Roberts and Wilson's Echoes of Exodus focuses on the heart of the Exodus specifically, and traces it's reverberations throughout redemption history. BRoberts and Wilson's Echoes of Exodus focuses on the heart of the Exodus specifically, and traces it's reverberations throughout redemption history. Between Genesis and Revelation the exodus theme is prominent. This book invites us to cultivate our imaginations and glory in God. His story is absolutely amazing. While other books explore Exodus themes, Echoes of Exodus provides a wonderful contribution to the field by tracing the theme throughout the entire Bible. This is so important for believers today. As Roberts and Wilson said of believers, “The exodus is our family story” (14). The exodus matters.
I would highly recommend this book to students, pastors, and friends for several reasons.
First, Roberts and Wilson's work sparked worship for God in my heart. This book captivated my imagination. There were points when I couldn't put it down, and then other points where I had to stop reading and thank God for the way he works. God's story is so captivating. Who can write such a grand story besides the Lord? I am amazed at the connections and study that Roberts and Wilson shared in their short-easy-to-read book. It was a gift.
Second, this book helped me look at the Bible as a whole. It helped me slow down in some sections that I might normally pass over. I love this story because the exodus is about God leading his people out of the house of slavery. But we'll see redemption doesn't end when the people are delivered from Egypt. Redemption is just beginning and it echoes throughout the entire Bible. This book offers a beautiful blend of biblical theology and great writing that arrests the affections of those who hope in Christ.
Third, I saw Jesus with greater clarity. As the authors said, “The life of Jesus is an exodus, hidden in plain sight (125).The book is divided into four movements and by the time they got to Jesus my heart couldn't help but sing. Redemption himself came.
Fourth, the exodus is something we can remember today as we partake in the sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism reminds us of the flood waters of the Red Sea and how God saved his people. The Lord's Supper reminds us of the Passover meal God installed when he was about to deliver the people.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I hope you do too!
Echoes of Exodus: Tracing Themes of Redemption through Scripture. By Alastair J. Roberts and Andrew Wilson. Wheaton, IL: Crossway 2018, 176 pp., $17.99. ...more
David Powlison’s God’s Grace in your Suffering focuses on the heart of suffering through the lens of the hymn How Firm a Foundation. Powlison invitesDavid Powlison’s God’s Grace in your Suffering focuses on the heart of suffering through the lens of the hymn How Firm a Foundation. Powlison invites the reader to bless the Lord in times of suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 puts words around it: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” While other books rightly address the topic of suffering in-depth, Powlison provides a wonderful contribution to the field by offering a short, easy-to-read, insightful, and memorable book. In Powlison’s words, “Suffering is both the acid test and the catalyst. It reveals and forms faith (loc.136 of 1953). While this is not an exhaustive work on suffering; it is an encouraging book that I would offer to a suffering friend.
I would recommend this book to counselors and suffering friends for at least five reasons.
First, Powlison knows that your suffering is significant. Powlison’s primary focus of source material is from the anonymous hymn How Firm a Foundation which is heavily rooted in the Psalms and other parts of scripture. Powlison helps us see through story, song and scripture that “Jesus Christ comforts us in “all our afflictions” (2 Cor. 1:4). There are various types of suffering and Powlison leaves room for all of them. In chapter one, Powlison helps the reader get personal by asking several question such as “Where do you need help, wisdom, courage, mercy, protection and strength?” And then shows how you “are invited to bring your need, your troubles, your afflictions, your loneliness into the heart of God’s grace and deliverance” (loc. 181). Your suffering is significant, and Powlison knows that.
Second, Powlison writes from experience, which makes the book encouraging. In other words, he is offering counsel from the places where the Lord has comforted him. We get glimpses of his story at the end of most chapters. Powlison sings How Firm a Foundation as a fellow sufferer.
Third, Powlison reminds us of the importance of listening well and walking in community. People are not meant to walk alone in suffering. Christ is near to the brokenhearted. We have his word, and we have the body of Christ. “Scripture never commends isolation as a strategy” Powlison says (loc.538). While people’s response (or lack of response) to our suffering is often painful, Powlison commented, “None of your friends is perfect! But God puts imperfect people in our lives who are also wise, caring, and trustworthy—the kind of person you want to be for others” (loc. 492). We are not alone on this journey.
Fourth, Powlison includes the helpful reminder that God is with us. And he is with us for a purpose. He means to transform us and make us more like his son. These chapters left a deeply impact on me and were by far my favorite part of the whole book. Powlison said, “You are not alone, not abandoned, not ignored, no matter what is happening” (loc. 580). It is so comforting to remember God is with me.
Fifth, Powlison reminds us that Christ’s work in our lives is lifelong. God will love us to the end of our lives. He will not fail us. I loved this part because it spoke to every age bracket. Ultimately Christ will give us Himself. If you are suffering or have a friend who is God’s Grace in your Suffering is an excellent little resource. Powlison writes to help us put our hope in God. And God is with us through it all.
God’s Grace in your Suffering. By David Powlison. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018, 128pp., $10.79 paper.
*I received a copy of this book from Crossway....more
Michael Reeves' book Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ focuses on the heart of Spurgeon's ministry in general and his private devotion tMichael Reeves' book Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ focuses on the heart of Spurgeon's ministry in general and his private devotion to Christ in particular. Reeves calls to the reader to follow Spurgeon's example— “Look to Christ.” Isaiah 45:22 says it perfectly, “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” While other books rightly champion Spurgeon's ministry Reeves provides a wonderful contribution to the field by urging the reader to see the centrality of Christ in all of life. In Reeve's words, “Spurgeon was unreservedly Christ-centered and Christ-shaped in his theology” (16). While this is not a comprehensive work on Spurgeon's theology nor a full biography, Spurgeon's embodied theology wonderfully emerges. I hope, alongside Reeves', that “Spurgeon's sermons and writing might be more widely read” (17).
I would highly recommend this book to students, pastors, and friends for at least four reasons.
First, Reeves work introduces us to the “Prince of Preachers.” The reader will get a glimpse into the life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. From his humor and love for botany, to his preaching style, the man was full of life. Spurgeon was unique in his personality, and he provides an excellent example of a joyful life in Christ.
Second, Reeves writes with Christ-centered clarity, which makes the book incredibly encouraging. Exploring topics such as: Christ and the Bible, Puritanism, Calvinism, and Christ and preaching, Reeves shows that Spurgeon's life is not about his own fame and glory, rather it is about Christ's.
Third, Reeves reminds us of the importance of God's grace, the cross, and the new birth. On the day of Spurgeon's conversion there were only twelve to fifteen people present. Reeves wrote, “The preacher fixed his eyes on Spurgeon and spoke to him directly: “Young man, you look very miserable.” Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin' to do but to look and live” (86). The minister was preaching straight to Spurgeon's heart.
Later Spurgeon wrote, “I saw at once the way of salvation.” He continued, “Look! what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him” (86).
The centrality of Christ in this amazing testimony kept me reading late at night and brought me to tears on more than one occasion. Reeves captures the greatness of Christ on display in Spurgeon's life and it was stunning. Who can get over the way God works in a human heart?
Fourth, Reeves includes helpful insights into the new life of a Christian. He exploring topics such as the Holy Spirit and prayer, pilgrimage, suffering and depression, and final glory. Spurgeon's new life in Christ didn't mean he didn't face hardships. He experienced real sickness, loss, health, success, and different tragedies. But he had hope. For forty-two years, from conversion to death, Spurgeon looked to Christ through it all. And “having found new life in Christ himself, he dedicated his days to entreating all others: “Look to Christ”” (16).
I would highly recommend this well-researched and winsomely written book, and would encourage you to join us in “Looking to Christ.”
Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ. By Michael Reeves. Wheaton, IL Crossway, 2018, 194pp., $14.57 paper....more