Book Review – Preaching with Accuracy: Finding Christ-Centered Big Ideas for Biblical Preaching (3/6)

Books on preaching generally falls into two camps, one that is primarily more theoretical or the other more practical. I have found this book to the on the more practical side, which I found was very helpful to me.

Preaching with Accuracy: Finding Christ-Centered Big Ideas for Biblical PreachingSo far, I have read about 3-4 books on preaching. Much of these books talks about the more theoretical side of things. Often after reading these books, I go away agreeing with what has been said but also with a wonder of how I can really preach better. Randal E. Pelton has written this book to fill this gap.

Within the book Pelton wants readers to preach Christ-centered sermons, but he does not just shows the readers the importance or reasons for it, he shows them how this can be done practically. In essence, this really is a short book on simple exegesis and sermon preparation. Pelton teaches pastors with simple skills that works for every sermons, but always keep in the context in mind.

Pelton reminds pastors that 3 contexts should always be in mind when preparing for a sermon. The textual context, the immediate context and also the canonical context. The book  is littered with helpful illustrations and exercises that helps to drill in the principles used within the book.

I foresee that new preachers will find this book extremely helpful.  Those who finds it hard to prepare sermons from texts will also find this book extremely helpful in their sermon preparation. In fact, if you wish to teach simple exegesis, this book will also be helpful. I hope seminaries would consider using this book to teach the “how to” for their homiletical lessons.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping).

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – The Wonder Working God (10/2)

There are many books that focuses on the parables of Jesus, but I don’t quite recall any books that focuses on the miracles of Jesus. And that is why this book is a breathe of fresh air for christians. It reminds us about on one aspect of Jesus that we may often overlook.

The Wonder Working GodFirst, Jared Wilson highlights to the readers how this generation do not really believe in miracles anymore. We are “too smart” for any miracles. Thereafter he comes to define the meaning of the word miracle, he narrows it down to it being supernatural, and it being a preview of what the world will be. In addition, the aim of miracles is always to glorify Jesus. With that. Wilson brings the readers through 9 different miracles.

In each of the miracles, Wilson brings out the context of the miracles, explains the meaning and also brings out application to the readers. Many a times, Wilson challenges the readers with the application of the text, making this book not only good for growing in understanding, but also in applying the text.

I found the explanation of miracles being a preview of what heaven to be very attractive, although this was the first time I had read about this. I also found this book very readable. I think the main audience of the book would lay christians who wants to grow in their knowledge of the miracles of Jesus, or just want a good dose of bible teaching in general. I have found these teachings to be helpful and applicable, and would recommend you to read it too.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Songs of a Suffering King (10/10)

One of the hardest things for a preacher to do is to find Christ in all of Scripture. This difficulty lies not in the text itself, but in the preachers themselves. As we are reminded from the story of what happened when Jesus walked with the disciples to Emmaus in Luke 24. We see how Jesus had no difficulty in trying to explain how all of scripture concerns him rather it was the disciples who were slow of heart!

Songs of a Suffering KingThe Psalms, in my opinion are one the of the most overlooked books in this aspect. John Fesko has written an excellent book to cover this gap. In this book, Fesko shows the readers exactly what the Psalms are: Songs. Next, Fesko is always careful to exegete the passage in it’s original context and bringing out it’s application from there. Finally, Fesko brings out Christ, not by force but naturally from the text. This is where Fesko really excels in this book. He is able to help readers see how each of the Psalm, from Psalm 1 to 8, is directly link to Jesus!

So within each of the chapters, Fesko expounds of the psalm faithfully and biblically. Although personally I not agree with the flow proposed by Fesko from Psalm 1 to 8, I do see that Fesko is able to link each of them from to the another and each from the context of David, and then to Jesus. Fesko should be applauded from his valiant effort! This is no easy feat to say the least. One can only lament that Fesko has not continued for the next 142 psalm. I highly recommend and anticipate Fesko to carry on this series so the whole of the psalms would be covered. And I recommend pastors to give this a thorough read, see how each and every psalm can preached in context and also be connected to Christ. One of the clearest books on how Christ can be seen in the psalms so far in the market currently, this is truly Christ-centred preaching at its’ finest.

Rating: 4.75 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – Recovering Redemption (12/9)

Although on the outside this particular book might not look very impressive, you really ought NOT to judge this book by it’s cover. It has been a long time since I’ve read such a book that has been so clear on the gospel and also on the need for repentance.

Recovering RedemptionMatt Chandler and Michael Snetzer has written such a book that really helps the reader to see their need for the gospel, their need for sanctification and the need to fight for joy in the christian life. Chandler and Snetzer first gives starts at creation and the fall, then they move on to 4 different ways many have tried to salvage the situation and shows plainly why they ultimately fails, then they move on to the one who can solve this situation — Jesus.

The following chapters that follows really are a discipling process where several doctrines are taught and practical issues in the christian lives are considered and discussed. Many of them had very good examples that really brings out what the doctrine mean (I especially liked the illustration the used on sanctification). Practically, the authors also dealt issues like guilt, anxiety, fear, reconciling, forgiving, etc… and were all taught biblically and practically.

After I read this book, I can’t help but think of how I can recommend others to read this book. It’s really a great book. My only complain would be a lack of discussion questions. Although the contents of the book is really excellent, one wonders if those who are not as exciting about their faith would even bother to read it unless someone else was encouraging and discussion with them about what they have learnt. No doubt, it could be argued that everyone with such a burden would have thought about their own discussion questions on their own. Yet, I do think the book would be better served if the readers discusses about what they had learned in each chapters.

This book, I think will be a classical in the future, for it’s practicality and also the faithfulness of biblical teaching. I would recommend anyone who wants to really know about their christian faith or wants to grow in them to read this book.

Rating: 5 / 5

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Here’s a video trailer for the book.

Book Review – 1 Samuel For You (17/8)

If you grew up listening to bible stories I’m sure you would have heard before of the story of King Saul and King David. However, when was the last time you heard them preached in the pulpit? For myself, I probably can only remember 3 instances where the sermon was from 1 Samuel, but none of them pointed me to Christ. So it was refreshing to see that Tim Chester had written a commentary that’s extremely readable and insightful for all christians.

1 Samuel For You1 Samuel isn’t particularly difficult book to understand, but many a times when we fear to read the bible text carefully or if we do not have a working knowledge of the original languages there’s many things that we will miss out. That’s my initial response when I was using the is commentary. It is remarkable that Chester has never tried to put out a Hebrew word or phrase, but he simply just tell us what the word means, which is sufficient for most christians.

Readers must not expect this book to be a verse by verse commentary , rather it takes blocks of 2-3 chapters (at times) and explains them in the context of the book, and also helps the readers see how each and every part of the book points us to Jesus. Chester is really able to show us how he derives his main points through the exegetical work he has done, yet Chester has the gift of being to lead the reader see how he has done his exegetical work without using any technical jargons or being too abstruse. Also, Chester is able to help readers see the link of how characters or situations in 1 Samuel are pointers to what Christ will fulfil/has fulfilled in the New Testament. Although I do not agree to all his allusions, I agree what he has been doing is a fine example of showing Christians how they should read their Old Testament, with one eye one the historical context, and with other of how Christ is ‘hidden’ in it.

This is really a book I foresee I will recommend others to if they want to have a deeper understanding of 1 Samuel. I foresee that pastors and cell group leaders will find this resource to be exceptionally helpful not just for those they lead, but also for themselves. Chester pull no punches in this book, and often confronts the readers with very apt application that will force the readers to reflection hard on their own lives about what they have learnt.

Rating: 4.75/5

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.