I decided to move my blog to Wordpress. My wife uses it for her blog and since she helps me with the more technical aspects of blogging, I thought I should switch. She showed me some statistics and other things that I like better too. BTW, thanks Alicia for work on both these blogs. You really help me.
Easter time. Is it just a big Sunday? One with a larger attendance and more work? Is it a day for family and a big Sunday meal? What is it, really, to you?
I don't always dwell on it like I should, but everything I am, every dream I have, every hope of the future, every possible happiness that I could hope to have in time and eternity, all ride on 3 days about 2,000 years ago. Those days define me. No other thing even comes close. There was a choice I made, but the 3 days had to happen for me to have a choice and they are the pivot of all.
It is so pivotal, in fact, that it too defines human history. Before Calvary the world clamored, at least in the depths of their souls, in anticipation of this event where God transcended the corruption of sin we brought into His creation and which devastated you and me. After Calvary, we look back either in need of it or in wonder of it.
Jesus, my Savior, battled sin and death on a tortuous cross, was laid low in the cold tomb of death, and walked out on death with the keys of victory jangling in His nail-pierced hands on that Resurrection morning.
I don't know where your mind or mine is this day, but the three days ending on Easter mean everything.
Here's a chart to help you study the Crucifixion Day. It's worthy of study, even a slow lingering over the details. Contact me via facebook or email if you would like me to send you a free pdf file of the chart below.
He discusses his influences and where he is today in his thinking about a personal library. Then he proceeds to give advice. Since he is Vice President at Crown College in Powell, Tennessee, I'm sure he desires to impact students who will be in the ministry. Still, what he says applies to us all.
He gives pointers on sifting through options as there are so many books on any given subject. He reminds us where to keep the Bible in regards to the books we gather about the Bible. Then perhaps best of all, he offers suggestions on how to get the most out of your books. I encourage you to read his blogpost as he has said things that, in my judgment, need to be said.
It's worked out that I will be reviewing a few titles for Kregel and possibly Baker. These publishers publish some of the better Bible study books out there. These, with the others I'm working with, should provide me some great books I will in turn be able to tell you about in the days ahead. I still have some other blogs that I mentioned earlier that I will be putting on too. I intend to provide some more blogs from guest bloggers too.
You can enter by simply responding with a comment to this blog post saying "Enter me" or letting me know privately by email. You will be given additional chances in the drawing by stating that you 1) Told someone who might like books or other pastors about this blog (Honor system --I don't have to know who you told), 2) Like "The Reagan Review" on Facebook, or 3) become a follower of the blog if you have a google email account or just follow by email if you don't. You can let me know about #2 or #3 even if you have already been following for a while.
Please respond by 12 Noon, Thursday, March 1, 2012. I will notify the winner to get your mailing address at that time.
I'm excited to present a guest blog by my wife, Alicia Reagan. We came up with the idea to guest blog for each other recently. She is the one who encouraged me to start this blog. She even designed the template and taught me how to publish a post. She is rather experienced herself having her own popular blog. Her blog has a far larger readership than mine, and I am truthfully thankful for how the Lord is using her.
The original idea for this article was a humorous one on the constantly expanding number of books in our home. What she has given me is not the humorous one we discussed, but one overly kind and generous in a few spots. So please read this with a few gallons of salt and a forbearing spirit as she is obviously blinded by love. Vice that it is, I can't bring myself to find fault.
Yesterday we had our first guest blogger. I have 2 more lined up for the weeks ahead. I have more blogs planned myself, but I love the privilege of having these guests. Within a few weeks I will also be having a drawing for a free book.
I find myself reading more blogs. I've read some good things from people I know nothing about. In a 2 minute mental break from studying, I find reading a blog post refreshing. Plus, in a few paragraphs I might think about something that I wouldn't have time reading a whole book on.
Here's one worthy of sharing: http://www.dashhouse.com/blog/2012/2/1/tim-keller-on-responding-to-critiques.html Again, I know nothing about the person writing this blog. I don't know about you, but that doesn't worry me at all. We need to be careful about what I once heard called "academic inbreeding," and anyway, discernment should not be that hard to come by for the Bible student who loves Jesus Christ.
In the link above he discusses a sermon he heard about handling critiques leveled against you. It's rather convicting. We would all like to throw it out if it weren't so blatantly scriptural. I wonder what difference this biblical approach to something we all find distasteful would make. Likely, we'd have a profound impact on our churches, ministries, and, of course, our personal lives.
Here's a great book on a timely subject. It can't quite live up to its subtitle "How To Get Along With Everybody All The Time!", but then again, no book could. It does, however, thoroughly and convincingly cover Biblical teaching on the subject. Forgiveness, or the lack thereof, is one of the biggest problems today in my observation. Perhaps because its so easy to not forgive, so common, and such a habit. It is a "respectable" sin in that someone even in the best Christian circles would take much more flack for allowing a cuss word to slip, or be caught smoking, and so on, than being filled to the brim with unforgiveness. Yet if we viewed the matter in terms of what the Lord spoke the most about needing our greatest emphasis, unforgiveness would vault to the top of the list of sins we'd better take care of today.
The subject matter divides into 3 sections: a) granting forgiveness, b) seeking forgiveness, and c) enjoying forgiveness. The book begins tackling the question "Why should I forgive?" and its arguments are unanswerable.
The key argument is that being at odds with others puts me at odds with Jesus Christ. If you consider yourself a dedicated Christian, or at least desire to be one, that is catastrophic! Then there's a thorough explanation of what forgiveness actually is. It quickly dispenses with the bizarre idea that someone must ask me for my forgiveness before I can grant it. Jesus declaring from the agonies of His cross, "Father forgive them...", forever settles that question.
Think of this statement: "Unforgiveness is a two-way street. If you decide to put someone in debtor's prison, God will do the same to you!" If more people could see this truth, it would finally explain for them why their lives are so joyless despite possessing Christ's forgiveness. What we think is trials and problems weighing our lives down may need an entirely different diagnosis. Chapter 4 expertly takes us through the process of what unforgiveness does in our lives. It is a journey through bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking, and finally, malice. I wonder if this destination makes us a much more grotesque sight than the one who originally did us wrong.
The whole book gives wise counsel and is thoroughly based on Scripture. You can look at these and other materials at christlifemin.org where other books and downloadable sermons are available. I highly recommend this book, especially if you know in your heart you need it.
For anyone who is either a follower of my blog or likes "Reagan Review" on Facebook, I appreciate it. For anyone who has or will do so today, I would like to send you a pdf file of a chart entitled "Money In The Gospels". It takes every type of money mentioned in the Gospels and describes their value in modern day amounts. This can make things like Judas' 30 pieces of silver or the talents in the Parable of the Talents more understandable. Alicia took my hand drawn chart and made it a sharp looking chart created on Publisher. Just email me or send a facebook message.
"Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea For Preaching" published by Reformation Trust Publishing, which you can find at Ligonier.org, has 11 chapters by various authors calling us back to the prime importance of preaching.
Albert Mohler first discusses the primacy of preaching citing history and Scripture (e.g. Col 1: 25-29) to build his case. He shows us that preaching is not one of a pastor's important duties, but , in fact, it is the key one. We do live in an age where pastors are expected to do everything and some pastors prefer almost any administrative duty to the hard work of sermon preparation. Perhaps over time we become rather slick, but too superficial to do our people any good. I loved his analysis about "product envy" for preachers. Other professions can look at how many items sold or made but results in the task of preaching are not so easy to calculate. The lack of quantifiable results may derail us from expounding the Word of God which carries the help those we minister to really needs.
James Boice tackles the "foolishness of preaching". He argues that preaching is God's wise way to show that the world's wisdom is foolishness. He also speaks of how many Bible characters preached, and how preaching leads to conversions and church growth. Ultimately, this works because the Lord works through His Word.
Derek Thomas writes on "Expository Preaching." Really this is the type of preaching referred to in the whole book. Using the history of several great preachers, defining the terms of preaching carefully, he writes as an academician. His description of failed preaching types is really good.
Joel Beeke writes on experimental preaching, or getting beyond explanation to application as all good preaching should. R.C. Sproul discusses teaching in preaching. Since we live in a generation that prefers light preaching this is a challenge to help our people learn the Word of God. R.C. Sproul Jr. has a brilliant chapter on "Preaching To The Mind"'.
Sinclear Ferguson writes with good effect on "Preaching To The Heart." His chapter is practical. Don Kistler gives us "Preaching With Authority". He discusses how Jesus spoke with authority, an authority so obvious all noticed. He relates how Paul wrote about it, for example, Titus 2:15. He reminds us of what an awesome call we have in our call to preach. Eric Alexander writes on "Evangelistic Preaching". Some might find it lacking.
John Piper speaks on "Preaching To Suffering People." Perhaps this is an example of how productive a use this call to dedicated preaching can provide. John MacArthur writes the closing chapter as a plea to take the contents of this book and go and do what a shepherd should do.
The book is an encouragement. It runs against the tide of modern-day preaching and is what we need. You may have noticed that every writer tightly holds to reformed theology, and though I definitely do not, we must graciously admit that reformed writers are simply giving us the best writings on preaching today. This book is a clear example of that fact. I want to be the preacher the Lord wants me to be. Don't you?
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.