Recommended - The Prodigal God by Tim Keller

In The Prodigal God Tim Keller "lays out the essentials of...the gospel" by examining Jesus' parable commonly known as "The Parable of the Prodigal Son". As you can tell from the title of the book Keller has a different take on the parable than most other preachers.

Keller contends that the parable isn't merely about the "prodigal" son (younger brother). Rather it's a story about two lost sons and a father who's love extends to both of them. It's a story in which Jesus shows that the Gospel is for both the outwardly sinful and the religious because both are in desperate need of salvation.

I think that this book, like Keller's previous book, will appeal to both believers and unbelievers alike since it focuses on a message that both groups need to hear.

Michael Horton on the Gospel

Michael Horton will be speaking on the topic of "What is the Gospel?" at Old Town Temecula Community Theater in Temecula, CA on January 27th at 7:00 pm. If you live in or near Temecula this would be a great opportunity to hear Dr. Horton on a very important subject.

You can find more information here.

Recommended: Paul and First-Century Letter Writing

I recently finished reading Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition, and Collection by E. Randolph Richards. The book challenges a number of common assumptions about Paul as a letter writer by drawing on what is known about letter writing in the first century as well as evidence internal to Paul's letters. As the title indicates, Richards spends a considerable amount of time addressing the role of secretaries in the composition of the epistles of Paul.

I found the book to be interesting and well written. Richards' arguments and conclusions have aided and enhanced my understanding and appreciation of a large portion of the New Testament. If you're at all interested in New Testament and Pauline studies I recommend getting a copy of Paul and First-Century Letter Writing.

Reflections on a Day Full of Heartbreaking News

Today was full of heartbreaking news from several of my fellow church members. The various pieces of news came in the form of emails throughout the day. There was one about a 2-year old’s grueling battle with cancer. Later an email appeared in my inbox about an unexpected death. Then, another email informed us that a toddler had fallen and broken her arm. In the afternoon we learned that a young husband and father who is in a coma after suffering a head injury had taken a turn for the worse. Lastly, we found out that another woman’s cancer had returned. Though my family and I were not directly affected by these events we share in the sorrow and grief that our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing at this time.

Today’s news reminded me that we live in a fallen world; a world subject to decay and death and full of mourning, sorrow, and pain due to sin and its effects. Yet the heartache of life in this world causes me to anticipate more eagerly the world to come.

Long ago God promised, “…behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17, ESV). It is a world in which, “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, ESV). The creation will be set free from its bondage and our perishable, dishonorable, and weak bodies will be raised imperishable, glorious, and full of power (see I Corinthians 15:42-43). God himself will wipe away the tears from our eyes and we will dwell with him in perfect fellowship, unhindered by sin. He will be our God and we will be his people (see Revelation 21:3-4).