>Highest Recommendation!

>Very rarely do I recommend a book until I’ve completed it. But just yesterday I received my copy of Don’t Call It a Comeback and after just a couple chapters I not only recommend it, but I urge you to get a copy (and, of course, if you follow the link below I’ll “earn” a couple cents if you buy it)

Here’s one of many sentences I underlined: “If the gospel is old news to you, it will be dull news to everyone else.”

And, “There is a time for dialogue, but there is also a time for declaration.”

Plus, “The world needs to see Christians burning, not with self-righteous fury at the sliding morals in our country, but with passion for God.”

One more, “When the church discovers cool, it won’t be cool anymore.”

Last, for this time, “I think a lot of older Christians are desperate to figure out what young people are into because they are too embarrassed to be themselves and too unsure of themselves to simply love the people they are trying to reach.”


>A Leading Question

>Just started reading the book The God Who is There by D. A. Carson. Reading it for two reasons..everything I’ve read by Carson stretches and edifies me; and virtually every blogger I subscribe to has recommended it as one of the best books of ’10)…

Here is an early quote as he discusses the various Christian and non-Christian ideas regarding creation (read the whole paragraph to get the context of the concluding question):

“Even if your understanding of origins belongs to the dominant modern paradigm in which our entire known universe developed out of a big bang that took place something like fifteen billion years ago from an unimaginably condense mass and became our universe, there is an obvious question to ask. Whether or not you subscribe to the view that this big bang took place under the guidance of God, sooner or later you are forced to ask the question, ‘Where did that highly condensed material come from?'”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0801013720&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>A Long-Time Favorite


From At the Corner of Mundane and Grace, (Waterbrook Press) by Chris Fabry
     Lord, lift my eyes today from the stuff of earth. Help me see the sun, and if there are clouds, help me see them, too.
     Take away my unending desire to know exactly what your will is for my entire life, and give me an unquenchable thirst to know only You today.
     When I’m in an argument with friend or foe, deliver me from the need to always be right. Give me instead a desire to love.
     Deliver me from the need of things to make me happy.
     Except for that new printer.
     Okay, deliver me from the printer, too.
     When I’m looking for my keys or a parking place today, Lord, I pray you will give me patience instead.
     And then I pray You will reward my patience with a really close parking space.
     Make me a servant. Deepen my understanding of your love and let my service respond sincerely, not from a sense of duty.
     Give me willingness to at least attempt being content with my circumstances.
     Lord, deliver me from the need to keep score.
     Show me someone who needs a smile today. Help me give it without reserve.
     When someone cuts me off in traffic, give me the grace to remember when I did the same, stupid thing.
     Open my eyes to see what You see.
     Open my ears to hear what You hear.
     Deliver me from the island of me.
     You who spoke the universe into being, who set the stars in their courses, who formed my DNA, don’t just give me a spiritual bypass. Create in me a new heart, a clean heart, a willing heart.
     Open my nasal passages and help me smell the newly cut grass and the fresh, clean scent of my little girl’s hair.
     You, who touched the tongue of the dumb, loosen my tongue to speak Your praises.
     Give me a heart of thanks for fallen leaves, flat tires, wet sneezes, phlegm, and tooth decay, for these things make me long for heaven.
     Show me souls today, not just faces.
     Show me hurts today, not just anger.
     Give tears for dry eyes.
     Change the drudgery into work fit for a King’s son.
     Strip me of pride, sloth, and envy.
     Clothe me with humility and vigor, and help me find a good antonym for “envy.”
     Lord, I look at my child opening a bag of candy. I see the anticipation and expectancy and want this same spirit when I think about You.
     Give me a renewed desire for your Word.
     If a storm should come, give peace.
     If doubt should come, give hope.
     If a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses should come, help me not to hide inside the house until they leave. Help me show them a kindness and love they have never experienced.
     Most of all, Lord, in every moment of this day, help me see Jesus.     Amen.
Can’t recommend this book higher…just good stuff:

>Commotion – Not Devotion

>…and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice. –1 Kings 19:12

(Note…this was written decades ago…yet is so very contemporary….to our detriment)

“The accent in the Church today,” says Leonard Ravenhill, the English evangelist, “is not on devotion, but on commotion.” Religious extroversion has been carried to such an extreme in evangelical circles that hardly anyone has the desire, to say nothing of the courage, to question the soundness of it. Externalism has taken over. God now speaks by the wind and the earthquake only; the still small voice can be heard no more. The whole religious machine has become a noisemaker. The adolescent taste which loves the loud horn and the thundering exhaust has gotten into the activities of modern Christians. The old question, “What is the chief end of man?” is now answered, “To dash about the world and add to the din thereof.”…

We must begin the needed reform by challenging the spiritual validity of externalism. What a man is must be shown to be more important than what he does. While the moral quality of any act is imparted by the condition of the heart, there may be a world of religious activity which arises not from within but from without and which would seem to have little or no moral content. Such religious conduct is imitative or reflex. It stems from the current cult of commotion and possesses no sound inner life. The Root of the Righteous, 84,85.

>Attitude Triumphs Over "Handicap"

>Okay, warning, there is a phrase in this that might offend the rather straight-laced; but this is a tremendous demonstration that “attitude determines actions which determine accomplishments.” I just ordered his book…he was raised in a Christian home…


>Driscoll Doctrine

>I am really, really enjoying and benefiting from “Doctrine – What Christians Should Believe” by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears.

I am intentionally reading it slowly, thoughtfully, and meditatively. This morning, while riding my exercise bike, was especially impacted by:

“Repentance is the Spirit-empowered acknowledgment of sin that results in a change of mind about who and what is lord of our life, what is important, and what is good and bad.”

“It is important to note that the Bible always speaks of elders in the plural. This follows the New Testament pattern that ministry is to be done in teams so that everyone is under authority, including those in authority.”

“The powe of preaching does not come with clever stories or rhetorical devices but with the power of the Spirit and the answer to prayer.”

Yeah, I know Mark has done and said some rather dumb things in the past…have not we all? But I suggest you don’t toss him out based on earlier things, but consider that he, like us (hopefully), has “grown in the grace AND knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B003CW67W8&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>Shoot the Sacred Cow of "the prayer"


How I detest the question, “Have you prayed the prayer?” No, not the prayer of Jabez (is it not interesting how that “discovery” faded into oblivion?…and thank God it did!)…but when someone is inquiring as to whether or not someone else is a Christian. “Have you prayed the prayer?” 
Ignore the fact “the prayer” is not found in the Word, and is an invention of only a century-plus history…but as David Platt points out in “Radical,” “We already have a fairly high view of our morality, so when we add a superstitious prayer, a subsequent dose of church attendance, and obedience to some of the Bible, we feel pretty sure that we will be all right in the end.”

Can anyone seriously argue his point…perhaps excluding those who think repentance is not part of the gospel?

If what you just read makes you uncomfortable or even mad, the following will probably require a trip to the ER:

“The danger of spiritual deception is real. As a pastor, I shudder at the thought and lie awake at night when I consider the possibility that scores of people who sit before me on a Sunday morning might think they are saved when they are not.

“Scores of people who have positioned their lives on a religious road that makes grandiose promises at minimal cost. We have been told all that is required is a one-time decision, maybe even mere intellectual assent to Jesus, but after that we need not worry about His commands, His standards, or His glory. We have a ticket to heaven, and we can live however we want on earth. Our sin will be tolerated along the way. Much of modern evangelism today is built on leadin gpeople down this road, and crowds flock to it, but in the ened it is a road built on sinking sand, and it risks disillusioning millions of souls.”

This is another great book; and for the second time in less than a week I give it the Hager Money-Back Guarantee. If you purchase it off the link below, read it, and don’t think it was worth your money e-mail me and I’ll send you a “refund” check. It is a significant book that I more-than-heartily recommend, especially if you tire of the typical “evangelistic” party line. The only other book that has the money-back guarantee is “MARKS OF THE MESSENGER”


>Should Not "Radical" Be Normative for the Follower of Christ?

>I just received the book “Radical” by David Platt. A little while ago my friend (pastor of Frederick Blvd Baptist Church in St Joseph, MO) MICAH FRIES posted the video that follows. Not quite “your best life now” stuff; and Platt, who pastors The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, is not exactly a thunderous preacher; but neither does he preach in order to get invited back.

The book is next on my list…I may jump to it after watching this two-minute sample of his thoughts:

>GET THIS BOOK! (money back guarantee!)

>I have just concluded one of the best books I’ve ever read.

I urge you to buy it. I ask you to buy it from Amazon by clicking on the link. As I subsist on missionary support if you ever start an Amazon purchase from this blog and buy anything I get a tiny percentage, and you get my gratitude!

But regarding this book…here is my personal money-back guarantee…if you buy it (off this link) and don’t like it I commit to giving you your money back. If you can convince me that you genuinely can’t afford it, I will buy it for you (email me at jack.hager@gmail.com and make your case)

I will be quoting from the book as time allows; but for now let me simply challenge you go get it, read it, apply it.

Here, then, is simply one brief snippet to whet your appetite:

“Success drives pragmatic evangelism. pragmatic evangelism never
asks the question, ‘Who are we to be as an evangelist?’
Pragmatic evangelism only asks the question, ‘What works?’
Pragmatic evangelism is ‘doing’ evangelism in a way that elevates
success and method over anything else. 
It becomes the business of evangelism…
…and sadly, because success sells, 
it’s often unquestioned in the Christian community.”

Here is the link:  UPDATE: apparently some can not see the Amazon link which should follow this; but the title of the book is Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel


>Can YOU Define It? MUST READ

>“Hi, my name’s Jack and I’m a bookaholic.”

Yeah, that’s true. I’ve always been a reader, and since conversion the Lord has fed my hunger for reading with good stuff; and for several years I reviewed books for “The Family Life Journal” and interviewed authors on “my” talk show back in the day. I continue to recommend (and NOT recommend, in fact blast some “Christian” stuff) books and authors both electronically and during my preaching assignments.

I try to limit enthusiastic “you gotta read this book”-itus; but I have a book about which I say, “YOU GOTTA READ THIS!”

In a day where the essentials of the gospel are debated, ignored, railed against and more by everything from ultra-emergent folks to fighting fundies (who, for the most part, ignore repentance) it is essential for individual believers to define “that which is of first importance,” the gospel.

And author Greg Gilbert helps us do just that in “What is the http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1433515008&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrGospel?”

Mark Dever says, “This little book on the gospel is one of the clearest and most important books I’ve read in recent years.” Joshua Harris adds, “This book will help you better understand, treasure, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I urge/beg/exhort/challenge you to buy and read this small-sized, 124 page book. And, as always, if you order it off the link, you help this home missionary. More important, you will help yourself and thus make yourself more of a help to others.