Taking the first steps…

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When a toddler is learning to walk, the process begins with small steps. Walking is not easy for a toddler, but the first small steps can be easier than a full–fledged stride.

Being a new Christian is exciting yet the idea of a lifelong journey can be a daunting thought. Therefore, it is great to simplify the Christian life for the new Christian so that the first steps are possible.

This brief tool by Sam Emodi is an excellent resource to ensure the first few steps are simple and succinct. This is not an exhaustive tool on the history of Christianity and the role of sanctification in a new believer’s life. But this is a tool that is short, clear and connected to other believer’s, which is good for the first few steps with Jesus.

What this resource does is make the early steps of discipleship very accomplishable. The strength of this resource is that is threaded with the reality of community and church. This guide is not going to suggest that you pick up a bible, start reading and praying alone with the hopes that you will figure it out. Toddlers don’t start walking on their own, there are others who know how to walk right along side of them to protect them, provide for them, and encourage them.

The reality of the church and small groups of accountability and love are vital for new believers. Without these, new believers will quickly fade into isolation.

However, even the maturest of believers would benefit and be encouraged by what is provided through this resource. We all need strengthening and this book will do just that!

Thank you to Crossway. I received this ebook for the purpose of an unbiased review.

A Thorough Tool

Following Jesus Christ is a new resource that will serve as a heavy–hitter in the theological world of books and tools.

The editors of this book have compiled input from New Testament scholars across the board. The design of this book is superb. The writers have taken each book in the New Testament and gleaned the pattern of discipleship within each book. This serves as a commentary of sorts along with a discipleship guide.

The ways in which this book can be used in teaching seem endless. Pastors may use this in various sermon series and/or small group communities according to the themed teaching(s).

The book concludes with three chapters devoted to discipleship in today’s world. It is important to note that this comes after the gleanings of each New Testament book. The importance of this is noteworthy because today’s discipleship must be governed by yesterday’s foundation and history in the New Testament.

If these are ever taught backwards, there will be a lack of exegesis along with an increase in eisegesis, which is simply unacceptable. This guide should prevent such a travesty from taking place.

If you are looking for a fresh, thorough guide on biblical discipleship, look no further.

I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Academic & Ministry Blog Review Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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7 Myths

Singleness is a scary word. There is an idea of being incomplete if single. There is an idea of being looked down upon if single. There is an idea of being disconnected. Addressing singleness can be a daunting task as well, especially if coming from someone who is married.

But truth in love seems to be the tone in this book as Sam Alberry discusses the blessings of singleness and the beauty of it.

Personally, I know those who are single and miserable as well those who are single and satisfied with life. When it comes to churches, many do not know how to serve those who are single. It can often be either an awkward ministry or avoided all together.

Alberry does not provide trite answers for the hard questions or struggling single person. But he does use grace with truth to help everyone see the gift that singleness can be. When viewed with this sort of perspective, singleness is a blessing for the one who is single and those around that person’s life.

Thank you to Crossway. I received this ebook for the purpose of an unbiased review.

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A beautiful resource

When it comes to eyeglasses, no one magnification or prescription works for each person. The different magnifications are prescribed to people based on what their specific need is.

Expositional Preaching is a specific model of preaching that is done in various styles and one of those styles or traditions is African–American. Just as lenses in eyeglasses differ to accomplish the purpose of clear sight, expository preaching styles differ across the board, though all with the desire of letting God be heard and made known to people of various contexts.

This book, Say It!, is a gem in the preaching genre as it explains African–American evangelical tradition and styles of preaching expositionally in that tradition. Because this is a specific book on expositional preaching, you will find within this resource the clear definitions of expositional preaching, preaching through the differing genres in scripture, along with a case for preaching throughs the books of the Bible.

The contributions to this book from historic African–American expositors is worth the read alone. Their history, stories, and work of God in their lives through history helps readers understand why expositional preaching is the standard across evangelical denominations and cultures.

This is a beautiful tool for preachers!

Thank you to MPnewsroom for the book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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A starting point

The book of Revelation can be a daunting task to read, much less understand. It is a book that both draws people in and pushes people back.

When a challenge is approaching, the best thing to understand is the starting point. To simply get the ball rolling is the first and most important victory.

Charles Ryrie gets that ball rolling with a concise commentary on Revelation that best serves as a starting point.

This commentary may not serve as the most in-depth resource on Revelation but it is simple and straightforward for readers to begin climbing the hill of the book. Covering the book of Revelation from the tip of the iceberg to the foundation is nearly impossible to do in 175 pages. But what Ryrie offers as the starting point is very well–worth the effort to dive into.

The format of the commentary is to cover this book verse-by-verse as much as possible and that helps with not playing hopscotch through the difficult terms and imagery throughout Revelation.

If you are wanting a helpful starting point to cover Revelation for the first time or even perhaps to return to the book, check out this volume from the Everyday Bible Commentary Series.

Thank you to MPnewsroom for the book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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25 questions…

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The S word can often be a subject that is intimidating and fearful. Some may even say….

“We just don’t talk about that.” 

But Dr. Juli Slattery does and does so with grace and through a gospel–lens.

Physical intimacy is a gift from the Lord and His requirements regarding it are not a punishment but a protection for souls. This principle is thread through each chapter as there are 25 chapters addressing 25 questions about Love, Sex and Intimacy.

What Dr. Slattery wants to help people see is that God’s glory is part of the equation and is a proper perspective to be held onto as you walk through these questions.

The topic of sex is not about what we can or can’t do, but about honoring each other, serving each other and seeing God’s gift for what it is. This book is mainly addressed to women from a woman who has studied and asked these same questions herself.

Thank you to MPnewsroom for the book in exchange for an unbiased review.

The Fruit of Focus

Meditation. Reflection. Solitude. Quiet.

Words like these tend to scare people, even Christians.

But what if we just misunderstood these words and the practices that they imply? Finally, the foundations of biblical truth and neuroscience mesh well and balanced in order to give clarity to what is often confusing.

This book is both technical and practical, but is written from the heart of a pastor. Therefore, readers can anticipate a warm shepherding effect as they digest this book. What Dr. Stone writes about is lost in the Christian life today. The discipline and art of mindfulness is ignored and avoided in the name of “getting things done.”

One of the values of this book is the research accompanying the writing. Dr. Stone was very diligent to present the data of research he completed in bringing this content to the surface of reader’s attention.

This is the kind of book that should have been written long ago, yet this book will stick around for quite some time as it calls Christians back to the strong practice of renewing and discipling the mind.

Thank you to MPnewsroom for the book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Wonderful Resource

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Philippians is regarded as one of the favorite New Testament books among Christians. The letter is full of joy and passion in knowing Christ. This commentary enters the field of study as a wonderful resource.

The commentary begins not with an introduction/background to Philippians (although that is part of the resource). What comes first is the format of the commentary which is: First – Exegetical Analysis, Second – Theological Focus, and Third – Preaching/Teaching Strategy.

Next, the commentary gives a brief outline for each passage of the book. This is a very kind guideline to wet your appetite for study and preaching/teaching.

Finally, the technical aspects of the commentary appear. This is where the intro/background sets up the study tools for each passage and it’s division within the book of Philippians.

This book is very balanced in theological direction and application. It does not weight to one side or the other, but to both in a very balanced manner. The balance allows for the theological direction to give weight and clarity to the application. Readers will notice that the scholars did their work in both the context and application.

If you are just beginning to build your library, this may be one of the better first pieces to build around Philippians.

I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Academic & Ministry Blog Review Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Questions with answers

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Heaven and hell are two major topics in the scriptures. However, the scriptures are often the least visited source on these topics. Most readers would prefer to read “testimonies” of those who claim to have visited both or either in some form or dream or vision.

Alan Gomes is a scholar who points people back to the source of truth and uses this book to do just that. Because people are intimidated with these topics or may not know exactly where to begin, Gomes has formed 40 questions that seem to help as starting points.

The 40 questions are very helpful and cover a wide–range of thoughts and curiosities. Though the questions may be wide–ranging, the answers are carefully explained in a way for readers to understand clearly. Gomes doesn’t clothe his answers in his scholarship but uses his scholarship to bring the helpful answers to readers of any level.

It is books like these that will help people who are beginners of this interest as well as pastors/teachers who need to brush–up on this subject, as well as prepare to teach for the first time on these realties.

As culture becomes weightier, I would not be surprised to perhaps see a second volume of 40 more questions on heaven and hell put forth in the years to come.

I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Academic & Ministry Blog Review Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Helping to Heal

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Helping is a form of healing. However, there is such a practice of helping that hurts. Many years ago, these same authors began to explore the foundation behind alleviating poverty. They discovered how such can be done successfully to bring about lasting change, but at the same time they realized that heroism can be disguised as helping. Therefore, leaving those who were helped hurting instead of healed.

This sequel book is a workbook that serves as a great training tool for those who are starting to address poverty, as well as those who have been serving benevolently for decades. It is never too late to learn or relearn ministry principles so that real ministry occurs.

This book should be in the hands of mission teams, church staffs, deacons, and people who want to love their neighbors well. This book is not only a how–to guide, but it helps cast a healthy vision of the “why” for benevolence ministries and lifestyles.

These authors know what they are talking about and want you to know what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Thank you to MPnewsroom for the book in exchange for an unbiased review.