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Sunday 9 September 2018

4 Books on the 10 Commandments

The Rational Bible: Exodus is an exposition of by the Jewish radio host Dennis Prayer. He is thoughtful, provocative, and diligent with the Scriptures. You may not always agree with him but he is an example of thoughtful reflection of the commandments for today. Prager is well-versed having studied the Hebrew Scriptures at a graduate level.

Keeping the 10 Commandments by the sage, J. I. Packer is a short reflection on God's blueprint for living. Packer has been a gift to the Church around the world. His writing is warm, insightful, and wise.

The 10 Commandments by Thomas Watson is a rich pastoral reflection by a 17 century English puritan. This book is a collection of his sermons. If you have never read a "historic" reflection you might enjoy this. You certainly will not find it irrelevant to any desire to grow in your knowledge and awareness of God.

The Ten Commandments by William Barclay. Barclay is an Anglican scholar best known for his down to earth writings, rich illustrations, and commanding knowledge of the Scriptures and ancient history. He is best known for his Daily Study Bible of the New Testament. 

Sunday 16 September 2018

Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics is a thoughtful, “fun”, and provocative introduction to thinking ethically. Moral reflection is tragically shallow and this book will provoke you to treasure the moral life and the dignity God has crowned us with as creatures made in His image. We are the only creature created to reflect, imagine, exercise, and discover the treasures of the moral life— personally, for our community, and for the welfare and advancement of humankind.

Lyrics for the Perfect 10 (here’s a video):

Number One we've just begun
God should be first in your life
Number Two's the idol rule
Those graven images aren't nice
Number three God's name should be
Never spoken in jest
Number four the Sabbath's for
Our worship and for rest
Number five we all should strive
To honor father and mother
Number six don't get your kicks
From killing one another
Number seven life is heaven
When you're true to your mate
Number eight don't steal and break
This rule for goodness sake
Number nine don't be the kind
Who goes around telling lies
Number ten don't covet when
You see your neighbor's house or wife
That's the list that God insists
We stay away from these sins
That is why we memorize
Commandments one through ten

sunday 23 September 2018

We Become What We Worship - A Biblical Theology of Idolatry by G. K. Beale is a deep reflection on Isaiah 6. His main idea is: the heart of the biblical understanding of idolatry, argues Gregory Beale, is that we take on the characteristics of what we worship. A provocative and probing read. Warning: do not read if you do not want to be challenged! (Actually this is true of all books recommended this week!)

The Golden Cow is no longer in print but is well worth a purchase. A ruthless reflection on idolatry in the Church. The book was written in 1979. You will find his observations still relevant and prophetic… “He made the whip Himself” is one of the initial observations of the book — ouch!

The Mission of God is an overview of the entire Bible in which the constant observation is made that idolatry is the singular challenge to God’s mission of grace, justice, and love. This is a sweeping book that will give you a grand and compelling understanding of the entire Bible. If you will ever read one overview of the Bible this is it!

Counterfeit Gods explores success, true love, and the life you've always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. No wonder we feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings—and now is the perfect time to meet Him again, or for the first time.

Strange Gods: Unmasking the idols in everyday life by Catholic author and blogger, Elizabeth Scalia. She offers a powerful critique of the “gods” we worship today, reminding readers that life’s deepest desires can be satisfied only in Christ.  Strange Gods, Scalia's debut book, is packed full of the iconoclastic rhetoric that has won her a large Internet following. She points to the incarnation of Christ and authentic worship of him as a way out of idolatry and into peace, happiness, and love.

sunday 30 September 2018

The Bible Project: Podcast - God’s Name is a Character. This episode continues our series on the development of God as a character in the Bible! Today Tim and Jon zoom in on a confusing part of the Bible: God’s attributes, specifically, God’s name, glory, word, spirit, and wisdom. Today Tim and Jon will be covering the first two attributes, God’s name and his glory.

The Bible Project: Video - Exodus 19-40. The Israelites come to Mt. Sinai, where God invites them into a covenant relationship. He wants to make them his representatives to all the nations and come to personally live in their midst. But Israel rebels by making an idol of the golden calf, which is just a really bad idea.

suDAY 21 OCTOBER 2018

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers invites you to do genuine “soul-work”. What does the Bible say about forgiveness? Why must we forgive at all? How do we honor those who act dishonorably toward us, especially when those people are as influential as our parents? Can we ever break free from the “sins of our fathers”? What does forgiveness look like in the lives of real parents and children? Does forgiveness mean I have to let an estranged parent back into my life? Is it possible to forgive a parent who has passed away? This is a thought-provoking read.

Love, Acceptance, and Forgivenes has more than a million copies printed. How can the church be a healing force in the world? it is only when believers admit their own brokenness that they can love, accept, and forgive those who are hurting around them as well as those who have hurt them. Then and only then will we have the freedom to put out the welcome mat to our community.

Forgive and Forget by Lewis Smedes is a classic reflection on forgiving others so that we might heal from the hurts we don’t deserve. This book is practical and life-giving — a treasury of wisdom that addresses our pain and liberates us so that we can live the life we want without the shackles of unresolved and unforgiven pain.

Love and Respect by Emmerson Eggerich looks at how parents can cultivate love and respect in their family. This book attempts to address the “Family Crazy Circle”.  the circle occurs when an unloved child (or teen) negatively reacts in a way that feels disrespectful to a parent. A disrespected parent negatively reacts in a way that feels unloving to the child. Mother and Son: The Respect Effect continues on the same theme but addressing the relationship between a mother and son.

SUNDAY 28 OCTOBER 2018

The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis contains sermons and addresses he gave on various occasions. The Weight of Glory is a classic reflection that taps into the very heart of our souls as human beings– the desire to belong and be known. When I first read it, I was astonished by the bold assertion that we as Christians don’t desire enough. As Lewis observes: “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.” Also in the collection are essays on that touch on some interesting subjects… Of special note is the essay, “Transposition” which begins it’s argument with a discussion on the “gift of tongues”!

SUNDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2018

Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger by the Mennonite, Ron Sider, remains a classic of biblical exposition and challenging questions concerning the impact our lives can have on world poverty. This 2015 edition is a thorough revision and re-examination of his earlier work.

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself This book helps us to navigate the challenge world and local poverty presents us with. This book asks difficult questions, reveals short-sided solutions that compound lives trapped in poverty, and finally helps us navigate our opportunities by highlighting proven strategies that have been effective in both North America and the Majority World contexts.

sunday 18 november 2018

Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality explores the 6 qualities of integrity and their relevance for daily life — especially where we work.

Faiths in Conflict?: Christian Integrity in a Multicultural World Is written by a Sri Lankan believer who is conversant with complexities and challenges created by pluralism and diversity. His chapter, “The Jesus Enigma” is one of the most concise and beautiful descriptions of the Christian faith I have read.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion offers insights on why we are so easily divided, polarized and how we can cultivate understanding (not necessarily agreement) that can overtake the strident and divisive tone and outcome of today’s divisions.