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Archive for February, 2013

24 Hour Special: Lit! Ebook for $0.99

Book Cover

Reading plans are always a hot topic at the start of a new year, but enacting those plans takes year-round commitment. Such commitment comes from understanding the importance of reading in the first place.

That’s why we’re thankful for resources like Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books. In Lit! Tony Reinke sounds the call for Christians to reclaim the priority, privilege, and practice of reading. He reminds us that God is the author of all knowledge, and it is his light we seek in all our reading.

To encourage your commitment to reading, we’re offering Lit! at a special price. Through the end of the day tomorrow (Feb 26, 2013) get Lit! in ebook format for only $0.99 from any of our distribution partners (ChristianBook.com, Vyrso, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, participating independent stores, etc…)

Read an excerpt from the book:

Download a PDF of the excerpt

 

 

February 25, 2013 | Posted in: Arts & Literature,Digital,Publishing | Author: Ted Cockle @ 8:00 am | (7) Comments »

New Release: The Story ESV Bible

This week we’re excited to announce the release of The Story ESV Bible. Published in partnership with Spread Truth Ministries, The Story ESV Bible presents an outline of the meta-narrative of the Bible alongside the full Bible text. It was created to help new believers and non-believers quickly grasp the overarching, unified message of the  Bible.

About The Story

The Story is a presentation of the Bible’s storyline published and distributed by Spread Truth Ministries (note this is not the same material as Zondervan’s The Story). The material covers creation, the fall, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the hope of the second coming. It also provides a clear invitation to readers to receive Christ as their Savior.

About The Story ESV Bible

The Story ESV Bible is the first Bible edition to incorporate The Story content and is published by Crossway in partnership with Spread Truth Ministries. This new Bible features The Story in a 12-page insert. Specially prepared, full-page book introductions by the creators of The Story show how each Bible book fits into the Bible’s storyline.

Video: Why The Story?

Thanks to our friends at Spread Truth Ministries for this video.

February 22, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Bible News,ESV,ESV,Evangelism,Ministry,News & Announcements | Author: Lindsay Tully @ 2:14 pm | 0 Comments »

Reboot Your Bible Reading Plan: 31 Days in Romans

Guest post by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Hitting Rewind

Returning from a walk on New Year’s Day we happened upon our neighbor in her front yard, putting away Christmas decorations. She inquired about our holiday and whether we made any New Year’s resolutions. I confessed I hadn’t, simply because I’m old and know well where all those good resolutions end up. She agreed, but then said she would still try to tweak a couple things in her life. I smiled and thought, “Yes. And then next year you’ll probably hit rewind again.”

I love the thought of rewinding, of starting over. I’d love to have a new identity, to be the woman I always wanted to be. But alas, I’m 62, eligible for Social Security, a grandmother of 6, and the days of deciding what I’m going to be when I grow up are far past. Yet, every year, about this time there is a pernicious hope that this year will be different. This year I’m going to get it together and show God and everybody else that I really am better. And then, right around March 1st or so, I realize it’s not going to happen this year either.

Romans Reboot

Now you might wonder why I’m leading a group of people through what we’re calling Romans Reboot in the month of March. Let me tell you where I am (and am not) going:

First of all, I don’t believe in bootstrap progress. You can’t work yourself into a new you. Sure, you might lose weight or whiten your teeth or make a new list—but you can’t do heart transformation. Only the Lord can do that (Jeremiah 13:23).

Secondly, I do believe that time spent considering Scripture will transform your life through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is because the Spirit works in your heart, granting you faith to believe the incredible truth distilled there. It’s not because you’re finally becoming a better you. So we’ll begin our time praying that your reading will be mixed with faith. Because when faith intersects with the Word, there will be transformation.

Third, joining Reboot won’t make God love you more than he already does. You won’t earn Brownie points or merit badges. Why? Because if you’re a Christian, “all things are yours” already! (1 Corinthians 3:21) In fact, God loves you in the same way that he loves his dear Son (John 17:23). You’re already his Beloved (Romans 9:25). If, on the other hand, you’re not yet a believer, or if it’s been some time since you dared to believe he might still love you, then I do pray God will grant you faith to believe this wonderful message again.

What is the message I’m praying you’ll remember and believe? Nothing less than the gospel: that Jesus loved us so much that he gave himself to live perfectly and die wretchedly as a sinner in our place; that he rose again to break the power of sin in our lives by justifying and freeing us from the condemning demands of the Law; that all our sins are forgiven and we stand before him perfectly righteous. If you believe for the first time or find your heart rewarming to these truths during our study, then I’ll rejoice and so will all the angels in heaven.

You’re Invited

Here’s your invitation: Join me in reading through Romans 1-8 in March. Why Romans? Because it’s a book Martin Luther described in this way:

We find in this letter, then, the richest possible teaching about what a Christian should know: the meaning of law, Gospel, sin, punishment, grace, faith, justice, Christ, God, good works, love, hope and the cross.[1]

We’ll begin reading Romans 1-8 (two chapters per week) on Sunday, March 3rd and culminating on Sunday, March 31st—Easter! What a glorious way to enter into resurrection joy! If you care to, you can also pick up a copy of my newest book, Comforts from Romans, for additional daily devotional reading.

In any case, my hope is that your faith in Christ and all he’s done for you will grow and produce fruit in your life. And when the new year rolls around in 9 months, may you rest in his love for you again, with no need to hit “rewind.”


[1] Luther’s preface to Romans

Click here for the reading plan.

Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (MA, Trinity Theological Seminary) is a counselor, a retreat and conference speaker, and the head of Counsel from the Cross Ministries. Fitzpatrick has authored over 15 books, including Because He Loves MeGive Them Grace, and Comforts from Romans.

February 18, 2013 | Posted in: Author,Identity in Christ,Sanctification/Growth,The Bible | Author: Crossway Author @ 7:51 am | (8) Comments »

Rebooting “Reading Between the Lines”

A note from Dr. Gene Edward Veith on the release of his redesigned Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature:

A number of years ago, after a speaking engagement, a young man of around 10 years old, wearing a white shirt and tie, came up to me.  “Sir,” he said, as he shook my hand, exuding impeccable manners, “I just wanted to say how much I liked your book.”

My book?  I had written quite a few, but I couldn’t think of any aimed at 10-year-olds.  I asked him, “What book?”

He replied as if it were obvious, “Reading between the Lines!”  It turns out my “Christian Guide to Literature,” as it was subtitled, was made part of his homeschool curriculum.  Not knowing much at the time about homeschooling, I was still astonished. I wrote the book with my college students in mind, but that experience kept repeating itself, and I treasured the thought that homeschoolers were using my book and that my young readers were not only understanding it but liking it. I was teaching students whom I had never met, many of a younger age than I realized and many, as I heard later, of an older age who were just discovering literature as adults. Since what I had to say was written down in a book, it could take on a life of its own beyond the life and limits of its author. Which was one of my points about literature.

Marvin Olasky was editing a series of books relating Christianity to various fields, which would become Crossway’s Turning Point Series. He asked me to write one about literature. I had already done some writing about Christianity and the arts and Christianity and culture. But literature was my real specialty and teaching literature as an English professor was my day job. So I threw myself into the task. Though I had published some academic scholarship in the field, I knew this book needed to be cast for a broader audience. At the same time, I didn’t want it to be simplistic and elementary. I wanted to put down what I had learned myself, not only about but from literature, and to express some of the insights I had discovered about literary art and its relationship to God’s design.

The book, which came out in 1990, is sort of a distillation of my teaching, my research, and my theories about literature. Here I explore the nature of comedy (in the medieval sense of a story that begins in pain but ends in joy) and of tragedy (in both the medieval sense of a story that begins in joy and ends in pain and in the classical sense of the fall of a noble hero because of hamartia, a word that critics translate as “tragic flaw” but that is simply the New Testament word for “sin”). Here I delve into different modes of literature, such as realism and fantasy, discussing why Christian authors have so often favored fantasy. I try to explain how to read poetry, which I define as literature written in lines, and I defend fiction from the charge that it isn’t true. Helping me with that last point was Sir Phillip Sydney, and I draw on, introduce, and elucidate lots and lots of great authors, whom I try to help my readers befriend.

I think the book—my wife came up with the title—bears up pretty well after all these years. I appreciate Crossway re-booting it with a fresh design and bringing it into the 21st century.

There are, of course, other issues that have come up in literary studies since I wrote the book, and there are new writers, Christian and otherwise, that would deserve mention if I were writing it today. But this book still reflects my approach to literature. In fact, if my college students today wanted to understand more fully what I’m talking about in class—say, in studying for a final, making up for a class they missed, or making sense of a lecture—they could read this book. That might give them an unfair advantage, so I won’t tell them of that option. I’m assuming they won’t be reading this blog. Then again, they might already have read the thing when they were 10.

Gene Edward Veith Jr. (PhD, University of Kansas) is provost and professor of literature at Patrick Henry College and the director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary. He has been a columnist for World magazine and TableTalk, and is the author of a number of noted books on Christianity and culture, including God at Work.

February 15, 2013 | Posted in: Arts & Literature,Author,Books | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:32 am | 0 Comments »

The Generosity Test for Love

One of the hardest people to love is a self-righteous sinner who thinks he has his spiritual act together.

We find just such a person in the Gospel of Mark. The rich young man was a know-it-all. He had such a high opinion of himself that he refused to confess his sin. Most of us would not have liked this man at all.

{BUT JESUS LOVED HIM}

In fact, it was just because Jesus loved this man that he gave him the generosity test for love. He wanted him to see that he was not the lover he thought he was, that he needed more of the love of Jesus in his life.

This remarkable detail gives us a glimpse of the love that Jesus has for us. We are not any more lovable than the man who thought he knew how to love. But Jesus still looks at us with a heart of love. He helps us see that we are not the lovers that we think we are, either. But he does not stop there. By his death on the cross he offers forgiveness to our loveless hearts. Then he sends his Holy Spirit so that we can start to love the way that he loves.

We are nothing without love—this is the message of 1 Corinthians 12:1–3. But Jesus does nothing without love—this is the message of Mark 10, and indeed everything else in the whole Bible: It was love that brought Jesus down from heaven to Bethlehem. Love that caused him to perform miracles and preach the gospel. Love that led him through the sufferings of Calvary and the cross. And love that exalted him to glory.

Jesus Christ is the eternal incarnation of the love of God. Therefore, it is with love that he looks at us now—as much love as he had for the man he met in Mark 10.

____________________________________

Adapted from Loving the Way Jesus Loves by Phil Ryken.

 

February 12, 2013 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,Life & Doctrine,Loving Others,Sanctification,The Christian Life | Author: Ted Cockle @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »