Book Review: When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man

When People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of ManWhen People Are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by Edward T. Welch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is encouraging, challenging, and deeply convicting. I appreciate how Welch brings the Gospel to bear on these issues and gets to the root sin in our fears. He distinguishes between needs and lusts, revealing the idolatry of the latter. I also greatly appreciated the emphasis on discipleship, or the role of the church body in discipling one another. I cannot imagine anyone reading this without having the author put a finger on some of their own root sins.

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Book Review: Church Elders: How to Shepherd God’s People Like Jesus

Church Elders: How to Shepherd God's People Like Jesus (9Marks: Building Healthy Churches)Church Elders: How to Shepherd God’s People Like Jesus by Jeramie Rinne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’ve never given the subject of elders in a local congregation serious thought, you might be surprised by how many passages in the New Testament speak to it. This book isn’t an exhaustive, doctrinal defense of elders in a local church. It is more practical than that and that might be the key to this brief book’s usefulness. It isn’t usually a doctrinal objection people make to plural eldership, but rather a practical one. Independent Baptist churches largely abandoned the practice in the twentieth century, so many church members have never seen it done.

The greatest difficulty for many is in conceptualizing how multiple elders would work together. Then, because their conception of the purpose and practice of elders is formed from their imaginations, they conclude it isn’t necessary today, or only necessary in an extreme circumstance such as a large membership. Many have the question: What does it look like? This where Jeramie Rinne’s book can serve as good soft introduction to the subject. He tackles the subject from a practical perspective and gives various views into what it looks like.

It could also be a helpful book for men who have some gifting and a desire to serve, but question or wrestle with whether they should be the “main guy.” I think we can unintentionally restrict the room for service in the leadership of a church. Single-elder pastors often burn out under the load one man cannot carry, or a pastor dies or becomes medically unable to continue, and a church often faces a painful transition. Ultimately, we fail to raise up leadership and the health and growth of a local church is stunted.

This is a helpful book for pastors and church members alike.

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Book Review: Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus

Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus (9marks: Building Healthy Churches)Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus by Mark Dever
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The core message in this book is simple. The logical deductions from Scripture are simple. The common-sense factor in this book is simple. You might say it’s mostly intuitive. Despite all that, few churches seem to be doing this well, or at all. Discipling a person is aptly explained by the subtitle: “How to Help Others Follow Jesus.” That’s it.

It is not about elaborate systems or programs. It is about following Jesus in your life and helping another to do the same. I think we can make it complicated, but consider jesus’ approach, as Dever writes: “The most famous discipler of all, of course, is Jesus Christ. Christianity did not start with a mass-market product rollout. There was no 24/7 media coverage surrounding his travels. It began with a series of personal engagements among a small group of men over a three-year period.” It’s not hard to understand, but we might say it’s hard to do.

I can’t think of a more accessible or concise place to point you than this book.

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Book Review: Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will ListenBuilding a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an excellent incorporation of story structure into the brand marketing of businesses. The book has helpful ideas as well as exercises to use the framework to clarify a business’ message to customers and potential customers. I could see it being helpful for small business owners.

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Book Review: The Code of the Woosters

The Code of the Woosters (Jeeves, #7)The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a book! Bertie Wooster gets thoroughly into the soup and gets out again. This is Wodehouse on his game and a whole lot of fun.

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