Rethinking Rest

A different take on rest and the Sabbath. . . .

Gregory D. Hall. Rethinking Rest: Why Our Approach to Sabbath Isn’t Working. 240p., $15.99, Deep River Books.

Today’s concept of biblical rest . . . isn’t working. Our numerous discussions about “which day” and “how” the seventh-day sabbath should be observed have distracted, confused, and caused apathy within an entire generation of believers. But biblical rest is dramatically different than most suppose. Dr. Gregory D. Hall explains how we went off course and offers fresh insight into the original intent of sabbath rest.

Have you abandoned the sabbath? Do you feel disenfranchised with the practices of the modern church? Are you willing to rethink what you thought you already knew? This book will challenge you to expand your scope and reengage the topic in new ways. Its simple practicality is a breath of fresh air for what has become a stagnant discussion along party lines.

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40 Questions About Women in Ministry

It is what it says it is. . . . 🙂

Sue Edwards and Kelley Matthews. 40 Questions About Women in Ministry. 336p., $24.99, Kregel Ministry.

40 Questions About Women in Ministry charts a course for understanding differing views on the topic regarding the ministries of women. The accessible question-and-answer format guides readers to specific areas of confusion, and authors helpfully zero in on the foundations of varied beliefs and practices. Edwards and Mathews cover interpretive, theological, historical, and practical matters such as:

  • What did God mean by the woman as man’s “helper”?
  • How is it that Christians reach different conclusions about 1 Timothy 2:11-15?
  • How did Western culture influence the role of women in society and the church?

Combining a strong adherence to Scripture, vast academic and ministry experiences, and a commitment to Christ-honoring dialogue, 40 Questions About Women in Ministry is a valuable guide to pastors, ministry leaders, church groups, and seminarians.

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Clarifying Christianity

Jacquelyn Guinn and Allan Guinn. Clarifying Christianity: A 12-Week Study for Confused Churchgoers. $16.99, Deep River Books.

Why should we trust the Bible? Why would a good God allow pain and suffering? How can Hell be just? These questions and more have been largely ignored by churches today, but it is time for them to be brought to light—and this twelve-week study is the way forward for anyone looking for their answers.

Despite attending church every Sunday, many Christians still lack a deep understanding of the gospel. Most services are planned to attract crowds and entertain, not to build disciples. Clarifying Christianity moves past the generic spirituality that is so prevalent in America today to instead examine foundational biblical concepts. Through twelve weeks of study, you will learn the answers to important questions about the Bible, sin, God, and more. Each of the weeks of study is designed for simple access and education, featuring historical background, discussion of key Scripture passages, prompts for Bible reading and Scripture memory, and questions for reflection and discussion.

This engaging study presents a detailed picture of Christianity to believers and nonbelievers both. Built on clear research and presented with passion, the twelve topics of study will help anyone asking the important questions to develop a thorough understanding of the Bible and to solidify and defend their own faith. Clarifying Christianity is essential to living as a Christian in America today.

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Kerux: 1 Peter

All you can eat (and preach) about 1 Peter. . . .

Timothy E. Miller and Bryan Murawski. 1 Peter: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and Teaching. Kerux Commentaries. 336p., $32.99, Kregel Academic.

Kerux Commentaries enable pastors and teachers to understand and effectively present the main message in a biblical text.

Each volume uniquely combines the insights of an experienced Bible exegete (trained in interpretation) and a homiletician (trained in preaching). These two authors work together to explain the essential message for the original listeners or readers, unpack its timeless truth, and then provide a contemporary restatement and communication insights for the key biblical concept. Every book is a resource designed and written with the real needs of the pastor and teacher always in sight, providing many ways to creatively express the principal thought in a biblical passage.

Based on the Big Idea preaching model, Kerux enhances the reader’s ability to deliver a message that is biblical, cohesive, and dynamic.

In 1 Peter, Timothy Miller and Bryan Murawski demonstrate how the activity of the triune God provides both encouragement and exhortation to the first-century readers of 1 Peter. The God who created and called believers has both redeemed them and empowered them to stand firm in the face of the world’s rejection. Such theological realities apply also to today’s believers, those elect of God yet exiles in the world. Miller and Murawski infuse textual, canonical, historical, and rhetorical insight to support the preaching preparation of expositors eager to share the relevance of 1 Peter with their congregations.

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Learning to communicate grace in our difficulty and brokenness—including the physical kind. . . .

John M. Espy. Irrevocable: A Story of Human Aphasia and Divine Grace. 400p., $17.99, Deep River Books.

The ability to express and understand written and spoken language is impaired in individuals who are experiencing human aphasia. The disorder is considered common with over 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year. While it can occur suddenly or more slowly, it is always the result of some type of brain injury.

Pam Espy experienced human aphasia following a stroke when she was 53 years old. Doctors and therapists said they had done all that could be done for Pam. Her church family was loving and welcoming but placed no expectations on her. Pam’s husband John held tightly to his firm belief that God’s still had a plan and a call on Pam’s life. In the New International Version of the Bible, Romans 11:29 says, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

Clinging to this promise from Scripture, John believed that Pam was not diminished; she was merely broken—just as he was also broken, just as we all are also broken. It is in that brokenness that God’s love and mercy can be seen, as it shines through our broken places when we invite him into our brokenness.

This is the story of how John and Pam learned to embrace their brokenness together and invite God to shine in the midst of it, making it more beautiful than they could have imagined. This memoir is also a work of reflection, drawing on Scripture, poetry, neuroscience, and more than forty accounts of other stroke and brain injury survivors. Ultimately, it is a love story, a meditation on what remains when everything is shaken.

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Looking at our sexuality from a biblical standpoint. . . .

Dr. Gary Foshee. Pawned: Redeeming Our God-Given Sexuality. 264p., $16.99, Deep River Books.

People walk into pawn shops every day and pawn priceless heirlooms for pennies on the dollar, and Dr. Gary Foshee claims that many people do the same with sex.

Numerous men and women report feeling shameful, dirty, and even fearful, before, during, and after sex. Others report they have no sexual desire and are repulsed by the thought of it. Although millions of people experience these same feelings, this was not and is not God’s design.

Pawned sexuality—whether the result of lack of knowledge, sexual immorality, or abuse—leaves deep physical, emotional, and spiritual scars that distort people’s view of themselves, others, and God.

Modern culture has changed especially on issues of marriage, sex, and sexuality. Immoral sexual ideologies and practices have breached biblical battle lines, clouding the hearts and minds of humanity in a fog of sexual confusion. Erroneous teachings confuse Christians, who already have trouble navigating sexual issues, making their sexual journey tempestuous and difficult, which often leaves them with deep physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual scars of shame and guilt.

The need for sound biblical teaching on sexuality remains critical. The digital age has revolutionized the way humans view, think, and act on issues pertaining to sexuality. Smartphones, social media, online dating sites, and easy access to instantly viewable and downloadable pornography all influence risky and unhealthy sexual behaviors, both physically and spiritually.

Pawned reveals preeminent and compulsory truths that God envisioned for sex and His transcendental plans to protect and purify the marriage bed all the way to the time of the new creation. This book teaches single and married couples how to redeem the gift of sex and honor God with their bodies. It provides insight and a healthy sexual compass for a variety of sexual issues and practices Christians want answered.

A powerful section on healing and restoration will enable all who have been sexually abused, molested, or raped to triumphantly redeem their sexuality. It also looks briefly at sexual addiction (SA), spiritual injury, and how to recognize signs of sexual abuse.

In this book, Dr. Foshee brings clarity and direction by addressing the tough questions. People need a definitive scriptural compass to help them establish healthy sexual parameters and perimeters—a compass keeping them holy and their marriage beds pure. Pawned is that compass.

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Galatians on F.I.R.E.

Taking a deeper dive into the book of Galatians. . . .

Dr. Ken J. Burge, Sr. Galatians on F.I.R.E. 234p., $16.99, Deep River Books.

Rather than telling you what the book of Galatians teach, this edition of the New Testament books on F.I.R.E. imparts the skills to discover its life-changing messages for yourself. Students of the Bible will journey through Galatians one paragraph at a time, applying the four F.I.R.E. principles:

Familiarity. Learn to ask probing questions and become intimately acquainted with each passage.

Interpretation. Determine the intended meaning of the text.

Relationship. Consider the paragraph within its context of the book and beyond, to the whole of Scripture.

Employment. Consider how God can employ you to do His will through your new understanding of the text.

Through this creative approach to inductive Bible study, readers will gain lifelong skills to grow in maturity as a disciple of Jesus, applying the Living Word in powerful new ways.

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Three in One

Looking at the Trinity in fresh ways. . . .

William David Spencer. Three in One: Analogies for the Trinity. 256p., $21.99, Kregel Academic.

Throughout history, Christians have pictured the relationships between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit through analogies. Such illustrations–some from the West but also from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and other places–come laden with theological ramifications that the church has rejected (heresies) or embraced (doctrines). In Three in One, William David Spencer shares a lifetime of insights from teaching within the global church, bringing fresh images and analogies of the Trinity to deepen our theological vocabulary.

Drawing from his extensive teaching in geographically and culturally diverse contexts and his artist’s passion for evocative words and visuals, Spencer offers readers a rich, multifaceted, and practical exploration of the Trinity. Alongside historical and contemporary theology and biblical studies, he considers the strengths and shortcomings of various analogies used to explain the Trinity, such as:

  • Light
  • Water
  • The Celtic knot
  • The totem pole
  • Musical harmonies
  • The human body
  • The family

Readers of Three in One will gain a personal understanding of the Trinity as well as tools for teaching about the Trinity in adult and children’s ministry contexts.

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Who Told You That?

Choosing God’s truth over the lies of the world. . . .

Laurie Etta Neill. Who Told You That?: Seeking Truth in a World of Deception. 272.p., $15.99, Deep River Books.

“Who told you that?” That was God’s question for Adam and Eve, and it is his question for us. Life experiences may leave us believing we are failures, unlovable, stupid, or worthless. God asks, “Who told you that?” The answer to that question has the power to change lives—not with behavior modification but by heart transformation. Through stories, humor, and a practical tool called The Lie Detector, readers will discover:

  • How to identify misbeliefs about themselves and God
  • How to replace those misbeliefs with truth
  • How to live a life of peace, joy, and contentment
  • It is not people, circumstances, or things that determine our happiness. It is what we believe about those things that matter. Know the truth—and be set free. “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”(John 8:32).
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The subtitle says it all. . . .

Daniel Overdorf. Preaching: A Simple Approach to the Sacred Task. 240p., $20.99, Kregel Ministry.

In Preaching, experienced preacher and teacher of preachers, Daniel Overdorf, leads readers through a tested process for sermon preparation that takes proclaiming God’s Word seriously yet does not overcomplicate the task or overwhelm the preacher. Overdorf describes and demonstrates consistent, manageable steps to effective preaching, including:

  • Clarifying the convictions that drive your preaching
  • Identifying the main idea of a Scripture text
  • Forming memorable word pictures,
  • Reducing reliance on notes
  • Connecting with the congregation throughout the sermon
  • Speaking authentically
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