Tag Archives: Tim Keller

Double Book Review: “The Meaning of Marriage” & “Is God Anti-Gay”

Book Review: The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Kellertim_keller

Side note: I try to read at least one marriage/husband book per year. If you decide to this, this book would be a great place to start.

The Good:

Have a Good Pen Ready. I found out really quickly I needed to make sure my pen had plenty of ink, because I was underlining like a college freshman in their first class. This was like going through pre-marital counseling, a seminary class on marriage, and a sermon series on the family all rolled up in one. So my first advice to you is to have your pen, locked and loaded.

If you’re married, make room on your shelf. Packed with enjoyable and impactful personal stories and real life examples, this book provides superior insight to the marriage relationship. Additionally, this quite possibly may have the best Biblical support of any marriage book I have read, just incredible Biblical foundation.

College/Young Adults…Peep This! Chapter 7 is an absolute gold mine for college/young adults and anyone that is ministering or counseling this particular age. This chapter is worth the price of admission. Singles as well, you will want to read this chapter.

Spoiler Alert. Not to ruin the book for you, but the principles are life-changing. For example: Marriage should bring glory to God, if not you are doing something wrong. Or here’s another example: You will not be marriage to the “same person” forever – if you are doing marriage right you each will inspire each other to change more like Jesus Christ. GOOD STUFF!

The Bad:

Wordy.  My only complaint was there were a few occasion of wordiness, and could have been more succinct. But even this comment is being a little nit-picky.

The Grade: A.

This may be the best marriage book I have ever read. The combination of Biblical foundation and timeless life principles is difficult to beat. This is well worth the read for anyone preparing for or in marriage.

anti-gay 

Book Review: Is God Anti-Gay by Sam Allberry

The Good:

It’s all about perspective. The author admits to struggling with same-sex attraction. Therefore, the perspective is what makes this book superior. Christian authors can attempt to write these words, but from the pen of someone who experiences the struggles, the weight of the words increase dramatically.  There was truly a balance here. These were determinations and principles that the author truly had to experience and fully believe. Otherwise, it would be a practicing homosexual writing these words, not one who struggles with same-sex attraction. Therefore, the author provides great insight in a balanced approach to the treatment of the gay community and the homosexuality subject in general.

New Insight. Some of the Biblical perspective and groundwork were incredibly enlightening. In fact, there were times where I thought to myself, I never even thought of that, and it makes total sense. The depth from the combination of a Biblical scholar who struggles with same-sex attraction was a lethal combo, in the sense of providing spiritual depth along with a human touch.

Great Ending. Don’t you hate it when you watch a movie that is good all the way up to the end, and it just ruins everything? This book is nothing like that. The ending, especially the words penned on page 83 are worth the price of the book one hundred fold.

The Bad:

One piece missing. It is a short book, so there could always be more you could add. However, one piece that seems to be missing is the interaction with culture. This book dealt more with friends or those attending church, what about engaging culture?   Chapter 5 just needed to be a little longer.

The Grade: A-

Everyone I’ve talked to said this is a must read on the topic of homosexuality. As I said before, this book is written by a man who has dealt with this issue in their own life, and comes to the table with elements that have come out his own personal journey. He truly had to believe what he writes, because it affects his life choices. Additionally, the depth of spiritual insight on the subject was eye-opening. Worth the quick read.

 

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Book Review: Excellence in Preaching

Book Review:  Excellence in Preaching by Simon Vibert

excellence in preachingThe Good:

Bite-Size Candy. Have you noticed how all the favorite candies are going to bite-size now? You can get all your favorite treats in a little bag, all in bite size nuggets. Basically, it allows you to think you are eating less calories, while eating more than you would in a king-size pack. Essentially, that is what happened with this book. I found myself enjoying the “bite-sized” chapters, hoping to just digest one chapter at a time. And I found myself wanting to read more than my original appetite dictated.

Better Preacher Infomercial. You can almost hear in the background as you read, “Will make you a better preacher, or your money back!” You know what, this book could deliver on this promise. It truly holds golden principles that, if you put them into practice, will allow you to be a better preacher.

Come Along for the Ride. Each chapter summarizes sermons from some of the best preachers of God’s Word on the planet (Mr. Vibert, you forget Matt Chandler on this list…think about that for your sequel). The chapters take the strengths of each preacher and teach you how to implement those strengths into your preaching. Also, the author does a good job of keeping balance for the reader, understanding it is not intending to produce clones of these preachers, by following every aspect of their personality and preaching mannerisms.

The Bad:

Can’t Have Just One. It’s like Lay’s potato chips (can you tell I’m trying to eat right this week), you can’t eat just one. Same with the sermon summaries. Many times, the author chooses just one sermon to give illustrations of the preacher’s strengths. In my opinion, the chapters that mentioned other sermons brought more credibility to the instruction.

Pace Yourself. File this in the “not the author’s fault” category. But it would be wise to pace yourself. With the amount of “tips” this book provides, it would be wise to take them in bite-size chunks (again with the food!)

The Grade: B+

Every preacher should at least read the conclusion of the book. In fact, I’ll be sharing with my senior pastor the “12 Things Preachers Do Well” this week. Stay tuned, next week I will give you those 12 tips. You won’t want to miss those.

As I mentioned before, it was a fun ride. To be able to learn from some of the best preachers, and to have someone spell out what makes them good, makes it worth a read. I’ve got a long way to go in my preaching, but this was worth it for the training. I’m blessed to have a mentor to help me in my sermon prep and delivery, if you do not have someone like this, allow this book to mentor you and develop your preaching.

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10 Quick Tips: How to Officiate a Wedding

This past weekend, I had the privilege of officiating/performing/conducting (what is the right word here?) my sister-in-law’s wedding.  The wedding was absolutely beautiful (and not just because it was on a golf course), but had a unique, rustic look.  But you’re not reading this for decoration tips, so I’ll get right to your wedding ceremony advice…wedding

  1. Pre-Marital Pre-vention.  Pre-marital counseling is a must for many reasons, but concerning the ceremony it does these 3 things: builds trust, allows you and the couple to become more familiar, & gives time to discuss the ceremony at your own pace.
  2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. When preparing your wedding template, save yourself some time and email every pastor you know that has done a wedding. Get their templates as a wedding ceremony smorgasbord, without the soft serve ice cream. Mmmmmm, soft serve…sprinkles…what was I talking about again?
  3. Research & Read. Start reading marriage books. Seriously, whether it is “Sacred Marriage”, “Real Marriage”, or “The Meaning of Marriage”…start reading and getting concepts and ideas you would like to have in the ceremony.
  4. In the multitude of counselors, there is safety. GET ADVICE! Make it simple.  What is one thing you wished you knew about doing weddings? What do I make sure to do, and what do I make sure I don’t do?
  5. Prayer. Make prayer an important part of the wedding day. Pray with the groomsmen, pray during the ceremony, and pray throughout that God would be glorified!
  6. Practice Makes Perfect. More on this next week, but the rehearsal is more than just a formality, it will eliminate a great deal of problems. Rehearsal practice is more important than you think.
  7. Don’t be Funny. OK, there may be some weddings that are less rigid and a laugh or two can happen. But whenever you’re tempted to say something funny, don’t! Stick to the script. When writing the script, if you think a joke would be good there, YOU ARE WRONG!
  8. Remember, no one will remember you (and that’s OK!). In talking to other pastors, this was a very common sentiment. What you say is important, but no one is there to listen to you and they won’t remember what you said. But that’s OK, it’s all about the celebration of two lives God has brought together, and the representation it is of Christ and His Bride! Let them remember Jesus.
  9. 3 Ring Binders are Your Friend (Especially Outdoors). I’ll make this quick. 3-ring, 5×8 binder, clear binder pockets, cut script paper into sleeves, place card stock paper in sleeves for easy turning of pages. This set up eliminates problems such as: rain, wind, and flipping of pages.
  10. Short & Sweet. The nice thing about doing weddings is everyone expects the pastor to read from a script. So do that, but time it and make sure it is not too long. Better to be a little short than a little long. Make sure to include the meaning of marriage, the Gospel, challenge to the couple…and then head straight to vows-town.

 

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