Some Kindle Freebies

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I’m so excited! My wife bought me a Kindle for Christmas and I am loving it! Before I even received my Kindle I was downloading free Kindle books. Here’s the deal. Not all of these books stay free forever. Some are free for a couple days or a couple weeks, some are free for one day, so you want to download them when you can.You don’t have to have a Kindle to read Kindle books. You can download an application for your computer or smart phone right at Amazon’s web site. So, here are my freebie hints for you today:The Holman Christian Standard Bible is a new translation of the Bible that was put together by a team of conservative biblical scholars. It combines an absolute commitment to being faithful to the original languages that the Bible was written in with an emphasis on readability in the English language. It’s worth downloading to see how you enjoy it. You can download your free copy here

lastlight

Terri Blackstock has long been a favorite Christian fiction writer of my wife. She writes adventure fiction stories that keep you turning the pages. Her book Last Light, is free for a limited time on Amazon. From the beginning, the book will catch you with airplanes falling out of the sky due to a natural phenomenon. I’m preaching on the Sermon on the Mount this year, and the book has a direct tie to Jesus’ sermon. It’s a great book that would be worth reading even if it wasn’t free! So hurry up and pick it up by clicking here
deehenderson
Like Terri Blackstock, Dee Henderson is a fantastic author of adventure fiction. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide. Don’t miss your chance to download Henderson’s book, Danger in the Shadows, which introduces you to an author who has to live in the shadows because of being a part of the witness protection program. This book will keep you guessing and keep you interested throughout. You can download this book by clicking here

deeperwater

Like John Grisham? If so, you may enjoy the stories of Robert Whitlow. Deeper Water is the story of Tami Taylor, a young attorney whose faith, values, and integrity are tested in huge ways as she begins life at a prestigious law firm in Savannah, Georgia. You’ll enjoy the twists and turns in this novel, the first in Whitlow’s Tides of Truth series. You can download the book by clicking hereHappy reading!
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Make Much of Jesus

radical
Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
When I accepted the call to serve at my first church, my Grandfather, who had been a pastor for many years looked at me and said, “Brian, make much of Jesus. In your ministry of the Word, in your life, in your home, in your church . . . make much of Jesus!”I loved my Grandpa, and to this day, his advice was the best that I have ever been given as it relates to the life of a Christian. David Platt, in his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream writes, “While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God.”Beginning this Sunday, Woodbury Community Church will take a journey to the heart of what it means to live as citizens in the Kingdom of God. The Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5-7 is the most famous sermon that Jesus ever preached. Thousands of people gathered to hear the Rabbi teach about a new way of living. Jesus taught like no one else ever had. His sermon would shake the contemporary understanding of what it meant to live as a child of God. If you pay serious attention to Jesus’ message, it will shake us to the core as well. I wrestled with how I would begin the 2011 sermon year. There were about ten themes that I kept studying, but I couldn’t escape Jesus’ sermon. The words of Jesus are as revolutionary today as they were when he preached them two thousand years ago. We are going in depth, spending 33 weeks to unpack Jesus’ words in Matthew 5-7. Take some time between now and Sunday to read through Jesus’ sermon, and come ready to learn how we can best live as citizens in the Kingdom of God. If you would like some additional resources to study while we go through Jesus’ sermon, check out these three books, which will be my primary study tools outside of the Bible.


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The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom (Preaching the Word)

1)    Kent Hughes book, The Sermon on the Mount: The Message of the Kingdom, is part of the Preaching the Word Commentary set published by Crossway Books. The Preaching the Word Commentaries are among my favorite, because they are simply the sermons that the authors’ preached in the churches that they serve. This book is from a series of sermons that Hughes taught at The College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. I used this book as a template for the way that I would divide up the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount. 

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The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Bible Speaks Today)

2)    John Stott’s book, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, is a classic exposition of Jesus’ teaching. Stott is a brilliant Bible teacher and gives so many unique insights into Jesus’ words. 

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Studies in the Sermon on the Mount

3)    D. Martyn Lloyd Jones’ book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, was mentioned in almost every commentary on The Sermon on the Mount that I read. It is a spiritual classic, written by the longtime minister of Westminster Chapel in London. All three of these books make much of Jesus, and I hope that our series will as well! Looking forward to God doing some great things in the weeks ahead!

Where Is Your Hope Found?

youngIn December of 2009, the Minneapolis Star Tribune named Owatonna’s, Adam Young their Artist of the Year. Why? Because, Young had accomplished something that had not been accomplished by any other musician from Minnesota since Bob Dylan. His song “Fireflies,” made it to number one on the Billboard Charts. He was called “The Wonder Boy of Owatonna,” and Young had the world at his fingertips.

For those unfamiliar with Young’s work, he is essentially the one-man music machine known as Owl City. When he tours on the road, he brings an entire band with him, but his studio albums consist mainly of his voice and the incredible genius of his synthesizer talent.

I find Adam Young to be incredibly refreshing. He is unashamedly a follower of Jesus Christ. His music carries a positive message, but isn’t overtly “Christian.” I’m told that he is rather shy but enjoys the opportunity that his platform has given him to represent Christ.

One of the most refreshing signs of Young’s commitment to the Lord is a song that he put on his blog on the Owl City website. I first heard the song in October, and regularly go back to the website to listen to it. The song is In Christ Alone, by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. Keith Getty, his wife Kristyn, and their friend Stuart Townend write some of the most theologically profound songs in modern Christian music. There is no mincing of words in the song In Christ Alone. Here are the lyrics:

In Christ alone, my hope is found


He is my light, my strength, my song


This cornerstone, this solid ground


Firm through the fiercest drought and storm


What heights of love, what depths of peace


When fears are stilled, when strivings cease


My comforter, my all-in-all


Here in the love of Christ I stand

There in the ground His body lay


Light of the world by darkness slain


Then bursting forth in glorious day


Up from the grave He rose again!

And as He stands in victory


Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me

For I am His and He is mine


Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death

This is the power of Christ in me


From life’s first cry to final breath


Jesus commands my destiny


No power of hell, no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from His hand

Till He returns or calls me home


Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

I want to encourage you to visit Adam Young’s blog and listen to this song. I think you’ll be moved. It is the most powerful rendition of the song that I’ve ever heard. You can click here to visit the site.

Adam has taken some hits from his fan base for his commitment to Jesus Christ. I’m proud of him for the stance that he takes. If you think about it, pray for Christian artists like Adam. It’s never easy to be in the spotlight. Pray that God will continue to use Adam to reach a generation of people for Jesus.

Free on Kindle – The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel and the ESV Bible

casseI don’t have a Kindle . . . yet. But, I’m hoping to purchase one soon. You don’t need to have a Kindle to read Kindle books. You can download free software and read the books right on your computer or smart phone.

Right now, Amazon is offering a couple of terrific books for free. The first is Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christmas. You can download the book by clicking here.

The book is a quick read and offers compelling evidence that Jesus Christ truly is the Messiah that was prophesied in the Old Testament.

esvThe second, and by far the best book being offered on Kindle for free is the English Standard Version of the Bible. I love this translation of the Bible. It is what I use for most of my personal study time. The ESV is probably the most faithful translation of the Bible from the original languages that we have in the English language have.

I highly recommend this translation of the Bible. You may download it for free by clicking here.

Does This Ever Get Old

There is a great scene in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I’m sure most of you have seen it. Charlie Brown is being chastised by his classmates because he has picked the absolute worst Christmas tree in the history of Christmas trees. Charlie, who is normally down on himself, is really depressed this time. This has to be the worst Christmas ever. And then good ‘ole Linus reminds Charlie, and the rest of the gang about the true meaning of Christmas.

 

 

The Joy of Proclamation

It’s cold today in Minnesota.

The reading on the thermostat read -5 as I left for the office this morning. This is just another in a long string of cold days. The weather forecast says that we are in for more snow tomorrow.

On Saturday, we had the worst snowstorm in the Twin Cities in nearly nineteen years. There was so much snow that the roof on the Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Vikings, collapsed. We made the tough decision to cancel church. The Senior Pastor, Worship Director, and several members of the worship team were unable to get out of our driveways due to 5-6 foot snow drifts.

This means that I didn’t get a chance to preach the sermon that I had planned for Sunday. So, let me give you a quick synopsis of where we were going.

We are in the middle of our yearly Advent Series. This year we decided to take the four weeks before Christmas and focus on the traditional themes of Advent. This week’s theme was “The Joy of Proclamation.”

In Luke 2:8-18 we read the following:

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

The angels had the wonderful job of announcing to a group of shepherds on the hills outside of Bethlehem a six-fold message from God.

1) A Savior Has Been Born to You
    
The words were magnificent, and the message changed everything. The world desperately needed a Savior. Why? Because, from the time of Adam and Eve, man’s relationship with God had been damaged. Our sin created a gap between man and God that could only be bridged through a Savior.

When people think about a Savior in contemporary culture, we think about fictional superheroes, or real life heroes like police officers, fire fighters and military personnel. Fictional superheroes will never change your life. Real life heroes may save your physical life, but only God, only the true Savior can save your eternal life.

Many of us have fallen for the lie that we don’t need a Savior. We somehow think that this life is all there is. Look out for number one. Get all that you can out of this life because there are no guarantees about eternity. Jesus changes that.

2) Jesus Christ, Born in Bethlehem is the promised Messiah

There are over 300 Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in the person of Jesus. No words written about the coming Messiah failed to be fulfilled in the person of Jesus. The angels declared from day number one that Jesus was the Messiah. As such, He will fulfill the future promises of Messiah too. Do you believe it?

3) Jesus Christ is Lord

Think about the gravity of that statement. Angels, who had worshipped Jesus in the realms of heaven, now said that the babe who was lying down in a feeding trough in the stable of an innkeeper was Lord. This is the same Lord who will one day be worshipped by all who ever lived. Every knee shall someday bow, and every tongue shall someday confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Make no doubt about it, Jesus is Lord and God wants that message known by all who live in this world.

4) Jesus Christ Came To Serve

“Unto you, is born this day . . .” The angels announced that Jesus born “unto” us. Jesus was born so that we might be born again. He said himself that He didn’t come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. This One who came to serve also said that His people should serve. How are we doing on our end of that bargain? Are we serving Him faithfully?

5) All Glory in Heaven and Earth Belongs to God

The Ultimate Servant, Jesus Christ, is the one to Whom all glory is due.

When an athlete makes a spectacular play we cheer like crazy. When we see a famous person, we kind of want to meet them. When we are around a terrific leader, we want to learn from them. We give glory to lots of people. But, are we giving glory to the One who truly deserves it?

6) Jesus Came To Bring Peace Between Man and God

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Now that is a great message! That is a message worth proclaiming to the world!

When the shepherds returned from seeing Jesus, they couldn’t contain the message of hope that had been brought to them. There is joy that comes in proclaiming Jesus. May you share that joy today!