Archive for December, 2017


I like recommending books to people, but they have to be good books. As someone has said, “Life is too short to waste on bad theology.” There are times when a short answer will suffice, but not always. Good books can help us go deeper into a subject and give perspectives we may lack.

Basic Christianity, by John Stott, is one of those good books that takes us deeper and gives an in-depth explanation of what Christianity is and isn’t. Originally published in 1958 (and since updated), it has become a classic. The book serves an as introduction to Christianity for the inquirer and a good reminder for Christians who want to brush up on the basics.

Who is Jesus? Stott answers the question by focusing on the claims, character, and resurrection of Jesus in part one. Part two deals with man’s need – the fact and nature of sin, and the consequences of sin. The third part of the book answers the question of the work of Christ. What He did is explained through His death and the salvation it brings to sinful man. In the fourth part, Stott explains man’s response to what Christ has done: counting the cost, reaching a decision, and being a Christian.

This is a good, well-written book. It also fits another of my criteria – it’s under two hundred pages. (That’s not a hard and fast rule, but the vast majority of books don’t need to go beyond two hundred pages.) Read Basic Christianity yourself and give away copies. You’ll be glad you did!



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This morning, I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 2. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: The one who submits to the kingship of Jesus Christ is blessed.

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Jesus is the final prophet, obey His word.

Jesus is the ultimate priest, trust His intercession.

Jesus is the final lamb, trust His sacrifice.

Jesus is the good shepherd, follow His lead.

Jesus is the conquering lion, fear His roar.

Jesus is the eternal King, bow before Him.

(Garrett Kell)

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Dan Gannon of Renton Bible Church preaching on Psalm 98. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah whose coming brings joy to the world.

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One of your parents may have said to you, “How many times do I have to tell you this?” I know I heard it growing up, and many of you have said it to your own kids.

Why is repetition necessary? Because we forget. We don’t remember everything we’ve ever heard and we definitely don’t put it all into practice.

God tells us over four hundred times in His Word not be afraid. Isaiah 41:10 is one of those places: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” 

He tells us four hundred times because we forget. Yes, we read and hear His promise. But shortly thereafter, when we face uncertainty or anything anxiety-inducing, we forget His precious promise and begin to fret.

The promise of God isn’t simply strength, help, and upholding, as wonderful as all of those are. God promises Himself to us! The presence He gives is Himself — the omnipresent One who is present with His people in a special and intimate way. The strength He gives is Himself — the One who is omnipotent. The help He gives is Himself — the God who is able. The upholding He gives is Himself — the God is faithful to His covenant promises.

What, or whom, do we have to fear if God gives us Himself? Let’s not forget that.

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