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A Game Plan for New Dads

Book Review: The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing up for the biggest game of your life, by Benjamin Watson

Becoming a dad for the first time often feels like navigating uncharted waters without a map. Fortunately, NFL tight end Benjamin Watson has written a helpful book providing guidance and encouragement for men entering fatherhood for the first time.

Most men are scared or nervous when they hear they are going to become a father. Then, when they hold their child in their arms for the first time, they feel elation and pride and wonder how they can avoid hurting this fragile creature. What if you cause harm without even knowing you are doing something wrong? I don’t care how many Super Bowl rings you wear, what your job title is, or what kind of car you drive, when your wife is pregnant for the first time, many men would rather turn the other way than ask, “How do I do this? How can I help?

This book is for those guys: You don’t have to wing it for the next nine months—in fact, you shouldn’t! I hope I can provide guidance for those of you scratching your heads and wondering where you fit into this whole process.

Using sports analogies, the book is divided into five parts. Training Camp covers the beginning days of pregnancy. Regular Season deals with the basics of how a woman changes, her needs, baby showers, and budgets. Super Bowl covers what happens during the delivery. Postgame deals with what happens when the new family comes home. Off-Season reminds dads that they don’t have to be perfect, but they do need to be present.

The book is well-researched, honest, encouraging, and thoroughly Christian. Benjamin and his wife, Kirsten share their testimonies about faith in Jesus Christ from beginning to end. This is a book I wish I had read some 30 years before my firstborn came into the world.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2017 in Books, Parenting, Quotes

 

Grace can reach even those whom we think will never receive it

Ty Cobb was one of the all-time greats in the game of baseball. He had a .367 lifetime batting average, with 4,191 hits and 892 stolen bases. He won nine straight batting titles. But Ty Cobb was also the meanest man in baseball. Known for stopping at nothing to win, he would insult, humiliate, and even injure other players in his quest for victory. Even his own teammates once rooted against him when he was in a tight race one season for the batting title. He was known to make unprovoked racial slurs. He had three wives, all of whom he verbally and physically abused. He was constantly involved in fistfights, arguments, and tirades against fans and players. He once pistol-whipped a would-be mugger so badly that the face of the corpse could not be identified. Cobb was worth millions because of his early investment in Coca-Cola. When he died, he had in his possession millions in stocks, bonds, and cash because he was an early investor in Coca-Cola. And yet it would be hard to find a more apt specimen of total depravity. But the story does not end there.

Not long before he died, Cobb was visited by a Presbyterian ministry named John Richardson. Cobb curtly told the preacher to leave. Two days later he returned. This time Cobb listened as Richardson explained to him the plan of salvation. Hearing of Christ’s love for sinners and how he had come to die for the likes of Ty Cobb, the “Georgia Peach” was overcome with emotion. Richardson continued to explain the necessity of repentance toward sin and faith in Jesus as the only way of salvation. Cobb told the preacher he was ready to put his complete trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior. Two days before he died, Ty Cobb told Richardson, “I fell the strong arms of God underneath me.”

Cited in 1-3 John: Fellowship in God’s Family (Preaching the Word), David L. Allen, p.191-192

 
 

The Good News of the Gospel

Book Review: The Gospel According to Paul: Embracing the Good News at the Heart of Paul’s Teaching, by John MacArthur

“Salvation is a creative work of God, not a do-it-yourself project for sinners.” While that quote sums up John Macarthur’s perspective on 2 Corinthians 5, it could summarize the message of his latest book, The Gospel According to Paul: Embracing the Good News at the Heart of Paul’s Teaching.

The approach of the book is to use

some of the principle evangelistic texts from Paul’s New Testament epistles, we will survey the gospel as Paul proclaimed it. We’ll consider several important questions, including: What is the gospel? What are the essential elements of the message? How can we be certain we have it right? How should Christians be proclaiming the good news to the world?

As Dr. Macarthur explains in the introduction,

My design in this book is to explain the most important gospel texts from Paul’s epistles as clearly and as thoroughly as possible. I hope to underscore (as Paul did) the eternal importance of gospel doctrine and the absolute necessity of getting it right.

In Chapter 1, “Things of First Importance,” Dr. Macarthur uses 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 to lay out the basics of the gospel, including the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In Chapter 2, “First, the Bad News,” he uses Romans 3 to stress that all have sinned and no one seeks God. Chapter 3, “How can a Person Be Right with God?” uses a question posed by Job to illustrate the dilemma we all face. Chapter 4, “Sola Fide” explains that we are saved by faith, not by works. Chapter 5, “The Great Exchange” deals with the doctrine of substitionary atonement. Chapter 6, “Alive Together With Christ” describes the power and results of the resurrection. Chapter 7, “The Lessons of Grace” compares grace and legalism. In the appendices, Dr. Macarthur includes four sermons preached on these topics along with a glossary of terms.

For those who are concerned that Dr. Macarthur overemphasizes Calvinism, he offers an explanation and a balance.

We have stressed the sovereignty of God in salvation because that doctrine stands out prominently on the face of this text (2 Corinthians 5:21). It’s an amazing and counterintuitive truth. After all, God is the offended deity. But reconciliation for sinners comes at His instigation, through an atonement that He sovereignly provides. (p. 91)

God’s sovereignty does not eliminate human responsibility. God holds us responsible for what we do and don’t do, and it is perfectly just for Him to do so. He doesn’t control human actions by constraint. (p.92)

Just as God’s sovereignty doesn’t eliminate the sinner’s responsibility, likewise the plea for sinners to “be reconciled to God” poses no actual contradiction to the fact that God is the One who sovereignly draws those who do respond to the plea. (p. 93)

…the point to grasp here is that no one is compelled by force or coercion to reject the gospel message. They do it freely, by their own choice. Those who turn away in unbelief are therefore wholly responsible for putting themselves under God’s condemnation. (p.94)

The book will stretch your thinking on the topic and give you a much better understanding of the doctrine of salvation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Books, Scripture, Theology

 
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1 John 4:19

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in 1 John, Scripture

 

Expository preaching is trendy – Who knew?

According to blogger Tim Challies, “The Hottest Thing at Church Today” is expository preaching.

According to a new study by Gallup, the hottest thing at church today is not the worship and not the pastor. It’s not the smoke and lights and it’s not the hip and relevant youth programs. It’s not even the organic, fair trade coffee at the cafe. The hottest thing at church today is the preaching. Not only is it the preaching, but a very specific form of it—preaching based on the Bible. And just like that, decades of church growth bunkum is thrown under the bus. As Christianity Today says, “Despite a new wave of contemporary church buzzwords like relational, relevant, and intentional, people who show up on Sundays are looking for the same thing that has long anchored most services: preaching centered on the Bible.”

For those unfamiliar with the concept, expository preaching is simply explaining what the text means and what it looks like in real life. It is a balance between explanation and application. It’s what I was taught to do years ago at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Seems my old-fashioned approach is now a trendy practice. And now that I’m a bald-headed expository preacher, I must be doubly trendy. Who knew?

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Preaching, Tim Challies

 
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Don’t let your Bible get dusty

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Bible Study, Tim Challies

 

The intersection of faith & sports

I recently discovered the “Above & Beyond” podcast hosted by Brock Huard of 710 ESPN Seattle. Brock played quarterback for the UW Huskies and several NFL teams. He is now a radio talk show host and ESPN college football analyst. His first podcast was a conversation with Matt Hasselbeck, former NFL quarterback.

On the first episode of Above & Beyond, Brock sits down with friend and former Seahawks teammate QB Matt Hasselbeck. From growing up with Christian parents to spending time at Green Bay with Reggie White to running away from baptism, Matt shares some of the most important moments from his faith and sports journey.

I appreciated the sports stories, but especially how each one shared how their faith impacts their careers and family life. Brock will be doing the podcast every other week. I look forward to the next one.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Faith, News stories, NFL, Seattle, Sports