Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Voice Raps Joshua Harris' Dug Down Deep

Back in January, I reviewed Joshua Harris' new book, Dug Down Deep. It's a fantastic book. Here's what I said about it back in January:
You cannot love a God you don’t know. You cannot follow a Christ of your imagination. You can praise both of them until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t know anything about them, you might not be praising someone who’s actually real. I can laud my wife’s brown hair and green eyes all I want, but she’ll be pretty upset because she’s blonde with bluish eyes. The same thing applies when dealing with God, and he’s given us descriptions of Himself and His Son in the Bible. This is the God you will meet in Harris’ book.

Maybe you are someone who values theology already. Maybe you still need convincing it’s utterly and completely relevant to your life. Maybe you're not even a Christian and are curious what we actually believe and why. Regardless of your situation, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Harris states the book isn’t intended to be a systematic theology, and it’s not. But it very well may cause you to want to read one and learn more about the God he loves.
Joshua's friend, Curtis Allen (aka Voice) is a pastor and Christian rapper. He took Dug Down Deep and wrote a song to capture the message and feeling of the book. The result is a stellar song with some real theological depth. You can stream and download the song below. Enjoy!

Whatever It Takes by Voice by Joshharris

Lyrics "Whatever it Takes" by Voice

V1
I'm on a mission with my shovel out cuz sin is deep so I'm glad that he has dug us out
And its a fight everyday its like I'm in a bout, ding ding life is a ring the world shouts
And everything is speaking for allegiance, competing with the God I am complete in.
I need grace its like my faith is depleting so I'm on my face asking Lord am I deep in
Uhnn most of my life has been a rumspringa, meology my introduction to theology
Was like whoa I was offering God apologies, I want the right opinion of him orthodoxy,
It takes Moxie nowadays to choose life,
we should be asking what are we choosing by choosing Christ
Its more than nice that theology matters,
bcuz what you believe determines who you are in the hereafter.

Hook
I'm trying to figure out what this life is about,
I gotta see what I believe in world full of doubt,
Cuz even though I know what's true to not be confused by the fake,
I'll do whatever it takes

V2
If I'm honest sometimes I feel the pressure,
cuz digging deep is not an option, its doctrine
It is Luke 6 Christ's words I adopt them building foundations on the sand
hope I'm not him
cuz its easy to fall a victim to and base confidence on what's insecure that is sinking you
and be deceiving yourself if you don't think it through, when the storm comes it'll wash your foundation thru
And I'm telling you it don't stop hurting'
unless you build what you building now as a rock person.
what I mean is you putting your faith in practice,
truth requires action you lay it down like a mattress.
so when they ask this " what'd you build your life on"
if Christ is the goal u should be headed for the Pylon
so when the storms and the waves come and pile on,
your foundations rock solid get your smile on.

Hook
I'm trying to figure out what this life is about,
I gotta see what I believe in world full of doubt,
Cuz even though I know what's true to not be confused by the fake,
I'll do whatever it takes

V3
I wanna touch the heart of theology and when I do it Lord help me do it properly
and thinking true thoughts all the wrath that you caught,
is intensified by the purchases that you bought
blood shed is the reason I wanna be with him this is no moralistic, therapeutic deism,
this is good news headline reads be digging,
no small thoughts all thoughts be that he's risen
unn so now lets make this thing practical, since I am convinced
this is God's word and factual
but not merely a list of facts and features they are truths that inform for all what belief is
so I'll study the attributes of God and I'll dig deep even when my arms are getting tired,
I wont stop until I've dug on this spot as I learn you are far but you're near
you're the Rock.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

John Piper's Leave of Absence

John Piper to his congregation:

As you may have already heard in the sermon from March 27-28, the elders graciously approved on March 22 a leave of absence that will take me away from Bethlehem from May 1 through December 31, 2010. We thought it might be helpful to put an explanation in a letter to go along with the sermon.

I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I love my Lord, my wife, my five children and their families first and foremost; and I love my work of preaching and writing and leading Bethlehem. I hope the Lord gives me at least five more years as the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem.

But on the other hand, I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody? I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry. Since I don’t have just one deed to point to, I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness; and I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins...

...Personally, I view these months as a kind of relaunch of what I hope will be the most humble, happy, fruitful five years of our 35 years at Bethlehem and 46 years of marriage. Would you pray with me to that end? And would you stand by your church with all your might? May God make these eight months the best Bethlehem has ever known. It would be just like God to do the greatest things when I am not there. “Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7).

I love you and promise to pray for you every day.

Pastor John

You can hear John explain this to his congregation in the 2nd half of his latest sermon:



I thank God for the ministry of this great man. His humility and transparency is so encouraging. I will be praying for him during this time; if you feel so led, I'd encourage you to do the same.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Story of Zac Smith - Powerful Testimony

Wow. Convicting and powerful. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to watch this.

The Story of Zac Smith from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

HT: @JohnPiper

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Parenting - Hard Thoughts About God

I greatly respect C.J. Mahaney, and I've learned a ton from his books and preaching (Living the Cross Centered Life is one of the best books I've ever read).

After one of his recent sermons, a member of his congregation sent him a email with with some questions about the relationship between parenting and God. I thought there was great wisdom in C.J.'s answer to him, and it hit me especially hard with just having our second child last week.

If you're a parent, be encouraged and challenged.

Hi, C.J.—

Thanks for your message from Jude on Sunday. It is always a privilege to hear God's Word through you. I am reminded of His grace to me through the truths preached by you over decades now.

When you noted how we often have hard thoughts of God and fail to appreciate His initiating love, I immediately thought of my example and communication about God to my kids. And when you asked at the end, "What are you most worried about?", I think it is that I will hinder my children from knowing that God not only rightly expects their obedience and submission—a bar they cannot possibly reach—but also that he loves them as a Father so deeply that He sent His son for them.

I am afraid they do have hard thoughts of God and that’s largely because of my own sinfulness (anger, impatience, anxiety), which I am eager to continue killing by the Spirit. But apart from that, the question I have is, how do we as parents insist that our children obey us in the Lord without cultivating hard thoughts of Him?

Grateful for any thoughts you would have on this.

John

---------------------

John,

This a great question that I can’t possibly cover fully in one email. But here are a few thoughts that I hope are helpful.
  • You have the privilege of introducing them to God the Father and describing the ways in which he is different from you, different from all sinful fathers, and how in any way you are like him it’s only because of grace that you reflect him. See Luke 11:11–13.
  • Your honest confession of your sin to your children will protect them from having hard thoughts about you or God.
  • Communicating your affection for them—and joy when you are with them—promotes both good and accurate thoughts about God.
  • Initiate time with them at both planned and spontaneous times. Don’t leave them with the impression that they get most of your attention when they disobey. Let them know you are so grateful for them and love being with them as much as possible.
  • Bless your children with many gifts in many forms! See Luke 11 again. Study your children in order to discern what gifts would genuinely bless them and then purpose to surprise them as often as possible.
  • Requiring appropriate obedience does not promote hard thoughts about God. This only happens when we do so in self-righteousness or anger. See point 2 again.
  • Frequently preach the gospel to them (and not at them). Reveal to your children just how far God has gone to show his love for sinners like us.
My friend, if you follow the example of our gracious God, your children will not have hard thoughts about him. They will have accurate thoughts about him—and a deep love for you.

I hope these brief thoughts help, John.

C.J.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are You Truly Saved?

I found this prayer by Scotty Smith extremely practical and powerful. I just started reading his blog at the Gospel Coalition, but it looks fantastic and I would highly recommend it based on what I've read so far.

This particular post was about asking ourselves the question, "Am I Saved?" It can be uncomfortable, but this prayer reminded me to focus the answer to that question in the right place. It's always a great reminder that we are saved by of the object of our faith, not the faith itself. This means it's not dependent on us. It's only because of Jesus. Amen.

Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:24-25
Dear Lord Jesus, driving into my home state recently, I came upon a billboard that pushed some buttons before it raised my palms. Just through the mountains of North Carolina, there is was, bold and in big red letters, Are You Saved? I’ll be honest, my first response was, “What an un-cool, cost-ineffective, out-of-date, impersonal way to do evangelism.” Then I ruminated, “People that put up highway signs like that are clueless about the gospel. They’re usually legalists and moralists, and have no idea about a theology of imputed righteousness. They’re culturally out-of-touch and don’t realize what a turn-off that kind of signage is.”

But after my momentary-arrogance and billboard-pontification, your Spirit gently disrupted my “cool” with this thought, “You completely avoided the question, Are You Saved?”

I continued driving, but that’s when one palm went up anyway, for indeed, I am saved, Jesus, unabashedly and unashamedly so. And there’s only one reason and there’s only one basis… I have come to God through you. You are the permanent priest who offered the perfect sacrifice for me, once and for all. You completed your work on the cross and you will complete your work in me. You live forever and you forever live to thoroughly save me, and your whole pan-national trans-generational Bride. You were my substitute by your life and your death, and now you’re my righteousness and intercessor before the Father. Am I saved? Most definitely and most delightfully!

I don’t have to like highway billboards, but may I never ever tire of responding to the question, Are You Saved?, for there’s no question more humbling to me and honoring of you. So very Amen, I pray, Jesus, in your merciful and mighty-to-save name.

HT: Challies

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Beautiful Baby Girl

In case anyone's interested, my wife has posted the story of my daughter's birth last week. Emma Jo, our second child, was born March 18th at 3:07 pm and we could not be happier to have her in our family.

You can read Leah's thoughts and see a few more pictures at her blog, but I had to post this picture because even the Tennessee hat can't make me dislike how beautiful she looks...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Emma Josephine is Here!

7 lbs. 5 oz.
20.5 inches.
3-18-10 at 3:07 pm.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Peter Hitchens - The Rage Against God

Peter Hitchens, brother of famed atheist Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great), has a new book coming out May 1 (The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith), which details his journey from atheism back to the Christian faith. He wrote the following in an article for Mail Online:

[S]ince it is obvious much of what I say arises out of my attempt to debate religion with [Christopher], it would be absurd to pretend that much of what I say here is not intended to counter or undermine arguments he presented in his book, God Is Not Great, published in 2007.

I do not loathe atheists, as Christopher claims to loathe believers. I am not angered by their failure to see what appears obvious to me. I understand that they see differently. I do think that they have reasons for their belief, as I have reasons for mine, which are the real foundations of this argument.

It is my belief that passions as strong as his are more likely to be countered by the unexpected force of poetry, which can ambush the human heart at any time.

It is also my view that, as with all atheists, he is his own chief opponent. As long as he can convince himself, nobody else will persuade him. His arguments are to some extent internally coherent and are a sort of explanation - if not the best explanation - of the world and the universe.

He often assumes that moral truths are self-evident, attributing purpose to the universe and swerving dangerously round the problem of conscience - which surely cannot be conscience if he is right since the idea of conscience depends on it being implanted by God. If there is no God then your moral qualms might just as easily be the result of indigestion.

Yet Christopher is astonishingly unable to grasp that these assumptions are problems for his argument. This inability closes his mind to a great part of the debate, and so makes his atheist faith insuperable for as long as he himself chooses to accept it.

The whole article is interesting and worth the read.

And here's a cool trailer for the book.



HT: JT and Doug Wilson

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Minding Sin More Than The Savior

I found this quote extremely encouraging today.

"The first device that Satan has to keep souls in a sad, doubting, and questioning condition, and so making their life a hell, is by causing them to be still poring and musing upon sin, to mind their sins more than their Savior; yes, so to mind their sins as to forget, yes, to neglect their Savior, that, as the Psalmist speaks, 'The Lord is not in all their thoughts' (Psalm 10:4). Their eyes are so fixed upon their disease, that they cannot see the remedy, though it be near; and they do so muse upon their debts, that they have neither mind nor heart to think of their Surety. A Christian should wear Christ in his bosom as a flower of delight, for he is a whole paradise of delight. He who minds not Christ more than his sin, can never be thankful and fruitful as he should."

- Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices

HT: Joshua Harris

Monday, March 15, 2010

Music Video of the Week: OK Go

Seriously, if you haven't already seen this, take a few minutes and watch the whole thing.

OK Go - "This Too Shall Pass"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Book Review: Dave Kraft - Leaders Who Last

Genre: Christian Living/Leadership/Ministry
Publisher: Crossway/RE:Lit
Publication Date: February 28, 2010


Leadership books can be tricky to write. The few I’ve read have been extremely cliché, rah-rah-type books that were big on motivational language and soft on any real content that could help one become a better leader. Leaders That Last, the newest release from RE:Lit/Crossway doesn’t fit that mold at all. Dave Kraft, the leadership development pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, has immense leadership experience (38 years in the Navigators before joining Mars Hill), and he draws on his experiences leading and training leaders to cast a beautiful vision for what the next generation of Christian leaders might look like.

The book is grouped into 3 parts: Foundations, Formation, and Fruitfulness. In Foundations, Kraft introduces the leadership wheel. This is a helpful construct with Power (from God) at the center, and the spokes of the wheel coming out of that – Purpose, Pacing, Passion, and Priorities. I really appreciated how Kraft begins with the gospel (Power). He explains how he can do nothing apart from Christ and that his identity is in Christ. He explains well the balance between effort as a leader and depending on grace. Quoting Dallas Willard, he states that “grace is not opposed to effort, but to earning” (34). The 5 aspects of the leadership wheel really do lay some great foundation for the rest of the book.

Part 2 delves into the development of leaders – determining calling and gifts, assessing character, and planning for growth. As someone considering some possible changes in my life, I found the discussion on calling very helpful. Finally, Part 3 examines how to be a fruitful leader by developing a powerful vision, influence, and ultimately, a legacy by training others to lead.

This was easily the best book on leadership I’ve read. Kraft clearly loves Jesus more than anything, so all of his discussion flows out of that. When he espouses leadership principles that might seem cliché and dry in other contexts, they feel alive, powerful, and vibrant in light of the mission he’s calling leaders to. While I feel that even non-Christians could benefit from much of the wisdom contained in this book, it’s clearly written for Christian leaders – pastors, elders, lay leaders, parachurch leaders, businesspeople, etc. While stating the case that not everyone should be a leader (and helping people determine where they might fall in the body of Christ), he passionately calls for gifted men of God to answer God’s call. As I said, I’m not big on rah-rah talk, but this book has me motivated.

Some will take issue with some of the examples Kraft chooses at times. For example, he uses a Communist leader as an example of having passion. I didn’t have a problem with the reference as he was clearly saying that passion needed to re-directed, but I can see some having issues with a couple choices like this. These are few and far between, however, and on the whole, this is a book that most Christian leaders and potential leaders should read. Kraft has run the race well (and is still running at 70) and has much wisdom to share. There’s nothing ground-breaking in the book, but his vision for what Christian leadership can look like is powerful and needed in the church today.



This book was provided for review by Crossway/Re:Lit.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Interview With Dave Kraft

I'll be posting my review of Dave Kraft's new book, Leaders Who Last, tomorrow. Here's a brief interview with Mark Driscoll with some background and him and the book.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: D.A. Carson - Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus

Genre: Theology/Christian Living
Publisher: Crossway/RE:Lit
Publication Date: February 28, 2010


D.A. Carson can preach.

I was introduced to this preaching when he spoke at my church’s Bible conference a few years back on the person of Jesus Christ. I was blown away by Dr. Carson’s intellect, his ability to point out things in scripture I’d never seen before, his passion for Christ, and the witty, entertaining way in which he was able to do all of this. He simply made the Bible come alive to me in way I’d never experienced before.

His new book, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, did exactly the same thing.

Carson examines 5 different texts from the Bible from Matthew 27, Romans 3, Revelation 12, John 11, and John 20. These are heavy passages, dealing with the crucifixion of Jesus, his raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the disciple Thomas’ doubting. The other passages tackle “the center of the whole Bible” (Romans 3), which connects the Old and New Testaments, as well John’s prophetic visions in Revelation. Difficult parts of the Bible to explain, to say the least, but Carson is able to plumb the depths of these theologically packed passages in such an insightful and concise way as to make them manageable and beautiful. The book is simply a feast for those who love to hear the Bible taught passionately and clearly.

It’s hard to pick a favorite chapter as they were all fantastic, but I really enjoyed the discussion of the stories of Lazarus and Thomas. We’ve heard these stories so many times; it would be easy for them to feel familiar and less powerful than they should. Carson’s talent doesn’t allow for this response. He brings you right into the settings of the passages, and you feel like you’re watching the story unfold before you for the first time, seeing the actions of Jesus in completely new ways. I’ve yet to find many other authors who have this skill for making the scriptures so real to me.

These 5 chapters were given as sermons at Mars Hill Church in Seattle back in December of 2008 as part of a Resurgence Conference. I was lucky enough to catch these sermons online. I don’t always enjoy reading a book after hearing the material preached live, but the writing in Scandalous makes you feel like you’re sitting there, talking personally to Dr. Carson as he explains and expounds upon the deep truths of scripture. He simply has a gift for exposition and it shines gloriously in this book.



This book was provided for review by Crossway/Re:Lit.

Music Video of the Week: Me in Motion

Music in Motion - "Loser"

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Lord and My God


Finished up D.A. Carson's new book, Scandalous, over lunch today. I'll be posting a review of the book next week, but wanted to share a quote from the last chapter discussing Thomas' confession after seeing the resurrected Christ.

Carson:

We must also reflect on the repeated little word "my." Thomas does not say, "Our Lord and our God," as if he were reciting some sort of liturgical slogan. His confession is intensely personal: "My Lord and my God!"It is never enough merely to confess the truth of something that is out there in the public arena. Even the Devil himself could affirm, however begrudgingly, that Jesus is both Lord and God. But a true child of God is making more than a public statement about a public truth. The Christian is not simply affirming that Jesus Christ is the Lord and God of the universe but that in the most intimate sense he is the Christian's Lord and God. The confession is intensely personal. If you cannot utter the words of this confession with similar deeply personal commitment, you have no part of Jesus and the salvation that flows from his death and resurrection. Your heart and mind must confess with wonder, "My Lord and my God!"

Zach Nielsen Interviews Trevin Wax About Holy Subversion

Zach Nielsen has a good interview with Trevin Wax about Trevin's new book, Holy Subversion. I reviewed this book earlier this week and really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it.

Here's a sample from the interview.

1. Why did you write Holy Subversion?

I wrote Holy Subversion as a challenge to the Church to identify the prevailing idolatries in our society, and to deliberately subvert those idolatries by living for Christ. The book is focused on discipleship, but it’s for the sake of evangelism. I believe that once the church makes disciples who look distinct from the world, our evangelistic witness will be strengthened.

5. If you could boil it down to one thing, what do you want people to take away from this book?

The gospel changes our life: our behavior, our attitude and our outlook. The true gospel is transformative and reaches into the most practical, personal decisions we make.

Read the rest of the interview.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Music Review: Chasen - That Was Then This Is Now

Genre: Pop/Rock
Label: INO
Release Date: March 9, 2010


Rating: 4/5

Back in 2008, Chasen released their first full-length album, Shine Through the Stars. I rather enjoyed the “worshipful rock” collection, and songs like “Crazy Beautiful” and “Drown” became favorites of mine. The band parlayed the album into to a deal with INO records and is now set to release their major label debut, That Was Then This is Now, which drops March 9.

The album’s opener, “Castaway,” begins with a piano riff that quickly gives way to a wall of guitars and drums that show the guys have stepped things up with this release. From the start, there’s a palpable confidence in the songwriting and production that wasn’t always there on their first album. This continues through the pop/rock gem “Love in Your Name,” first radio single “On and On,” and the radio-friendly “Airplanes.” Other favorites included the catchy “Eyes of a Rescue” and the subdued, acoustic guitar-laced “There is Love.” The latter is a fantastic departure from the rest of the album in tone and theme.

To be clear, this is pop/rock. The guys will turn up the guitars on occasion, but these songs are very mainstream and nothing is exactly pushing the envelope. I have no problem with that. The strength of this album is the songwriting, which is quite good. “Drown” was a fantastically written song, and these songs take what made that song so good – deep, personal lyrics, combined with beautiful, memorable melodies – and continue that vein beautifully.

Lead singer Chasen Callahan has a background as a worship leader, and it shows on the album. The songs have a worshipful feel, and he doesn’t shy away from honesty, walking the line between saying Jesus just to say his name and sell to the CCM market and only utilizing the ambiguous “You.” It just feels like he’s writing what he feels, and it’s clear he loves Jesus. I’ve enjoyed this album a lot over the past month. If you like the pop/rock genre and want to hear some very solid songs that you’ll have some trouble getting out of your head for a while, I’d recommend these guys. I’m looking forward to more from them.



*This album was provided for review by INO Records.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Going Deep

Ha.


HT: Barry Wallace

Misguided Christian Outrage


Fantastic post by Russell Moore over at The Resurgence regarding misguided Christian outrage.

Moore:

I've been asked several times in the last couple of days about whether I'm upset about the new remix of "We Are the World."



The Christians contacting me about this are disturbed by what they see as a startling omission from the '80s-era song in its 21st century update, performed by artists in support of Haiti relief. Willie Nelson's line "As God has shown us by turning stone to bread..." is gone. These Christians are outraged, and they wonder if I am too.


Well, yes, I am outraged. Willie Nelson should have been invited to participate. He's still every bit as talented as he was in 1985, and if Nick Jonas can be invited, then certainly Willie should've been too.

Oh wait.



That's not what these folks are outraged about. They're afraid this is indicative of the secularization of American pop culture, and that there should be a Christian backlash.



But wait, again.



God didn't turn stones into bread. 

It was Satan, not God, who suggested our Lord Jesus turn rocks into bread (Matt. 4:3-4)...

...Why are we so desperate to see "God" affirmed by the outside culture, even when the "God" they're talking about more closely resembles Zeus (or, as in this case, Lucifer) than Yahweh? When we reach this point of perpetual outrage, are we closer to identity politics than gospel proclamation? I'm afraid so.



Read the whole post. It's well worth your time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Review: Trevin Wax - Holy Subversion

Genre: Christian Living
Publisher: Crossway
Publication Date: January 31, 2010


A lot of books have been written about idolatry lately. Many Christians are re-discovering Martin Luther’s idea about not being able to break any of the commandments without initially breaking the first and second. There is sound, biblical truth in these sentiments, and I’m glad that writers like Timothy Keller (Counterfeit Gods) and others have used their talents to practically apply this truth to our context in the 21st century. Add to that list Trevin Wax. His new book, Holy Subversion, is a potent yet practical look at how to address the different idols in our lives.

What does Wax mean by “subversion”? He operates with this definition: “pushing something back down into its proper place” (26). He compares our time to ancient Rome when Ceasar was declared to be divine and how Christians “subverted” this by refusing to attribute allegiance to him that only God and Christ deserve. He basically sums up the intentions of the book as such then: “[Our] job as Christians is to first identify and unmask some of the more insidious ‘Ceasars’ that seek to muzzle our message and demand our allegiance. Then, we must think through specific ways in which the church can counter our culture by subverting its prevailing idolatries and pushing them back to their rightful place, under the feet of Jesus” (27).

Wax tackles specific “Ceasars” that tend to take precedence in our lives today (success, money, leisure, sex, power) and shows how to keep them in their proper places in our lives. Avoiding legalistic demands on one hand and liberal license on the other, he weaves through the issues, deftly applying biblical truths to real life.

My favorite chapter, the first after the introductory chapter, was on the subverting of the self. Like breaking the first commandments, all other idolatries tend to involve placing ourselves (our wants, desires, pleasures) above God. Using a “walk through Ephesians,” Wax dismantles our pride by showing God’s sovereignty in our salvation and our utter helplessness before Him. The progression of thought, then, from this chapter to the others makes perfect sense, finally ending with a chapter on evangelism and how living this way will influence that.

This short (150 pages) and fairly easy read was highly enjoyable for me. It’s packed with Scriptural truth yet connected intimately to our lives. In a world that makes constant demands on us for our time, resources, and attention, we need to be careful what we’re worshipping with those things. We Christians tend to be almost indistinguishable from non-believers a lot of the time in how we live our lives. By subverting the idols our culture wants us to have, we show others that Christ is of highest value. He’s the only one truly worthy of our worship.



This book was provided for review by Crossway.

Monday, March 1, 2010

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