Resources for Growing Christians

Increase Faith

I recently put a list of resources together for my church members. It is a list to encourage Christian growth.

Books

Gospel

  • Gospel by JD Greear | Designed to introduce you to a gospel-centered perspective.
  • What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert | Short yet informative. Answers the question posed in the title.
  • Stop asking Jesus into your heart by JD Greear | Weird title but great book about salvation, repentance, and growth.
  • The Transforming Power of the Gospel  by Jerry Bridges | How the gospel, not trying harder, changes us.
  • Counterfeit God’s by Timothy Keller | Dealing with idolatry from a gospel-centered perspective.

Christian Living

  • Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney | A short yet challenging read about living for Christ.
  • Hard to Believe by John Macarthur | A hard hitting book on following Jesus.
  • Who do you think you are? by Mark Driscoll | Deals with identity.
  • Work Matters by Tom Nelson | He shows us how to connect Sunday to the rest of the week by answering the question: How can we be a Christian the rest of the week, especially at work?
  • Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller | A book that connects Christianity to the work place. It is thought provoking and deep, really good.
  • I Am A Church Member by Thom Rainer | A short informative book discussing what it means to be a church member.
  • What is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile | A short informative book from 9 Marks on church membership.

Evangelism and Apologetics

  • Show me how to share the gospel by Larry Moyer | A short informative and practical book on evangelism. Walks you through different gospel presentations.
  • Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman | Shows you how to do evangelism through everyday conversation by asking the right questions.
  • The Reason for God by Timothy Keller | An apologetic resource helpful when talking to post-modern or modern people.
  • Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer | Deals more with the theology of evangelism, but has some practical advice.
  • The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever | A short informative book on evangelism.

Family and Marriage

  • Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp | How to discipline your kids from a gospel-centered perspective.
  • The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller | An excellent book on marriage. Written for both married couples and singles.
  • The Shepherd Leader at Home by Timothy Witmer | Information on how to lead your family well.

Theology

  • Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware | An easy to read and informative systematic theology.
  • God’s Big Picture by Vaughn Roberts | A easy to follow overview of Scripture. It answers the question: What is the story of the Bible?
  • Basic Christianity by John Stott | A classic book on the Christian faith.

Studying the Bible (Interpretation)

  • Living by the book by Howard Hendricks | Provides Bible Study techniques.
  • 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert Plummer | Answers question about biblical interpretation.

Preachers

  • Timothy Keller – Redeemer Church | New York City
  • John MacArthur – Grace Community Church | California
  • Mark Driscoll – Mars Hill | Seattle
  • John Piper – Retired recently DesiringGod.org
  • Alistair BeggTruthforlife.org
  • Matt Chandler – The Village Church | Flower Mound, TX
  • Kent HughesPreachingtheword.com 

Radio Program/News 

  • The Briefing – It’s a daily podcast of news from a Christian perspective. You can find it on the iTunes Store or through the Podcast app on your iPhone.
  • KCBI 90.9 – Christian radio station out of Dallas, TX.

Blogs

Magazines

  • Table Talk Magazine by Ligonier Ministries | A devotional magazine exploring important Christian topics and Scripture. It is designed to help you grow in your knowledge of God’s Word.

Question for Reflection

  1. What resources would you add?

Resource

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How I Plan To Train My Child

Casey and Camden

Introducing the newest addition to our family of two. Camden James was born April 20th at 9:16 pm. He weighted 7lbs 2oz. and was 19 1/4in. We have had a few sleepless nights, but I think we are getting the hang of it.

Train Him

Now that I have a son, the scriptural commands to train him in the Word is even more of a reality. Reading Proverbs and Deuteronomy you come across the following verses:

Proverbs 22:6 

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

What’s the Plan?

I have given the “how of training” a bit of thought over the last nine months and even more so now that he is here. My wife and I have been collecting a few resources to assist us. While these do not encompass my entire plan, they are the part I want to share with you.

Resources

Over the last nine months we have had time to review these resources and we have found them all to be excellent. If you are looking for something to help you, check one of these out.

Question for Reflection

  1. What resources would you recommend?

Plow and Pursue – Turning a Conversation to the Gospel | Part 2

In my last post, I presented R. Larry Moyer’s Plow and Pursue method found in his book: Show Me How to Share the Gospel. Moyer’s method tells us that we should plow into a conversation, enjoying it immensely. As we do, we should focus on three areas: (1) Family, (2) Job, and (3) Background. Focusing on these three areas should give us insight into the worldview of our conversation partner, as well as it should give us hooks by which we can turn the conversation from the ordinary to the spiritual.

In this post, I want to take it a step further by offering a few questions to help us get from talking about spiritual things to the gospel.

Questions to Move from Spiritual Things to the Gospel

The following questions may help move the conversation from spiritual things to the gospel:

(1) Do you enjoy reading about religious topics or subjects?

(2) Have you become involved in any church in your area?

(3) Have you ever examined some of the teachings of the Bible?

(4) With so many interests, are you interested in the Bible?

(5) Why do you think a lot of people across the world have interests in some kind of religion or another?

(6) From time to time a lot of people talk about Christ and Christians. Who, in your opinion, is Jesus Christ?

Not all of us have the gift of evangelism, most of us have to work at it. My hope and prayer is that these questions will help you evangelize the lost, and spur you on to fulfill the Great Commission.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Given this process – Personal, Spiritual, Gospel – are there conversations in the past that you may have hurried into talking about the gospel? What was the result?
  2. Would you offer a question for our other readers that you believe would help move the conversation from the spiritual to the gospel?

Resources

Everyday Evangelism

R. Larry Moyer, Show Me How To Share the Gospel, 21-25.

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Faithfully Preach the Text

I was sent the following quote as an encouragement this week. It is by John Broadus, who was the President of Southern Seminary from 1889 to 1895. Read what he has to say regarding our faithfulness in preaching the text:

It is so easy and pleasant for men of fertile fancy to break away from laborious study of phraseology and connection, to cease plodding along the rough and homely paths of earth, and sport, free and rejoicing, in the open heaven; the people are so charmed by ingenious novelties, so carried away with imaginative flights, so delighted to find everywhere types of Christ and likenesses to the spiritual life; it is so common to think that whatever kindles the imagination and touches the heart must be good preaching, and so easy to insist that the doctrines of the sermon are in themselves true and Scriptural, though they be not actually taught in the text, – that preachers often lose sight of their fundamental and inexcusable error, of saying that a passage of God’s Word means what it does not mean. So independent too one may feel; so original he may think himself. Commentaries, he can sneer at them all; other preachers, he has little need of comparing views with them. No need of anything but the resources of his own imagination, for such preaching is too often only building castles in the air.

Resource

Quote originally published at For Christ and Culture

How To Be More Pointed with Your Application

Is your application reaching the entire city?

Peter Adam’s provides 8 ways we can be more pointed in our application of Scripture in our preaching ministry. These are good to think through as you prepare your sermon. If you are not a preacher, and most of you reading this blog are not, feel free to forward this along to your pastor. I believe these are helpful tips.

Here is what Adam’s says:

(1) Ask: What message does God want to give these people from this text?

(2) Focus upon four or five representative people in your congregation (one old, one young, one single, one married, one male, one female, etc.) and think through what difference you want this text to make to their lives.

(3) Work out the main ideas, preconceptions, movements, and theological strands in the congregation, and apply the text to each of them (the conservatives, the charismatics, the progressives, etc.).

(4) Meet once a week with various members of the congregation, talk with them about the text you plan to preach on next Sunday, and ask them what they make of it.

(5) Meet every Monday night with a small group to discuss the sermon you preached yesterday, and the text you will preach on next Sunday.

(6) Imagine you are counseling an individual. How would you apply this text to that person?

(7) Pray for your people more, and learn to love them more. Love is quick-eyed.

(8) Spend only half your preparation time one the meaning of the text, and then spend the rest of the time working on the application.

Resource

Quoted from Peter Adam Speaking God’s Words, 133.

Image: Damian Brandon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why Preach Expository Sermons?

Today I am reading through Peter Adam’s book Speaking God’s Words, and I came across a section on why we need to preach expository messages. I would like to share with you what Adam’s says.

Reasons For Preaching Expository Messages:

(1) Expository sermons help us to let God set the agenda for our lives.

The danger of topical preaching is that it implies that we know what is important! Expository preaching lets God set the agenda in an obvious and public way.

(2) Expository preaching treats the Bible as God treated it, respecting the particular contexts, history and style of the human authors.

God chose to have the Bible written in books, each by a human author, and not as a collection of useful but disconnected sayings. We should follow God by preaching the way He wrote.

(3) This kind of preaching gives ample time for us to make clear the context of the Bible passage from which we are preaching.

If the Bible passage follows on from last week, the congregation will understand the context clearly. If I change the context each week, and include three or four Bible passages in my sermon, it will be very hard for the congregation to hear any text in context. This is not a model we should encourage. Expository preaching helps us to take each text in context, as God causes it be written.

Resource

Quoted from Peter Adam, Speaking God’s Words, 128.

Image: arkorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net