Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekly Recommendation: "Twelve Extraordinary Women"

As we continue to walk through the last week in the life and ministry of Jesus, this upcoming Sunday we will be discussing the story of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus at the house of Simon the Leper. As I prepare for the message, a number of great books have aided my study. But perhaps one of the best, that is simple, profound, and practical is John MacArthur's, "Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He wants to Do with You."

As the title suggests, MacArthur selects 12 of the most important and influential women in the Bible. One chapter is devoted to two women, boht of whom are major characters in this weeks sermon, Mary and Martha. Though our text will be on Mary anointing Jesus' feet (Matt. 26, Mark 14, and John 12), MacArthur primarily focuses on the business of Martha while Mary, rather than helping Martha serve, was at the foot of Christ taking in everything He said.

Throughout the book, MacArthur gives a faithful treatment of each woman with all of the needed background, story, events, and lessons to learn from their lives. Any interested in knowing the twelve most extraordinary women in the Bible, I highly recommend it. Any looking for a similar book, only no the disciples, I encourage you to pick up "Twelve Ordinary Men," also by MacArthur. Both books have been influential in my life and I think they will in yours too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weekly Recommendation: "The Theology of the Book of Revelation"

The book of Revelation is one of the most complicated and contraversial books in the Bible primarily because it is a difficult book to interpret. There are several major ways of interpreting it and it doesn't seem like Christians will be coming to a consensus anytime soon. But as Christians, we must not let the difficult parts to distract us from the purpose and deep theology of the book. Many of the theological themes, such as what it says about the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of God, salvation, etc., are clear to see regardless how one interprets the book.

Richard Baukham's book, "The Theology of the Book of Revelation" is a good example of this (Part 1, Part 2). Although I disagree with many of Baukham's interpratations, I found his book extremely important as we struggle with this book. Bauckham interprets much of Revlation as not being literal. I tend to take things as literal unless otherwise stated (for example, whenever John says "like" or "as").

Nonetheless, Bauckham's theology of Revelation is quit important. He introduces us to issues such as the doctrine of Christ, the Spirit, etc. through the lens of Revelation. Bauckham takes Scripture seriously and uses Scripture to interpret Scripture, especially with Revelations frequent references to the Old Testament.

I recommend this book, though let the reader be warned, this is not the easiest books. I recommend someone knowing what is in Revelation and understand the book somewhat before venturing into this book. Though it is fairly short and written for the average student of Scripture, it is still a book about Revelation. Add in the deep theology, and at times, it could have your head spinning.

I have reviewed this book in a 2 part series. I had to write a book review for it in class one semester and have posted that review online. To read the review, click Part 1 and Part 2.

Sunday Sermons: February 15, 2009

Sunday Morning - Matthew 24:1-31: Olivet Discrouse - Part 1

Sunday Night - Revelation 1-11: A Survey of Revelation - Part 1

Final Week of Jesus: Olivet Discourse Part 1 - Matthew 21

Sunday Morning - Matthew 24:1-31: Olivet Discrouse - Part 1

Sunday Night - Revelation 1-11: A Survey of Revelation - Part 1

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekly Recommendation: "The Second Coming

As I prepare for next weeks message, I have been reading through John MacArthur's excellent book, "The Second Coming: Sign's of Christ's Return and the End of the Age." MacArthur is my favorite living author and pastor and I turn to him frequently for help and guidance. I bought this book when I was a teenager and deeply interested in the end times and Revelation.

MacArthur marches the reader primarily through the Olivet Discourse (the subject of the next few weeks sermons) which deal with Christ's second coming. What I like about MacArthur is his straightforward and ability to write with clarity about this difficult subject. MacArthur is not afraid to deal with difficult issues (for example, the question of why does Christ move from the temple in His time to the end of the world thousands of years later). What is most helpful is MacArthur's consistency in turning to Scripture as the answer to all of these issues.

MacArthur is convicted by Scripture and offers a book rooted in Scripture. If anyone wants to know about the end times, and especially through the lens of Jesus' own words on the subject, I can think of no greater book than this. I have enjoyed reading it. At times it is deep, but it is always profound and understandable. Which is a difficult task for anyone writing about the end times.
One of my biggest frustrations on reading book about the end times is that they are primarily full of predictions that we cannot know for sure. For example, many Christians have believed many people to be the antichrists only to end up not to be correct. Likewise, many end times writers will take the latest news event and declare it to be the last sign. MacArthur is not one to jump at such oppurtunities. When he points to current events, he does so carefully and rationally.
Therefore, anyone wanting a more sober read into the end times, MacArthur is a great place to turn.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Billy Graham and Eschatology

Assuming that we have church this upcoming Sunday (power is still out at the church), we will begin looking at the Olivet Discourse. And so I have been spending a lot of time looking at the end times, the book of Revelation, what Jesus had to say about His Second Coming, and similar issues.

Interstingly, Billy Graham, who just turned 90, has placed heavy emphasis on the second coming of Christ at his Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. I would like to point everyone to an article by Christianity Today on the subject. In the article, the author wrote:

This year, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will focus on the return of Jesus Christ and help prepare believers for life in the last days, according to a recent announcement.

"People ask me, 'Do you really believe that Jesus Christ is going to come back to this earth again?'" writes the Rev Billy Graham in one of several resources that the ministry is providing on the End Times.

"Yes, I do,” he continues. “The Bible teaches that Jesus is coming again. And I don’t see any other hope, because we’re heading toward a catastrophe in our world."

As part of its effort, the ministry has compiled a number of End Times resources including a message delivered by Graham in 1998, a 2008 message from BGEA president and CEO Franklin Graham, an article adapted from a message delivered by Anne Graham Lotz in 1996, an End Times article on the basics of the Second Coming, and a couple of Q&As with Billy Graham that include a question on whether the world will end in 2009.

“The most important question, however, is this: Are you ready for Christ's return?” Graham writes after offering his response.

The BGEA is hoping that through its compilation of resources on the Second Coming of Christ, believers will learn how they can fulfil God's plan for their life, increase their love for the Saviour and grow their faith during these times — as if it were their last days.

“If that happens today, are you ready?” Graham poses.

After reading the article, I am left asking myself 2 questions

  1. Am I ready if Christ comes to Me? That is, am I ready for the return of Christ?
  2. Am I ready if I go to Christ? That is, am I ready for death and the life after?

The real question is, am I a true believer that has embraced the cross and do I produce the fruit of that conviction? These are the questions that the study of the end times should drive us to ask.

Are your ready?


I want to recommend some books about Billy Graham that I have reviewed. I have read a lot from and about Graham and so this is not an complete list of what I have read. These are only books that I have personally reviewed.

"Billy Graham: His Life And Influence" by David Aikman- My favorite biography on Graham. I love how Aikman writes and have read a number of his books.

THE EVANGELIST - This traces the theology of Graham.

"Why?: Trusting God When You Don't Understand" by Ann Graham Lotz - this is the daughter of Billy Graham. I was a bit disappointed with this book.

"The Preacher and the Presidents" - I just finished reading this book. I love to study the Presidents, and I admire Billy Graham. Anyone interested in either or both should pick up this book!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Winter Storm '09 Pictures

I have put together some pictures from the recent storm. I thought that I would share them with the church. As of right now, there is still no power on at the church. I can't help but think that in 15 years, I'll be telling my kids, "I remember whenever you were 3 months old Elijah, there was ice an inch thick everywhere and we lost power for a week."

Winter Storm '09

Sunday Sermons: January 25, 2009

Sunday Morning: Mark 12: The Greatest Commandment

Sunday Night: Deuteronomy 5-6