A Deeper Well of Joy

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“I had been searching for joy in the relatively good times of life, now I had to find joy amidst darkness and agony.”
- Margaret Feinberg

Margaret Feinberg’s search for greater joy in the Lord took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with cancer. What she found in the end, though, was that her fearr and pain led to a capacity for even greater joy. This month she released a new book and Bible study, Fight Back With Joy, pointing readers to a truer understanding of joy and and where it can be found. Margaret reached out to a number of writers and bloggers and asked us to share some thoughts on joy and pain. Here is my contribution.


 

You know pain. In some capacity, you know it. All of us do. Some have experienced explosions in life that destroyed much of what we love. Others have experienced the slow drip of daily agony. Some have yet to experience great loss personally but have witnessed it up close in the lives of others. In each case the feelings are similar: an ache that does not leave and for which there is no remedy, a gaping hole in the chest sensitive to every breeze, noise, or look.

Sometimes we cause our own pain. We sin and face the consequences. We make a dumb decision and the blowback is intense. We hurt others through our mistakes. Many times pain just seems to happen, though. Someone betrays us. A spouse leaves us. The tests reveal cancer. A loved one dies. Our company restructures us right into unemployment. A fire or storm takes the house. That oncoming car is steered by a man in a drunken stupor.

Regardless, we feel the same. We hurt. We are empty. Often we feel ashamed because of our own fault or the state to which we have been reduced. We fear and 519scN9F3eLworry. It eats us from the inside out. In all we feel as if our very soul is being jackhammered away, ripped apart, leaving nothing but a pit.

We are not wrong; our souls are being ripped apart. But not as we assume, not without hope and not without end. No, all that grinding and tearing and hammering, that gaping hole, it has a purpose.

It is a well. What is a well but a pit? Our pain is the instrument God uses to carve out a greater capacity to fill with His joy. Until it is filled it is a void, a vacancy in our spirits, but once the joy begins to trickle in we find ourselves with a greater volume for it than ever before. People who know little or no pain have puddles of joy, shallow pools easily evaporated or absorbed. Those who know the depths of pain know the depths of a real well, a cool store of joy able to refresh and nourish through any season.

This is more than a psychobabbly, feel good theory. It is a promise to every follower of Jesus. Hebrews 12:7 says “Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?” From there it builds to verse eleven; “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Our pain is discipline from God—not punishment, but training—leading us to something. And it is not discipline like a coach or personal trainer yelling to keep going and reach that goal, but like a loving father seeking to make his children’s lives better and fuller for their happiness and well-being. For those who are willing to be trained, who do not rebel or quit, who withstand the pain and trust God throughout, there is a reward in the end: righteousness and peace. Righteousness reflects more of God’s holiness. And what is peace but the primary ingredient of Joy?

Unlike some pie-in-the-sky, serendipitous, false promise this is a deep realistic acknowledgment of pain and hardship in a fallen world. For that very reason it is hopeful. It deals with the real and promises the work of the Divine in the lives of those who trust. Our pain is not in vain; our emptiness is not pointless. It is the deep pit, the well, God is digging to fill up with peace and joy.


You can find out more about Margaret’s book here or by searching the hashtag #FightBackWithJoy on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. 

photo credit: jsutc?iffe via photopin cc

New Books Releasing in 2015!

2015 brings with it some excitement on the horizon for Ted Kluck and myself. Well, I am excited. Ted has released about eleventy bazillion books, so he might be used to the feeling by now. Regardless, both of us have books releasing this year, Ted’s in March and mine in July and both from David. C. Cook. As contributors to The Blazing Center and co-hosts of The Happy Rant podcast, we wanted to put the word out here because we appreciate your reading and listening. We hope you enjoy the books and anything you do to help spread the word is much appreciated.

 

71wPJysbZ9LThe Drop Box: How 500 Abandoned Babies, an Act of Compassion, and a Movie Changed My Life

by Brian Ivie with Ted Kluck (releasing in March)

You might have seen or heard of the documentary film by the same name. It tells the story of a pastor in South Korea who made it his mission to care for and find homes for those babies who society doesn’t want, those born with handicaps or to unwed mothers. He mounted an actual “drop box”, a metal box with blankets in it and linked to a notification alarm in his house, where those infants who would otherwise be discarded can be left for him and his wife to care for. Hundreds of children who otherwise had no hope have been loved and cared for through his simple, effective ministry. It is a heart-rending and powerful story.

Brian Ivie made that movie, and during it’s filming something profound happened to him. When I read this book, Brian’s memoir, I spent about 2/3 of it disliking Brian. He was self-centered, manipulative, and generally kind of a jerk. And he says as much about himself. Through the making of the documentary, something he did only because he wanted to win an award the Sundance Film Festival, God began to show Brian what true, sacrificial, fatherly love is. The transformation, even in the tone of the writing, from that time forward was remarkable. Brian changed from that selfish prima donna into a humble, caring person seeking to introduce people to God’s love through film and now this book. His story is a good one and Ted did a wonderful job capturing it in writing. It is not a “happily ever after” tale or a “God used exposure to others’ suffering to change me” story. Rather it’s a memoir of God leading a young man to the place where he would understand true, eternal love.

 

71Pwq0mkx1LHelp My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not The Enemy Of Faith

by Barnabas Piper (releasing in July)

Mark 9 tells my favorite story in scripture, that of a father who brings his demon possessed son to Jesus for help. He is desperate. Nothing else has worked. It is my favorite because of a single phrase, one that captures every bit of my experience as a Christian: “I believe; help my unbelief.” (So profound is this verse’s impact on me that I have it tattooed on my right forearm.) Jesus tells the man “I can help if you believe” and this is the man’s response. It is perfect in its honesty and depth.

So much of the Christian life is tension: faith and doubt, obedience and temptation, understanding and fogginess, infinity and finitude, sight and obscurity, good God and sinful world, fully God and fully man, three in one. How do we respond? How do we process this? Many don’t; they give up. I believe, though, that the tensions are where much of the glory and joy of our faith is found. And that’s what I try to show in this book using personal stories and by exploring big ideas and truths. I hope that it is the kind of book that will shake up the placidly comfortable apathetic Christian whose faith has yet to be tested while providing an anchor for the doubt and angst ridden believer for whom pat answers are never enough.

4 Reasons To Use Goodreads

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It’s a new year, and that means lots of you have made resolutions, set goals, or planned ahead about what you’ll read this year. Of course the hardest part of any resolution or plan is following through. That’s why you should consider Goodreads. It’s not just another social media site; it’s a wonderful tool for any reader to discover new books and mark progress. Here are four features of Goodreads to help you meet your 2015 reading goals.

1) Writing reviews and rating books 

Goodreads is an ideal place to rate and review books. They provide a 5 star scale (but sadly no half stars) to rate books and room to publish brief or lengthy comments on a book as your heart desires. Most books aren’t worthy of a full and lengthy review, but they’re almost all worthy of some brief comment and recommendation of whether or not to read it.

2) Reading reviews and ratings

Having access to thousands of people’s opinions on books collected into one place is fascinating, occasionally depressing, but generally quite useful. The overall ratings of books are a nice guide, especially if it’s one you haven’t heard much about. You can find certain reviewers whose opinions you regularly appreciate and follow them closely for keener and more specific insights. If, like me, you enjoy browsing what’s out there and running across new books and authors, Goodreads is great for that.

3) Reading lists

Keeping track of what you want to read is a pain. Remembering the name of that new book or author you heard about is nearly impossible. It’s a whole lot easier on Goodreads. You can make lists (book shelves), add books in a few mouse clicks, and even scan the bar codes of books with your smartphone to drop them right onto your shelves. I use Goodreads exclusively for keeping track of any book I might want to read some day so that when I am buying online or browsing at the library all I have to do is pull up the app and scroll through my list to remember what I want.

4) Tracking progress 

Good reads offers a yearly challenge. You put in how many books you want to read this calendar year, then, as you read them and mark your progress, it keeps track for you. It tells you whether you are ahead of the pace to reach your goal or behind. This is helpfu in seeing both how much and what kinds of books I have read. It also allows me to note any weird reading habits I have. Wow, I’ve read 4 mafia related books so far this year. Huh, apparently I love teen fiction. Or whatever it is. I like keeping a balanced reading diet, so this helps me not overdo it in one genre or author.

Getting started on any new site and setting up any new account can be a pain, but this one is worth it if you enjoy books. Check it out.

At Bat, On Deck, and In The Hole: The Next 3 Books I’ll Read

At Bat:

91wDmVN6shL._SL1500_Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God

by Tim Keller

I never fail to grow when I read one of Tim Keller’s books. Never. He writes things in a way I never thought of them and with clarity to stick in my mind, so even familiar subjects look new. He is both brilliant and wise, and I look forward to discovering something new in these pages though I have “known how” to pray for decades.

 

 

On Deck:

81I1R1tL-pL._SL1500_The Person Called You: Why You’re Here, Why You Matter, What You Should Do With Your Life

by Bill Hendricks

Who wouldn’t want those questions answered? The real reason I’m going to read this one is because of how much I’ve heard about the significance of Bill’s ministry in helping dynamic leaders (Max Lucado, Brad Lomenick, and many others) discover their unique, God-given gifts and how to utilize them for the Kingdom. I have an itch to do the same, to discover where I fit and use my gifts well. I hope this book helps me discern how to do so.

 

In The Hole:

71ZhDRH2Z8L._SL1018_The Pickwick Papers

by Charles Dickens

My friend Matt, who doesn’t often overstate things, said this was the funniest book he had ever read. I read Dickens as an assignment way back when and, naturally, disliked his work. But I rediscovered him over Christmas when I read A Christmas Carol and loved it. He is a transcendent writer, especially his descriptions and settings. If this book is half as good as Matt said and can hold a candle to A Christmas Carol I will be well-satisfied.

The 5 Best Books I Read in 2014

These are the books I enjoyed most in the last year. Each of them has had left deeper grooves on my brain and life than any others I read in the same time span. And I enjoyed them all immensely for various reasons.

In no particular order:

4443801) The Princess and Curdie
by George MacDonald

This is actually the sequel to The Princess And The Goblin, but I liked it more. Macdonald is a story teller who influenced Tolkien, Lewis, and Sayers. If you can do that you very clearly can weave a tale worth reading.

 

 

 

Steve_Jobs_by_Walter_Isaacson2) Steve Jobs
by Walter Isaacson

Good biographies are hard to write, as evidenced by how many boring ones there are. Isaacson managed to keep my attention for all 800 (or however many) pages. It helps that Jobs is one of the most fascinating and influential people of the past century. He is not a man to emulate, but he is one we can learn from.

 

 

 

A1nWrSmfRNL._SL1500_3) Facing Leviathan
by Mark Sayers

Leadership books usually aren’t very artful. More often they’re pithy statements connected by chains of principles and lists of to-dos. Sayers turns that on its head with remarkable tapestry of culture, history, theology, personal testimony, and leadership lessons. It is actually a captivating read.

 

 

 

914gSQJSwGL._SL1500_4) The Man Called Cash
by Steve Turner

Johnny Cash is simply one of the most interesting, complex people I have ever read about. This book wasn’t the best written, but the subject was so interesting it kept me turning pages. I became interested in Cash because I love his music and the more I learned of his life, struggles, and faith the more interested I became.

 

 

 

51Ebr46zn0L5) The Effective Executive
by Peter Drucker

When I read Drucker’s classic book I realized where so many other leadership and management books got their ideas. In fact, Driuckers principles are ingrained into leadership literature today most people couldn’t pick them out as his. I recommend this book to anyone – pastor, CEO, entrepreneur, inner aspiring to lead, mid level manager – who has or seeks responsibility over others. Wonderful resource.

 

The Pastor’s Kid: An Interview With Crosswalk.com

PK Cover - flat

Last week I had the pleasure of jumping on Skype to talk about my book, The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity, with Debbie Holloway at Crosswalk.com. Here are a few of the things we chatted about.

  • What is unique about the experience of pastors’ kids that made me feel a book from/for them was necessary?
  • Is the book more for PKs or for pastors? (Hint: it’s not an either/or.)
  • How can pastors and PKs handle the tensions of taking different theological/church paths in life?
  • What can normal church members do to encourage and help PKs and the pastor’s family as a whole?

Crosswalk.com: The Pastor’s Kid Gives a Unique Window to Life in the Church – Barnabas Piper from crosswalkcom on GodTube.

10 Great Biographies Worth Reading

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One of the best ways to grow, both as a person and as a Christian, is to learn from the lives of other men and women. What follows is a list of some of the best biographies out there. Some of the biographies are about Christians, others are not. God’s common grace sparkles throughout the entire world, and we would be wise to learn from Christians and non-Christians alike.

The biographies on this list are either ones that I have read personally or have been highly recommended by people I trust. Get reading!

John Adams –  by David McCullough – A brilliant look into one of America’s Founding Father. Pretty long, but well worth the read.

Washington: A Life - by Ron Chernow – Few men shaped American history like George Washington. This is the go-to biography on the man.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy  - by Eric Metaxas – Bonhoeffer was an influential pastor during Hitler’s reign of terror. He even was involved in a plan to assassinate Hitler!

Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther – by Roland Bainton – What can be said about Martin Luther? He was a Reformer, a fugitive, a writer, a preacher, a Bible translator, and a beer lover. You really should familiarize yourself with Martin Luther.

C.S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet – by Alistair McGrath – I know that some people would recommend Lewis’ autobiography or one of the older biographies, but I enjoyed this one the most.

John G. Paton – The Autobiography of the Pioneer Missionary To The New Hebrides – by John Paton – He was told he would be eaten by cannibals. He went anyway. Enough said.

Jonathan Edwards: A Life – by George Marsden – Jonathan Edwards was the greatest theologian produced by North America, and his influence

Steve Jobs – by Walter Isaacson – Few men have influenced the tech world like Steve Jobs. He was a fascinating man. Driven, obsessive, eccentric, abrasive. This biography is worth the read.

Churchill – by Paul Johnson – You could read a three volume, massive biography on Churchill, or you could read this concise, yet well written bio.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – by Laura Hillenbrand – Not a biography in the traditional sense, but an incredible story nonetheless. This is absolutely one of my favorite books.

11 Books That Changed Me

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Everyone who reads intersects with books at just the right time that speak just the right words in just the right ways to leave an indelible imprint. Sometimes they shape, sometimes they direct, sometimes they lift up, sometimes they inspire, and sometimes they just fill you up. These eleven books, in no particular order, have been such for me.

1) Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey

71zRcrgQ-pLI stumbled in to this book at a time when I wasn’t sure what was next or how to get there. Harvey’s combination of practical wisdom and pastoral counsel was just what I needed. He helped me feel free to pursue great things without the burden of pseudo-humble guilt I had born, that lie that pursuing excellence was a pathway to pride. It was encouraging and freeing.

 

 

 

 

2) The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor

51xFPI8hxbLI could have listed any of several books by Taylor, but this one stands out for the impact it had in helping me learn how to process questions, doubts, and uncertainty. So much of traditional American evangelicalism has little room for these things, but Taylor artfully upholds a high view of God while honestly encouraging exploration and questions.

 

 

 

 

3) Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

51-G8y8Qx+LI don’t necessarily think this is the best of Keller’s books (though I’d be loathe to choose which is), but it’s the one that pierced most deeply when I read it. In his reasonable, methodical way Keller puts his fingers on the idols of the heart and presses. It hurts. But it identifies areas that need addressing so clearly.

 

 

 

 

4) When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett

514-E1YYUoL“Paradigm forming” is not a phrase to be used lightly (or almost ever), but this book deserves it. Fikkert and Corbett entirely dismantle the standard American mindsets toward poor people and charity. In its place they offer a paradigm of need and wealth which shapes missions efforts, outreach efforts, personal relationships, and even one’s relationship with God.

 

 

 

 

5) Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

518ucoc-TPLLove him or hate him, Donald Miller offered a book that broke the thinking mold for many young Christians in the early 2000s. I was one of them, and it was a good thing for me. Miller’s book reframed how a Christian can talk about faith, ask questions, and encounter God. It was a nudge toward a direction of faith I needed.

 

 

 

 

6) Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

41RxoKV8HrLOrthodoxy is sort of like a much smarter and more grown up Blue Like Jazz, at least in its effect on me. Chesterton’s writing and exploration of truth are brilliant. He manages to be both incredibly worshipful and properly irreverent at the same time. It game me something to aspire to.

 

 

 

 

7) Whiter Than Snow by Paul Tripp

31U0ibPO8ULNobody likes to look into their own heart and deal with their sin, but this little book by Tripp is a marvelous and devastating resource for doing so. It helped me at a time I had fallen and didn’t know if God wanted me to get up. Tripp’s reflections on Psalm 51 were just the words I needed to read.

 

 

 

 

8) Letters to Children by C.S. Lewis

51TwTj7CUkLI’ve read almost all of C.S. Lewis works, and this one stands out to me for its sheer sweetness. He was brilliant, had a devastating wit, wrote millions of words, and his sweet letters to children with questions are among the best he ever wrote. The fact that Lewis stayed connected to the realities of real, normal children is what made his brilliance so brilliant instead of being esoteric and useless to the masses.

 

 

 

 

9) A Praying Life by Paul Miller

517ykQMZ10LI’ve known how to pray since I could talk, but this book taught me what it means to really pray. It is such a normal, practical book but so rich and deep too. It helped me actually love to pray instead of just knowing how.

 

 

 

 

 

10) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

715VLP6M-OLI never read this in high school, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve always loved a great story, but Lee’s classic showed me in a brand new way the power of story. I was moved by it. I wanted to be half the man Atticus Finch was. This goes down as my favorite novel.

 

 

 

 

 

11) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

51oSZOESQ6LThe Potter books were my reintroduction as a grown up to the wonder of children’s stories. They were everything a children’s story should be – noble, beautiful, fun, funny, gripping. They reminded me that many (most?) of the best stories are not written for grown ups but for those readers who are unimpressed by anything less than the best.

 

 

 

40 Books Every Christian Should Read (Revised and Updated)

I believe that reading books written by other, wiser Christians is one of the most effective ways to grow as a Christian. But with millions of books available and thousands more being written every year, how can you know which ones to read? In order to help you, I compiled a list of thirty books I think that every Christian should read. This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, and there are many others that should be on the list, but this should get you started.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn – Given the fact that we will spend eternity in heaven, we should know at least something of what it will be like. Randy Alcorn answers many common questions about heaven and paints a biblical picture of what eternity will be like.

Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett – These Puritan prayers will fuel your personal prayer life with their rich view of God.

The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges – What is the connection between God’s grace and our personal pursuit of holiness? Jerry Bidges answers that question.

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges – All of us will go through trials of some sort, and this book will equip you to trust God in even the most difficult circumstances.

Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs – If you find yourself struggling with contentment in your job, marriage, or any other situation, this book is for you.

Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore – Charles Spurgeon was a giant of the Christian faith, and this biography will stir you to love God, pursue God, and trust in God like Spurgeon.

The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made by Mark Dever – The Old Testament can be a very confusing place. In this book, Mark Dever provides a short, yet very helpful overview of every book in the Old Testament, making this a key tool for your personal Bible study.

The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept by Mark Dever – This is another helpful Bible study tool in which Mark Dever provides a short overview of every book in the New Testament.

The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever – Who should evangelize? What should we say when we evangelize? Mark Dever answers these questions and more in this short book.

Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. by Kevin DeYoung – How can you know God’s will for your life? Find out by reading this book.

What Is the Gospel? (9Marks) by Greg Gilbert – We absolutely cannot afford to get the gospel wrong, and this book will help you have clarity on the various facets of the gospel.

According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible by Graeme Goldsworthy – The Bible is more than just a series of books, it’s the story of what God is doing in history. Get an overview of that story in this book.

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem – This is the most helpful theological reference I own. If you have questions about demons, the Bible, church government, the Holy Spirit, or just about anything else, you can find the answer here.

God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation by Andreas Kostenberger – The institutions of marriage and family are under attack in our culture. This book will help you have a biblical understanding of many different issues, such as divorce, homosexuality, birth control, and the role of men and women.

Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney – There are few things more important to God than humility. If you want to grow in humility, read this book.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer – If you want to know what God is like, this is your book. J.I. Packer examines the various attributes of God, such as his holiness, his love, his justice, and his eternity.

Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper – There are few books that have my understanding of what it means to love God than this one. Loving God is more than just duty, it is delight.

What’s the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible by John Piper – Men and women are given specific roles by God. In this very short book, John Piper explains those roles from a biblical perspective.

Finally Alive by John Piper – The phrase “born again” has been blurred and even distorted in our culture. In this book John Piper explains the real meaning of what it means to be born again.

Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace by Gary and Betsy Ricucci – Every married couple should read this book multiple times. In it you will find biblical principles and practices for establishing a healthy, romantic, God-honoring marriage.

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul – This is not a safe book. If you read it you will find yourself trembling before the holiness of God.

Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul – Have you ever struggled with the doctrine of election? In this book, R.C. Sproul dispels common myths about election and shows how it is actually a very glorious doctrine.

The Cross of Christ by John Stott – The cross is the centerpiece of Christianity, and as you read this book you will find yourself amazed at what God has done through the cross and incredibly grateful for the cross.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – As parents it’s easy to simply want our children to behave. However, if we’re going to honor God we must also get to the heart of obedience.

A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent – This little book is a wonderful devotional tool, providing short meditations on the gospel in both prose and poetry. It’s a book that can be read many times.

When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man (Resources for Changing Lives) by Ed Welch – Every Christian struggles with the fear of man, and many times it is a massive struggle. This book is a helpful tool for overcoming the sin of the fear of man.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney – A rich Christian life doesn’t come without discipline, and in this book Donald Whitney examines many different disciplines for the Christian life, such as Bible reading, prayer, journaling, fasting, and solitude.

The Reason for God by Tim Keller – In an age of doubt and skepticism, Tim Keller offers wise, winsome answers to those who are asking questions. Great to give out to unbelievers.

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Tim and Kathy Keller – This is the BEST book on marriage I have ever read. Tim and Kathy Keller are brilliant on this subject, and I recommend that every married and single read this book.

Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God by Tim Keller – This is one of those rare books that is not only incredibly edifying to the believer, but also an excellent book to give out to unbelievers. Keller has a way of mixing pop culture, philosophers, and the Word of God to create a compelling picture of Jesus Christ.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – I could recommend a lot of different books by C.S. Lewis, but this one is probably my favorite. Written as a conversation between a senior demon and a younger demon, it provides fascinating insights into the ways of Satan.

What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage by Paul Tripp – Generally speaking, I don’t love Paul Tripp’s books, but this one is a dandy. It helpfully explores the reality that marriage is both glorious and difficult. It also explores how the gospel touches on all aspects of marriage.

One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World by Tullian Tchividjian – There are times when I need to to be blasted with a fire hose of the gospel. This book is one of the most encouraging books I’ve read in terms of the limitless love of God.

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller – Probably the best book I’ve read on prayer. Encouraging, grace-filled, faith-filled, and not condemning! I pretty much stink at prayer. This book always gets me fired up for prayer.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones – The best children’s Bible out there. Hands down. Get it. Now. Today.

Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace by Heath Lambert – I’ve actually never read this book, but I have heard so many great things about it that I had to include it. Lust is such a massive struggle for so many people that I felt like I needed to include it.

The Complete Collection of E. M. Bounds on Prayer by E.M. Bounds – Every time I read E.M. Bounds, my faith for meeting God in prayer is exponentially increased. If you struggle with prayer (and everyone does), this is the book for you.

Christian Classics: Six books by Charles Spurgeon in a single collection by Charles Spurgeon – You can’t go wrong with Charles Spurgeon. Every book he writes points back to the cross. He bleeds the Bible. You just gotta read Spurgeon.

The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life by A.W. Tozer – This little book packs a serious punch. A.W. Tozer explores the different attributes of God and consistently invites the reader to bow down before the greatness of God. Read this book to grow in your awe of the living God.

The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence by Stephen Altrogge – Okay, I had to include at least one of my books, right? Plus, a lot of people seem to like this book.

 

+photo by ~Brenda-Starr~

Why Would I Review This Product And Not Others? (Hint: Because It’s Awesome)

I don’t normally do product reviews. Honestly, I would rather spend time actually enjoying a product rather than telling others how much I enjoy a product. Yeah, I know, that’s not very community-minded of me. It’s also pretty hypocritical, given that I’m always asking people to review my books (now is a great time, by the way!).

But, when the good folks at LOGOS asked me if I would be willing to review LOGOS 6 in exchange for a free copy, I jumped at the chance. Why? Because…it…is…absolutely…awesome.

LOGOS has pretty much become my go to Bible software over the last several years. Why? Because it can do everything.

I have a large library of books in my LOGOS library. Let’s say that I’m writing a blog post on the love of God, and I want to see what Charles Spurgeon had to say on the love of God. Easy peasy, mac ‘n cheesy (Can you tell that I have little kids? It’s not that obvious, right?).

I open up the book?2,200 Quotations From the Writings of Charles Spurgeon and I do a search on the word “love”.

love

Boom. I click on the appropriate quote, which then opens up the book to that section. I then select the best quote and insert it into my blog post.

Or, let’s say I’m looking for a particular biblical image or map. The “media” search allows me to search all the media in my personal library and online. This is a wonderful tool for someone who is trying to put together a multimedia presentation on a particular topic. Check it out below.

Honestly, I’m barely scratching the surface of what LOGOS can do.

In addition the absolute buffet of fantastic features, LOGOS has an app that allows me to take my full library around with me on my iPhone and iPad. I like using the app in conjunction with my devotional times. Do I need to access to a John Calvin commentary? On my iPad. Do I need access to all of Spurgeon’s sermons? Got it. Do I want to read a particular back issue of Christian History magazine? Got those too. It’s pretty amazing.

So what are you waiting for? Go get your LOGOS on!