Book Roundup (4/9/14)

Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Rothallegiant-veronica-roth

This third and final installment in the Divergent book series by Veronica Roth left me disappointed. The storyline for the series, as a whole, was excellent, but I had a hard time with her style of writing in this installment. More specifically, she jumps back and forth between two characters perspectives: Tris and Tobias. I felt like the action sequences weren’t led up to well, and came out of nowhere with no tension built up. But, as a whole, this was a really fun series that I’m excited to see at the movies. Fun, easy read for anyone.

3 out of 5.

Moment Maker by Carlos Whittakercarlos-whittaker-moment-maker

You can live your life or it will live you. This tagline by Carlos Whittaker permeates throughout the entirety of his first book. Los has definitely been one who has seemed to take advantage of each moment that comes his way. The result has become several decades of precious moments with family, friends, and following Jesus. In his book, Los shares real stories from his life and practical applications from his perspective and God’s Word on how to seize each moment that presents itself in our lives. It’s an easy, fun read that you can engage with practically. I recommend this for anyone who feels like their life is nothing but a sequence of mundane patterns.

4 out of 5.

The Treasury of David by Charles H. Spurgeon120382

This commentary on the Psalms as a whole is a brilliant. In classic Spurgeon fashion, he’s able to take a complex idea or thought in Scripture, break it down, and apply it directly into your life. This work was written almost 150 years ago, but it feels like it was written yesterday. For anyone studying the Psalms or God’s Word as a whole, this is a work that you’ve got to have in your library. I highly recommend this commentary.

5 out of 5.

4 Reasons Our Ministry is Messy

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Within the last 3 years, God has immeasurably blessed our student ministry at FCC in more ways that I can count. We’ve grown numerically, sent students into vocational ministry, served our community on a weekly basis, and witnessed dozens of students profess faith in Jesus Christ for the first time.

But if you walked into Amplify, our student ministry service on Wednesday nights, you may not share my perspective.

If you spend any length of time at Amplify you can get a sense that we have a lot of students that love Jesus, and a lot of students who don’t. This dichotomy is apparent up front when you walk through the doors.

With that blend presented weekly, we’re messy. We battle pregnancies, fist-fights, B.O. (every youth minister can relate), students that don’t eat at home, absent fathers, drugs, cursing, and a number of other issues EACH and EVERY Wednesday night.

Our ministry is messy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are 4 reasons why our student ministry is unashamedly messy:

1. We unashamedly pursue those that don’t know Christ.

We don’t pull any punches. We are seeking to reach those that don’t know Jesus Christ and that aren’t plugged into a church or youth ministry. That’s what we seek to accomplish in our ministry, and so that’s who we expect to see when we run our programming.

2. The world around us is messy.

If we seek to reach those that don’t know Jesus, our ministry is going to look like, at times, the world around us. We’re unashamedly pursuing the mess, running towards it, and ready to walk through and pull students out of it. Our Wednesday night service is going to look messy because the world is messy.

3. Evangelism and discipleship cannot be separated.

In Matthew 28 when Jesus gives the Great Commission, He tells His followers to go and make disciples, teaching them to obey everything He has said. If we are truly growing and making greater disciples in Jesus Christ, more disciples will be made at the same time. Evangelism and discipleship are synonymous, not separated. Our students that love Jesus are studying God’s Word on Wednesday nights alongside those that don’t follow Jesus. Those that are seeking to grow deeper in their faith in Christ are sharing that faith with those that don’t know Him. Growing wider and deeper AT THE SAME TIME.

4. Jesus’ grace covers my sins. It can also cover our pot-smoking sophomore.

If the grace of Jesus Christ can overcome my sins and struggles, I know that it can cover any student that may walk through our doors. Jesus doesn’t say that we should get “our act together” then follow Him. Jesus wants us to come to Him, let Him redeem our sins, hang-ups and issues, while we are pursuing Him.

Embrace the mess.

Allow Jesus to crucify your sins. Then run towards the messes. Reek like the lost.

Jesus pulled you out of the mess. Now go and share Jesus with those that haven’t heard or don’t follow Him.

I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Book Roundup (3/19/14)

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain by Matt Chandler236661

Matt Chandler, with the help of Jared C. Wilson, produce this expository book on the book of Philippians. In his usual “Chandler” fashion, he provides sound biblical insight mixed with hilarious anecdotes and moving illustrations. It’s not broken down verse-by-verse like most commentaries. The text is grouped together, followed by a chapter related to the dominate theme found in the text. If you’re looking to closer your walk with Jesus Christ, or study the book of Philippians, this is a great read to accompany your study. I highly recommend it.

4 out of 5.

20 and Something by David H. Kim9780310433477

Have the Time of Your Life (And Figure It All Out Too) | This is one of the FRAMES that the Barna Group has recently released as a series of nine. The purpose of these short books are to inform, educate, and provide the skeleton of major cultural issues that we are facing today. This frame tackles the emerging adults that are the twentysomethings. David Kim is well educated on the subject and informs the reader effectively accompanied with some of the Barna Group’s own research on topics such as marriage, faith, family, work, and other pertinent issues related to that generation. If you’re looking for a quick glance at a real concern that many have of this generation (of which I’m a part of), pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5.

Divergent by Veronica Rothdivergent

This was a surprise for me. It’s a book centered around post-acopocolayptic Chicago where the city is now split into 5 factions, all centered around a specific human trait: honesty, kindness, selflessness, bravery, and intellect. It’s the story of a girl, Tris, who wants something greater than to be placed in a faction. The story is full of twists and turns, and will keep you engaged throughout the entire book. It’s a fun, quick read. I’m looking forward to the movie that will be released soon!

4 out of 5.