Book Review: “30 Minutes to Raise the Dead”

I just reread Bill Bennett’s excellent book called Thirty Minutes to Raise the Dead:  How You Can Preach Your Best Sermon Yet — This SundayIt reminds me of the two preaching books written by Jerry Vines because, like his books, it was well written and practical.  It is a very easy read if you are a pastor, but extremely helpful.

In the book, Bennett discusses Faris Whitesell’s 7-part definition of expository preaching.  Here are the seven parts:

Expository preaching must….

  1. Be based on a passage in the Bible, either short or long.
  2. Focus on the primary meaning of the passage.
  3. Relate the passage’s meaning to its context.
  4. Search for the timeless truths in the text.
  5. Organize these truths around one central theme.
  6. Employ the rhetorical devices of explanation, argumentation, illustration, and application to apply the truth of the passage to the hearer.
  7. See to persuade the hearers to obey the truth presented.

If you are a pastor and have not read Bennett’s book, find one and read it.  It is a little difficult to find, but you can click on the title above and find one at Amazon.  The book will be a blessing to you.

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Book Review: “The Civil War in the Big Sandy Valley”

I have always been a little bit of a Civil War buff.  I really don’t know much about the Civil War, but today I read John David Preston’s book called “The Civil War in the Big Sandy Valley of Kentucky.”  The Big Sandy region discussed in the book includes the following four counties:  Pike, Floyd, Johnson, and Lawrence.  Since I grew up in Floyd county and lived and worked in Pike county, I was particularly interested in this particular Civil War info.

You will find the book interesting if you are from the Big Sandy area.  You may find it interesting if you are from other parts of Kentucky.  One of the most prominent skirmishes took place near Prestonsburg on Middle Creek.  The two Civil War commanders involved were Col. James Garfield and Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall.

You can read more about this particular battle on the Middle Creek National Battlefield website.  You can also download an interesting brochure from their website about Eastern Kentucky Civil War battles and skirmishes.

If you know of other Civil War books that you would recommend, please share them here.

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BOOK: “Eternal Security, Can We Be Sure”

I believe that once a person becomes a genuine Christian, they can never “lose” their salvation.  They are saved by grace and they are kept by the power of God.  Along that line, I recently read Charles Stanley’s book Eternal Security: Can We Be SureIn the book, Stanley shares about growing up in a Pentecostal Holiness Church that did not believe in the eternal security of the believer.  Not only did the church not believe that a person that is saved is always saved, they often preached against that doctrine. 

Stanley’s book is well written and the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer is strongly supported.  The book is understandable and written to a wide audience.

Do you believe that you can “lose” your salvation?  Well, so did Charles Stanley!  But in the book, he documents how he came to believe differently when he began to dig into the Scriptures.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of eternal security, I believe the book will be a blessing to you.  Pick up a copy today and decide about this doctrine for yourself.

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Favorite Bible Translation

Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about different Bible translations.  As most people my age, I cut my teeth on the King James BibleThe last decade or more I have been reading and preaching from the New International Version.  I love both translations, but they are very different.  The King James takes a word-for-word (formal equivalence) translation approach while the New International Version is a thought-for-thought (functional equivalence) translation.

In the last few years, two new, scholarly translations have been published. One is the Christian Holman Standard BibleThis Bible is a combination of a word-for-word and a thought-for-thought translation.  I have read quite a bit from this translation and I find it a refreshing and accurate approach to the Scripture.

Another recent and excellent translation is the English Standard VersionThe ESV is a word-for-word translation in the tradition of the King James Version.  It has quickly become a highly accepted translation by scholars and casual readers alike.

Check out these translations and let me know what you think?  Let me complete this post by asking the following question:

Which Bible translation do you prefer?

Here’s a link to a great radio broadcast by Dr. Albert Mohler about the best Bible translations.

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Greg Jacob’s New Book

Greg JacobsI want to give a shout-out to Greg Jacobs, one of my friends, on his new book called To Be Continued:  An Ordinary Man On An Extraordinary Journey.  Greg is a talented writer and a passionate follower of Jesus. 

For information about how to purchase his book, you can check out his personal website.  Here’s a quote from Greg about his book:

This is a Christian Living book that encompasses my personal testimony in life and what God has taught me over the last 35 years.  It is aptly named, as I believe that God wants to “Continue” His work in us on a daily basis.   I pray that you will take the opportunity to read this book, as it has a little something for everybody.  I address such topics as Grief, Marriage, Addictions, Pride & Image, Perceptions of Jesus, Spiritual Growth, etc…  At 125 pages it is an easy read that is full of spiritual wisdom and insight from our Maker.  I hope you enjoy this book, as much as I have.

I sure hope he gives me a cut from the sale of his books since I’m promoting it here…..I won’t hold my breathe.

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Book: “A Different Gospel”

CopelandI’ve been reading A Different Gospel by D.R. McConnell.  The book takes a bold and revealing look at the biblical and historical basis of the Word of Faith movement.  The book began as McConnell’s master’s thesis when he was a student at Oral Roberts University.  McConnell himself is a Charismatic pastor, so this is an insider’s look at something he finds unbiblical and heretical.

McConnell says that today’s Word of Faith preachers (Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, Fred Price, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Creflo Dollar, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, etc.) base their doctrine on the works and teachings of Kenneth Hagin.  Hagin based (some say plagiarized) his doctrines on the works of E.W. Kenyon.  The real bombshell in the book is that Kenyon based his teachings and beliefs on what he was taught in college, at the hands of teachers who were Gnostics and Christian Scientists.  Although Kenyon was sincere, his theology was not biblical from the very beginning.

I personally believe that many of the Word of Faith ministers are sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.  In effect, they have changed the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to include Gnostic and Christian Science teachings.  Paul clearly warns:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
Galatians 1:6-9 (NIV)

McConnell’s book is not an easy read,  but it is imperative that every believer be informed about the Word of Faith message.  You can also read a lot about Word of Faith with a simple Google search.

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Book: “Running with the Giants”

maxwellI just completed John C. Maxwell’s book, Running with the Giants. Maxwell spent a couple of years of his Bible reading focusing on Old Testament heroes. In his book, he shares what he believes these Old Testament heroes would want us to know about life and leadership.

The book was interesting, but rather predictable. Like most pastors, I have preached on the heroes mentioned in the book and made many of the same observations in my sermons. I recommend the book, but don’t expect this book to reach the level of some of the other Maxwell leadership books.

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