Grant us, O Lord, to know that which is worth knowing,
to love that which is worth loving,
to praise that which can bear with praise,
to hate what in thy sight is unworthy,
to prize what to thee is precious,
and, above all, to search out and to do what is well-pleasing unto thee;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
-Thomas A Kempis
A short while ago, I came across this post by David Powlison:
What words can I say to you when your life is hard and you are hurting? If we were face to face, I probably wouldn’t start with words at all. I would want you to talk when you are able. I want to know you, what you are going through, what it is like for you, and how you are doing. Simply being present and conveying that tears, heartache, and confusion are valid would probably be more helpful. Many wise Christians have commented that Job’s counselors did well until they opened their mouths (Job 2:11-13), and I certainly don’t think there is some magic word that will make everything better.
But when it comes time to say something, I might say this: Jesus is a most sympathetic friend, fellow sufferer, and Savior. He has walked a hard road. He has felt his own anguish and crushing pain (Isaiah 53). He understands. He is compassionate toward you. By the comfort of his presence and sympathy, he intends to draw you out and draw you to Himself.
I encourage you to go to him and speak to him. There is something about our ability to find words to express what we’re experiencing that makes a genuine difference. A wise Christian of many centuries ago said, “To open one’s heart to one’s friend—it doubles our joys and cuts our griefs in half.” I have found this to be true. Sharing a joy really does double the joy. And of course, sharing heartache never takes it all away — but there’s something about speaking to someone who truly cares about you that soothes your wounds. You are not alone.
The psalms, which are so full of heartache and so full of faith, often start with simply giving voice to the experience of suffering. As they do, it’s significant to notice that they don’t simply cry out in a scream of pain. They cry out to God who hears, who cares, who draws near, who helps. We can speak to our God. May you cry out to our God. He calls you his friend. He deeply cares for you. He is your Savior. Trust Him. He has walked down this road before you. He promises to walk with you in this.
And I might say one more thing. Suffering must be walked through one step at a time. Be honest. Don’t take any shortcuts. Let each day’s trouble be sufficient for that day. Seek your Father. If you seek him, you will find him.
As the forward to this book admits, leadership books abound. Christian leadership books abound. So what makes this book unique? What does it add to the already crowded field of leadership literature?
Several things caught my attention. First, it is a theology of biblical leadership. The essays in this book focus upon what various portions of scripture have to say about leadership. Each essay focuses on a book or section of the Bible. Some chapters are very specific (e.g. Ch. 18 - A Model Leader: Leadership in Nehemiah); others are more broad (e.g. Ch. 20 - A Concept Study: Leadership in New Testament Greek). In the forward, Ronald Hawkins says, “More dangerous and disconcerting is the realization that all too frequently books on leadership that become very popular advance views on leadership that are totally antithetical to the clear teachings of scripture.” The books seeks to steer clear of that error.
Second, I appreciate the sound theologians who were recruited to contribute to this work. Names like Tremper Longman, Stanley Porter, Bill Mounce, Andreas Kostenberger, Benjamin Merkle and others jump off the page.
Finally, this book is geared toward pastors and ministry leaders but is not inaccessible to the layman as the chapters are relatively brief and the Greek and Hebrew are transliterated.
If you are looking for a popular-level book to breeze through as you’re dozing off at night, this is not that book. But if you’d like to dig deeper into what the scriptures say about leadership, this is a solid volume to turn to.
Note: This book was provided free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
Theology is crucial for the church to rightly understand and worship God. As regularly as I can, I encourage believers to study the deep truths of God’s Word and be willing to expend the mental and spiritual energy necessary to understand Bible doctrine. Topics such as God’s sovereignty, justification or the authority of Scripture do not belong to academia along but are pertinent to a Christian’s walk with Jesus Christ.
If knowing theology is important, teaching it is as well. And that’s where Gregg Allison’s book comes it. This book, like none other that I’ve come across, succinctly summarizes 50 Christian doctrines and helps the teacher understand how to clearly communicate these truths. For a summary of Bible doctrines, I often turn to J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs. While Allison’s work certainly won’t nudge Packer’s out of my library, I do really enjoy the layout (something Baker Books does not always do well), the teaching outline and resource recommendations provided in Allison’s volume.
Each of the 50 chapters begin with a helpful summary of the doctrine followed by bullet points of the main themes and a list of scriptures supporting that topic. Each chapter is composed of three sections: