Book Review – Give them Grace

April 4, 2013

A review of Give them Grace: Dazzling your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson by my wife Tracy Mickle.

Give Them GraceIn Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus, Elyse Fitzpatrick and her daughter, Jessica Thompson, help parents understand the role of grace in their lives and the lives of their children. The authors challenge parents to consider whether their parenting is grace-oriented, or merely moralistic. Moralistic parenting can be accomplished by any well-meaning parents, but are we as Christians really raising our children in a grace-filled, Christian environment? These are important questions, particularly in light of the rapid departure of many young adults from church.

To this end, the book is very helpful and insightful, however, when it comes to practical application, it gets a little hard to translate. The authors give examples of conversations parents should have with their children when they are in the process of disciplining. These examples are all well and good, but one cannot help but wonder how realistic they are. Do real children really respond the way they do in this book? Granted, my children are still quite small, so perhaps some of this is beyond my current situation, but sometimes it seems a bit idealistic and not practical for most peoples’ daily lives.

My favorite section of the book was the chapters that spoke grace to a parent’s heart. It is so easy to take ourselves much to seriously when it comes to parenting our children. We want to do it perfectly so they turn out perfectly. The authors gently remind us that we cannot ruin our children. We do our best, and the rest is up to God. This is truly freeing, and definitely worth the price of the book.

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.

Sovereignty, Grace, and Salvation

July 2, 2008

“There can be no grace when there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom He will and you deny His right to save whom He will. Deny His right to save whom He will, and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any desert or fitness in man, seen or unseen, grace is at an end.”

Hoartius Bonar (1808-1889)

Originally from the preface to Abraham Booth’s, The Reign of Grace (Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1844). Found in Christ is All: The Piety of Horatius Bonar, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin and Darrin R. Brooker (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), p. 89.