Justin’s #62 – Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live, David Platt, 246 pages

November 19, 2015 // 0 Comments

Mark recently reviewed this book, and I would encourage you to read his thoughts. We must both get the free audiobook of the month from www.Christianaudio.com. This is the third David Platt book I read this year, with “Counter Culture” being the first and more recently, “Radical.” All of Platt’s book have essentially the same theme: Americans, American Evangelicals in particular, have distorted the Gospel message so that we can live comfortable, wealthy lives in the face of extreme poverty and lack of resources for the spread of the message of the Bible. It’s funny because now I live in Southern California where the average income is pretty steep. I’ve noticed the cultural Christianity in this area and reading Platt’s books have given me perspective on where our priorities should be. Follow Me is about disciple making. Jesus told His disciples to follow him and He will make them “fishers of men.” In the process however, all the disciples lest two died for the faith they were proclaiming. His point is that there is a cost to disciple making, one that we as Americans don’t want to admit. We would rather get a good job, go to a nice church, […]

Justin’s #58 – Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, David Platt, 240 pages

November 3, 2015 // 0 Comments

Early in the new year, I read David Platt’s new book, “Counter Culture“. I had actually heard about his book Radical but I had never read it, until now. The best way I can describe this book in a nutshell is from what Jesus said in Luke 9:23: “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” I think we read that and don’t take it seriously as Evangelical Americans. I think we read that and choose to ignore it. It’s not because we’re bad people (although, we do have wicked hearts) but I think it’s because we’ve been conditioned by a society that is so cultured to the opposition of what Christianity really is, we’ve lost our way a bit. This conditioning is due, in part, to the excessive wealth that being American has come to mean. Even those who live below the poverty line in this country are more wealthy than 60-80% of the world. David Platt understands this. And he wants you to take up your cross in a specific way. Because we live in a nation that adores the American dream. […]

Justin’s #53 – Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism, various, 224 pages

October 17, 2015 // 0 Comments

It’s always frustrating to hear on the news “Evangelicals believe..” because that term is either very generic or very specific depending on who you ask. I never really thought about it before, but the term “evangelical” is actually a highly contested term. As I read this book, I thought evangelicalism might be a lot like jazz. Jazz is a genre of music that has a variety of subgenres. So for example, when you say “I’m listening to jazz”, that doesn’t really tell you anything. Are you listening to latin jazz? Straight ahead? Fusion? Bebop? Free? The possibilities are vast in this world. In the same way, I think this book is a lot like that. There are many, many forms of evangelicalism and each has a particular view of what makes a person evangelical. What convictions does one have to hold to be an evangelical? Where are the boundaries and what is central? What of differing opinions? This is the beginning question of this book. How do we define evangelical? There are four views presented on the “spectrum of evangelicalism” that general editors Andrew Nasselli and Collin Hansen assembled, each with a different theologian to describe what is an evangelical. […]

Justin’s #44 – Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, John Piper, 368 pages

September 6, 2015 // 1 Comment

The motto of John Piper’s ministry could be “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” This is his definition of Christian hedonism. In essence, Desiring God is about being satisfied in God; making God our treasure. I think it is easy for us, as Evangelical Christians, to recite a prayer and believe that we have come to a type of saving faith. This is antithetical to Christian Hedonism: our desire to glorify God, according to Piper, stems from the joy we find in Him. Joy is a consistent theme for the Christian Hedonist. Hedonism defined means “the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.” But to the Christian Hedonist, joy is a result of giving God glory. Dr. Piper sets up his thesis by quoting the famous Westminster Catechism phrase, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” He says that enjoying Him and giving Him glory are the same thing. Therefore, Christian Hedonism (remember: the pursuit of pleasure) is doing things simply because you have the pleasure of giving God glory. The thought here is that sometimes Christians are inundated with denial. This denial makes us sometimes begrudgingly worship and do […]

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