Book Review: “Discipling” by Mark Dever


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“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
—Matthew 28:19-20a (ESV)

Discipleship: Jesus commands his followers to do it. But what does discipleship look like? Where do we disciple? And how exactly do we do it?

Mark Dever has written Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus, the latest entry in the 9 Marks series “Building Healthy Churches,” in order to answer some of these basic questions. The stated goal of the book is to “help you understand biblical discipling and to encourage you in your obedience to Christ” (19).

Not sure where to start with discipling other believers or not sure how discipleship should fit within the context of the local church? Start here.

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Book Review: “The Leadership Handbook” by John Maxwell


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I suspect that I am like many others who, upon hearing the mention of his name, would immediately associate John Maxwell with the topic of “leadership.” The classic and most well-known of his books would (I assume) be “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.” But simply type his name into amazon’s search function and you’ll see that that is not anywhere close to the last book that he wrote on the subject. Maxwell’s output on the subject is voluminous and extensive, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect with this book, “The Leadership Handbook.” What would he have to say on the subject that he hadn’t said some other way in some other book? What fresh insights are there to be gleaned here?

Perhaps it was my admittedly mixed expectations for the book, but the further I got into the book the more that I found myself enjoying, learning from, and appreciating it. Maxwell himself sums up what differentiates this book from many of his previous ones on page 247, where he says:

You’ll notice that there has been a significant shift in my thinking…Now, instead of focusing on who I am to become, my focus is on other people…I want to add value to leaders who will multiply value to others.

 

John Maxwell has gone from wanting to be a great leader himself to wanting to teach others how to be great leaders to wanting to teach others how to teach others how to be great leaders. Thus he suggests two ways of reading the book. The first is to read a chapter a week, spending time to meditate on the lessons and application questions in each chapter. The second is to take 52 weeks to go through the book, spending one week to go over a chapter yourself and then taking the next week to teach that lesson to whoever it is that you are currently mentoring. Each chapter has a “Mentorship Moment” at the end to assist in this process.

In “The Leadership Handbook,” Maxwell seems to be catching sight of the same kind of leadership and discipleship that both Jesus (“Go and make disciples…teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you” […by inference including making disciples]) and Paul (“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”) modeled and taught.

Finally, in addition to teaching leadership from his successes, Maxwell teaches from his failures. His honesty about the role that failure has in the growth of a leader is admirable and much needed.

So what’s the verdict?  I see this book functioning exactly as it’s billed: as a handbook to slowly work through, refer to, and learn from as leaders seek to grow personally and pass their lessons on to the leaders they are training up themselves. I know that I personally have several immediate applications from it and also that I’ll be returning to it often as a refresher and reminder.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 Disclaimer: BookLook Bloggers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an impartial review.

Practical Meditation: Look at the Book


The Bible is unique: it stands alone among all the other books to have ever been written. And I’m not just referring to its popularity-it is unique in that it’s a library of many books written at different points in history to a people who lived long ago and yet (miraculously! Praise God!) it is still relevant to us today.

Joshua 1:8 says (in the 1984 NIV): “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” And yes, that command was to the Israelites and referred specifically to the Torah. But the principle is just as valid for us today: we have God’s words and he invites us to spend time in them.

I wanted to pass on a resource today that I hope will encourage some of you like it has encouraged me to further study and eventually to meditate on the Word. Because let’s face it: meditation (and even study) on/about/of the Bible can be a daunting task. “Where do I even begin?” we might ask. “How long will it take?” “Can I really keep this up?” “Who will teach me?”

If you need that first kick in the pants, a gentle reminder, a fresh method, or something in between, let me suggest John Piper’s new “Look at the Book” series. In this series he shares short (usually 8 or 9 minute) videos where he takes a short text (a verse or two) and tries to understand it, study it, see how it relates to itself and other passages, and shows you how to do the same. The video is not of him, but of the text itself and the marks/highlights/underlines that he’s making using a computer. It’s simple, it’s reproducible, and it’s beneficial. I did it myself the other day and am very pleased with the encouragement and refreshment it’s been to me!

From my time yesterday
From my time yesterday

I’ll link to two videos here. First the introductory video (that restates what I’ve said in the post but much more eloquently and inspirationally haha) and then an example of one of the videos itself. Of course, if you’d rather check it all out yourself then you can go right now to the source: http://www.desiringgod.org/labs . I hope you’re blessed by this and by your resulting times in the Word of our Lord.

The intro:

The example: 

 What has been your experience in studying and meditating on the Word? Do you have a similar or different method? What encourages you and keeps you going? I’d love to hear about it! 🙂

Tweets of the Week 08.08.14


Random thought to start off today: I was supposed to be born on August 8th-that is, it was my due date. Would have made it pretty easy to remember: 08-08-’88! But I was a few days late and it didn’t happen. Oh well!

Anyways, here are the tweets I enjoyed/liked the most this week:

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“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 (ESV)

 

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“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2

 

FREEsources-The Master Plan of Evangelism


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“One living sermon is worth a hundred explanations.” -Robert Coleman

Jesus could have used just about any method to evangelize the world that he wanted. I mean, think about it. He could have just appeared to Caesar, converted him on the spot, and made the official religion of Rome (and thereby, the known world) Christianity right from the start. He could have been born a powerful member of the Sanhedrin, eventually becoming High Priest himself and leading the nation of Israel both in office and life. He even could have opened the mouths of animals or trees to preach for him or something equally and completely ridiculously supernatural…but he didn’t.

Instead, Jesus chose a group of nobodies from nowhere and trained them to be world changers. How did he do it? What was his secret? His “master plan” as it were. Well I’m glad you asked…

Robert Coleman’s classic “The Master Plan of Evangelism” is the resource on the intersection of discipleship and evangelism. He clearly and skillfully explains Jesus’ methods and shows how we can imitate them in our quest to be disciples of Christ. A book like this should be required reading in churches and groups everywhere!

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better resource than this and exponential.org is giving away an e-book of the updated edition of the book away for FREE! This updated edition is a companion piece to the original-Dr. Coleman summarizes each point in the original book and shares personal insights gathered in the 50+ years since he wrote the original.

You can download it here: Revisiting the Master Plan of Evangelism (you have to create an account with them, but it’s free to join).

Have you read “The Master Plan of Evangelism”? What were your thoughts? And what are other great resources on the subject?