Book Review Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and the End of Poverty

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Book Reviews, Reviews

Book Review Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and the End of Poverty

Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and the End of Poverty (Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation and the End of Poverty) is written by Aaron Armstrong, preacher, blogger, author, and writer for an international Christian ministry focused on caring for the needs of the poor. Out of his experience caring for the needs of the poor through writing, and ministering to them; he has written a book that gets to the heart of the matter on poverty by focusing on the Gospel and its implications.

As I read through this book, I was struck by how Aaron continually brought me back to the Gospel. The real problem as Aaron rightly describes in this book is that most discussions on poverty miss any mention of sin. Sin is the problem, and its effects are felt whether one is rich or poor. Having previous served the poor on the streets and in homeless shelters; I can tell you that the real problem is as Aaron describes in this book, sin. The solution to the problem of poverty isn’t more programs while they can be helpful at times; the solution is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As Aaron walks through the biblical teaching on poverty he does so in a way that is convincing and challenging. It would all too easy to point fingers on an issue like poverty and say, “The government or charity organizations aren’t doing their jobs,” but Aaron never succumbs to this; instead he points his readers towards the Bible, and grounds them in the Gospel of God.

There were several statements scattered throughout the book that stood out to me. At the end of chapter three, Aaron states, “The ultimate answer to poverty is circumcised hearts, hearts that know the God who forms and keeps covenant with poor, undeserving sinners.” In chapter six Aaron makes two observations, “We cannot separate what we believe from what we do” and “we are called to care for the poor because God is glorified in our doing so.” The Lord God takes what is dead and makes it new; giving the believer new desires and new affections for Himself, for the purpose of advancing His kingdom with the Gospel. As a result of being saved the believer will care for the poor, the sick, the widow, the broken and the least of these. These desires flow from the new birth, which is to say God gives His people the desire to obey Him, and live on mission for Him because of the new birth.

Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, The New Creation and the End of Poverty is a very well-written, thoughtful and Gospel-saturated explanation on poverty. It is not often that I read a book in under twenty-four hours, but I could not put this book down, once I picked it up because Aaron writes in such a way as to draw the reader into what he is saying by engaging them with the Gospel. I encourage you to pick up Awaiting a Savior by Aaron Armstrong because it will teach you not only to have a biblical worldview on the topic of poverty, but also to minister to the poor because of the Gospel.


Author: Aaron Armstrong

Publisher: Cruciform (2011)

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Thinking out loud about blog conversation geared toward men

Posted by on Sep 28, 2011 in Warriors of Grace, What We Write About

                A few people and I have been discussing having a blog conversation about topics related to men. The big idea is to have a weekly topic that we discuss, and then have one of the men write up a post on that topic. After the blog post is posted; any and all the men would respond to the post giving their thoughts, and feedback on the topic being discussed. The goal is to probe deeper into God’s Word together as men; holding one another accountable and to pray for one another.

Here is what I’ve proposed so far to a few but now publically. I’m willing to host this weekly blog/conversation here on Servantsofgrace. While I’m thinking out loud here I would love your feedback, suggestions, ideas and anything else you can think of. The goal here isn’t about driving more traffic to one site, etc; it is to grow together as men in Christ, so that men can be strengthened in the Gospel and local churches can be strengthened in the work of the Great Commission. I look forward to any and all questions, ideas, and feedback.

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Book Review of Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God’s Word

Posted by on Sep 27, 2011 in Book Reviews, Reviews

Book Review of Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God’s Word

Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God’s Word is written by Dr. Stephen J. Nichols research professor of Christianity and culture at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School. In this book, Dr. Nichols outlines the story of the Bible in four words: creation, fall, redemption and restoration.  This book isn’t about just how creation, fall, redemption and restoration fit the storyline of the Bible, but rather goes beyond that to show why this story is fundamental to making sense of our own story. Everyone has a story full of different life experiences, but ultimately there is One story that supersedes all stories, and that is the story of the redemptive work of Christ.

Welcome to the Story does not stop at just explaining biblical or theological concepts, but rather teaches how one can read the Bible and understand the redemptive story of God reconciling people to Himself.  Personally, I found Dr. Nichols book to be helpful as he proposes how the storyline of Scripture (creation, fall, redemption and restoration) ought to affect how we read the Bible, and love and live God’s Word. I appreciated the fact that even when the author gets practical he keeps the storyline of the Scriptures before his readers and applies that storyline to what God’s story does to us, and how it affects the way we live for Him.

The most helpful chapter in the book is chapter ten. In chapter ten the author gives helpful counsel on how to get started reading, loving and living the Scriptures. The most important points the author makes in this chapter are that it’s important to pay attention to the big picture, context, to one’s life, as well as to how to dig deeper into the Scriptures. I recommend you read Welcome to the Story to learn the storyline of Scripture and how the Story of God intersects with your own story.

Title: Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God’s Word

Author: Stephen J. Nichols

Publisher: Crossway (2011)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2011 in The Gospel and the Christian Life, What We Write About

While in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 Paul in 1st Thessalonians 5:12-15 has shown what should be the attitude of the Thessalonians toward their leaders, to fellow-members characterized by particular shortcomings, to those who have injured them, and finally to one another and to all, in verses 16-18 he sets forth what should be their inner attitude and how this inner attitude should express itself with reference to God. Hence, we now have the following three beautiful closely related and tersely expressed admonitions:  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

The Thessalonians were no strangers to the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8), the “great joy” which results from the incarnation of Christ and from the redemption wrought through his cross. Yet with persecution from without and disturbances within, there was a danger (human speaking) that this joy would disappear. Hence, Paul, who himself again and again rejoiced in the midst of persecution and hardship (3:7-9; Phil 3:1; 4:4, 10), urges his readers to rejoice always.

In seasons of distress and grief he alone is able to find relief and even be joyful (Rom. 8:28, 35-39) who at the Father’s throne makes all his wants and wishes known. Hence, the directive “rejoice always” is immediately followed by “pray without ceasing.” What Paul means is there must be no decline in the regularity of the habit of “taking hold of God” In the midst of all circumstances of life. The apostle could afford to say this, for he himself gave the example (3:10; 2 Thess. 1:11; Eph. 1:16; 3:14).

When a person prays without giving thanks, he has clipped the wrings of prayer so that it cannot rise. Hence, the trio of admonitions concludes with, “give thanks in all circumstances.” This phrase in all includes affliction for even in the mist of all these things (“tribulations, anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril of sword”) believes are not merely conquerors but “more than conquerors”, inasmuch as all these things actually help them to reach their goal (Rom. 8:35-37).

“For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The will of God, as clearly set forth by means of the redemptive work and revelation of Jesus Christ, is this very thing, namely, that believers should always be joyful, should ceaselessly pray, and should in all circumstances give thanks.

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