Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review: Unashamed to Bear His Name by R.T. Kendall

According to Kendall, "The most predictable thing in the world is to be scandalized or stigmatized for your total commitment to Jesus Christ." So why do we act surprised when it happens? In this book, Kendall shows us we are in good company when we are misunderstood, gossiped about, ridiculed, slandered, libeled and even assaulted and killed. Didn't those things happen to Jesus, the apostles, the prophets, and believers of all the ages?

The scandal is the gospel itself—the true gospel, not the prosperity gospel, which actually attracts people despite (or because of) its falseness. The real gospel offends because it is exclusive (Jesus is the only way) and it includes bad news (you are a sinner, bound for hell, with no way to save yourself.) The true follower of Jesus must be unashamed of this.

Old Testament examples abound as Kendall makes his case. Noah accepted the shame and stigma of building a boat miles from the sea. Joseph lived through prison after Potiphar's wife spoke vile lies about him. David accepted the scorn of his wife, Michal, refusing to apologize for dancing as he brought back the Ark of the Covenant.

Especially helpful in accepting our own stigmas is his exposition on Mary and Joseph. There was the stigma of suspicion—the assumption that they had conceived Jesus before they were married. There was the stigma of no vindication—Joseph died without seeing Jesus resurrected, and Mary died n a world where most people believed the lies about Jesus' body having been stolen instead of resurrected. Their vindication comes in eternity, not in time.

Are we willing to bear the name of Jesus and the stigma that accompanies it? Are we willing to live without vindication on earth? Kendall lays out the case for why we should be unashamed of the shame.

I received a copy of Unashamed to Bear His Name free for review from Chosen Books.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: The Jesus Mission by Stephen K. Scott

Stephen K. Scott has presented an excellent account of Jesus' incredible mission to Earth.  The mission was planned before the foundations of the Earth and was implemented to perfection.  Learn about the 27 missions Jesus completed and the 4 missions Jesus gave to His followers.

Scott searched Scripture and found 11 primary missions:  missions that tell us why Jesus came.  They include: to testify about the truth and to do His Father's will.  The 16 tactical or supporting missions include: to perfectly fulfill the law, to heal the blind and to raise Himself from the dead.  Jesus' mission could only be performed by Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  If he failed, we all would die in our sins.  Reading about these missions will overwhelm you with gratitude toward the God who initiated these missions on your behalf.

I especially liked Part 3, which Scott begins by stating, "You can't follow Jesus if you are not sure about who He is." Scott then has a word for our world today: Jesus was not a socialist (or Santa Claus or anything else we decide we'd like him to be.)  He cites the parable of the vineyard owner (Matt. 20:1-15,) the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) and the story of the servant in Luke 17:7-10.  Jesus will not accept the labels we place on Him to fit our own agendas.  He knows His mission and He knows our mission.  We need to be doing our part of the Jesus mission instead of twisting Jesus into an image we find more to our liking.  In light of all He accomplished for us, how can we refuse the mission He has given us?
I received a review copy of this book for free from Waterbrook-Multonomah publishers.  You can find it at Lifeway.

The Jesus Mission by Steven Scott (Ch. 1 excerpt)