Catalogue of Upcoming Crossway Books… including books by two friends!

March 25, 2010

You can find my favourite publisher, Crossway Books, upcoming Summer/Fall 2010 catalog here. I generally recommend all their books. This catalog is special though as it contains two books by two dear friends.

Fred Zaspel finally finishes his grand work of seeking to synthesize the thought of B.B. Warfield in his new book, The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary. Weighing in at 525 pages this book will be out in September. Get it!

Carol Cornish has finished her book The Undistracted Widow: Living for God After Losing Your Husband due out August. Carol, who lost her own husband, is probably the most useful woman I have seen for the church of Jesus Christ even after she lost her husband.

Fred was my wife’s pastor and married us. Carol spent time doing some pre-marital counseling with us before we got married. I love them both dearly and am so thankful God is using them to help Christ’s church! Pre-order these books today!

Of Days, Saints, and Calendars…

March 17, 2010

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Most of the world celebrates it by dressing in green and getting drunk on green beer.

The church celebrates by reflecting on the life of one of God’s choice servants, pioneer missionary to the Irish, St. Patrick. Tonight my wife is making a potato soup and Irish soda bread. We’re going to read a brief biography of Patrick written by Michael Haykin (found here) and listen to Steve Bell’s “The Lorica” from his Devotion CD based on the “Breastplate” prayer attributed to Patrick (found here).

But, I have a question.

My question is not for the unsaved world taking something Christian and twisting it to their own ends. They do that quite well and it is completely understandable that they do.

My question is for Christians.

Why do you celebrate one man or one day and not another on the church calendar? I am specifically talking to non-liturgical churches who do not follow the church calendar. Why celebrate St. Patrick on March 17 and not St. Nicholas Day on December 6? Is he not worthy to be honourerd and remembered among the saints? Why celebrate Easter Sunday but not Ash Wednesday? Why the arbitrary adoption of some of the church calendar and not others? The reality is that like the Jews of old, the church has structured the calendar around feasts and celebrations. Why not continue to do so?

I have a couple of suggestions as to the importance of utilizing the church calendar and calendar of saints in our non-liturgical churches and family worship times.

1) Utilizing the Church calendar brings order to our often crazy lives both in and outside the church. The reality is, we structure everything we do in life by the calendar, why not the church? Why not use a calendar to guide our thinking and our focus each season? This would bring much needed order to many non-liturgical churches particularly in their preaching.

2) Utilizing the Church calendar helps to focus on key elements about our faith. Beyond celebrating just the birth (Christmas) and the death (Easter) of our Lord and Saviour other seasons continue to help us in our understanding of the faith. Both Advent and Lent serve as a valuable preparation time for the important Christmas and Easter season in the church so just does not come upon us. We are preparing our hearts for weeks in advance.

These are just two things that come to mind. Now, mind you, I’m not out there to fully adopt the church calendar at this stage, I’m just thinking through the value of its use. Do you have any thoughts about the value or detriment of utilizing the church calendar? I would love to discuss this with you!

February Giveaway Winner!

March 5, 2010

The winner of our Crossway Books 2010 Giveaway here at the blog is…

Marguerite Harrell!

She will win a copy of D. A. Carson’s Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.

I will post my review of Scandalous in the near future. You can be the winner of the March volume from Crossway Books which will be Mark Driscoll and Gary Breshears, Doctrine: What Christian’s Should Believe.

Find out how to enter the contest here:

God Blew My Mind Last Night

March 5, 2010

Do you ever have one of those “aha!” moments when something just clicks like never before? This Sunday night at Tunkhannock Baptist Church we begin a 6 week series in Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God. Last night my wife and I sat down and watched the whole 38 minute video of Tim Keller’s presentation of the message of The Prodigal God intended for use in studying the book.

I have to say, first, it was one of the clearest, boldest, presentations of the Gospel I had ever seen or heard. Keller has a knack for speaking clarity into the profound riches and the incredible simplicities of the Gospel with such a pastor’s heart. I had to remind myself as I grew envious of Keller’s abilities that I was not Keller nor should I try to be him. I am me and should preach as God has made me to do so!

Yet, when considering the discussion about the elder brother, I was blown away by the thought that Jesus not only wants us to contrast the younger brother with the elder brother but to “long for our true elder brother” (in the words of Keller). We are to see the Pharisee’s in the elder brother and long for the true elder brother, Jesus Christ, who came from heaven to find us and bring us back home with great cost and sacrifice on His part. This thought simply blew my mind last night. I had never made this connection before (and yet it seems so clear) and I was just simply amazed at the lengths God went to bring me home. It is utterly amazing at the grace God granted through Christ to redeem me and bring me into fellowship with God once again. I wept at the reality and I don’t often weep like that! But when confronted with the profound truths of the Gospel and the implications of it for my life, it blew me away, and forced me to my knees weeping over grace undeserved. How much we need to be refreshed by that amazing grace!

Speaking of grace, Sinclair Ferguson has a great book out now dealing with making grace all the more profound as often we find grace, not so amazing after awhile. Make sure you check out his, By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me.