Thinking Out Loud

October 23, 2011

Sunday Seriousness: Rich Text

Each year multiplied thousands of new Christian books are published, and even though the last few years have been rough on publishers, self-publishing and online publishing mean that there has been a net increase in the number of new titles annually.

‘Rich text’ is a computer term referring to fonts, colors, sizes, and decorations that involve more complex HTML code, but I’m using the term here to denote authors whose text is rich in meaning, Bible background and practical application.  You see, in those multiplied thousands of new titles, there is a lot of fluff that gets issued each year, resulting in little more than the elimination of hundreds of trees used to make the paper. 

You should be constantly hungry for, and seeking out, rich text.  Here are some suggestions of authors that should be on everyone’s book list.

Classic Authors:

  • Andrew Murray
  • A. W. Tozer
  • Oswald Chambers
  • Watchman Nee
  • C. S. Lewis (apologetics titles)

Contemporary Authors:

  • Philip Yancey
  • Randy Alcorn
  • Henri Nouwen
  • Gene Edwards
  • Warren Wiersbe

Recently Published Bestsellers:

  • Radical by David Platt
  • Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman
  • The Well by Mark Hall
  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  • Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

So, who would you add to the list?

May 1, 2011

Knowledge about God is not Intimacy with God

At the end of the month, Zondervan will release Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman, host of the H2O video series and teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville.  I’ll be reviewing the book closer to the release date, but in the meanwhile, here’s an excerpt:

Fans have a tendency to confuse their knowledge for intimacy.  They don’t recognize the difference between knowing about Jesus and following Jesus.  In Church we’ve got this confused.  We have established systems of learning that result in knowledge, but not necessarily intimacy.

Think about it:  We love having Bible studies, many of which include some kind of workbook.  We go through a Bible curriculum that often has homework.  Sermons are often accompanied by an outline where members can take notes and fill in the blanks.  Many preachers refer to their sermons as a lesson or a lecture. If you grew up in the church then you probably went to Sunday school where you had a teacher.  In the summer you may have gone to Vacation Bible school

Now don’t get me wrong, studying and learinng from God’s word is invaluable.  Jesus referenced, read and quoted all kinds of passages from the Old Testament, ample proof that he had studied God’s Word with great care and diligence.  The problem isn’t knowledge.  The problem is that you can have knowledge without having intimacy.  In fact, knowledge can be a false indicator of intimacy.  clearly where there is intimacy there should be growing knowledge, but too often there is knowledge without a growing intimacy.  …Knowledge is part of intimacy, but just because there is knowledge doesn’t mean there is intimacy.

Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan.

April 27, 2010

Kingdoms in Conflict

Filed under: bible, Jesus — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:14 am

The world says ‘seeing is believing.’

Jesus teaches ‘believing is seeing.’

The world says attain wisdom

The Bible teaches we should be willing to become a fool

The world says ‘be a survivor’

Jesus taught we should be willing to lose our lives

The world says ‘go for the gold,’ achieve greatness

Jesus taught us to be willing to be the last, the least

The world exalts leaders

Jesus said we should make ourselves servants

The world exalts human potential and greatness

Jesus said we should humble ourselves

The world says ‘look out for number one’

The Bible teaches we should look out for the interests of others and count others better than ourselves

The world says ‘get all you can’

Jesus says ‘give all you can’

The world says we should make our good deeds known

Jesus taught we should keep our good deeds secret

The world says love is a feeling, it’s conditional and it will grow old

The Bible teaches the love is a lasting, unconditional commitment; love never fails

The world says we should hate our enemies

Jesus taught us to love our enemies

The world says ‘get even,’ retaliate

Jesus taught forgiveness

The world puts spin on events to cover up mistakes

Proverbs teaches us to confess our mistakes

The world emphasizes the great things human can accomplish

The prophets taught things happen ‘not by might, nor by power,’ but by God’s Spirit

The world says ‘drown your sorrows’

The Bible contrasts that with ‘be filled with the Spirit

The world operates on cynicism and skepticism

Jesus taught that all things are possible to those who believe

The world says you should consult your horoscope

Jesus talked about searching the scriptures

The world says the Bible was written by human agency only

The Bible itself claims that all Scripture is God breathed

The world says the Bible is old-fashioned and out-of-date

Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away, but not his truths

The world thinks Jesus was a good man

The early church confession was that Jesus is Lord

The world says Jesus is not coming back

Jesus promised ‘I will come and receive you to myself’

The world concludes, ‘I’ll never worship Jesus Christ’

The Bible says that someday every knee will bow and every voice will admit that Jesus Christ is Lord.


~adapted from Straightforward by Larry Tomczak, a classic book from the Jesus movement of the late 1970s; references for any italicized lines available on request

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