Monday, October 09, 2006

Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias


A glance at the title of this book might lead one to believe it is a work of comparative religion, which in some ways it is. However, instead of weighing the similarities and dissimilarities of competing world religions Zacharias places the majority of his focus on Jesus and Jesus alone. His defense of the uniqueness of Christ falls along categorical lines. By virtue of Christ’s specific claims He is by the very essence of who He is different from all other god’s. Once this conclusion is reached it is relatively easy to see why Christianity is incompatibile with a pluralistic society.

What is most commendable about this book is not the specific arguments presented so much as the method of argumentation employed. While Zacharias does cover a large number of topics and does so thoroughly and effectively, it is impossible to prepare an answer for every attempt to marginalize, reduce or dismiss the claims of Jesus. However, by following the flow of Zacharias’ reasoning one gains incredible insight into the mechanics of dismantling competing world views by means of their own inadequacies and illogic.

In conclusion I would just like to shout out a big thank you to Becky and Amanda for giving me this book. I loved it!! Baptist girls give the best gifts!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell

This book was a refreshing change from what I'm used to. Most Christian books will tell you something wrong with you or someone else and then tell you how to fix it. 'The Tipping Point' point is purely descriptive, and not surprisingly not Christian (why can't we write descriptive books? I'm sure someone has).

Gladwell outlines the steps, factors, whatever that need to occur to make an small-time idea a big-time reality. He shows how different types of people play key roles. For instance, 'Mavens' are they type of people to find good ideas, and 'Connectors' are the ones to hook everyone up with the idea. It's a really fascinating book, and from what I've heard Malcolm Gladwell is a reliable source.

I'd encourage anyone who is interested in how trends in thinking come about, or who seek to influence trends in thinking (say, get people thinking they should be changing the world) to read this book.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Greatest Lesson I've Ever Learned


Edited by Dr. Bright, this book is a compilation of 50 of North America's most famous Christian men (there a women's version too, and a combined version).
The best part about this book is the variety of authors, all giving their honest stories. Many focused on tough issues like faith, evangelism, and suffering. Bright just told one of his transferable concepts... a man of a few profound lessons (How to Love by Faith).
This book has some real gold, mainly from people you haven't heard of. Some of the big names didn't ring with me so much, but people I haven't heard of had some great stuff. One guy in particular hit me, I don't remember his name, but he was in charge of something for Cru. He had this giant hotel problem for a conference... times a weekly meeting booking problem by 10 000. And in the end, God came through, and he got this verse "He who called you is faithful, he will surely do it" 1 Thess 5:24. I'm gonna keep that verse for me.

People should read this book because it tells how people dealt with their problems. They model by life, the best way to learn. It can be a little boring sometimes, whatever.

Monday, September 11, 2006

the Radical Reformission & Confessions of a Reformission Rev.



While i was in Edmonton, i had the opportunity to read these two books by Mark Driscoll.

The only two things i had ever really heard about Mark Driscoll were that he was the cussing pastor in Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz and that Johnny Pipes speaks highly of him (seeing as he is one of the speakers at this year's Desiring God conference). This dichotomy left me confused and curious, so i decided to check him out. What i found, for the most part, is that i like Mark Driscoll and accept Piper's opinion of him.

The Radical Reformission
If you want to read the books in order (which is actually a good idea), this book would be the one you would start with. In this book, Driscoll defines the term Reformission as "the radical call for Christians and Christian churches to recommit to living and speaking the gospel...[with the goal of] continually unleashing the gospel to do its work of reforming dominant cultures and church subcultures...[It is] the gathering of the best aspects of...living in the tension of being Christians and churches who are culturally liberal yet theologically conservative and who are driven by the gospel of grace to love their Lord, brothers and neighbors."
In his own words, "the book focuses on issues related to the scriptural content of the gospel and the cultural context of its ministry."

A great characteristic of this book is its structure. Each chapter is broken down into teachings of the scripture, repentance, practical applications for action and then questions we can ask ourselves.

Another superb facet of this book is its emphasis on the gospel of Christ. My worries about Driscoll being another Brian McLaren dissipated when i noted the centrality of Christ in the book.

There are certain qualms i have with this book namely that Driscoll sometimes makes broad sweeping statements such as "the parachurch (he gives Campus Crusade for Christ as an example) tends to love the Lord and love its neighbours, but not to love its brothers." While his statements DO hold some relevance, sometimes his flippant remarks tend to be overgeneralizations. Additionally, i feel as though sometimes Driscoll takes culture to be more neutral in its impact on Christians than it really is.

On the whole though, the Radical Reformission, is a pretty good read. If you want a better synopsis see Tim Challies who does a very thorough examination of the book.

Confessions of a Reformission Rev.
This, i found to be the better book. i found it to be more practical and Driscoll's train of thought easier to follow. The book is essentially the biography of Mars Hill Church (the church that Driscoll founded and where he pastors). The chapters are divided based on the growth in size that was experienced by the church.

i don't have much to say about this book, except that i found it to be PHENOMENAL. Driscoll is funny but also ensures that there is much that can be gleaned from each chapter. He points out difficult lessons learned by the church, and the thoughts that went through his mind during these times. He also gives VERY practical applications for the reader who wants to see his/her church grow. His ability to candidly and humbly point out failures so that we can glean from them is what makes the book so poignant and such a great read. Its definitely a must read, and is applicable for a wide range of people. Driscoll makes some pretty hilarious comments (some of which you can find here) and also some very thought-provoking comments.
its a great book...so what are you waiting for? go read it!

Monday, September 04, 2006

An EXTRAORDINARY book.


While I was home in Edmonton, I had the rare chance of being able to read many a book. The best one by far, however, was Twelve Extraordinary Women by Johnny Mac (John MacArthur).

I didn't exactly get what I anticipated, upon the opening of the cover. Usually, I find MacArthur's work pretty expository. This time, however, MacArthur used a different style..and I loved it! The book essentially details the lives of twelve different women in the Bible (Eve, Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, Mary, Anna, The Samaritan woman, Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene and Lydia).

In the character sketches, MacArthur uses historical fact and Biblical truth to give the reader a clear understanding of how the lives of these twelve women point to Christ. MacArthur is skilled in drawing meaning from the Biblical text, and provides evidence to back up his thoughts. Like a skilled debater, he even predicts those things the readers will question and provides any necessary clarifications for things which might, at first, seem problematic.

The highlight of the book is that though it is written about the lives of twelve women, it is clear that the book is really not about exalting these women, but rather exalting the risen Lord. Each chapter points out that the lives of these women were extraordinary because they believed in an extraordinary God.

I loved this book! I found it extremely informative and practical in its application. Furthermore, though it may be stereotyped as a book for women, it is DEFINITELY a book that i would encourage brothers to read as well. What is gleaned from the book is applicable to both men and women!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Amazing Faith, the Authorized Biography of Bill Bright

i might be a bit late on jumping on the bandwagon for this book amongst my C4C peers, but for those of you who are even later...hehehe

this book is the biography of the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, International, Dr. Bill Bright. it starts from his birth, breezes through his childhood and adolescence, and then starts to get detailed at his conversion.

it's a good read. it's easy and enjoyable for crusaders and non-crusaders alike. the one thing that stands out about Dr. Bill Bright is his amazing faith; not just stuff about Campus Crusade for Christ although there is a lot of about it in there. so anyone can learn a lesson or two about living by faith by reading this book.

i personally find it challenging and inspiring. planning on lending this book out as recruitment for projects, stint, and staff. :P

Friday, August 18, 2006

reviews galore...coming soon to a blog near you.

i am DONE summer school.
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i'm headed to the most boring place on the face of this earth (i exaggerate).

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many book reviews coming soon! amazon.ca has been lovely to me. i received Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur yesterday. i'm about half-way through it. i also purchased Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and its Implications by D.A. Carson today.
Also on the reading list are The Radical Reformission: Reaching out without Selling out and Confessions of a Reformission Rev both by Mark Driscoll.

Soooo, stay tuned (you KNOW you're excited)! i anticipate to finish these books in just over 2 weeks, at which time y'all will definitely enjoy some in depth reviews.