OK, yes, I know it's actually August 2, but I was at camp until today, sorry I'm a day late... :-)
Finished this past month:
The Intolerance of Tolerance by D.A. Carson
This book is a vital tool for our current generation! Tolerance is a word we hear very often, but what does it mean to the person using it? It’s important to realize that there are 2 definitions of tolerance – and older one and a newer one, and we must know the difference. This book is worth its weight in gold just for the introduction (which is very thorough) and the final chapter which gives some great practical advice. I learned a lot from reading this book as a whole though and I was reminded that government is not our savior – we must look only to Christ, for governments will fail, they will become corrupt, no matter how much you try to do it right. That is no reason however, to give up and not fight for freedom of religion and freedom of speech in this country! It is a blessing and a gift that we must seek to protect and safeguard!
“Every culture and every age necessarily displays some tolerance and some intolerance. No culture can be tolerant of everything or intolerant of everything; it simply is not possible.” (p. 47, italics his)
“…while the secularist wants all other religious to retreat into the private sphere, he or she insists that secularists have the right to control the public sphere because they are right – completely unaware that they are trying to impose their worldview on others who disagree with it.” (p. 120, italics his)
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp
This is a book I read for my counseling class, but it’s probably one of the most practically helpful books I’ve ever read! I cried through the first chapter, and over and over it offered so much hope and encouragement! Of course, it was somewhat overwhelming too – ministry is like that. If you really want to know how to help people who are struggling, and/or if you want to learn how to grow and change yourself than this is a must read! Paul Tripp gives really great examples and steps in really getting to know people, to listen, how to speak and how to actually help them.
“I am deeply persuaded that the foundation for people transforming ministry is not sound theology, it is love.” (p. 117) – This is a pretty bold statement, but his point is that we can have really good solid theology and not be able to help people change. Theology matters, but in order to minister to people, you must first love them.
“We forget that God’s primary goal is not changing our situations and relationships so that we can be happy, but changing us through our situations and relationships so that we will be holy.” (p. 241).
The Heart of a Servant Leader by C. John Miller
I loved this book! It is letters written by Jack Miller (a pastor, missionary, church planter, professor) to men and woman most of whom were in ministry (pastorate, mission field, local church ministry, etc.). I felt as though I was being discipled by him as I read. There are several sections: Motivation for serving, basics for serving, practical applications, perseverance in serving, persevering through conflict, persevering through change, and encouragement for sinners and for sufferers. All extremely helpful personally and relationally.
Three things that particularly stood out:
I really appreciated Jack’s humility in his writing – he was always wanting to be more aware of his shortcomings and was willing to be corrected. He would be writing a letter that was centered around correcting someone else, and he was asking for prayer and correction if needed! This was very humbling to me! Along with that is his emphasis on prayer. He was a firm believer that prayer was essential to seeing change happen – whether it’s with a situation or with a person. This was convicting and reminded me of the need to pray diligently for others. The third thing was his love for people – he really loved the people he was writing to and it was very evident. This was so inspiring!
“But I do think the chief thing in effective ministry – as a total endeavor – is the presence of the Spirit in the man – changing him through the gospel, breaking down our idols, and building us into the glorious image of Christ.” (p. 100)
“I get overly concerned over how to be a better leader, but Jesus is concerned about making me a better, more humble follower.” (p. 218)
Eternity in Their Hearts by Don Richardson
Additional books I want to finish this month:
J. Gresham Machen by Stephen J. Nichols (biography) – I’m especially excited to read this after visiting the seminary he started and funded out of his own pocket for years near Philadelphia (Westminster Theological Seminary).