Pastor's Library

Alone with God (A Practical Plan for Dynamic Devotions)

Jason Janz, Journey Forth, 2006, ISBN 1591666767, 155 pages, $9.95, softcover.

Too many believers do not know how to adequately and consistently commune with God. We lack plan and purpose in our devotional life. All Christians want a relationship with our heavenly Father-that is the purpose of our "quiet time." And it is a spiritual axiom that Bible study, prayer, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit are ingredients of a holy life. Janz shows us how to weld these parts into an intimate walk with God.

The author proposes this eight-fold plan. 1) We prepare with a prayer, a song, or a few pages from a Christian book. 2) We confess to God any known sin. 3) We read a passage from the Bible with the expectation that God will reveal a truth to us. 4) Next, we adore God through songs of praise and thanksgiving. 5) In reading from Psalms or Proverbs we expect Him to transform us. 6) We commune with God for personal needs and the needs of others. 7) Through our journal entries we meditate on the truths we have learned. 8) These journal entries provide a foundation for us to apply what we have learned

In the Appendix the author includes a systematic Bible reading plan and the benefits of adoration and confession. He also lists the many names and titles of God and of Christ.

Glen H. Jones

Target: All
Type: Devotional Study
Take: Highly Recommended


A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics

James W. Sire, InterVarsity Press, 2006, ISBN 083083382X, 111 pages, $12.00, softcover.

James Sire has vast apologetic experience, having presented the faith to diverse audiences. His strong point is breaking through intellectual resistance to faith. He shares his broad understanding of how apologetics should be done in this book.

Scriptural examples show that one's argument must be appropriate to his audience. He stresses the need to live the faith we proclaim, to be prayerful; and to have the proper attitude and humility in dealing with people. After reading this, I realize that apologetic exchange must not be framed as competition, as if one side will be the loser.

In his chapters on the value and limits of apologetics Sire says that though reason and rhetoric must work together to enhance the gospel's credibility, often no rational argument is involved when someone comes to faith.

This book is not full of details or arguments beyond the scriptural examples he uses. It will however, help prevent mistakes for those with a call to apologetics.

He recommends other books one might use to overcome the typical anti-Christian arguments such as historical reliability of Scripture, evolution, evil, relativism, and doubt. He states that Jesus Himself is the strongest argument for the faith and that the Gospels themselves are apologetic tracts.

With content true to its title, both beginners and veterans of apologetics could profit from this book.

Howard Glass

Target: All
Type: Christian Apologetics
Take: Highly Recommended


How to Study the Bible for Yourself

Tim LaHaye, Harvest House Publishers, 2006, ISBN 0736916962, 173 pages, $11.99, softcover.

Since Tim LaHaye first issued this book in 1976 over one million copies have been sold. In 2006 he revised and reissued this volume with a prayer that it will continue to help believers study and understand the Bible.

The Bible was written to help God's people grow in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an understandable book if one will take the time to read, study, and meditate on its teachings. Faithfully reading the Scriptures will help one to be assured that he is a child of God. It will produce joy, peace, and spiritual confidence. It will mold us into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

LaHaye suggests several principles of Bible study: set a regular time and place, read the Bible devotionally, and keep a spiritual diary of truths gained from study. All books of the Bible are inspired, but not all of the books are equally applicable. He advises one to read the books in this order: First John 7 times, the Gospel of John twice, the Gospel of Mark twice, the short Epistles of Paul once, then Luke's Gospel, followed by the book of Acts and the Book of Romans. That's for a start. One should then read the entire New Testament followed by the Wisdom literature (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon) of the Old Testament.

Later one can focus on special studies of biography, prophecy, Christ, and the Psalms. To facilitate Bible study LaHaye recommends a good Bible (Scofield Reference Bible and the New King James Version), Halley's Bible Handbook, a concordance, a Bible dictionary, and other books.

Keys to successful Bible study include perseverance, a set time and place to devote to it, and a desire to know more of God and His will.

Glen H. Jones

Target: All
Type: Bible Study
Take: Highly Recommended


Christ-Based Leadership

David Stark, Bethany House Publishers, 2005, ISBN 0764201417, 203 pages, $19.95, hardcover.

An effective leader combines today's best leadership models and scriptural leadership principles. Stark contrasts two leadership models. The first involves a strong central leader who commands from a position of power. He commands the obedience and loyalty by virtue of his position of power. The second model pictures a strong leader who builds a team approach through consensus. His team respects and contributes to his leadership because they have helped formulate the goals of the organization. Stark believes the second model produces better leaders.

Jesus built a disparate band of nobodies into a group of dynamic leaders. He could have demanded their obedience, but instead He slowly showed the Twelve that His plan was the plan of the Father. They made mistakes; He corrected them. He built on their strengths rather than emphasizing their weaknesses.

The author contends that when the team helps formulate the goals of the organization, the team feels obligated to assure positive results. However, if the leader formulates the goals and presents them to his team, the team may or may not feel this obligation.

Glen H. Jones

Target: Church Leaders
Type: Leadership Development
Take: Recommended

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