Who Has God Made You to Be? Visually Explore a Theology of Vocation

Jeremy Bouma on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310520436_2How do you discover who God has made you to be, what gifts and skills he’s given you, and what responsibilities he’s entrusted to you?

Tim Challies and Josh Byers are here to help.

In their new book Visual Theology, they plumb the depths of a theology of vocation in a way that’s both engaging and informative to help believers live out “whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.” (1 Corinthians 7:17)

Below we’ve briefly engaged their four aspects of vocation to provide insight into our probing questions about calling. Here’s what you’ll discover:

What we do is closely related to who we are. And as a Christian, you are responsible to give all of who…

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Karl Barth on Mind, Body, and a Christological Anthropology

Jeremy Bouma on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310516415What does it mean to be human?

Two theories have generally explained our ontological construction: one argues we are dually composed of separate “body” and “soul” pieces; the other says the person is strictly a material unity. Theologians of all stripes have offered similar theories, yet one stands above the fold given his decidedly christological orientation.

“Few thinkers in the history of the church have pursued a christological anthropology with greater rigor than displayed in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics,” Marc Cortez explains in his new book Christological Anthropology in Historical Perspective. “Barth demonstrates how this christological orientation reshapes how we understand specific issues like relationality, ontology, and temporality.” (141)

In his approach to the body/mind relationship, Barth argued they “can only be rightly understood from…

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What Does it Mean to “Believe”? Here are 5 Aspects of Christian Faith

Jeremy Bouma on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310520924_image“I believe…”

That’s how one of the most important creeds of Christ’s Church begins. And it’s no surprise that it does. Because as Michael Bird explains in his new book What Christians Ought to Believe, not only is “the Christian life a story of faith: of coming to faith, of keeping the faith, and of finishing the faith.” (43) Life itself is a life of faith:

Faith, believe, trust and hope—whatever you like—these emerge from a deeply human experience full of dualities; experiences of life and loss, fidelity and failures, joy and grief, as well as trust and betrayal…The reality is that faith is an inalienable feature of human existence. (44)

What this opening salvo of our cornerstone creed is inviting those who recite…

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A Three-Point Framework for an Evangelical Theology of Animal Care

Jeremy Bouma on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

vegangelicalRecently, there has been a heightened sense of justice within the evangelical community for the welfare of various “others”. Yet one group within creation has often received little attention:

Animals.

Admittedly, though I adore my spunky Terrier-Boxer-Pug dog Zoe, I haven’t much considered how caring for animals connects to my faith. But Christian activist Sarah Withrow King has caused me to rethink how animals fit into God’s broader creation plan and re-creation initiative through Christ.

King’s new book is called Vegangelical “because caring for animals has helped me appreciate the Good News in deeper and wider ways, and though the work is often heartbreaking, I have hope in a resurrected Christ, who is calling his whole creation home.” (16)

She opens her book…

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4 Reasons Why Every Christian Ought to Know the Traditional Creeds

Jeremy Bouma on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310520924_imageIn the last several years, there has been a resurgent interest in rediscovering the historic Christian faith. Among others, we have Michael Bird to thank.

In his new book What Christians Ought to Believe, Bird follows up his magnum opus on evangelical theology with a sturdy guide to the bedrock of Christian doctrine: the Apostles’ Creed. It summarizes and explains the basic tenets of the Christian faith using this theological bulwark, in order to reverse a trend he calls a “theological travesty”:

Sadly, I know many churches that make no effort to recite, teach, and confess the Apostles’ Creed or any creed for that matter…By ignoring the creeds those who consider themselves to be orthodox are effectively sawing off the theological…

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Ask These 5 Questions to Bring Clarity to Your Old Testament Sermons

Jeremy Bouma on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310524649I wish I’d had Christopher Wright’s new book How to Preach Through the Old Testament for All Its Worth when I regularly preached. It would have helped me preach the text, yes. But it would have helped me preach it in a way my congregation would have understood it.

Because let’s face it, preaching the Old Testament can be…challenging! Wright sympathizes:

to be honest, the Old Testament is a difficult set of books…trying to preach a sermon or teach a Sunday school class from the Old Testament is too exhausting for the pastor or Bible study leader and too confusing for the people. It’s much easier to stick with what we know—the New Testament. (17)

Which is why Wright offers a five-question roadmap for preaching and teaching Old Testament…

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How Jesus’ Murder-Is-Wrong Ethic Is Deeper than Atheists’ Ethic

Jeremy Bouma on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsFor the past few months, my pastor has been preaching the Ten Commandments. Though the first four gave me pause, causing me to consider my singular worship of God, and the fifth one about parent honoring resurfaced vivid childhood memories, I sighed in relief at the sixth: “You shall not murder.” I could safely say I’d never murdered anyone.

Not so fast! Because as John Dickson explains in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments, “For Jesus, the command about murder is a shadow of a deeper reality in which God calls on us to revere people so much that we will refuse even to denigrate another…” (125)

Jesus’ murder-is-wrong ethic is a strong one. Even stronger than atheistic, secular notions. Because as Dickson reveals, his logic…

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What Does God Want Me to Do with My Life? Michael Horton Explains

Jeremy Bouma on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310525066‘Tis the season for commencement speeches. On June 12, 2005, Steve Jobs gave one of the more memorable ones. His advice to the Stanford graduating class? “You’ve got to find what you love.” This is a common answer to the graduate’s question, “What am I supposed to do with my life?”

But what about the Christian? What are we supposed to do with our life? Michael Horton has an answer, one that’s different from Jobs’s.

In his new book Core Christianity, a helpful guide that tackles the core beliefs that all Christians share, Horton directs our attention away from ourselves—finding what we love—and toward God and our neighbor. His advice on calling begins in a unique way, reminding us where we are and where we’re heading:

we are located…

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3 Keys to Help Doubters Make Sense of the Ten Commandments

Jeremy Bouma on 10 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsThe greatest cultural icon of the West isn’t American (Declaration of Independence). It isn’t British (Magna Carta) or French (The Social Contract). Instead it’s Judeo-Christian.

I’m speaking of the Ten Commandments.

Though some have tried to transcend it, offering alternative lists in its place, there is no denying—or escaping—its enduring attraction and influence. John Dickson hopes to recapture both in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments. In it he explores how these ten verses have changed our world and how they show us what the Good Life looks like.

The social impact of this ancient moral charter is so great that most people living in the West…are living by the Ten Commandments, pretty much. These rules…

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How Should Christians Relate to Governing Authorities? Michael Bird Clarifies

Jeremy Bouma on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310327189“Origen, who knew Roman brutality all to well, said: ‘I am disturbed by Paul’s saying that the authority of this age and the judgment of the world are ministers of God.’” (Michael Bird, The Story of God  Bible Commentary: Romans, 442)

Two questions:

What does Paul mean that we should “be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1)? And in what way is it “necessary to submit to the authorities.” (13:5)?

Michael Bird brings clarity in his new Romans commentary (The Story of God Bible Commentary series). He helps us hear and explore the text in it’s original Roman context, while also applying it to…

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What Does Genesis 12:1–3 Mean, Why Does It Matter?

Jeremy Bouma on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

GenesisEarlier this year, we released another volume in the landmark The Story of God Bible Commentary series, written by none other than venerable Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III.

In Genesis, Longman helps pastors and teachers help those they shepherd live and apply the Story to real life. It also offers them a sturdy resource for hearing the voice of God in the text and finding an accessible explanation of its passages.

Let’s look at how Longman explains and applies Genesis 12:1–3—an important set of verses to be sure!

“One cannot overestimate the importance of these three verses not only for the Abraham story and the Pentateuch but for the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments.” (159)

So what does Read more

Visually Explore the 4 Acts of The Great Drama of God

Jeremy Bouma on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

William Shakespeare was right and wrong.

Yes, “All the world’s a stage; And all the men and women merely players.” But it isn’t a tale told by an idiot “full of sound and fury; Signifying nothing.”

In their new book Visual Theology, Tim Challies and Josh Byers remind us that we are all part of a great tale, a great Drama that is guided and directed by a sovereign Storyteller. For some time Christians have understood it as a four act Drama: cfrn Marrying the two Christian values of truth and beauty, Challies and Byers have crafted a visually stunning and equally visually informative resource to help you and those you shepherd see and understand the truth about God.

Below we’ve shared their…

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