When I started my dissertation, I knew that it would be hard to keep myself productive and motivated on a year-long, self-planned schedule. What I didn’t realize until recently was that the key to keeping myself on that schedule was not to plan monthly deadlines, but to manage my hourly productivity each time I sat down to work. I’d sit down for an afternoon of research or writing, hit a block (obstacles are everywhere in a dissertation!), and spend 2-3 hours chasing bad leads, looking for distraction, or just staring and waiting for inspiration. Apparently, even a 4 hour block of time is too long for me to be left unsupervised! Enter 30/30.
How People Change answers the perennial question, “How do I really grow as a Christian?” Lane and Tripp identify a major problem in Christianity: church life, Biblical preaching, and knowledge of God often are disconnected from actual change in behavior and lifestyle (ch 1). After identifying this gap, the authors examine several common “solutions” to this problem, but point out how those ideas fall short or lack essential biblical truths (ch 2). They then orient the book by pointing the reader clearly at Christ’s image by emphasizing our hope in future salvation (ch 3) and our certainty in our present union with Christ (ch 4). After offering this essential hope, they give the needed reminder that relationships with other Christians are key to seeing change (ch 5).
Reading the Bible on my iPad is my new favorite way to do regular reading and meditation. I look for two things in a Bible app: a clean display of the text (without notes / links / distractions) and the availability of help if I want to read more. I also appreciate an app that can track my Bible reading progress and remind me to follow my plan. I’ve found some good apps that give the simplicity of focusing my eyes on the text alone, allow quick access to notes and cross-references if I want to study, and help me track my Bible reading progress.
The Trinitarian view of preaching presented in The Supremacy of God in Preaching (John Piper) gives a clear God-ward focus to this part of ministry. The goal is God’s glory; the foundation is Jesus’ cross-work; the power is the Holy Spirit. Also, the pairing of gladness and gravity as the two essential things to communicate is a useful guard against both externalism and flippancy. Throughout the book, exhortations to an earnest preaching ministry abound, filling out the practical counsel with solid motivation.
Dr. Robert Bell’s book The Theological Messages of the Old Testament Books contains a wealth of information and serves as a useful resource for Bible students at both the intermediate and advanced levels. The book begins with an introduction to the discipline of biblical theology and an explanation of the book theology method utilized in the content chapters. Following this introduction, Bell presents the theological messages of the Old Testament books in thirty-three chapters (combining Judges & Ruth; 1 & 2 Samuel; 1 & 2 Kings; 1 & 2 Chronicles; and Obadiah, Joel, & Zephaniah). The book concludes with four appendices (bibliography of book theologies, sermon on a theological theme, sermon on a book theology, and a chart of each book’s theme) and an author index.
]Last night, SoundForth presented its latest CD in the Bible Conference premiere concert. God of Mercy is an excellent collection of new and old hymns sung and played by the BJU Singers & Orchestra.
Scott Aniol of Religious Affections Ministries recently released a CD of vocal solos and duets called God Himself Is With Us. This CD of worship music focuses on what God has done to save sinners and how saved sinners should respond to God. As a whole, the music is meditative and clear; the arrangements quietly complement the thought-provoking texts.
God gives gifts to men and men glorify him by excelling in those gifts – whether they’re saved or not. All people bear God’s image (marred, yes, but God’s image nonetheless) and when they reflect his creativity and beauty and joy through musical talents, that brings glory to their Maker.