Book Review: John Piper’s The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God

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I like going into a book with low expectations – because then when it far exceeds what you think – you are wowed and pleasantly surprised.

I was able to both read/look at the pictures and listen to the CD (of John Piper reading) of The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God yesterday – at a quiet serene lake-front house after a very relaxing day.  Something about books and lakes – could stay there

Anyway, back to the book at hand.

Pictures: compelling – makes the story/poem come alive

Reading: if you like listening to Piper’s sermons – you will love this as he reads one of his poems.

Grace Factor: I don’t think I ever really noticed Job as a type of Christ in the OT.  What an amazing Gospel- picture.  At the end of each book, Piper put in a section about Grace.  The Gospel.  Jesus in the OT.  Thank you Pastor John for pointing that out to us.

“Andnow come, broken, to the cross,

Where Christ embraced all human loss,

And let us bow before the throne

Of God, who gives and takes his own,

And promises – whatever toll

He takes – to satisfy our soul.

Come, learn the lesson of the rod:

The treasure that we have in God.

He is not poor nor much enticed

Who loses everything but Christ.” (pg 26)



1.  Job believed in the plan of God and how it was already made (past tense).  “I yield to what you have decreed.” (p 18)

2. Love James 5:11

3. The reading: poetry (not a great big fan) but hearing him read it and the rightly placed words and hearing each part of the words read succinctly.  Good stuff.  Made it more pointed.

In my top 5 Piper books of all time!


Book Review: Why, O God? (Crossway Books)

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Suffering.  Why?  The book of Job in the Bible answers some questions.  Jesus Himself says we will definitely suffer in this world because He suffered.

But, how are we to respond to suffering and disability within the church?  What does the Bible have to say about our lives and our response to suffering?

In a book edited by Larry Waters and Roy Zuck (I love his teaching/education books that I picked up in seminary) – many authors are brought together to answer some tough questions.  Their attempt to shepherd their readers (pastors, teachers, lay leaders, parents) through these heavy, weighty topics, is biblically-centered and pastorally rich.

I work with a volunteer couple at our church whose desire is to see the disabled children in our church have as much access to the Gospel as those who do not have disabilities.  As we have figured out through recent lectures or books: we all need the Gospel.  We need to make the gospel accessible to all: those with disabilities, those who are suffering, those who are orphaned, those who make 100k a year and are living the American dream.  The Gospel is needed for all!

Joni Eareckson Tada says this truth plainly in her first chapter: “The greater one’s need, the greater will be his capacity.  And the greater the capacity, the great will be one’s experience of the Savior.” (pg 19)

This book covers a wide variety of aspects regarding disability and suffering.  From professional care to pastoral shepherding to personal experience: all wrapped up in how the Bible talks about suffering and disability.  This is what I love about Zuck and Alcorn (who wrote the forward): handling life’s difficult situations with Biblical focus.  The middle part of the book: walking through the parts of the Bible and how each handles suffering and disability: will help give every reader a biblical understanding, a look at God’s sovereignty in everything, and what our response should be.

My friend, Shannon, on her blog says it well: so that the works of God might be displayed.


How Women Can Use The Guide to Biblical Manhood

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I think that may be my strangest title yet for a blog post.  But, hear me out.

I had the privilege of working for one of the authors of this book for almost 3 years.  During those years, I heard him give many session talks at conferences and then got to transcribe those talks.  This helped me remember them and learn them and pray for my future husband.  Dr. Stinson not only can teach these principles and lifestyles, but he really does live them out.

The Guide to Biblical Manhood is based on a class that he and Dan Dumas taught together at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  We had begged Dr. S to teach this class for a while, so I’m grateful that they put it in the lineup.  I hope every male student at SBTS is required to take this class.  Not only does it go through general concepts which apply to all men: but then they break the book down into sections for husbands, fathers, and pastors.  And not all of this book has to do with baseball and hunting – though that is definitely included!  I laughed aloud reading some of the illustrations because I could hear my boss saying them or knew them definitely to be true.  I’m thankful for godly, wise, “older” men in my life, like Dr. Stinson and Dan Dumas, who live out what they teach.

Anyway, so why did I read it?  Well, when I saw it come across Kindle for cheap, I one-clicked it.  I wanted to read it to know how to pray for my now-known future husband.

Here are some principles if you are going to do what I did:

1.  Pray: Don’t NAG.  If you are going to read this and pray these traits for your husband/future husband – then pray, don’t nag.  Many women are very good at nagging about one thing or another.  Men usually don’t respond well to nagging.  But, pray the Holy Spirit would be the agent of change in your spouse’s life and heart.

2.  Encourage.  If you see a trait that your husband lives out very well – thank him for it.  Bless him – be a blessing in his life by affirming God-type things in his life.  If he plans a date night (which this book suggests), don’t gripe because its not your idea of a romantic evening – give him kudos for planning a great night for the two of you.  If he leads in saying prayer at night for the family – don’t fuss because it doesn’t work into your time schedule.  Stop what you are doing and make prayer a priority.

3.  Pray for yourself too.  Pray that you would respond graciously and kindly to these attributes in your husband.  Just as Genesis 3 talks about the woman wanting to gain control in the relationship with her husband…we need to be on guard against the sin of wanting to be in control.


Since I bought this book on Kindle, I don’t have page numbers – and there are too many quotes I “underlined”, but here are a few of my favorites:

“We need men who will shoulder the weight of manhood as God designed it, who will live it out day to day but will incline their manhood toward the Gospel.”

“The pattern and order of creation set in these chapters is for me to bear the authority and responsibility of leadership.  And that hasn’t changed.  If you’re a man, it’s not optional to be a leader.”

“The man will take the initiative to leave his family and go create a new family.  And men have to lead in the initiation because once they form a family, they are responsible to lead the whole thing.”

As I talked a few times with Dr. Stinson about being single and wanting a man who was a leader, provider, and protector – his word of caution to me was that I can’t expect men who have been single their entire lives to be perfect at these three things.  But, they all need to be pursuing these three traits – and the Gospel.  I am grateful for the man that God provided me with.  With God’s help – he is a tremendous leader, provider, and protector.

Thanks Dr. Stinson and Dan.  I appreciate the time and candidness with which you both wrote this and taught this.  I’m excited to see how marriages will change because of this little book.



Book Review: The Deity of Christ

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I truly believe that what you BELIEVE about the deity of Christ will determine if you accurately believe the Gospel.  This book is a good start in helping understand that (outside the Bible of course).

Morgan and Peterson have put together an expert team, both of pastors and professors, who excel at knowing and studying the deity of Christ.  The most incredible chapter is the first one: The Deity of Christ Today.  This chapter could be used to lead a small group on a college campus or for a high school small group discussion in the summer.  They highlight modern films that have a portrayal of Christ and how that lines up with Scripture.  Nichols is skilled at taking the secular and helping the reader see the Christ in it (or not in it).

This book is significant in three areas:

1.  For research.  The last 17 pages are a huge asset to me, especially as I write curriculum: bibliography, subject index, and Scripture index.  So needed – thank you!

2.  For personal lordship.  Christ must be Lord of a believer’s life.  This is crucial to any understanding of salvation.  This book helps you see who Christ is so you can take the accurate, real Christ (of the Bible) and change your life to mirror HIS!  You must start with an accurate view of Christ.

3.  For missions.  I don’t know of any world religion that has a Biblically-accurate view of Christ at the center of its theology or worldview.  Many believe in Jesus – just not the Jesus of the Bible.  This book will help you, read along side Scripture, to know how to counter the views of false religions as you share Jesus with the world.

Christ is not the American Jesus.

Book Review: Redeeming Sociology

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I am grateful for brilliant men who teach at seminaries who write in such a way that is engaging and not so jargon-filled.  That is one of the characteristics of Redeeming Sociology by Vern Poythress (Westminster) that I enjoy the most.  Very engaging, readable, applicable, and understandable.

Poythress starts with the best premise for the book: how to look at the complexity of sociology and relationships: the WORD of GOD.  The sufficiency of all we need for how to live in right relationships with others and with God is found in the Word – God’s very breathed words of life.  Starting in Genesis and following through to the end of Revelation – the Bible is about relationship.  Relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.  Relationship with husband and wife.  Relationship with parents and children.  Relationship with friends.  Relationships to authority.  Relationship to the world and missions, evangelism.  Poythress hits on all of these with the same guideline: the Bible has the answer.

The Gospel heals what sin has torn apart.  Relationships are hard because of sin.  God wants to bring them into harmony and that is only accomplished by the Gospel.  Similar to Paul Tripp’s book Broken-Down House, Poythress also believes that the Gospel holds the answer to what ails our relationships.

So, if you are in any relationship at all, I would suggest picking up this book.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised and how applicable it is to your daily life and ministry.

Book Review: Give Them Grace: Elyse Fitzpatrick

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Top 3 parenting books: EVER.  Give Them Grace.

You don’t even need to be a parent to sit and just drink in the focus on grace in this book by Elyse and her daughter.  I finished it being encouraged in my personal life and also more to want to be a parent one day and how hard that task is going to be!

Elyse focuses on grace: that undeserved richness that God has given to us through Christ by His life, death, resurrection, and glorification.  All He has we have: His righteousness and holiness.  How important it is that we live in this reality – in our daily lives and men and women, and also in how we parent. 

Elyse is doctrinal and theological in this book: but she also gives you very practical conversations, prayers you can pray for your children.  One of the conversations I heard recently while attending a parenting seminar was “who really thinks of these things in the heat of disciplining your child – when they are throwing a temper tantrum?”  That is true – but that is where grace first needs to be applied to your life as a parent – to my life.  Then to our kids’ lives!  Even in the heat of the moment when they are screaming because they didn’t get to play the last game on the Wii.

I underlined so much in this book: but I’ll just pick out the good ones.

“Every way we try to make our kids good that isn’t rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law.” – pg 36

“Every responsible parent wants obedient children.  But if we’re confused about their ability to be good, we’ll end up lying to them about their desperate lostness outside of Christ.  We’ll tell tehm they are good and that they can obey God’s law.” – pg 47

“Yes, God commands us to train our children, but care needs to be taken that this training doesn’t morph into something more important to us than God Himself.” – pg 56

“The humility that acquiesces to being led, managed, and trained flows out of an understanding of one’s own lostness and a growing understanding of and trust in God’s great offer of life.  Only the good news of the gospel produces a truly submissive humility of heart.” – pg 86 – I thought this also applied to work relationships and marriage relationships.  Really any relationship: if we choose to live our Philippians 2.

“Management charts may help you run the home more smoothly.  They may also become your god.  Management is simply your effort to control outward behavior.  It is not meant to get to the heart, although a child’s obedience to the outward rules may be evidences of faith.  Every parent has to manage her child’s behavior.” – pg 89 – What is your end goal in your home management?

Anyway…you get the drift.  Elyse does a great job at engaging her readers and pointing them to the Son. 

So, for every parent, person in ministry who works with parents, people who might be parents one day, people who just like kids – or anyone who knows parents or kids.  I think that is everyone! 🙂  Go buy this book when it comes out! 

Thanks Elyse and Crossway!

Art, Culture, & Jesus

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This past Friday night I had the opportunity to attend two lectures centered on Christ and the arts.  It was really neat to see how the two went back to back, different venues, and were so perfectly tied together.

Makoto Fujimura spoke at Duke Divinity School on his work of The Four Gospels for Crossway.  Bruce Ashford, from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke at First Baptist Church of Durham’s Disciple Now Weekend.

Mako’s work on The Four Holy Gospels is astounding.  If you haven’t seen this short video of his work on this project, watch it.  His understanding of theology is much deeper than I would have ever given him credit.  Here are some takeaways from the 90 minute lecture and Q/A:

“Why don’t we stop trying to find everything wrong with contemporary art or culture and highlight what is right?”  I think Christians have a tendency to knock anything that is possibly different.  Fujimura’s art isn’t my primary style, but it is still beautiful and exquisite.  It is still done for the glory of God.  We as a Christian, conservative subculture (if you will) definitely have our opinions and would almost rather tear down culture and art rather than see the beauty in it – knowing that all beauty originates from the Beautiful One.

“The antidote for anxiousness in Matthew’s gospel: use your senses.  Glimpse the eternal purposes of God.”  He was referring to the passage that says do not worry, look at the lilies, look at the birds.  On a conversation on the way to FBCD, I was talking about this comment.  How the lilies don’t even have a brain to be able to worry if they are going to grow or not, the birds just fly and nest and eat, etc.  Can we live in that much dependency upon our great God or do we have a natural way of leaning on ourselves and fretting.

The speaker settled on John 11.  I took much away, but one thing I wanted to share here is about compassion.  Jesus’ compassion: he meets us where we are, takes us where He wants us to be.  My prayer: Teach me Lord to be more compassionate, to know people, to be a studier of people’s hearts, not just what I want them to be.   This takes listening more than speaking, gazing instead of passing quickly, hearing instead of running thoughts through my head.

Best takeaway of the night, and still need to ponder this thought and revel in its beauty: “Restrictions and limitations actually give you more freedom.”  I am thoroughly enjoying this right now.  Anxiety doesn’t creep in as much.  But, such mornings as this, I need to be reminded of who God made me and what His Son did for me on the cross.  I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks.

On to Bruce Ashford…few miles away from Duke Divinity, lecture 2.  Dr. Ashford is a friend, husband to Lauren, dad to two little (cute, adorable) girls.  He loves to speak on this topic of engaging the culture with the truth of Christ.

He spent about 25 minutes going through the metanarrative of the work of God in the world (creation, fall, redemption, new creation).  This set his stage for everything else he was going to talk about as the evening progressed.

How is fashion, food, photography, writing, and music all grounded in the meta narrative of the Bible?  He said all art finds its answer in the meta.  The meta shows a strikingly beautiful truth on every part of life.

How did sin corrupt: “spirituality, morality, rationality, creativity, relationality.”  Every one of these relationships are marred and scarred by sin.

Society is made up of families.  Genesis 1-2 says we are to build families, grow families – of worshipers.  Only problem with this is that we tend to grow families of worshipers of other things than Jesus.  What are we training our families to worship? (More on this later for my job.)

“Basis of every question in the world can be answered in the meta.”  God’s truth resounds to everything.

“All beauty should guide you back to the one who is most beautiful.”

Bruce gave 4 criteria for judging art:

1.  Technical excellence.

2.  Validity (is the artist true to himself)

3.  Content

4.  Integration of Content and Vehicle

How do you study art?  How do you anticipate and participate in art?  How are you an artist?  How do you see God in art?


Thursday Thoughts: Gentleness

posted in: Bible, Books, Women | 0

You know some of those statements that are said to you at a point in your life that stick with you?  Whether they be good or bad, you always remember them?  Those cutting words, those words of joy and praise, those wounding words.  Well, about 10 years ago I heard some words spoken to me that have been cutting ever since.  Not all the time, but at certain moments I remember them, and God at least allows me to use them for my good now instead of my harm.

Those words were: “Kim, one thing you are not is a gentle and quiet spirit.”  Ok – now.  After reading that, think through it biblically – where that is one thing Scripture commands women after God’s own heart – for them to be gentle and quiet.  This probably is in the top 3 statements that have hurt me over the course of my life.

So, how is God using this statement even today.  He grows me.  He strengthens me.  He enables me to not let that statement have control and wounding power over me, but allows me to use that statement for His glory by allowing the Spirit to sanctify my heart and spirit.

Am I there yet?  Good gracious, no.  But, here are some thoughts I read this morning on the subject by my favorite author, Jerry Bridges.

In The Practice of Godliness, Bridges talks about gentleness as being a person where people find rest.  Basically, do people find rest in your presence or not?  As I even wrote last week that I want my home to be a place of rest for people, a place of quiet and enjoyment for people, I also want my presence to be that way.  When people are around me, when they leave me – who are they?  Are they rested?  Are they encouraged?  Are they pointing more to Christ than they were before they got to me? Do I press them into the gospel or do I drag them away from the gospel with my spirit?

“Christ’s whole demeanor was such that people were often restful in His presence.  This effect is another outworking of the grace of gentleness.  People are at rest, or at east, around the Christian who is truly gentle.”

“George Bethune said, ‘Perhaps no grace is less prayed for, or less cultivated than gentleness.  Indeed it is considered rather as belonging to natural disposition or external manners, than as a Christian virtue, and seldom do we reflect that not to be gentle is isn.”

Gentleness is a gift of the Spirit – it is not a personality trait.  we are giving these and therefore should back away from sin in order to manifest these.  We quench the Spirit when we do not manifest gentleness.

Style…clothing…accessories…I read many blogs.  But, how often do I stop to think about “clothing myself with gentleness.” (Col 3.12).  When I awake in the morning I’ve usually at least pondered my outfit for the day – but have I thought about how I’m going to display gentleness with the people I deal with and meet that day?  Usually I’ll answer that question – no.

How does being around gentle people affect me?  I can think of a men and women in my life who display a great deal of gentleness and kindness.  I LOVE being around them.  I come away from them rested, more joyful, and relaxed.  Not busy.  Not hurried.  I love that.  That is what I crave and desire.  I desire rest and ease in relationships.  Comfort, gentleness, kindness.  Me being around those type of people makes me want to be that way.

So, I should study Christ more.  I should study and see how Christ is gentle.  Jesus gives rest.  I want to be like him in my relationships.  Thankful for people in my life who manifest already (though imperfectly) the gentleness of Christ.  I am grateful that you are pouring out that grace in my life.  For however long I know you – know that you have invested in my life.

You take wounds: and make them whole.  That is the salve of Christ and His Word and His covering with His own precious blood shed on Calvary for me.

“The Christian who truly seeks to obey God through gentle character will actively pursue gentleness, striving to close himself with it.  He will place this godly virtue high on his list of spiritual traits and LOOK TO GOD the HOLY SPIRIT to PRODUCE this fruit in his life.  We should also ask the Holy Spirit to make us aware of specific situations in which we fail to act with gentleness and considerateness.  Only then will we be driven to pray fervently for the grace of gentleness.”

What books have you read on gentleness that you think would be good to offer for the discussion?

Book 7 of 52: No Other Gospel (Josh Moody)

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Commentary and Gospel to preach to yourself: does it get any better?

Josh Moody, pastor of College Church in Wheaton (which I love by the way, just the city, the college, the grounds), took his sermons from Galatians and poured it into a readable, short-chaptered, book you can read in a month (as long as the month has 31 days). 

His only goal is to give a hard look at what it means to live our lives by ONE GOSPEL: The Cross, what the Bible says the Gospel is – and not let anything else interfere with that.  He succeeds.  The first couple of chapters were so highlighted I knew this would be a book I would pour into for years, and use readily as a resource when writing or studying or speaking at a conference, etc.  Such depth and insight.  Both scholarly and pastoral.

“We are practical atheists if we limit God’s usefulness of us to our personality.  God did not greatly use Paul because he thought Paul had all the right credentials.  It was not “Oh, Paul, he knows the Bible and has good connections, let’s get him.”  No, it was the religious terrorist.  How unlikely is that?  God delights to take unlikely people and user them because then the focus is on God, not on the unlikely people.” – 16

In thoughts of planning worship services: “When we plan, it is the Bible that must guide.  Our worship must be Bible-centered in order to be God-centered.” – 17

Just in case you ever wonder what you had to do with your salvation: “Our salvation does not start with us.  We do not initiate the process.  We did not come up with the plan.  We did not start it.  God did.” – 25

These are but a small taste to the rich truths that Moody brings out of Galatians into sermons and then puts them in your hands as a tool for you to know the gospel better.  Use this as a secondary source when studying/memorizing/learning Galatians.  It will be a blessing to your soul and life and ministry.

Top Books

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Libraries are so fun to look at.  Man, I could spend days reading or looking at others’ libraries.  They inspire.  They encourage.  Yes, the libraries themselves, but also the books themselves.  They inspire thinking, writing, and action.

I will be ultra spiritual and say my Top Book ever is The Bible – but I’ll leave it with Colossians 3:16

Top Books for Women/Wives (all of these are in no particular order unless otherwise stated)

1.  Helper By Design – Elyse Fitzpatrick

2.  When Sinners Say I Do – Dave Harvey (great book for pre-marital counseling)

3.  Feminine Appeal – Carolyn Mahaney

4.  Radical Womanhood – Carolyn McCulley

5.  Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye – Carolyn McCulley

6.  Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild – Mary Kassian

7.  Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God – Noel Piper

8.  Biblical Foundation for Manhood and Womanhood – Wayne Grudem

9.  Sacred Influence – Gary Thomas

Here are my top authors – so you could really read this to say:  anything by these authors are in my top books!

1.  Jerry Bridges – yes, my favorite author – EVER – fave book is Respectable Sins

2.  John Piper – his Swans series is my favorite

3.  D. A. Carson

4.  Paul Tripp – ANYTHING

5.  C. S. Lewis – Narnia and the 4 Loves

6.  Mark Driscoll

7.  Wayne Grudem

8.  Carolyn Mahaney

9.  Carolyn McCulley

10.  Elyse Fitzpatrick (hands-down favorite female author)

11.  Mary Kassian

Now for some random books:

1.  No Other Gospel – Josh Moody

2.  Valley of Vision

3.  Mortification of Sin – Owen

4.  Esther & Ruth Commentary by Duguid

5.  Journals of Jim Elliot (and anything about his life)

There you have it – what are your fave books or top authors?  And yes, I’ve only highlighted my “Christian reading”.  I also love cookbooks, biographies, history, magazines, Jane Austen, classics, and John Grisham, and Charlie Brown!