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The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World
The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World
Price: £4.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Ten ways to more joy and happiness as a Christian, 26 Feb. 2015
“As a person thinks in his heart, so is he.”
– Proverbs 23:7

The first page presents this as the heartbeat of The Happy Christian–we are what we think and believe. When we constantly feed on the negative, our words, mood, actions and health will all be dragged down. But the opposite is also true. When we feed on the positive and train ourselves to see the positive sides in a situation, we will see our lives change into something more beautiful and happier.

David Murray is Pastor of a Free Reformed Church and a Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. In 2010 he authored Christians Get Depressed Too, a depression 101 guide (this belongs on the shelf of every Christian and has one of the most creative book covers I’ve ever seen). Although many Christian are not depressed, a good number are not happy either.

In The Happy Christian David will Pastorally take you through ten lessons to assess your thought patterns and identify key places where you could increase your joy. This is not a Joel Osteen book, or a Word of Faith message, or a collection of well meaning lessons for a happier life which have no more theological depth to it than the paper it’s printed on. This book is foremost built on a rock solid foundation of the truths of Scripture. Several studies are also referenced, as by God’s grace, they can also add to our understanding of happiness.

Every chapter is structured around recognising negativity that may surround our thoughts and practices. David doesn’t leave you there: he shows you a better way, a more God-centered way to live a positive life. Each of the ten chapters in the book is structured around an x is greater than y formula.

Facts > Feelings
Good News > Bad News
Done > Do
Christ > Christians
Future > Past
Everywhere grace > Everywhere sin
Praise > Criticism
Giving > Getting
Work > Play
Diversity > Uniformity

In addition to the book, David has provided the companion Happy App for iOS and Android devices. This app provides easy access to articles and resources on happiness at David’s Happy Christian blog.

I was surprised at how often David identified how often my own thoughts, words and actions were rooted in a damaging negativity. His pastoral words shone light into areas of my person that needed cleaning up. My favorite part of the book was Giving > Getting. Giving is more than giving money, it’s giving in marriage, giving praise where praise is due, giving in leadership and in following leaders. This lesson has stuck with me the most and forced me to confront an ugliness it revealed that has been sucking joy and vitality out of me, and finding the joy that comes with repentance!

This book is pastoral in tone throughout and counsels the Christian. Several times David shares some personal stories of his own growth in maturity through these areas, so this book is not just a theory, but grounded in real life.

The Happy Christian is enjoyable and easy book to read. You could read through it in one sitting, but I would recommend taking your time to get the benefit of the lessons from each chapter. Like me, you may be thinking that this book doesn’t really apply to you; and like me, you will be surprised!

How We Got The Bible
How We Got The Bible
Price: £2.56

3.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and short introduction, 10 Aug. 2014
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Basic introduction to the storyline of how we got the Bible in English. Written in a very accessible style with lots of pictures.

Is God anti-gay? (Questions Christians Ask)
Is God anti-gay? (Questions Christians Ask)
Price: £2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speaking the truth in love, 16 Mar. 2014
I first came across Is God anti-gay on Carl Truman’s reading list and I am glad that I read this book. Sam has given the Christian community a book that it has needed for years! In this book, Sam carefully and skillfully handles the Bible text. He is pastoral and sensitive. While I would like to have seen Sam answer more questions, those that he has answered are the bigger, more common ones. I found his answers very useful and I will be coming back to read these time and time again. His answer to the question, ‘aren’t we just picking and choosing which Old Testament laws apply today?’ was good, but he could have taken a bit more time to explain the categories of the laws he uses (moral, civil, ceremonial) which may leave those unfamiliar with this categorization feeling a bit lost.

Aside from a minor quibble, ‘Is God anti-gay?’ is a readable and biblical response to handing the text and speaking the truth in love to those, who are experience same sex attraction, and yet are created in image of God. He is pastoral and exhorts us to careful listening and prayer, which will shape a Godly response of wisdom, counsel and gentle instruction.

Read my full review at [...]

Kingdom Come
Kingdom Come
by Philip Ryken
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the Kingdom of God, 16 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Kingdom Come (Paperback)
Kingdom Come is easy to read and peppered with great illustrations which connect Philip's teaching points to the readers’ heart. This book also has a few gold nuggets in it that you will easily discover. Kingdom Come: Looking Forward to Jesus’ Return is ideal for young Christians or as an introduction to the subject of the return of Jesus and the kingdom of God. Although there is nothing I would disagree with, the book may disappoint those expecting something with more meat. If you want something to sink your teeth into then I recommend Kingdom Come by Sam Storms.

Read my full review at [...]

Enjoy Your Prayer Life
Enjoy Your Prayer Life
by Michael Reeves
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little book with a big impact on prayer, 16 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Enjoy Your Prayer Life (Paperback)
I enjoy what Michael has written and have taken delight from the lessons in this book. It has refreshed my soul and renewed my joy of prayer. I will add this to the recommended reading list this when I teach our young believers class on prayer. Enjoying your prayer life is a short book on prayer that may be read in one sitting. It is written in accessible language to the young Christian. I would suggest reading it several times and allow it to refresh you in your communion with God through the grace and joy of prayer.

Read my full review at [...]

Jesus On Every Page
Jesus On Every Page
by David Murray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Experience Jesus in the Old Testament, 21 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Jesus On Every Page (Paperback)
In September 2012, Harvard historian Karen King unveiled her discovery to an unsuspecting world: she had uncovered a credit card sized fragment of a papyrus manuscript, which she named The Gospel of Jesus' Wife. It seems like every few years a new document is discovered with new information about Jesus and his life. In his wisdom, God gave his people detailed accounts of the life and works of Jesus Christ in the gospels. Another document with information about Jesus' life and ministry, like a new novel in a best selling series, would make excellent supplemental reading material. What if such a document actually existed? As a matter of fact, thirty-eight of them exist and you likely have them nearby.

David Murray is a Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. In Jesus on Every Page, he will become your guide as he presents the reader with ten paths, or ways for experiencing Jesus in the Old Testament.

And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

In Luke 24 we read the account of two of Jesus' followers on the road to Emmaus. They are downcast with the events of crucifixion and are confused in their understanding of what sort of a Messiah he was. They clearly didn't understand what Jesus was about. As they are walking on the road to Emmaus, Jesus draws alongside and teaches them how all the Old Testament Scriptures revealed him.

The aim of Jesus on Every Page is to help us, like these two followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, to clearly see Jesus Christ in all the Old Testament. Furthermore, to see Jesus Christ as at the centre of all Scripture. David shares his own road to Emmaus experience with the reader as the book progresses.

This is a book of two parts. In part one, David begins with a careful consideration of how Abraham would have understood the good news of what God promises in Genesis 12:1-3, and what this would have meant to him on top of God's previous promises in Genesis 3:15. David shares that in his own journey, the light of Jesus in the Old Testament gradually became brighter and brighter. In four chapters he shows us how Jesus, Peter, Paul and John viewed the Old Testament scriptures. David shows his skill as a scholar and unlocks the Old Testament for us. As he says on page 40, "the consistent message of Christ and His apostles is that the Old Testament is all about Christ and His gracious salvation."

Now that this foundation has been laid, in the second part of Jesus on Every Page, David draws alongside us and continues to be our guide on our own journey. This second part of the book is comprised of ten chapters where he presents us with ten methods to discover Jesus in the Old Testament: in creation, through various characters, appearance of the pre-incarnate Jesus, the Law, Israel's history, the prophets, types, the covenants, and through the literary genres of proverbs and poetry.

One of the many chapters I enjoyed reading was chapter 7, which is like a gateway into the second part of the book. David writes about the Christ-centeredness of the creation account in Genesis 1-2 and encourages the reader to take a step back from the creation vs. evolution debate to view these first chapters within the overarching narrative of all Scripture. Who wrote this text? Moses. Who were the original readers? God's people - the children of Israel. What situation were they in? God had delivered them from Egypt through his chosen rescuer - Moses. David comes to the conclusion that the first chapters of Genesis, for the original audience, are not primarily about 6-day creation. Rather, they are about something with far greater significance. God's people took encouragement from this passage to look for a redeemer greater than Moses and deliverance greater than that from Egypt!

I think David kept one of his best chapters for last: discovering Jesus in the poetic genre of scripture, particularly with his handling of the Song of Solomon. The poetic genre is difficult for many of us because we don't read poetry well, or at all. David tells his readers to stop dissecting the poetic text of the Song of Solomon and treating it the way we would a theological discourse like a Pauline epistle, and encourages us start to feel the emotions the love poem evokes for this coming King of Love.

Jesus on Every Page is an accessible guide for the Christian and also of great value for the Bible student and the preacher alike. David writes with a straightforward and logical style and he makes good use of worked examples in some chapters. The book is well cross-referenced and draws you deeper into passages of Scripture. David also makes several useful suggestions for further reading, such as The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses by Vern Poythress.

In some chapters David does pack a great deal of good teaching in; but perhaps a bit too much in one or two instances. When reading the chapter on characters that pointed forward to Christ, or on how the Law revealed Jesus, I felt like I was trying to take a drink from a fire hose. The teaching comes thick and fast. These parts require you to shift gears and to re-read slowly and thoughtfully.

Through reading Jesus on Every Page I came to a better grasp of how the Old Testament teaches us about Jesus; and more appreciation for the place of the Old Testament in the overarching metanarrative of all Scripture. If you have read The Goldsworthy Trilogy by Graeme Goldsworthy, or God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts, you will thoroughly enjoy reading Jesus on Every Page. You should add this book to your reading list if you are a Bible student or preacher as it will open up the many and varied ways that Jesus appears in the Old Testament. For the same reason the Christian should also consider reading this to acquire the methods that David will teach you, so that you too can say the words of Philip: "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." (John 1:45).

No Time for Itching Ears
No Time for Itching Ears

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely good book, 22 Mar. 2011
In No Time for Itching Ears, Paul sets out to examined the Christian doctrines of the Trinity, Deity of Christ, Inerrancy, Sin and Death, Salvation, Abraham and the Second coming of Jesus.

His book is a brilliant demonstration of these doctrines that have their foundation in the book of Genesis. Paul confidently presents reasoned and rational arguments for these doctrines from the New Testament, traces them through the Old Testament and then shows their foundation in the book of Genesis.

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