Archives For Books

I am preaching this morning and unfortunately I will not have time to share this story. This story illustrates the theme of my message “Adorning the Appearing” perfectly. Read this now to get a sneak peek to the purpose of today’s message.


Though the gospel I learn not only of the saving works of God on my behalf, but I also learn that one of God’s key purposes in doing these works is to put me to work myself.

The Bible tells me that when Christ redeemed me, He did so in order that I might now be “zealous for good works.”(Titus 2:14) When God “works” in me day by day, He does so in order to produce in me the desire and the power to “work for His good pleasure.”(Philippians 2:12) Indeed, though I am saved by grace and not by works, I am God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that I would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Being naturally lazy, I do not normally thrill at the prospect of work; but the more I embrace the saving work of God on my behalf, the more I find myself embracing the works for which God saved me. And as I am “working hard” at doing these works for the good of others, I experience the truth of Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:34) I also find myself saying with Christ, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:32-34) Indeed, gospel-motivated works do for the soul what food does for the body. They bring refreshment, enjoyment, blessing, and strengthening to the doer of the deeds, even more so than to the receiver. Hence, the fact that God has prepared such works for me to do becomes a part of what makes the gospel such great news to me.

Preaching the gospel to myself each day not only reminds me of the love of God for me, but it also reminds me of the love of God for the works that He has saved me to perform. When I see the Cross, I see the premium that God places on the works that He has prepared for me. How valuable all of these works must be if Christ would die so that I might now perform them! And how precious are those for whom these works are done if Christ would die that they might be served!

– Milton Vincent A Gospel Primer


Is your faith childlike or childish?

the Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies

For some reason the picture of this twitter account pops into my mind when I think about spiritual discernment

I tend to think spiritual discernment is for old people who need standards in their lives. Or I think discernment is for legalists who love discerning for everyone else how they should live their lives. Spiritual Discernment is the practicality part of our Christian lives. It is where the rubber meets the road. The problem with us is we don’t care to look to make sure the rubber is actually making contact with the road for all we know we could be burning out. Lack of discernment in a Christian’s life is no joke and in this case ignorance is not bliss. Just living your life waiting for the Lord to direct your sword to the door like you are Inigo Montoya in Princess Bride is not the way a mature Christian lives.

Here are few points from Tim Challies book that I found particularly poignant.

  1. Lack of Discernment is Proof of Spiritual Immaturity
  2. Lack of Discernment is Proof of Backsliding
  3. Lack of Discernment is Proof of Spiritual Death

The first point about Spiritual Immaturity is the one I deal with on a daily basis. I deal with teenagers who are by nature of their age, immature. Some are more mature than others but that is what you get in high-school and in fact all of life. We all know that spiritual maturity (or any kind of maturity for that matter) doesn’t come with age. Hang out with teenagers and a few of them may surprise you. Take for instance the readers of Hebrews. The author did not feel he could fully dispense to them the full truth because they could not handle it. They were still weaning on the milk and couldn’t handle the meat. Yet the book of Hebrews is still far to complicated for our short attention spans.

Heb. 5:11-14 11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

“Ultimately, the scripture makes it plain: if you are not a person who exhibits and exercises discernment you are not a mature Christian.”

The recipients of this letter were like many Christians today who think that theology is a waste of time. What difference does it make, people ask, whether God is a Trinity or not, whether Christ’s righteousness comes by imputation or infusion, and whether regeneration comes before faith or after? What is important, they say, is that we get along with each other. Then they cite passages commending a childlike faith, as if that were the same thing as a childish faith, that is, one that is indifferent to or ignorant of the Word of God. — Richard Phillips

The cool thing about this whole thing is that we will never have it all together and we’ll never be able to figure it all out on our own through our own strength. Thankfully, God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us. It is only through his direction we will find our way.

The good news: discernment is proof of spiritual life. Life means change. Changed more and more into His likeness made possible only through the Spirit’s power. Thank-you Jesus for perfecting your good work in us.

I invite you to please take a minute to read down through this information provided by Phil Johnson’s book The Leadership Paradox. This information can help you evaluate your own effectiveness as a leader. Young or old we all have a responsibility to make sure we are crossing the generational gap and reaching to those who may think differently from us. As we all know maturity doesn’t come with age and so doesn’t understanding.

There are five generations that coexist: Seniors, Builders, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials.

“Talkin bout my Generation”

1. Seniors: Born in 1926 or earlier

– old, 80’s

-This generation sacrificed and safeguarded freedom from the perils of WWII.

2. Builders: Born between 1927-1945

– WWII and the Great Depression impressed this generation negatively and positively – nothing is ever wasted
– favors longer jail time and stricter laws
– Right is right and wrong is wrong, without much patience for those who “rock the boat” and go against the flow.
– “Til death do you part” meant they might contemplate killing their spouse before they’d actually consider divorce.
– favor more structured classrooms with clearly defined rules.
– the idea of giving “partial credit” is an anathema to this group
– BLIND SPOT for this generation of leaders is a lack of flexibility and some difficulty in seeing the need to understand others, especially holding the standard and expressing understanding for the individual.
– Builders need to seek balance: holding the standard and expressing understanding for the individual.

3. Baby Boomers: Born between 1946-1964

-first generation largely influenced by television
– the new value of “getting along and playing well with others” was an important baby boomer ideal
– Vietnam was a big part of their shaping and therefore they question authority
– They also question authority.
– every answer could have a range of correct answers.
– School students began to argue perspectives.
– Truth didn’t need to exist outside of one’s own perspective.
-Instant gratification marked this generation’s consumer habits
– debt soared
– live the good life (because your parents paid for it in WWII)
– Summary of generation: Lots of plastic, lots of debt, lots of pressure, lots of soul-searching, lots of the “pursuit of happiness” (i.e. selfishness) and lots of divorce and broken families.
– BLIND SPOT: Baby Boomers can’t fathom a world without them–and are not inclined to develop others. (no wonder the next gen is a little darker and edgier)
– HELPFUL HINT: recognize your tendency to forego development and start purposely investing in the next couple of generations.

4. Generation X: Born 1965-1983

– other names include the Baby Busters, MTV Generation, Postmoderns.
– they hate just about everything.
– they grew up in a world where their parents were chasing their American dream–often at the expense of their children.
– work to live not live to work
– viewed at the most deprived, neglected group of young people in America, created by rising divorce rates and two-income “power families.”
– sharper skills of individualism and survival but struggle with deep feelings of abandonment
– they love informality , love casual dress, love to come in late and leave early
– this group of survivors is very pragmatic: asking questions like “Is this going to be on the test?”
-BLIND SPOT: they tend to come across as resentful and a bit uncommitted, especially to those who are in authority above them and those who measure work ethic a bit differently.
– HELPFUL HINT: you need to look beyond surviving and should set personal goals that transcend endurance and that take on greater meaning and purpose.

5. Millennials: Born between 1984-2003

– expected to be the longest living, best educated, wealthiest, and most wired/wireless generation ever
– their parents are determined not to repeat the mistakes of their parents(the Baby Boomers) and instead flood their children’s lives with attention and optimism
– parents are now: super-moms and dads and “soccer moms and dads”
– everyone became over-scheduled and over-busy. (soccer practice, music lessons, acting, modeling, and sky diving– nothing is too much.
– freed from bitterness even though 1/3 live in broken homes
– less promiscuous than previous generations and have chosen to follow a stricter moral code (although this statistic could be skewed due to the change in the definition of morality created by their parents.)
-more interest in honesty and integrity
– morality decline and intellectual decline
– intellectual free fall
– 57% of Millennial-aged students scored “below basic” for their grade level
– 41% of teenagers surveyed could correctly identify the three branches of government but 59% could identify the Three Stooges by name
– digital age is rewiring their brains to encourage short-term recall at best and ignore remembering anything long term
– reject absolute truth
– feel as if all ideas are equal and are highly tolerant
– BLIND SPOT: we young Millennials can feel strangely accepted by the world and by God without actually understanding what it takes to be accepted or successful by the standards of either.

A note to leaders: if you are going to be effective you must transcend your own generation.


– Information from Phil Johnson’s The Leadership Paradox

Mark Dever supplied his own annual reading schedule entitled a “Canon of Theologians” that looks like this:
January – Early church writings (1st-3rd centuries)
February – Augustine (354-430)
March – Martin Luther (1483-1546)
April – John Calvin (1509-1564)
May – Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)
June – John Owen (1616-1683) and John Bunyan (1628-1688)
July – Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
August – C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
September – B.B. Warfield (1851-1921)
October – Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
November – C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) and Carl F.H. Henry (1913-2003)
December – Contemporary authors like John Stott, J.I. Packer, Iain Murray, R.C. Sproul and John Piper
I want to take this challenge this year but I am scared because I know I will almost certainly fail. And because this quote is all too true:
Erasmus: “When I get a little money I buy books: and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
Unfortunately, after this Annual Bible Reading Challenge, I won’t have any money left…
J.I. Packer – Knowing God – Selective clips from Chapter 20

To many Christians, guidance is a chronic problem. Why? Not because they doubt that divine guidance is a fact, but because they are sure it is. 

They know that God can guide, and has promised to guide, every Christian believer. Books, and friends, and public speakers, tell them how guidance has worked in the lives of others. Their fear, therefore, is not that no guidance should be available for them, but that they may miss the guidance which God provides through some fault of their own. 

This is me. When it comes down to finding God’s will for my life, to often I am looking for a shooting start to point the way. I know God can communicate but I am anxious that it won’t be obvious and I will miss the direction.

Belief that divine guidance is real rests upon two foundational-facts: 

  1. The reality of God’s plan for us
  2. The ability of God to communicate with us.

Has God a plan for individuals? Indeed He has. He has formed an ‘eternal purpose,’ a plan for the fullness of time, in accordance with which he ‘accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will’ (Ephesians 3:11, 1:10, 11). 

Moreover, Scripture contains explicit promises of divine guidance whereby we may know God’s plan for our action.

‘I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you,’ says God to David (Psalm 32:8)

Earnest Christians seeking guidance often go wrong about it. Why is this?

Their basic mistake is to think of guidance as essentially inward prompting by the Holy Spirit, apart from the written Word. 

This class of problems concerned with what we may call ‘vocational choices’–choices, that is, between competing options, all of which in themselves appear lawful and good. Examples are: should I contemplate marriage, or not? should I marry this person, or not? should we aim at having another child? should I join this church, or that one? should I serve God in the land of my upbringing, or abroad? which of the professions open to me should I follow?

This is me again. I hate having choices. Some people I know love making decisions about everything in order to customize every part of their life. Some want to jailbreak their phone so they can choose so many other options and I personally say I like it the way it is. When it comes to finding God’s will for my life their often seem to many choices and so many turns and in order to avoid having to make a U-Turn I better make the right turn. I like the way J.I. Packer puts this next phrase for life.

The idea of a life in which the inward voice of the Spirit decides and directs everything sounds most attractive, for it seems to exalt the Spirit’s ministry and to promise the closest intimacy with God; but in practice this quest for super-spirituality leads only to frantic bewilderment or lunacy. Hannah Whitall Smith writes of the woman who each morning, having consecrated the day to the Lord as soon as she woke: would then ask Him whether she was to get up or not,’ and would not stir till the voice told her to dress. As she put on each article she asked the Lord whether she was to put it on, and very often the Lord would tell her to put on the right shoes and leave off the other; sometimes she was to put on both stockings and no shoes; and sometimes both shoes and no stockings; it was the same with all the articles of dress…


The biggest mistake of all is the failure to grasp that the fundamental mode whereby our rational Creator guides His rational creatures is by rational understanding and application of His written Word. 

The true way to honour the Holy Spirit as our guide is to honour the Holy Scriptures through which he guides us. The fundamental guidance which God gives to shape our lives– the instilling, that is, of the basic convictions, attitudes, ideals, and value-judgments, in terms of which we are to live–is not a matter of inward promptings apart from the Word but of the pressure on our consciences of the portrayal of God’s character and will in the Word, which the Spirit enlightens us to understand and apply to ourselves.

The Spirit leads within the limits which the Word sets, not beyond them. ‘He guideth me in the paths of righteousness’ — but not anywhere else.



Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World

Do you relate to God as if he exists to further your selfish ambitions or are you convinced that you exist to glorify him? Are you trying to live without God? Iain Murray describes this way of thinking:

Worldliness is departing from God. It is a man-centered way of thinking; it proposes objectives which demand no radical breach with man’s fallen nature; it judges the importance of things by the present and material results; it weighs success by numbers; it covets human esteem and wants no unpopularity; it knows no truth for which it is worth suffering; it declines to be “a fool for Christ’s sake”. Worldliness is the mind-set of the unregenerate. it adopts idols and is at war with God. 

Are you at war with God?

If not what is your heart like?

You see worldliness is not simply externals but rather a matter of the heart.

For that’s where worldliness is. It exists in our hearts. Worldliness does not consist in outward behavior, though our actions can certainly be an evidence of worldliness within. But the real location of worldliness is internal. It resides in our hearts.

Oftentimes, we seek to define worldliness as anything or anyone involved with today’s culture. But culture is not worldliness. As soon as one mentions this there is often an immediate chance for people to take offense. However, “the conflict often reveals a wrong focus on externals.”

Yes, it is true conduct often reveals the intent of the heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” But your judgment of others conduct does not always ring true with the Bible. You pass judgment on someone’s differing external behaviors but you miss the beam in your own eye. When inclined to judge, first stop and check your motives. Is your heart motivated by love? Is your heart motivated with kindness? Is your heart motivated with an intent to restore? If so judge and confront, but if not, back off and get your own heart right first. Worldliness is not a clothing style or a music style but rather it is an arrogant confident love for something that is dying. We must seek to confront those who are loving the world but be cautious not misjudge someone’s “culture” because it is simply not our own.

The idea and quotes came from the below mentioned book.
Book suggestion: BUY THIS BOOK: (click the link for information) C.J. Mahaney’s book called,  Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World

Are the ways of Old Evangelism dying and moving onto other motives and methods?

How do you do it (Evangelism)?

” In fact, have you noticed how fewer people are coming to Christ these days in our church? In my opinion, that’s because we’ve been trying to convert people the old way, a way that doesn’t work any longer. People aren’t feeling guilty about their sins, and they’re not interested in hearing about forgiveness because they don’t feel the need to be forgiven. And furthermore, as I’ve tried to emphasize, they’re not impressed with our truth because they’ve got their own truth that they believe to be just as good.”

So what are you telling us? That there’s no more evangelism? Ted asked.

No, I’m not saying that at all. But there may be new ways to evangelize and to do church. The old way is becoming obsolete and ineffective.”

– page 65-66 from Who Stole My Church by Gordon MacDonald


1. What do you think?

2. What are the new ways to do evangelism?

3. How do you go about it if you are a traditional church moving into the 21st century?

I would love some feedback and help. 

the Explicit Gospel

jordantmoody —  July 12, 2012 — 3 Comments

This is the new book I am currently reading. It is simple and yet profound all at the same time. I have heard the gospel many of times and oftentimes it becomes old to me. One point of the gospel that he mentioned in this book really stuck out to me this time.

Matt Chandler says, “What if the Bible isn’t about us at all? What if we aren’t the story of God’s revelation?”

We aren’t all we think we are cracked up to be. The gospel is not about us and has never been about us. God is not lonely in need of fellowship from us and that is certainly not the reason he sent His Son to die on the cross for us. The reason behind the gospel is God glorifying His name. “The Bible is for us, but it’s not about us.”

Forgotten God

jordantmoody —  April 30, 2012 — 2 Comments

I have been reading the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan lately. The book has opened my eyes to the Holy Spirit in ways I have never done before. He speaks of the Holy Spirit being the forgotten person of God in the Trinity. We know Father is sovereign and the Son died for my sins but the Spirit is seemingly unattainable and impersonal.

Practically speaking, when you read your Bible notice how many times the “Spirit” is mentioned. The prolific mention of the Spirit or Holy Spirit is astounding to me and I can’t believe that I have ignored God for so long. When we ignore the Holy Spirit we are ignoring God for we do not worship 3 gods but rather 1 God with three distinct persons.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the SPIRIT, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the SPIRIT are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the SPIRIT, you are not under the law.

25 If we live by the SPIRIT, let us also walk by the SPIRIT

6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the SPIRIT will from the SPIRIT reap eternal life.

I also noticed this unique and powerful phrase, walk by the Spirit. Think about the phrase with me in these following verses.

  • Galatians 5:25 walk by the Spirit
    • (Gk. stoicheo) : means to walk behind a leader.
  • Galatians 5:16 But I say walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh
    •  (Gk.peripateō ) :   follow as a companion:  go, be occupied with, walk about with.

These two ideas combined set the scene for our daily life. We are to walk by the Spirit. 

Walking by the Spirit has multiple implications but one of the greatest ones is to be completely occupied with Him. Be consumed with God’s consuming fire. Follow Him as a friend and we will learn to not satisfy our fleshly lusts. After all our flesh is the very place the Holy Spirit chooses to reside. He lives in us and we have life through Him. Dwell on the Spirit today as you go about your day.

Summer Reading List

dannygugger —  April 19, 2012 — 3 Comments

by Danny Gugger

I’ve decided to compile a list of books that I’ve read over roughly the past year that I have really enjoyed. This is a positive review, so I’ve decided only to include the top books from this year. Enjoy. Get them for your shelf.

Before we start I must make the normal library disclaimer. I don’t endorse everything in every one of these books. Read with your head screwed on. The end.

Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity by Brian Zahnd 

This book has, in its effort to expose all the beautiful nuances of God’s story through the Gospel, completely transformed how I live and how I appreciate life as a part of God’s story. Nothing is as beautiful as the life of Christ.






A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller 

This book is all about living the best story possible by aligning your story with the one God has written for you. Everybody wants to live the best life possible. Take a journey through Miller’s life and become exposed to the underlying elements that make up a good story.






Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream By David Platt

I did a book study through this with a group of guys for a couple of months and I was greatly challenged through Platt’s unique perspective of the gospel and culture. Why don’t we take Jesus at his word and live live we actually believe him?






Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan 

Crazy love is the book that made the transition from hating reading (High School) to tapping into the vast ocean of resources on loving, learning, and desiring God. Every chapter has a video that goes along with it with Chan talkin about his writings and his personal relationship with God. This is not a “read if I have time book.” This is a “make time to read” book.






Forgotten God by Francis Chan  

A great book to read alongside Crazy Love




Young and in Love: Challenging the Unnecessary Delay of Marriage by Ted Cunningham 

Good Work Ted Cunningham. Way to write a book about accepting responsibility and finally deciding to grow up. Also…I’m hoping to get married sometime soon and this book really debunks a lot of the myths about waiting until your 25 and independently wealthy to get married.







The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis 

C.S. Lewis has an imagination like no other. The Screwtape Letters is a compilation of letters from Screwtape (a master demon) to Wormwood (an aspiring tempter) on how to make his patient fall into sin. A unique approach on the often unseen interaction between the powers of darkness and humanity.






Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist by John Piper

The Big Daddy of all John Piper works. A great resource on learning to glorify God by enjoying him forever.







Blue Like Jazz: Non-religious Thoughts on Christianity by Donald Miller 

Miller really brings out the essential components of a true relationship with God. He manages to skirt around religious cliches and jargon. Again…read with your head screwed on.







The Millennials by Tom and Jess Rainer 

The Millennials is probably the best book I’ve read on bridging generation gaps. I learned more about my parents, my grandparents, myself and my peers through their thorough discussion of what differentiates the most recent generations.






Sexual Detox by Tim Challies

With the rise of technology and the ever increasing availability of pornography, the nature of pornography has become a silent, yet very real threat. Due to potential shame and embarrassment, any feel as if they have to face the battle alone. Challies examines why the philosophy behind pornography is so damaging and how to begin to rely on God’s grace to overcome it. I really appreciate his “think this way” approach rather than a “do this” approach.






Deep Church: A Third Way Between Emerging and Reformed by Jim Belcher 

Belcher has been heavily involved in both traditional and emerging churches. He defines exactly what both are and how not to swing the pendulum when forming beliefs and world-views as a Christian. A great read today with the declining popularity of Fundamentalism and the ever appealing lure of the emerging church.







The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if he Doesn’t by Craig Groeschel 

A definite kick in the pants. Groeschel exposes areas in which we are all nominal Christians to some extent. If we truly believe God, why don’t we act differently? Why don’t we say so?







Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney 

The Gospel is so essential for every part of our lives as believers. It is not something to simply dismiss after our salvation. Mahaney shows how the Gospel affects each and every aspect of our lives.






Can Man Live Without God by Ravi Zacharias 

Ravi is the master of all things apologetics. This book is fairly philosophical yet extremely moving. Ravi defends the faith by exposing the inconsistencies of atheistic thought and the beauty of truth.







Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper 

If you have read Desiring God you have probably also read this book…whether or not you realized it. The majority of Piper’s books are taken from parts of different sections of Desiring God and expanded into a full length book. If you want more of what Piper talks about in using your time in Desiring God, this is a good read.






The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion  by Tim Challies

Challies tackles the meanings behind the forms of media invented throughout the last century. For example: Face to face communication is less common today because of the invention of the telephone…and even less common after the invention of text messaging. How can we as Christians avoid hiding behind our protective forms of media without completely dismissing them. A very balanced approach that is careful not to condemn technological advancement.





Think: The Life of the mind and the Love of God by John Piper 

Think addresses how your theology effects your worship. Piper is a master at showing how knowledge of God and feelings for God go hand in hand.







WARNING!!!!  I’m going to recommend the following 3 books but only if you read them together!

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell,, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell  

A Universalist perspective on Heaven, Hell and Eternity. Very wrong…but he gets some things right.







God Wins by Mark Galli 

A somewhat moderate perspective on judgment and eternity. Heavily stresses the sovereignty of God.







Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle 

A great easy read. Fairly theological but in a Francis Chan real personal kind of a way.








And last but not least…a little bit of Tozer to top things off.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer 

The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer 










I hope by this point you are well on your way to putting your summer reading list together. Feel free to add any of these. Let me know which ones you would add for yourself outside of this list.   🙂