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Archive for December, 2012

A Message and a Prayer for the New Year

As we celebrate the faithfulness of God in 2012 and look forward to a new year, we thought the message in this short video from John Piper would be a fitting reminder and encouragement:

We also appreciated Trevin Wax’s adaptation of Jonathan Edwards’ first 21 resolutions as a prayer for the new year.

Life is short, and we pray that we will not waste even a day of this coming year. Will you pray with us to that end?

Related Posts:

December 31, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life,Video | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

Thanks, Christmas Spirit, & New Year’s Resolutions

A guest post by Jessica Thompson

During this time of reflection on the last year, trying to figure out what to be thankful for each day of November, and also trying to be properly respectful of the true meaning of Christmas—my sense of failure, and alternately pride, grows in fertile soil. I fight with thoughts of “I really should be more grateful” and “I failed at my last 20 New Year’s resolutions” and “why doesn’t the incarnation make me fall to my knees?” mixed in with “why can’t people see Christmas is all about Jesus” and “look at those people pushing and shoving to get the Black Friday deals with greed spilling from their heart.” I can get pretty wrapped up in the me of everything.

One of my favorite tweets of 2012 came on New Year’s Day from my pastor. It read, “Feel like a jerk? Take heart, you’re a lot worse than you think. Good thing Jesus paid the whole bill. Happy New Year.”

That has stuck with me throughout the year, and I pray it sticks with me for the finish of it. I tend to think that if I’m grateful enough or if I don’t forget that Jesus is the reason for the season then maybe I’m actually doing okay and I’m somehow more pleasing to God. I forget the truth that the Bible gives me–that I was dead in my sin and a lot worse than I really even want to admit. Yet I also forget that my sins of ungratefulness, my sin of indifference to the incarnation, and all of my failures for this last year have been forgiven. I don’t have to make up for them, they have been cancelled, nailed to the cross. The truth is, I can never be good enough, grateful enough, or awed enough. There was only One who lived that way. He was perfect as his Heavenly Father was perfect, and that is now my clothing. My mind and heart come alive at this thought. The glorious light of undeserved right relationship with God chases the darkness of my self-condemnation and pride and gives me true gratefulness.

As you make your lists, and do your 30 days of thanks, and go through advent calendars, remember this: You were dead, you are now alive. He has forgiven all sins. He has cancelled all the debts. He has clothed you in his righteousness so that you don’t have to work up your own. There is goodness and mercy that are promised to follow you for the rest of this year, all of next year, and every day for the rest of your life. His faithfulness will never fail because he cannot deny himself. You have all the hope and grace you need to finish 2012 and to start the 2013. Jesus paid the whole bill and left the tip. There is nothing now for you to do except believe this good news, smile, and rest.

“Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.” – Augustine of Hippo



Jessica Thompson, co-author of Give Them Grace, is a member of an Acts 29 church in California and has been homeschooling for the past two years. She is married and has three children.

December 27, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Holidays,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:00 am | (2) Comments »

Christmas Blog Post Round-Up

In celebration of Christmas, we wanted to gather some of our favorite Christmas posts from years past for your enjoyment. We’ve included a few of sentences from each post:

  • “Keeping Holiday”, a Q&A with Starr Meade — Crossway recently interviewed Starr Meade, the author of the children’s book Keeping Holiday, about literature, her new book, and more. Here’s what she had to say.
  • Glory to God in the Highest by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. (from Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus) — Isn’t it interesting how in Christmas cards and on public displays we often see the words, “Peace on earth, good will toward men”? But how seldom we see the prior words, “Glory to God in the highest”! But there is no peace, there is no good will, unless there is glory to God in the highest first.
  • The Great Reversal by Tullian Tchividjian — When I’m asked to describe the true meaning of Christmas, I like to say that the birth of Christ is the sure and certain sign that “God is on the move.” The arrival of Jesus two-thousand years ago ensured that God had begun the process of reversing the curse of sin and recreating all things. In Jesus, God was moving in a new way and, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “winter began stirring backwards.”
  • “God Becomes Man”…What? by Eyse Fitzpatrick — Okay, hold on just one moment. I know we’re all busy and that this time of year creates all sorts of added responsibilities and distractions, but what is that title again? “God Becomes Man”?…Um…What? Really?
  • When the Gospel Transforms Your Christmas Expectations by Stephen Altrogge — I have certain expectations when it comes to Christmas. I expect to drink egg nog, even though I don’t really like it. I expect to listen to hours upon hours of Christmas carols. I expect to watch the movie Elf. I expect to drive around with my family and look at Christmas lights. And I expect to get some gifts. Twenty-eight years of Christmas experience has taught me what to expect. But how would I feel if some of my expectations weren’t met?
  • The Incarnation: How Did People Know God Was Coming? by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears (from Doctrine) — Because God is sovereign over the future, he alone is capable of giving prophetic insight into the future. In great mercy he did this for his people in the Old Testament. He detailed for them who was coming to save them, how he would come, where he would come, when he would come, and why he would come, so that they would anticipate the incarnation and salvation of Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus of Nazareth vs. Caesar Augustus by Trevin Wax (from Holy Subversion) — Consider Jesus of Nazareth alongside Caesar Augustus. At the time of Christ’s birth, Caesar had issued a call to the Roman world that everyone be counted and properly taxed. As he enjoyed luxurious accommodations in his Roman palace, he hoped to demonstrate his own greatness before a watching world by publicizing the great number of people under his domain. And yet in an unnoticed corner of Caesar’s kingdom, in a simple stable, sleeping in a feeding trough, the Son of God had come to show the glory of his Father.
  • Where Did “Lefse” Come From? A Scandinavian Christmas Story from Larry Woiwode [Video] — Author Larry Woiwode recalls childhood memories of his Norwegian grandmother making lefse on the stove in Minnesota when they went there to celebrate Christmas. He asked his family and others where lefse actually originated, but nobody seemed to have an answer . . . Woiwode brings us his first Christmas story, The Invention of Lefse.
  • Calvin and Claus by Christin Ditchfield — One of my favorite comic strips is Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson, following the adventures of a bright but mischievous six year-old boy named Calvin and his stuffed tiger, a.k.a. imaginary friend Hobbes. (Both named for – of all things – famous theologians!) Every Christmas, poor Calvin is a tortured soul, torn between his desire to be “good” so that Santa will bring him lots of presents – and the (at least for a little boy) overwhelming temptation to smack the little girl next door with a perfectly formed snowball. Often the strip shows Calvin weighing the pros and cons – the “pleasure of sin for a short time” against the possibility of future but unknown rewards.

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’”

— Luke 2:10-14 (ESV)

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Holidays,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

New Video Teaching DVD for “A Woman’s Wisdom”

Advice books continue to top bestseller lists even though much of the “wisdom” being offered proves shallow in the long run. Many women are looking for practical, proven advice for life, and the book of Proverbs is one of the wisest places to start.

This one-disc DVD features popular Bible teacher Lydia Brownback unpacking the wisdom found in the book of Proverbs and serves as a companion to her book, A Woman’s Wisdom. Brownback shows how the Bible speaks to real life issues such as money, purity, marriage, and the day-to-day grind in a conversational, engaging manner in each of the 10 sessions (sessions are each approx. 20 minutes in length).

See the trailer below, and learn more here.

 

Endorsements for A Woman’s Wisdom:

“This is one of those books that should be studied more than simply read, and I can see it as a valuable resource for women’s Bible studies.”
Jerry Bridges, author, The Pursuit of Holiness

“From the wisdom of Proverbs, Lydia Brownback draws wise and ever so practical applications for women. Her clear and consistent call is to embrace the full wisdom of God given to us in Christ.”
Kathleen Nielson, Director of Women’s Initiatives, The Gospel Coalition

 

December 20, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News,Video | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

Top Book Recommendations from Crossway Staff

Looking for some great books to add to your 2013 reading list? We’ve surveyed Crossway staff to compile some suggestions below. Whether you’re looking for something old or something new—from theology to fiction, from business to children’s books—we’ve got you covered. Feel free to leave your top book recommendations in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

Justin Taylor
Vice President of Book Publishing:

Below are four books that have shaped my life and thinking and theology and worship that I would commend to others. They will stretch your thinking, but it’s worth the effort. As John Piper has written, “Raking is easy, but all you get is leaves. Digging is hard, but you might find gold!”

The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God by John Frame — There are too many books being published to read them all—in fact, as my colleagues can attest, my office bookshelves overfloweth! This also means that I rarely read a book more than once. Frame’s book—the first in his Theology of Lordship series—is an exception. It has profoundly shaped my approach to theology, showing the insightful application of tri-perspectivalism and reinforcing that Yahweh is not only the Lord of our hearts but must be the Lord of our thinking as well.

Future Grace by John Piper — This Piper book may be one of his most theological, most practical, and least read. The application chapters on battling unbelief (of lust, impatience, bitterness, misplaced shame, anxiety, etc.) are worth their weight in gold. It’s just been published in a new edition, making a very good book even better.

Knowing God by J. I. Packer There’s a reason this is a modern-day classic, which means it can be read more than once with increasing benefit. A master writer and theologian writing on the most important Person in the universe and what it means to know him.

The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul  You simply will not know the beauty of grace until you know the depth of your sin, and you will not know the depth of your sin until you understand the holiness of God. If you have ever struggled with a low view of God or a high view of self or a blasé view of grace, this is a book you need to consider reading.

Randy Jahns
Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Bible Production:

Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes — Although this was first published more than 20 years ago, it remains one of my favorites and one of our bestsellers (nearly 500,000 sold). I first heard this material preached, as Kent Hughes was my pastor at the time, and it has had continued impact on my life.  It is a biblical, practical, and challenging book on the disciplines that should be part of a man’s life—disciplines of purity, marriage, fatherhood, mind, devotion, prayer, worship, character, work, church, perseverance, leadership, giving, witness, and ministry.

The Big Picture Story Bible by David R. Helm, illustrated by Gail Schoonmaker — A wonderful, big, and colorful look at the overarching story of the Bible—God’s plan to redeem sinful people in Christ. The illustrations are big and attractive for kids, and the story is told in a way that engages them. This is a must have for any home with young children.

Daily Light on the Daily Path compiled by Jonathan Bagster, from an idea by Samuel Bagster — This classic devotional book has been recently released in attractive gift editions. The text is purely Scripture, collected and organized by theme. It is an excellent guide for daily reading and prayer.

Grace Transforming by Phil Ryken — A brief, accessible, and encouraging book by Phil Ryken on the riches of God’s grace.

ESV Study Bible — For anyone who wants to understand the Bible in a deeper way and to study and treasure it more fully, the ESV Study Bible is an amazing resource.

Geoffrey Dennis
COO & EVP:

Good to Great by Jim Collins — Perhaps there is no better foundational business book in the market.

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything by Patrick Lencionni — I have listened to the book, read it, and am working to apply some of these principles to my own work life.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky — This book (and others by Dostoevsky) had an enormous impact on my spiritual journey.

What Is the Mission of the Church? by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert — Very important book for me as I think through the gospel implications for my life at home, work, and church.

The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock — I love this series about the way in which God takes a proud man and turns him into a dove—I can identify with the first part and trust God will work in such a way in my life that I might live a Spirit-filled life!

Karen Hall
Receptionist/Customer Service Representative:

This would be my list if I could only choose 5…

Valley of Vision edited by Arthur G. Bennett — This is a collection of beautifully orchestrated Puritan prayers.  I use this almost every day and it has been the most instrumental book in my life apart from the Bible.

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom — This is the autobiography of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian, and the story of she and her family’s response to the Nazi’s invasion of Holland during World War II. I was so moved and encouraged by their faith and endurance, as well as Corrie’s transparency, during a time of great darkness and loss.

Joy by Lydia Brownback — This book was written as a daily devotional for women and discusses unconditional joy. The content is meaty and I would be stunned if one didn’t finish the book feeling challenged and changed. Lydia is not a flowery writer and really gets to the heart of the issue. I would recommend any one of her books.

Phantastes by George MacDonald — George MacDonald is easily my favorite writer of all time. He was a Scottish poet, author, and pastor with an imagination like you wouldn’t believe and it’s brilliantly shown in this dream-like, amazingly fantastical novel—no wonder he mentored and inspired writers such as C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan — This book is a must-read classic!  It’s a stirring, fictional story of a man named Christian taking a journey to the Celestial City and the obstacles and inspirations that he encounters along the way. I would describe this book as an experience and, at the end of it, I was left with a greater longing and excitement for the Celestial City and a stronger appreciation for the significant milestones I will face along the way.

Dane Ortlund
Bible Publishing Director:

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien —  C. S. Lewis wrote to Tolkien in 1949, after reading this category-defying epic, and said: “I have drained the rich cup and satisfied a long thirst.” Have you?

The Sermons of George Whitefield by George Whitefield (ed. Lee Gatiss) — Someone asked Ben Franklin why he was going to hear Whitefield preach if he did not believe what Whitefield said. “No, but he does!” replied Franklin. That steely conviction, wedded with gospel-richness, theological depth, and understanding of the human heart, make Whitefield’s sermons a powerful read.

Communion with the Triune God by John Owen (ed. K. Kapic and J. Taylor) — Roger Nicole, one of the great teachers of Reformed theology of our time, remarked that John Owen was the greatest theologian ever to write in the English language. And in this book the greatest theologian to write in our language says things like: “Exercise your thoughts upon this very thing, the eternal, free, and fruitful love of the Father, and see if your hearts be not wrought upon to delight in him. I dare boldly say: Sit down a little at the fountain, and you will quickly have a further discovery of the sweetness of the streams.”

December 14, 2012 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 8:00 am | (2) Comments »