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reports, reviews, thoughts, news (and fun) posted by Gary Ware


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Cross Talk by Michael Emlet – Kindle Edition Available Free For Limited Time

Cross Talk by Michael Emlet is currently available free in its Kindle edition at Amazon for a limited time.
Thanks to Gospel eBooks for the notice.

The blurb:

CrossTalk-210x300An Antidote to “Take Two Verses and Call Me in the Morning”
Your friend just left his wife. You catch your child posting something inappropriate on the Internet. Someone in your small group is depressed. A relative was just diagnosed with an incurable disease.
When those you know and love experience trouble, you don’t want to hand out pat answers or religious platitudes. Instead, you want to offer real hope and help from God’s Word. You know it’s true, but how does an ancient book, written thousands of years ago, connect with our twenty-first century problems?
In CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet, Michael R. Emlet gives you the tools to connect the Bible to your life and to the lives of your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. You will learn to understand people and God’s Word in ways that promote gospel-centered, rich conversations that help you and those you know grow in love for God and others. This book will make the whole Bible come alive to you. Instead of platitudes, you can offer a cup of living water to those who are struggling in this broken world.


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Don’t Let The Reformation Become History (via Phillip Jensen)

Tomorrow is Reformation Sunday, the closest Sunday to October 31, the date on which Martin Luther posted his 95 theses about disputed practices within the church. Protestant Churches use the date to commemorate and give thanks for the broader events of the period of the entire reformation. The year marks the 496th
Less and less churches seem to acknowledge the date, let alone the historical circumstance. In an age which is uncomfortable with disputation and disagreement the reformation runs the risk of becoming an embarrassment in excess, more a case of two parties with contrasting emphases rather than one being wrong and the other right.
Particularly when issues like Scripture alone; faith alone; grace alone; Christ alone; and Glory to God alone are becoming more confused in church life and practice.

Phillip Jensen writes about the first order importance of the Reformation as a time when the church rediscovered something that was lost.
An excerpt.

The Reformation did more than reform the abuses of organized religion. It was a recovery of the gospel that transformed the very nature of the church. Thus it became the foundation for our Protestant pattern of church life. We cannot truly understand ourselves without a proper grasp of the events of the Reformation. Through the work of Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and many more, the great doctrines of salvation were once more hammered out and explained to the people. Their hymns and prayers, books and translations taught their own and subsequent generations the great doctrines of God’s grace in saving us through the death and resurrection of His Son, and of the Spirit’s work in regenerating us to repent and put our faith solely in him. It was a gospel understanding that freed us from priestcraft and religiosity, from false doctrine and authoritarianism. During the 16th century a new flowering of Christian understanding, scholarship, evangelism and conversion reformed the church.
It all came at a dreadful cost as people were persecuted and martyred for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We owe it to the memory of those who died for our freedoms to never lose sight of the Reformation. It was because of martyrs like William Tyndale and Thomas Cranmer that we have our Bible in English, as well as the Anglican Prayer Book and Articles of Religion. They, together with many others, died to bring these privileges to us. We forget them at our peril.

Read all of Don’t Make The Reformation History at Phillip Jensen.

So, give thanks for the Gospel clarity recovered through the Reformation tomorrow, but more essentially, demonstrate that thanks by holding to those central tenets of faith recovered at such great cost to so many.


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What Do We Mean When We Say ‘God Told Me’? (via Nancy Guthrie)

As we’ve been discovering at MGPC through our examination of Hebrews, God speaks today, and we all know what He says to us by reading the Bible.
Nancy Guthrie explains why Christians are blessed to have all of God’s Word available to us, and why the notion of everyday personal revelation by God apart from the Bible is not as biblical as some would assume.

When someone begins a sentence with “God told me . . .” I have to admit a silent alarm goes off somewhere inside me—unless the phrase is followed by a verse of Scripture. I know that many see this as the way the Christian life is supposed to work—that if we are really in fellowship with God we will be able to sense him speaking to us through an inner voice. But I’m not so sure. And it’s not because I think God is incapable of or uninterested in speaking to his people today. In fact I resist this language precisely because God is speaking to his people today. He speaks to us through the Scriptures.
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But many of us want something more, something different. We read the Scriptures and witness God speaking to individuals in amazing ways throughout the history of redemption. Job heard God speaking from the whirlwind. Moses heard him calling from the fiery bush. Samuel heard him calling in the dark. David heard him speak through the prophet Nathan. Isaiah felt the burning coal and heard assurance that his guilt was taken away and sin atoned for. Saul and those traveling with him on the road to Damascus heard Jesus asking why Saul was persecuting him. Prophets and teachers at Antioch heard the Holy Spirit tell them to set apart Barnabas and to send out Saul. John felt the glorified Jesus touch him and heard his assurance that he didn’t have to be afraid.
Many of us read these accounts and assume that the Bible is presenting the normal experience of all who follow God. But is it? Graeme Goldsworthy speaks to this question in his book Gospel and Wisdom. He writes, “Every case of special guidance given to individuals in the Bible has to do with that person’s place in the outworking of God’s saving purposes.” He adds, “There are no instances in the Bible in which God gives special and specific guidance to the ordinary believing Israelite or Christian in the details of their personal existence.”

Read the rest of Why Do We Say ‘God Told Me’? at The Gospel Coalition.


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Jesus On Every Page by David Murray – A Book Review

jesus_every_page__53660.1376660763.1280.1280
What does Jesus On Every Page promise?

In 200 pages (plus study questions, references and index) David Murray seeks to provide “an accessible guide to the increasingly popular subject of Jesus in the Old Testament. … [One] that provides sound principles and practical help for the average Christian who wants to explore this important way of knowing Jesus through His Word. As well as writing something accessible and useful to the wider church, I [Murray] wanted to provide a resource that would cover a number of methods of knowing Jesus in the Old Testament. (pg 1)
What I liked.
David Murray moves crisply and confidently through his material. He covers a lot of ground, but does so clearly and inductively. Illustrations are relevant and the tone is warm.
The first of the two parts is a consideration of the New Testament witness of Jesus, Peter, Paul and John to the question What’s The Old Testament About? Starting with Jesus’ assertion that the Scriptures of the Old Testament are primarily about himself, Murray they unfolds how the Apostles understood that position and how they applied it to their own teaching of the Old Testament.
The secondly part of the book applies that apostolic reading to the various genres of the Old Testament, identifying the presence, work, and promised redemption of the second person of the Trinity as it is revealed. Murray provides ten alliteratively titled chapters: Christ’s Planet: Discovering Jesus in the Creation; Christ’s People: Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Characters; Christ’s Presence: Discovering Jesus in His Old Testament Appearances; Christ’s Precepts: Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Law; Christ’s Past: Discovering Jesus in Old Testament History; Christ’s Prophets: Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Prophets; Christ’s Pictures: Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Types; Christ’s Promises: Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament Covenants; Christ’s Proverbs: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament Proverbs; Christ’s Poets: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament Proverbs.
Each of these provides numerous examples and demonstrates great nuance whether pointing out the preincarnate appearances of Jesus, the fulfilment of the covenant promises, the ultimate expression of types and a wonderful chapter on the poets with a detailed examination of the Song of Songs.
What I’m not sure about?
Nothing. As an introduction anything that I could observe is really beyond the scope of this book’s brief.
Perhaps some sort of bibliography to point readers to different works that would help them further their application of these studies to preaching, Bible study or discipleship would be helpful.

I was familiar with a lot of this content, but David has synthesised it wonderfully and presented it in a format that every reader of the Bible should be able to apply its precepts and understand how the person of Jesus is central to understanding all these texts. Jesus On Every Page is a very useful guide in understanding the consistent testimony of the Scriptures about God’s redemptive purpose in Jesus. In doing this it helps the reader to have confidence that God’s people in every age have been saved by grace through faith in that redemptive purpose, such as it was revealed in various means throughout biblical history. This enables the reader to have confidence that each page of the Scriptures can encourage our faithful response to the saving work of Jesus.
Highly recommended for individual study or group reading.

The pdf copy of Jesus On Every Page upon which this review is based was provided by Nelson Publishers as part of a blog review program for the book.
A positive review was not a requirement.


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Slugs And Bugs Sing The Bible Vol. 1 Kickstarter Project

sandbWe’re all big fans of Slugs & Bugs music. Everybody loves The Camel Song. And Tractor, Tractor. And so on.
For the fourth album the focus turns to Scripture, and there’s another Kickstarter project which was launched today so we’ve all got an opportunity to support the project’s creation.
Guest artists will include The African Children’s Choir and Sally Lloyd-Jones (author of The Jesus Storybook Bible).
Slugs & Bugs successfully produced their third album via Kickstarter, so have no fear about getting on board.
It’s easy if you have an Amazon account.
Watch the video below to get an idea of what Randall Goodgame has in mind, and stay to the end to hear the books of New Testament song.

Slugs & Bugs Kickstarter Video from The Rabbit Room on Vimeo.