Archives For Books & Media

At some level, all Christians want their churches to be influential in carrying out the work of God. One pathway to increased influence is a road we often overlook – the one behind us.

Looking back can be good. It can give us wisdom and perspective. It can also help us look forward to what God is doing next in your churches and ours.

This helpful book looks back at ten historic spiritual shifts of the last century and identifies a church closest to the center of each one. You may not have heard of these pioneering churches and their leaders, but we suspect you have been influenced by them far more than you realize. And we strongly suspect that after reading each of their stories, you’ll be glad you did – and you’ll have a better perspective on your own church and how God is at work in and around it.

It is hard to imagine anyone more qualified to identify and describe these trends and the personalities behind them than our friend, mentor, co-author and fellow researcher Elmer Towns. Starting in the 1960s he became the nation’s leading figure in…

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Reference works that provide information about the geography and archeological findings related to the New Testament often do not adequately relate that material to the life of Jesus in an orderly and readable manner that brings the gospel material to life. Jesus, a Visual History seeks to fill that gap, and the work has virtues that will be appreciated by many readers, though deficiencies in the work may cause many to look for other resources.

The narrative of the book is focused around a harmonization of the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. While a typical harmony of the gospels would be more lengthy and address critical issues at length, this work provides a more cursory overview while augmenting the telling of the gospel story with a vast array of photographs, pictures, maps, charts, and explanations of archaeological findings and brief histories of areas that Jesus visited. The most compelling chapters of the book, which form a parenthesis interrupting the overview of the life of Jesus, provide a history and travel guide to Jerusalem and the temple mount, covering timeframes going back to King David through the intertestamental…

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These two volumes advocate the views of the Christian Counseling Coalition, which sets out to “help us regain our confidence in God’s Word as sufficient to address the real life issues that we face today.” Mr. Kellemen, who authored Gospel-Centered Counseling and is the editor of Scripture and Counseling, is the Executive Director of that organization.

Mr. Kellemen, as well as the other authors represented here, is concerned that the church has unwisely turned over the care of souls to professionals outside the church. They contend that this capitulation to the philosophies and methodologies of modern psychology has at its root a lack of confidence in the sufficiency of scripture to provide what is necessary for life and godliness. While it is not denied that secular psychology produces research and ideas that can be valuable to the church, it is argued that it is important to recognize that many of the approaches developed by modern psychology rest on assumptions that contradict Christian teaching. As a result, while Christian counselors almost always claim to be integrating psychological insights with biblical Christianity, one often finds inundation rather than integration. With many well-meaning…

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Commentary SetPreaching pastors and Bible students should be thrilled with this update of what already was an exceptional Bible reference resource. Now a five volume work (with the last volume supplying a number of helpful indices), Zondervan and revision editor Moises Silva have produced in The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE) what could become a go to reference resource for any pastor preparing to preach or teach from a New Testament text. While this is a solid academic work, the updated organization of the materials makes this a most useful work for the pastor’s study.

Indeed, while pastors will look to NIDNTTE primarily for New Testament exegesis, much use could be made of it for preaching from the Old Testament, as well. In providing careful studies of New Testament Greek words, the work covers the use of the same terms in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced in the second century B.C.). Thus, the scripture index takes just over 100 pages to list references in this work to the Old Testament.

Originally published in German, this work first appeared in English in…

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Tongue PiercedMentor to pastors and bestselling author Nelson Searcy, releases Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live Jan. 1 from David C Cook. Written with Jennifer Dykes Henson, the book is based on one of Searcy’s most-requested audio resources by the same name and is meant to help readers take control of their words and build a better life. The core message of the book includes a “30-Day No Cursing Challenge.”

Words form the future (“I have a dream…”) and symbolize international milestones (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”). Words ignite cultural clashes (think Dan T. Cathy and the Chic-fil-A controversy) and bind us to one another (“I do”). Words have the power to create our atmosphere; they ignite psychological connections; they shape our thinking, determine our actions and ultimately construct our reality. Foul language, curses and negative words have harmful consequences while well-chosen words bring life.

“Too few people understand the ability they have to influence their own circumstances with every word they choose to speak,” says Searcy. “Perhaps the most interesting thing about our words is that they are a direct…

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SparkWhat would it look like if a significant number of churches had to intentionally try not to multiply and the Lord added to their numbers daily? (Acts 2: 42-7)? In this FREE resource, Exponential Director Todd Wilson presses into Exponential’s 2015 theme, “SPARK: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication,” to give church leaders a vision for reproducing churches and the tools needed to see that vision come to fruition. The eBook sets the framework for Exponential’s 2015 eBooks series focusing on multiplication and champions Exponential’s focus on moving the multiplication needle in the U.S. Church.

Wilson highlights the prominent church cultures leaders most naturally create and challenges you to honestly assess which culture you’re creating. He points out that every church–regardless of your context or phase (pre-launch, launch or post-launch)–is creating a culture and takes readers through a thorough explanation of how culture is created and what is needed to create a multiplication culture.

He offers an exploration of what Scripture says about God’s command to multiply and out of that scriptural study comes fresh insight as he contends that the U.S. church needs both addition (what he calls the micro strategy of adding disciples one on one,…

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PleadingThe following is from the introduction of Pleading with Southern Baptists. The full ebook may be downloaded here for free

There is no great movement of God that has ever occurred that does not begin with the extraordinary prayer of God’s people. The time is now for us to come together before God in clear agreement, visible union, and in extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and for the world to be reached for

For the sake of our nation and the spiritually lost around the world, it is time to humble ourselves before God. For this, I plead with all Southern Baptist pastors, missionaries, laypersons, denominational leaders, churches, denominational entities, conventions, colleges and universities; from student to adult, regardless of age, vocation, or status.

As we come to God in humility and repentance, entering into this special season of extraordinary prayer, we plead with God for spiritual revival personally, revival in the church, and the next Great Awakening in the United States. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:

And in movements of the Spirit the first thing that happens and which eventually leads to a great revival is that one man or a group of men suddenly begin…

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Biblical Portraits of CreationWhile perhaps understandable, it is also unfortunate that many Christians and churches only take on the biblical topic of Creation for the purpose of debating the relationship between the Genesis account and scientific views of origins. The result of that focus is that many Christians lack an awareness of the subject of creation as a source of worship of the Creator, as well as a foundation for understanding much of God’s work in redeeming us and ultimately making all things new. In Biblical Portraits of Creation, Walter Kaiser and Dorington Little seek to correct that deficiency with a series of short essays glorifying our Creator God.

Anyone opening this book looking for a technical response to challenges from evolutionists or higher critics will be largely disappointed. For the most part, these short pieces ignore that ongoing argument and instead focus on various texts dealing with Creation that inspire the reader to worship God and appreciate His work of Creation and all that it entails. Only two of the 19 chapters give primary focus to the early chapters of Genesis. Others focus on texts that deal with Creation…

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Gods Super ApostlesA team of trained Alpine skiers scaled Mt. Everest in an effort to rout the throne of a demon thought to have territorial control over a large swath of planet earth, and another group climbed the hill famous for the “Hollywood” sign in southern California while reciting a “divorce decree” intended to separate another demon named Baal from control over the entertainment industry. While these stories may tempt the reader to simply dismiss those involved as cranks, doing so would be a mistake. As documented in the soon to be released God’s Super Apostles by journalist Holly Pivec and theology professor R. Douglas Geivert, the New Apostolic Revolution (NAR) is a worldwide movement with the support of churches and organizations with as many as 3 million people in the United States. Pastors should be aware of the teachings and dangers of this movement.

Central to the NAR is the notion that churches and Christians must submit to the authority of modern day apostles and prophets if they are to be included in God’s plans for the expansion of His kingdom. These apostles, self-described as generals, and…

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Sexual BrokennessThe devil has no shortage of tools for destroying lives. And in today’s culture, one of his most effective tools is a distorted view of sexuality. The wreckage of such a view is everywhere: A marriage is broken by infidelity. A child is abused by a relative. A pastor is forced from his ministry due to a pornography addiction. A college student thinks back on her one-night stand with deep regret and a wounded heart. Such scenes are all too common. Perhaps no other human desire has been so distorted by our culture as sex. To borrow an illustration from C. S. Lewis, sexual desire has become like a piano key that is played at all the wrong times. Though God designed it for beautiful melodies, it has instead soured the music.

But there is good news. There is hope, because the gospel of Christ has the power to bind up every broken heart and heal every wound. The Word of God tells us that Jesus died to reconcile the sexually broken to himself. At the cross, he poured out his blood to make them whole again and to purify…

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Life on MissionMatthew was a tax collector. The Jews hated tax collectors because they were usually swindlers and “sell outs” who worked for the Romans. You couldn’t get any lower than a tax collector. They even had their own category. There were “sinners” and there were “tax collectors.” Like there are normal sinners, and then there are tax collectors.

So Jesus and the disciples came upon Mathew one day and Jesus says, “Why don’t you quit your job and follow me?” (Matthew 9) Matthew says “yes,” and the next thing you know Jesus is at a party at Matthew’s house. There are no details about what happened next, we just know that Matthew throws a party and Jesus is there.

So who would Matthew invite? MORE SINNERS!

Can you imagine the scene? Put it in modern day context. I can only imagine Matthew running back and forth from the kitchen, making sure everyone was being looked after as he listened to the conversations that took place around the table and out in the hot tub. He’s restocking the beer cooler. There is NON–Christian music on the stereo. You know Naughty Matt had a…

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The Absence of Prayer

By Jamin Goggin

The following is an adjusted excerpt from Beloved Dust (Thomas Nelson 2014).

I faced a circle of blank stares. It was a standoff, and I was willing to wait. As a youth pastor, I had grown accustomed to this response from my students. I had asked a simple question: “Would anyone be willing to pray?” But as any youth pastor can tell you, it is not that simple. You would think I had asked the group of teenage boys if they had viewed pornography recently. Eventually, the same student that always broke the awkward silence prayed, if for no other reason than to alleviate the anxiety of his peers.

As a youth pastor, I encountered many difficult and disheartening moments, such as finding out a student lived a completely different lifestyle than I had known. However, as my tenure in youth ministry grew, those moments of cold sweat from my students became the saddest. The sadness only increased when I discovered that prayer was missing from their lives completely. My students simply had…

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