Monthly Archives: June 2014

Mission Trip.

Summers are a busy season for me. I work with students, and students are basically free during the summer. Therefore, I spend a lot of time with my students. I am excited about spending time with my high school students in Clinton, Mississippi this week. I am taking 42 people to Clinton to hold VBS in two different apartment complexes. I am praying that God moves in my students’ lives and through my students.

A Break…then a Whirlwind!

Crossway Baptist Youth Camp 2014 ended on Thursday, and it was a great week. Students were saved, students surrendered to ministry, and students lives were changed! I am so thankful for the church for hosting camp, the members for serving all week, and the volunteer youth workers for helping out all week.

This week, I have somewhat of a break. I will preach on Wednesday to my students, and I have to prepare a message for Sunday, July 6th, but the week shouldn’t be too tough. I am thankful for the break, because I have a mission trip next week and will have another child within the next month or so. So, I am going to try to catch my breath this week…and then hit the ground running!!!

Crossway Youth Camp 2014

This Monday, the students in my youth group (and over a dozen other youth groups) will start camp at Crossway Baptist Church. The theme of the camp is “Overcome,” which is based on John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have¬†peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jesus Christ overcame the world, death, hell, and Satan, and we can enjoy His victory through faith in His sacrificial death. This week the students will be challenged to place their faith in Christ and experience the victory that He provides both now and for eternity. Pray that God moves, the Holy Spirit works, and the lives of students are changed!

 

Here is the artwork for the week. A shout out to Megan Watson who designed the slides. You can check out the rest of her stuff here.

Overcome_MainTitle_SD

The Big Story by Justin Buzzard.

Big Story

 

The Big Story is a book that presents Christianity as a meta narrative that explains reality. Justin Buzzard is the lead pastor of Garden City Church in Silicon Valley, California and a popular author. Buzzard presents the Big Story in 5 Acts: God, Creation, Rebellion, Rescue, and Home. These five acts help us explain reality.

In the first chapter, Buzzard begins by describing Jesus Christ, the central character of the Big Story. Jesus enters the story as rescuer and deliverer, the One promised from the beginning. The second chapter describes God as a self-sufficient God who is sovereign, wise, and good. The third chapter discusses God’s creation, which was “very good.” God created everything from nothing, and it was all good. The fourth chapter explained why this world is no longer “very good;” it explains what happened. Human beings rebelled against God and humanity has been rebelling ever since.

Humanity’s sin and rebellion created the need for a deliverer, which is where the book began. Jesus came to rescue us from sin and death )the result of sin). The fifth chapter explained the person and work of Jesus. The sixth chapter was an intermission in the story, where Buzzard challenged people to believe the story and live in the story. The seventh chapter was about hope and heaven. This chapter was very good. The last chapter discussed the responsibility of Christians to live between rescue and hope. Christians cannot disengage from culture. Instead, they must live for Christ and attempt to redeem culture.

This book was well-written and does a good job explaining Christianity as a meta narrative. Christians who are looking for a good book that explains Christianity as a story will benefit from this book. There was also an excellent appendix which showed Christians how to share their faith using the big story, which was very practical. Because of this, I would recommend this book to Christians wrestling with the main story of Scripture and Christians who are interested in sharing the main story of Scripture.

 

*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.

If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis by Alister McGrath.

 

978-1-4143-8378-1

I have enjoyed many of C. S. Lewis’ works, so I was excited to read this book by Alister McGrath. McGrath is a professor at The Kings College in London, England and is considered a C. S. Lewis expert. He wrote a biography on C. S. Lewis a few years ago, so he is extremely familiar with Lewis’ writings and thoughts. This book is an attempt to organize Lewis’ thoughts on some major issues and present them in conversational form.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. There was one aspect of the book that was disappointing, which I want to address first. Based on the title and the large amount of writing done by Lewis, I expected the book to contain many quotes by Lewis. This was not the case, though. For most of the book, McGrath simply summarized Lewis’ thoughts without directly quoting them. He did a good job explaining Lewis’ views; I just expected him to allow Lewis to speak for himself. If the reader knows this up front, he should enjoy the book tremendously.

Apart from the sparsity of Lewis quotes, the book was extremely interesting. McGrath organized the chapters around 8 fictional lunch meetings with Lewis. During those lunch meetings, Lewis discussed apologetics, the Narnia series, suffering, relationships, and other issues. The chapters on the Narnia books were extremely interesting, and McGrath did a good job pointing out how Lewis used story forms to present the truth claims of Christianity. I would recommend this book to newcomers to Lewis and those interested in hearing how Lewis would address certain major issues.

A Godward Heart by John Piper.

Godward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Piper is a well-known conference speaker and author. He was the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota for over 30 years. A Godward Heart is a collection of 50 meditations by Piper on a range of topics. Those familiar with Piper will find many of his favorite themes included in this book (themes like the glory of God, racial reconciliation, and the doctrines of grace).

As a disclaimer, I should note that I do not generally enjoy Piper’s works. Due to the brevity and diversity of this book, I thought I might enjoy it. Unfortunately, I did not really enjoy this work, either. First, it was tough to read due to the lack of unity. The book was not really organized around any main theme, and all the chapters covered different topics. It was tough to stay focused from one chapter to the next. It may be beneficial for those looking for devotional thoughts in addition to their Bible reading, but it will probably not captivate readers looking to read through a book and gain knowledge about a specific issue.

Second, the book was lacked any new material. Anyone who has read some of Piper’s other books will likely be frustrated due to the lack of new information and topics. Piper discussed racial reconciliation in Bloodlines, marriage in This Momentary Marriage, and the glory of God in his classic Desiring God. My point: this book does not really break any new ground.

The book was written in typical “Piper fashion,” so those who enjoy Piper will enjoy this book. It is also a short read, which is good for those who struggle to read longer books. If someone is new to John Piper, however, I would encourage them to start elsewhere (Desiring God is his classic work and would be a good place to start).

 

*I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program. I was under no obligations to write a positive review.