Review: Conversion: How God Creates a People

Conversion: How God Creates a People (9Marks: Building Healthy Churches)Conversion: How God Creates a People by Michael Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is an excellent, brief treatment of the subject. Christians in general wobble between extremes on what conversion is and does in the life of a convert. Michael Lawrence speaks clearly on repentance, faith, change of life, holiness, etc. He treats conversion as the life and death matter it truly is. Lawrence also places conversion in the context of the local church, which is rarely done.

The author has called us to a clearer presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the cost of discipleship. It’s a book I would want every Christian to read and consider, but especially pastors.

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Review: The Trellis and the Vine

The Trellis and the VineThe Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disciples of Jesus make disciples of Jesus, who in turn make disciples of Jesus. I think you see where this is going. What is a church? A church is a called out assembly of disciples joined together in making other disciples. More could be said, but this is vital. Pastors make disciples but are also tasked with training disciples to make other disciples, and so on. This is the Gospel work churches are called to do. It’s so easy to get off point and begin to be about many other things.

I wish I had read this book years ago. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. This is what pastors and church members are to be about.

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Review: The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ

The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of ChristThe Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It sounds correct to speak of being Gospel centered. I wonder how well we understand what it actually means to be a Gospel centered church. The author makes a case for what it looks like to be Gospel centered in practice as well as profession. Every church has a culture, whether it is deliberately shaped or more organic. Having the Gospel correct in our doctrinal statement does not mean our church body is Gospel centered in practice. Ortlund brings out that Gospel centeredness can happen, but it doesn’t happen by a plan or program. A church must adorn the Gospel preached with a community of disciples who live out the Gospel in their lives.

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Review: Work and Our Labor in the Lord

Work and Our Labor in the LordWork and Our Labor in the Lord by James M. Hamilton Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This brief book presents a biblical theology of work. It would be an excellent introduction to the subject if one is unfamiliar with the biblical teaching on work. Hamilton shows us what it looks like to faithfully bear the image of God in our work and not be idolaters. He does this by pulling out propositional teachings from Scripture and providing examples of faithful work. I always find it edifying and profitable to read him and I always come away with some things to think about I haven’t considered before.

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Review: 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health

10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Donald S. Whitney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a helpful book to think through ten different aspects that mark spiritual growth. Whitney doesn’t give a checklist or form to fill out. Instead, you will have to read each chapter and reflect on the condition of your own heart in life. It does provide a good opportunity to take stock of your life. Over time, good habits tend to slide and bad ones creep in. Also over time, if we are growing in knowledge and grace, we are better able to assess where we are than a few years ago. If you take it seriously, you won’t enjoy reading this book but it will be helpful to you.

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