2008 at 12:16 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Resource Recommendations
Last week our good friend Bob Kaulfin posted the following on his blog. Please check it out and vote for the Psalms CD:
We just learned that Worship Leader magazine has included our Psalms CD as one of six choices for the “Best Worship Compilation CD” for 2008. Boy, were we surprised. There in the midst of Passion, CeCe Winans, and WOW Gospel, is Sovereign Grace Ministries.
Now I’d never want you to do something you wouldn’t do otherwise. But you might consider visiting the Worship Leader site and checking out the choices. There are some good ones there. But if you think the Psalms CD is the best one out of the six, you can vote for it. Your vote could help make more people aware of our music.
In any case, we’re grateful for the opportunity to produce music that serves the church and magnifies the greatness of our Savior.
2008 at 2:00 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Homemaking Holidays and Seasons Series Resource Recommendations
Opening the door of our Advent calendar each day is one of Jack’s greatest delights of the Christmas season. His enthusiasm—“Mom, it’s only nine more days until Christmas!”—epitomizes children’s radiant anticipation for the holiday.
Sure, the Baby Ruth or Starburst behind the little door might have something to do with his eagerness (you think?). But he is also excited to read the next installment of the Christmas story and the verse that goes along with it (as he chews on his candy).
I have my own Advent pleasure this year, which I look forward to each morning as much as Jack does. It’s Nancy Guthrie’s compilation of Advent readings: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas (HT: Justin Taylor)
My apologies—I know it’s a little late to be recommending an advent book. But buy it as an early Christmas 2009 Christmas present for yourself (oh yes, and friends and family too).
This is one of those books I’ve been waiting for all my life. It’s a collection of readings from almost all of my favorite authors (long dead and now living) on various passages related to the incarnation and birth of Jesus. John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, JI Packer, John Piper…need I go on?
Despite the busyness of the Christmas season (and it seems to get crazier every year) I have been able to meditate on the deep and glorious truths of what it all means. The wonder of the incarnation, the humility of Christ, the glorious plan of the gospel, it’s application for me today. My joy is deeper this Christmas as my thoughts are drawn past the presents and parties to Jesus, the “joy of every longing heart.”
“Open the cover,” it urges on the back of the book, “and rediscover what Christmas was meant to be.”
2008 at 2:26 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Series Resource Recommendations
Christmas is in the air. My local grocery store already has all their ugly decorations hanging from the lamp posts. Mike gave me a new Christmas CD the other day, and to top things off we girls had our annual shopping trip recently.
I’m already thinking through my gift list for this year and I bet many of you are too. So I have a tip to get you started. Living with not one but three sports fans (my husband, brother, and father) I have the perfect recommendation for any sports fan in your life—Game Day for the Glory of God: A Guide for Athletes, Fans, and Wannabes. My dad had the honor of writing the foreword for this book which we have included here. So go ahead and get some early Christmas shopping done today.
Foreword to Game Day for the Glory of God
by CJ Mahaney
This is the book I needed way back when.
I grew up passionate about sports. I played baseball, basketball, and football, and I swam competitively. And when I wasn’t playing sports, I was watching sports. Sadly, I think it was all a waste.
Yep, all of it. I wasted my sports because I didn’t play for the glory of God. I played for the glory of C.J. Like I said, I wish I had this book years ago. (Being a Christian would have helped as well!)
I wasted years of playing sports. But it can be different for you. And it will be, if you will read and apply the content of this unique book. My friend Stephen Altrogge has given us a book we desperately need, on a topic rarely addressed. He applies the gospel, not just to our behavior, but to our hearts. He is theologically informed, reminding us that sports are a gift from God and a potential means to grow in godliness. Whether it’s a real sport like basketball, soccer, and golf, or a bogus sport like croquet, Stephen wants us to glorify God when we play. (And if you think croquet is actually a sport, we need to talk.)
So whether you are an athlete (like me), a wannabe (like my friends), a parent, a coach, or simply a fan, Game Day for the Glory of God will provide you with a biblical perspective on sports. In the light of the gospel, you will see game day—and yes, even practice—as a moment of eternal significance, whether you win or lose.
Sovereign Grace Ministries
2008 at 12:00 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Series Resource Recommendations
With all the election coverage, we didn’t want you to miss an important interview on The Albert Mohler Program. Two weeks ago, Carolyn McCulley joined guest host Dr. Russell Moore to discuss ”Radical Womanhood and the Local Church.” Be sure to take time and listen this weekend.
2008 at 6:25 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Living Intentionally Series Resource Recommendations
We finished writing our most recent book, Shopping for Time, about a week before Tori was born last year. Ironically, we ran out of time to include questions for group discussion and personal application in the printed addition.
But thanks to the family life team at Covenant Life Church, headed by our esteemed brother-in-law, Brian Chesemore (affectionately known as “Pastor B” to the fam), we can now make questions available to you.
These questions were written to assist women who lead a small group discussion with the book; however, they could be useful for two women reading the book together, or even someone studying on her own. We hope they will help you consider how to make the best use of your time.
Shopping for Time Questions Chapter One
Shopping for Time Questions Chapter Two
Shopping for Time Questions Chapter Three
Shopping for Time Questions Chapter Four
Shopping for Time Questions Chapter Five
Shopping for Time Questions Chapter Six
Shopping for Time Questions Conclusion
2007 at 3:32 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Series Resource Recommendations
Recently, my husband came in from putting Jack to bed and he was all excited. He had just been reading our son a new children’s Bible storybook and he was delighted with it’s Christ-centered approach. So, because we like to keep you up-to-date on the resources we are benefiting from, here is Steve’s endorsement of the Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago:
I love this Bible because it does what few other children’s Bibles have done: it keeps Christ at the center of every story. From the very beginning, every page includes some connection to the person and work of Jesus Christ. The pictures are fabulous, and the story is told at a level that even our four-year-old Jack can understand. He gets it: Who is the Rescuer? Jesus! What is God’s Secret Rescue Plan? The gospel! He is learning about the Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. Even his toddling intellect is beginning to grasp that the whole story of the Bible points to a Savior. And we’re only at Jacob and Rachel! I highly recommend this Bible as the primary reading Bible for toddlers and younger school-aged kids.
2007 at 5:14 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Reading Series Resource Recommendations
While the four of us don’t have as much time for reading as we would like, I think we read faster than we update the “Books We’re Reading” list on our sidebar. So, today I checked in with Mom, Kristin, and Janelle, and here are some of the latest titles from our bedside tables.
Mom has begun to read Memorable Women of Puritan Times, Vols 1&2 by James Anderson. “The wives and mothers of the Puritan leaders shaped their lives as much as did their mentors and instructors. Here, in two beautiful volumes, are the stories of 25 women who influenced history and the kingdom of God by their relationships with and to the men God placed in their lives” (from the book description).
In addition, Mom and I are both reading an instructive book Dad gave us called Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark.
Kristin is reading the Crossway Classic Commentary on Luke by J.C. Ryle in her quiet time. Her friend, Jerusha suggested it, and Kristin says it’s living up to her high recommendation.
Speaking of commentaries, Janelle is half-way through Esther and Ruth by Iain M. Duguid. Kristin recently finished this one and found it both inspiring and applicable.
Janelle’s also beginning Deception by one of our favorite authors, Randy Alcorn. If she doesn’t keep a close eye on this one, I’m going to steal it next time I’m at her house. Can you hurry up and finish already, Janelle?
In my “spare” time, I’m working my way through a biography of Anne Bradstreet by Heidi L. Nichols.
Hopefully it won’t be another year before we finish these books or update our sidebar. But I’m not making any promises!
2006 at 5:36 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Series Resource Recommendations
When I was in elementary school, our dear librarian Miss Kisiel had a rule: you had to read three biographies before you were allowed to enter the special closet where the Nancy Drew collection was stored and select one of the precious books from the shelf.
I’ve long since out-grown my passion for Nancy Drew, but today I enjoy biographies more than ever. The other night I finished Winston and Clementine: The Personal Letters of the Churchills.
I am not aware that either of the Churchills were believers in Jesus Christ, and there are aspects of their family life I would not want to emulate. However, through these letters you get a glimpse into a marriage that was, in many ways, remarkable.
For fifty-seven years, through two world wars, countless political campaigns, two terms as prime minister, relationships with kings and presidents, and travels around the globe, Winston and Clementine maintained a loving and affectionate relationship. The record of which can be found in their countless letters to one another.
One letter from Winston to Clementine, early in their marriage closes with these words: “My dearest you are very precious to me and I rejoice indeed to have won and kept your loving heart. May it never cool towards me is my prayer and that I may deserve your love my resolve” (p. 75).
Fifty years later, Winston received this note from Clementine upon his return from a trip: “My Darling, The Time has seemed long without you—I shall be on the door-step to welcome you Home. Your devoted Clemmie” (p. 643).
Every biography, every life teaches. It warns or inspires. The marriage of Winston and Clementine, although not perfect, encouraged me to show even more affection to my wonderful husband. For it struck me that this couple’s consistent expressions of affection for one another over half a century were as much a means of preserving their love as a reflection of the love they already shared.
Now I only write one letter to Steve a year—on our anniversary. But almost every day I try to put a little note in his lunch. And I cherish the emails or text messages he sends me just to say, “I love you.” As a result of reading this book I’m inspired to email him more often. I’m thankful for the encouragement to grow in expressing tender love for my husband.
2005 at 5:22 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Resource Recommendations Singleness Courtship
We decided to briefly interrupt the courtship stories with some recommended reading. If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you know that one of the things we love to do most is encourage you to read good books. Why? John Piper captures our enthusiasm:
“God has appointed for us to be helped in our understanding and enjoyment of Scripture by human teachers—living and dead….Some of these write down their teachings. This is why we have books.…None of us is so free from sin or bias or blindness that we can see the infallible Scriptures infallibly. We need help. We need correction. We need guidance and encouragement. Oh, the wonders that others have seen in the Bible that we have not seen! What a folly and what a blow to joy if we neglect these books!”
John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2004), 128.
It’s not only a “blow to joy” to neglect good books. We are also missing out on valuable wisdom that godly men and women have gleaned from Scripture. And there are few areas where we find ourselves more desperately in need of guidance and counsel than when it comes to choosing a spouse.
In God’s kindness, there are several books available today that offer biblical principles and wise counsel for anyone considering marriage. Here are several of the books my daughters found most helpful.
No doubt most of you are familiar with them, but the list must start with Joshua Harris’ two books:
I Kissed Dating Goodbye
Boy Meets Girl
Originally taken from an article in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, the booklet entitled Pre-Engagement: 5 Questions to Ask Yourselves by David Powlison and John Yenchko is available from CCEF. Priceless counsel packed into a very short space for under $2.
Discovering God’s Will by Sinclair Ferguson will serve you if you are facing any major life decision. But the chapter on considering marriage is worth the price of the book if you are in a courtship.
So, now you have your weekend reading list! We’ll continue with courtship sagas on Monday. Friday Funnies coming your way before too long.
2005 at 2:45 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Suffering Series Resource Recommendations
Whether or not we are suffering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina this week, author D.A. Carson points out that “The truth of the matter is that all we have to do is live long enough and we will suffer.” It’s not a question of “if” but merely of “when” we will suffer. Similarly, John Piper notes that: “We all will suffer; we all must suffer; and most American Christians are not prepared in mind or heart to believe or experience this.”
Just as the time to shore up the levies protecting the city of New Orleans was before the hurricane hit, so the ideal time for each of us to prepare for suffering is before its howling winds swirl around us.
So how do we prepare our minds and hearts to experience suffering? We must dig deep into God’s Word to shore up our spiritual foundations. And as an expression of His tender mercy, God has provided us with numerous helpful resources that expound His Word as it relates to suffering and applies these truths to our hearts. Here is our short list of the most excellent resources on this oft-neglected but desperately needed topic:
How Long O Lord: Reflections of Suffering and Evil
Besides my dad’s opinion that this is the best book on suffering available today, I’ll let a quote from this book by D.A. Carson serve as it’s endorsement “In the darkest night of the soul, Christians have something to hang onto that Job never knew. We know Christ crucified. Christians have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God’s love, they cannot escape the cross. ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’ (Rom. 8:32).”
When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty
From a life of intense personal suffering as a parapalegic, Joni Eareckson Tada along with co-author Steve Estes take us to the foot of the cross to view our own sufferings in light of the ultimate sacrifice of our Savior.
The Journal of Biblical Counseling
From our good friends at “The Journal” come two articles: “Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? What do we do with Suffering?” by Edward T. Welch (Vol. 12, No. 3, Spring 1994) which you can order by calling 800-318-2186, and “Counseling with Suffering People” by John Piper (Vol. 21, No. 2, Winter 2003), available on their website.
Finally, my personal favorite…
Beside Still Waters
When I was in the hospital following complications from giving birth to Jack, my dad came and read me passages from this amazing book. I still read it often and try to give it to as many suffering people as I know. It’s a challenge to have to pick just one quote to share with you, but I want to close with this one. For although trials and suffering are inevitable, Charles Spurgeon has helped me to see that from a biblical perspective they are also a blessing, because—
“Trials greatly enlarge the soul. Thus I do not want, in my better mind, to escape great trials, since they involve great graces. If my strength shall be as my days (Deut. 33:25), then let my days be long and dark, for my strength will be mighty, God will be glorified, and I will be blessed. I earnestly urge every tested Christian to dwell on this truth, for it may be a great comfort. There is love, immortal and unchanging love, in heaven toward you, which will never grow cold. You will be helped. God will sooner cease to be than cease to be faithful. Be of good courage, for today He will strengthen your heart.”
Whether you are in the midst of suffering from Hurricane Katrina, or preparing to meet your own personal hurricane someday, may you be of good courage, and may God strengthen your heart!
2005 at 5:31 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Motherhood Teenagers Series Resource Recommendations
We are going to take a different approach to Q & A today. We have received a number of questions about raising teenagers…not only from the blog, but personally as well. And while we will continue to attempt to answer these questions, we want to strongly encourage you to take advantange of some helpful resources. These books, articles, and cd’s—if studied and applied—will ultimately be more helpful than any advice we can offer on any one question.
In particular, there is a brand new resource we want to highlight, and that is the latest issue of that most outstanding publication, The Journal of Biblical Counseling. Devoted entirely to topics related to parenting teens, this issue (Vol. 23, No. 3, Summer 2005) includes articles such as:
“Only A Teenager” by David Powlison
“Dazzle your Teen” by Tedd Tripp
“What is ‘Success’ in Parenting Teens?” by Paul Tripp
“Why Do Kids Turn Out the Way They Do?” by Jim Newheiser
“Communicate with Teens” by Tedd Tripp
“Addressing the Problems of Rebellious Children” by Mary Somerville
“Counseling Angry, Unmotivated, Self-Centered, Spiritually-indifferent Teens” by Rick Horne
“Yelling at My Kids” by Nina Campagna
Here are some choice excerpts from just one of the articles (“What is ‘Success’ in Parenting Teens?”). But it’s hard not to quote the whole thing!
“Many parents have a simple goal for getting through their child’s teenage years: survival. But this goal focuses simply on getting yourself through a difficult time. In order to get through these years, parents tend to settle for external, behaviorist goals. We try to deal with our kids according to the Nike way, ‘Just do it!’ But parents who just want to regulate and control behavior don’t give teens much to take with them when they leave home….The final years of a child’s life at home are a time of unprecedented opportunity. As a child’s world unfolds before him and he experiences greater freedom, his heart is revealed. This means parents have to take every opportunity to be part of the final stage of preparation. Being involved with our teenagers at a deep level is a critical goal for these years.”
“The most helpful thing to remember is that your teenager is more like you than unlike you….There are very few struggles in the life of my teenager that I don’t recognize in my own life as well. For instance, imagine my child has gotten into trouble because he’s procrastinated on a school assignment, and now he can’t possibly get it done on time. Haven’t I done the same thing? Of course, I have. And if I realize that, I can’t come to him and say, ‘How dare you! How could you? In my day I would have never thought of doing this!’ Instead, I come as a fellow sinner. It’s because of this that my dealings with him become based on the gospel rather than the law. Here’s my opportunity to point him to Christ. So I say: ‘Son, there’s a rescue provided for us in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There’s hope for both of us. I need it every bit as much as you do. And I stand with you. However, don’t expect me to write a note to the teacher to get you out of the assignment.”
My husband, Steve, who is the pastor of the parent-teen ministry at our church, recently gave this journal to all the parents. And as my dad says, “This issue of the journal deserves broad distribution.” The cost is only $8 and we hope that every parent of a teenager (or soon-to-be teenager) purchases a copy. You can order it by clicking here or contacting the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation at 800-318-2186.
Also, most of you are probably aware of these resources, but if you haven’t read or listened to the following, we believe they will serve you as well…
Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp
“Parents, Teens, and Reasonable Expectations” by Grant Layman
Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood
2005 at 1:08 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Biblical Womanhood Suffering Series Resource Recommendations
Several years ago, in between the births of my sons Andrew and Liam I suffered two miscarriages in a row. When I was walking through the disappointment of my first miscarriage, my friend Nadia gave me the book Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.
In this book, Elizabeth’s fictional character Katy begins as a selfish teenager, and Elizabeth brings us into her thoughts, struggles, and sin. Then she takes us on the journey of Katy’s life as she embraces her call as a wife and mother. We are able to see up close the Lord’s work in her life as she walks through much trial and suffering.
As I found my soul tempted towards discouragement and unbelief, Prentiss’ (loosely autobiographical) character’s suffering put mine in perspective. She lost one of her children and experienced significant physical challenges that confined her to her room for lengthy seasons. Yet as she passed through this shadow of death she took hold of Scripture and began to embrace a God-centered perspective on her trials.
As Katy recounts:
“During my long illness and confinement to my room, the Bible has been almost a new book to me, and I see that God has always dealt with His children as He deals with them now, and that no new thing has befallen me. All these weary days so full of feebleness, these nights so full of unrest, have had their appointed mission to my soul. And perhaps I have had no discipline so salutary as this forced inaction and uselessness, at a time when youth and natural energy continually cried our for room and work.”
Whatever my days and nights hold, my confidence is this: they always have their appointed mission to my soul. Whether it’s the significant trial of a miscarriage or the simple daily temptations faced in just patiently caring for my two-year-old, I can be sure that in every day the Lord has an appointed mission for my soul.
Ultimately my hope and joy rest not in my circumstances. Whether my days are happy or difficult, whether I experience loss or gain. God’s word points me to the joy that is unshakeable, the joy of knowing peace with Him, through Jesus Christ. Prentiss’ character, Katy, found in God the same unshakeable joy. And these are her words on a particularly happy day:
“This is the 10th anniversary of our wedding day and it has been a delightful one. If I were called upon to declare what has been the chief element of my happiness I would say it was not Ernest’s love to me or mine to him or that I am once more the mother of three children or that my own dear mother still lives, though I revel in each and all of these. But underneath them all, deeper, stronger than all, lies a peace with God that I can compare to no other joy, which I guard as I would guard hidden treasure, and which must abide even if all other things pass away.”
I want to be faithful to guard that hidden treasure of peace with God, whether in joy and prosperity, or in suffering.
Quotes taken from Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward (Amityville, NY: Calvary Press, 1995), 200 & 215.
2005 at 11:30 am | by Kristin Chesemore
Biblical Womanhood Spiritual Disciplines Series Resource Recommendations
Nicole wrote the other day about the temptation to neglect the spiritual disciplines on vacation. But as a mom with three young children, I find myself daily prone to skip my quiet time. When you’ve been up countless times in the night with a baby who needs a bottle, a toddler who won’t sleep, and a five year old who wets the bed—all of whom wake up by 6:00 a.m.—it’s occasionally a little hard to have Bible study and prayer first thing in the morning. Then my roller-coaster ride of a day begins and the demands on my time come fast and furious. When nap time rolls around (if Liam actually stays in his bed), I’m in need of rest myself. If you’re a mom with young kids, I’m sure you can relate.
However, even though my quiet times may not always be an hour or more as is my goal, and although the times of day may vary, it is vital that I make it my highest priority to spend time meditating on the gospel, and as George Mueller once said, “make my soul happy in God.” In this unique season of my life, short books that take me straight to the cross are the most valuable. I want to share with you some of my favorites, as well as those of other mommy-friends of mine:
The Cross Centered Life and Christ Our Mediator – I know I’m a little biased, but these books by my dad have helped me tremendously.
Morning and Evening – Two verses, two simple readings, and I am more grateful for the Savior.
The Passion of Jesus Christ – Friends of mine love this John Piper book that has fifty verses and meditations on the cross.
Beside Still Waters – If you are in a trial, this comforting book of short thoughts by Charles Spurgeon will help transform your perspective of suffering.
The Valley of Vision – As we’ve said before on this blog, these prayers promote communion with God.
Finally, one last recommendation: It’s an investment, but I highly recommend purchasing the ESV Bible and The Valley of Vision on cd. Playing these throughout the day are not a substitute for a quiet time, but they refresh my soul—not to mention my kids are hearing God’s Word.
2005 at 4:58 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Series Resource Recommendations
My husband gave me a gift this past week that I must tell you about. It is The Valley of Vision on cd. If you are not familiar with this book, here is a brief description:
“The Valley of Vision is a collection of prayers and devotions taken from the writings of spiritual giants like John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, Isaac Watts, and Richard Baxter. These men were not only devoted students of the Bible, but men who expressed an enthusiasm for prayer that is inspiring and contagious.”
For years, my own prayer life has been informed and enriched by reading the prayers from The Valley of Vision during my morning devotions. Now, having the audio version enables me to benefit—not just in the mornings—but throughout the day. At this very moment, I have one of the CD’s in my car, one in my kitchen, and one in my bedroom. I know, it’s a little overboard, but it just goes to show how much I am benefiting!
The audio collection comes with seven compact discs, which include six hours of narration. I suggest you put this series on your next birthday wish list. Or if your birthday has passed, add it to your Christmas list. Then you too will be playing it on every CD player you own!