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Category Archives: Quotes

A Hope-Filled Resource

Book Review: Praying the Promises: Anchor Your Life To Unshakeable Hope, by Max Lucado & Andrea Lucado

Praying the Promises: Anchor Your Life To Unshakeable Hope, by Max Lucado & Andrea Lucado looks to be volume in the “gift book” category. It is a resource you would use yourself and/or give to someone going through a challenging season of life.

The book contains 30 of Max Lucado’s favorite promises in Scripture. As he explains,

After forty years of ministry, I’ve discovered that nothing lifts the weary soul like the promises of God. This book contains some of my favorites. Many of them are go-to promises I’ve turned to throughout the years to encourage others—and to encourage myself.

Each of the 30 chapters follows a similar format. It begins with a title page containing one verse of Scripture. The first one is “God had made a covenant with you” and the verse is 2 Peter 1:4. There is a one-page devotional thought, “Unshakeable Hope,” followed by four verses of Scripture from both the Old and New Testaments. This is followed by a suggested prayer, “Praying God’s Promises.” Lastly, there is a statement of application, “I Am …” or “I Will …”

The purpose of the book is stated on the inside dust cover, “For every problem in life, God has given us a promise. We can find hope by praying those promises.”

While it is a good resource, it is very similar to many others on the market. The main selling point is the author.

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 August 18, 2018 in Books, Prayer, Quotes

 
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Feed your mind to feed your soul

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2018 in Quotes, Tim Challies

 

How Prayer Transforms Your Heart

Book Review: Life Changing Prayers: How God Displays His Power to Ordinary People, by Michael Youssef

If people are honest, they generally pray with the idea of trying to persuade God into seeing their point of view. They want to inform him of a situation or a need they think he clearly doesn’t know about. Or they want to manipulate God into giving them what they want or what they think they need.

In reality, the purpose of prayer is not to change God but rather to allow God to change us. “The purpose of prayer is to bring God’s power into our lives, to open us up to God’s blessings and God’s power to change us…The real purpose of prayer is to allow God to be glorified and magnified in our lives.”

This is the conviction of Michael Yousseff and what he tries to communicate in his latest book, Life Changing Prayers: How God Displays His Power to Ordinary People. He focuses on the prayers of seven ordinary people who experienced an extraordinary relationship with God through prayer. He explains that Eliezer, Hannah, David, Daniel, Jonah, Habakkuk, and Mary were not spiritual superheroes, but rather were ordinary people whose lives were transformed by the quantity of time they spent in fellowship with our awesome and amazing God.

Each of the chapters focuses on a single prayer of the individual the author profiles. Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, demonstrates the practice of persistent prayer in Genesis 24. In 1 Samuel 1:1-11, Hannah shows how to pray from a broken spirit. David provides an example of praying for mercy and justice in Psalm 28. Daniel models a prayer of confession and repentance (Daniel 9). Jonah is one who prays out of the depths of despair (Jonah 1:17-2:10). Habakkuk offers a prayer of complaint and a prayer of rejoicing (Habakkuk 3:1-19). In her Magnificat, Mary gives us a song of praise (Luke 1:46-55).

The author combines a study of Scripture with personal illustrations and historical examples to illustrate his thoughts and principles. He provides an encouraging volume filled with biblical examples of how the prayers of ordinary people can change lives, move mountains, and change the course of history.

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 August 14, 2018 in Books, Prayer, Quotes

 

Sermon prep

An experienced pastor was asked by a young seminarian how long it took him to prepare a sermon. He replied, “Thirty years plus as many hours as I can find in any given week.”

I concur, though in my case, it is “63 years plus as many hours as I can find in any given week.” It takes a lifetime to adequately prepare a sermon!

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2018 in Preaching, Quotes

 

Honest questions about our struggle to trust God

Book Review: When God’s Ways Make No Sense, by Dr. Larry Crabb

How often do we soften Scripture to make it more pleasing? Are we more interested in a comfortable life than a Christian life? Have we not heard the call to radical discipleship? Have we reduced it to an easier call to follow?

These are among the many questions Dr. Larry Crabb wrestles with in his latest book, When God’s Ways Make No Sense. Using the stories of Jonah, Saul (before he became Paul), and Habakkuk, Dr. Crabb explains that we typically resort to one of three options when life is hard and we don’t receive the answers we want from God.

When God’s thoughts and ways make no sense to us, we Christians are confronted with three options.

  1. Resist and Run. Determine to follow God when we like the direction He leads. But when we don’t, when His thoughts and ways seem to be taking us away from the life we want for ourselves, then we feel justified in resisting His input and running off to do whatever better fits our ideas of a good way to live. Like Jonah. This option is illustrated in the life of a prophet who was enraged at God’s plan.
  2. Distort and Deny. Arrange our understanding both of how God thinks about our lives and of how He lovingly moves into them so that it matches our perception of how a loving God should think and move. Deny Scripture that contradicts what we want to believe about God. Revise our theology of God’s good news into principles for living that make obedience to God comfortable—comfortable obedience that we assume will bring satisfying blessings into our lives. Like Saul. Before he became Paul, he distorted the Old Testament’s message into what he wanted it to say and denied the value of passages that contradicted his distortion.
  3. Tremble and Trust. Sit under the Bible. Hear whatever God is saying. When we realize that God’s way of running the world and guiding our lives makes no sense, tremble. Tremble before a God whose thoughts and ways are far above our thoughts and ways about what the truly good life is and how to live it. Feel our confusion. Own our doubts. Embrace our fears. Face our disappointment. Experience our anguish.

Then trust. Trust the Judge of the earth to do right, to always advance purpose we will one day gladly agree were good. Accept that no one can fully unravel the mystery of prayer. Choose to live by faith in God’s goodness, to deny authority to what our dim eyes can see. With the eyes of faith, gaze on the unfolding story of God that with the eyes of sight we may not recognize as a story of love. Humble ourselves. Confess our pride. We think we know more than we do.

Tremble before the incomprehensible God and trust that He is good. Trust that His love is committed to our growing awareness of the deepest and happiest well-being that’s available to us now, that His love will lead us into an eternity where we will know every delight we were created to enjoy. Gaze on the cross. Remember Christ’s death. Nowhere is the love of the incomprehensible God more fully and clearly displayed.

But always remember: tastes now, the full banquet later. Tremble before what our eyes can see and our hearts can feel. Trust in what our faith can believe, that the longed-for satisfaction of our deepest thirst lies ahead. Like Habakkuk. Habakkuk’s story illustrates what it looks like to respond well when God’s ways make no sense.

Part 1 of the book lays out the stories of Jonah, Saul, and Habakkuk. Part 2 explores the concept of trembling and how it is the gateway to trust. Part 3 explains the necessity of trusting in God’s unthwarted sovereignty. Part 4 offers three parables of what a modern-day Jonah, Saul, and Habakkuk look like now.

The book is thoroughly biblical, challenging, and thought provoking. You may not agree with everything the author says or his concept of God’s sovereignty, but the book will cause you to reexamine your view of God. Well worth the read.

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 July 5, 2018 in Books, Quotes, Scripture, Theology

 
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Stop searching for the perfect church

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2018 in Church, Quotes, Tim Challies

 

Be a Hero-Maker

Having benefited from Bob Buford’s work, especially his book, Half-Time, I enjoyed reading Todd Wilson’s article, “Healthy Rhythms,” in which he reflected on the lessons he learned from Bob Buford. One of the things Bob taught and emphasized was Multiplication Thinking. It is expressed in Todd Wilson’s statement,

The first essential shift in moving from being a hero to becoming a hero maker is multiplication thinking; it causes us to think beyond ourselves and beyond our churches. Instead of thinking the best way to maximize our ministry is through our leadership, we begin to realize that the best way to maximize God’s ministry is through multiplying and developing other leaders.

Multiplication thinking and Wilson’s statement about developing leaders resonates with the apostle Paul’s statement in Ephesians 4:11-16 that pastors are not to do all the work of ministry themselves. Instead, they are to equip others to do the work of service. Click on the link to read the entire article. Become a hero-maker.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2018 in Leadership, Quotes