The Original Jesus by: Daniel Darling

The Original JesusThe Original Jesus by Daniel Darling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Will the Real Jesus please stand up! It really does come down to the question that Jesus asked his disciples “Who do you say I am”.

That is the question we must ask ourselves as well. How we answer that question reflects if we are following Jesus or if we want Jesus to follow us…answering a prayer now and then, rescuing us from a catastrophe here and there, and helping us achieve the goals we set for ourselves. The actual living, breathing, Jesus of Nazareth doesn’t do any of that. The Original Jesus brings us to the Jesus of the bible (and that is the Old and the New Testament) and exposes what we have made Jesus into.

Ten chapters of Jesus made in our own image.

The Guru Jesus-Reveals all other titles but King and Savior. John Frame says the deity of Christ is a “pervasive doctrine of Scripture and he sums up Scripture’s claims with 3 statements.
Jesus bears divine attributes, holiness, perfect truth, wisdom, almighty power, immutability glory.
Jesus performs divine acts: creation, providence, miracles, forgiveness of sins, final judgment.
Jesus in Scripture is an object of faith and worship.

Red Letter Jesus-Jesus is more than the red letters of your bible. He is the word.

Braveheart Jesus-Jesus is more than the masculine mascot. Sanctification is our reflection of the image of God in our roles of female and male. Living out the fruit of the spirit is not gendered based but based on our gifts and where God places us.

American Jesus-When we make Jesus our political agenda instead of the gospel. We need Jesus. You need a Savior. Jesus is Lord. It is the gospel that changes and transforms communities, hearts, and marriages When it becomes about the rules that only become broken, we have lost the gospel.

Left-Wing Jesus-The social Jesus instead of the Jesus of salvation. We need the gospel and justice. It is by using our gifts to find the best ways to help others from poverty to human trafficking.

Dr. Phil Jesus-Where Jesus becomes our life coach and the gospel becomes about self-improvement instead of redemption and transformation. Where we are called from a life of idolatry instead of called to a life of comfort.

Prosperity Jesus-Pursuit of the now instead of the Kingdom to come. Pursuits that do not last instead of the pursuits that live beyond. Seek first the Kingdom of God and all shall be added. Seeking the Kingdom is God-centered, not self. What do we treasure? Pursuing the Kingdom of God leaves his people joyful instead of greedy.

Post-Church Jesus-Commitment to the church where the gospel is lived out and faith is deepened. Finding strength with other church members. Jesus will reveal the gospel within the body of the church. The church his is bride. Going to church and being a part of a community of church is surrender to the will of God. Going to church is a declaration of war. It declares that Jesus is king.

BFF Jesus-Jesus is not the buddy we have made him up to be. Have we made Jesus to familiar? Are we being fed You Can do it and a marketing pitch or do we see the gospel as more? Are we selling Jesus or proclaiming him as God. A liturgy service brings the gospel to center with a call to worship, a prayer of confession, assurance of pardon, tithes and offerings, and Eucharist. It engages all to the gospel and keeps the gospel center.

Legalist Jesus-Are we committed to Christ and the work of the Gospel or we committed to a holy lifestyle and a set of moral values? Do we live by the list or do we run do the cross? Do we justify ourselves by our own works? Because if we do, it is not the gospel and it will never be enough. Do we find worth in what we do or what Christ did and is doing?

The writing is engaging and winsome.

Be challenged with the original Jesus. He is worthy to pursue and to follow! It is a hard road (biblically speaking it is the narrow road) but it is where real joy is found.

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

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Awe: Why it Matters for Everything we Think, Say and Do by: Paul David Tripp

Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and DoAwe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You have been called to the high position of making the invisible glory of God visible to people who quickly lose sight of God’s glory and begin to look for glories elsewhere.

Our hearts are prone to wander, to be distracted, to be hijacked and in doing so we lose the awe of who God is. We have an awe problem. Our awe problem is focused on self instead of the grandeur of God. Paul Tripp gets to the root of a heart problem like no other teacher today by identifying the problem and offering a solution. Is your heart willing to be changed? The awe of God brings us to a worship lifestyle that shapes our thoughts, desires, words, choices, and actions in the situations and relationships that make up our everyday life. We are wired to be awed. What makes you excited? Now ask yourself if your awe is based on who God is? Do you have peace in your life? Do you have security? Confidence? Rest? What motivates our wonder in life? What gives us hope?

Tripp in stressing our awe problem is somewhat repetitive however, in the repetitive style, he brings different circumstances such as work, ministry, marriage, etc. in how we lose our focus on who God is. We have a daily struggle of awe of ourselves or awe of God.

Some of his quotes…

Our problem is not the size or difficulty of the things we face. No, our problem is AWN and the havoc it wreaks on our daily living. AWN will cause you to fear things that you need to defeat. AWN will cause you to deny reality because you are afraid to face what is true. AWN will cause you to fret over people and situations. AWN will cause you to attempt to control what you cannot control because you think that it is out of control. AWN will never lead you anywhere good.

When you are blown away by the glory of the Savior and his cross, you will be driven to that cross for the character and strength you need to represent the Savior well in the lives of those around you. You won’t be so quick to pontificate. You will be quick to admit your need. You will be obsessed not by how much people respect you, but how much they worship their Redeemer. Fear is only ever defeated by fear. Only awe of God puts you in your place in ministry, and it will keep you there. Once you know who God is and rightly access who you are, you will be able to minister with humility, hope and courage.

This is a treasure of resource. A book that I will be reading every year. To remind me of the awe of God and to strengthen my heart toward Him in worship.

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

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True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to God by: Bob Kauflin

True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to GodTrue Worshipers: Seeking What Matters to God by Bob Kauflin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There can be no higher purpose, there can be no greater joy. And for those who have gratefully received God’s mercy in Jesus Christ, there can be no other end.

What does worship mean to you? It is a question that we must ask ourselves. Why does it make a difference? True worship involves seeking what matters to God. Bob Kauflin gives the reader, the seeker, a child of God tools as what worship means and why it matters.

We must worship God by means of Christ. What does this mean? Kauflin gives an expository study on the Samaritan Woman that reveals the train wreck in all that she believed and lived. All because she came face to face with whom Jesus really was and is today.

How are we like the Samaritan woman in what it means to worship? How worship begins with God not our efforts. It really becomes about receiving than giving. We can love, because God first loved us. We must receive who God is and His glory to worship in spirit and truth. True and pure giving is done out of gratitude. There is a definite distinction between giving and receiving in worship.

Mercy that’s deserved is no longer mercy. And worship that doesn’t begin with mercy is no longer worship. Do we see the mercy of the Lord? In seeing the mercy of the Lord puts us in a posture of humbleness.

Worship never beings with us. It is always a response to the truth. It flows out an understanding of who God is and what he has done for us in Christ. It begins with his revelation and redemption. So we must ensure that the bible which contains that revelation and points us to God’s work of redemption, stays right at the heart of our meetings and our own spiritual lives. True worship is always a response to God’s word

Clearing up misconceptions of worship is prevalent in this study. What do think of when you hear the word worship? It is a once a week deal? Is it just music?

Some churches have a Historic liturgy a progression begins with adoration of God, confession of our sins, and assurance of our forgiveness through the substitutionary death of Christ. A liturgy is to remind you of the gospel and to engage you in the gospel with a response. How does your church engage you in worship?

Worship is more than once a week, singing. It is a lifestyle that will bring you closer to the heart of God. True worship will satisfy you and leaving you wanting more. This study will change you – to want more, to know God deeply and to see the work of Christ in us in worship! I loved this.

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

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Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by: Russell D. Moore

Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the GospelOnward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell D. Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Kingdom vision is necessary, first of all, to show us what matters. The kingdom future shows us the meaning of everything else.

If you are a bible believing Christian, unless you have been living under a rock, the church is now in a shakeup of sorts. Is the church relevant? Part of the problem, church in the west looks more like America than the gospel. What kingdom are we building? In this eye opening and I have to say encouraging word, we need to focus on moving Onward. Russell D. Moore challenges his readers on what the Kingdom entails, with the breakdown of families and the church losing its influence, have we assumed the gospel? Has the gospel become about a better marriage, better children, or a better life? If it has, we have mistakenly put values over gospel. Kingdom focus is how the gospel grows. Are we concerned about losing our influence with culture? We don’t have to be if we are Kingdom minded.

Engaging in the culture is living a kingdom mindset. What does this look like? Social issues become mercy and grace issues while we engage in our culture. How do you engage with illegal immigrants? Are we reminded of the gospel or are we reminded of entitlement.

Every Christian should read this mission kingdom – minded teaching and have our eyes and hearts set on what really matters.

Quotes that I found encouraging.

The shaking of American culture is no sign that God has given up on American Christianity. In fact, it may be a sign that God is rescuing American Christianity from itself. We must remember that even Israel’s slavery in Egypt was a sign of God’s mercy.

If we see ourselves as only a minority, we will be tempted to isolation. If we see ourselves only as a kingdom, we will be tempted toward triumphalism. We are, instead a church. We are a minority with a message and a mission.

Finding ourselves in his inheritance frees us from clamoring and fighting for our own glory or relevance.

If the gospel is abstracted from the kingdom, then our mission is simply about the initial evangelism of new believers. If we abstract the kingdom from the gospel, though, then the kingdom seems to be about mere morality, and, thus, an easy client from the pretend Messiah of state power. The gospel is a gospel of the kingdom of Christ.

We are not slouching toward Gomorrah; we are marching to Zion. The worst thing that can possibly happen to us has already happened; we’re dead. We were crucified at Skull Place, under the wrath of God. And the best thing that could happen to us has already happened; we’re alive.

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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The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Up-Side Down Ways of Jesus Begins by: Kyle Idleman

The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus BeginsThe End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins by Kyle Idleman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Getting to the end of me means I’m not so worried about performing for others anymore. Getting to the end of me means I’m no longer interested in faking it, because I understand God is looking for the real me.

The book starts with this sentence: Jesus became real when….? You may have come up with answers depending on your experience but how real does Jesus become when we come to the end of ourselves. In the Kingdom of Heaven is upside down when it comes to the world that we live in. The world tells us to watch out for #1, Me. God’s kingdom says the last will be first and the first shall be last. The world tells us advancement is success. God’s Kingdom tells us to end me; I have to die to self.

This pragmatic humorous study takes the Beatitudes to show how backwards the Kingdom of God is for us. I think the humor does well in this study as it reveals the real you and how much we get in the way of the gospel and Christ’s work in us. We are so filled with insecurity, the need for affirmation, bitterness, entitlement, performance living, pride.etc. , how can we be filled with the Holy Spirit? In order to be filled with the spirit, we must come to the point of emptying ourselves. We must come to the End of me..

The End of Me starts with us being broken. We are all about being complete, but the broken is risky and requires faith. It is owning up to our brokenness because WE all our broken. The Beatitudes include a blessing and woe. Do we have the right understanding of what a blessing is? This chapter on blessing was a real blessing to me. Blessing is kingdom focused.

The End of Me is dealing with the Pharisee in me. This was a surprising look on what it means to be a Pharisee and before you say, that’s not for me…you may be Pharisee. The Pharisee is a contrast of what the Kingdom of God is building. The Pharisee builds himself, protects himself, – The kingdom of God denies himself and leaves himself vulnerable to love others.

The End of Me.. is learning to learning to humble myself. It is taking opportunities to think more of others than what my needs are. Humbling is not passive but an intentional act on my part.

Some of the best quotes are the following:

Pride is best buddies with insecurity.

Praying before others, we have a tendency to talk more to the people in the room than to God.

How many blessings have I missed out on, not because I wasn’t capable, but because I wasn’t vulnerable?

A daily decision and a daily demonstration.

I enjoyed getting to the End of Me as I can see more of God and His Goodness and living out the Gospel.

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

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What Are You Going to do With Jesus?



Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:24-27

Building our foundation on sand or rock.  There is no middle ground.  There is no middle ground with Jesus.   All the longings of acceptance, security, love, redemption, we pursue in things that do not last.  Our careers, our relationships, our wealth,- can be good in themselves, but they do not satisfy.  Only in Jesus do we have satisfaction….so the question is What are you going to do with Jesus?

We have invitation to abandon our kingdom and embrace the reality of God’s kingdom that last.    Our kingdom is filled with ism’.    God’s Kingdom is not about moralism but about the reign of God.  It is about liberation from my kingdom and finding freedom in His.

The most dangerous thing we can do is treat Jesus as common sense.  The Kingdom is upside down.  The last will be first and the first will be last.    To live in submission.  Which kingdom are you building?

Building my identity in Christ.  We cannot escape the building of foundation.  Everyone builds on the sand or on the rock.  Everyone faces storms.    Everyone is trusting the foundation that they are building.  What foundation are you trusting?    A biblical wisdom is a relational connection with truth.

How do you see Jesus?  How do we come to Jesus?  Do we come to Jesus as our Guru- an intellect, a piece of wisdom.    Wisdom that we can use or leave it.    Do we come to Jesus as cuckolded?    As a cheating spouse that we make a fool of.    Do I take my passion elsewhere.    Do I loathe the passion of my spouse?    Is he my security only and not passion that I feed on.    Do I treat Jesus as Genie in a bottle?    Give me what I ask for not caring about his goodness, His holiness.    As the song of the commercial, Like a good Jesus, you will be there to get me out of any jamb I put myself in.  My personal insurance agent.  Do we try to control God with our requests?    Coming to God on our own terms?  It is by dealing with Jesus as God, the Creator and designer of all creation moment by moment can we come to Him by the way of the Gospel.



Exploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall, and Salvation by: Michael J. Svigel

Exploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall, and SalvationExploring Christian Theology: Creation, Fall, and Salvation by Michael J. Svigel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An extensive study on the basic doctrine of Creation, Fall and Salvation. These basic foundations hold together truths that have been debated, ridiculed and embraced over time and will continue to be so. Creation is the foundation of the Christian worldview. How we look at creation is the lens of our worldview. This part of the study reflected all worldviews and also questions posed for the Christian world view as well. It also reflects how Christians value life. All humans are created in God’s image and are valued by the creator. Not over the creator, but because of the creator. Being created in God’s image, we are given physical, intellectual and spiritual capacities that no other living thing is able to do. Creation involves community. In order to community to thrive, commitment and personal relationships must be nurtured. Creation points us to God. Creation has order. Creation even though it is revolving, it relies on the sun coming up and going down each day. There is a truth to the creation order that cannot be denied.

The Fall indicates our need for a savior. There is no denying that there is good and evil and a need for justice. A debt to be paid. We cannot know Jesus unless we know we have a need to deal with our sinfulness and the brokenness that is of this world. I loved this quote Sin is not a creation of God but a negation of God. It’s not a neutral tool God uses to accomplish his will but a force that acts against his revealed, moral will…scripture calls death the last enemy.. Salvation comes from Jesus alone and it is by the grace of God, we are saved by the work of Jesus. It is not our work, but His work that saves. It is faith in the work of Jesus that grace abounds for the Christian. Grace fixes what’s broken. Because Jesus is better I don’t have to be. That is grace. It is not based on what I have done, the letter of the law, but what Christ has done. Salvation becomes the motivation to delight in the law and God’s word, embrace the truth of God’s design and sovereignty.

With so much church history in regards to salvation, the study reflects a representative of an overview of the elements of God’s grace. Church history is relevant part of this study.

This could have been a large number of pages, but the authors were able to articulate these important doctrine issues and bring them together in short amount of pages. Some sections references deeper study for beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This is a great resource for deeper study and the overview of Christianity. It is the why and the reason that Christianity will hold true to the very end.

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

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