Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Storytelling God by Jared C. Wilson

Subtitled:  Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables

Some of my favorite, and most memorable, times are when you hear a great storyteller craft a yarn. Time seems to fly by as you hang on every word.  Often you might not know where the story will go next.  Although I have known many good storytellers, none were better than Jesus.  He used parables to tell stories that anyone could relate to and think they understand.  Most of the time i believe the message did not occur to the listeners until after he was finished.

Jared C. Wilson demonstrates how Jesus not only used the parables to explain morals but, like all of the Bible, how they lead us to Christ.

Some of my favorite lines from the book:

The parables give us a direct portal to the kingdom of God being done on earth as it is in heaven.

The parables, as the wisdom of God, are aimed not only at the mind but also at the heart.

I would recommend that you follow the author as he takes a fresh look at the parables.  Maybe he will open your eyes to something that has been in front of you all along.

The Truest Thing About You by David Lomas & D. R. Jacobsen

From Amazon:  There are many true things about you—true things you use to build an identity. Parent. Introvert. Victim. Student. Extrovert. Entrepreneur. Single.

These truths can identify you, your successes and failures, your expectations and disappointments, your secret dreams and hidden shames. But what if your true identity isn't found in any of these smaller truths, but in the grand truth of who God says you are? In other words, lots of things are true about you—but are they the truest? 

David Lomas invites you to discover and live out the truth of who God created you to be: you are loved, you are accepted, and you are made in God's image. It's time to move beyond the lesser voices and discover why everything changes when you become who you really are.

Throughout history, mankind has struggled to determine its identity.  Over time, people have identified themselves by what they do, which family they belong to, who they are married to, how much money they have, and too many other ways of making them stand out.  But is this the way a Christian should go about it?

Satan tries to make us focus on our identity as the way the world sees us. The group Big Tent Revival sang a great song called "Two Sets of Jones" that demonstrates the difference between a worldly and a Christian viewpoint.  The song shows what happens to two families named Jones when they have children.  If you have not heard it, look it up and listen to it as a reminder of what this book is all about.   

The authors of this book showcase a similar theme.  Too often we are caught up in Satan's lies as to what our identity really is.  Lomas and Jacobsen use a very reader friendly method of demonstrating the way the Gospels show us the different way Christ looks at us.  Just like when Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water, when we keep our eyes on Jesus life is the way it should be.  When we start looking at all of the turmoil around us and what the world says, our identity suffers.

Highly recommended. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung

I had never read any of Kevin DeYoung's books but when I had the chance to read a short book about being busy, I thought it was a good time to try one.

The author lets you know that he kept this book short because we are all busy.  In today's world it is easy to get wrapped up in both work and our personal lives.  The main question is what are we busy doing?

I did not read anything groundbreaking but he does an excellent job of reminding us to make God number one in our lives.  One of Satan's best traps today is to make us feel we have to do everything.  It is easy to be pulled into being a "Martha".  We want to be everything to everyone.  DeYoung reminds us that God is the only one who can be everything.

I highly recommend this book to everyone even if you don't think you have a problem with business.  DeYoung explains what the Bible says about it and what we need to do as Christians.  I know I will be re-reading this on a regular basis. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Old Testament Prophets for Today by Carolyn J. Sharp

Title:  Old Testament Prophets for Today 
Author:  Carolyn J. Sharp

We are currently studying the Old Testament prophets in the Tuesday night Bible study I am in.  As additional reading to our group studies, I picked up this book.

The author does a good job of taking a look at the various prophets and giving an overview of the theological themes they cover.  

One of the big benefits of this book is the way Sharp shows how their prophetic messages are relevant today.  

Based on her insights into the prophets, I will be looking for more books by this author.  Her writing makes the theology easy to understand.  At times, it can be easy to think that the Old Testament prophets are not "for today" but Sharp does a good job of reminding us that the entire Bible is God's word "for today".

Monday, February 18, 2013

Grace by Max Lucado

Grace:  More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado

From the dust jacket:

"Do you worry that you've written too many checks on God's kindness account?  Do you drag regrets like a broken bumper?  Do you huff and puff more than you delight and rest?  If so, then I have a word for you" Max Lucado invites.  "Grace".

Lucado's subtitle for the book (More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine) is a better way to describe this book than I could come up with.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Bedford Review 2.0

A few years ago, I started “The Bedford Review” with the intent of reviewing Christian fiction.  It gave me a chance to recommend and promote books that I liked.  Through the blog, I met many Christians with similar interests.  Now, after a hiatus of about a year and a half, version 2 of the blog is here.

What will be the difference between the first and second versions?  Version 2 will be more of a personal journal of my spiritual life.  It will still occasionally have fiction reviews but I plan on adding other features.

One of the main features will be a journal of my Bible studies.  I have always thought of journaling but never made the commitment.  Journaling will help me review my Bible reading and focus on the lesson/inspiration I receive each day.  Some day’s entries will be longer, some will be shorter. 

Something else that helps me with my walk with the Lord is music.  Many weeks I pick a song that inspires me and listen to it multiple times each day.  It stays in my head and gives me a theme to focus on.  Once a week, I plan on discussing the song I have selected.

The reviews will expand to include non-fiction, with occasional movies and television shows, in addition to the fiction normally reviewed here.  Recently the Lord has led me to reading more non-fiction so I thought it could be included in the “new” blog.

The other type of posting I will do is an occasional commentary.  Subjects will range from a news story that touches my heart to sites that inspire me.  It could be anything.

Why am I doing this?  Because the Lord has shown me how the process of writing helps keep me focused.  It helps with my spiritual growth.  So even if no one else wants to follow what I am doing, I will keep posting.  Anything that keeps me growing closer to the Lord is worth doing. 

God bless.