“Can you Drink the Cup?” Henri Nouwen

Can You Drink the Cup

Photo courtesy of HenriNouwen.org

There’s something very soothing about Nouwen’s writing. His humility, wisdom and love for God are always reflected in his words. This small book is no exception.

Even though it’s easy to read, it’s important to allow his words and the messages he brings to percolate in your heart, so don’t rush this one.

The book reflects on the question Jesus asked James and John who perhaps answered a little too quickly in the affirmative. They were grappling for prominent positions within the disciples ranks and wanted to demonstrate their willingness to do anything Jesus asked.

Nouwen explores the question and the significance of the Cup using the three stages of drinking something: holding the cup, lifting it and, finally, drinking from it. It is a symbol of life that comes full of joys and sorrows.

In using examples from his own life caring for the disabled, Nouwen provides a wonderful outline to what drinking the Cup means and how to go about fully experiencing it.

Highly recommended.

“The Book of Acts, A Commentary,” C.Peter Wagner

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Photo courtesy of ArsenalBooks.com

At the time Wagner wrote this commentary by his records there were already 1,398 commentaries on this magnificent book of the Bible. So he approached his version by way of emphasising two key elements of the book:

1. Power ministries, that is, supernatural acts of healing, prophecy, etc, and
2. Missiological issues involved in the cross-cultural expansion of Christianity.

Therefore, it’s not a verse-by-verse commentary and in fact skips through some major sections of Acts particularly the final third. However, Wagner has clearly studied many of those other commentaries and there is repeated reference to a number of key ones almost on every page. Hence, this is a very comprehensive study when taking into account it’s two primary focuses.

Wagner’s study gives us a powerful picture of the worldliness of the major cities in that time: Athens idolatry, Corinth’s immorality, Ephesus’ emphasis on magic and Rome’s dominant political persuasions. In particular, the study in chapter 19 when Paul was in Ephesus was enthralling especially when one reads his epistle on Ephesians and emphasis on spiritual warfare. I now plan to study Ephesians and incorporate Wagner’s insights.

As far as commentaries go this reads easily in layman’s terms. It is a long study and requires plenty of deliberation and meditation but is an enlightening reference tool.

“Galatians for You,” Tim Keller

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Photo courtesy of The Good Book Company

I studied Galatians at college not so long ago so I thought I had a pretty good understanding of it. However, this excellent study opened my eyes to far more. I can’t speak highly enough about it.

This is practical expository teaching, taking each verse of the epistle and unpacking it so we can both understand but also use it.

Keller uses excellent layman’s language and the conversational style reads like he is sitting alongside guiding you through the epistle. Then after each section of teaching there are three challenging questions for self or group reflection that assist in personalising the message.

Galatians is all about the gospel of grace. As Keller writes in the last paragraph: “The gospel of grace is what the Galatians need to know , and love, in “your spirit.”” As do we.

If you are soon to study Galatians then grab a copy of this book.

“A Man after God’s Own Heart”, RT Kendall

Photo Credit: RT Kendall Ministries

A fabulous biography of King David.

This is a book of sermons. RT Kendall delivered these sermons to his congregation over an 18 month period in the late 1980s.

Don’t be thinking they are stuffy or dull. Far from it. Kendall delves deeply into the heart and character of the key people in the 2 books, but particularly David. His style is always engaging using easy to understand language and plenty of examples from his own life.

Each of the 64 chapters is relatively short, focusing usually on one particular aspect of the story. It is in no way a verse-by-verse commentary. It reads like a biography.

What we see in David is a man, very human, regularly making mistakes by choosing his own way rather than seeking the Lord’s counsel. But there was this humility and adoration for the Lord that is hard to ignore. His faith is a great model for us.
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