Monday, April 28, 2014

Bible Revival - Book Review

Usually we attempt to sound scholarly and professional when producing book reviews; and usually we try to hit a certain length or word count, but for this volume we will dispense with those formalities. We’ll make it short and informative and begin by going right to the bottom line:

If you are a Christian, who claims to love the Word of God, you need to read this book.

The title informs you of everything you need to know about the contents. The author’s contention is that we claim (pay lip service) to love the Word of God, but in reality our actions demonstrate nothing of the kind. He may say it in a little more gentle fashion than that, but that is the thrust.

In six short chapters – Learning, Valuing, Understanding, Applying, Obeying and Speaking the Word - Berding more than adequately presents his case.  If you care about your relationship with the Word of God, you should find this book a very pointed challenge. When you read Bible Revival, you may get your spiritual toes stepped on, but Berding does it very lightly. You’ll learn what it really means to Value and Understand the Word.

So the book is written by Kenneth Berding, a professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He’s had more theological education and written more scholarly “stuff” than you would think is humanly possible. That might lead you to believe that this is a book written by an Ivory Tower Member for the Ivory Tower Gang. Not the case at all! Bible Revival is right down where the green grass grows. Yes, you’ll get a bit of hermeneutics and yes you’ll get a few of the rules of practical application, but mostly you’ll get dared to examine your relationship with your Bible.

ASIDE: It would appear to me that if you have the opportunity to take a class from Dr. Berding, you do not squander that opportunity. He seems to be able to convey knowledge in a practical and useful manner.

Final Bottom Line: If you’re going to buy ten Christian books this year, make this one of them. And after you do, read it, study it, underline it and highlight it. But most of all accept the challenge in it.

**This book was provided to me for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.**

Friday, April 25, 2014

Education and God

I picked up on this little gem this morning. If you’re at all curious or concerned about how the educational element in our culture views Christianity and God, you need to read this article and then file it under something like “The Coming Persecution”. Notice in particular how the lawyer for the community college spins the daylights out of the incident. It’s laughable.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Who is the one person you want to talk to in heaven (besides Jesus) – and why?

If you are a born again believer, you’ll be going to heaven. My belief is that we’ll be able to recognize and converse with others in heaven. If that’s true, most of us will have lots of questions for lots of people. And I’ll bet we’ll have one in particular we want to talk to first.

With that in mind here’s a bit of preface material.

In 2003 Mitch Albom published The Five People You Meet in Heaven, an inspirational novel about Eddie, an aged maintenance worker at an amusement park who is killed while trying to save the life of a little girl in an accident at the park. Eddie is transported to heaven and meets five people who greatly influenced his life. While the theology of the book may be a bit quirky, the inspirational nature is not.

All this got me thinking as I read the crucifixion account this week. The thoughts solidified on Resurrection Sunday when the pastor preached a sermon on “Choose Life or Death.” In the message he examined the individuals that were present at the crucifixion and whether or not they accepted the Deity and Sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

When he arrived at the dying thieves crucified on either side of Jesus, my thoughts immediately focused on the thief who wisely recognized who Jesus was and proclaimed, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This man chose life.

This man chose life and I want to know why. What focused this man’s mind so wonderfully on Jesus and the fact that He was the Son of God? 

He’s the man I want to speak to first in heaven.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Meditation for Good Friday

It’s Good Friday (just in case you had not noticed). This is the weekend when a more-than-usual number of Americans get their spiritual juices flowing. There are all sizes and shapes of religious services taking place, so, if you’re inclined, and you should be, you can get your spiritual fix.

Gathering together to worship this weekend is a good thing. It’s commanded in Scripture. The most commonly referred to verses are Hebrews 10.24-25. But it’s also a good practice to do a little private reflection and worship.

So here’s a challenge. On this Good Friday reflect on the happenings at the Cross – specifically the two thieves crucified with Christ and more specifically the one who repented.

Here’s are little to get you started:

First read the account in Scripture – Luke 23.26-43.

Then consider a couple of thoughts to get you going.

Think about this question: Which thief would I have been placed it the same situation? What would my attitude have been?

The fact that this thief went straight to heaven upon his death is used as a proof text for salvation by grace with no effort on our part involved. So we have the Scripture (Ephesian 2.8,9) and this incident as an example. Would more do we need? A Resurrection?!

Coming Sunday.