Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's On My Nightstand - April

The last time I participated in this carnival was in January, and I said then that I wanted to do it again, but in the midst of my on-going blog slump, I just haven’t done it. Then I saw that Leslie has a post up today, and I thought, “Hey, maybe this will help me get out of the never-ending blog slump!” Click on the picture for the original carnival post at 5 Minutes for Books. So, here’s my list for April, though it's so short this month, I apologize in advance to anyone who may have clicked over here to see it:

Just finished:

Saved Without a Doubt by John MacArthur. You know, for all the people who go around saying that John MacArthur is cold on mercy and grace and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…..read this book. His pastor’s heart and concern for believers to have a deep and abiding peace and assurance is so evident. The biblical teaching in this book has really helped me with a struggle I had been having. A big reason for my times when I struggle with assurance has to do with not knowing the actual date of my salvation. I was saved as a young child and I can point to several specific times when I committed myself to Jesus and when I experienced conviction over sin, but I struggled for a while as an adult with when was I actually saved. I have finally come to realize that the specific date is not as important as knowing that I am trusting in Christ alone, His finished work on the cross and His resurrection. The direction of my life must be toward His holiness and my desire is to be what He would have me be and to be obedient to His calling. So, I’m thankful to have read this book.

If you can stand a minor rabbit trail here before I go on with my list, I have been itching to say on this blog that I get so tired of hearing people knock Dr. MacArthur because he preaches the Word and doesn’t back down from the hard truth. I have been immensely blessed by his ministry, and I, for one, am glad God called him to pastor and has gifted him to do it so well, and I’m thankful for the way Grace to You makes so much available to those of us who are hungry for good teaching but do not live in Los Angeles.

Drew and I were having a discussion with a pastor friend once about the seeker-type approach to ministry and meeting people’s felt needs. Right there we were noticing a difference in how we thought and he thought. Anyway, in the course of that conversation, somehow we got to talking about John MacArthur, and he said something about how, sure MacArthur is a solid Bible teacher, but you just feel so beat up when you listen to him or read his books. Drew and I kind of looked at each other like, huh? Because we have been extremely edified by John MacArthur’s preaching and teaching, and that kind of took us off guard from this particular person who Drew has known for a very long time and would not have expected him to think that way.

Anyway, in the course of blogging, I’ve heard similar comments about Pastor MacArthur and about Dr. Albert Mohler and other men who are very serious about God’s word. I’ve seen some very derogatory comments about both those men at several blogs where the writers and commenters seem to pride themselves on their tolerance, kindness and niceness and spend lots of pixels taking other bloggers to task about their ‘tone’ and perceived lack of love and mercy and grace. What they said about these serious-minded men was childish and unkind, unloving and harsh. I guess tolerance and kindness and careful ‘tone’ are only to be applied to those who are squishy in their theology and who shy away from hard truths. If we don’t like what someone has to say or disagree with their certainty in biblical truths, then we can be ugly and harsh and derogatory, eh?

I happened across one of those ‘tolerance’ blogs, one which considers itself an anti-watchblog kind of site, and there I saw a comment, written in an offhand kind of way about Dr. Mohler. They said something about, “like anyone outside the SBC even cares what he says anyway.” How is that charitable? I’m really glad people like Mohler and MacArthur have enough gravitas to steer clear of the name-calling and stupidity that makes up much of “Christian” blogging today.

So, a few weeks ago, Drew and I spent most of the drive to Georgia for our vacation listening to some episodes of Grace to You on my iPod. Dr. MacArthur was preaching about the doctrine of the Perseverance of the saints. After one very encouraging session, Drew looked over at me and said, “You feel beat up yet?” And I just started laughing. “Not hardly.” As we discussed that, I told Drew that the only time I feel bad when listening to his preaching is when there is some sin in my life that I need to confess and repent and his opening of God’s word and explaining it helps me to recognize it. That is not Pastor John ‘beating me up’, though. That, my friends, is the gracious conviction of the Holy Spirit as He uses His word to pierce my heart, and I am grateful for it.

Anyway, leaving the rabbit trail and moving on back to the post. You didn’t come over here for that, I’m sure. But that is a good book, and I recommend it highly.

Currently reading:

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. This is another of my oldest son’s books that I decided I wanted to read. You may remember me blogging about reading his Shadow Children books. Well, we took the boys to see the movie Inkheart, not realizing that it was a book first. After seeing the movie, which we loved, we all wanted to read the book. My mom and dad gave J this book for Christmas, and I’m just now getting around to reading it. I like it. It’s even better than the movie. As it would be. You know me, usually I want to read the book before seeing the movie. Anyway, so far, I’m liking it. And, for once, I only have one book going, if you don't count Loving God With All Your Mind by Elizabeth George, which we will be finishing next week in our women's group at church, and which I've mentioned on here several times.

Soon to be reading:

I don’t have anything yet. I need to go to the library once I finish Inkheart. I’m thinking I want to read the other two books in the Inkheart trilogy and then I want to read Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy. I read Hood a while back and want to read the rest. It’s been so long, I’ll probably have to read Hood again first and then the others. Those are what will probably be next, but we’ll see!


Laura said...

I love your rabbit trail because I love my pastor too =). It's always so fun to hear of the influence for the Truth God has given him outside of my little world and church. Also convicting when I think of how often I take it for granted. Thanks for the reminder to be grateful!

Anonymous said...

I think part of the reason so many people feel beat up after listening to Dr. MacArthur is because they may have a spirit of condemnation rather than one of sonship; they are living under the law rather than under grace, but they don't realize that's what it is. Children of God love the Truth! And I am of the opinion that MacArthur strives to deliver undiluted Truth.

I missed this carnival last month, too. But I found out today that it's always on the last tuesday of every month. I hope I don't forget it again.

Lisa writes... said...

Totally love Dr. MacArthur and his uncompromising stand for Truth. What Leslie said is right on.

My third son just finished (today) the Inkheart trilogy--and loved them all so much he's featuring them in a project he has to do for school!