Tag Archives: David Platt

Book Review: 10 Who Changed the World

Book Review:  10 Who Changed the World by Daniel L. Akin

The Good: 

The Stars.  The stars of this book were the missionaries.  Men and women that I admire greatly.  Incredible stories of dedicated faith through hardship, persecution, and even martyrdom.  Missionaries who took the Gospel where it needed to go.

They Said It.  The author went to great lengths to provide quotes from the missionaries themselves.  From personal letters, journal entries, and other documents were used to give the reader actual missionary quotes.  Powerful does not even describe the words.  As some quotes were taken just moments before the missionaries were killed.

Biblical.  While the biographies of these missionaries were remarkable, the Biblical basis for their legacy was what held the book together.  Each missionary story was assigned a passage of Scripture that weaved through their life story.  This was a perfect touch by the author to make sure the glory is given where glory is due.

The Bad:

Read with a little excitement (audio book only).  Ok, confession time…I didn’t actually read the book.  I listened to it on audio book.  Obviously, the reader was a professional and there was never any mistakes, pauses, or interruptions.  However, there was little enthusiasm.  As a pastor, if I would have read some of these pages, I could not help but raise my voice.

The Grade:  A-

Wow.  It was a word that I would say out loud as I listened to these powerful stories of legendary missionaries of yesterday.  If you want a book that will inspire you to share the Gospel, you can start here.  I could not wait to get in my car for more stories of missionaries being faithful to their call.  What is amazing, the missionaries were often quoted as what they did as no big deal.  They each saw it as the calling of any Christian, to follow where God leads and share his precious gift of salvation with others.  To them, it was a privilege to give their life to such a call.

 

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Book Review: Follow Me

Book Review:  Follow Me by David Plattfollow-me

The Good:

Don’t Skip the Intro. Maybe it is a habit from your high school days of skipping the introduction of your book report book, so you could read the entire book by the next day…but I would suggest to break that habit with this book. Francis Chan provides a powerful testimony in this introduction that you do not want to miss.

Storyteller Extraordinaire. This dude can tell a story. One of the best storytellers I have read. He takes you into the story and you do not want to leave. Using personal stories and illustrations, these stories are powerful enough to make this book come alive.

Preach it! You can tell Platt is a preacher. His one-liners throughout the book give you chuckles and also elbows to your sides. Also, there were times where you can almost hear the pulpit being thumped (in a positive way) as he brings it! Chapter 7 is an example where you want to scream “you tell ‘em” or “amen”.

The Bad:

He, not he. You may think this is nitpicking, but not for me. When referencing the Creator God, you must capitalize the pronouns referring to Him. See how I just did it there. In this book, grammatically correct or not, it needs to be done.

The Grade: A. Seriously, you will love Jesus more after reading this book. It is some powerful and motivating material. If you are not motivated to share Jesus with others more after reading this book, you either need to check your spiritual hearth, or check your physical pulse! I strongly recommend this book to rejuvenate your love for the Gospel and your desire to share it with others.

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Review Time – Movies, Books, & Curriculum

Grab some popcorn, your milk duds, and a large coke (unless you live in New York City, then it would have to be a large water and add sugar later)…because it’s time for some reviews!

Let’s begin with book reviews, because if I started with movie reviews, you may stop reading this article:

Move – by Hawkins & Parkinson

An interesting concept – take a survey of churches across the country varying in size, denomination, and landscape…and see who is successful in developing Christ-followers and what is done to develop those Christ-followers.

The Good:  As I said in the summary of the book, it certainly is an interesting concept.  Church leaders should read this book to gain a better understanding of what works in developing Christ-followers.  The people at Willow Creek were humble enough to admit there were some parts of their model that failed or fell short.

The Bad:  Did not need to be as long as it was.  Could have been reduced, partly because the charts that were given told you the story and the verbiage explaining it seemed repetitive at times.

Recommendation:  Worth a look.  The research is valuable to any church.

Sacred Marriage

Could it be that personal holiness is a higher priority than happiness in marriage?  How can drawing closer to the Creator make me draw closer to my spouse?  This book has the answers.

The Good:  Let me put it this way, I can already see a difference in the way I treat my wife as a result of the principles in this book.  It is a great teaching tool to understand communication, how to treat your spouse, and most importantly, how your relationship with God will affect all the above.

The Bad:  That I didn’t read this sooner in my marriage.

Recommendation:  But it.  Read it.  Allow your marriage to enjoy the benefits.

Radical

What if the “American Dream” is ruining the “American Church”?  It is time for a radical faith that Jesus calls for in the gospels.

The Good:  What a challenge.  It takes you from feeling comfortable to feeling convicting.  This book provides some powerful illustrations and challenges that take you to task.

The bad:  Some of it seems a little out of reach, and could cause some confusion.  I hate to say anything bad about Dr. Platt and this wonderful book, but I could see some younger in the faith seeing poverty as righteousness, and you need to be careful in making that comparison.

Recommendation:  If you want to be challenged, then read it and let it change your heart.  If you don’t want to be challenged, keep reading Calvin & Hobbes.

 

Movie Reviews

Courageous

Sorry, I am a little late to the party here.  We just recently showed this movie at our church, and man was this a powerful movie.  I know I was the first to pick up my kids from the children’s ministry after this movie!  What a challenge to parents and grandparents.

The Good:  It got to the heart of the issue in our families, the need for the fathers to step up.  It was challenging, convicting, and heart-warming.

The Bad:  It doesn’t have a Hollywood budget, so I should cut it some slack, but the acting at times was a little robotic.  Getting better though!

Recommendation:  A must see for Fathers.  Christian films are getting better and this should help erase some of the stigma that has been created from some previous films.

The Avengers

All of the latest comic book heroes in one place, and in the same summer as the Spiderman and Batman movies…I might as well start riding my bike down the block, get my Super Nintendo out, and start wearing tube socks again…because I feel like a kid again.

The Good:  The action was non-stop, and the storyline was very well done.  Loved the humor that was built into many of the scenes.

The Bad:  Could always clean up the language, but overall was pretty clean.

Recommendation:  If the box office ratings tell you anything…

 

Curriculum

re:View -by Cedarville University

Students need to understand how to engage culture, while maintaining truth.  How do you accomplish this balance and what is culture teaching?  Some good questions and answers for this series to tackle.

The Good:  The clips are well-done and Dr. Brown’s teaching segments are dynamic and informative.  If you want your students to influence culture, instead of allowing culture to influence them…then this is for you.  This gives you a great tool to allow for some incredible discussions and helps prepare students for life outside the church.

The Bad:  You need creativity or it could become a routine.  With an DVD curriculum, you need to change up the routine so the students stay interested.  For example, don’t show both clips everytime or at the same time.

Recommendation:  This is a tool I have been looking for…something that allows students to engage their culture and promote quality discussions with their friends that lead to the gospel.  Walking out of this series, the students will be more prepared for the real world and their culture.

 

Hope this helps guys.  As always, love to hear your feedback from what you are reading/watching/using.

 

 

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Gospel Invitation…invite or not invite, that is the question

Let me do a little prefacing here.  I am all for the gospel, sharing the gospel, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in hearts, and allowing that response to happen.  However, I have seen many articles and books written lately on the following:

  1. Luke-warm Faith – Crazy Love, Not a Fan, Radical…all are speaking against the luke-warm faith.  These happen to be 3 of my favorite books, and they do a great job at convicting the lackadaisical Christian, if there is such a thing.
  2. Easy-Believism – There is a growing worry in evangelical circles that easy-believism is easily-a-problem.  I’m on board here.  It’s not a simple prayer and your saved…it’s a…more on that later.
  3. Christian-ese – Be careful using words like “ask Jesus in your heart” or “saved”

(Examples of these articles can be found here, here, and here.)

So what is the solution to the problem.  One of my biggest fears is allowing someone to believe they are a son or daughter of God…and they get to heaven and get “Depart from me, I never knew you”.  That scares me to death…and I believe that is a healthy fear.  But what do we, as youth pastors, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, and parents do or not do in our Gospel invitations.  Well, I may not have all the answers, but here is a start:

  1. Don’t Be Their Assurance – It is not your job to be their assurance.  So it does no good to say “If you said that prayer, then you are a Christian”.  Sorry, but you don’t have that right to say that.  Only God knows their heart.  But you can point them to verses like John 5:24, I John 5:13,  or John 10:28-29 to find their assurance in their great God!
  2. Don’t do the Raise Your Hand Thing – Listen, I’m okay with raising your hand if you made a decision…but DON’T STOP THERE.  Provide counselors or small group leaders to follow up.  Follow up with the decision, make sure they understand, and welcome them into the family of God with instruction, guidance, and a new Bible.  Provide them with someone they can meet with on a weekly basis to go over the first steps of faith.
  3. Don’t Be Ashamed of The Gospel – The gospel is offensive.  You are telling people they are sinners and their ultimate destination is hell if they don’t do something about it.  Now, I don’t suggest opening your message with that statement, but don’t tiptoe around it either.
  4. Let Jesus be the Main Character -I recently shared a gospel message with about 70 students.  I asked some of my students the next week how the conversations were going with their friends.  One said they have had several spiritual conversations at the lunch table.  YES!  Another said his friends thought I was really funny.  NOOOOOO!  Illustrations, humor, and engaging the audience are good…but don’t let it get in the way of the star…Jesus Christ.
  5. Remember Your Job – Your job is to the set the table.  Don’t force people to say a prayer and see how many did so you can feel like it is a success.  Salvation is a life-long, life-surrendering, life-altering commitment of trust and faith in Jesus Christ.  It’s not just a prayer!  So, give them the gospel, sow the seed, and let Holy Spirit do a work in their hearts.

This is something that God has been convicting the snot out of me.  The Gospel is the best news anyone will hear in their entire life, and I don’t want to screw it up.  These are some lessons I have learned along the way…I would LOVE to hear what God has taught you.

 

 

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