God Blesses You

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You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.” Psalm 65:11

All year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us. He blesses us when we sleep, and when we wake His mercy is upon us. The sun may leave us a legacy of darkness, but our God never ceases to shine on His children with beams of love.

Like a river, His loving kindness is always flowing, with a fullness as inexhaustible as His own nature. Like the atmosphere which constantly surrounds the earth and sustains all life, the compassion of God surrounds all His creatures. In it, we live, and move, and have our being. (Acts 17:27-28)

Yet as the sun on summer days encourages us with beams more warm and bright than at other times, and as rivers are at certain seasons swollen by the rain, so is it with the mercy of God. His mercy has its golden hours, its days of overflow, when the Lord magnifies His grace to His children.

The blessings of the joyous days of harvest are a special season of excessive favor. It is in the glory of autumn that the ripe gifts of providence are abundantly bestowed. It is the mellow season of realization. Before there was nothing but hope and expectation, but great is the joy of harvest. Happy are the harvesters who fill their arms with the yield of heaven!

The Psalmist tells us that the harvest is the “crown of the year.” Surely these crowning mercies call for crowning thanksgiving! Let us give it all to God it by fostering the inward emotion of gratitude. Let our hearts be warmed! Let our spirits remember, meditate, and think about the goodness of the Lord! Then let us praise Him with our lips, and magnify His name, from whose abundance all goodness flows. Finally, let us glorify God by yielding our gifts to His cause, giving a practical proof of our gratitude to the Lord of the harvest!

Question: How has God blessed you lately? Can you set aside time today to thank Him?

Originally written by Charles H. Spurgeon,
Updated to modern English by Darren Hewer, 2011.

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God Blesses You

January New & Notable Books

I get books. I get lots and lots of books. As you well know, once a month or so I like to try and thin the pile a little bit and distill it down to the ones I think may be of most interest to people like you. I hope you find at least some of them worth checking out!

Books Featured:

Jesus Wins: The Good News of the End Times by Dayton Hartman

Too often discussions about the End Times are fraught with wild speculation or discord. But a biblical view of eschatology places Jesus’ return and victory at the center. All Christians hold this hope in common. In Jesus Wins, Dayton Hartman focuses on this common ground to reveal why the way we think about the End Times matters. Christian eschatology should be rooted in biblical orthodoxy to inspire hope and greater faithfulness in the present age. That’s the point of eschatology after all! Drawing from his own ministry experience, Hartman testifies to the unifying power of Jesus’ victory.

Idols of a Mother’s Heart by Cristina Fox

Even good things can become idols if we give them central importance in our lives. Having children changes everything, and as mothers, we risk looking for life, purpose and meaning in motherhood. While being a mother brings its unique set of challenges, these years of raising children and helping them grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord provide an opportunity to grow in our own Christlikeness as well.

Writing from her own personal experience as a mom, Christina Fox encourages mothers to prayerfully and thoughtfully examine their own hearts, and to let God use motherhood as a means of sanctification.

Split into three sections, the first chapter looks at the meaning motherhood; chapters 2–4 are about idolatry; chapters 5–9 focus on a few different idols that mothers might worship (not an exhaustive list, but a common few); and the final chapters are about facing idols, dethroning them, and turning our heart back to the One true God.

Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story

Dr. Christopher Yuan explores the concept of holy sexuality–chastity in singleness or faithfulness in marriage–in a practical and relevant manner, equipping readers with an accessible yet robust theology of sexuality. Whether you want to share Christ with a loved one who identifies as gay or you’re wrestling with questions of identity yourself, this book will help you better understand sexuality in light of God’s grand story and realize that holy sexuality is actually good news for all.

Following Jesus: The Essentials of Christian Discipleship

Unexpected Blessings

Unexpected Blessings helps special-needs families move past the pain and confusion of their circumstances and slowly, firmly face the future with hope. Speaking honestly about struggles that accompany a variety of disabilities, Sandra Peoples shows readers how to
· let go of false beliefs that hold them back
· work through the cycles of grief
· focus on self-care and healthy routines
· understand disability based on what the Bible says
· rebuild a strong faith foundation
· create support systems for themselves and others
Filled with real-life stories and hard-earned wisdom, this book shines a light on the possibilities and blessings that come when parents see their new purpose in life–which was God’s purpose for them all along.

Images and Idols: Creativity for the Christian Life

God is the Creator of all things, and He created us in His image. Creativity is woven into the very fabric of our humanity. Therefore, Christians should value and champion creativity as a vital part of our image-bearing role. Instead Christians often don’t know what to do with creatives and creatives don’t know what to do with Christianity. On one side you have Christians who neglect or discount art, imagination, and beauty altogether. On the other, you have artists who make idols out of each of these good things.

Ryan Lister, a theology professor, and Thomas Terry, a spoken word artist and founder of Humble Beast, team up to help restore the connection between creativity and theology. Images & Idols is a theological and artistic exploration of creativity in the Christian life. It will help creatives build a strong theological foundation for their art, while challenging the church to embrace a theology of beauty and creativity.

Meditations on Preaching

These brief meditations have been collected from the third volume of Francis Grimké’s Works, entitled Stray Thoughts and Meditations, a diary written over the last twenty-five years of his life. Grimké’s thoughts on preaching display his gospel-centered piety, his wisdom, and his experience of eventually fifty years of pulpit ministry. Preachers from every Christian denomination will benefit from this African American Presbyterian voice of the early twentieth century.

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Pat Barrett’s Single ‘Build My Life’ Multitrack Single Available Now

Christian Music News, New Christian Music News Bowyer & Bow / Capitol Christian Music Group artist, songwriter and worship leader Pat Barrett has recently released a multitrack single of his song “Build My Life” that is also currently going for adds at radio and was the most added single this week with 34 adds out of the box. The multitrack single featured a radio, studio and live versions along with a rendition featuring Cory Asbury.  Click here to stream or purchase “Build My Life.” This song is from his 2018 self-titled debut that received instant praise from radio, media and fans. “Build My Life” is currently one of the Top 20 songs in the church on the CCLI chart. Click here to watch the live version of this song.

The moving anthem is built on foundational truth. The lyrics ground the worshipper, reminding one of the importance of a strong foundation: And I will build my life upon your love / It is a firm foundation / And I will put my trust in you alone / And I will not be shaken.

“It is the type of song that will cause you to look down, rather than up.” Barrett explains, “You look down to see what you’re standing on. I love songs that make you look down at this relationship or that thing or that circumstance. God’s in it all. It’s not like God is up. He’s here.”

Last year was a breakthrough for Barrett as a solo artist, who has already celebrated 15 years in his career before releasing a solo project in 2018 on GRAMMY® Award winning artist Chris Tomlin’s imprint record label, Bowyer & Bow. The album’s first single “The Way (New Horizon)” climbed the radio charts into the Top 5 on the Christian Audience radio chart. Barrett was also nominated for the prestigious New Artist of the Year for the 49th GMA Dove Awards, where he co-hosted the pre-show of the awards. He appeared on the “Worship Night in America” tour and Tomlin’s “Good Good Father” tour in Canda, and the upcoming “Holy Roar” tour beginning in March. 

https://www.newreleasetoday.com/news_detail.php?newsid=3598

‘A Ragamuffin Benefit for Rick Elias The Jesus Record Live’ Concert Slated for February 2

'A Ragamuffin Benefit for Rick Elias: The Jesus Record Live' Concert Slated for February 2

   

Posted: January 09, 2019, 12:00 AM | Category: General
Artist Tags:
Source: McCain & Co.

Contemporary Christian music legend Rick Elias, a founding member of A Ragamuffin Band, was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Friends and colleagues have banded together to produce a benefit concert designed to help defray the enormous expenses associated with the treatment of his insidious disease.
 
A Ragamuffin Benefit for Rick Elias: The Jesus Record Live concert event, which is slated for February 2, 2019, at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee, is an opportunity for friends and fans of the award-winning singer/songwriter and producer to gather, raise money for his medical expenses, and hear The Jesus Record performed live in its entirety. The concert will feature performers from the original recording, including Elias, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, A Ragamuffin Band (Elias, Mark Robertson, Jimmy Abegg, and Aaron Smith), and more. Even the sound engineer, concert producers, graphic artist, select session players and others who contributed to the original album are donating their time for this significant evening.  
 
The historic Jesus Record was scheduled to be the ninth release by the late Rich Mullins (1955-1997). When Mullins met an untimely death, his foundation, band, and record company determined to move forward with recording the project in Rich’s honor with guest artists who were his friends. The project included two discs; Disc One–the nine rough song demos recorded by Mullins, and Disc Two–the studio version of the same songs, produced by Rick Elias. The Jesus Record was released on July 23, 1998. Shortly thereafter, A Ragamuffin Band toured the U.S., featuring music from The Jesus Record on their Homeless Man Tour. 
 
“Earlier this year, I received a diagnosis that turned my world upside down,” Elias confesses. “Nevertheless, we remain in God’s faithfulness. My family and I are so thankful for the community that has rallied around us during this time. We are really looking forward to performing The Jesus Record live for the first time in 21 years.”  
 
“It was a privilege to work with Rick and the Ragamuffins 21 years ago when we recorded The Jesus Record at Myrrh Records,” says former Myrrh Records Vice President/General Manager Jim Chaffee, one of the organizers of the event. “And it’s an honor to join with everyone again to celebrate this great project and help our friend Rick. How appropriate that music focused on our Savior continues to bring us together and offer healing in our time of need.”
 
“We are all ragamuffins,” adds Loren Balman, former President, Word Entertainment Label Group and one of the event’s organizers. “Aside from being an extraordinary friend, Rick has taught me much about life, love, and laughter. No matter the storm, Rick continues to point us all towards Jesus.”
 
Tickets to A Ragamuffin Benefit for Rick Elias: The Jesus Record Live concert event may be purchased online at eventbrite.com/e/the-jesus-record-live-a-ragamuffin-benefit-for-rick-elias-tickets-54243200874?aff=erellivmlt
 
All proceeds from the event will go toward medical treatment for Elias’s brain cancer. Those who are unable to attend the concert can still support this worthy cause by making a generous donation to the Rick Elias Medical Expenses GoFundMe campaign. To donate, visit gofundme.com/rick-elias-medical-expenses.  

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7eventh Time Down’s ‘Brand New Day’ Dawns March 1

7eventh Time Down's 'Brand New Day' Dawns March 1

Christian Music News, New Christian Music News “Just Say Jesus” and “God Is On The Move” hitmakers 7eventh Time Down return March 1 with Brand New Day, the band’s highly anticipated fourth BEC studio recording. Featuring 10 tracks, six of which were produced by 7eventh Time Down frontman Mikey Howard, the project also showcases production contributions from GRAMMY® Award-winner Theron “Neff-U” Feemster (Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige), Ian Eskelin (Francesca Battistelli, Sidewalk Prophets) and Colby Wedgeworth (Tauren Wells, Zach Williams). Click here to save and/or pre-order Brand New Day
 
Building on the pop/rock melodies and emotive lyrics that have come to define the 7eventh Time Down sound, Brand New Day features “The 99,” a joyful anthem inspired by Luke 15’s Parable of the Lost Sheep. The new single is slated for adds at Christian radio January 18 and will be available digitally January 25. Additional highlights of Brand New Day include the title-cut, an embrace of complete surrender in Christ; the synth-punctuated rally cry “I Have Decided”; and “Let Me Tell You,” which includes a modern nod to the gospel classic “There’s Something About That Name.” 
 
Brand New Day is about a heart being redeemed by God through His Son, Jesus,” said 7eventh Time Down co-founder and lead vocalist Mikey Howard. “It’s about having confidence God will accomplish this type of rescue. It’s about the hope of anticipating this type of renewal. And it’s about the joy you find on this side of the cross, resting in the overwhelming love of a God who can! I hope more than anything that someone who is isolated by their own guilt, shame, depression, anxiety or doubt will have their heart shifted towards the heavens by this music so God can begin His extraordinary work in their own story of redemption.”   
 
Kentucky natives 7eventh Time Down first catapulted into the spotlight with “Just Say Jesus,” the hit title-cut from their 2013 sophomore set which spent a total of 52 consecutive weeks on Christian radio charts. In addition, the band’s multi-week #1, “God Is On The Move,” was one of 2016’s most played singles at Christian radio, according to Billboard. Comprised of lead vocalist Mikey Howard, drummer Austin Miller and bassist Cliff Williams, 7eventh Time Down has shared the stage with such artists as Newsboys, for KING & COUNTRY and Matthew West, among others. The band’s BEC discography includes 2011’s Alive In You; Just Say Jesus (2013) and God Is On The Move (2015).  
 
For further information, visit 7eventhtimedown.com, becrecordings.com or turningpointpr.com. Follow 7eventh Time Down on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

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Pat Barrett’s Single ‘Build My Life’ Multitrack Single Available Now
Wednesday, January 09, 2019
‘A Ragamuffin Benefit for Rick Elias: The Jesus Record Live’ Concert Slated for February 2
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7eventh Time Down’s ‘Brand New Day’ Dawns March 1
Wednesday, January 09, 2019
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Cody Carnes Releases New Song ‘Nothing Else’
Monday, January 07, 2019
Mallary Hope Celebrates the New Year with Birth of Baby Boy
Monday, January 07, 2019
Billboard.com Exclusively Premieres SWITCHFOOT’S ‘Let It Happen’ Music Video
Monday, January 07, 2019
Music City Management Grows Roster with Addition of Jason Gray
Monday, January 07, 2019
Meredith Andrews Releases New Song from Upcoming Live EP ‘Faith & Wonder (Live)’
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View All News

https://www.newreleasetoday.com/news_detail.php?newsid=3596

Spirit and Sacrament: An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship

One thing that has always been true of this movement labeled “the New Calvinism,” is that it has included more professing charismatics than practicing charismatics. Though from the very beginning many, and perhaps even the majority, of its adherents have been open to the ongoing miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, very few have lived or worshipped in a way that is distinctly (or even vaguely) charismatic. Though many of the theological leaders of the movement like Wayne Grudem, John Piper, and D.A. Carson have taken continuationist positions of varying forms, few people have actually enacted such positions on a local church level. This has led to a noticeable gap between theology and practice. I suspect, though, that this is about to change.

This is about to change because several noteworthy pastors and leaders who are both Calvinistic and charismatic are committed to calling their own churches and others’ to practice what they preach. Sam Storms recently released Practicing the Power (my review), a kind of guidebook for bringing a church into charismatic practice, and now Andrew Wilson has released Spirit and Sacrament, a book that attempts to set charismatic practice alongside better-known and more traditional Christian forms of worship. Notably, both books have forewords by Matt Chandler and all three of these men spoke at the recent Convergence Conference which exists “to instruct and encourage individual believers and local churches to eagerly embrace the functional authority of the written text of Scripture and to experience the full range of miraculous spiritual gifts, all to the glory of God in Christ.” A movement is afoot!

Spirit and Practice coins the portmanteau eucharismatic to define the kind of worship Wilson believes the Bible calls us to—worship that is both eucharistic and charismatic. Hence the book’s subtitle is “An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship.” He begins the book by saying it is his attempt to join two things that are often kept separate. “It is a theological vision for a church that treasures all of God’s gifts, the eucharistic and the charismatic, beginning with charis (grace) and culminating in chara (joy). It is a call to pursue the best of both worlds, an appeal to bring out of the church’s storehouse both old and new treasures, so that God’s people can enjoy his grace in Spirit and sacrament, with liturgy and levity, raised hands and lowered faces, confession and dance. It is an invitation—to Christians, to pastors, to you to be Eucharismatic.”

When he refers to eucharistic, he means not only the celebration of Communion in corporate worship, but the whole of Christian tradition. To be eucharistic is “to be historically rooted, unashamedly sacramental, deliberately liturgical, and self-consciously catholic.” When he refers to charismatic, he means emphasizing the pursuit and practice of all the spiritual gifts as well as a form of worship “in which personal and deeply emotional encounters with God occur, and a clear and direct sense of God’s presence and communion is felt by the worshipper.” He hopes to convince the reader that pursuing this kind of eucharismatic worship will “make our worship richer, our churches deeper, and our joy greater.”

He makes his argument through five chapters. In the first two he provides a brief theology of charis and chara—gift and joy. He shows that all of creation and all of theology depends upon grace and, in a sense, is grace. He shows that we are to respond to God’s gifts with thankfulness, worship, stewardship, and pursuit—we are to thank God for them, worship him for and through them, steward them faithfully, and pursue them earnestly, believing that “the church will mature and flourish to the extent that she makes use of all of the gifts God has given her.”

As for chara, he wants us to consider that joy is to mark the Christian in his life and worship, even as it marked Jesus in his. (“When we consider the mood of the Jesus we meet in the Gospels, he seems—and I think this is the right word for it—jolly.”) Though certainly we are at times sorrowful, we are marked by a deep joy. As he gets deeper into the New Testament understanding of joy by way of metaphors related to wine, he says our worship should often be expressed in a spirit of exuberance. “Given the explicit instructions of the Psalms, and the fact that Christians are urged to sing and teach one another with them, it is even worth asking whether churches that never play loud music, sing new songs, clap, raise hands, shout, or dance are not just reserved or conservative but actually unbiblical.”

He then turns to the term eucharistic to show how Christian worship should be sacramental, catholic, and liturgical. The sacraments of baptism and Lord’s supper should be foundational to our worship, not peripheral. The long history of the church should inform our worship and remind us that we do not stand alone in this generation. It should be thoughtfully liturgical in such a way that each element of our worship is faithful to Scripture and meaningful within the ebb and flow of a service.

Then comes charismatic, which is the one term that, more than any other, separates this book from so many others. There is plenty of material about gifts and joy and sacraments and catholicity and liturgy, but few that add charismatic practice to the mix. He makes the argument that these gifts continue in the church today and are meant to form an essential part of Christian worship. He demonstrates this from Scripture, using texts that are both descriptive (e.g. Acts) and prescriptive (e.g. 1 Corinthians). “The claim I am making here … is not just that the miraculous gifts were given throughout the New Testament period. That much should be uncontroversial. I am also arguing that they continue to be given today—prophecy, languages, interpretation, teaching, miracles, healing, and the rest—and that, like every good gift that our Father gives us, they should be pursued as a result.” He then offers defenses of his position historically, hermeneutically, and eschatologically. Along the way he counters the most common cessationist arguments against the gifts—the “low quality” contemporary miracles and the tension between ongoing revelation and a completed canon. Admitting the many excesses of the modern charismatic movement, he argues for proactive biblical discernment in place of reactive hesitant caution. “I find it ironic that perhaps the most common evangelical approach to spiritual gifts, especially in North America, is the one approach that simply cannot be defended from Scripture: that the miraculous gifts continue, but that we should not particularly pursue them!”

In the final chapter, he looks at eucharismatic, which is where he provides the vision for implementing this kind of worship, admitting that it is more aspirational than descriptive (which is to say, there are no perfect or near-perfect examples he can point to). Eucharismatic worship is the conviction and dream that he and others now mean to pursue.

Affirmations

The book has plenty of notable and praiseworthy strengths. The first is simply the quality of the writing. Wilson is a wordsmith who demonstrates great skill with his pen (or keyboard, if you will). He makes the book a joy to read through his excellent prose and crackling illustrations. He uses the repetition of words and phrases to fantastic effect. Though he writes as a scholar he writes for the rest of us.

I found his exploration of gifts and joy important and compelling. Too few Christians and too few churches have faithfully explored these terms and allowed them to impact their lives and worship. And I also very much appreciated his willingness to address a common weakness of the modern church in general, and the modern charismatic church in particular, in its failure to anchor itself in the long tradition of the Christian faith. This is the burden of his chapter “Eucharistic” and I very much enjoyed his call to be deliberately sacramental, catholic, and liturgical.

And then there’s this: I think this is the best defense of charismatic theology I’ve yet encountered. I understand this could be seen as damning his book with faint praise, but I mean it genuinely. Wilson makes as compelling an argument as I’ve read. That’s not to say I have embraced it, but that he has clearly been listening to cessationists as they express their concerns, and has done his best to carefully anticipate and answer their objections. This made me consider and re-consider my views. While that ultimately strengthened them, I’m grateful for the challenge.

Objections

But, of course, if I’m not convinced by his arguments, I must have some objections to them. Here are some noteworthy ones.

I believe he makes a far more convincing case that the gifts continue to operate than that what we see today are actually the gifts. If the burden of proof is on cessationists to show that the gifts have ceased (which is fair), the burden of proof is on continuationists to show that these gifts are those gifts (which is also fair). In other words, charismatics need to demonstrate continuity between what they say are the gifts of tongues, prophecies, and so on. And while Wilson answers the objection, I don’t think he does so satisfactorily. I continue to believe the shaky pillar at the heart of the charismatic position is that unknown languages that sound a lot like nonsensical syllables are actually real languages, albeit private or angelical ones. It’s that vague and hesitant prophecies are comparable to directive and explicit biblical prophecies. This yawning gap has never been adequately addressed.

And while Wilson rallies the early church to his cause, I find his readings uncompelling. We could just as easily follow the evidence laid out by Nick Needham in the first volume of 2000 Years of Christ’s Power where he demonstrates the likelihood that the miraculous gifts steadily declined through the second and third centuries (pages 112-119). In fact, the argument can be made that Montanism, (which, though less orthodox than the modern charismatic movement, bore some resemblance to it) gained such a following because it appeared to be a new and fresh movement of the Holy Spirit. In either case, both sides in this discussion have to grapple with evidence from the early church that is able to help and harm their case. And, to be fair, Wilson does embrace that tension, even if he doesn’t convince me with his explanation.

And then there’s one I’m not entirely sure how to describe, except to say that I found he sometimes forces Scripture a little farther than it wants to go. To defend joy, he describes Jesus as “jolly,” but I’m not convinced we see a jolly (or somber, for that) Jesus in the Gospels. I’m not convinced that exuberant worship necessarily shows a joy in Christ that is missing in traditions marked by greater formality. I’m not sure that being filled with the Spirit was or is a kind of Sunday-by-Sunday “drenching” experience bringing about an expectation of prophecy, healing, speaking in tongues, and so on.

Conclusion

The discussion about whether the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit remain operative today continues. It’s heartening to me that this discussion is happening in such kind and level-headed ways. Tom Schreiner’s Spiritual Gifts (my review) was a kind-hearted book meant to express full appreciation for the leading voices who take the opposite position before disagreeing with them. Wilson is every bit as careful and charitable in his volume. That elevates this conversation and these conversation partners far above so many others. If only all Christians could disagree so well!

As much as I appreciate the majority of Spirit and Sacrament, I still can’t embrace the “charismatic” portion of “eucharismatic.” While Wilson makes a strong argument that those who are charismatic also need to be eucharistic, he doesn’t convince me that those who are eucharistic need to also be charismatic. So perhaps I’ll say this: If you are convinced from Scripture that these extraordinary gifts remain operative, then please pursue them like this. Otherwise, the value of this book will probably be helping you better understand the opposite position.

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A La Carte (January 8)

I’m overseas today and don’t have access to all my usual accounts. That left me unable to track down any exciting new Kindle deals. We will try again tomorrow.

(Yesterday on the blog: What Amy Carmichael Hung on Her Wall)

My Daughter Asked Me to Stop Writing About Motherhood. Here’s Why I Can’t Do That

“Years ago, when I began publishing essays and submitting family pictures to editors, I considered the day my children would confront me about what I’d written. At the time, I’d read articles by parents of older children who were weighing the ethics of using their children’s stories or pictures for essay material, but my kids were too young to care what I shared about how they ate, how little they slept or how their taste in clothes was terrible. I remember thinking that one day I would have to answer for my work. Yet when the day finally arrived, I had no response prepared.”

Teach Your Teen How to Read Their Bible

Jen Wilkin counsels parents: “Parents contact me frequently to ask what devotionals or young adult Bible studies I would recommend they do with their teens. As our kids enter the teen years, our responsibility as their parents is to help them develop good habits of interacting with the Bible. Finding an approach that is age-appropriate and manageable is key. My encouragement is to simply read the Bible with your teen in a way that models and trains Bible literacy—no special teen resource required.”

Holy Boldness is Needed in Hostile Climates

What are Christians to do in hostile climates and with cultural topics where orthodox Bible believing values are seen as an invitation to a fight?” That’s a growing question in the West.

The Book That Mobilized a Generation of Missionaries Turns 25

I enjoyed this assessment of one of Piper’s most important books. “Because of Piper’s immense influence on my life and thought, I have, on occasion, pondered the question of what might be his greatest contribution to the church and to her Lord? In turn, I then consider that question in my own life. What area of ministry is the Lord smiling on right now? What might be the most fruitful way to live out the rest of my days? I suggest you, too, from time to time, do likewise. To put all my cards on the table, my instinct is to say Piper’s greatest single contribution is Let the Nations Be Glad.”

Lessons from the Faith of Theodore Roosevelt on the Centennial of His Death

I enjoyed this one: “While Christian historians can never know with certainty if people from the past were truly born again, they can point to patterns in people’s lives. From my vantage point, Roosevelt’s life of faith offers both encouragement and caution. People are complex—and contemporary evangelicals can appreciate aspects of Roosevelt without adopting his outlook wholesale.”

3 Ways to Navigate Difficult Passages of the Old Testament

“It seems as if the opening books of the Bible derail many peoples’ attempts to read through God’s Word in a year. But there’s good news! Every believer can successfully navigate the Old Testament as they read through the Bible by keeping these three ideas in mind.”

10 Life Lessons That Leading Worship 600 Times Taught Me

You must learn something when you lead worship that many times!

Flashback: Head Knowledge = Good. Heart Knowledge = Good. 

Christianity is and must be a faith that involves the mind just as it is and must be a faith that involves the heart. The problem comes when there is a radical disconnect between the two.

Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. —C.H. Spurgeon

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My Publishing Pipeline for 2019/20

For those interested in what I’m up to on the publishing side of things, here’s what is scheduled to come out.

Soonish

First and foremost is The New Testament in its World with N.T. Wright, bigger than Ben Hur, basically the lifetime work of N.T. Wright in NT Intro form with supplements from me and a brilliant design by Zondervan/SPCK. Don’t miss it!

Then there is Trinity without Hierachy, co-edited with Scott Harrower, a further word on the Trinity and subordination debate, some awesome contributors like Peter Leithart, Madison Pierce, Stephen Holmes, Amy Brown Hughes, Tyler Wittman, and others. Coming out with Kregel.

Also, Cambridge Companion to the Apostolic Fathers, again co-edited with Scott Harrower, this is a great series and we have star-packed line-up that will make the AF Great Again! I’m working on the Epistle to Diognetus and enjoying it.

Evangelical Theology second edition, I’ve had so much good feedback on this volume, so hopefully I’ve made a good thing even better. I’ve cut out and condensed a lot of material. More on the nature of theology, Trinity, kingdom-through-covenant, and multi-site churches. Plus more interaction with female and global scholars. And lots and lots of gospelizing.

7 Things I Wish All Christians Knew About the Bible, an introduction to the Bible, covering everything from canon, to inerrancy and inspiration, responsible interpretation, importance of background knowledge, biblical authority, and Christ-centered hermeneutics.

Philippians with my Pauline bruda from anuda muda, Nijay Gupta, in the New Cambridge Bible Commentary Series. Hoping this will be a gem of an intermediate commentary.

Religious Freedom in a Secular Age, a book about debates over religious liberty based on the evolving situations in the USA and Australia. This book needs to be re-written on a near daily basis with much happening. TBA, but coming!

In Production

As I wrap up the volumes above, what I’m hoping to start this year is:

A Theology of the New Covenant: Context, Community, and Canon, my version of a NT Theology with a few pike-half-twists and surprises (IVP).

The Case for Amyraldianism. Turns out that Calvinism and Arminianism are not the only two shows in town when it comes to election and atonement. There is a Reformational minority report that is worth hearing that is largely embraced by Anglicans and Lutherans. Keep an eye out for it in the future (Kregel).

Maybe, just maybe, an illustrated catechism on the Lord’s Supper for children too.

Essays and Contributions

Keep an eye out for a few things I’ve contributed

A sermon for Preaching Romans: Four Perspectives edited by Scot McKnight and Jo Modica.

An essay on Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans in The Face of NT Studies edited by Scot McKnight and Nijay Gupta.

Contributions to Zondervan DVDs on Inerrancy: Five Views and Four Views of the Apostle Paul.

My Publishing Pipeline for 2019/20

I am Doing a New Thing

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This is what the Lord says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:16,18-19

Thought

The year is gone, finished, past. We cannot reclaim it or undo it. We cannot rest on the great distance it has brought us. If tomorrow dawns, it will be another day, a new opportunity, and the time to show our faith in Jesus as Lord. Let’s journey forward, knowing that God already inhabits the future and promises to provide us refreshment on our journey there.

Prayer

Lord of all eternity, please help me to learn from my mistakes this past year, but not to dwell on them. Please help me not rest on my accomplishments in this past year, but use them to further your work in me and through me. Please help me not quarrel with those who injured me yesterday, last month, or this past year. Instead, O Father, lead me in your paths and help me see your mighty works this next year. In Jesus’ name and by his power I ask it. Amen.

By Phil Ware
Used by Permission
Phil’s daily devotionals on http://www.verseoftheday.com

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/phil-ware_doing-new-thing/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


I am Doing a New Thing

Unchanging

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“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8

As we cross the threshold into a new year and begin putting one foot in front of the other, we can feel the tenuous shakiness of change all around us.

Yet as we look forward, with that familiar mix of anticipation and uncertainty, we can find a quiet place to rest our hope and steady our step.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever!” What an incredible source of peace and hope this singular thought brings to our lives.

  • Jesus – He can still calm the raging waves of life’s storms today as He did long ago. Matthew 8: 23-27
  • Jesus – He is still the Bread of Life who gives nourishment to our souls when we hunger deep within.  John 6:35
  • Jesus – The One whose name is still above all names and whose name is a Tower of Refuge for those who call on Him. Proverbs 18:10
  • Jesus – The One whose Light shines in the darkness and shows us the way. John 8:12

Jesus is the Treasure that we have in our “jars of clay” fragile lives. He shines in us and through us when we invite Him. His power is our strength in changing days.
2 Corinthians 4:7

Thank you Father God, that You sent Jesus to connect with me personally. Thank you that He is the same Jesus today that He was when He walked this earth. Thank you for His love and strength and power in my life. May I be reminded each day by Your Holy Spirit, that Jesus is all I need. Jesus has all I need. Because Jesus lives in Me and through me I can face the changing landscape of life, with all it’s wonderful surprises and all it’s question marks too. Thank you for this Treasure I have as I walk into this new year. I pray this with thanksgiving in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Start or refresh your journey with Jesus today. He waits to hold your hand in this new day and fresh chapter of your life.

By Gail Rodgers
Used by Permission

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to  https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/gail-rodgers_unchanging/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


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Unchanging