Tag Archives: book

Family Devotions from the Beginning – “The Jesus Storybook Bible”

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One of the best decisions we have made since Jackson was born was making reading the Bible as a family a priority every night. Even when he was an infant, we started reading the Bible every night. We first used My First Message but as soon as we were given the Jesus Storybook Bible (thanks Aunt Kara!) we were hooked. I think Whitney and I look forward to this time every night even more than Jackson. The stories are Biblically accurate, theologically sound, and convicting. The gospel is always in view whether the story is an Old Testament Narrative or a New Testament epistle. Take this excerpt from 1 Samuel 16 when God chose David to be Israel’s King:

God chose David to be king because God was getting his people ready for an even greater King who was coming. Once again, God would say, “Go to Bethlehem. You’ll find the new King there.” And there, one starry night in Bethlehem, in the town of David, three Wise Men would find him.

I’d dare to recommend that everyone (kids or not) get this wonderful book and read it. You could use it as a daily devotional or just to help focus you on the central focus of Scripture.

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Christian, What is the Foundation of Your Happiness?

brothers professionalsI have said for some time that my favorite book on pastoral ministry is John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals. While every point may not be exactly in line with my own pastoral convictions, it gets the essentials right, puts the focus in the right place, and is never short on challenging statements.

The second edition of this book was just released. The pastors at our church are working through this book at our monthly meeting. With the new edition came a few new chapters. I wanted to share a portion of one such chapter. The author is trying to explain how God can be for his glory and for us. In defending why he as (over?) emphasized God’s self-glory he describes the plight of many Christians (so-called):

I feel a special burden for the millions of nominal Christians who are not born again who believe God loves them and yet are on their way to hell. And the difference between them and a born-again believer is this: What’s the bottom, the decisive foundation, of their happiness? As you penetrate down deeper and deeper to the core, or the bottom, of what makes you happy?

Millions of nominal Christians have never experienced a fundamental alteration of that foundation of happiness. Instead, they have absorbed the notion that becoming Christian means turning to Jesus to get what you always wanted before you were born again. So, if you wanted wealth, you stop depending on yourself for it, and by prayer and faith and obedience you depend on Jesus for wealth. If you wanted to be healthy, you turn from mere human cures to Jesus as the source of your health. If you wanted to escape the pain of hell, you turn to Jesus for the escape. If you wanted to have a happy marriage, you come to Jesus for help. If you wanted peace of conscience and freedom from guilt feelings, you turn to Jesus for these things.

In other words, to become a Christian, in this way of seeing things, is to have all the same desires you had as an unregenerate person — only you get them from a new source, Jesus. And He feels so loving when you do. But there’s no change at the bottom of your heart and your cravings. No change at the bottom of what makes you happy. There’s no change in the decisive foundation of your joy. You just shop at a new store. The dinner is still the same, you just have a new butler. The bags in the hotel room are still the same; just a new bellhop.

Whose are You? A Friday Quote

If you are a Christian, you are not your own.  Christ has bought you at a price of his own death.  You now belong doubly to God:  He made you, and he bought you.  That means your life is not your own.  It is God’s.  Therefore, the Bible says, “Glorify God in your body.”  God made you for this.  He bought you for this.  This is the meaning of your life

John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

Do You Know How to Read?

There is a profound difference between reading information and reading texts.  The former permits a disinterest in the question of how the matter is composed; its interest is only in the content…

When people do read today (and they don’t read often), they read almost exclusively for information or content; they almost never read for the pleasure obtained by reading an author whose command of language is exception.  Many ministers, for instance, will read the occasional book about history.  But with few exceptions, the interest in historical writing resides in the events narrated, not in the skillfulness of the narration…

[Modern readers ask what a] passage is about?… but they don’t raise questions about how the passage is constructed.

— T. David Gordon

I have, both anecdotally and formally, observed this to be the case in reference to the Bible.  Most teachers of the Bible are concerned only with the words and principals of the sacred text.  There is little concern for the syntax and grammar.  Word studies abound with no interest in paragraph structure or the flow of discourse.  This sort of textual myopia is further encumbered by a faulty view of much of Scripture regarding the importance of events recorded in the text.  John Sailhamer has been influential in cogently explaining the necessity of viewing the intentionally constructed text of Scripture in its final form as the only element worth interpreting.  Whatever so-called “event” might “lie behind” the inspired text is of no importance to the Christian interpreter.  Rather, one must spend their time understanding how the text of Scripture is intentionally constructed to communicate a message.