Book Review

Worth Reading: The Possibility of Prayer

John Starke’s latest offering, The Possibility of Prayer, is already in my shortlist for best book of the year for followers of Jesus. It comes at an appropriate time – there is demand for understanding rhythms of life lived in response to Jesus and an increasing pull toward spiritual direction – and it serves the needs of the church.

The book is clear and never drags on. In fact I felt invited further in with each chapter. Starke shares his own experience but not as one who has it all figured out but one on the same journey as you, leaning into life of contemplation and prayer.

This book actually does better in my opinion than the recent tranche of books on hurry and slowing down. Starke rightly orients the desires to solve those things with the gospel and a life in response to it. There is abundant grace on these pages and whether you count yourself as a prayer warrior or prayer novice, this is for you and will enrich you in your walk.

Here are some choice quotes from the book:

“The witness of Christian history is that the ambitious need quiet hearts. We need ancient paths for our modern, busy lives that teach us to be settled with God in an unsettling world.”

“When we pray, we come with Christ into the mountain-melting presence of God. He is more intensely and densely real than anything else. This is not a god of religious experiences or a god to be manufactured for trivial comfort. He is ultimate reality. He is the God of all being. He is the God who confronts Moses at the burning bush, saying, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground….I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:5, 14).”

“If we come to the Bible and read it on its own terms, it will divide our hearts, separating us from our lusts and false loves. If we come to commune with God in his presence, we must be prepared for pain. He shows us where our hearts are in conflict with his heart, and he will bum away the chaff and purify us.”

“The practice of prayer consists of primary rhythms (communion, me meditation, and solitude), and secondary rhythms (Sabbath resting, fas ting and feasting, and corporate worship). The word secondary shouldn’t communicate “optional” or even “supplemental.” Just as faith without works is dead and love without truth is trivial, primary and secondary rhythms of prayer depend on one another for vibrancy and life. Our personal times of communion, meditation, and solitude are enhanced by the regular rhythms of Sabbath rest, fasting and feasting, and corporate worship. And our rhythms of Sabbath rest, fasting and feasting, and corporate worship are deepened by our personal habits of communion, meditation, and solitude. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder!”

“The individualistic streak in American Christianity balks at the importance of corporate worship. “As long as my relationship with Jesus is good, I’m good, we say. But the New Testament doesn’t allow for that. The more we are alienated from other Christians, the more we will be alienated from Christ himself. It’s a mystery, but that’s how God has put it all together. We simply cannot depend on a personal prayer life for a healthy spiritual life or even an adequate one. Without other Christians and the experience of worshiping with them on a regular basis, our personal prayer lives will suffer. We need corporate worship. We need to gather regularly with other Christians to sing, pray, read, and hear God’s Word, to receive the Lord’s Supper, and to be sent back into the world full of peace and good news.”

Find the book for yourself here.

Book Review

Worth Reading: The Gospel According to Satan

While it has been prominently placed at the number 1 spot in the “Satanist” category of Amazon, Satan is not happy about this book. Jared C. Wilson’s latest, The Gospel According to Satan: Eight Lies About God That Sound Like The Truth, is worth reading and I think will be a tremendous help to the church.

Wilson has provided another volume that brings us to Christ and opens life to real freedom. I think this book acts like a booster shot for word-centered, gospel life. Satan loves to twist truth into bondage and the finished work of Christ is what breaks us free and gives us feet to stand. Because it is written!

Each chapter is devoted to a different lie we are prone to believing. They are: God just wants you to be happy; You only live once; You need to live your truth; Your feelings are reality; Your life is what you make it; You need to let go and let God; The cross is not about wrath; and God helps those who help themselves.

Of course some of these things sound okay, maybe we even have a coffee mug with the lie printed on it! But when it comes to our flourishing and faith in Jesus, it is important that we don’t miss THE TRUTH and what we are actually called to in Christ.

Wilson is a winsome writer and this work is easily understandable and will resonate with you. The book is a great tool to help sharpen us and keep us on the path to maturity in Christ. I recommend you check it out, pick it up, download it and start reading.

Here are some choice quotes:

“Sin isn’t purely about the malfunction; it’s essentially about the faulty wiring… In that regard, grace is not simply about pardoning sinful behavior; it’s also about rewiring the sinners themselves. The grace the Bible talks about is power not just for justification but also for transformation.” (p. 7)

“Joy is the music that plays when our hearts are tuned to the frequency of God’s glory and our connection to it. Joy is the heart’s settled and worshipful contentment in our justification with God. Joy is the conviction that, no matter the sadness of our circumstances or the weakness of our bodies, we are secure in the sovereign God who loves us.” (p. 21)

“We must not think only of seizing the day but, in the day to day, taking hold of eternity.” (p. 40)

“When power becomes your god, you’ll do as much biblical gymnastics as it takes to get it or keep it.” (p. 59)

“Ignoring your feelings isn’t the answer. Facts may not care about your feelings, but Jesus does. Which is why his Word says so much about them.” (p. 73)

“Meekness is weakness weaponized against the spirit of the age and the spirit of the Antichrist…” (p. 107)

“If Satan cannot keep you from salvation, he will do his best to undermine and obscure the gospel that saved you by making you either overconfident in yourself or underconfident in God. Both dispositions make the gospel look small and consequently may prevent more people from believing.” (p. 125)

“In pursuit of a view of the atonement that is less bloody, less dark, less offensive, we may be stumbling upon one that is less effectual, less powerful, less… well, atoning.” (p. 139)

“So come needy. Come empty-handed. Turn out your pockets. Beat your chest, if you have to, and tear your clothes. Scrape the boils off your skin, if that’s what you need to do. But whatever you do, do not come to the fruit of Christ’s righteousness seeking a bargain. Do not barter, do not buy, but beg… The blessing is for those who are poor in spirit, not rich. If you will bring the empty hand of faith, however trembling, to the infinitely holy Lord of the universe, he will fill it with the immeasurable riches of himself. There is no other way. God is actively looking to save those who cannot save themselves.” (p. 170)

Book Review, Word & Spirit

Word & Spirit by R.T. Kendall

Word and Spirit: Truth, Power, and the Next Great Move of God by R.T. Kendall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Kendall, the former pastor of Westminster Chapel, brings to the page the necessity of a marriage of both Word (Bible-believing and centered) and Spirit (believing in the continued gifting of the Holy Spirit.) It is setting the environment for an awakening in the global church according to Kendall and would be something greater than the “Charismatic” movement of the last thirty years.

I agreed with much of what is in this little book, however unfortunate it is to have the forward by Mark Driscoll. Yet with Kendall’s presentation, I am still left hungry for something more. While I long for the day he describes, perhaps a clearer picture of what healthy Word & Spirit churches look like would be helpful.

Kendall is clear in his writing but an annoying feature of this book is that barely a page goes by without the author referencing another book he has written. The refrain, “as I wrote in such and such a book” is so prevalent it is annoying. I get that he has written many books, some on my list to read, but there must be a better way to cite his previous thinking if at all.



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