Posts Tagged ‘books’

Book Giveaway

In books on May 1, 2008 at 7:29 am

April Giveaway

Click here to enter to win a set of books. This month challies.com is giving away a great set of books. Every click enters you into the drawing and helps improve my chances. Thanks!


Mastering A Book

In books on April 21, 2008 at 6:12 pm

booksI think I share this guys’ love for books. Stephen offers a few suggestions for C.J. Mahaney’s challenge to master a short list of gospel-centered books. I particularly appreciated his suggestion to talk about the books we read with others…this means we have to be reading the same books as our friends. I would appreciate any advice on how to go about doing this, it’s difficult for folks to commit to reading the exact same book at the exact same time on the exact same schedule. Any help?

The Expository Genius of John Calvin; A Review

In books on March 27, 2008 at 6:59 am

The Expository Genius of John Calvin
by Dr. Steven J. Lawson
Reformation Trust, 2007


Expository Genius of John Calvin coverThis wonderful book is written as a plea to modern-day preachers and teachers to return to the practice of expository preaching of the Word of God. From Dr. Lawson:

As we consider Calvin’s life and work, we will survey the distinguishing marks of his pulpit ministry, consider the core presuppositions that undergirded his biblical preaching, and examine his personal preparation for the pulpit. Along the way, we will gain an overview of his preaching itself—his sermon introduction, interpretation, application, conclusion, and final intercession. In short, we will explore the distinguishing marks of Calvin’s expository genius.

The goal here is not to take a sentimental journey—the hour is too desperate for such a triviality. Rather, the aim of this book is to raise the bar for a new generation of expositors. If you are a preacher or teacher, may you be challenged to a higher standard in your handling of the Word. If you are a supporter of one called to this ministry, may you know
how best to pray.


The book is divided into two parts. The first section gives a brief biographical sketch of John Calvin and the state of the church in Europe during his lifetime. The second section provides the reader with an overview of John Calvin’s preaching methods.

The biographical section, while not meant to be complete, is a great introduction for those who have not studied the life of John Calvin. It provides just enough detail to get a sense of what Calvin would have struggled with during his lifetime of opening the Word of God for himself and for others.

The second section, the majority of the book, details Calvin’s habits of expository preaching. Dr. Lawson begins with John’s thoughts toward what should be said and done in the pulpit and moves on to cover his study habits and how he prepared his sermons. It is interesting to note that Calvin, like many other preachers who spoke multiple times during the week, preached out of an overflow of his studies. He did not have to prepare his sermons in the typical manner because they were already formed in his mind. After pouring over the Scripture passage he was studying, preaching became, to him, simply relating that knowledge back to his audience in a manner that was easily understandable.

Dr. Lawson continues and describes how Calvin began his sermons with a brief review of the previous sermon (Calvin preached verse-by-verse each week, continuing right where he left off in the previous message) and then gave his audience an overview of the text before preaching on the text itself. The book then discusses how Calvin went about his exposition of the text and how he crafted his words towards his audience and delivered his message. John Calvin’s sermons would end with an explanation of how to apply the text to their lives and, finally, a plea to his audience to take God’s Word to heart and live it in their daily lives.


Dr. Lawson’s work accomplished its goal, to call on preachers to return to a faithful exposition of God’s Word in the pulpit, and gave a wonderful example of one man who did just that. You may ask why a layman would want to read this book if they may never stand before a congregation. My answer would be that they would gain a valuable guide in what to look for in good preaching as they seek out a church to belong to. In that light, I would recommend this book to all audiences, not just preachers and teachers of God’s Word.

I end with a description of the faithfulness John Calvin had to continually preach the Word of God above all things:

Upon his return, Calvin hit the town preaching. Reassuming his pulpit ministry precisely where he had left off three years earlier—in the very next verse of his earlier exposition—Calvin became a mainstay, preaching multiple times on Sunday and, during some weeks, each weekday. His verse-by-verse exposition of Scripture, week after week, even day after day, would make Geneva a shining beacon of truth.

Free Books!

In news on March 12, 2008 at 10:55 pm

The Truth of the CrossSorry for the sneaky title. Ligonier is offering a free PDF of some of their books if you agree to review it on your blog. After they review your…review…they will send you a free hard-copy of the same book you wrote about. I picked up The Truth of the Cross in PDF format and easily put it on my Kindle (look for a review soon). Then I realized that Reformation Trust doesn’t offer their books on the Kindle but they obviously have PDF versions readily available. This then lead to the obvious question; Why don’t more publishers offer electronic versions of their books if they have them? I realize there is a lot to the publishing world I don’t know about so please excuse my ignorance in this matter. I’m not just looking to get every book on my Kindle, I just think a lot of folks would love to have a PDF copy of the hard-copy books they purchase. This way you could read the hard-copy books on paper but also have the ability to use the PDF as a search-able reference document for later studies (not all of us have Al Mohler’s uncanny ability to memorize every book he reads).

Does anyone have some insight into this?

William Wilberforce and Joy

In books on February 25, 2008 at 12:12 pm

William WilberforceFrom John Piper’s short biography of William Wilberforce:

[The true Christian] walk in the ways of Religion, not by constraint, but willingly; they are to him not only safe, but comfortable, “ways of pleasantness as well as of peace” [Prov. 3:17]…With earnest prayers, therefore, for the Divine Help, with jealous circumspection and resolute selfdenial, he guards against, and abstains from, whatever might be likely again to darken his enlightened judgment, or to vitiate his reformed taste; thus making it his unwearied endeavor to grow in the knowledge and love of heavenly things, and to obtain a warmer admiration, and a more cordial relish of their excellence…”

I am embarrassed to admit that much of my knowledge of Wilberforce came from the “Amazing Grace” movie recently found on DVD. Piper has done a wonderful job of looking into what made William tick and found that it was undeniably Christ and a life lived joyously in Him. You can probably read through this book in a few hours so I would recommend this if you are interested in getting a quick summary of his life and his passions.

Print is Dead?

In technology on February 18, 2008 at 5:03 pm

KindleThere has always been something fascinating to me about those who have written and published a book. A real book. How do you define a real book? Well, for the purpose that I write about today, something of substance and over 100 pages in length. I have a few publications out there, in journals and the school that granted me a degree, but that’s not what I’m describing here. I mean people whose names are on a solid, well-researched book. Where the countless hours poured into the study and writing are all redeemed when the binding is cracked the first time a reader looses themselves in whatever world is detailed. These are the people that fascinate me.

Recently, Steve Jobs (I don’t think it would be a stretch to refer to him as a “trend-setter”) was quoted, saying:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

The irony of how many people read his comment is almost on par with the fact that my Kindle e-reader came with a 20-page printed user’s manual.

Jeff Gomez has written a book called Print Is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age where he evangelizes authors, publishers, and distributors to get on the digital bandwagon and begin publishing in ways that are accessible to those who spend the majority of their time in front of computers and cell phones and rarely see printed text.

Here’s where I’d like to comment on Amazon’s drive to accomplish this. In conjunction with their release of the Kindle reading device, whose major one-up on all the other e-readers is that you can wirelessly download content in minutes almost anywhere you are, they have started a Digital Text Platform. It gives any author (with or without a publisher) the ability to publish their material for sale in the Kindle store. Just write, upload, set a price, and you’re published. No meetings, no approvals, no waiting.

Obviously making it so easy to become “published” will lead to an increase of poorly-written material being seen. But, it will also make it easier for some really exceptional writers who may not want to go through the processes that publishing houses place on them have their writings available. The great thing about the timing of this technology is that folks can easily comment on the “book” and rate it so that the poorly-written “books” will be weeded out and the well-written ones will become visible quickly.

I am excited about where things are going in this area, especially for Christians. Not necessarily that any Christian should publish anything they feel like, but allowing more pastors and elders to publish their sermons, or seeing more books published as a result of a conference. And making all of this more accessible, search-able, and shareable is the driving force at work.

2008 Book Reading

In books on February 3, 2008 at 11:09 pm

John Owen, The Glory of ChristWell, I was on schedule to read through at least 26 books in 2008, having read through 4 already this year I was in good shape. Then I picked up a copy of John Owen’s The Glory of Christ. I have a feeling this one is going to break the schedule. The length isn’t the problem. It’s the content. I can only read through a few sentences before I am compelled to put the book down and ponder what was just read.

This is our first saving view of Christ, the first instance of our beholding his glory by faith. So to see him as to see God in him, is to behold his glory; for herein he is eternally glorious. And this is that glory whose view we ought to long for and labour after.

Owen’s use of language is fantastic. When speaking of Christ’s glory, Owen refers to it as the uncreated glory of God. If you’re looking for a book that will give you an awesome view of the glory of Christ, read the Bible. If you want a book that will give you a pretty good view of the glory of Christ, have a look at this one.

Monergism's Weekend Sale

In books on February 1, 2008 at 8:12 pm

Monergism is having a sale this weekend, check it out.

Signs of the Spirit, Sam Storms

In books on January 25, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Sam Storms. Signs of the SpiritI wanted to recommend a great book, Sam Storms’ Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards’ “Religious Affections”.

The book is actually divided into two very distinct parts. The first part is Storms’ interpretation of Jonathan Edwards’ classic Religious Affections. The second is Edwards’ Narrative mixed in with Storms’ own thoughts on Edwards’ life. I might actually recommend reading over the biographical part of the book first to get a little more into the life of Jonathan Edwards and then read through the first part.

The reason I enjoyed this book so much is because as I read through it, I really had to stop and think about some of my own “religious experiences” I’ve had during my walk with the Lord. Edwards does an extensive job of covering what constitutes an experience given by the Holy Spirit verses those of no consequence and Storms puts it into a language that is easy to understand. Edwards’ work was written after he had experienced revival in his own town and then saw revival fall off. All types of controversies rose up after this from people saying that the revival was a fraud and that Edwards faked emotions in his congregation. Edwards sought to define what types of experiences could be thought of as being born of the Spirit and what types were not or were difficult to discern. There is nothing in the book on the current day Pentecostal/charismatic movement but one could certainly learn more about these movements as a result of the knowledge found in this book.

Maybe this is turning into Jonathan Edwards Month here and not just Edwards Week

Best Books of 2007

In books on January 12, 2008 at 10:21 am

Here are a few lists that folks have come up with with their favorite books of 2007: