ambiguous than our own past experiences, more intricate and impossible to predict. If theory is a pretty portrait, practice will take potshots at it. In this book, pastor and author Jack Haberer aims to do three things. First, he lists the varioius popular questions asked and puts them in a single framework while pointing out the many ambiguities that come with it. He then leads us through a biblical journey of how the various biblical characters hear from God. Finally, he brings us back to our modern era and gives us an interpretive framework for discerning God's will for our times. The two basic questions that face us are:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Slow Kingdom Coming" (Kent Annan)

TITLE: Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World
AUTHOR: Kent Annan
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2016, (149 pages).

Just like the action movies, our busy lifestyles and activities that we do make us look like people constantly on the move. If we are not putting anything in motion, we may even be accused of idling. For believers who want to let their faith make a difference in their lives, the pressure is on to do something quick, lest we be accused of hypocrisy. If we open our ears and eyes to see what is before us and what is beyond us through the news and media, we will know that the injustice in the world far outstrips the amount of justice we see. Maybe, the bad news receive greater publicity than the good. There is so much to do that we do not know where or how to start. There are racial discrimination all over the world with the rich and poor often separated by privileges both explicit and implicit for certain people groups. There is human trafficking that despicably enslaves women, children, and vulnerable people. There is violence; violation of human rights; lack of basic resources; and immoral practices throughout the world. Besides that, there are needs closer to home, like the lonely people in our neighbourhood, people experiencing unjust treatment; and the ever growing rich and poor divide. How can we see God's kingdom come when the world seems to be heading toward greater brokenness? Where is the healing and the shalom of God? When we pray "Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done," where are the results? The key thesis of this book is that the most effective way to ensure the long-term development of developing societies is when we spend time and resources defending, promoting, and cultivating their freedom and their rights.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Love in the Face of ISIS" (Lorraine Marie Varela)

TITLE: Love in the Face of ISIS: Seven Prayer Strategies for the Crisis in the Middle East
AUTHOR: Lorraine Marie Varela
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Chosen Books, 2016, (160 pages).

With news of terrorism activities coming at us on a daily basis, it is natural to feel fearful about terrorists and the unending threats of violence. The killings and bombings do not simply occur in the Middle East troubled spots. Even in countries like France, Turkey, Belgium, Germany, the United States, and Thailand, the spread of ISIS is getting increasingly global. Mention ISIS and people would gravitate toward fear and uncertainty. Thus, many countries have come together to ally themselves against such terrorist organizations. From airports to border checks, from Internet chatrooms to Twitter messages; governments from all over the world are accelerating their monitoring of activities by terrorist groups such as ISIS. In such a climate, it seems like loving them is totally counter-culture. How can anybody love a group that kills innocent people? More importantly, what can Christians do in the face of such evil and violence? For author and professional photographer, Lorraine Marie Varela, the right response for all of us is prayer. The gospel of Jesus Christ is stronger, more powerful, and more effective than any strategies of man. For God wins through love. For in prayer, we will learn that what is impossible with man is possible with God. Now are these glib words uttered only by people in nice and safe places? Definitely not. For Varela has seen the pain and suffering of people through her many visits to the Middle East. The more suffering and impossible situations she saw, the more she had to cling to Christ. Out of the depths of helplessness and the heights of recognizing God's sovereignty, she shares with us seven strategies to live in the gap. All of them had to do with the Name of God. Briefly, the seven strategies are:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"A Commentary on the Psalms Vol 3 (90-150)" (Allen P. Ross)

TITLE: A Commentary on the Psalms: 90-150 (Kregel Exegetical Library)
AUTHOR: Allen P. Ross
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2016, (1024 pages).

This is the third volume of a huge undertaking by Professor Allen P. Ross that despite confessing that "no work on the Psalter can be said to be complete," still proceeds to give the rest of us a glimpse of the beauty and the difficulty of the work. It is one thing to admit the limitations. It is yet another to do one's best and I am happy that Ross has done the latter for the benefit of the rest of us. So this volume gives us the rest of the 60 psalms.  Pledging to strike a balanced between being too technical and being too popular, he shares about his early learning process about preaching Psalms. He would first do the heavy lifting of exegesis before engaging in an expository style of preaching from the Psalter. Under the guidance of Dr Bruce Waltke and Haddon Robinson, Ross has grown in his treatment of the psalms to develop a method that combines the best of exegesis and exposition. This method is described in this commentary. The general format of each chapter is:
  • A Summarized Title shows us the big idea of the entire Psalm.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"Finding God in the Ruins" (Matt Bays)

TITLE: Finding God in the Ruins: How God Redeems Pain
AUTHOR: Matt Bays
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers, 2016, (256 pages).

Doubt is a part of life and we can either let it strengthen our faith or weaken it. Often, it is in the ruins of life that we find the power of living, and more importantly, the grace and presence of God. Yet, when we feel down and almost out, how can we do that? Is it not something that is often easier said that done? While the topic of pain, suffering, and doubt is nothing new, it is still being asked regardless of which era we live in. This contemporary age is no different. We live in an age of skepticism and an increasingly anti-Christian climate. Even among believers, the challenge is to make sense of God in the midst of dark pain. Questions like:

  • Where is God when disasters come?
  • What can we do with problems we cannot seem to solve?
  • Is the world any better without Jesus?
  • How can we believe that God still love us in the midst of tragic events?
  • What do we do when we encounter health dangers?
  • Stories of heartaches, tragedies, suicide, etc.
  • What does it mean by "God's higher ways" when we feel down in the pits?
  • How do unexpressed doubts become toxic?
  • .....

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"The Justice Calling" (Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson)

TITLE: The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance
AUTHOR: Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2016, (210 pages).

There are many instances where things are easier said than done. With compassion, people usually want to do the right thing. With passion one can press on to do the right thing. Put it another way, our talk and our walk must match each other every step of the way. The prayer to God to help us be the same person in thought, in word, and in deed is very applicable here. According to the famous Micah 6:8 passage, we are reminded:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Why is there a need to call for justice in the first place? That is because injustice still reigns in many difficult parts of the world. How do we persevere in our quest and practice of compassion and justice? We need to go back to the source of all Justice. We must be anchored on solid ground, and in this book, the solid Rock is Jesus, the Person who embodies the full character of God. The authors do this by giving an overview of God's character from Genesis to Revelation through six movements of Scripture and five key words of God's character.

Friday, June 10, 2016

"Conversion and Discipleship (Bill Hull)

TITLE: Conversion and Discipleship: You Can't Have One without the Other
AUTHOR: Robert W. Hull
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (256 pages).

What is discipleship? For Dietrich Bonhoeffer, it is dying with Christ as described in his famous words: "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." For the late Dallas Willard, he laments that modern evangelicalism lacks a "theology of discipleship." For many of us, we seem to treat discipleship as a separate thing from conversion. Is conversion different from discipleship? Yes. Can we have one and not the other in order to be a Christian? No. Summing up his life's passion about discipleship, Bill Hull asserts right from the start that the Christian faith requires one to have BOTH. Challenged by the late Dallas Willard to develop a theology of discipleship, Hull aims to build on his previous three other books about discipleship. This time, he is more conscientious about developing a theology of discipleship that encompasses the gospel, the call, salvation, Holy Spirit, ways & means, Church, the pastor, and the end times. It is a full treatment of essential theological subjects.

Some of us may have known Hull for his work and writings on discipleship. Hull has been a champion on all things discipleship. It is not surprising that he has even extended his passion to deal with conversion as well. Hull makes a few propositions which should make readers sit up and listen:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

"Unchurching" (Richard Jacobson)

TITLE: Unchurching, Christianity without Churchianity
AUTHOR: Richard Jacobson
PUBLISHER: Independent, 2016.

What is the Church? How is the Church of today different from the Church in the book of Acts? Has Christianity been replaced by Churchianity? These are questions which author and ex-pastor Richard Jacobson attempts to answer. Creator of the original "Church Anarchist," the website of "Christianity without Churchianity" is now called "Unchurching." Beginning with his experience of a "crisis of faith," he gives several reasons for his disillusionment with the modern Church. He quits his position as a pastor in 2003 due to such a "crisis" and especially because of the way Church is done. Like worship taking place mainly in buildings rather than other gathering places; or activities that seem to be disconnected from biblical imperatives; and authoritarian structures that seem most human centered rather than God-centered. So he sets out to "deconstruct" the existing institutional church in the hope that he can arrive closer to the original church. At the root of it all is his assertion that the Church of today has totally lost its resemblance to the Early Church.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Tell Someone" (Greg Laurie)

TITLE: Tell Someone: You Can Share the Good News
AUTHOR: Greg Laurie
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing, 2016, (138 pages).

Ninety-Five percent of Christians have never led a person to Christ. If we do not share our faith, it may even be considered an "actual sin." It's a "travesty" not to obey the Great Commission. Believers who share the gospel with others tend to be happy people. These arresting statements kick off this book about evangelism and how we can effectively share the gospel. For if we do not share the gospel at all, we are effectively no different from non-believers. Greg Laurie has this conviction: If we want to share the gospel, begin with care. As the Father cares, so must we. We share the faith because we love Jesus and because Jesus desires to draw more people to His saving grace and loving embrace. We are called to preach the gospel everywhere and wherever we are. The gospel is to be preached and also lived. Going through the Who-What-When-Where-Whys of evangelism, Laurie shows us the how-tos that are more tact rather than mere facts. Like the woman at the well where Jesus gently highlighted the need of the woman or the way Jesus spoke with Nicodemus in the middle of the night. Love is a powerful draw of the gospel. In a nutshell, we share because we care. We care because God cares. The five steps Laurie proposes for preachers are:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Paradox Lost" (Richard P. Hansen)

TITLE: Paradox Lost: Rediscovering the Mystery of God
AUTHOR: Richard P. Hansen
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (224 pages).

What are we to do with mysteries and strange phenemonon of life? How do we live with paradox? What about biblical paradoxes? Is it worth the effort to try to fit everything into one box? In this fascinating book about the perceived contradictions of biblical ideas, we find an honest and bold attempt to accept that we are limited in our understanding of the things of God. The best way forward is not to reject or to blindly accept the paradoxes we encounter, but to embrace the Sovereignty of God. Contradictions such as:

  • Free will of man vs the Holy will of God
  • Humanity vs Divinity
  • Visible things vs Invisible things
  • Exaltation vs Humility
  • Foolishness vs Wisdom
  • Living vs Dying
  • Knowing God vs inability to fully comprehend God
  • ..
Richard Hansen, pastor and former missionary professor at Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia writes this challenging book about how we can deal with the mysteries and the paradoxes of life. He first compares it with the Person of God, reminding us of the paradox of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the salvation, and many aspects of theology. He argues that these "tensions must not be resolved" because of the dangers of falling into various aspects of heresy. History has taught us that. Thus begins a book about the extent in which we can address mysteries and the way we solve problems. The appropriate response to problems is due diligence to do whatever we can to resolve it. The appropriate response to mysteries is awe and wonder. We need both. More importantly, Hansen teaches us that if we want to experience the mystery of God, we must learn to "reclaim and embrace biblical paradoxes." He goes on to explain that in four parts.

Monday, June 6, 2016

"The Dusty Ones" (A. J. Swoboda)

TITLE: The Dusty Ones: Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith
AUTHOR: A. J. Swoboda
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2016, (226 pages).

I remember a friend telling me that there are three types of people in this world. The first group are those who make things happen. The second group wait for things to happen. The third group are those who wondered what happened. After reading this book, I believe there is one more group: Those who are wandering as and when things happen. For God's people throughout history have been known as a people wandering toward the Promise Land. That is one reason why the Christian life has often been compared to the journey metaphor. We travel from one point to another. We experience God more and more. We in our imperfection is on a journey toward the Perfect God. Jesus has said in Matthew 5:48 to "Be perfect for the heavenly Father is perfect."

Just like his earlier two books, Swoboda does not shy away from mystery or the less illustrious parts of spirituality. He sees from the darkness as opportunities for learning. He sees wandering as a way to grow spiritually. In his first book, Messy, he sees the positive sides of struggles and challenges. In his second, A Glorious Dark, he reflects on the day of silence between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus and calls it "glorious." In this book, he offers to readers "a description of and hopeful vision for the wandering Christian experience."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

"After 50 Years of Ministry" (Bob Russell)

TITLE: After 50 Years of Ministry: 7 Things I'd Do Differently and 7 Things I'd Do the Same
AUTHOR: Bob Russell
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016, (224 pages).

It has been said that success depends on making the right decisions. The right decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making wrong decisions. Ministry is basically all of that. In a book that reflects on his 50 years of ministry that spans from a small community Church of 120 members to over 180000-sized Church today,  veteran pastor and leader Bob Russell shares of fourteen lessons he has personally learned. Seven of them he would do differently while the other seven he would continue the same.  Briefly, the seven things he would keep on doing the same are:

  1. Priority and Preparation for Expository Preaching
  2. Not to Underestimate the Demands of Ministry
  3. Incorporate Humour
  4. Disciple New Leaders
  5. Avoid the Celebrity Temptation
  6. Maintain the Course with the Tried and Proven without being distracted by the latest fads
  7. Longevity in Church service in one place

The other seven things he would do differently are:

  1. Ministry more by faith rather than fear
  2. Watch less television
  3. Pay less attention to criticism
  4. Be kinder and more attentive to his wife
  5. Stop comparing himself with other preachers and other churches
  6. Be generous inside and outside
  7. Do not attempt to cover up a moral failure of fellow staff member.

Monday, May 30, 2016

"Reaching Millennials" (David Stark)

TITLE: Reaching Millennials: Proven Methods for Engaging a Younger Generation
AUTHOR: David Stark
PUBLISHER: Bloomington, MN: Bethany, 2016, (176 pages).

The news is grim. The statistics are not encouraging. The Church in the West are largely shrinking. The conventional belief now is that a growing number of the younger generation, especially the Millennials (Born between 1978-1998) are no longer going to Church. Is it too late to reach them? Can we stem the outflow of believers to an increasing number of "Nones" (Non-Affiliated; Non-Church-Going; and non-committal) group of people? In a book that offers to push back against the tide of dismay and discouragement, David Stark offers this book not just as a life-buoy but a firm call to re-think, to re-assess, to re-imagine, and to rebuild. Before that can happen, two things need to be done: 1) Change the Mindset; 2) Re-work the Methodologies.

In changing the Mindset, Stark studies the gospels and the Acts of the disciples to discover the way Jesus and the early believers reach out to others. He looks at the ways of evangelism; the wisdom and patterns used; the questions posed to unbelievers; and the need for cultural awareness. At the least, do not make it hard for unbelievers to come to Christ.  He shows us five ways in which we can streamline the process of changing mindsets, beginning with ours.

Friday, May 27, 2016

"Lessons in Belonging" (Erin S. Lane)

TITLE: Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe
AUTHOR: Erin S. Lane
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2015, (208 pages).

Far too often, when we talk about young people and the Church, it seems like strange bedfellows where there are often more suspicions than trust. Sometimes we have cross accusations where the old would claim the young are uninterested while the young say the old are too archaic in their ways. It is easy to criticize the Church. In fact, people of all ages can say negative things about the Church. Yet, the truth is, we need one another. We need both the young, the old, and everyone else in between. In one word, this book is about "belonging." While that is the key point, what makes it most interesting is the way the author writes counter-culturally. She gives a refreshing perspective from the mindset of a Millennial. For instance, instead of seeing "disillusionment" as something chronically negative, how about seeing it in terms of a good thing, like having an opportunity to be free from our personal illusions? Not only can it free us from the castle of self, it enables us to reflect on what role we ought to play with regard to being a part of a community. Rather than pinning the blame on something less controllable, like the Church and how she should behave, it places the responsibility back on the individual. How do we trust people? What can we do to be a part of the enduring community? It is a call not only to accept messy living but to participate in a community no matter how messy it is.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

"Live Like You Give a Damn!" (Tom Sine)

TITLE: Live Like You Give a Damn!: Join the Changemaking Celebration
AUTHOR: Tom Sine
PUBLISHER: Eugene OR: Cascade Books, 2016, (pages).

There is a renewed energy growing. This is not about the establishment, the successes of the past, or the words of the rich and the famous. This growing phenomenon is in the young people living in ways the past generations have never seen before. Hold your horses people. The younger generation is back and they are changing the world in more ways than one. They are not the "whatever" generation who do not care. Instead, they are passionate about their ideals; energetic about their ideas; and are already making a difference in the world at various contexts of their lives. How are they making a difference? Tom Sine, author of "Mustard Seed vs McWorld" has noticed several ways in which the younger generation have done so and are doing more and more. The key purpose of this book is not just to describe the innovative changemaking initiatives that are happening, but to invite readers and people from other generations to be excited, and to join in. Rather than to lament on the so-called declining Church, why not celebrate the wonderful imaginative work done by those 35 and under? Instead of focusing on activities pertaining to Church only, what about extending it to neighbours as well? Tom Sine and his wife Christine lives in a an intergenerational community house where they participate in gardening, cooking, and various forms of hospitality and service to neighbours and friends. Sine prides himself as a "disorientating" person to help others think out of the box.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"Small Matters" (Greg Nettle and Jimmy Mellado)

TITLE: Small Matters: How Churches and Parents Can Raise Up World-Changing Children (Exponential Series)
AUTHOR: Greg Nettle and Jimmy Mellado
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (192 pages).

If youths are the future of the leadership of society, then what about those who are on the way to becoming youths themselves? In two words, the authors of this book have crystallized the importance: "Small matters." I would add, "It matters indeed!" Just like every little girl is a princess and every little boy a prince, everyone of us as children of God are royalty in the making. Taking issue at how young children are being ignored, abandoned, abused, and even manipulated, Greg Nettle and Jimmy Mellado believe that we must love and care for children in the same way Jesus did. For we battle not just against physical poverty but emotional, mental, and physical aspects too. From broken marriages to material greed, children are often helpless when they are suffering from the fallouts of flawed adult decisions. At the same time, there are external threats like gunmen shooting schoolchildren and terrorism that lurks at increasingly more places in our society. The authors' conviction is that every child needs a Church.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"The God We Worship" (Various Contributors)

TITLE: The God We Worship: Adoring the One Who Pursues, Redeems, and Changes His People
AUTHOR: Edited by Jonathan L. Master
PUBLISHER: Phillipsburg, PA: P and R Publishing, 2016, (192 pages).

What is worship? Is it about man or is it about God? Some churches choose worship formats and songs according to the needs of people. Others choose worship liturgies to adhere closely to tradition. Without adequately understanding what the essence of worship is, it is hard to plan out a meaningful flow of worship. More importantly, how we begin determines the general thrust of the worship experience. The core message in this book is about God, with each sermon and message pointing readers to the nature of God. For without God, worship is meaningless. In this book, ten contributors give their unique perspectives of a certain aspect of worship. Organized thematically, the essays and sermons begins with the glory of God; covering the Fall of man; proclaiming the call to worship; meditating on God's grace and mercy; the truth claims of Jesus Christ; the work and Person of the Holy Spirit. Worshiping God is like admiring and gazing at a lovely diamond, with each worship moment helping us to cherish and worship God in a specific way. Bryan Chapell in "God's Glory Revealed" begins with a reflection on Isaiah 6 to meditate on the glory of God and to imagine what made Isaiah tremble. Charles D. Drew in "Called by God to Worship" reflects on how God pursues people; and considers three questions to ponder. He asks:

  1. How do we know God seeks worshipers?
  2. Why?
  3. Why should we say yes to Gods pursuit of us?

Richard D. Phillips continues this same line of meditation with "Sought by Christ to Worship" covering on New Testament revelations of Christ. Joseph Ryan touches on God's providence in "Guided by God's Sovereign Providence" through the three types of providential care (planning presumption; personal presumption; and positional presumption) as described in James 4:13-14.  Philip Graham Ryken sees God as Redeemer  in "Redeemed by God's Sovereign Mercy" addressing the reality of pain and suffering while acknowledging God's sovereignty over all. Focusing on Romans 9, Ryken sees the distress experienced by Paul, agonizing over the depravity of man while affirming the mercy of God. He settles on the position that God is not merely concerned about mercy per se, but the full revelation of Himself, Truth personified. Michael S. Horton shares about "Sanctifying Grace" and argues that before we can understand the process of salvation (Romans 6-8), we need to disengage from our culture of self-help and therapy-obsession. For grace is a full acceptance of what we cannot do for ourselves and the undeserved grace we receive. Through the already and not-yet theological model, we are reminded about our limitation and that it is up to God to fully reveal Himself according to His perfect timing. Richard D. Phillips looks to Christ as Royal King, High Priest, and Redeemer. He concludes with the vision of the glorious kingdom to come in Revelation. Out of this beauty of God's holiness comes our desire to serve God even more.  Michael A. G. Haykin speaks of the Holy Spirit in "The Spirit of Holiness" arguing that the essence of worship is God's holiness. Al Mohler describes worship through "Know the Truth" believing that right worship comes with right belief. Worship is not manipulation but an affirmation of the Truth of God as declared in the Bible. D. A. Carson in "I Am the Truth" brings together the biblical passages in both the Old and New Testament and shines the limelight on Jesus Christ, and how the Holy Spirit enables us in worship as God's truths get embedded in our hearts.

On and on, each contributor begins with the Word and concludes with a declaration that worship begins with God, proceeds with God, and concludes with God. All of them belong to a coalition of pastors, scholars, and clergy who hold on to the Reformed faith, called the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. The breadth of topics make this book respectable, though some would argue that worship is a much bigger topic and deserves a lot more pages to cover. That said, the series of sermons are ongoing as each year, a conference is held to allow different members of the community to express their understanding of worship. It is definitely very instructive to people who tend to think worship only in terms of music and song. For them, this book is an eye-opener that worship is way more than the musical instruments and melodies played. The number of contributors could have been more.

Who should read this book? First of course are the worship leaders. Being able to lead is not just about the ability to play a musical instruments or to throw in a few songs to fill in the time space. It is about elevating the goodness and Triune Godhead. It is in ascribing to God His full attributes and who God is. It is about proclaiming the truth of God as affirmed in the Bible. The worship leader must always be worshipers themselves. Second will be the teachers and Bible facilitators. Having a good understanding of worship will teach us that our service flows not from our motivations or talents but on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help us know God and then to make God known. Third, it is for the lay persons, and anyone wanting to understand worship from a Reformed perspective.

Anyone who wants to know the heart of worship from a Reformed perspective should get this book. It is anchored in biblical truth and is consistent with Reformed theology.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of P&R Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

Monday, May 23, 2016

"Seasons of Waiting" (Betsy Childs Howard)

TITLE: Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed (The Gospel Coalition)
AUTHOR: Betsy Childs Howard
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016, (128 pages).

Waiting can be hard. It can be worrying. Sometimes, it can even make one sick, so says Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." Between the question and the answer, waiting is that middle way in which one can only remain in hope or worry with despair. This book is essentially about this phase. It is about trusting God to provide even as we wait out the tensions of unknowing. Author Betsy Childs Howard shares with readers five life stories where waiting is not only difficult, it is terribly painful.

The first story is about a single woman named Katy who wanted so badly to be married, to have children, and to have a nice family. Yet how is she going to start a family without a husband? How is she going to have children when her biological age window for child bearing is closing? How is she going to get married when she does not even have a boyfriend? How long will Katy have to wait?

The second story is about Christine who had trouble conceiving. After a miscarriage and constant inability to conceive, Christine suffered from endometriosis that was so serious that doctors recommended hysterectomy. That would spell the end of any pregnancy. The next option was adoption. Yet, that too was challenging. With infertility came disappointment. With disappointment came despair. With despair came pain. How long will they have to wait?