Quick Review: The Story of Creation Bath Book

Quick Review: The Story of Creation Bath Book

Until recently the only bath book Harry had was Squishy and Squirty, which tells the story of Squirty crab’s search for Squishy fish who is hiding in the rock pool.  Now he has one that tells him the story of creation as he splashes around.

This new bath book from 10ofthose uses colourful and eye-catching pictures from ‘The Beginner’s Bible’ to teach under 5s about the different things that God has made.

The other night as Harry was reading it in the bath I asked him what he thought of it.  His reply: “It’s brilliant, I love it, I wish I could have another one!”

The Story of Creation Bath Book is available to buy HERE.

4 Books on… The Resurrection

Here are four books on the resurrection that are worth checking out:

Quick Review: Exodus Activities

Quick Review: Exodus Activities

Are you a Sunday School teacher looking for worksheets for the children to do or a prize to give away?

Are you a parent looking for activities for your children to do at home based on Bible stories?

You need to check out the new puzzle and colouring books for children from 10ofthose.com.  So far in the series are activity books based on Easter and Exodus.

In Exodus Activities there are 18 different sheets ranging from mazes to word searches, dot to dot’s to spot the difference and all of them are brilliantly illustrated by Martin Young (from www.biblecartoons.co.uk).

Exodus Activities is available to buy HERE.

Book Highlights: The Good God

Book Highlights: The Good God

Here are some highlights from The Good God by Mike Reeves.

“Because the triune God has revealed himself, we can understand the Trinity.”

“The Trinity is a God we can know, and forever grow to know better.”

“Instead of starting from scratch and seeing that the triune God is a radically different sort of being from any other candidate for God, we try to stuff Father, Son and Spirit into how we have always thought of God.  We feel like we’re trying to squeeze two extra persons into our understanding of God.”

“Before he ever created, before he ever ruled the world, before anything else, this God was a Father loving his Son.”

“The Spirit stirs up the delight of the Father in the Son and the delight of the Son in the Father, inflaming their love and so binding them together in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.”

“Being triune, God is a sharing God, a God who loves to include.”

“Basic call to believe in the Son of God is an invitation to a Trinitarian faith.”

“When you start with the Jesus of the Bible it is a triune God that you get.”

“Since the Father has eternally loved his Son, it is entirely characteristic of him to turn and create others that he might also love them.”

“That the Father has always enjoyed loving another, and so the act of creation by which he creates others to love seems utterly appropriate for him.”

“The Son is the image of God, showing us what his Father is like.  As he gloriously goes, shines and radiates out from his Father, he shows us that the Father is essentially outgoing.  It is unsurprising that such a God should create.”

“The contrast between the devil and the triune God could hardly be starker – the first is empty, hungry, grasping, envious – the second is super abundant, generous, radiant, self-giving.”

“By graciously giving his creatures the room to exist, the triune God allows them the freedom to turn away without himself being the author of evil.”

“Through the sending of the Son for our salvation we see more clearly than ever how generous and self-giving the love of the triune God is.”

“The Father so loves that he desires to catch us up into that loving fellowship he enjoys with the Son.  And that means I can know God as he truly is: as Father.”

“The Spirit gives us his very self, that we might know and enjoy him and so enjoy his fellowship with the Father and the Son.”

“Through the Spirit the Father allows us to share in the enjoyment of what most delights him – his Son.”

“The Spirit’s first work is to set our desires in order, to open our eyes and give us the Father’s own relish for the Son and the Son’s own enjoyment of the Father.”

“If I don’t enjoy Christ, I won’t speak of him.”

“In my own experience, talking with non-Christian students, again and again I find that when they describe the God they don’t believe in, he sounds more like Satan than the loving Father of Jesus Christ: greedy, selfish, trigger-happy and entirely devoid of love.  And if God is not Father, Son and Spirit, aren’t they right?

Love for the Lord, love for neighbour – that is the heart of holiness and how the triune God’s people get to be like him.”

“The Father loves his Son, and so hates sin, which ultimately is rejection of the Son; he loves his children, and so hates their being oppressed, he loves his world, and so hates all evil in it.  Thus in his love he mots out sin in his people, even disciplining them that they might be freed from their captivity to it.  In his love he is patient with us.  And in his love he promises finally to destroy all evil as light destroys darkness.”

4 Books on… Youth Ministry

Here are four books on youth ministry that I’ve found helpful:

Book Highlights: Managing God’s Money

Book Highlights: Managing God’s Money

Here are some highlights from Managing God’s Money by Randy Alcorn.

“Jesus made a direct connection between our present handling of earthly wealth and his future decision to entrust to our care another kind of wealth.”

“Jesus judged the reality of Zacchaeus’ salvation by his willingness – his cheerful eagerness – to part with his money for God’s glory and the good of others.”

“A distraught man frantically rode his horse up to John Wesley, shouting, “Mr Wesley, Mr Wesley, something terrible has happened!  Your house has burned to the ground.”  Weighing the news for a moment, Wesley replied, “No.  The Lord’s house burned to the ground.  That means one less responsibility for me.”

“Good stewards always act in the owner’s best interests – consulting and listening carefully to the owner in order to understand and implement his investment priorities.”

“Every time we give to world missions, famine relief, prison ministry, Bible translation – whenever we invest our time and prayers, we can dream about the day we’ll meet and enjoy the hospitality of new friends and family, precious people in heaven.”

“Every item I add to my possessions is one more thing to think about, talk about, clean, repair, display, rearrange, and replace when it goes bad.”

“We store up treasures in heaven by holding loosely, sharing freely, and giving away earthly treasures for God’s kingdom purposes.”

“You can’t take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.”

“Whatever treasure we store up in heaven will be waiting for us when we arrive.”

“There are many good things God wants us to do with money that don’t involve giving it away.”

“Tithing is clear and consistent and it can easily be taught, including to children.”

“If Western Christians gave 10 percent… the goal of world evangelism and feeding the hungry would be within reach.”

“Why does God give some of his children more than they need, and others less than they need, so that he may use his children to help one another.”

Book Highlights: Generous Justice

Book Highlights: Generous Justice

Here are some highlights from Generous Justice by Tim Keller.

“A true experience of the grace of Jesus Christ inevitably motivates a man or woman to seek justice in the world.”

“When the Spirit enables us to understand what Christ has done for us, the result is a life poured out in deeds of justice and compassion for the poor.”

“God’s concern for the poor is so strong that he gave Israel a host of laws that, if practiced, would have virtually eliminated any permanent underclass.”

“If Israel as a society had kept God’s laws perfectly with all their hearts, there would have been no permanent long-term poverty.”

“Genuine disciples of Christ will create a new community that does not exclude the poor, the members of other races, or the powerless, and does deal with their needs sacrificially and practically.”

“What if your only hope was to get ministry from someone who not only did not owe you any help – but who actually owed you the opposite?  What if your only hope was to get free grace from someone who had every justification, based on your relationship to him, to trample you?”

“Jesus came into our dangerous world, he came down our road.  He came to us and saved us, not merely at the risk of his life, as in the case of the Samaritan, but at the cost of his life.”

“Before you can give this neighbour-love you need to receive it.  Only if you see that you have been saved graciously by someone who owes you the opposite will you go out into the world looking to help absolutely anyone in need.”

“There is an inequitable distribution of both goods and opportunities in this world.  Therefore, if you have been assigned the goods of this world by God and you don’t share them with others, it isn’t just stinginess, it is injustice.”

“When Christians who understand the gospel see a poor person, they realise they are looking into a mirror.” 

“As soon as you get involved in the lives of people – in evangelism as well as spiritual nurture – you will come upon people with practical needs.”

“Evangelism more important not because spiritual more important than physical but eternal more important than temporal.”

“The church should help believers shape every area of their lives with the gospel.  But that doesn’t mean that the church as an institution is itself to do everything it equips its members to do.”

“The institutional church’s mission is to evangelise and nurture believers in Christian community.  As it does this work, it produces people who engage in art, science, education, journalism, filmmaking, business in distinctive ways as believers in Christ.  The church, in this view, produces individuals who change society, but the local congregation should not itself engage in these enterprises.”

“Churches under their leaders should definitely carry out ministries of relief and some development among their own members and in their neighbourhoods and cities, as the natural and crucial way to show the world God’s character and to love the people that they are evangelising and discipling.”

“The God of the Bible says, as it were, “I am the poor on your step.  Your attitude toward them reveals what your true attitude is toward me.”  A life poured out in doing justice for the poor is the inevitable sign of any real, true gospel faith.”

4 Books on… The Covenants

Here are four books on the Covenants of the Bible that I’ll be checking out in preparation for a teaching series on the subject (the first two I’m already enjoying!):

4 Books on… The Trinity

Here are four books on the Trinity that I’ve read and found helpful:

Book Highlights: Servanthood as Worship

Book Highlights: Servanthood as Worship

Here are some highlights from Servanthood as Worship by Nate Palmer.

“There is never a moment when we are not serving someone.”

“Biblical service requires that we prefer others over ourselves, that we sacrifice willingly, giving time and energy that could have been used for personal benefit to benefit others.”

“Serving in the church is not just the privilege of the few – it is the call of every Christian’s life.”

“Every genealogy of biblical service finds its source at the same place: the ultimate service of the Son of God in dying in the place of sinners, that they may spend eternity with God in heaven.”

“As Christians our standing with God – our very salvation – does not depend on whether we serve but that Christ first served us.”

“The impact of Christ’s work has grown over time, as those who are affected and saved by Christ point others to him through acts of service.”

“The church collectively provided the platform for people individually to worship God by serving others, thus sustaining and building the church while drawing attention to the glory and grace of God.”

“Service begins and finds its fulfilment in the church, for if we cannot care for our own family, how can we care effectively for others?”

“While every Christian’s acts of service will be different (like Trinity) they are united with a common purpose – a love that springs from the God of love.”

“Biblical servanthood is a reaction to God, a response to a holy God’s forgiveness of our sins.”

“A Christian without some evidence of genuine affection for other people is a contradiction.”

“Authentic service is about co-operatively meeting needs, motivated by love, in a united effort to build the church and glorify God.”

“Usually there will be something about our call to serve that involves people, places, times or modes of service for which we feel little desire or even hostility.”

“Serving now helps to prepare us for heaven later, where we will serve God around his throne forever.”

“Every Christian can now serve in church without fear or death, because Christ has made a way for sinful man to be in fellowship with God.”

Quick Review: The Missing Generation

“The consequences of ignoring the missing generation will be seen in the years to come with dying, ageing and empty churches.”

In churches up and down the country there is one group of people who are conspicuous by their absence – a missing generation – people in the twenties and thirties age group, especially young singles and professionals.  In addition to this, those who do go to church in this age group tend to go to the larger churches.

What can be done about this?

The first step I think is for church leaders to read The Missing Generation by Kay Mumford, which is a practical guide to 20-30s ministry.  In this short book, Mumford outlines a vision for 20-30s ministry that focuses on two big goals: maturity (helping them to become mature in their faith) and mission (helping them to reach their friends, family and work colleagues with the gospel).  She also gives a number of practical ideas about what can be done to get you started with extra suggestions in the appendices.

But this book isn’t just for those looking to start a 20-30s ministry or improve an existing one.  No, there are a couple of chapters that I think are must-read for every pastor to help them apply their preaching to or pastorally care for those in this age group:

Chapter 3: Culture Shock, compares the hopes and dreams of this generation with the reality and exposes the idols they are most like to go after.

Chapter 8: Pastoral Care, looks at the different issues men and women in their 20s and 30s struggle with.  Reading through the list it occurred to me that often these are subjects that are never addressed in sermons and other Bible teaching, but need to be.

These two chapters alone are reasons why The Missing Generation is worth a read.

The Missing Generation is available to buy HERE.

Book Highlights: How to Master the English Bible

Book Highlights: How to Master the English Bible

Here are some highlights from How to Master the English Bible by James Gray.

“One is grateful to have studied Hebrew and Greek, just to be able to tell others who have not that they do not require either to hearken to our Heavenly Father’s voice.”

“and therefore asked him to explain the manner of his reading, when he related the following: He had gone into the country to spend the Sabbath with his family on one occasion, taking with him a pocket copy of Ephesians, and in the afternoon, going out into the woods and lying down under a tree, he began to read it; he read it through at a single reading, and finding his interest aroused, read it through again in the same way, and, his interest increasing, again and again.  I think he added that he read it some twelve or fifteen times, “and when I arose to go into the house,” said he, “I was in possession of Ephesians, or better yet, it was in possession of me, and I had been ‘lifted up to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ in an experimental sense in which that had not been true in me before, and will never cease to be true in me again.”

“read a whole book of the Bible straight through at a sitting.”

“Thus to master book after book is to fill the mind with the great thoughts of God.”

“I read Genesis through in the English at a single reading, and then repeated the process again and again until the book in its great outlines had practically become mine.  Then i took up Exodus in the same way, Leviticus, Numbers, and practically all the other books of the Old and New Testaments to Revelation, with the exception of Proverbs, the Psalms and one or two others which do not lend themselves readily to that plan of reading, and indeed do not require it to their understanding and mastery.”

“The plan was to read and reread each book by itself and in its order, as though there were no other in existence, until it had become a part of the very being.”

“Was the task tedious and long?  No more than was Jacob’s when he served Laban for his daughter Rachel.”

“It is not asked that it be studied in the ordinary sense, or memorised, or even sought to be understood at first; but simply read.”

“It stands for two things – the reading of the book uninfluenced by its divisions into chapters and verses, and reading of the book in this way at a single sitting.”

“Why read the books in a single sitting?  Many of the books of the Bible have a single thread running through the whole – a pivotal idea around which all the subsidiary ones revolve – and to catch this thread, to seize upon this idea, is absolutely necessary to unravel or break up the whole in its essential parts.”

“A book is not to be laid aside for any other succeeding book of the Bible until the mastery is assured.”

“John Chrysostom said that “If any one assiduously attend public worship, even without reading the Bible at home, but carefully hearkening here, he will find a single year sufficient to give him an intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures.”

“Every church should be more or less truly a Bible Training school, and the pastor the head of it.”