BOOKS ON PREACHING

PreachingHere’s a list of books on preaching for preachers to work their way through:

QUICK REVIEW: PASSION

PassionIf graphic novels aren’t your thing, The Good Book Company also has another resource on Luke 22-24 you might like to check out this Easter.

Passion by Mike McKinley, over 10 short-ish chapters takes you through the final events of Jesus’ life here on earth, as recorded in these verses from Luke’s Gospel.

I’ve taken a break from using Professor Horner’s hardcore Bible reading plan to use this book, and so far it has done me good to do so, and I think it will do you good too, as McKinley shows “how Christ’s final day transforms our every day.”

Passion is a great book to read yourself in the run up to Easter and to encourage others to read.  It is available to buy HERE.

BEYOND THE PAGE: PREACHING

PreachingMixed.

That’s how I’d sum up Preaching: A Biblical Theology by Jason Meyer.

It’s a book that has some simply outstanding chapters, so much so, that if they were all put together, they would make a great little book on the subject.  But it is also a book that has a long section in the middle that didn’t quite hit the target, which was frustrating.

The opening two chapters on the What and How of Preaching, that set preaching within the larger context of the ministry of the Word, were really helpful.  Meyer’s thesis is that “the ministry of the word in Scripture is stewarding and heralding God’s word in such a way that people encounter God through his word” and that this “stewarding and heralding must be carried out faithfully and fearlessly”.

Following this we have a long section, from chapters 3 through to the end of chapter 16, which begins with a condensed biblical theology of the ministry of the word, which is then expanded on over 11 chapters.  This was probably the weakest part of the book.  (To be fair to Meyer, he does give busy pastors the permission to skip the part of the book).  It would have been great if there could have been in this section more specific and detailed application about what each of 10 scenes he divides the Bible story into uniquely has teach about the ministry of the word.

After this, the remainder of the book is great.  The chapters on the What, How and Why of Expository Preaching provided a great definition “preaching must re-present the word of God in such a way that the preacher represents the God of the word so that people respond to God”, a memorable method “share, show, shepherd”, and a clear defence for it.  Equally strong are the brief chapters that discuss the relationship between preaching and scripture and preaching and sin and why expository preaching best fits with what these doctrines teach, and a chapter on how topical preaching can be done well.

One final highlight of the book that was a real bonus was an appendix where Meyer surveys and comments on other books on preaching that he has been helped by and which any reader who follows up these leads would be too.

So Preaching: A Biblical Theology is a book that is mixed.

Yet on the basis of the opening and closing chapters, it is a book I’d definitely encourage preachers experienced, occasional, or just starting out, to read.  Certainly I’ll be returning to re-read these chapters every so often.

Thank you Crossway for providing a free copy of this book through Beyond the Page.

QUICK REVIEW: THE THIRD DAY

Third DayImagine the actual text of the Bible.

Say Luke 22 to 24.

But not as you usually find it.

No black text on a white page in two columns with chapter and verse number.

Instead it is put onto some incredible artwork that is fresh and contemporary and appealing to teens and young adults.

Welcome to The Third Day a new resource from The Good Book Company.

The Third Day is “the first in a range of short graphic-novel-style books faithfully illustrating the unadorned text of the gospel of Luke.”

And with Easter coming up this is a brilliant resource to get and give away.

Go check it out!  The Third Day is available to buy HERE.

QUICK REVIEW: THE EVERYDAY GOSPEL

Everyday-GospelMy name is Dan and when it comes to washing up I am a legalist!

Why?

Because I wash up most of the cutlery and crockery, but leave the pans ‘to soak’!

When I picked up Tim Chester’s new book The Everyday Gospel I wasn’t expecting some pointed analysis of my washing up habits, but that’s what I got.  Not only that, I also got a good dose of how to apply the gospel to this area of life to help me find joy as I go about this daily task.

In this short book (under 50 pages), Chester shows how washing the dishes is a God-like activity as it is a way to both bring order to chaos and to serve others.  He then shows how washing the dishes can bring out the worst in us, either through it becoming an obsession or by doing the minimum we can get away with and in some instances developing a martyr complex about it.

There also times when you should not wash up and the chapter in the middle of the book succinctly sums up these occasions before we get to my favourite part, where he shows how there are all sorts of things to be learnt about God as we stand at the kitchen sink, including what the remnants of the meal you are wiping from the plate teaches you.

Finally he explains how “Your kitchen sink can be a holy place if you offer up your washing of the dishes to God as a sacrifice of praise, sharing his delight in creation and serving others in love.”  And this brings me to the brilliance of this little book.  By showing us how this can be true for one area of life, washing up, we are given a template that we can apply to all areas of life.

The Everyday Gospel available to buy HERE.

QUICK REVIEW: RHYTHMS OF GRACE

Rhythms-of-GraceIt was a Sunday afternoon a few years ago.  That morning I had led the service at Banstead Community Church.  The way I led the service was the way I had always led and seen services led for as long as I could remember.  But as I thought about it, something didn’t feel right.  Even though we had sung and prayed and heard the Bible read and preached, I was still left with the question of why?  Not, why did we do those things? but rather, why did we do it the way we did it?

It was that afternoon that started the process of trying to get my head around the question of what should we be doing when we gather together as a local church each Sunday.  I read the Bible.  I read books on corporate worship.  But it wasn’t until I read Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Worship that suddenly things started to make sense.

Yet as good as Christ-Centered Worship is, and it is very good, this isn’t the first book I would recommend to pastors, those training at Bible college, or people in the congregation who have responsibility to lead services.

The first book I would recommend is Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper.  In many ways this is Christ-Centered Worship for the masses because the essential message is the same: “Every week, we should gather and remember that God is holy, we are sinners, and Jesus saves us from our sins.”

Rhythms of Grace is a great introduction to the whole topic of corporate or gathered worship and what we do in these times.  It begins by tracing the theme of worship through the story of the Bible showing over four chapters that the story of worship is the story of the gospel: “God creates, sin corrupts, but Christ redeems.  And all of us get to sing along.”

Then in the remainder of the book, Cosper, turns to how the story of worship relates to what we do when gather as a local church.  Topics covered include the relationship between all of life worship and the weekly worship service, the purpose of Sunday, a survey of worship services in church history, how to plan a service that tells the gospel story, music and the priorities of those who lead worship.

If you want some practical steps on how to allow the gospel story to shape and structure your weekly services, Rhythms of Grace and particularly chapter 8, I think, is the ideal starting point.

Rhythms of Grace is available to buy HERE.

QUICK REVIEW: THE MINISTRY MEDICAL

MedicalThe Ministry Medical.

I’ll be honest.  I’m not a fan of the title of this book.

But I’m glad I didn’t let the title put me off reading it because Jonathan Griffiths has written a really helpful book for pastors and other gospel workers.

Griffiths writes that 2 Timothy is “a letter that gospel ministers should return to regularly and consider carefully” and his book is designed to help them do that.  It does this by asking 36 questions drawn from 2 Timothy, which provide a so-called ‘health check’ of things they should be doing in their ministries.

From the opening question “Are you praying for your people?” to the last “Are you zealous for the Lord’s glory?” there is much to challenge, convict, encourage, remind, expose and spur you on.

This is a book not to speed read but to take your time over.

I especially appreciated the encouragements the book begins with, firstly, that the gospel makes ministry possible: “God through the gospel has made it possible for us to serve, and makes it possible for us to keep on serving, as ministers of the gospel” and then secondly, the gospel makes ministry worthwhile: “You and I have the privilege of proclaiming to a grieving and fearful world that Jesus has abolished the great enemy that is death and opened up the way to life and immortality.  For those who will trust Him, there is the sure promise of life.”

Whether you’re thinking about going into gospel ministry, a pastor in the early years of ministry or one who has been doing this role for a long time, here is a book I would recommend to you.

The Ministry Medical is available to buy HERE.

QUICK REVIEW: CHANGING LANES

ChangingLanesLogoPreroll_0There is a real shortage of really good Christian books written specifically for teenagers.  As someone who has a teenage daughter and does youth ministry, if a new book comes out for them, I’m keen to read it.

A recent release is a short book by Jonny Pearse called Changing Lanes.

Using the imagery of Jesus’ description of two roads, one that’s wide and leads to destruction, and one that’s narrow and leads to God and eternal life, the question this book asks its teenage readers is “Which of the two roads am I on?” with the hope that those on the wide road will change lanes!

To help them do that, the seven chapters of the book take the teenager on a journey of discovery to find out the truth about religion, evidence, sin, hell, Jesus, forgiveness and Christianity.

I really like this book.

Each chapter is short, clear, uncompromising (especially the chapters on sin and hell), and accessible for teenagers, especially those who are currently on the wide road.  There is also a seven week evangelistic DVD course which can be done in a youth group setting or individually online HERE.

I’m looking forward to running this course with the youth group I help to lead and to give out copies of the book at the end.  Why not do the same?

Changing Lanes is available to buy HERE.

QUICK REVIEW: JESUS ON EVERY PAGE

JesusOnEveryPageEvery now and then you read a book that makes you go “Wow!”  David Murray’s Jesus on Every Page is a book that would fit into this category.  I was looking forward to reading it, and having read it, it does not disappoint.

It is a book of two halves.  The first half tells David’s own ‘Road to Emmaus’ story of how he came to discover that the Old Testament was all about Christ.  This part of the book really draws you in with a mix of personal narrative and clear Bible teaching.

The second half of the book provides 10 ways of finding Jesus in the Old Testament: Christ’s Planet, People, Presence, Precepts, Past, Prophets, Pictures, Promises, Proverbs and Poets.  Time and time again these chapters made me say to myself “Why didn’t I see that before?”

Each chapter of this book was a delight to read, however the one that really blew me away, was Christ’s Planet, where Murray shows how we can discover Jesus in creation, giving 11 ways (yes, eleven ways!) we see Christ in Genesis 1 and 2.  If the rest of the book weren’t so good, I’d say it’s worth buying just for the chapter, but actually it’s worth buying for every chapter.

I really cannot recommend this book highly enough. Both for pastors to help them preach Christ from Old Testament passages, and also for the whole congregation to help them to know Christ better from these 39 books of the Bible.

Jesus on Every Page is available to buy HERE.

QUICK REVIEW: THE SECRET THOUGHTS OF AN UNLIKELY CONVERT

SecretThoughtsEvery time someone puts their trust in Jesus, it is a miracle of grace.  From the child who grows up always believing in Jesus, to the person who seems furthest away from Christ, there is much rejoicing in heaven every time a sinner repents, and every conversion story is one worth hearing.

But stories like that of Rosaria Butterfield need to be told and heard widely, to remind Christians afresh of the power of the gospel to save, and this is why ‘The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert’ is such a great book, because it does just that.

Rosaria was a radical, lesbian, feminist professor who specialised in Queer Theory (a postmodern form of gay and lesbian studies).  That was until God used the loving witness of pastor Ken Smith and his wife Floy, who befriended her, and shared the gospel with her over a number of years, to bring her to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus, and her whole life was transformed.  Today she is a homeschooling, pastor’s wife and mother of four adopted children who is part of a local church that sings unaccompanied psalms.

This book tells the story of how that happened.

You might not agree with everything she says (particularly about homeschooling and unaccompanied psalm singing), but you will be amazed and at times moved, as she tells the story of what God has done in her life.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert is available to buy HERE.

QUICK REVIEW: IS GOD ANTI-GAY?

Is-God-Anti-GaySam Allberry has already written a couple of cracking books on the implications of the resurrection and the Trinity so expectations were high as I picked up his latest Is God anti-gay? to read.

It doesn’t disappoint.

It’s short, easy to read, clear, honest, biblical, practical, uncompromising, sensitive with nice touches of humour.

In the opening couple of chapters, Sam deals with what the Bible teaches about homosexuality in the wider context of marriage.  Working briefly through all the relevant passages on homosexuality he shows that the consistent teaching of the Bible is clear: “God forbids homosexual activity” in fact “God is opposed to all sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage.”

Then, having laid the foundations with what the Bible teaches, he helpfully moves onto to look at some practical issues such as, how a Christian is to respond if they experience same-sex attraction, how a church should respond if a gay couple starts attending, what a church can do to support Christians facing this issue, and how Christians and churches can be effective witnesses to the world in this area.

And in answer to the question in the title – No!

This book is a great resource for the whole church giving clarity to one of the big issues of the day in a refreshingly positive way.

Is God anti-gay? is available to buy HERE.

QUICK REVIEW: THE STORY OF CREATION BATH BOOK

SCBBUntil 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.