Monthly Archives: October 2013

Monday Meditations: Gird and Serve

Monday Meditations - Gird and Serve

Gird and Serve

Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thy- self, and serve me … and afterward thou shalt eat and drink’ (Luke 17:8).

There are two aspects of rural industry – agricultural, ploughing; pastoral, keeping the sheep. Between them they also cover our service to men for Christ’s sake. Some of us are engaged in ploughing. In the short wintry days, when the last leaves are falling from the trees, and the skies are covered by dense and dripping clouds, we go forth with our plough, or bearing precious seed. In loneliness, depression, and fear, we tread athwart the furrows and return crying: ‘Who hath believed our re- port, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?’ Or we are called to keep the flock, seeking the straying, defending the attacked, tenderly nursing the sick and weak. In either of these avocations we often become weary, and in that condition ‘come in from the field’.

When the spell of hard work is finished, how apt are we to relax! Surely, we think, we may give ourselves to the indulgence of natural and innocent appetite! But that is exactly what our Master does not intend, because he knows the subtle temptation of hours of ease. When we return from our labour, he does not say, ‘Go and sit down to meat,’ but he meets us on threshold, saying, ‘Make ready and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken, and afterward thou shalt eat and drink.’

From this parable we are surely to infer that our Lord says in effect: ‘You have been working for me, but I have missed you. You have been so engaged in guiding the plough through the heavy clay, or watching against the lion and bear, that you have forgotten me, and have allowed the hours to pass without speaking to me a single word, or listening for my voice.’

When Christ’s work is done, let us turn to our Lord himself, and minister to him; prepare for him a feast of faith and love and joy; of heart-melody and voice-music. After this we may eat and drink. He will even gird himself, and come forth to serve us (John 13:4-14).

Prayer:  We desire, dear Lord, that thou shouldest be more to us than thy work. It is not enough for us to plough thy fields or keep thy sheep; we want to serve thee most of all. Help us to keep thee in view all day, and what- soever our hands find to do, may we do it in love to thyself. Amen.

*Excerpted from Our Daily Walk: Daily Readings by F. B. Meyer (Christian Heritage, 2010).

Where to Buy:
Our Daily Walk: Daily Readings by F. B. Meyer is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Our Daily Walk by F. B. Meyer Buy Now:

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Christian Focus Across the Web – October 25, 2013

This week’s highlights are below:

Rebecca Davis Interviewed on Generations Radio – Head on over to GenerationsWithVision.com and listen to a great interview with Rebecca Davis talking about the Hidden Heroes series published by Christian Focus 4 Kids.

Last Day To Enter Irene Howat’s Story-A-Month Club Giveaway – Today is the last day to enter for a chance to win a free one year subscription to Irene Howat’s Story-A-Month Club. The giveaway will close tonight at midnight (CDT). Find out more at the Christian Focus 4 Kids blog.

Enter Our October Book Giveaway – We’re giving away two copies of Everyday Worship: Our Work, Heart and Jesus by Trisha Wilkerson. Submit your entries here: LINK.

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October Book Giveaway – Everyday Worship by Trisha Wilkerson

*If you are unable to see the contest widget in your RSS Reader or e-mail client, click here to view this post on the Christian Focus Booknotes Blog.

Terms and Conditions:
*Winners from the continental United States and the United Kingdom will be awarded a paperback copy of the book. Winners from outside of the US and the UK will be awarded an e-book (.mobi or .epub) copy of the book.

About the Book:
As women busy about our work, we often leave God to the spiritual categories of our lives, seeing our daily occupations as just work. In Everyday Worship, biblical counselor Trisha Wilkerson addresses the underlying heart issues that keep us from seeing all of life lived for God’s glory. The challenge of connecting work to worship is as old as the story of Mary and Martha, Wilkerson teaches. The solution, though, is not to choose between worship and work, but rather to worship in our work. As we depend on God, find our confidence in Him, and work as stewards by his grace, our hearts are filled with joy.

Trisha WilkersonAbout the Author:
Trisha Wilkerson is a blogger for The Resurgence, a volunteer biblical counselor, homeschooler, and women’s leader at Mars Hill Church. She is the wife of Pastor Mike Wilkerson who oversees Redemption Groups at Mars Hill. Trisha and Mike are the parents of four young children and make their home in Seattle, Washington.

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Hear Jason Helopoulos Live on Viewpoint Radio – 10/24/2013 @ 4:00 PM ET

Jason Helopoulos

Jason Helopoulos

Christian Focus author Jason Helopoulos will be interviewed live Thursday October 24, 2013 at 4:00 PM ET on the ViewPoint Broadcast with attorney and author Chuck Crismier to discuss his book A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home. You can tune in to the live broadcast at www.saveus.org.

The archive of this interview is available to stream or download here:  LINK

About A Neglected Grace:
Whether your home includes a single mother with her children, three generations of a family, the immediate family and Uncle Bob, who is living in the spare room, or the traditional mother, father, and 2.5 kids, it is our joyful responsibility to lead our home in worshipping the Lord. In the history of the church, family worship has been one of the Christian family’s strongest characteristics. In the last century, however, this great tradition of the faith has diminished.

In A Neglected Grace Pastor Jason Helopoulos graciously calls church leaders and individual members to reclaim the practice of family worship as a glorious expression of our Christian faith. This indispensable means of grace directs our families to seek and enjoy the love and beauty of Christ daily.

About the Author:
Jason Helopoulos is Assistant Pastor of University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan. Married to Leah, they have two children, Gracen and Ethan.

Where to Buy:
A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

A Neglected Grace Family Worship in the Christian Home Buy Now:

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Recommended Review: Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching

Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec MotyerMany thanks to James Matichuk (thoughtsprayersandsongs.com) for his 5-star review of Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer. James’ review is featured in its entirety below:

When the opportunity to review a new preaching book by Alec Motyer presented itself, I jumped at the chance.  A competent biblical scholar, Motyer has written several commentaries that I have on my shelf (both in paper format and electronic). Notably, his commentaries on Isaiah is essential to anyone who wishes to gain a greater grasp on Isaiah’s prophecy. He is  the general editor of the Old Testament for the Bible Speaks Today commentary series (published by IVP) and has contributed several volumes to the series. He is also former principal of  Trinity College, Bristol.

In Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching, Motyer details his approach to expository preaching. He shares wisdom from years of practice with plenty of examples of how to take a text and turn it into a sermon. This is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to preaching. Motyer writes, “For preaching is a very personal and individual exercise. We can learn from each other, but must not copy each other. It won’t work! Like criminals we must each discover our own modus operandi – find out what is our own brand of murder – and, hopefully, get away with it!” (Kindle Locations 306-308).  Without heavy-handedly describing ‘the’ plan for preaching, Motyer shares his advice and insight on how to do it well. As a scholar, pastor, expositor, and preacher with decades of faithful service, he has a lot to say.

Motyer’s method is simple (as his subtitle suggests). He tells us to find a text: examine it, analyze it, orient ourselves to it, and harvest from it.  The wisdom of his approach is that it forces the preacher to sit under a text rather than use a passage to illustrate their own agenda (or what they think the church ‘needs to hear’). Literary structure, inclusio, word studies and repetitions reveal meaning in the text. Often attention to the broad contours of the passage reveals an apt word for our context. This is what Motyer suggests: study and understand the text, prayerfully submit yourself to the text and pay attention to what God is saying there. When you have done that, you can craft a sermon (harvesting). And yes, he does offer advice on presentation and delivery: what to do and not do, and what to do but not too much. He does have some good words to say about how to draw out applications from a passage.

These are all important points and I agree a wholeheartedly with most of what Motyer commends. I have minor disagreements with him in places because as Motyer observes, preaching is a highly personal endeavor.  But I have still failed to mention what I think are the most significant insights that Motyer imparts.   I appreciated Motyer’s passion for the importance of preaching. Unfolding God’s Word and declaring it to the church gathered is sacred work. Beginning in his early chapters, but throughout this volume, Motyer describes this joyful and serious task and the demands it makes of the would-be-preacher. To preach and preach well is to give attention to the Word and to the church. While Motyer devotes much of this book describing attention to the Word (where we hear the voice of God), to preach well is also to fulfill our pastoral vocation: to pray for the congregation, and be involved in their lives. As Motyer observes, “Our position as ministers in a church gives us the right to preach, but it does not give us the right to be heard”(Kindle Locations 1503-1504).  A pastor who is actively caring for the flock and prayerfully attending to their spiritual formation will preach with power.

I warmly commend this book to preachers, especially young preachers with little experience. Motyer illustrates his approach by giving several examples of how to exegete a passage and turn it into a sermon.  By opening up his process to new preachers, Motyer gives them a gift. Those who follow his method will be brought into an encounter with the Spirit in the text. May all who declare God’s Word do so with such loving attention! I give this book 5 stars.

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Rebecca Davis Interviewed on Generations Radio

Rebecca DavisChristian Focus 4 Kids author Rebecca Davis was recently interviewed on Generations Radio with Kevin Swanson to discuss her books in the  Hidden Heroes series. The interview is available to stream or download at GenerationsWithVision.com.

About Rebecca Davis:
Rebecca Davis is a writer and teacher who lives in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.A. She has written several books for children as well as magazine articles for adults, and loves to speak about the Lord. She and her husband, Tim, have four children. Rebecca blogs at www.heresthejoy.com.

Where to Buy:
Rebecca’s most recent book Witness Men: True Stories of God at Work in Papua, Indonesia by Rebecca Davis is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Witness Men by Rebecca Davis Buy Now:

Other Books by Rebecca Davis:

The Good News Must Go Out by Rebecca Davis With Two Hands by Rebecca DavisReturn of the White Book

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Monday Meditations: Bring Us Home

Monday Meditations: Bring Us Home

Bring Us Home

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

A devout and pious soul has little need of direction how to sing this psalm, so naturally does it speak its own genuine language; and an unsanctified soul, that is unacquainted and unaffected with divine things, is scarcely capable of singing it with under- standing. True Christians can, in some measure, and at some times, make use of the strong language of David, but too com- monly our souls cleave to the dust. Having committed ourselves to God, we must be easy and pleased, and quiet from the fear of evil. Those that follow hard after God would soon fail, if God’s right hand did not uphold them. It is he that strengthens us and comforts us. The psalmist doubts not but that though now sowing in tears, he should reap in joy. Messiah the Prince shall rejoice in God; he is already entered into the joy set before him, and his glory will be completed at his second coming. It is our duty to rejoice in the shadow of God’s wings, which denotes our recourse to him by faith and prayer, as naturally as the chick- ens, when they are cold or frightened, run by instinct under the wings of the hen. Having committed ourselves to God, we must be easy and pleased, and quiet from the fear of evil. “Blessed Lord, let our desire towards you increase every hour; let our love be always upon you; let all our enjoyment be in you, and all our satisfaction from you. Be all in all to us while we remain in the present wilderness state, and bring us home to the everlasting enjoyment of you forever.”

[Psalm 63:7-11]

*Excerpted from Matthew Henry Daily Readings (Christian Heritage, 2009).

Where to Buy:
Matthew Henry Daily Readings by Randall J. Pederson (editor) is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Matthew Henry (Daily Readings) Buy Now:

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Christian Focus Across The Web – October 18, 2013

This week’s highlights are below:

Win a Free 1-Year Subscription to Irene Howat’s Story-A-Month Club – Head on over to the Christian Focus 4 Kids blog, where we’re giving away two free 1-year subscriptions to Irene Howat’s Story-A-Month Club. Go HERE for details.

Tom Nettles Interviewed on Knowing the Truth – Don’t forget to check out Tom Nettles’ recent interview on Knowing the Truth with Kevin Boling talking about his book Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The archive of this interview is now available to stream or download here: LINK.

Dave Jenkins Reviews Living By Revealed Truth – Many thanks to Dave Jenkins for his recent review of Living By Revealed Truth: The Live and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Here’s a bit of what Dave had to say in his review:

“I highly recommend this biography by Dr. Nettles because it is grounded as Spurgeon would have wanted in the Word of God, with a firm discussion of how Spurgeon worked out what he thought about a variety of topics from Scripture. Second, this biography is biblical theology on fire. By that I mean Nettles displays how the Word of God fueled Spurgeon’s passion for reading while keeping Scripture supreme in his thoughts and affections.”

Read Dave’s review in its entirety at bookreviews.servantsofgrace.org.

Redeemed Reader Reviews How God Used A Thunderstorm – Many thanks to Megan at Redeemed Reader for her recent review of How God Used a Thunderstorm by Joel R. Beeke and Diana Kleyn. Here’s a bit of what Megan had to say in her review:

“These stories are well-written, mightily encouraging, and the few black-and-white illustrations nicely complement the text. Excellent for reading aloud and discussion, or hand them to a pre-teen to supplement his or her devotional life. Some of the stories are better suited to older students, but all are profitable to growing in faith.”

Read Megan’s full review at RedeemedReader.com.

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Hear Tom Nettles Live on Knowing the Truth with Kevin Boling – 10/15/2013 – 11:00 AM ET

Tom NettlesChristian Focus author Tom Nettles will be interviewed live Tuesday October 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM ET on Knowing the Truth with Kevin Boling to discuss his book Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. You can tune in to the live broadcast at www.ChristianTalk660.com.

The archive of this interview is now available to stream or download here: LINK.

About the Book:
Tom Nettles has spent more than 15 years working on this magisterial biography of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the famous 19th century preacher and writer. More than merely a biography it covers his life, ministry and also provides an in-depth survey of his theology.

About the Author:
Thomas J. Nettles is Professor of Historical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

Where to Buy:
Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Living By Revealed Truth The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles Buy Now:

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Monday Meditations: Son of David

Monday Meditations - Son of David

Son of David

And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. Matthew 20:30

“O Lord, thou Son of David!” In this compellation consider why Christ is called the Son of David, never the son of Adam, never the son of Abraham. It is true He is called frequently the Son of man; but never when any prays to Him: and He is reckoned, in His genealogy, David’s son. Abraham’s son, the Son of Adam; but the Son of David is His ordinary style, when prayers are directed to Him in the days of His flesh. The reasons are, first, Christ had a special relation to Abraham, being his seed; but more special to David, because the covenant was in a special manner established with David, as a king, and the first king in whose hand the church, the feeding thereof as God’s own flock, was, as God’s deposit and pawn laid down. The Lord established the Covenant of Grace with David, and his son Solomon, who was to build him a house; and promised to him an eternal kingdom, and grace, and perseverance in grace, and that by a sure covenant, “the sure mercies of David” (Isa. 55:3; 2 Sam. 7:8-16; 1 Chron. 22:9, 10; 2 Sam. 23:5)…Now, it was necessary, that Christ the Messiah should lineally descend of a king: Abraham was not a king; Adam was not formally a king by covenant, as David was. Second, Christ changes names with David, as He never did with any man. Christ is never called Abraham; but “David my servant shall be a prince among them” (Ezek. 34:23-24). “They shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king” (Hosea 3:5).

*Excerpted from Daily Readings – The Puritans (Christian Heritage, 2012).

Where to Buy:
Daily Readings – The Puritans by Randall Pederson (editor) is available at any good  Christian bookstore. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below:

Daily Readings - the Puritans - Edited by Randall Pederson Buy Now:

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