60 People Who Shaped the Church

In 60 People Who Shaped the Church, Alton Gansky chooses 60 significant figures through history who have shaped the formation of the Christian faith in some way.

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The strength of Ganksy’s book is that each chapter is very short (only 3 to 6 pages long) and he tell stories. Gansky, an author of 24 novels and 8 non-fiction books, tells the story of 60 “sinners, saints, rogues, and heroes” throughout Christian history in a simple to read survey.

He begins with Peter (one of Jesus’ first disciples) and ends with Billy Graham.

All told, the 60 men and women are given mini-biographies arranged in chronological order. This is a broad overview of the Christian historical past through the lives of some who impacted the church. The author begins each chapter with a quote referencing the individual.[Continue Reading...]

Keep the Love On

Following Jesus Christ is counter-intuitive. Always has been.

In His famous “Sermon the Mount,” Jesus teaches that life in the Kingdom of God is antithetical to what most mortals think and feel.

For instance, if someone attacks you, Jesus says don’t defend yourself nor retaliate.

If someone mistreats you, forgive them.

If someone offers sincere correction, receive it in humility without being defensive or taking offense.

If someone compels you to go one mile, go two.

If someone steals your shirt, give them your coat also.

If someone hates you, love them.

If someone trashes you (gossips, slanders, invokes curses on your head), don’t act in kind. Pray for them.

In other words, even when you’re being hated, spoken evil of, lied about, and mistreated, keep the love on.

Never turn it off.[Continue Reading...]

The New Parish

The New Parish is a new book by Tim Soerens, Paul Sparks, and Dwight Friesen. As someone who has written a great deal on ecclesiology myself, InterVarsity Press sent me a copy of the book. Instead of writing a review, I thought it would be better to interview all three authors.

If you have any questions for me about the book, feel free to ask them in the comments. I’m not sure if the authors will be fielding questions here or not as I know they are extremely busy promoting the book.

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Instead of asking, “what is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “how are readers going to benefit from reading your book?”

Tim Soerens: I like that question because while the book is obviously about “The New Parish,” but what is undergirds the hopes of the book is the idea of faithful presence. The idea that God is calling us in each moment into what it means for us to relate faithfully to God, to the person in front of us, and to the context in which we find ourselves. The New Parish is about how faithful presence in a local and communal context, just might set the stage for a re-imagined way of being the Church. And this of course gets to the book’s benefits.

I’ve been hearing in the last few weeks since the book has come out is that it’s giving folks language and even imagination for longings they’ve had for how to be the church in their every day lives. In other words it’s putting language to longings that I think a whole lot of Christ’s followers intuitively feel, but wrestle with how to communicate.[Continue Reading...]

Tomorrow . . .

I said I would publish a blog post today (Thursday), but it will be posted tomorrow (Friday) instead.

You won’t want to miss it.

Also, if you haven’t yet listened to my latest podcast episode THE FIRST RELATIONSHIP, you’ll definitely want to hear it.

Don’t let the fact that it’s Part I of a series deter you.

It is a stand-alone conference message. 

Those of you who commented had one response: “Wow!”

I felt that way while delivering it.

What a God!

P.S. If my podcast, blog, or books have blessed you, please share the love with one simple click.

Attention Pastors

Quick Update: My entire library (all my print books as a discounted Box Set) now includes my newest title, Jesus Now. Click here to check it out.

Based on past surveys and comments, a large percentage of the people who read this blog, who listen to the podcast, and who read my books on Jesus Studies

(e.g., Jesus Manifesto, Jesus Now, Jesus: A Theography, etc.),

as well as my books on the deeper Christian life

(e.g., God’s Favorite Place on Earth, Revise Us Again, From Eternity to Here, etc.)[Continue Reading...]

The First Relationship

Today’s podcast episode is a spoken message I delivered at a conference in Toronto, Canada in 2009. It’s the first part of a series of talks on “the first relationship” which will be part of an upcoming course, “A Deeper Journey into God’s Eternal Purpose.”

A women who heard this message live was in tears when I finished. She kept repeating, “It’s so simple. It’s so simple. It’s so simple.”

I’d be interested to hear what effect it has on you as well.

In short, it takes some complex theological ideas (what the ancient Christians called the perichoresis, the Divine and eternal dance between the Father, Son, and Spirit) and turns it into a simple narrative.

Listen to the episode in the following ways:[Continue Reading...]

Because You Asked . . . Three New Projects Coming Soon

The reason why I blog, write books, and have a podcast is to provide value to God’s people.

That said, what I decide to write or speak on is directly related to the specific needs that my readers have.

Consequently, I’m presently working on three new projects — all based on your requests. They are . . .

1. The Physical Edition of My Online Course

Many of you have asked that my first online discipleship course, Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ, be put into a physical course, not just an online course.

At the moment, over 1,000 people have taken the online course.

But many resisted getting it because they prefer a physical product.[Continue Reading...]

What Coca-Cola’s New Bottle Teaches Us About Partaking of Jesus Christ

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus Christ presents Himself to us as food and drink.

And so do so many of the shadows of Christ contained in the Old Testament.

Coca-Cola’s new “friendly twist” bottle cannot be opened by one person. It requires another who also has the bottle.

In the same way, we can never partake of the fullness of the riches of Jesus Christ by ourselves, as a solo Christian.

We need the other members of the body.

For the riches of Christ . . . His fullness . . . is never given to one believer, no matter how gifted or spiritually mature they may be.

His fullness resides in His body.

Take a look at Coca-Cola’s promo video with this imagery in mind.

To borrow another Coca-Cola slogan, He’s the “real thing” . . . eternally refreshing![Continue Reading...]

Heroes

Young men and women are looking for heroes.

The same is true for Christian young men and women.

We need heroes to admire and look up to. We need heroes who can inspired us . . . people who have gone ahead of us.

We need men and women of God upon whose shoulders we can stand. And in God’s mercy, perhaps see further than they did.

If you were to ask the average 20- or 30-something Christian today who their heroes are, many would rattle off a few celebrity-pop-mega-church pastors. None of whom they know personally.

Some will mention Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Jonathan Edwards or Spurgeon.[Continue Reading...]

NoiseTrade Books

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Perhaps not.

But NoiseTrade has turned the music industry upside down. It’s wisely connected musicians directly to listeners by offering free music downloads.

The music marketing startup was founded in 2008. And it has now expanded its platform to help authors and publishers to let people know about their books.

Enter the launch of NoiseTrade Books.

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On this site, you’ll discover a diverse selection of books you can download for free — including Christian titles.[Continue Reading...]