JRF’s #22: Battling Unbelief by John Piper – 162 pages

November 28, 2015 // 0 Comments

Taken from the end of Piper’s longer classic, Future Grace, and supplemented with new material, Battling Unbelief applies the power of faith in future grace to the fight against sin in daily life.  Working of the proposition that, “unbelief in the promises of God (that is, future grace) is the root that sustains the life of these sins,” Piper looks at how the promises of God help us fight against anxiety, pride, misplaced shame, impatience, covetousness, bitterness, despondency, and lust. In a time where (joyfully) the theology of the cross has been rediscovered and celebrated, this book is a helpful reminder that our only source of motivation to fight sin, is not just passively looking back to the cross with a debtors ethic, but actively looking forward to and striving towards the consummation of the promises that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection purchased for us. I leave you with a few quotes: “Boasting is the response of pride to success.  Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering.” “The battle against bitterness is fought not only by trusting the promise of God to avenge wrongs done against us; it is also fought by cherishing the experience of being forgiven by God.” “So I […]

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 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 #61 – Supernatural: What the Bible teaches about the unseen world and why it matters, Michael Heiser, 224 pages

November 12, 2015 // 0 Comments

Well, you thought I was done reading in 2015? You were wrong. Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Heiser released a book called “The Unseen Realm” which I reviewed in September to high acclaim. I was quoted in this review on the Logos Blog; my conversation with Dr. Darrell Bock was quoted on the Faithlife blog, “5 Questions to Ask When You Encounter New Ideas in Biblical Scholarship.” Dr. Michael Heiser, a person I never expected to see my review, even left a nice comment on my review praising my “candor and the high quality of your perceptions.” All of this was really cool. It’s my dream (one that I don’t know if it will ever come to past) to have these kinds of discussions, but I was more overjoyed that people were reading what I wrote and thought what I said contained of some kind of academic weight. Anyways, with all of this, I couldn’t help but read Dr. Heiser’s book, “Supernatural.” It was the logical “next step.” Supernatural is a “cut down” version of the Unseen Realm. So it’s quite a bit smaller. But the premise is the same. I read the book on an extended bus ride in just […]

JRF’s # 21: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan – 324 Pages

November 12, 2015 // 0 Comments

“It is always hard to see the purpose in wilderness wanderings until after they are over.” “I seek a place that can never be destroyed, one that is pure, and that fadeth not away, and it is laid up in heaven, and safe there, to be given, at the time appointed, to them that seek it with all their heart. Read it so, if you will, in my book.” A few months ago I was sent to a remote Navy base in Nevada.  I opted to drive there in part so that I could get a good audio book in.  The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan was that book. The desolate scenery of my drive combined with the dark season of doubt that my spiritual walk with God was in at the time, put me in just the right place to take this journey with Bunyan’s protagonist, Christian. I listened to the audio book version read by Max Mclean.  In between listening to the book, I continued the journey by listening to the excellent concept album, The Pilgrim by Nate Currin. Watching Christian allegorically traverse through the highs and lows, temptations and victories, sorrows and ecstasies of the way of the cross was […]

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