Sam Allberry does a wonderful job exemplifying grace and truth as he addresses an increasingly relevant question in our culture. It is clear from his book that this issue is close to his heart, being a man who experiences same sex attraction while also being a respected leader in the evangelical church. Is God anti-gay? is concise yet rich in content. Allberry spends time discussing some of the various scriptures that address homosexuality, but what really resonated with me was the practical approach he took on how to interact with someone who experiences these feelings, whether they are a believer or not. Here are a few takeaways from reading this book.
1. God cares about your sex life
“God is the one who makes humankind male and female, and God is the one who commands them to be fruitful and increase in number. Sex is God’s idea. It was not our invention but his gift.” (15) This is a good reminder for the Church. We often are bashful talking about sexuality, but the Lord is not blushing. He ordained sexuality. And, while we are embarrassed and silent about sex and sexuality, the World has a lot to say. It is making very clear value statements, so I am not surprised when the Bible’s stance seems unclear or awkward. God explicitly discusses his intentions for sexuality as His gift, so we should not assume that he does not care.
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As I prepare to enter ministry after Seminary, I cannot imagine a better book than Resilient Ministry to help me prepare. Dr. Bob Burns, Dr. Donald Guthrie, and Dr. Tasha Chapman collaborate to address how pastors can thrive and survive in the face of ministry tasks, long hours, taxing responsibilities, and personal lives. They cover five key themes that every ministry leader should maintain: spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and leadership and management. The book is the result of five years of research delving into the lives of pastors in a cohort called The Pastor’s Summit in which they would come from all over the country to meet and discuss various challenges that come with being in ministry. I felt honored to read so many sincere and genuine testimonies. It is a good read for any person interested in ministry, but more specifically, it is important for those of us who are preparing to enter into vocational ministry but do not know what it is like to “have our boots on the ground.” Below are some of the insights I gained from reading this wonderful book. Read the rest of this entry »
This book has been a serious blessing to me. It is definitely one of the best books I have read on discipleship. Dr. Greg Ogden is very clear and straightforward about his philosophy of disciple making. He gives a lot of practical tips to do it along with laying out the deep need that so many Christians neglect. One of the most common scriptures memorized is the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, yet there are so many Christians not disicipling and/or not being discipled. Dr. Ogden takes his time to express why it is so important to be in the process of discipleship as well as how to disciple. His points arise clearly out of scripture, and it was a wonderful and convicting experience to read his thoughts. Here are a few of the many things I gleaned from “Transforming Discipleship.” Read the rest of this entry »
Anyone who has any inclination towards racial reconciliation should read this book. Dr. Tony Evans did a phenomenal job explaining the tension that we live in as Christians. Sometimes we like to think that just because we love Jesus, it is not possible that we are racist, but Dr. Evans shows through Scripture that even those who are devoted to God (maybe even especially those) have a propensity to marginalize those who are different from them. There is so much I gleaned from this book but I do not want to be too long, so here are some of the things that were brought to my attention:
1) Racism is a sinful condition that we are all susceptible to suffering from.
There are a number of biblical stories that Dr. Evans alluded to in his book, but two that stick out to me are the stories in John 4 and Galatians 2. At the core of each of these encounters is racism. In John 4, this woman has a hard time interacting with Jesus not because of what he said or what he is doing, but simply because where he comes from. Because she is a Samaritan and Jesus is a Jew there is ambivalence for this woman to have a conversation about water. In Galatians 2, Paul opposes Peter because he treats people differently because of their race (Gentiles). The mighty Peter, the leader of the apostles, suffered from racism. That is powerful to consider.
This book was written by T. David Gordon, and it was a wonderful yet brief explanation of the struggle of 21st century preaching. There are a number of things I took away from reading the book and wanted to share them with you all.
Why can’t Johnny preach?
1) Johnny doesn’t know how to read
It is shocking how little people read in today’s culture. We have made exponential advances in technology, but the percentage of people that do not read is skyrocketing. Mark Twain once said, “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.” Essentially, you are living the same way….illiterate. It is this willful illiteracy that limits preachers from being able to read the Bible and to read it well. Gordon writes that a reader not only reads for content but also for construct. How a text is written is just as important as what a text is saying. He is able to look deeper into a text instead of seeing it at a surface level. Gordon asserts that preachers today do not know how to read well, and because of that they do not know how to study well so their messages remain surface-level and boring. Read the rest of this entry »