Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Those who say that Christians should do evangelism and not politics overlook the fact that God gave both the church and the government to restrain evil in this age.

I agree with Wayne Grudem and others that one significant way that God restrains evil in the world is through changing people's hearts when they trust in Christ as their Savior (see 2 Cor.5:27). But we should not turn this one way into the only way.

Dr. Grudem has written an excellent book, Politics According To The Bible. It is a comprehensive resource for understanding modern political issues in light of Scripture.

God also uses civil government to restrain evil, and there is much evil that can only be restrained by the power of civil government. The reason is that there will always be many who do not trust in Christ as their Savior and many who do not fully obey him.

For example, we may want the Gospel to change society so there would not be things like drunk driving or slavery. But we know that if every Christian in the world set a marvelous example by never drinking at all that there would still be people getting drunk and driving. Christian influence alone didn't bring an end to slavery. It took the government to do it.

Some of my Christian friends say, "I am only going to be positive, preach Christ and influence the world for good." It's a good thing to be positive as much as possible, to preach Christ at every opportunity and to always be an influence for good. BUT sometime we have to say, "NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! THAT IS NOT TRUE. THAT IS WRONG AND EVIL."

Evil does exist and we better recognize it.

So, I don't care who is involved in the evil---my mother, my brother, my neighbor, my co-worker, my government. I am going to point it out for what it is and call for a change--repentance.

Doesn't this distract from the main purpose of preaching the Gospel? It could, but it doesn't have to.Chasing evil in the government and other places could become a hobby and you could spend all of your time doing that. But if you are determined to put first things first, God will enable you to do that.

So as for me, I press on with evangelizing as much as possible and standing against evil by pointing it out everywhere I see it and doing everything I can to stop it.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

How God Uses Ordinary People
to Do Extraordinary Things
By R.T. Kendall

OVERVIEW: With keen insight and practical application, beloved theologian and teacher R.T. Kendall explores the triumphs and contradictions of this powerful man of God. You will love seeing how Elijah was like you―righteous but proud, strong but cowardly, blessed but tested by trial and doubt.

AUTHOR: Dr. R.T. Kendall, a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Oxford University (D.Phil.), was the senior minister of the historic Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years. The author of numerous bestselling books, he conducts conferences all over the world. He and his wife, Louise, live near Nashville, Tennessee.

MY REVIEW: This is a good book and I like many things about it, but the thing I like the most is its emphasis on the importance of godly character. Oh my, how this is missing in today's society. Dr. Kendall reveals in this book how Elijah was a great man of God and yet afflicted with the very same failings and fear we all have. This is both encouraging and challenging at the same time. Elijah walked closely with God but stumbled along the way. But in the end we see that he lived with great faith and that we can too.

This is a book that will benefit all readers but especially young people. God used Elijah to accomplish great things, and He wants to use you, too.

(I received this book for free from Chosen Book Group for this review.)


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

My mother passed away when I was elven years old and I went to live with my sister and her husband.

Two of my brothers and their wives would drive a hundred miles every few week-end to visit with me.

When my brother-in-law saw them coming he would call out to my sister, "The damn Ditmores are here."

That always infuriated me!

But I guess the truth is that most of us think our relatives are a pretty motley crew.

Consider these thoughts from Leonard Sweet:

When we peel back the genealogy of our Lord from both Mary and Joseph's sides, we come to a startling revelation. God the Father chose some of the worst examples in human history to be blood kin to the Son of God Himself. Consider the Lord's kinfolk:

* Judah--a Jew who had sex with his daughter-in-law, thinking she was a prostitute
* Tamar--a Gentile who bore two sons out of incest
* Rahab--a Canaanite prostitute
*Ruth--A Moabite (the Moabites' lineage began with incest between Lot and one of his daughters
*David--a king who committed adultery and murder
*Bathsheba--a woman who committed adultery

Can you imagine a more embarrassing lineage? It's certainly no lineage suited for a king. Yet these were the ancestors of the spotless, holy Son of God. ...This was no accident. It was the sovereign choice of a sovereign God, who chose each of these people to be the blood kin to our Lord.

This poses good news for every child of God

(The thoughts of Leonard Sweet were taken from JESUS--A Theography by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola)


By Eric Metaxas

OVERVIEW: SEVEN MEN offers answers in the captivating stories of some of the greatest men who have ever lived. In this gallery of greatness, seven historical figures come to life as real people who experienced struggles and challenges that probably would have destroyed the resolve of most other men. Having heroes and role models was always tremendously important for society, but in the last few decades this has changed, with seriously troubling results. Eric Metaxas says it's time to reverse the trend. With vitality and warmth, the New York times best-selling author restores to the reader a sense of the heroic―the idea that certain lives are worthy of emulation.

AUTHOR: Eric Metaxas is the author of New York Times #1 bestseller and ECPA "Book of the Year" Bonhoeffer, the bestseller Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery, and more than thirty other books. He is currently the voice of BreakPoint, a radio commentary broadcast on 1,400 radio outlets with an audience of 8 million. Metaxas was the keynote speaker at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, and was awarded the Canterbury Medal in 2011 by the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom. Metaxas has written for Veggie Tales, Chuck Colson, and the New York Times. He currently lives in New York with his wife and daughter.

MY REVIEW: I can give no better recommendation for this book than to quote author, Oz Guinness who said, "This is a book to read, to read aloud to others, and then read again. In a day when children are growing up stunted because of our diet of empty-headed celebrities and contemptible villains, true heroism and manliness need special nourishment. Eric Metaxas had done it again, and again we are in his debt."

This is a splendid book and I highly recommend it. Metaxas writes about seven great men: George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles W. Colson.

After hearing Eric Metaxas speak on television and at our church and then reading his marvelous book, Bonhoeffer, I couldn't wait to get my hands on 7 Men. I was not disappointed. Eric Metaxas is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors.

This is a book that I would like to give to every teenager―but not just teenagers. This is a book for all of us. We need positive role models. Metaxas writes about great men that lived inspirational lives. By looking at those lives we become inspired to live better lives ourselves.

I suggest you get this book and then pass it on. We all need to be inspired!

(I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson (BookSneeze) for this review.)


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

By Bob Hostetler

OVERVIEW: Drawing from the ancient love story of Hosea, a prophet whose life and prophecy map how to fall in love with God, Falling In Love With God will fulfill the desires of all who long for a different-or deeper-relationship with God. This thoroughly biblical book will help and bless all who long or love God with all their hearts...but just aren't sure why they don't, if they could, or how it happens.

AUTHOR: Bob Hostetler is a writer, editor, and speaker from southwestern Ohio. His thirty books have sold over three million copies. He has won two God Medallion Awards, four Ohio Associated Press Awards, and an Amy Foundation Award. He is co-founder of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio. He and his wife Robin have two grown children, Aubrey and Aaron.

MY REVIEW: Kendra Smiley, speaker and author of Live Free says Falling In Love With God will help you fall in love with God over and over and over and over again. I agree!

Bob Hostetler is becoming one of my favorite writers. He writes in such an inspiring way that you want to keep reading―even when you don't have the time. I have read the book of Hosea many times and preached several sermons from this Old Testament Book. I never preached any as good as the ones in this book. Hostetler has written his own personal paraphrase of Hosea and uses it as the primary text throughout this book. For me, and I hope for you, his paraphrase helps to reduce confusion for today's reader―those of us living in a modern world far removed from Old Testament times. He has written prayers at the end of chapters three through eleven. Sincerely praying these prayers will make you a partner with the Holy Spirit in bringing about not just "head improvement" but "heart movement." And heart movement is the purpose of this book.

(I received this book for free from Leafwood Publishers for this review.)