Preaching?If you go to church on Sunday, most likely, hopefully, you will hear a sermon. The sermon is usually delivered by a trained preacher. In part, what you think of the sermon and how you can apply that sermon to your life is dependent on the content. The content of a preacher’s sermon should be developed through hours of blood, sweat, tears and prayer.

Just how a preacher should engage his blood, sweat, tears and prayer into a sermon is what Alec Motyer’s compact volume is all about. Motyer is a British Biblical scholar. He is the Old Testament editor of IVP’s commentary series, The Bible Speaks Today, and has written several volumes in that series. Additionally, he has had a lifetime ministry in the pastoral field. So, on the subject of preaching, he is well experienced.

This book gives advice and counsel on how to develop the content of a sermon and in large part provides examples of the method of preparation of a sermon. Unfortunately it weighs heavily to the second part and at times becomes more of a Biblical commentary than a self-help volume on preaching. It provides excellent examples on how to do Bible exegesis with a few preaching thoughts mixed in.

If you’re looking for a new approach to preaching, give Preaching? a try. If you’re a young preacher still developing your style, give Preaching? a try. But most of all, if you want to learn how to study the Scriptures better, whether you’re a preacher or not, give Preaching? a try.

Note: This review was originally posted on November 21, 2013 on the blog Eye On Christianity.


Boot Camp

Boot Camp:  Equipping Men with Integrity for Spiritual Warfare (The IMAGE Series)In a Christian literary world that is beleaguered with “how-to-live-a-better-Christian-life” books, Deward Publishing author Jason Hardin has offered us another, Boot Camp – this one focusing on how a Christian man can live opposite to what the world expects.

Hardin’s approach is a bit unique. As can surely be surmised from the title, his volume centers around a military theme. Hardin uses this military launching point to focus in on his central topic – integrity. The book is divided into three sections: First is “The Beginning of Our Journey” which introduces the subject at hand and is a challenge to Biblical integrity in the framework of military terminology. Second is “As Integrity is Born, What Must Be Put to Death?” which addresses seven challenges to integrity such as Selfishness, Idolatry and Sins of the Tongue. Part Three is “The Lord’s Armory” in which Hardin issues the ultimatum for men to rely on the Lord.

Boot Camp highlights Hardin’s marvelous creative imagination. For example in Chapter One he introduces us to a “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12.1) that are the spectators in an ancient coliseum. We are the participants in the arena of life. Imagine Moses, Gideon and David observing as you live your life. With this imagery Hardin gets our attention right from the start.

The text is frequently intertwined with Scripture which supports the challenges that Hardin wishes to issue. It should direct you to your Bible to check out his exegesis.

While Boot Camp really doesn’t break any new ground, it is certainly worth the read. Hardin’s style is light which makes the book an easy read. It is encouraging and challenging and will serve as an excellent primer for a new Believer and a challenging reminder to more mature and experienced Christians.

Note: This review was originally posted on October 22, 2013 on the blog Eye On Christianity.

Impressions Collection Bible

Impressions Bible

Well, sort of a book review. It would seem most presumptuous to review the text of this book. The Impressions Collection Bible is not an attempt at a study Bible from a new angle or approach, but rather a unique slant to packaging and inevitably marketing the Bible. The concept is from Zondervan/Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

The basic cosmetics are quite simple. It is the NIV translation from 2011 with the words of Christ in red letter. The text on each page is double column in thin line making the print somewhat small. Of course, this produces a Bible of a portable size – less than 1.5 inches thick in a 9” x 6” size makes it quite easy to tote around. Also included is a ribbon marker. The boxed packaging is also appealing with a simulation of the cover on the box. The content is totally devoid of study notes with the exception of a Table of Weights and Measures at the very end. It is obvious that this Bible is meaning to simply be read.

But here’s what makes this Bible fun. It’s the clever and hopefully appealing marketing approach. First it’s a hard cover, but not your usual, straightforward hardcover book. This one is padded with a soft matte finish that is wonderfully soft to the touch. You’ll hardly realize you have a hardback Bible in your hands.

But that’s not all. The soft matte finish comes in three designs. Our review copy arrived with a Cherry Blossom cover. Quite visually appealing. The pattern continues around the binding and the back. The other two styles are Flora and Fauna and Red Poppies.

This is an “attractive” Bible that should appeal to pre-teen and early teen young ladies. It invites you to pick it up and take a look. If you’re looking for a great gift Bible for a young lady that she’ll be proud to show to her friends and carry to church and Sunday School, this is it. In conjunction with this it will make a great witnessing tool especially as a conversation starter.

My thanks to Zondervan and Harper Collins for providing this Bible for review.

Crucifying Morality

Crucifying MoralityThe beatitudes have been worked over, dissected, evaluated and interpreted from every human and denominational angle possible. There are metaphysical and allegorical viewpoints that would make you think you have fallen into a philosophical time warp. Yet very few seem to hit the “where the rubber meets the road” interpretation. Along comes R.W. Glenn with a fresh look at how the beatitudes are applicable for 21st century Christians. (And we can define Christians as anyone who reads the Bible with the intent of improving his life)

R W Glenn is the Pastor of Preaching & Vision at Redeemer Bible Church in Minnetonka, MN. He is in the group of hip, young preachers that seem to gravitate toward mega churches. That is not meant derogatorily but rather as what-to-expect information. These are the guys that can enlighten the young generation.

Glenn’s newest work, Crucifying Morality, is a fresh, insightful consideration of the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.1-12. Crucifying Morality is a walk through the beatitudes in modern language. It is fresh and highly applicable for the Believer’s everyday life. It is written in a verse-by-verse format making it easy to follow.

Glenn’s overarching interpretive principle is that the beatitudes are not commands, but rather Christian principle, sort of a code of conduct for the believer.

If one is ever intending to preach or teach on the beatitudes, this will serve as an excellent resource. Glenn provides thoughtful insight as well as some applicable illustrations.

As a study, growth and application aid, there are questions upon which the reader can reflect at the end of each chapter

There is no reason to prolong the evaluation of this book. For Christians and non-Christians who have ever wondered what in the world Jesus was talking about as he began the sermon on the mount, get this, read it, digest it and apply it. Your life will be better for the effort.

Note 1:I was provided this book by Cross Focus Reviews in exchange for my honest review.

Note 2: This review was originally posted on April 4, 2013 on the blog Eye On Christianity.