Each month I take a look around the internet to see if there are any resources that are worth recommending or organization giving away free resources that might be of help to my readers. This month, I came across some great offers that I’m happy to share with you here.
In Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards (the central figure in New England’s first Great Awakening) offers his most detailed description of false and true signs of religious revival, while highlighting the role truly balanced emotions play within the Christian life. Espousing a theology foreign to most postmodern Christians, Religious Affections lays out the cornerstone of Christian thought of the mid-18th century. Impossible to ignore, Religious Affections demands a response. No one can read it and be unchanged. The level of discipleship it asks is shocking to modern readers, but ultimately necessary for our salvation.
Desiring God is giving away a free copy of John Piper’s new book still not professionals. I read the first book Brothers, We are Not Professionals a few years ago and was tremendously blessed by it. Here’s a description of how the book was born:
In October, Desiring God issued invitations to a handful of ministry friends — all of them seasoned pastors whom we deeply respect — to contribute to this ebook. As the chapters came in during the subsequent weeks, we posted them at the blog. Now that they’ve all arrived, and have gone through a few rounds of edits, we’re making them available all together in one place as a resource we hope might have a long electronic shelf life.
We asked the contributors to express in these chapter their “heart of hearts” for fellow pastors — what comes first, or most profoundly, to their minds when they think about influencing fellow ministers. Given their unique experiences and contexts, what one thing would they want to exhort early 21st-century evangelical pastors to hear?
We readily admit that the experiences and perspectives of our group is limited — the group is made up entirely of pastors in 21st-century North American contexts.
However, we believe that the substance of these chapters taps into profound human themes, in both the pastor and his flock, and will be of use for Christian leaders far beyond our limited North American context. Such is our prayer as we launch this ebook.
For 40 years since the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the abortion debate has been highly charged and politicized. Questions like these—and passionate but widely varying answers—have become the common language of the public dialogue on this issue. Yet behind the scenes of this historic case are other intriguing questions:
· How did the Supreme Court come to be involved in the abortion debate?
· Was language manipulated to affect the outcome?
· What was the moral basis underlying the decision?
In Compelling Interest, author Roger Resler draws on original sources, including the actual transcripts for oral arguments, the majority and minority opinions, and comments by the lawyers and others involved to take a careful look at the real story behind the historic Roe v. Wade decision.
Resler includes conversations with experts, including sociology professor Dr. William Brennan, the late Dr. Mildred Jefferson and Dr. Carolyn Gerster who co-founded the National Right to Life Committee, prolific author and speaker Randy Alcorn, bioethics professor Dr. Gerard Magill, perinatologist Dr. James Thorp, and photojournalist Michael Clancy.
This carefully researched book speaks with a thought-provoking, balanced voice that stands out from the usual partisan rhetoric on the topic.
The all-sufficient glory of God, freely given in fellowship through his sacrificed Son, is the stream of living water that we have thirsted for all our lives.
Unless we begin with God in this way, when the gospel comes to us, we will inevitably put ourselves at the center of it. We will feel that our value rather than God’s value is the driving force in the gospel. We will trace the gospel back to God’s need for us instead of tracing it back to the grace that rescues sinners who need him.
But the gospel is the good news that God is the all-satisfying end of all our longing…and grace is the pleasure of God to magnify the worth of God by giving sinners the right and power to delight in God without obscuring the glory of God. – John Piper, The Pleasures of God
“The startling truth is that, if you stumble over Melchizedek, it may be because you watch questionable TV programs. If you stumble over the doctrine of election, it may be because you still use some shady business practices. If you stumble over the God-centered word of Christ in the cross, it may be because you love money and spend too much and give too little. The pathway to spiritual maturity and solid biblical food is not first becoming an intelligent person, but becoming an obedient person. What you do with alcohol and sex and money and leisure and food and computer have more to do with you capacity for solid food than where you got to school and what books you read.” – John Piper
The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World by John Piper is a collection of essays which grew out of the 2006 Desiring God national conference. Contributors include such men as David Wells, John Piper, DA Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll and others.
I really appreciate the fact that Desiring God puts out these books as recaps of their conferences. I’ve read several and have found all of them to be very helpful including this volume.
The book consists of 6 chapters covering a wide range of topics from culture and truth, to joy and love, the gospel, and the always contentious issue of contextualization. Each of these chapters is well written, although admittedly some are more difficult to grasp than others.
It’s kind of hard to summarize a book like this, because the topics and the authors are so varied. What I will share is one of my favorite quotes from John Piper’s chapter. This is probably more of a testimony to my love for Dr. Piper than anything. At the end of his chapter on joy and the supremacy of Christ Dr. Piper writes:
I close with a personal plea. Probably most people reading this book are younger than I am, and many of you are young enough to be my sons or daughters. I am increasingly aware of that; the older I get, frankly, I like it. I am not upset about getting older. If what I have written here is true, I am fast approaching the face of Jesus and the voice saying, “Enter into the joy of your Master.” This sense of age and nearness to the final river crossing colors how I think about the generation of my children (ages eleven to thirty-four). I don’t feel like fighting with them. I feel like pleading: Don’t waste your life on experiments. There are proven paths. They are marked out in the Word of God. They are understandable. They are precious. They are hard. And they are joyful. Search the Scriptures for these paths. When you find them, step on them with humble faith and courage. Set your face like flint toward the cross and the empty tomb-your cross and your empty tomb. Then, for the joy set before you, may a lifetime of sacrifices in the paths of love seem to you as a light and momentary affliction.
A leader does not like clutter. He likes to know where and when things are for quick access and use. His favorite shape is the straight line, not the circle. He groans in meetings that do not move from premises to conclusions but rather go in irrelevant circles. When something must be done he sees a three-step plan for getting it done and lays it out. A leader sees the links between a board decision and its implementation. He sees ways to use time to the full and shapes his schedule to maximize his usefulness. He saves himself large blocks of time for his major productive activities. He uses little pieces of time lest they go to waste. (For example, what do you do while you are brushing your teeth? Could you set a magazine on the towel rack and read an article?) A leader takes time to plan his days and weeks and months and years. Even though it is God who ultimately directs the steps of the leader, he should plan his path. A leader is not a jellyfish that gets tossed around by the waves, nor is he an oyster that is immovable. The leader is the dolphin of the sea and can swim against the stream or with the stream as he plans.