Choosing Books Wisely! (Glorifying God in our reading choices)

Why write this blog?
I love my church and I don’t mean the building.  I mean the people!
I want them to grow in the truth of God’s word.
In our media saturated culture we are being bombarded with so many ideas.The blatantly anti-Christian ones are easy to avoid.
But the subtle, almost Biblical ones slowly change one’s thinking.
I don’t want any of us to be deceived by the philosophies of this age.
As one of your pastors I also have the God-given responsibility to help you grow in godliness.
INTRODUCTION:When you are looking for a book to read do you choose books that twist Scriptures to fit your political agenda or ones that show God’s sovereignty?
Do you choose books that pull at your heart strings and make you feel good about yourself or heaven?
Or do you read books that cut to your heart and convict and challenge?
How do you pick the books you read?  And it is my prayer that you read.
To begin this blog about books I want to recommend a book.  Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke.
Lit! is a great resource book with chapters on tips for reading, Christian imagination, raising readers, marking up your books.
In the chapter Read With Resolve, Reinke gives six priorities for his reading:
  1. Read Scripture
  2. Read to know and delight in Christ
  3. Read to kindle spiritual reflection
  4. Read to initiate personal change
  5. Read to pursue vocational excellence
  6. Read to enjoy a good story
After reading the Scripture every other type of reading should be done in light of Scripture.
This doesn’t mean only read Christian books he goes on to explain some of the benefits of reading non-Christian books.
A couple of these are:  highlighting common life experiences; exposing the human heart; capturing beauty; begging questions that can only be resolved in Christ.
With these principles in mind, I want to address some of my concerns in contemporary Christian literature.
The future and heaven are always very hot topics.
Books using one Old Testament verse or story from Scripture to explain what is wrong with America and what is going to happen here is NOT what scripture is for.
Old Testament prophecies were given to bring God the glory that He so rightfully deserves.  In our day, we use these same prophecies to fit the United States into scripture or to discover some kind of hidden secret knowledge.
If someone writes a book and has to explain why he is the first person to see this in the Bible, it is not a book worth reading.
Books about individuals near death or death experiences in heaven or hell put peoples experience at or near the authority of scripture.  These books usually present extra-biblical details about heaven.  Bottomline:  Heaven is about God and Jesus.
I smile when people say “I cannot wait to get to heaven because I will see so and so” or “I cannot wait to get to heaven because I have some questions for him.”
Books that seem to place the writer’s word at an authoritative level need to be carefully examined.  Scripture is God’s word and our authority.  Anything that tries to add to God’s word, whether written as journal, poem, song or fictional story needs to be avoided.
Tim Challies
I have included three specific Tim Challies reviews.
I choose these three books because they have been best sellers for an extended period of time.
Review of Heaven is for Real www.challies.com/book-reviews/heaven-is-for-real
Review of Harbingerwww.challies.com/book-reviews/the-ancient-mystery-that-holds-the-secret-of-americas-futureReview of Jesus Callingwww.challies.com/book-reviews/jesus-calling
While I (Pastor Dave) have written this specific blog, I know it is the prayer of each pastor to see members of Emmanuel Baptist Church grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.  Reading good books help in this process.


I love it when the unplanned comes together!!

I love the 1980's.  The mullet, poor computer game graphics, parachute pants and cheesy TV shows.
There was one show that almost always ended with the phrase "I love it when a plan comes together."  
Well, this morning (11.22) I changed that phrase to...
"I love it when the unplanned comes together!!"  
Let me explain why..
  •  Today,November 22’s New Morning Mercies was a great reminder.  Here is part of the devotional.  “How could you not have all that you need when your Savior has promised not to withhold any good thing from you?”  The verses included are Psalm 84:11 and Matthew 6:25-32.
  • This past Sunday’s sermon reminded us to live a life of praising God not pride in yourself.  With the 1st through 3rd grade kids we talked about not living a paradox. Click HERE for some family devotional helps!  We did a thankful activity with the kids.
  •  This week’s Fighter Verse devotional “When we trust in [God], our verses, Psalm 125:1-2, tell us that we become strong and steady and faithful too – and can be compared, like our Lord, to a strong mountain which cannot be moved!  We are no longer moved because we trust in the only God who cannot be moved.  And His Spirit in us gives us the strength and steadiness required of us in any circumstances!  What a marvelous promise and provision!!  Such a promise affects every single day of our lives – every difficult situation in which we find ourselves.”   Click HERE for the full devotional!
  • Even a mistake, reading the wrong week's Fighter Verse, Proverbs 3:5 -7 from the week of October 23, was a blessing.  "If you’re convinced something is a need and God does not deliver it, you begin to question his goodness. What is deadly about questioning God’s goodness is that you tend not to run for help to someone you doubt. Misnamed “needs” can be devastating to your communion with God."  Click HERE for the full devotional.
God has used these four things to remind me that at Thanksgiving time we need to thankful first and foremost for GOD!  
God, himself and then the things he has provided.
When we are more thankful for what is provided than the ONE WHO PROVIDES, 
we are idolaters
we become more and more unsatisfied.