Book Review: The Active Obedience of Christ by Patrick Abendroth

Book Review: The Active Obedience of Christ by Patrick Abendroth

What is so great about the life and death of Jesus? What does God require for eternal life? Patrick Abendroth answers these questions and more in a new book, "The Active Obedience of Christ". The active obedience of Christ helps believers understand the work of Christ more deeply. When I started teaching the Bible, I emphasized Jesus’ passive obedience (his dying of sins) but often neglected his active obedience (his perfect life). Although Jesus dying for sins is essential for understanding the gospel, there are glorious truths about the work of Christ and all that he accomplished in his perfect life. This book is a primer that helps readers understand the importance of Jesus obeying the law on behalf of sinners, known as his active obedience. There are short chapters on the meaning of the doctrine, the need, the biblical basis, history, and objections. In the appendix, he provides a short discussion of opposition from dispensationalists. Abendroth writes in a simple, straightforward...
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Book Review: Man of Sorrows King of Glory by Jonty Rhodes

Book Review: Man of Sorrows King of Glory by Jonty Rhodes

My first book review for 2024 is for a book I picked up a year ago from an advertisement I saw while scrolling through Facebook. I was unfamiliar with the book and the author, but the title was so captivating that I bought the book. The book is called “Man of Sorrows King of Glory” by Jonty Rhodes. The book explores the meaning of Jesus’ humiliation and exaltation. Humiliation refers to Jesus’ life from the incarnation to the cross and exaltation from the resurrection to the present. Rhodes examines these two states of Christ (humiliation and exaltation) through the three offices of Christ: prophet, priest, and king. He explains why this topic is vital in the opening chapters, “It is not just that Jesus was our Savior; he remains so today.” The author is concerned that when believers only focus on the work of Christ in the past, this creates burdened pastors and guilt-laden sheep. Although the role of pastors is...
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Book Review: Serving without Sinking by John Hindley

Book Review: Serving without Sinking by John Hindley

There are some books that I wish I had come across sooner in my life. A friend recommended the book “Serving without Sinking” by John Hindley. I had not heard of this book, which was written in 2013, but the subtitle captured my attention, “How to Serve Christ and Keep Your Joy.” I immediately connected with the author. He admitted that, at times, he had lost his joy. Serving Jesus was now something he resented and a duty to fulfill. The busyness of life had sucked out the joy. The current season of life has challenged my joy, so this book came at the right time. The central theme of Hindley’s book is that Jesus did not come to be served by us but came to serve us. We read in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He said, “The...
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Book Review: When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

Book Review: When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

I recently read a book on poverty with some of my coworkers. I work at Children's Hunger Fund, a nonprofit organization that addresses poverty. The mission of Children's Hunger Fund is "Delivering hope to suffering children by equipping local churches for gospel-centered mercy ministry." We read and discussed the book "When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor...And Yourself" by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. The book was first released in 2009 and has influenced many on how to address poverty. The title of the book is intriguing because it poses a question that I had not thought about, can helping those in poverty hurt others and oneself? The book begins with a story from one of the authors, Brian. Brian traveled with his family to do mission work in Uganda. While in Uganda, he taught a biblically based small-business curriculum at St. Luke's Church. He met Elizabeth, the women's ministries director for one of the local denominations....
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Book Review: The Heart of Anger by Christopher Ash and Steve Midgley

Book Review: The Heart of Anger by Christopher Ash and Steve Midgley

I have a confession; I did not want to read another book on anger. I bought the book "The Heart of Anger: How the Bible Transforms Anger in Our Understanding and Experience" by Christopher Ash and Steve Midgley on Kindle and hesitated to read it. My resistance was that I had read many books on anger and thought, how can another book help me? Eventually, I decided it was time to start reading this book, and I was pleasantly surprised (and humbled) at how much I had to learn about anger. The book is broken up into four parts. First, the authors look at the biblical portraits of human anger. Second, they look at the characteristic of God's anger, and thirdly, they talk about how to defuse human anger. Lastly, they address finding joy in the peace of Christ. If you have read a biblical counseling book, you will recognize the focus of this book on the heart. The heart represents...
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Book Review: It Will Cost You Everything

Book Review: It Will Cost You Everything

When I was in seminary many years ago, there was often a critique of churches that taught "cheap grace" or "easy believism." The claim was that some were teaching that the only thing people had to do was to make a "profession of faith," ignoring a life of discipleship which included obedience and holiness. Although God's grace is freely given to the one who trusts Jesus, Christians are called to respond to a life of obedience and holiness. Is there a cost in following Jesus? Steve Lawson attempts to answer this question in his book "It Will Cost You Everything: What it Takes to Follow Jesus." The primary focus of this book is to walk through Luke 14:25-35 which he calls a "hard saying of Christ." In this text, Lawson wants to distinguish between true and false believers. Lawson began this book with an analogy of his life when he received an offer of a scholarship to play college football. The scholarship...
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Book Review: Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God

Book Review: Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God

I was recently at a counseling conference, browsing through the bookstore. One of the newer books displayed was Tim Challies' new book, "Seasons of Sorrow: the pain of loss and the comfort of God." I was looking for a book I could read during my flight home, and this book was my companion. Every person will face pain and loss in this world, and there are different responses to those events. Suffering is part of living in a sinful post-fall world. All of us will suffer in this lifetime (Christian and non-Christian). The question is when and to what degree. All will suffer in this life, but not all will respond the same to suffering. I think suffering leads us to a crossroads in life. One path is to turn away from the Lord and focus inward, allowing the devastation to shape one's thinking and identity in life. The other path leads to the Lord, where the truth of Scripture and...
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Book Review: Work: It’s Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation

I've been workin' on the railroad,All the live long day.I've been workin' on the railroad,Just to pass the time away.Can't you hear the whistle blowing? Rise up so early in the morn.Can't you hear the captain shoutin'"Dinah, blow your horn?" I do not remember when I first heard these lyrics, but I think this song captures the thought of how much time we spend working. Everyone has one hundred sixty-eight hours in a week. If you work 40 hours (not including commute time), you spend 23.8% of your weekly hours working. For most of us, work is not optional but is a necessity of life. How should we think about work? Is it just a job to make money, or does it make a difference in the world? Is it where I find my identity, or is it a necessary evil? Should I leave my job and pursue a different one that pays more or gives me more satisfaction? What if...
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Book Review: Redeeming Your Time by Jordan Raynor

Book Review: Redeeming Your Time by Jordan Raynor

I learned about Jordan Raynor's new book Redeeming Your Time through my job. We have book clubs a couple of times a year in which we read and discuss books. There were various books to choose from, and the title of this one caught my attention. If there is one thing about my life right now, I am busy and need more time! The book contains seven purposeful, present, and wildly productive principles. These are taken primarily from the life of Jesus, which Raynor then derives principles and practices for greater productivity. I appreciate that he begins by setting the tone that he wants Christians to have "grace-based productivity" instead of "works-based productively." He means that our true identity and worth are not found in what we do but in who we are in Christ. He also guards against legalism by offering many different ways to put the principles into action, without saying his methods are the best. Therefore, the reader...
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Book Review: Redeem Your Marriage: Hope for Husbands Who Have Hurt through Pornography by Curis Solomon

Book Review: Redeem Your Marriage: Hope for Husbands Who Have Hurt through Pornography by Curis Solomon

I recently had the opportunity to read a new book by Curis Solomon called, Redeem Your Marriage: Hope for Husbands Who Have Hurt through Pornography. His wife, Jenny Solomon, also wrote a companion book called Reclaim Your Marriage: Grace for Wives Who Have Been Hurt by Pornography. Solomon is a biblical counselor and serves as the Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. The topic of pornography is important for biblical counselors to address. Unfortunately, the message in our culture seems to be that porn is no big deal, and my experience in the church is that many people struggle but few people talk about the issue. This new book by Solomon felt you were sitting with a friend over coffee who offered hope and wisdom to deal with this common struggle with sin. I appreciate the transparency from his own life and how he held the tension of calling pornography evil while not condemning the one struggling. Instead, he...
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