Books I’ve Read Recently

jesus-continued-cover-largeJesus Continued by J.D. Greear. I have read a lot of books recently and this one was by far one of may favorites. I’ve always enjoyed reading J.D.’s books and they have played a big part in shaping my faith and ministry. In this book J.D. deals with the topic of the Holy Spirit and how believers have the advantage of not having Jesus beside them (like the disciples in the Gospels) but instead, through the Spirit, they have Jesus presence inside them. Not only that, but J.D. helps believers understand how they can experience the Holy Spirit in their relationship with God. J.D. says, “The Holy Spirit tends to be the forgotten member of the Trinity. Most Christians know he’s there, but they are unclear about exactly what he does of how to interact with him-or if that’s even possible. Yet something was so important about the Holy Spirit that Jesus told his disciples it was to their advantage that he go away-if his departure meant the Spirit came. The Spirit’s presence inside them, he said, would be better than himself beside them” (page 13). This is one of the most insightful and practical books on the subject of the Holy Spirit that I have ever read. It has a great balance of theological content (which is very much needed in the discussion of the Holy Spirit) and practical application (which is just as much needed in this topic) in regards to the Holy Spirit and how Christians can experience the Spirit’s ministry in their life. J.D. does a great job in this book building a foundation of what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit and explaining how believers can experience and seek the Holy Spirit. This is a great book I would recommend to anyone who wants to understand the Holy Spirit better and how they can experience him more in their relationship with God.

51VrdA14sfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Prayer by Tim Keller. Prayer is an area of my Christian life where I struggle the most. I go through seasons where I feel like I’m a “strong prayer,” but many times I feel like I am coming up very short in this area. This is one of the reasons I wanted to read this book. Also, I haven’t read many books devoted entirely to prayer so when I heard about this book I knew I had to read it. Keller has managed to put together one of, if not the most, thorough books on the topic of prayer. This book really does serve as a modern day handbook for what prayer is and how does one go about practicing prayer. The first part of the book is very academic and philosophical. Keller does a great job as painting the landscape of how people and religious groups view prayer. But this isn’t where Keller spends most of his time in this book. Once Keller helps the reader establish a definition and view of what Biblical prayer is in the Christian life he quickly moves towards helping them see how Christians can practice prayer. The rest of the book, and majority of it then, is a practical guide on how to practice prayer. Keller explores the prayer habits of early church fathers as well as walking through many Scripture passages on prayer. He also offers many practical tips on how Christians can practice prayer in their daily lives. If you want to grow in your understanding of prayer and how to practice it, read this book.

6a00d83452063969e20162fef31dc1970dThe Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. I haven’t read many marriage books (even though there are many out there right now I want to read), but out of the ones I have read this was has been my favorite. I read this book along with a few other men in a men’s group I am a part of at my church. I really enjoyed this book because of Keller’s approach to the topic of marriage and how to do marriage well. He quickly admits and helps the reader see that marriage is impossible to do well apart from God. Throughout the book Keller keeps the Gospel at the center as he shares how marriage is only possible through having a personal relationship with God through the Gospel that helps you truly love and serve your spouse. Keller spends a great amount of time explaining and applying the main Scripture passages on marriage. I also enjoyed how his wife wrote parts of the book and brought another persecutive to this topic. I believe this is a book everyone who is married (or one day hopes to married) should read. It’s practical but always keeps God and the Gospel at the center, which is the only way to do marriage well.

I am currently reading What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung and 30 Events That Shaped the Church by Alton Gansky. I plan to review those when I am done reading them.


My Thoughts on the Church and Interracial Marriage

The other day I was scrolling through Facebook and saw this status posted by one of my friends:

A church banned inter-racial couples……hmmm, and we wonder why so many non-christians look at ‘christians’ the way they do….so sad.

I wanted to see what all this was about for myself so I googled it and found that in fact a church in Kentucky did ban interracial couples from being a part of their church. I would recommend you read that article entitled “Small Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples” so you know where I’m coming from in this post (just click the article title and it will take you to it). Also, click here to read another article on this same situation. After reading the article and thinking about the whole issue I want to share my thoughts on it.

No where in the Bible does God say interracial marriage is wrong. The people who are against interracial marriage will go to several passages in the Old Testament where God tells people not to marry others in different countries or people groups. It is a huge leap to go from these verses and then say interracial marriage is wrong. Nowhere in the New Testament does God say couples cannot marriage other races. I’m not saying the Old Testament is not profitable for us today. I believe the whole Bible (Old and New Testament) are profitable and God’s inspired Word for us today. What I am saying is that there are things in the Old Testament that does not apply to us in this dispensation. It is dangerous when the church starts to set standards and rules in place that are found nowhere in Scripture. Some other popular issues that people stand against and say are “sin” when it’s not taught that way in Scripture is dancing, drinking, Bible translation, and styles of worship. Don’t make things wrong or a sin if the Bible doesn’t.

The Gospel is seen in interracial marriage. God loves diversity! We serve a God who loves diversity because it shows how marvelous and awesome He is! I believe an interracial couple shows the Gospel very well. In God’s eyes there are no races, just humans that He loves and desires to have a relationship with through His Son Jesus. I believe God sees humans in only two groups: His children and His enemies. The Bible is clear that a unsaved person is an enemy of God (Romans 5:10), but once they accept the free gift of salvation they become a child of God (John 1:12). In Christ there are no racial, ethnic, or social distinctions, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. In Galatians 3:28 Paul says it this way:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (ESV)

In Christ we are all the same! So why can’t a white Christian man marry a black Christian women? It’s unbiblical and stupid to say they cannot! The Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong! The only kind of marriage God makes clear through the Scripture we should not support is marriage between a believer and a non-believer (2 Corinthians 6:14).

I have been blessed to be around many Christians who are interracial couples and when I look at the love between them I see the Gospel. It’s encouraging and I wish more Christians we see that interracial marriage is not unbiblical and because our God is a diverse God it shows His unmatchless love and the wonder of the Gospel!

Here is a quick video that is worth watching on this subject. In this video John Piper explains why pastors should bless interracial marriages. If your not a pastor, still watch this and learn why you should bless interracial marriages as well.

Recommended things on this subject: John Piper’s book Bloodlines, “Racial Harmony and Interracial Marriage” sermon by John Piper, and “Can’t Afford to be Color Blind” video with John Piper.