The Scriptures Testify About Me, edited by D.A. Carson. April 2013. Crossway.
Publisher description: The Bible’s storyline is grand in its sweep, beautiful in its form, and unified in its message. However, many Christians still struggle to understand how the Old and New Testaments fit together, especially in relation to the person and work of Jesus Christ. In this collection of expositions of various Old Testament texts, eight prominent evangelical pastors and scholars demonstrate what it looks like to preach Christ from the Old Testament. From the experience of the Israelites during the exodus, to the cryptic words about Melchizedek in the Psalms, this book offers readers a diverse collection of approaches to gospel-centered preaching from the Old Testament by some of the most skilled expositors of our day.
God's Power For Your Life: How the Holy Spirit Transforms You Through God's Word. A.W. Tozer. March 2013. Regal.
Publisher description: Live the Word in power.
A. W. Tozer, one of the twentieth century Church’s most profound thinkers and pastors, believed that reading the Bible wasn’t enough—the Word must come alive in the Christian’s life. It isn’t enough to read Scripture and then try to obey its commands; rather, living by the power of the Word is a Spirit-enabled transformation that leads to the Word becoming incarnate within the believer’s life. In God’s Power for Your Life, the tenth book in a new library of never-before-published work by the renowned writer, Tozer teaches readers how to allow themselves to be shaped by the Spirit’s work as they study of the Word of God.
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear. February 2013. B&H
Publisher description: “If there were a Guinness Book of World Records entry for ‘amount of times having prayed the sinner’s prayer,’ I’m pretty sure I’d be a top contender,” says pastor and author J. D. Greear. He struggled for many years to gain an assurance of salvation and eventually learned he was not alone. “Lack of assurance” is epidemic among evangelical Christians.
In Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, J. D. shows that faulty ways of presenting the gospel are a leading source of the confusion. Our presentations may not be heretical, but they are sometimes misleading. The idea of “asking Jesus into your heart” or “giving your life to Jesus” often gives false assurance to those who are not saved—and keeps those who genuinely are saved from fully embracing that reality.
Greear unpacks the doctrine of assurance, showing that salvation is a posture we take to the promise of God in Christ, a posture that begins at a certain point and is maintained for the rest of our lives. He also answers the tough questions about assurance: What exactly is faith? What is repentance? Why are there so many warnings that seem to imply we can lose our salvation?
Such issues are handled with respect to the theological rigors they require, but Greear never loses his pastoral sensitivity or a communication technique that makes this message teachable to a wide audience from teens to adults.
Publisher description: In gods at war, Kyle Idleman, bestselling author of not a fan, helps every believer recognize there are false gods at war within each of us, and they battle for the place of glory and control in our lives. What keeps us from truly following Jesus is that our hearts are pursuing something or someone else. While these pursuits may not be the 'graven images' of old, they are in fact modern day idols. Behind the sin you're struggling with, the discouragement you're dealing with, the lack of purpose you're living with is a false god that is winning the war for your heart. According to Idleman, idolatry isn't an issue---it is the issue. By asking insightful questions, Idleman reveals which false gods each of us are allowing on the throne of our lives. What do you sacrifice for? What makes you mad? What do you worry about? Whose applause do you long for? We're all wired for worship, but we often end up valuing and honoring the idols of money, sex, food, romance, success and many others that keep us from the intimate relationship with God that we desire. Using true, powerful and honest testimonies of those who have struggled in each area, gods at war illustrates a clear path away from the heartache of our 21st century idolatry back to the heart of God -- enabling us to truly be completely committed followers of Jesus.
The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken. B&H.
Publisher description: The Insanity of God is the personal and lifelong journey of an ordinary couple from rural Kentucky who thought they were going on just your ordinary missionary pilgrimage, but discovered it would be anything but. After spending over six hard years doing relief work in Somalia, and experiencing life where it looked like God had turned away completely and He was clueless about the tragedies of life, the couple had a crisis of faith and left Africa asking God, "Does the gospel work anywhere when it is really a hard place? It sure didn't work in Somalia.
Nik recalls that, “God had always been so real to me, to Ruth, and to our boys. But was He enough, for the utter weariness of soul I experienced at that time, in that place, under those circumstances?” It is a question that many have asked and one that, if answered, can lead us to a whole new world of faith.
How does faith survive, let alone flourish in a place like the Middle East? How can Good truly overcome such evil? How do you maintain hope when all is darkness around you? How can we say “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” when it may not be visibly true in that place at that time? How does anyone live an abundant, victorious Christian life in our world’s toughest places? Can Christianity even work outside of Western, dressed-up, ordered nations? If so, how?
The Insanity of God tells a story—a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story—of the Ripkens’ own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.
Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel. February 2013. Zondervan.
Publisher description: You are NOT who you think you are. In fact, according to bestselling author Craig Groeschel in Altar Ego, you need to take your idea of your own identity, lay it down on the altar, and sacrifice it. Give it to God. Offer it up.
Why? Because you are who GOD says you are. And until you've sacrificed your broken concept of your identity, you won't become who you are meant to be.
When we place our false labels and self-deception on the altar of God's truth, we discover who we really are as his sons and daughters. Instead of an outward-driven, approval-based ego, we learn to live with an 'altar' ego, God's vision of who we are becoming.
Discover how to trade in your broken ego and unleash your altar ego to become a living sacrifice. Once we know our true identity and are growing in our Christ-like character, then we can behave accordingly, with bold behavior, bold prayers, bold words, and bold obedience.
Altar Ego reveals who God says you are, and then calls you to live up to it.
Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength. J.I. Packer. Crossway. May 2013
Publisher description: Most people think of weakness as purely negative, but true Christianity embraces weakness as a way of life. In this collection of meditations on 2 Corinthians, renowned Bible scholar and theologian J. I. Packer reflects on the central importance of weakness for the Christian life. He exhorts readers to look to Christ for strength, affirmation, and contentment in the midst of their own sin and frailty. Now in his mid-eighties, Packer mediates on the truths of Scripture with pastoral warmth and exegetical care, drawing on lessons learned from the experience of growing older and coming face-to-face with his own mortality. Overflowing with wisdom gleaned from a life of obedience to Christ and dependence on his Word, this encouraging book ultimately directs readers to the God who promises to be ever-present and all-sufficient.
Publisher description: Explaining the essentials of the faith, renowned theologian and author Dr. J. I. Packer outlines the core commitments that are common to those of us who profess belief in Jesus. Here is a call to discipleship in mere Christianity—the business of taking God seriously.
Name Above All Names. Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson. Crossway. May 2013.
Publisher description: The busyness of our lives and the diversions of this world have the tendency to distract us from the most important person we could ever know: Jesus Christ. Thankfully, God has given his people ample insights into the Savior in his Word. In this thoughtful treatise, two influential pastors guide everyday Christians through the entirety of the Bible, examining seven key aspects of Jesus’s identity and ministry. Beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation, this book will help readers focus their gaze on Christ, whether studying the promised seed of the woman in Genesis 3 or the reigning lamb on the throne in Revelation 5. Drawing on decades of pastoral experience, Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson have crafted a biblical resource sure to encourage genuine love for the Savior among God’s people for years to come.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible