Discipleship - what is it? What does it mean? To be a disciple of Jesus is part of being a Christian but many Christians do not seem to grasp the meanDiscipleship - what is it? What does it mean? To be a disciple of Jesus is part of being a Christian but many Christians do not seem to grasp the meaning. This book is an in-depth study of what it means to be a disciple.
Being a disciple is not just being a follower of Jesus, but also a learner. We are to learn from Him and imitate Him. How this is done is through community. The stages of discipleship are examined as well as a look at the role spiritual disciplines play in being a disciple. The last few chapters deal with how this plays out in practical terms through the church, in small groups, through leadership as discipleship is not an individual matter.
The problem we run up against in American Christianity is that we have become a church of consumers rather than disciples. We have taken on the American dream and made that part of our gospel. Yet the Bible clearly teaches the loss of self in the choice to follow God. We cannot have it all. To be a disciple of Jesus means giving up one's own self and dreams and learning God's way of doing things. We are far too self-absorbed in our cultural American Christianity and have lost sight of true discipleship....more
This was a very quick read and one I would definitely recommend to those who feel that they need to read more but don't really know where to start. WhThis was a very quick read and one I would definitely recommend to those who feel that they need to read more but don't really know where to start. While not as applicable for avid readers, there are some good points and principles for choosing what to read and being discerning in your reading. It includes a 3 year reading plan for reading some solid Christian books in various areas as a way to grow spiritually and learn in different fields such as worship, family, and church history....more
Mostly a history of entertainment from the 19th century through near the end of the 20th century. How movies developed over the years, how they were aMostly a history of entertainment from the 19th century through near the end of the 20th century. How movies developed over the years, how they were affected by television, etc. A little bit of a look at music and rock-n-roll. Showing how popular culture developed as it's own art form and not really considered art itself like opera, theater, etc. Interesting look at the history of entertainment....more
Good look at the difference in how the word 'tolerance' has changed meaning over the years. It used to mean disagreeing on someone's view yet being reGood look at the difference in how the word 'tolerance' has changed meaning over the years. It used to mean disagreeing on someone's view yet being respectful of the person in spite of disagreeing views. Now it means you can't even disagree with another's view, you can't call another's view wrong. Yet this new tolerance is self-defeating. By calling others intolerant, the one saying they are intolerant is being intolerant themselves....more
Very readable book regarding how we often go through the motions of Christianity instead of actually following Jesus. With a bold title to get your atVery readable book regarding how we often go through the motions of Christianity instead of actually following Jesus. With a bold title to get your attention - "Quit Going to Church" - the chapter titles take you aback a bit as well - 'Quit Saying Your Prayers', 'Quit Fellowshipping', etc.
The author is not actually saying to stop going to church per se, but rather to not just go to church out of habit or obligation. Same with praying, reading the Bible, etc. Not just doing it as an obligation, part of the Christian life that we signed up for. We need to be engaging with God and other people with authenticity. Not just putting on an act of being nice.
My favorite chapter was probably the 'Quit Enjoying Worship'. Too often we make our worship about us - what makes me feel good or what kind of music I like or can best worship with. Worship is not about us! "True worship is worship that focuses on God. On his enjoyment, not ours. That is why I say: quit enjoying worship. Because your worship - if it is truly worship - should be focused not on what you 'get out of it' but on what God gets out of it. "We tend to approach worship as consumers, in which the focus is on our experience. Sometimes, even as we claim to be singing for the glory of the risen King, we're actually singing for our own enjoyment and fulfillment." ...more
Pronatalism says that parenthood is the ultimate fulfillment in life. Why then do so many people find fulfillment outside of parenthood? If parenthoodPronatalism says that parenthood is the ultimate fulfillment in life. Why then do so many people find fulfillment outside of parenthood? If parenthood and reproduction were a natural human instinct, why do some not have the desire for children?
"When we realize we can't just chalk up that longing to instinct, we can better analyze the origins of our feelings...What is at the essence of this feeling or longing? Is my longing truly to raise a child, or is it another yearning I think the child will fill for me and my life?"
"We have to better educate people so that rather than assume that parenthood will give them meaning in life, they know enough to figure our what purpose means to them...Such a process of self-exploration can help people realize that what they are truly longing for is not a child, but something else. The better we understand our motives and the more we recognize parenthood as a choice and not a biological imperative, the more likely we are to make the best choice for ourselves and our society."
Full review will be on my blog in August as part of a blog tour on this book.
This book was a powerful and sobering message of what true salvation is and how modern-day evangelicalism has turned it into something that Jesus neveThis book was a powerful and sobering message of what true salvation is and how modern-day evangelicalism has turned it into something that Jesus never intended. Salvation is not just saying a prayer and believing that Jesus is God (even the demons believe He is God). It is recognizing our total lost sinful condition and turning to Christ in surrender and repentance, acknowledging He is the only Way to God. Genuine salvation results in a life that is obedient to God. Works do not give us salvation but they are the evidence of it. “Modern evangelism is preoccupied with decisions, statistics, aisle-walking, gimmicks, prefabricated presentations, pitches, emotional manipulation, and even intimidation. Its message is a cacophony of easy-believism and simplistic appeals. Unbelievers are told that if they invite Jesus into their hearts, accept Him as personal Savior, or believe the facts of the gospel, that is all there is to it. The aftermath is appalling failure, as seen in the lives of millions who have professed faith in Christ with no consequent impact on their behavior.”
The result of these emotional appeals is “Multitudes declare that they trust Christ as Savior while indulging in lifestyles that are plainly inconsistent with God’s Word – yet no one dares to challenge their testimony.” “Who knows how many people are deluded into believing they are saved when they are not?” “Many who think they are saved but live unholy lives will be shocked to discover in the final judgment that heaven is not their destiny.” “Many sincerely believe they are saved, but their lives are utterly barren of any verifying fruit.”
“True salvation occurs when a sinner in desperation turns from his sin to Christ with a willingness to have Him take control.”
On my blog with this book review, I posted a video of a song (by Steve Camp), Consider the Cost, which sums up the message of this book. For those who don't want to take the time to listen to the whole video, below are the lyrics.
Consider the Cost by Steve Camp
to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams for what will a man give for his own life houses or money or land there's a way that seems right to you but in the end it leads only to death but come unto Him all ye weary come and find your rest
consider the cost of building a tower it's a narrow way that you must come to do the will of the Father is to follow the Son to love Him more than father or mother to love Him more than your own flesh to give all that you are, for all that He is this is the gospel according to Jesus
many will say, "Lord, Lord" on that day look what we've done in Your name "We've prophesied and performed many miracles and Lord, even demons obeyed"
then the Lord will declare unto them the most terriifying words of truth "depart from me ye workers of iniquity for I have never known you!"
oh foolish man, how you built on the sand trusting in your goodness to save! for when the rain falls, and the flood breaks the walls you will be swept away!
but blessed is he who builds on the Rock who takes Jesus as Lord to save! for when the rain falls, he will endure it all standing firm in His grace!
More quotes from the book:
“…the good news of Christ has given way to the bad news of an insidious easy-believism that makes no moral demands on the lives of sinners.”
“You cannot remove the lordship of Christ from the gospel message without undermining faith at its core. That is precisely what is happening in the church today.”
“The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer.”
“Contemporary Christians have been conditioned to believe that because they recited a prayer, signed on a dotted line, walked an aisle, or had some other experience, they are saved and should never question their salvation.”
“Genuine assurance comes from seeing the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in one’s life, not from clinging to the memory of some experience.”
“Teaching theology to a heathen will not bring him to faith in Christ. He may learn the evangelical vocabulary and verbally affirm the truth. He may intellectually accept a list of gospel facts. But without a divine miracle to open his blind eyes and give him a new heart, he will only be a theologically informed pagan, not a Christian.”
“Obviously, a new believer does not fully understand all the ramifications of Jesus’ lordship at the moment of conversion. But every genuine believer has a desire to surrender. This is what distinguishes true faith from a bogus profession: true faith produces a heart that is humble, submissive, obedient. As spiritual understanding unfolds, that obedience grows deeper, and the genuine believer displays an eagerness to please Christ by abandoning everything to His lordship. This willingness to surrender to divine authority is a driving force in the heart of every true child of the kingdom. It is the inevitable expression of the new nature.”
“…knowing and affirming facts apart from obedience to the truth is not believing in the biblical sense. Those who cling to the memory of a one-time decision of ‘faith’ but lack any evidence of the outworking of faith had better heed the clear and solemn warning of Scripture: ‘He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him’ (John 3:36).”
“The pattern of modern evangelism is to give people a pleasing and easy message; take them through a simple formula; get them to pray a prayer, sign a card, or whatever; then tell them they are saved and should never doubt it.”
“If your life does not reveal growth in grace and righteousness and holiness, you need to examine the reality of your faith – even if you believe you have done great things in the name of Christ.”
“The validation of salvation is a life of obedience. It is the only possible proof that a person really knows Jesus Christ.”...more
This book takes us through the different covenants as outlined in Scripture through the Old and New Testaments. It is based on the beliefs of CovenantThis book takes us through the different covenants as outlined in Scripture through the Old and New Testaments. It is based on the beliefs of Covenant Theology and in essence, this book is an introduction to what covenant theology is and its belief system. Definition of a covenant: "a solemn agreement with oaths and/or promises, which imply certain sanctions or legality." We don't think much of covenants these days, but they were very common in ancient cultures. Much like treaties, or legal commitments such as marriage or buying a house. The covenants as this book defines them are the following: The Covenant of Redemption - covenant among the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; "the covenant established in eternity between the Father, who gives the Son to be the Redeemer of the elect and requires of him the conditions for their redemption; and the Son, who voluntarily agrees to fulfill these conditions; and the Spirit, who voluntarily applies the work of the son to the elect." The Covenant of Works (or the Adamic covenant) - "God's commitment to give Adam, and his posterity in him, eternal life for obedience or eternal death for disobedience." The Covenant of Grace - "the covenant between God and believers with their children, in which he promises salvation through faith in Christ, who merited their salvation by his obedience in the covenant of redemption." The Common Grace Covenant (or the Noahic covenant) - "God's covenant of common grace with the earth, despite mankind's depravity, to sustain its order until the consummation." Common grace can be defined as "God's undeserved kindness to all people, no matter what their religious status." The Abrahamic Covenant - "the covenant of grace established with Abraham and his offspring, wherein God promised the entire future of his covenantal kingdom, in both its old covenant and new covenant stages." The Mosaic Covenant - "is God's law covenant with Israel, wherein he graciously leads them to Christ by showing them the perfect righteousness that only Christ could fulfill to redeem sinners." The Davidic Covenant - "God's promise to David that, when his righteous Son builds a house for God's name, God will grant him an eternal kingdom." The New Covenant - "God bringing forth the new creation in his people through the finished work of Christ, in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant."
The purpose behind the Mosaic covenant can be summed up in the following quotes: "Israel could not stay in God's presence by means of the law. They could not earn life with God." "Without a doubt, the Mosaic covenant paints across history in the lives of real people that no man can be justified by works of the law; rather none is righteous. All have turned aside; no one does good, not even one. "Do you think you can in some way, ever so small, earn something from God? Well, look at Israel and think again." "As the fallen children of Adam, we need to become the righteousness of God to have everlasting life in heaven with God, but there is no way we can do this ourselves, even with help. Rather, we need one to do it all for us, and this we find in Jesus Christ. He is the Righteous One, who was born under the law and of a woman. He is the true Israel who remained obedient to death, even death on a cross. "The Mosaic covenant powerfully points us to Christ precisely duee to its strictness. He is the One who fulfilled Sinai's command, 'Do this and live' (Lev. 18:5). The moment we begin to water down the law character of this covenant, the work of Christ starts to become obscured. if we are blind to the depth of our sin, then we are handicapped in perceving the grace of God to save us in Christ. As the saying goes, if you don't understand sin, you will never understand grace. So God gives us the history of Israel to show us our sinful identity. We discover our spiritual poverty, not primarily through introspection, but by looking to the revelation of God in history as he deals with his people." "The Mosaic covenant, then, lays the historical and covenantal context for Christ. Jesus was born of a woman and under the law (Gal. 4:4). Jesus Christ comes as the true Son of God, who is able to obey perfectly the law as the kingly representative of his people, and he thereby earns not the earthly picture by the heavenly reality. Jesus makes true atonement once for all by his blood, and he provides the necessary righteousness for us, which we receive through faith alone." "The strictness of the Mosaic covenant reminds us that we have no hope of salvation outside of Christ. Obedience for everlasting life is impossible for mankind, but with God it is possible, for he provided Christ."...more
Good reminder that we need to read verses in their context. And not just the context of the passage they are in, but their historical and literary conGood reminder that we need to read verses in their context. And not just the context of the passage they are in, but their historical and literary context as well. The book goes through several verses that are commonly mis-used to mean something that they never meant originally....more
Questions to ask when engaging/interacting with popular culture:
1. What is the story?
2. Where are we? What sort of imaginative world is it?
3. What isQuestions to ask when engaging/interacting with popular culture:
1. What is the story?
2. Where are we? What sort of imaginative world is it?
3. What is true and good and beautiful here?
4. What is false and evil and perverse here and how can I subvert it?
5. How does the gospel apply?
Rather than fully embracing popular culture uncritically or rejecting it outright, this author's approach is to engage with it using the Biblical/Christian framework. To see the good and evil that inevitably is a part of the world we live in and thus the popular culture that is our society....more