Sunday, October 11, 2015

On Preaching by H.B. Charles, Jr. - Book Review

   What is preaching?  I knew this was going to be a good book when I read the first three words of Chapter 1.  This book is the perfect reading for anyone who would ever consider standing behind a pulpit to Preach the Word.  Whether you're an experienced preacher or a student, this book is for you.  I've never read a book on preaching that I would recommend more highly than I do this one.
   H.B. Charles takes us preachers back to the basics.  He said, "Preaching is and has always been the distinguishing mark of the true church of Jesus Christ.  Faithful preaching is the essential mark of the true church."  He continues on to say, "Our preaching is not the reason the Word works.  The Word is the reason our preaching works."
   He deals with issues that every preacher faces, from frustration to planning to feeling unprepared to feelings of pride that say, "I nailed that one today."  Mostly, the author brings us back to the basics.  One example he used was of Charles Spurgeon.  When told that all his sermons sounded alike, he said, "And so they should. First I take a text, and then I make a beeline for the cross."
   There are thirty chapters in this book that deal with everything from Training, Study time, Praying, Scripture research, Outlines, Intros, Illustrations, Conclusions, to Preaching with Manuscripts and Preaching without Notes.  He also delves into the Styles of Preaching, Plagiarism, Protecting your Voice, Being a Guest Preacher and more.
   Overall, this book is a must have for any preacher.  It is an amazing treasure of knowledge on what we know as the  "foolishness" of preaching.  As H.B. put it, "Nothing good could come out of my standing behind the pulpit without God's help...Without the work of the Holy Spirit to convince and convict, the sinful ear will dismiss the sermon as mere human opinion, rather than the Word of God."   We preachers need all the help we can get.  This book offers so much wonderful advice.  One thing that stood out to me was the emphasis on the power and purity of God's Word.  In Chapter 8, on Using Scripture in Preaching, the author said, "I do not believe we have to make the Word of God 'relevant.'  It already is.  Our preaching should make the relevance of Scripture clear.  We should preach with the conviction that the Bible is given to us for our transformation, not just information."
   I give this book a 5 out of 5.  As a preacher, I absolutely loved it.  It is an amazing resource that every preacher should have.  Most importantly, it puts the emphasis back on preaching the Bible.   I thank Moody Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

God Bless,

Marcus

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Reckless Love of God - Book Review

   It's time for another book review.  It's been a while since I have reviewed a book, so I was kind of excited to read this one.  The outside looks great.  Great title.  Great cover.  The inside is full of great content.  Alex Early gave a lot of great thoughts in this book.  But it was just a little tough to read straight through. 
   I think my biggest complaint for this book would be the length of the chapters.  When I first picked it up, I thought from looking at the outside that it would be short chapters, easy to read.  But...the chapters are really long.  7 chapters spread out over 180 pages.  It's not just something you pick up and read  a little bit and put down.  It's a book that you must pick up to do some serious reading. 
   That's it with the cons.  Everything else was good.  The book was full of great thoughts about The Reckless Love of God.  And when you actually think about what that means, it is one of the most encouraging thoughts that a Christian can think.  God loves me!  That's amazing.  Alex Early does a great job of presenting God's love for us in a good way. 
  Here are a few quotes to give you an idea of what you'll find in this encouraging book:
  "Today, many are being way too soft on sin in the name of grace.  The most dishonoring thing we can do to God is call good what God calls evil.  The most graceless thing we can do to others is to leave them in their sin while we possess the keys of abundant life known as truth and repentance."
  God "lovingly invades our space so that we not only hear His words but feel His presence."  Mr. Early also points out that the Sermon on the Mount is a wonderful picture of God's love.  The way Jesus "frames the exhortations, rebukes, corrections, and admonitions is not merely rhetoric.  Nor is Jesus simply making the Old Testament law harder by adding a few more rules.  Instead, in love, He is teaching God's image bearers how to live...The lens God uses when He looks at you and me is love."
   This book is deep, thoughtful, and encouraging.  I would encourage you to pick it up and read it.  Overall, I give it a 3 out of 5 stars.  Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to review this encouraging book. 


God Bless,


Marcus