Friday, June 1, 2012

If it is on R.C.Sproul's "Top Ten," I want it on my list too.

I am talking of book lists.  Whether yours is mental or written doesn't matter, but I hope you are intentionally planning books to read.  And good ones.   Life is short.  Books are friends and we are all subject to peer pressure.

Jonathan Edwards's Charity and Its Fruits is worth its weight in gold --and more.  Though I have not finished it yet, what I have read has provided conviction of sin and a deeper desire for godliness.

Allow me to quote a little section on censoriousness:
"....censoriousness judging evil of others when evidence does not oblige to it, or in thinking ill of them when the case very well allows for thinking well of them; when those things that seem to be in their favor are overlooked, and only those that are against them are regarded, and when the latter are magnified, and too great stress is laid on them."

 If charity is that without which nothing else counts for eternity, we had better take a few hours to understand what it means.  Edwards is a faithful teacher.

I Challenge You

This week I was talking to a friend who was relishing the extra time summer gives us to read. I challenged her to read at least one Puritan this summer.   I challenge you too.

John Piper said of the Puritans: "As furnaces burn with ancient coal and not with the leaves that fall from today's trees, so my heart is kindled with the fiery substance I find in the old Scripture-steeped sermons of Puritan pastors."

Puritan literature, says Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson in Meet the Puritans:

  • shapes life by Scripture
  • marries doctrine and practice
  • focuses on Christ
  • shows how to handle trials
  • show us how to live in two worlds
  • show us true spirituality
If you have never read any of the Puritans, Beeke and Pederson suggest starting with one of these five:
  • Thomas Watson's Heaven Taken by Storm
  • John Bunyan's The Fear of God
  • John Flavel's Keeping the Heart
  • Thomas Brooke's Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices
  • Richard Sibbes's Glorious Freedom
If you want to read a book about the Puritans, try one of these:
  • Leland Ryken's Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were
  •  Peter Lewis's The Genius of Puritanism
  • Erroll Hulse's Who are the Puritans? and what do they teach?
  • J.I. Packer's A Quest for Godliness: The Piritan Vision of the Christian Life
If you take me up on this challenge, please let me know.   If you have reservations about the Puritans, let me know that too.   I will do my best to answer them.
Blessings on your summer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reckless Abandon

Reckless Abandon is the story of David Sitton, who went to the unreached people of Papua, New Guinea.  This makes a marvelous read aloud for children and clearly demonstrates the power of the gospel to overcome formidable darkness..
One paragraph jumped out and choked me.  It has everything to do with raising and training children:

"I didn't go charging ahead, ready or not, into the next lesson.  The end goal was not an abundance of information for the brain, not even biblical information.  The goal was transformation of life.  A lesson wasn't learned until it was implemented into consistent practice.  A forgotten lesson was a useless one."

"I wish I had done better."

This from Bayly Blog about a message to children:
"There is so much freedom we have.  It is never a freedom to sin, but a freedom to explore the world, to study it, to exercise creativity.  I don't want them to operate out of fear but out of confidence.  I wish I had done better."

Puritan Wisdom

The law sends us to the gospel, that we may be justified, and the gospel sends us to the law again to inquire what is our duty, being justified.
Sanuel Bolton