Unashamed by: Lecrae Moore

UnashamedUnashamed by Lecrae Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become salves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6…It was like a blindfold fell off my eyes. I’d been celebrating the things I should have been ashamed of, and I had been ashamed of what I should have been celebrating. I had been set free, but I was still living like a slave to my old life and old habits and old ways. I had been liberated from slavery, but slavery had not been liberated from me. I saw Jesus as my Savior, but not my Lord. I thought because God had given me grace, I could do whatever I wanted. But doing whatever I pleased was only going to bring death. Surrendering to God was the key to receiving life.

I have been a big fan of Lecrae for several years. I have gone to several of his concerts that are high energy. What I enjoy about his concerts that families come together, they dance, and they hear the word of God. I would go further to say that his music can be a whole sermon. That his theology is sound. He is working out his salvation by surrendering to who God is and who he (Lecrae) is not. This is his story. How he grew up in fatherless home, a mom that never gave up on him, and how he came to know the truth. How he fights temptation and pride. His struggle with acceptance and how the Gospel truly saved him. How is music as revolved to not being relevant to us but how we are relevant to the Gospel.

Listen to his music and be encouraged by his story and be unashamed by the Gospel. It is only by being unashamed of the gospel can we live freely. By engaging the culture for God’s glory, we make the gospel available. That is the journey that the Lord has given to Lecrae

A Special Thank You to B&H Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review

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Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide by: Cameron Cole

Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical GuideGospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide by Cameron Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It argues the gospel serves as the catalyst for fostering lasting change in the lives of teens and in the redemption of the world. It encourages youth wordkers and volunteers to place the gospel at the center of their ministries. What does this mean? How does this look like?

It is easy for the gospel to get lost in the life of any ministry. This is the heart of this book. It is for ministry leaders, parents, and anyone working with youth. One thing that I was encouraged by this book was the student ministry was not replacing church. The student ministry is a bridge between the church and the youth. With so many young people leaving the church, we must be more diligent about making the student ministry about the gospel. There are seven foundations in this book. Gospel Centrality, Discipleship, Expository teaching, Relationships, Community, Partnering with Parents, Generational integration. The study does not only explain each foundation but how to apply and why it is important. What makes this a gospel issue.

Do our students have a right understanding of who God and who we are? Do our students embrace the goodness and holiness of God. Expository teaching focuses on the gospel instead of self-help or moralism. With expository teaching the teacher/pastor can lead others to see their FCF (Fallen Condition Focus). It is not about how God is relevant in our life but how we are relevant in His plan of redemption. When good teaching occurs, then good service will follow. The service of ministry. Why we do what we do. Having a heart for different cultures that are united in the Gospel. Our service does not become a pride issue when are trusting God for the work. This comes from the leadership. I also was encouraged by serving others in dignity by encouraging participation. We rob them of joy and create a entitlement culture by not including those that we are serving. This is where real comes in.

There is nothing bad that I could say about this book. I personally think all Christians should read this book just to be reminded of what the gospel is about.

A Special Thank You to Crossway and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Distant God: Why He Feels Far Away…And What We can Do About It. by: Chris Nye

Distant God: Why He Feels Far Away...And What We Can Do About ItDistant God: Why He Feels Far Away…And What We Can Do About It by Chris Nye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The reality of our relationships is simple; our actions toward others are tied to our intimacy with others. The trembling sense for the hereness of God is the assumption of our being accountable to Him. God awareness is not an act of God being known to man; it is the awareness of man’s being known by God. In thinking about Him we are thought by Him.

We are created for relationships and intimacy. To be known and to know. Being created in the image of God, we long for intimacy. The teaching of why we may feel distant from God is done in three parts. Measuring the Distance, Closing the Distance and Going the Distance.

I like when a study goes back to the beginning. In measuring the distance we are brought back to when Adam and Eve were with God, they were the most content before the fall. It is the act of being like God, the distance occurred. Their story is our story. Just has Adam and Eve hid, God sought and redeemed. God seeks, we hide. The bible is God’s story in how He seeks.

In closing the distance, the study is centered around obedience and repentance. Reminding the reader that sin reflects our desire for ourselves than who God is. Repentance always brings us back to God and changes our desires.

Going the distance is holding up the truth. Being a truth seeker and resting in the assurance that all things will be as they should be. Our satisfaction is not of this world but in the world to come.

A good study always reflects the problem and what God does to ramify the problem. This was done well with encouragement and truth. It is up to us receive the truth and to place our faith to that truth and not on false promises. What I found for myself in doing this study is how my desires are different from God. When His desires become mine, the distant gap closes.

A Special Thank You to Moody Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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The Priority and Privilege of Prayer: In Our Homes, Communities and Churches by: Megan Hill

Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer: In Our Homes, Communities, and ChurchesPraying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer: In Our Homes, Communities, and Churches by Megan Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Our love for one another and for our God will express itself in prayer together, and, as we pray together, we will inevitably love each other better.

With so many books on prayer, this is one that is directed towards community. Even though individual prayers are something we must practice, praying together in our homes, communities and churches may seem unimportant and unsignificant. This text shares with the reader how important it is and how it transforms your life and those around you.

The most significant of praying together is how it brings unity to Christians. It affirms our unity in Christ and keeps the focus on where it should be. In doing so, it strengthens the church and our faith.

So how does your church handle prayer together? It can be difficult for leadership to cast the vision of praying together, however, this read is also a guide on how it can done and how leadership can express the importance of praying together is to the vitality of the body. It is important to have a time prayer together on a Sunday service that is intentional in leading the body to the gospel but also a time of praying together outside of a Sunday service as well. I liked how the author expressed how prayer can be a time of “the team” coming together to build each other up. Do we look at prayer that way? It really did open my eyes to the value of praying together. Not just for the sake of praying together but for building each other up to the Gospel.

A Special Thank you to Crossway Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Don’t Drift

Don’t drift!  It seems that is my mantra of late.  The book of Hebrews brings us to the faith.  The author of our Faith.  He brings us to the supremacy of Jesus.   I don’t have to drift because Jesus is better.  He is supreme.     The book of Hebrews was written to the Jewish Christians who wanted to go back to the law.    Do you find yourself wanting to go back?  I find myself thinking of better days but if Jesus is Supreme King, why would I want to go back.

Do you find yourself thinking is Jesus relevant in my life?  If Jesus is supreme, his words and work is enough.  It is not how is Jesus relevant to my life but how can I make my life relevant to his?

The Supremacy of God’s Son

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

10 And,

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
12 like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.[a]
But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.”

13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,

“Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

In Hebrews we have 7 truths that we can cling to.

Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory.   The exact imprint of God’s nature.  Upholds the universe by the word of his power.  He is a Priestly King.  He is God.    He now sits down in sovereign reign.  Jesus is superior to the Angels.

What am I attempted to value more than this?  How do I need to see that Jesus is better?  Why does it even matter?  All things will pass away, but the one thing remains.  Because Jesus is better.

 

Conscience: What it is, How to Train it, and Loving Those Who Differ By: Andrew David Naselli

Conscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who DifferConscience: What It Is, How to Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ by Andrew David Naselli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 Stars

Our conscience is not only focusing on ourselves but how our conscience relates to others.

We do not hear very many sermons on our conscience. It is a gift from God. It warns us between right and wrong. The conscience is a good thing but it is also very damaging. This short read goes into both the damaging and the exalting. Not just the detail but also the why. It helps the reader to differeiate between the two and to keep what is most important. Jesus and the gospel.

The first part of the book speaks on the good of conscience and how it relates to apostasy. The second is how it can turn to legalism and hinder our evangelism efforts of the gospel. It becomes more of the why of our conscience and than what we do. Do we have a superiority over others with conscience. If so, it is not done with love. This was a balanced study of both ends of the spectrum. Something that as Christians we must reflect.

A Special Thank You to Crossway and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us [and Why That's a Good Thing]None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us [and Why That’s a Good Thing] by Jen Wilkin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Psalm 139 is not a psalm about me, fearfully and wonderfully made. It is a psalm about my Maker, fearful and wonderful. It is a psalm to inspire awe.

None Like Him is a study about knowing God. “Know that I am God and so that you may worship me.” It is in worship that we truly love others and God is revealed in his majesty. It is when we are in awe of the God and what he has done, we put the focus off our selves. So how do we get there? Jen Wilken brings us to the basics of who God is. Have you thought about your limitations? Do you know God’s limitations and what they mean. It starts by knowing God is not measurable. It is about how much we desire to measure to have control. We limited humans are lovers of measurement; we number and county, quantify and track Because of our limits and our believe that we are limitless, we strife against our maker.

The 10 different ways that God is different is life changing to the one who embraces these changes. When embracing the 10 different ways, we actually live and worship God in truth. I so appreciate Jen Wilkin’s teaching. She is solid and she puts the focus on who God is. I just addressed one the ways that God is different but each one progresses to the next one. It starts by addressing our limitations and that God is not measurable. That we cannot control Him. He is faithful is his own holy attributes. Each chapter starts with a quote and in a conversational tone, she leads the reader to the throne of God. You can’t help but worship him. That is what I want.

A Special Thank You to Crossway and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post honest review.

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