Jonathan Edwards--Reflections 300 Years Later
John Piper & various authors
Summary: A great little booklet that covers the life, thoughts, ideas and practices of Jonathan Edwards. Many of his
personal resolutions are also found within these pages.
Personal Thoughts: I LOVED it! I learned a lot about this Puritan that I didn't know. I learned of some of his quirks and was impressed of his high thoughts of God. The fact that God is greatly glorified when we enjoy Him greatly, repeatedly leapt off the page.
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
Summary: A woman tells her journey from being a post modern feminist lesbian to a Reformed, homeschooling, Christian mom. As a professor and popular speaker for gay activists, the ripples that this change caused were enormous. She proves how 'messy' conversion was for her--her entire identity was overhauled. But she continued to read, she wrestled and she believed. As a result she is deeply convinced of Reformed theology. Praise be to God!
Personal Thoughts: This book puts the onus on Christians. When we pray for the lost do we really know what this means? Are we willing to shed our cloaks of self righteousness to walk beside the lost? Do we really believe that the blood of Christ is the same required atonement for all?
Summary: Jonathan Goforth's wife writes of her experiences as a pioneer missionary in China. They had many hardships but won many fields for Christ. They travelled often, buried sons and daughters, battled disease and lived in appalling conditions at times. And yet God was so faithful to them and blessed their work immensely.
Personal Thoughts: First, I love Rosalind's perspective. It is not often that one gets to read a story from a missionary wife's perspective. Second, it took a bit to get used to her style--all the stories kind of run together which makes it hard to tell when one ends and the next begins. Third, this book has prompted me to hunt down another book entitled 'Goforth of China' to know more of this amazing couple.
Spurgeon--A New Biography
Summary: A well written, very readable account of the Prince of Preachers--starting with his childhood, continuing with his rise to the pulpit and finishing with an extensive overview of his work as a seasoned preacher. There is an excellent overview of all the special projects he undertook such as the children's home, the Pastor's college and the almshouses. This book also spoke much of Mrs. Spurgeon's work in the shadow of the great Tabernacle.
Personal Thoughts: Thus far, this is certainly the best biography I have ever read on Spurgeon. It is not at all tedious as other biographies can be, and while thorough, it still travels at a pretty good pace. This book is honest as you read of Spurgeon's struggles, trials and even bad habits. Depression was no stranger to this man of God. It's a simple book with huge impact. I particularly loved reading about Spurgeon's sincerity and wish I could mimic that in even a small way.
Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies
Janet & Geoff Benge
Summary: The true story of a young man, far from Christ, who goes on a bombing mission to Japan. He ends up having to bail out of his plane and gets captured by the Japanese. The next 40 months are spent in various prisons, with much of his time spent in solitary confinement. Eventually Jake is given a Bible and becomes a Christian. After his release he determines to return to Japan as a missionary.
Personal Thoughts: The first 2/3 of the book was very good. After that, it became quite repetitious. But I would definitely read something like this to my 10 year old son.
Son of Hamas
Mosab Hassan Yousef
Summary: The true story of a Palestinian in his war torn country. Mosab is the son of a popular religious leader and face of the well known terrorist organization Hamas. Mosab becomes a spy for the Israelis and ends up finding Christianity. Wanting to detach himself from all the evil and turmoil that he is tangled in, he finally gets out and finds a quiet (although poor) life in the United States.
Personal Thoughts: Well, this is quite the read. Humbling indeed. Also a great eye opener to the issues in the Middle East. As Christians I think we're almost too afraid of the political/religious turmoil in that area to really reach out to our brothers and sisters who currently live there.
God's Double Agent
Summary: The true story of a pastor who taught English in a military communist school by day and faithfully
shepherded the flock at night. An eye witness to the massacre at Tiananmen Square and imprisoned for his activities, Fu eventually made it to the States where he is an enormous advocate for the persecuted church in China. Fu brings many awful truths to light in a country that appears Westernized--especially in regards to human rights.
Personal Thoughts: I did not know that China still persecuted the underground church. The fact that there still is an underground church in China speaks volumes. Chinese authorities have done a masterful job in obscuring these details. Also, I was incredibly impressed at what George W. Bush did for persecuted Chinese believers. You do not often hear these types of details regarding world leaders.
Brother Andrew with John and
Summary: Told that is was impossible to minister behind the Iron Curtain, Andrew knew there was nothing too hard for the Lord. Crossing 'closed' borders he would often pray, "Lord, in my luggage I have Scripture I want to take to your children. When you were on earth, you made blind eyes see. Now, I pray, make seeing eyes blind. Do not let the guards see those things You do not want them to see." This is a tremendous story (always been one of my favorites) which introduces you to oppressed churches and Christians in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Hungary and one man who felt burdened to place the Bible into the hands of Christians who were denied one.
Personal Thoughts: This book gives a great overview in a biography format of the different trials that beset the churches in eastern Europe. And the story is just fascinating. When the author describes his journeys and
experiences it makes me want to join him in meeting these oppressed brothers and sisters. How can one not be greatly moved when they read of how a congregation shares one Bible, or weeps to hear when a congregation is touched to know they have not been forgotten by fellow Christians in the West.
Excerpt: Peroff took me over to his desk. On it was an ancient typewriter with a sheet of paper in it, and next to the typewriter a Bible, open to Exodus. "Three weeks ago I was extremely lucky," said Petroff. "I managed to find this Bible." He showed me a second volume on the small dining table. "I got it for a good price too. Only a month's pension. The reason it was so cheap is that the books of Genesis, Exodus and Revelations have been cut out and--"
"Why?" I interrupted.
"Who knows? Perhaps to sell. Or perhaps to make cigarettes from the thin paper. "At any rate," Petroff went on, "I was lucky enough to find it and have the money to purchase it. Now all I have to do is fill in the missing parts from my own Bible--and I have another complete book! I ought to be finished in another 4 weeks."
"And what will you do with the second Bible then?"
"Oh, give it away."
"To a church in Plovtiv," said his wife, "where there's no Bible."
I wasn't sure I understood. No Bible in the entire church?
"Certainly," said Petroff. "And there are many such churches in Rumania and Russia."
My sense of excitement mounted. I could hardly wait to show Petroff the treasure I had waiting for him in my car.
That night I drove up to the apartment, checked the street to make sure it was empty, and then took inside
the first of many, many cartons of Bibles I was to deliver to this man over the years. Petroff and his wife watched me put the box on their one table, their eyes wide in frank and open curiosity.
"What's that?" Petroff asked.
I lifted the top and took out a Bible. I put it in the trembling hands of Petroff and another into the hands of his wife.
"And...and in the box?" Petroff asked.
"More. And still more outside."
Petroff closed his eyes. His mouth was working hard to control the emotion he was feeling. But two tears rolled slowly out from between his closed lids and fell on the volume in his hands. --page145, 146