Monthly Archives: August 2011

My 52 Books #13 “The Holiness of God” by R.C. Sproul

If you were to choose one word to describe the eternal God of all creation, what would that be?  The Scriptures are full of words and phrases that express the attributes of God (Loving, Just, merciful, wrathful, all knowing, all powerful etc…), but there is one that describes the core of His being:  Holy.  This captures the essence of who He is, and it is the one attribute that all other attributes flow out of.

“Only once in sacred Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the third degree.  Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession.  The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy.  Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy.  He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love; or mercy, mercy, mercy; or wrath, wrath wrath; or justice, justice, justice.  It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, that the whole earth is full of His glory.”

If the Bible gives such an emphasis on this aspect of who God is, then I want to seek that out with everything I have (which is no safe endeavor).  And in the process of seeing His holiness, expounded upon by Dr. Sproul, I find myself feeling incredibly unworthy and insignificant in the midst of His greatness.  His holiness is so awesome, that anything unholy in His presence is immediately consumed.  Like a dry leaf to a flame, His holiness is a consuming fire.

This is one of the few books that I seek to read or listen to at least once a year, since it continually has that kind of impact on me.  Seeing the greatness of His majesty as He shouts through His creation and word just drives me to my knees in awe.  The psalmist had the right frame of mind when he said, “what is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4).

His holiness will demand an eternal justice one day for the crimes of every man and woman.  And even the most trite of sins are far more exceedingly sinful that we know.  Yet in spite of our rebellion, He poured out His divine wrath on the Person of Jesus, who took our punishment on Himself.  He loved us that much.  And for those who are born again, His holiness is a greatness that can be approached with confidence and awe, as opposed to absolute terror.  That which is holy is scary, since it is foreign to us.  But because of His great mercy and grace, those who are in Him are now considered holy, because He has made us holy.
Amazing Grace… sweet the sound 🙂

This is one of those books that will most likely pass the timeless test of many generations to come.


My 52 Books #12 “Kings Cross” by Tim Keller

As Bridgeway church is coming to the end of a year and a half of diving into Mark, I thought I would take up Keller’s work on the subject.  While there are many views on who Jesus is in contemporary culture (Just google his name to see a plethora of ideas), the best place to get a clear picture of who He is, what He taught, and whether He should mean anything to us is at the original sources.  While the other gospels are much more comprehensive concerning Jesus’ teaching (Luke and Matthew) and His divinity (John), the gospel of Mark gives us a fast paced narrative of His life and work for us, so as to stress the big picture/main point.  It is broken up into two sections:

-His identity as the God-Man (Mark 1-8)
-His purpose in dying on the cross (Mark 9-16)

If you are looking for an overview commentary with great pastoral care on the gospel of Mark, this would be your book.  While there is certainly a theological richness to it (it’s Tim Keller of course), Keller reaches further into everyday application for the reader as he expounds on the major passages that flow from one of the earliest writings in the New Testament.  Each chapter could be a sermon in and of itself.

One thing I enjoyed most about Keller’s insight in this volume is his ability to expound on the differences between gospel and religion in the Bible.  Jesus makes it undoubtably clear that there is a vast gaping span between working your way to God and receiving His grace.

Concerning the religious/work righteous: “They all have the same logic: If I perform, if I obey, I’m accepted.  The gospel of Jesus is not only different from that but diametrically opposed to it: I’m fully accepted in Jesus Christ, therefore I obey.”

“The gospel isn’t advice: It’s the good news that you don’t need to earn your way to God; Jesus has already done it for you.  And it’s a gift that you receive by sheer grace – through God’s thoroughly unmerited favor.  If you seize that gift and keep holding on to it, then Jesus’ call won’t draw you into fanaticism or moderation.  You will be passionate to make Jesus your absolute goal and priority, to orbit around him; yet when you meet somebody with a different set of priorities, a different faith, you won’t assume that they’re inferior to you.  You’ll actually seek to serve them rather than oppress them.  Why?  Because the gospel is not about choosing to follow advice, it’s about being called to follow a King.  Not just someone with power and authority to tell you what needs to be done – but someone with the power and authority to do what needs to be done, and then offer it to you as good news.”

My 52 Books #11 “Raising a Modern Day Knight” by Robert Lewis

Seeing it is that I just had a son (Andrew Stephen), I thought this would be appropriate to dive into this work that was recommended to me around the time Adelyn was born.  I am embarking on a journey into the unknown.  My father wasn’t there for me, and I am picking up the pieces as I go to learn how to raise a son who loves Jesus and exemplifies what a real man is.  But I am not alone nor without help.  I have been surrounded by godly men over the last 8-9 years and have been given tremendous resources (including this book!) to instill in the coming generation a fire and passion to live for God.

If I could hand one book to the father of a son this would be that book.  Unlike a lot of self help books on parenting that are built more upon the modern culture than Biblical principles, this book demonstrates Biblical manhood and offers incredibly good advice in the inauguration of a boy becoming a man.

The concept of a rite of passage for a growing boy is the underlying theme that guides the flow of the message.  In light of the ancient process of knighthood, the principles of this effort offer great insight as to how we can be building men with our boys today.  Boys grow up not being given the training nor the encouragement to develop into what a man is.  I’ve come across many, before reading this book, who have flat out told me, “I don’t know if I am a man.”  As a man burned by his father, my heart and soul affirms Robert Lewis’ desire, “I intend to use my hurt for their gain.  I intend to make sure the curse of the invisible dad goes no further than me.”

The 3 ideals of a knight are:
A Vision for Manhood
A code of Conduct
A Transcendent cause

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.” – Proverbs 29:18
This rings true for those who have no idea what manhood is.  As Mark Driscoll once put it, “I know a lot of boys who can shave.”  Many think they’re men, but are really the emulation of a joke.  In raising a man, the reality of what one is must be disclosed both verbally and physically.

A real man:
-Rejects passivity
-Accepts responsibility
-Leads courageously
-Expects God’s greater reward

While trying to instill a Biblical code of conduct is important for your growing Knight, the way you set the example will be the determining factor.  It should be obvious, but we often forget and need the reminder that it is Word AND Deed that must go hand in hand in order for it to be real.

When looking at the ultimate expression of a man, one should look no further than Jesus Christ.  When looking to the Creator-God for which to live out this manhood endeavor, look no further than Jesus Christ.  He is the God-MAN that gives of Himself, so that we might live.

There are many rite of passage examples offered that I am definitely going to re-examine and mold into my own for Andrew.  Reading this book really set a fire in me to take this seriously, and I am looking forward to his progression.
“Every dad begins fatherhood with a distinct and awesome advantage: the unstinting admiration of his son. Wise dads recognize their privileged position and build upon it by modeling the message they preach to their sons. They know that words are only as strong as the sources from which they arise.”  May we never take that for granted.  We may not be perfect in our own rite, but those in Christ are apart of the One who is, and His grace is sufficient.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4