Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: The legacy of Sovereign Joy-John Piper

Let me begin by declaring my love for biographies. I highly enjoy reading about the lives and History of others. I am a history geek. In fact, I have enough college credits in history to minor in it, if I attended a secular university. It wasn't necessarily by choice, but it just happened. I enjoy reading about the accounts from the past. I find it fascinating to learn about how people, religion, politics and culture got where they are today.

Anyway, book.

John Piper is one of my favorite authors, and theologians. I enjoy listening to his sermons when given the chance, and have had the opportunity to see him speak once. He does an excellent job of applying theology to life. His writing style also has an emotional flare to it, which I highly relate to. This book " The legacy of Sovereign Joy", has brief biographies of Augustine, Luther and Calvin. Piper begins with the common theme of grace in the lives of these church fathers, and begins with their flaws. They are human, and like the rest of us, were sinners saved by grace. Augustine was once a addicted to sex, Luther had the mouth of a sailor, and Calvin approved the murder of a heretic. However, the work of God in all their lives is sovereign grace over sin abounding. Each of these men realized that God's grace and mercy is what saved them, and only He alone can grip, and change the heart of man. They find joy in God's saving grace, and strived to reform the church, and glorify God by studying the scriptures with a passion, and zeal to bring the truth of God to the church and glorify God alone. Of course, each man had his own flaws, each one suffered persecution and fought against the idea of man's free will to choose God, Pelagian philosophy. The battle between the authority of the church a tradition, and God's Holy word alone.

There is much to be learned from their lives, and one day I would like to read full biographies on these men. Augustine emphasized f
inding delight in God, and God alone. "Our hearts will not rest until they rest in you"-as quoted by Augustine, ( and I recall this quote from my Christianity and Western culture I class) "Loving God is being so satisfied in God and so delighted in all that He is for us that His commandments are not burdensome" (Piper 58). "Grace governs life by giving a supreme joy in the supremacy of God" (Piper 61). Luther's focus on studying the scriptures and applying them remind me of the importance they are as authority in our lives. Also, the necessit of praying and asking God for wisdom before studying His word. " You should completely despair of your own sense and reason, for by these you will not attain the goal...Rather kneel down in your private little room and with sincere humility and earnestness pray to God, through His dear Son, graciously to grant you His Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide you and give you understanding" (Ibid., vol. 3, p. 1359). Calvin shared the importance of expository preaching and biblical orthodoxy as well as God's supremacy He wanted nothing more than God to be glorified and for others to see God's truth.
It is encouraging, and such a wonderful reminder to me that God uses all saved sinners for His purposes. Despite my flaws, I am still chosen by God to bring Him glory and be used to further His kingdom. A lesson in true humility. Do not give up or try and earn back you favor with God, yet let God's grace abound and triumph over your sin, and praise Him for His power to forgive continuously.

'God has a great work for everyone to do. Do it with all your might-yes, and even with all your flaws and all your sins. And in the obedience of this faith, magnify the glory of His grace, and do not grow weary in doing good" (Piper 145).

Also, some other books I have read this summer/reading:
"Saved by Grace"-Anthony A. Hoekema : Very in-depth explanation of Salvation. It is a heavy read, so it is taking me time to work through. It is very good in its explanation of Salvation. I am still reading it currently, but recommend it thus far.

"Augustine's confessions"-Augustine: Still reading this as well, going through bits at a time, but its is very thought provoking, and written in the form of a prayer. I highly enjoy this so far. Good lessons on Humility and the life of Augustine.

"The Crescent through the eyes of the Cross:Insights from an Arab Christian"-Dr.Nabeel T. Jabbour: This book advocates the insider movement and explains much of the philosophy and thinking behind this movement. Poor hermeneutics, and mis-interpreting of scripture. I encourage Christians, especially those going into Muslim ministry, to read this book. You need to know what is out there. Read this with your bible, and check the scriptures referenced. I have already handwritten my book review on this, Perhaps I'll put it on here soon.

"The truth about " A Common word""-Sam Solomon and Al-Maqdisi. PLEASE read this. I have the actual book itself but you can read it on PDF here:
It exposes the common word document, and after reading the Koran myself in context, it explains the basis of the "Insider movement" and "Common Ground". This is written by a former Imam, an ex-muslim. Deception is out there, and I have witnessed its reality and its presentation of a false gospel. The Insider movement and Common Ground cause nothing but deception, and is founded upon this document. How many Christians and Muslims alike are being deceived? In due time, I will write about my experiences with this.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I feel strange

Texas is hot.

Its also busy. Why am I awake?

Anyway, one week left until I leave for Moody, my new apartment, and my amazing roommates, my job,and my senior year. Weird. So weird. I have been having reflecting some on my last year. I want to attend seminary, but at this point I am having to put that on hold, and work up to it. I can't get the idea of finding a real job out of my head. Life without school? super weird. However, I am equally excited about the idea finding a "real job", but will be more excited when I find out when I have that "real job" This weekend begins the construction of my resume and such. Yes, its early, but I am one of those who jump starts all the time when it comes to jobs. It does not guarantee me anything, but I will try. My desire is to stay in Chicago,or the surrounding suburbs, but we will see what God has in store. Either way, I want to start looking.

As far as moody goes, I will be more than ready to graduate, but will miss Moody and my companions more than anything. I am truly blessed with such a community of friends there. There are so many classes I want to take but can't, many moments I want to hold on to, but can't. I am making it a goal of mine to cherish this last year, and take every opportunity I can to invest. I also want to cherish my job(s). I won't be returning to daystar this fall, due to my schedule, and I am incredibly sad about this. I will miss those kids. But I still have Ian. I get to see him in less than two weeks! Goodness, I miss that kid. Im also filling in for another family on occasion that I was connected with during summer school. My job, working this little people, has been a great experience. Its never something I would have chosen to do from pure want, but I have learned so much from it, and grown. Who knows, maybe Ill teach children's ESL?

Oh, did I mention I my sweet friend, and former RA Ashley is now married? Yes, it was beautiful. Ashley has helped shape my life in more ways than she knows. My dear friend Christi is getting married next week, and I am trying to figure out if I can get there. She is a saint. Her wedding was originally planned for three weeks from now, but the U.S military is asking for her fiancee sooner than planned. True love, to move up your wedding, without complaints. Christi has been a huge influence on my life, in so many ways. So many..

Both of my roommates are in engaged now! Dawn just recently got engaged, and Faith has been since April. Both have wonderful Fiancees' and I am very excited about rooming with them! Faith and Josh are wonderful beyond words. Let me be a little sentimental here..Faith and I are like sisters now, and I get chocked up thinking about the two of them finally being able to marry. They have raised the bar for all couples and have been such a great example for me and others. Dawn, has the sweetest man, and the two of them compliment each other so well. Dawn has been a true friend to me in so many ways, including sleeping on a hospital windowsill with me overnight. Goodness, I can't wait to share life with these girls next year. I only wish we had done this sooner!! meh!

Ok, enough rambling. Its way late, and I still have an urge to read. Typing up LP's all day is daunting, and what a better way to unwind than an episode of boy meets word, friends, and a biography on John Calvin. Book reviews to come soon.