Monthly Archives: November 2013

Wishing all of our readers a blessed Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

We wanted to take a moment to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American readers. We pray that you have a wonderful time feasting and giving thanks with your friends and family today.

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Jeremiah & Lamentations: the Death of a Dream, and What Came After by Michael Wilcock

Jeremiah & Lamentations: The death of a dream and what came after by Michael WilcockJeremiah was set aside to be the prophet to the nations. Set apart to be a voice that was not afraid to stand up for sharing the message of the Lord to those aiming headlong for judgement. There are responsibilities for those who belong to God. However God still loves his people even when they have sinned against him. We are reassured that hope can be found even in times of suffering.

Lamentations tells Jerusalem’s story of suffering, starvation, and despair, till finally the walls are breached, the survivors deported, the goods looted and the city torched.

Praise for Jeremiah & Lamentations:

“It is a pleasure to commend this fine piece of commentary writing by Michael Wilcock. Over the years he has produced many commentaries on both Testaments, including some fine examples in the BST series. Here he has lost none of his touch as with sure-footed exegesis, spiritual insight and elegant writing he tackles the difficult books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. All Bible readers will profit from reading these books with a sympathetic and knowledgeable guide. However, they will also be of great use to preachers who will find themselves stimulated, enlightened and emboldened to tackle these often neglected books in the company of an experienced and erudite preacher.”
-Bob Fyall ~ Senior Tutor in Ministry, Cornhill Training Course, Scotland.

“In this book, Michael Wilcock has done a real service to students of Scripture: he has made Jeremiah and Lamentations accessible and applicable. From page 1, it is clear that the reader is in the hands of a careful scholar and faithful guide to the life and writings of the prophet Jeremiah. In short, this is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to preach, teach, or simply study these sometimes intimidating books. When people in my church ask for a resource to help them read Jeremiah and Lamentations, this book will be at the top of my list!”
-Michael McKinley ~ Senior Pastor, Guilford Baptist Church, Sterling, Virginia

“Michael Wilcock’s thorough and creative exposition of the books of Lamentations and Jeremiah is a joy to read. His clear style and pastoral perspective provide a valuable resource for preachers in the pulpit, teachers in the classroom, and other students of this important, and at times, difficult prophetic pair. I recommend it to those who would encounter Jeremiah’s message in light of its ancient context, the redemptive work of Christ, and its application into the contemporary Christian life.”
-John Scott Redd, Jr. ~ President and Associate Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.

Michael WilcockAbout the Author:
Michael Wilcock is a respected author and Bible teacher. He has spent many years in pastoral ministry including his most recent charge, St Nicholas, Durham. He was formerly Director of Pastoral Studies at Trinity College, Bristol.

Books by Michael Wilcock:
Jeremiah & Lamentations: The death of a dream and what came after by Michael WilcockIn The Days of The Kings by Michael Wilcock

Where to Buy:
Jeremiah & Lamentations: the Death of a Dream, and What Came After by Michael Wilcock 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:

Jeremiah & Lamentations: The death of a dream and what came after by Michael Wilcock Buy Now:

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Monday Meditations: Union and Communion

Monday Meditations - George Whitefield

Union and Communion

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
James 5:16a

Do not content yourselves with reading, singing and praying together; but set some time apart to confess your faults and communicate your experiences one to another. For want of this most of the old societies in London are sunk into a dead formality … They meet on a Sabbath evening, read a chapter, and sing a psalm, but seldom, if ever, acquaint each other with the operations of God’s Spirit upon their souls; notwithstanding this was the great end and intention of those who first began these societies. Hence it is that they have only the form of godliness left amongst them, and continue utter strangers to the state of one another’s hearts. How love or the power of religion can subsist in such a lukewarm and superficial way of proceeding is very hard to conceive. Do not let your coming together be thus in vain, but plainly and freely tell one another what God has done for your souls. To this end, meet with a few others once a week to tell each other what is in your hearts; that you may then also pray for and comfort each other, as need shall require. None but those that have experienced it can tell the unspeakable advantages of such a union and communion of souls. By this means, brotherly love will be excited and increased amongst you, and you will learn to watch over one another for good. This will teach you the better how to pray, and to give thanks for each other in your private retirement, and happily prevent and deliver you from many snares of the devil: for Satan loves that we should keep his temptations to ourselves, but cares not so much to mess with those whom he knows will tell his devices to other believers.

*Excerpted from George Whitefield Daily Readings, p. 340 (Christian Heritage, 2010).

Where to Buy:
George Whitefield 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:

George Whitefield (Daily Readings) Buy Now:

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Christian Focus Across the Web – November 22, 2013

This week’s highlights are below:

Albert N. Martin Interviewed on the Janet Mefferd Show – Earlier this week Christian Focus author Albert N. Martin was interviewed on the Janet Mefferd Show about his new book You Lift Me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges (Mentor, 2013). You can stream or download the interview here:  LINK

Wrapping up the Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching Blog Tour – We’ve been enjoying the reviews coming in this week for Alec Motyer’s new preaching book. Here are a few highlights from the blog tour:

“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!”
Reviewer: James Matichuk (thoughtsprayersandsongs.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

“This simple but engaging book is practical theology at its best, a book rooted in the Word, exalting the Gospel and relying on the Holy Spirit to assist the preacher or teacher as they prepare and preach the Word. I recommend this book for both young and seasoned preachers, especially those who are preparing in seminary to preach the Word of God.”
Reviewer: Dave Jenkins (ServantsOfGrace.org)
Rating: 5 Stars

You can see all of the reviews submitted for the tour here: LINK

Christian Focus and Desiring God have been sharing endorsements for and excerpts from John Piper’s brand new book Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace. Below is a gallery of the images that we’ve shared elsewhere on the web.

 

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Interview with Albert Martin on the Janet Mefferd Show

You Lift Me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges by Albert N. MartinChristian Focus author Albert N. Martin was interviewed this week about his brand new book You Lift Me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges (Mentor, 2013). The archive of this interview is available to stream or download below:

 Albert Martin on The Janet Mefferd Show

About the Book:
It happens little by little. . . Even in the context of a very faithful ministry, a pastor may be at risk of a gradual-but ultimately debilitating-downfall. Al Martin speaks from years of experience as he guides pastors to identify warning signs of dangerous paths:

  • Backsliding-a spiritual decline manifested first in the prayer closet.
  • Burnout-erosion of one’s mental, emotional, psychological, and physical resiliency and buoyancy.
  • Washout-the loss of credibility among the people.

About the Author:
Albert N. Martin served as pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, New Jersey, for more than forty years and he taught Pastoral Theology in the Trinity Ministerial Academy for twenty years. Esteemed by leading theologians and pastors, his preaching is the subject of a book, My Heart for Thy Cause.

Where to Buy:
You Lift Me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges by Albert N. Martin 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:

You Lift Me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges by Albert N. Martin Buy Now:

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Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching Blog Tour

Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec MotyerThis week we have a number of reviewers participating in a book review blog tour for Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer. Excerpts from their reviews follow below:

“I commend this work.  It will be helpful for pastors seeking to honor God in the preaching event.  It will assist lay leaders in understanding the importance of the preaching text.  And, for all, it will help us marvel at the grace that’s give by our great God in communicating through the medium of His Word.”
Reviewer: Phil Auxier (philauxier.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

“what was most helpful was restoring the idea that preaching is hard work, real work, and rewarding work.  In fact, I’d say it’s very rare to have a book that gives us both the street-level blue collar feel of preaching combined with a call to personal worship along the way.  These two things make the book worthy of attention:  The work of preaching and the worship of preaching.”
Reviewer: Brian Mann (catherinelakebaptist.com)
Rating: 4 Stars

“It stays true to its intent by practicing what it preaches:  Simplicity and focus of thought. That focus of thought is on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Reviewer: Andrew Pierson (souljournaler.blogspot.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

“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!”
Reviewer: James Matichuk (thoughtsprayersandsongs.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

“Motyer is basically guiding readers through how to develop better sermon prep skills on the study side of things so that they can create a snowball effect over the course of their ministry… If you want to avoid the anxiety that comes with last minute sermon prep, Motyer has some simple advice that will work wonders for your ability to prepare well for preaching.”
Reviewer: Nate Claiborne (nathanielclaiborne.com)
Rating: 4 Stars

“When a very able and competent Old Testament scholar puts his hand at the plough of preaching, my attention stands up… I encourage all who preach or who are in preparation to be preachers to take a look at this book.  You will be refreshed and challenged as you examine its contents.”
Reviewer: Spencer Cummins (spencerdeancummins.blogspot.com)
Rating: 4 Stars

“tried and true advice grounded in biblical truth that will be an asset to the preaching community for generations to come.”
Reviewer: Joshua Davis (ServantsOfGrace.org)
Rating: 4 Stars

“This book is a great way to expand on what an aspiring minister has already learned in seminary. He states that we have a two fold responsibility, first to the truth and second to the congregation. This is an excellent example of sermon writing at its finest.”
Reviewer: Jalynn Patterson (asimplelifereally.blogspot.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

“This simple but engaging book is practical theology at its best, a book rooted in the Word, exalting the Gospel and relying on the Holy Spirit to assist the preacher or teacher as they prepare and preach the Word. I recommend this book for both young and seasoned preachers, especially those who are preparing in seminary to preach the Word of God.”
Reviewer: Dave Jenkins (ServantsOfGrace.org)
Rating: 5 Stars

“In “Preaching? Simple Teaching for Simply Preaching,” J. Alec Motyer has given us a wonderful little book, not only for preachers, but for anyone who loves God’s Word. This book stands out for its readability and Scripture-centered approach… This is one of those books I would like to read again at a slower pace, pausing each time Motyer unpacks a passage and reading through the related Scripture while referencing his comments. Among books on preaching, it is one of the easiest and most enjoyable to read. I happily recommend it to anyone who loves to proclaim God’s Word.”
Reviewer: Steve Brand (gegraptai.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

“Quite simply, this is a great book, even a wonderful book. Somehow in very few pages Motyer manages to provide instructions and examples on understanding the text, organizing ones thoughts, presentation, the preacher’s devotional life, pastoral care, prayer – it is not easy to think of an area of preaching that he does not address… Five stars. If I could I’d give it six!”
Reviewer: Alan Davey (daveys2france.blogspot.fr)
Rating: 5 Stars

“I’ve got quite a large collection of books on preaching, and I try to read something on the subject on a regular basis, at least once a year. Alec Motyer’s book will stand as one of my favorites. It is quick and fun to read. The author covers all the areas of preaching from choosing and studying the text to delivery. He also talks about the preacher himself.”
Reviewer: Emmanuel Durand (erdurand.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

Preaching is exactly as the subtitle states, a book that has simple teaching on simply preaching. Motyer does not break new ground on the nature and practice of preaching. What he does is give us a good reminder of the preachers responsibility as a minister of the Word of God. This is a great primer on preaching for preachers young and old.”
Reviewer: Craig Hurst (craighurst.wordpress.com)
Rating: 4 Stars

“If you’re looking for a new approach to preaching, give Preaching? a try. If you’re a young preacher still developing your style, give Preaching? a try. But most of all, if you want to learn how to study the Scriptures better, whether you’re a preacher or not, give Preaching? a try.”
Reviewer: Dave Marrandette (eyeonchristianity.blogspot.com)
Rating: 3 Stars

“I would highly recommend this to anyone who teaches or preaches on a regular basis. Motyer provides a helpful pattern to follow to help those who preach and teach be faithful in their exposition of God’s Word and helpful to the hearers.”
Reviewer: Joey Parker (parkerjreviews.blogspot.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

“It is a wealth of information that would be helpful to any student of the Bible, however, even more so for ordinary people like me.”
Reviewer: Angela Parsley (refreshmysoulblog.blogspot.com)
Rating: 4 Stars

“I have the privilege of owning and having read most of the well known volumes on preaching and this book is worthy of taking its place beside them to me. Five stars all the way!
Reviewer: Jimmy Reagan (reaganreview.wordpress.com)
Rating: 5 Stars

Where to Buy:
Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer 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:

Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer Buy Now:

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Monday Meditations: The Bible says to turn the other cheek and to give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Which should we believe?

Monday Meditations Tough Questions About the Bible

The Bible says to turn the other cheek and to give an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Which should we believe?

We should believe and obey both. We find both principles in the same Bible, even in the same book of the Bible. In Romans 12:14 it says, “Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not.” However in Romans 13:4 we read of the civil government, “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Therefore, our personal lives should be characterized by love and forgiveness for our enemies, but the government has a responsibility to use force to restrain and punish criminals.

In the court of justice, society must be ruled by the principle of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exod. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). This does not mean that criminals should be cut up, but that crimes should be punished with fair penalties (Exod, 21:26-27). For the good order of society, justice must be maintained. Criminals must be punished for their crimes.

In our private lives, however, we are to “turn the other cheek” when other people abuse us. We are not to return evil for evil, but love for evil. Sometimes this is very hard, but when we see the love of Jesus for the kinds of sinners we are, there are times in our lives when we may find this easy to do.

*Excerpted from Tough Questions About the Bible by Joel R. Beeke (Christian Focus 4 Kids, 2013).

Where to Buy:
Tough Questions About the Bible by Joel R. Beeke 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:

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Christian Focus Across the Web – November 15, 2013

This week’s highlights are below:

Judy Dabler reviews God Redeeming His Bride for the Biblical Counseling Coalition – Judy Dabler has a great review of Robert Cheong’s book God Redeeming His Bride: A Handbook for Church Discipline over at the Biblical Counseling Coalition website. Here’s a bit of what Judy had to say in her review:

“I highly recommend God Redeeming His Bride to pastors, elders, and other church leaders regardless of the type of polity adhered to by the church. I especially recommend this book to church leaders who do not wish to re-invent the wheel when facing a discipline need. Robert provides sample letters and manuscripts ready for editing and use that are reminiscent of a gospel-rich rendition of a Book of Church Order. I believe that this text should be mandatory for the seminary curriculum since church discipline gone bad frequently contributes to church leaders exiting active gospel-ministry.”

Read Judy’s full review at biblicalcounselingcoalition.org.

Reviewers are starting to weigh in on Piper’s Five Points – This week we were excited to bring you John Piper’s new book Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace. Here are a few thoughts expressed by some of the early reviewers:

“Overall, this is an excellent little primer which, even for this paid up choir member, stirred my heart and made me thankful for the sovereign action of God in saving me. Worth reading for yourself and worth recommending to your congregation.”
Adrian Reynolds (ProcTrust.org)

Five Points is the kind of book I want to give to the person who struggles with the idea of Calvinism. It’s readable, challenging, thoughtful, and, most importantly, faithful to God’s Word.”
Aaron Armstrong (bloggingtheologically.com)

Five Points is a book for those who question the validity of TULIP and their Scriptural warrant. This book is also good for those in Bible College and seminary wrestling with the doctrines of grace for the first time. Whether you are new to this issue or a seasoned veteran to these matters, Piper’s book has something for you. I recommend you pick up Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace for in doing so, you will encounter the truth “salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9), a truth found throughout the pages of Scripture.”
Dave Jenkins (ServantsOfGRace.org)

Three Christian Focus titles reviewed in the November edition of Credo Magazine – Be sure to check out the November 2013 edition of Credo Magazine, which features reviews for three of our books. You can access the full digital issue here: LINK

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Five Points: Towards A Deeper Experience of God’s Grace by John Piper

Five Points: Towards A Deeper Experience of God's Grace by John PiperGrace is the heart of God to do you good when you deserve it least. But do we really know how deeply we don’t deserve it? Only God can reveal that to us. He does it through the Bible. And when he does, the wonders of his grace explode with brightness as never before. These Five Points are about how Christians come into being, and how we are kept forever. It reaches back into times past when we were freely chosen. It reaches forward into the future when we will be safe and happy forever. It reaches down into the mysteries of the work of Christ, purchasing the gift of faith for all God’s children. And it reaches into the human soul, glimpsing the mysteries of the Spirit’s work as he conquers all our rebellion and makes us willing captives of King Jesus.

Piper believes that our experience of grace grows with our grasp of God’s gracious work. He invites us to come with him on this quest.

Praise for Five Points:

“I love this new book by John Piper. I don’t know of any other brief book on this subject that so manifestly takes us down into the Scriptures and then so wonderfully lifts us up to see the glory of God. Many people will be encouraged, and not a few will have their faith jolted in the best way possible.”
-Kevin DeYoung ~ Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church. East Lansing, Michigan

“Nothing has changed my perspective and made more sense of God, life, and the world than the doctrines of grace. John Piper makes a complex theology understandable. Five Points will assist you to see how big and good our gracious God actually is.”
-Darrin Patrick ~ Lead Pastor, The Journey, St. Louis, Missouri

“Imagine being able to chat over a meal with John Piper about the five points of Calvinism. That’s pretty much what you get in this book: a clear statement of these life-changing truths delivered with warm pastoral sensitivity in a conversational style. You won’t find yourself being browbeaten. Instead, you’ll find yourself invited to marvel at God’s wonderful grace. The only thing missing is the meal.”
-Tim Chester ~ Co-Director of the Porterbrook Network and pastor of the Crowded House, Sheffield

“Overall, this is an excellent little primer which, even for this paid up choir member, stirred my heart and made me thankful for the sovereign action of God in saving me. Worth reading for yourself and worth recommending to your congregation.”
Adrian Reynolds, Director of Ministry of the Proclamation Trust

Five Points is the kind of book I want to give to the person who struggles with the idea of Calvinism. It’s readable, challenging, thoughtful, and, most importantly, faithful to God’s Word.”
-Aaron Armstrong, Author of Contend and Awaiting A Savior

John Piper On PrayerAbout the Author:
John Piper served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota for 33 years. He is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org, a chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, and has written more than 50 books including Desiring God and Don’t Waste Your Life. John and his wife Noël have four sons and one daughter.

A full list of John Piper titles published by Christian Focus can be found here: LINK.

Where to Buy:
Five Points: Towards A Deeper Experience of God’s Grace by John Piper 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:

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Monday Meditations: Underneath are the everlasting arms

Monday Meditations -  Underneath are the everlasting arms

‘Underneath are the everlasting arms’
Deuteronomy 33:27

God – the eternal God – is Himself our support at all times, and especially when we are sinking in deep trouble. There are seasons when the Christian sinks very low in humiliation. Under a deep sense of his great sinfulness, he is humbled before God till he scarcely knows how to pray, because he appears, in his own sight, so worthless.Well, child of God, remember that when thou art at thy worst and lowest, yet ‘underneath’ thee ‘are the everlasting arms’. Sin may drag thee ever so low, but Christ’s great atonement is still under all.You may have descended into the deeps, but you cannot have fallen so low as the uttermost; and to the uttermost He saves. Again, the Christian sometimes sinks very deeply in sore trial from without. Every earthly prop is cut away. What then? Still underneath him are ‘the everlasting arms’. He cannot fall so deep in distress and affliction but what the covenant grace of an ever- faithful God will still encircle him. The Christian may be sinking under trouble from within through fierce conflict, but even then he cannot be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the ‘everlasting arms’ – they are underneath him; and, while thus sustained, all Satan’s efforts to harm him avail nothing.

This assurance of support is a comfort to any weary but earnest worker in the service of God. It implies a promise of strength for each day, grace for each need, and power for each duty. And, further, when death comes, the promise shall still hold good. When we stand in the midst of Jordan, we shall be able to say with David, ‘I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me’. We shall descend into the grave, but we shall go no lower, for the eternal arms prevent our further fall. All through life, and at its close, we shall be upheld by the ‘everlasting arms’ – arms that neither flag nor lose their strength, for ‘the everlasting God fainteth not, neither is weary’.

*Excerpted from Morning and Evening: Daily Readings by C. H. Spurgeon (Christian Heritage, 2009).

Where to Buy:
Morning and Evening: Daily Readings by C. H. Spurgeon 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:

Morning and Evening Daily Readings - C. H. Spurgeon Buy Now:

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