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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Formatting makes this unreadable, 20 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Kim (Kindle Edition)
Very disappointed (although i know it's free). The formatting makes this unreadable because the line breaks seem whatever I do to split every line putting the last word on the line on a new line on it's own. Not sure why. Don't bother with this version unless it's fixed.

Samsung HT-C5500 Blu-Ray 5.1 ch Home Cinema System - Wireless Rear Speaker Ready
Samsung HT-C5500 Blu-Ray 5.1 ch Home Cinema System - Wireless Rear Speaker Ready

3 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars City-link are hopeless, 29 Dec. 2010
I would review the product, but due to the wonders of city link (no updates on the website, won't answer the phone) I can't. Can't fault Amazon customer service who responded to me on the 26th December! Still heard nothing from City-link. I am sure the product is great but I have cancelled my order since it failed to arrive. Avoid City-link!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2011 5:41 AM GMT

Worship Matters
Worship Matters
by Bob Kauflin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Biblical and above all practical manual for all worship leaders, 25 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Worship Matters (Paperback)
Worship Matters. It matters to God and it matters to us - because it's what we are made for. It especially matters to those of us who are called to leadership role in Corporate Worship, whether as pastor or musician. But in matters of Worship we can so often lose focus, lose our sense of priorities and get so caught up in the task we forget why we are doing it.

Bob Kauflin's book is immensely helpful because it has two solid foundations. The first is a clear, Biblical understanding of the God we worship. As Kauflin says: "The better (i.e. the more accurately) we know God through his Word, the more genuine our worship will be."

The second foundation is over 30 years experience in music for worship, as arranger, pianist and worship pastor. He writes with real honesty from his own experience of the practical difficulties and spiritual temptations and dangers we all face as musicians and worship leaders.

These two foundations lend real weight and impact to what Kauflin has to say. Throughout the book as he focusses on The Leader, The Task, Healthy Tensions and Right Relationships he weaves the great truths about Jesus, the Gospel, the Cross, the Spirit around practical advice both on the leader's own Spiritual life, and how to run a healthy music ministry. A classically trained pianist who toured for 8 years as a songwriter and arranger for the group GLAD, Kauflin belongs to a tradition which values both biblical teaching and doctrine, and charismatic renewal. As a result there is a huge amount to to explore, from whatever theological or musical tradition you come. There's even a chapter for your Pastor/Minister/Clergy leaders to read. Above all what greater prayer could there be than his prayer "...that people [will] walk away from our meetings more amazed by God than by our music."

Worship by the Book
Worship by the Book
by R. Kent Hughes and Timothy J. Kel Rev. Mark Ashton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.50

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insights into Biblical Worship from three very different churches, 25 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Worship by the Book (Paperback)
Worship by the Book - D A Carson, Tim Keller, Mark Ashton, R Kent Hughes

I enjoyed this book, although parts of it were slightly outdated (from 2002, you would have thought it would have kept pace, but I don't think so, quite). There is an introduction by Don Carson (typically thoughtful) and then three chapters describing worship at the Round Church Cambridge, College Church Wheaton IL, and Tim Keller's Redeemer Presbyterian Church in downtown Manhattan, New York. Tim Keller's chapter is worth the price of the book alone and I loved his thoughts about Postmodernism and Calvin's ideas of how worship should be conducted. Worth quoting:

"Calvin's corporate worship tradition resonates with many of the concerns of postmodern people. They have a hunger for ancient roots and a common history; Calvin emphasises this through liturgy in a way that neither traditional Free Church worship nor contemporary praise worship does. They have a hunger for transcendence and experience; Calvin provides awe and wonder better than the cognition-heavy Free Church services in the Zwinglian-Puritan tradition and better than the informal and breezy "seeker services." Postmodern people are much more ignorant of basic Christian truth than their forebears and need a place to come and learn it, yet they are also more distrustful of "hype" and sentimentality than older generations. Calvin's worship tradition avoids the emotional manipulation that so frightens secular people about charismatic services, even though they desire the transcendence that contemporary-praise appears to offer."

Thank goodness too, that Keller finally puts paid to the notion that musical form and style are completely neutral - some music is simply inappropriate for worship. However he also shows that style boundaries are much more elastic than traditionalists would have you believe. You can read the book on Google books, here.

The Lord's Prayer: The Greatest Prayer in the World
The Lord's Prayer: The Greatest Prayer in the World
by Peter Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lord's Prayer from a great pastor-teacher, 25 Jan. 2010
Peter Lewis is the pastor of Cornerstone Church which my son has been attending while studying in Nottingham. We visited once and despite the fact that is it a large church of 500 or more on a Sunday morning, he came up to us before the service and said "Jonathan, please introduce me?" The fact that he bothered, and that he remembered Jonathan's name, made me want to read what he had to say all the more.

The book is an expanded version of a previous edition, and takes the form of 47 short chapters (which can be read in just 7 weeks at a chapter a day, which is how I did it) exploring the Lord's Prayer, with many anecdotes from Peter Lewis' life, which make you warm to him all the more. He talks about the Fatherhood of God, worship, discipleship, forgiveness - the whole Christian life. Just writing this makes me think I need to read it again already. Highly recommended.

A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
by D.A. Carson
Edition: Paperback

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul's Pukka Prayers, 14 Sept. 2009
At New Word Alive 2008 Don Carson (professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois) was interviewed by Richard Cunningham head of UCCF. As I recall when listening on-line someone said how much they had enjoyed this book - A Call to Spiritual Reformation - but thought it might have had more readers if the title had been changed to "Paul's Pukka Prayers".

This book is based on a series of sermons which Carson preached a few years ago, and he takes as his starting point the "urgent need of the church" which is a deeper knowledge of God. For Carson, all the other problems in the Church and in Society at large point back to this. The book then goes on to address a (the?) vital part of that challenge to know God better - that is, prayer. Robert Murray M'Cheyne said, "what a man is alone on his knees before God, that he is, and no more." Where better to learn how to pray, than to look at Paul's prayers and "align our prayer habits with his" ?

There are practical tips on how to plan to pray, and organise your prayer life. Strongly recommended is to tie your prayer to your Bible reading and to "think through, in the light of Scripture, what it is God wants us to ask for." This seems to me so fundamental - that to pray with confidence we must pray knowing that God wants to give us what we ask for. Yet how little time I spend trying to seek God to find out those things which I believe he has promised me. And what joy and fantastic answers to prayer I have known the few times I have really sought God in this way.

At the heart of Carson's approach is his belief that "the Bible simultaneously pictures God as utterly sovereign, and as a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God." This approach saves us from both "a resigned fatalism that asks for nothing and a badgering desparation that exhibits little trust." He advises us to follow the Puritans and "pray until you pray."

Alongside practical advice Carson takes us through model prayer's of Paul's from practically all of his letters. A whole chapter on praying for others brings together all the verses from the epistles where Paul prays for others, for us to to read through and meditate on, while his conclusion on Paul's passion for people, evident from his prayers, is that many a church would benefit hugely if "by God's grace we make it our commitment not to put anyone down - except on our prayer list."

Other chapters look at Excuses for not praying, Praying for Power, and a very helpful overview from Romans of how we can best pray for our Ministers and Church Leaders.

I found the chapter on God's Sovereignty very helpful. As our appreciation of the complete Sovereignty of God increases, it is easy sometimes to think that our prayers no longer matter. Carson admits that at one point he was tempted down that path. But as he says: "something has gone amiss in our theology if our theology becomes a disincentive to pray."

This is a book that is worth reading slowly and carefully, and coming back to. Above all it's a book to act on, something I need personally to take more to heart than I have to date!

Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
by John Piper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Desiring God, 14 Sept. 2009
Desiring God by John Piper is probably the most significant book I have read in the past few years, but its subtitle, "Meditations of a Christian Hedonist", might lead you to wonder what's coming. Is this a book about the Prosperity Gospel perhaps - if you give to God he will make you rich? Or perhaps Piper is saying that if you have faith all your problems will disappear and you will never be sick or in trouble every again and be happy every day?

Emphatically no! The clue is in the title - Desiring God. This is a book to stop you seeking pleasure anywhere else other than in God Himself. What Piper has discovered is a golden thread that runs through the Bible, through the life of Jesus and St Paul, the great theologians Augustine, the Puritans, Jonathan Edwards to C S Lewis and beyond

John Piper is pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and has been for almost 30 years. Before that he was a seminary professor, and he holds a PhD from the University of Munich. He is a passionate preacher, pastor and thinker.

But early in his career he was struggling with the fact that "if I did something good because it would make me happy, I would ruin its goodness." He felt somehow, as C S Lewis explained it, that "there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing..." And yet other Christians across the ages had discovered something different:

Blaise Pascal wrote: "All men seek happiness. This is without exception."

Jeremy Taylor: "God threatens terrible things if we will not be happy."

Augustine: "If I were to ask you why you have believed in Christ, why you have become Christians, every man will answer truly, `For the sake of happiness.'"

We all desire joy, and happiness but somehow feel that these desires should be suppressed and that "to be motivated by a desire for happiness when [volunteering] for Christian service or [going] to church - that seemed selfish..." However hard we try, though, it seems we have "an overwhelming longing to be happy, a tremendously powerful impulse to seek pleasure." Through the writings of C S Lewis, Jonathan Edwards and others Piper finally saw that "I must pursue joy in God if I am to glorify Him as the surpassingly valuable Reality in the universe."

So through looking at Conversion, Worship, Love, Scripture, Prayer, Money, Marriage, Missions and Suffering, John Piper seeks to show that "the chief end [purpose] of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever" and that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

This brief overview cannot do the book justice. Piper does not avoid the hard questions. The chapter on Suffering is a real challenge to the comfortable Christianity of much of the Western Church. Occasionally Piper seems to stretch a point or over-complicate, and you might need to re-read the odd paragraph to get the argument, but these are small points. Overall the book creates a desire, at least in me, to pursue knowledge of God, delight in God and the glory of God more and more, which leads to the most radical Christian discipleship.

As a musician and "worship leader" (although I think only the Holy Spirit can truly lead us in Worship) I find Piper's writing always creates excitement in me to see God worshipped and glorified in my life and in the Church. I cannot recommend this book too highly.

The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, on Tour: Aged Far Too Much to Be Put on the Front Cover of a Book
The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, on Tour: Aged Far Too Much to Be Put on the Front Cover of a Book
by Adrian Plass
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Theologically correct or hopelessly wrong?, 12 Sept. 2009
A bit of light relief from my current diet of Carson and Piper, but amid the laughing, I think Plass gives me just as much to think about. Adrian Plass is On Tour, with the usual characters - his longsuffering and insightful wife Anne, son and now Curate Gerald, mad friend Leonard Thynn (now with dancing girlfriend, Angels), and a new theologically-sound-financial-backer Barry Ingstone.

Touring around the country speaking, they meet un-cooperative caretakers, PA operators who can't, over-optimistic meeting organisers (not exactly 500 people in a theatre, more like 8 in a front room), and lots of people who need Jesus.

Through anecdote and conversation, Adrian Plass addresses important truths but with a knack of rising above theological debate to show you the love of God working through flawed, unwilling servants in a fallen world, to heal and help ordinary people.

Anne sums it up, in her response to Barry theologically-correct-but-hopelessly-wrong Ingstone's objection to using the church simply to help people without preaching to them at the same time.

Barry, in meeting you, I have been brought face to face with a phenomenon that is completely new to me. I have never before known anyone who was so completely and utterly right, and at the same time so totally and unequivocally wrong. Everything you say about the Bible and its teaching is accurate and unarguable. Everything you say about real people and real life and the way God actually is in his dealings with sad, confused human beings was born in some other, distant, cold and unfriendly place, and should never have been allowed to live. I think there's a very kind person inside you, Barry, and I really hope and pray you'll teach that person all those Bible verses you know, so that he can use them to bring the love of God to lots and lots of people in the future. I do hope you don't think that I've been rude. Please forgive me if I have been. I'm going to bed now. Goodnight.

Now, I think theological understanding is really important, but a book that helps us to see and feel (that's Piper creeping back!) that God loves me, and can use me, broken though I am, is pretty important too. And the jokes are good.

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