The Gospel for Real Life

Book Recommendations

The Next Step: Disciple a Few

What does discipleship look like?

Here’s the guidance David Platt has for us in his book Radical:

I am concerned about a general vagueness that has existed in contemporary Christianity regarding the next step. We have seen that God blesses us so that his glory might be made known in all nations. But an all-important questions remains. How do we make God’s glory known in all nations? If God has given us his grace so that we might take his gospel to the ends of the earth, then how do we do that? Do we walk out into the streets and just start proclaiming the glory of God somehow? Should we all go to other nations? If we go, what do we do when we get there? What does all this look like in our day-to-day lives?

Jesus has much to teach us here. If we were left to ourselves with the task of taking the gospel to the world, we would immediately begin planning innovative strategies and plotting elaborate schemes. We would organize conventions, develop programs, and create foundations. We would get the biggest names to draw the biggest crowds to the biggest events. We would start megachurches and host megaconferences. We would do . . . well, we would do what we are doing today.

But Jesus is so different from us. With the task of taking the gospel to the world, he wandered through the streets and byways of Israel looking for a few men. Don’t misunderstand me — Jesus was anything but casual about his mission. He was initiating a revolution, but his revolution would not revolve around the masses or the multitudes. Instead it would revolve around a few men. It would not revolving around garnering a certain position. Instead it would revolve around choosing a few people. He would intentionally shun titles, labels, plaudits, and popularity in his plan to turn the course of history upside down. All he wanted was a few men who would think as he did, love as he did, see as he did, teach as he did, and serve as he did. All he needed was to revolutionize the hearts of a few, and they would impact the world.”

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, [Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2010], 87-88)

Quoted from the following blog: The Next Step: Disciple a Few.


What Would It Look Like to Orbit the Earth?

Colonel Jeff Williams—a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod—has seen this first hand. He has orbited the earth over 2,800 times, more than any person in history. He has also captured more photographs of earth than any person in history. You can view his 2006 photos and biblical reflections and commentary in the book The Work of His Hands: A View of God’s Creation from Space. He says, “Spaceflight definitely gave me a new perspective on the world around us and provided a transcendent view of things above and beyond the immediate elements of life . . . viewing the earth from space brought a new significance to the truth of many familiar biblical texts.” You can look inside the book here.

Click here to see more images of God’s creation from space: What Would It Look Like to Orbit the Earth?.


Depression & The Christian

This Sunday night I’m speaking on Psalm 6 and the topic of depression.  This psalm can serve as a balm, encouragement and exhortation to anyone in the throws of great sadness, depression and despair.  In preparation for this Sunday – or if you would like more materials on depression, I would encourage you with the following.

1.  Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Soul of a Saint.  This is a biography of William Cowper, a great poet and hymn-writer who was also a friend of John Newton (the writer of “Amazing Grace”).  William Cowper dealt with depression all of his life, and this biography can help us to see God’s grace in the midst of such difficulty.

2.  Come Weary Saints CD.  This album, produced by Sovereign Grace Ministries, is geared towards helping believers focus on God’s goodness in the midst of suffering and sadness.


3.  Pilgrim’s Progress.  John Bunyan wrote this book hundreds of years ago, writing of the journey that a Christian has on his way to Heaven.  John Bunyan, one who dealt with depression for at least 8 years, writes of despair in this book.

4.  Christians Get Depressed Too.  This is a short book dealing with the complexities of depression in the Christian life.


Great Books on James & Psalms

Maybe you’re following along with my Psalms and James series at Ventura and would like to learn more about these books of the Bible.  Or, maybe you just want some good book/commentary recommendations.  Here is a list of books that I’m utilizing as tools for my sermon series:

Psalms

1) Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Psalms 1-72 by Derek Kidner

2) Psalms by Peter Steveson

3) PsalmsThe Prayer Book of the Bible by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (This is a small booklet.  It is a very easy read and very encouraging to help us see the gospel in Psalms.)

James

1) The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of James by J.A. Motyer (This is a commentary that reads like a devotional book.)

2) Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Letter of James by Douglas J. Moo