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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

"Preaching Jesus Christ Today" (Annette Brownlee)

TITLE: Preaching Jesus Christ Today: Six Questions for Moving from Scripture to Sermon
AUTHOR: Annette Brownlee
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2018, (190 pages).

Preaching is unlike speaking. It is not about giving a talk. Neither is it a speech or good advice about what to do with our lives. Preaching is essentially about proclaiming Christ and declaring the Kingdom of God coming to earth. It is about letting the ancient truths of the Bible come alive in modern contexts. Yet, it is challenging for preachers who had to prepare, produce, and preach a sermon week in and week out. Depending on the texts, one may have too many things to pack into a limited time or simply has too little to say due to the difficulty of the passage. Preachers in general need help from time to time, though some more and others less. For author and preacher Annette Brownlee, it is about preaching Jesus Christ and to move from text to interpretation to application through six core questions. Questions like:
  1. What do I see? (Preacher as Witness)
  2. Whom do I see? (Preacher as Witness to Christ)
  3. What is Christ's Word to me? (Preacher as Confessor)
  4. What is Christ's Word to us? (Preacher as Theologian)
  5. What does it look like? (Preacher as Theologian of a Broken Body)
  6. What does it look like? (Preacher as Witness to Christ in a Disobedient World)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

"A Bigger Table" (John Pavlovitz)

TITLE: A Bigger Table
AUTHOR: John Pavlovitz
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017, (188 pages).

Our table of understanding and tolerance is way to small. There is only space for people of similar thoughts, similar skin colour, similar political beliefs, and similar cultural distinctivenesses. Beginning with a lament about the state of the American political scene, and the way the Trump presidency had divided many communities, the big question is: "What does it take to expand that table?" How do we create a more inclusive, diverse, and accepting environment? According to author and pastor John Pavlovitz, this book is "about humanity, about the one flawed family that we belong to and the singular, odd, staggeringly beautiful story we all share." The first part of the book details his journey from being hired to getting fired. He shares his background as a young "insider" experiencing within a community that makes stark distinctions between people inside and people outside. Such "faulty biographies" were handed to him and he was expected to toe the line. Raised in a Catholic home, and seeing how his community has become such a "gentrified, sanitized, homogeneous" one, he aspires to become a pastor to all people, to learn to break bread with the broken, the marginalized, and the lesser ones around. He chronicles his journey through many different shakeups. From his brother coming out as gay to moving to a Protestant Church; from seeing the Church as a place of acceptance to a place of rejection; from outspoken faith to "conspiracy of silence" when it comes to navigating the tricky terrains of truth and love. When he tries to push back against the way Christians use "clobber verses" to push through their views, it marks the beginning of the end for his role as pastor. The price of honesty is steep. That sets him up with a conviction to start building a bigger table.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

"Christian Ethics" (Wayne Grudem)

TITLE: Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning
AUTHOR: Wayne Grudem
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishers, 2018, (1296 pages).

What are the basis for moral reasoning? What are the differences between morality, immorality, and amorality? Are the Ten Commandments still relevant today? Absolutely! Indeed, as society becomes more secular and moral reasoning replaced by amoral philosophies, we become more confused and less convicted about what is the right thing to do. Things may be legally right but ethically wrong. How then do we do our part to retain basic human decency in the things we do or say? Without any guide, we are left to our own devices and we are prone to make serious misjudgments about what we ought to do in the light of societal pressures and what basic norms should be. This is especially so for Christians who are increasingly been challenged by the world to give a defense of the gospel and the basis for moral reasoning. We need help in order to structure our thoughts and to understand the Bible's principles for moral reasoning. Here we see the brilliance of Bible teacher and theologian, Wayne Grudem, who guides us through the basics of understanding what ethics was; what the Bible teaches; the purpose of ethics; the need for God's laws in society; and many fundamental elements on how we should anchor our ethical framework based on biblical principles. In a clear and concise manner, he leads us through each of the ten commandments and shows us the relevance of the ancient laws for modern times. Most crucially, he tells us why we follow ethical principles. That is because of the glory of God. He explains the different kinds of ethics that we have today: Deontological; teleological; relativism; virtue ethics; among the various normative ethics, and compares them with biblical ethics. He cautions us as we study Christian Ethics not to presume we could "improve upon" biblical ethics. The reason why we study is because we want to better know God's will for us. This is perhaps the key point to take home as we read this book. For reference, the ten commandments are:

Friday, September 7, 2018

"On Reading Well" (Karen Swallow Prior)

TITLE: On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books
AUTHOR: Karen Swallow Prior
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2018, (272 pages).

For many people, reading can be a great pastime. Students read for learning, but more often than not, do so in order to pass their courses. Professors read in order to teach. Researchers read in order to build their reserviour of knowledge and bibliographical resources. Many teachers also encourage their students not just to read but to read widely. What about reading slowly and intently? What does it mean to read well? What if reading could change our lives? What if reading well means living well, or vice versa? These questions help us address the fundamental purposes of reading and living. According to author Karen Swallow Prior, "reading well is, in itself, an act of virtue, or excellence, and it is also a habit that cultivates more virtue in return." That is more than a mouthful. It is specifically reading with a virtuous purpose in mind and a holistic relevance to life. Prior shows us how through the categories of the cardinal, theological, and heavenly virtues. We learn many different insights about reading well:
  • Reading well is about learning how to think
  • Reading slowly leads to deep and meaningful reading
  • Speed reading leads to "superficial knowledge and overconfidence."
  • Read virtuously by being faithful to both text and context
  • Read and enjoy
  • Read and be formed in our thinking
  • Read toward human flourishing
  • Reading fosters virtues and vision
  • Reading offers greater perspectives
  • ... and so on

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

"Four Gifts" (April Yamasaki)

TITLE: Four Gifts: Seeking Self-care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength
AUTHOR: April Yamasaki
PUBLISHER: Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2018, (208 pages).

Life is a gift. From the time we were born, we have been on the receiving end of blessings, giving, and many good gifts. Most of us would know that from our loving parents. Thus, it is no surprise when the Bible tells us to honour our parents in the middle of the Ten Commandments. It is recognizing that we exist not because of ourselves but because others had blessed us and given good things to us. Of course, there are exceptions to the norm in situations like abuse and parental neglect. Otherwise, it is fair to say that most of us would have received life more as a gift instead of something we earned or worked for. Stretching this further, we ponder at life before we were born. Our Creator, as in Ps 139:13 had formed us even before we were in our mother's womb. What do we then do with the gift of life? We learn to take care of it. Author and pastor April Yamasaki uses this to kick start a wonderful book about soul-care and Christian spirituality. Right from the start, Yamasaki confesses of being a perfectionist, a constant goal-getter, and one who are filled with activities and demands which in turn impacts her capacity and ability to rest.  Part of the reason is that many people equates self-care with selfishness. In this book, we are assured that taking care of oneself is not selfishness. In fact, not taking care of oneself is neglect. Self-care is essentially catering to our physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our lives. It means learning to take vacations and not turn them into work days. It means learning to thrive in the midst of busyness. It means learning not to guilt-trip ourselves into constant work and worry but to enter into a period of trusting in God's care and taking care of one's needs appropriately.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"Invitation to Retreat" (Ruth Haley Barton)

TITLE: Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God (Transforming Resources Set)
AUTHOR: Ruth Haley Barton
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2018, (144 pages).

Many of us know the importance of going away on a retreat. Many don't know what to do with it. In fact, going away for a vacation may very well a busy and stressful time. Leisure time is not a retreat. Entertainment options are not necessarily the right ingredients for rest. Taking a summer break cannot be equated to a retreat. Until we learn to deal with the inner restlessness in each of us, we will continue to be addicted to the twin buddies of busyness and exhaustion. Everywhere we go, people are either busy doing something or take pride in being busy. At the end of the day, they get tired which affects everything else. In a culture infatuated with a 24/7 always available mindset, we become enslaved to external stimulants like the ping on our cell-phones or social media prompts. Some turn to alcohol or drugs to escape from the spinning world of problems and non-stop challenges. Even on leisure Sundays or vacation days, we don't really know what to do with our time, save for more activities that feed the restless soul in us. Dallas Willard says it well about setting a time intentionally to retreat from our usual stuff: "If you don't come apart for a while, you will come apart after a while." Retreat leader and popular speaker Ruth Haley Barton invites us to a time away from our everyday activities to go to a quiet place to discover ourselves and to experience God. This spiritual guide helps us not only to plan for a retreat, it offers us what to do and what not to do during a retreat. If we don't address the restlessness in each of us, any activity, including a retreat, may become another occasion for work and busyness. Quoting Emilie Griffin, a retreat is essentially a "generous commitment to our friendship with God." Beautifully put. Yes! A retreat is not something that we do for God or something we plan to do in the Name of Jesus. It is about that personal time with God and seeking to know more of the One we want to serve. A retreat is about doing something different from what we are used to do. It is about making that space with God and enjoying it. It means being generous with our time with God, and not just a pittance number of minutes we deem "devotional time." A retreat is very much counter-cultural. Barton highlights several Rs for us to get a fuller picture.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

"The Lifegiving Parent" (Clay and Sally Clarkson)

TITLE: The Lifegiving Parent: Giving Your Child a Life Worth Living for Christ
AUTHOR: Clay and Sally Clarkson
PUBLISHER: Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2018, (256 pages).

Children are God's gift to parents. Lifegiving is a two-way path. Whether it is the struggle through challenges, enigma of choices; joy of chuckles; or grappling with changes; parents will always be parents, albeit, evolving roles. What is Christian parenting? How can parents continue their role of giving life after each growth phase? Is Christian parenting more than simply giving faith? Having written books and given conferences to Christian mothers, author Sally Clarkson has teamed up with her husband Clay to provide answers to both sets of parents. This third book in the "Life giving" trilogy addresses parents and shows us what it means to be lifegiving parents. In a nutshell, lifegiving parenting is not just about giving children the faith in Christ but giving the life of Christ. Sharing their personal stories of parenting amid tumultuous career and personal upheavals, they tie in their faith victories with powerful parenting lessons of wisdom. These lessons are marinated with both successes and failures. The key theme of this book is that parenting is less about what we do and more about who we are. That is why the authors spend the bulk of the book talking about the eight "heartbeats of parental lifegiving." The logic is simple. We parent out of who we are.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

"Sacred Signposts" (Benjamin J. Dueholm)

TITLE: Sacred Signposts: Words, Water, and Other Acts of Resistance
AUTHOR: Benjamin J. Dueholm
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2018, (176 pages).

Are the Church practices of old no longer relevant in our new era? Should we still observe them or should we abandon them in favour of new rituals? How should we adapt to a post-Christian world? Should we resist adapting and maintain the historical approaches to the rituals? Right from the start, author Benjamin Dueholm shows us the tensions between the old and the new; the traditional and the modern; the liberal and the post-liberal; etc. He tries to use inclusive languages pertaining to God, using "cultural idioms" we are familiar with. He marries the two by letting authors of old keep the gendered identities as they had used while he adopts a more inclusive or more neutral language. Put it simply, historically and theologically, he tries to keep to traditions. Practically, he is less strict, even though he claims to stick to his professed traditions. In doing so, Dueholm carefully meanders between the two sides of the ritual divide to show us how "holy possessions" the Church has received from the past can still be relevant for the present times. In other words, these six "sacred signposts" still matter. He claims that "historic preservationism can make people authoritarian, reactionary, and defensive," while "dumpster diving" makes us "diffuse and marginal, light in commitment and ready to claim any enthusiasm in the world for Christ." What we should do instead is to "renew our focus" on these six rituals of Words, Water, Meal, Confession and Forgiveness, Ministry, and Worship. If we can do this well, these holy possessions would:

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"Moral Leadership for a Divided Age" (David P. Gushee & Colin Holtz)

TITLE: Moral Leadership for a Divided Age: Fourteen People Who Dared to Change Our World
AUTHOR: David P. Gushee & Colin Holtz
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2018, (384 pages).

What is moral leadership? Why is it so needed today? Some books tackle the above with a list of best leadership practices or some leadership attributes. Others deal with the leaders in terms of what they do and how they do it. For David Gushee and Colin Holtz, it is about examining the lives of notable leaders, specifically, 14 persons who displays leadership that unite followers toward a common goal. They invite people to join with them in pursuing a common cause. They have moral impact, moral character, and moral purpose in what they do. The test of moral leadership is when the leaders leave, they leave the world in a better shape than before. In fact, for the authors, moral leadership is a far better way to learn ethics than ethical studies per se. This is because it encompasses both theory and practice; concepts and applications; ideas and practicality. Moral leadership is more essential because the world:
  • is increasingly dominated by people moving toward radical extremes
  • is dominated by people trying to make their culture or cultural stance superior to others
  • the world is increasingly being torn apart, divided.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

"Honest Worship" (Manuel Luz)

TITLE: Honest Worship: From False Self to True Praise
AUTHOR: Manuel Luz
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2018, (224 pages).

Why do we worship? What is the meaning of worshiping God i Spirit and in Truth?  How do we do away with any pretense in the house of God? How do we worship? In this impassioned plea for honesty and integration of heart, mind, soul, and strength, we are challenged to lay down our masks and artificial ways and take up the cross of sacrifice and service. We are challenged to let go of self and see God for Who He is, so that we can see ourselves for who we truly are, from God's perspective. Worship is not just about music and songs. It's about truth. It's not just about us. It's about God. It's not just about feelings. It's about honesty from us to God, and of God toward us. Beginning with an observation about smoke, techniques, and drama in a modern worship setting, author and worship pastor Manuel Luz reflects on his journey from "false self to true praise." With state of the art audio-visual systems, it is easy to let the externals wow our fleshly senses to the point of ignoring our spiritual needs. All this is because of the influence of the culture over us. As we let the externals dictate the way we worship, we become tempted with sensational techniques and expensive technological tools to feed the fleshly desires rather than authentic worship. As the late AW Tozer has said it so aptly that:

"Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us."

Monday, July 30, 2018

"Spiritual Gifts" (Thomas R. Schreiner)

TITLE: Spiritual Gifts: What They Are and Why They Matter
AUTHOR: Thomas R. Schreiner
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2018, (192 pages).

Spiritual gifts are important for us, individually as well as for the  Church. While there are different interpretations of what they are and how they are used, the general agreement is that they are from God and are used for the edification of the body of Christ. Unfortunately, many churches and believers have unwittingly allowed their differences and interpretations get in the way of seeing the bigger picture of what spiritual gifts are essentially about. What are the essential and non-essential aspects of spiritual gifts? How do we disagree without tearing our communities apart? In this book, author Thomas Schreiner deals with one of the most contentious gifts in the history of the Church: What about the gifts of apostle, prophets, and tongues? Have they ceased? Schreiner argues from a "nuanced cessationism" perspective. Healing and miracles still exist but are increasingly rare because all we need are in the revealed Scriptures already. More importantly, he wants us to focus more on the "nuancing" rather than the "ceasing." For once we understand the nuances, we will understand why he is arguing for the cessation perspective.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Spirit-Led Heart" (Suzanne Eller)

TITLE: The Spirit-Led Heart: Living a Life of Love and Faith without Borders
AUTHOR: Suzanne Eller
PUBLISHER: Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2018, (208 pages).

What does it take to have a heart that is Spirit-led instead of self-led? In a world where Christianity is increasingly seen with disdain, and even Christians seem to feel God is far away from them, we need guidance from time to time regarding things of faith. Jesus has promised us the Holy Spirit coming to us. Even when we feel God is far away from us, we cannot let feelings dictate reality. Just like the presence of the sun. Just because we are in a dark room does not mean the sun is not out there. We need guidance to sense the presence of God in more ways than one. This book is one resource to help us do just that. In addressing each emotion that arises out of fear, weakness, and a sense of insecurity, Eller helps put things in perspective to help us recognize that God is Sovereign and He is in control. We need to trust His leading. Spurred by the prayer of her friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee, she feels a sense of relief and is released to trust God more. From uncertainty and self-doubt, she seeks out faith in God via a promise from God. Instead of relying on our own power, we learn that the Spirit-led heart is empowered by God for the greater good and purpose. Our lives are not defined by opinions or mass appeal but by truth alone. She shows us the lies that we often fall prey into and replaces them with truth; with direction; and with boldness. I like the way she describes Spirit-led direction.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

"Best Bible Books: NT Resources" (John Glynn)

TITLE: Best Bible Books: New Testament Resources
AUTHOR: John Glynn
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2018, (336 pages).

We are blessed with a rich collection of biblical resources. Not only are there many reliable translations of the Bible in different languages, there are also many reputable commentaries, atlases, historical documents, ancient languages helps, and all kinds of resources for all levels of learning. With all the information available, there is another problem. How do we choose? How do we differentiate the good and the not so good; the different theological perspectives; and the many that have been published but unknown to large segments of the public. What about levels for beginners to advanced; Bible study guides to scholarly references; preaching helps and pastoral research? Amid the clutter of materials, many churches and leaders need to budget for the most appropriate set of materials at the right price. Even if we have the budget to buy complete sets of Bible materials, we still need a catalog or some guides to help us understand the resources we have and do not have. Enter this reference book that sheds light on all of the above. This thick volume contains many useful annotated references to the best Bible resources available now for all levels, across different technical difficulty. There is even a price indication! Now in its 11th edition, this volume has gotten so huge that it is dedicated to just New Testament resources. A separate volume is being prepared for the Old Testament. Some of the features include:

Friday, July 6, 2018

"Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders" (Aubrey Malphurs)

TITLE: Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders: How Emotional Intelligence Can Help Transform Your Ministry
AUTHOR: Aubrey Malphurs
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2018, (240 pages).

Our emotions are critically important for effective ministry and mature leadership. Learning to manage and cultivate our emotional well-being is key in leadership. For author Aubrey Malphurs, this is also known as "emotionally mature leadership." While skills can be taught and experience can be gained, maturity is something else altogether. It is closely linked to our emotional conditions. The author puts forth six reasons why.

  1. Emotionally mature believers are also spiritually mature
  2. The Godhead is characterized by emotions
  3. An emotionally mature church is a symbol of hope to the world
  4. Emotionally intelligence is crucial for God-honouring leadership
  5. Scripture affirms the importance of emotional maturity
  6. Emotions are central to the human being and living.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

"Therefore I Have Hope" (Cameron Cole)

TITLE: Therefore I Have Hope: 12 Truths That Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy
AUTHOR: Cameron Cole
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Crossway Publishers, 2018, (208 pages).

What is the worst thing that could happen to any one of us? Maybe it's losing a job or flunking out of school. Perhaps it is foreclosure of our house or the loss of our precious car. Far more than any of these things, it is about losing a loved one. Tragedy has a profound impact on our emotions. It could render us unable to function normally or to even go about the most basic of routines. We become another person in every way. Tragedies can affect anyone. From the joy of seeing the conversation of their son to the trauma of seeing him die, emotions can wreak havoc to our soul. How do we sustain a narrative of hope amid such trying times? Author Cameron Cole highlights truth that many of us know but refuse to see. He writes as follows:
"How could a person survive if one did not know the gospel? How could one subsist if one did not accept the sovereignty of God? How would one function if one did not know the possibility of joy in suffering? How could one move forward without the hope of heaven? There are some truths that mean nothing to a person who is gasping for existential air."

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"Every Job a Parable" (John Van Sloten)

TITLE: Every Job a Parable: What Walmart Greeters, Nurses, and Astronauts Tell Us about God
AUTHOR: John Van Sloten
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2017, (220 pages).

Is God really interested in our jobs? What if our jobs are powerful windows into God's work in our lives? What is the relationship between our faith and our jobs? What does it mean to work joyfully as for the Lord? Can ordinary routine jobs be as significant as those mover-and-shaker jobs? These are everyday questions that would pique the interest of anyone out there working in the marketplace.

Your work matters to God because you matter to God. Every job is a story of this relationship. Through our jobs, we exercise our vocation to demonstrate God's grace in our work and the daily things we do. Through each vocation, author and preacher John Van Sloten has discovered a unique narrative in each of them. He calls it a "kind of parable," a unique story in which God manifests Himself in our work through us. He hopes that this book will spark in each reader a "renewed vocational imagination"to trust that because God is with them in their workplace, they would reveal God's glory in everything they do. In a secular age, it would seem impossible to even talk about things of faith in the marketplace. Yet, there is a way. Opportunities abound for the discerning. He shares about how a Walmart employee named Shirley puts customers before herself, just like Christ who put others before Himself. The forensic psychologist in searching for healing recognizes the powerful role of the Holy Spirit to heal and to make people whole. For Sam Kolias, one of Canada's largest residential landlords, it is a reminder that we are all God's tenants on earth. Through the many vocations, we learn about the different ways in which our gifts and talents are put to good use, all reflecting God's creative work in us.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"Israel, the Church, and the Middle East" (Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser, eds)

TITLE: Israel, the Church, and the Middle East: A biblical response to the current conflict
EDITORS: Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2018, (304 pages).

This year is the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel. In conjunction with this momentous event, a team of scholars and theologians have come together to reflect upon the identity of Israel, the role of the Church, and the conflicts in the Middle East. For Israel, it is the constant struggle against threats against her existence. For the Church, it is about the contrasting arguments between those who are Pro-Israel and those who are Pro-Palestinian. For the Middle East, it is that constant tensions arising from a melting pot of historical dimensions; political ambitions; religious contentions; ethnic dissensions; and social apprehensions. This book attempts to cast light on all of these with a specific coverage on the relationship between Israel and the Church. At the heart of it all is to challenge the super-sessionist standpoint among many Christians who are arguing that in God's overall plan, the modern Church has now replaced Israel. In Part One, four contributors highlight the biblical foundations. The underlying belief is that the Bible must inform all views on contemporary issues surrounding the way we view Israel. Dr Richard Averbeck discusses the theological covenants of Israel, Jews, and Gentiles with the hope that a biblical understanding will ease the conflicts between Jews and Gentiles. Dr Walter Kaiser writes about the relationships between Israel and her neighbours with Isa 19 as a guide, and hopes that the day will come where both Jews and Arabs are able to go to the house of God together. Mark Yarbrough looks at the big picture of the Bible story from Genesis to Revelation and draws out four significant genres before concluding with a "surprise narrative twist." Michael Rydelnik takes a step back to examine the "hermeneutics" of the conflict from the Old Testament arguing that both the Old and New Testaments tell of one integrated story. Using four propositions, he traces the covenant promises from Genesis to Revelation, and to say that even though the New Testament is relatively "quiet" about the land promise, it nevertheless affirms the Old Testament in many ways.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

"A Gospel of Hope" (Walter Brueggemann)

TITLE: A Gospel of Hope
AUTHOR: Walter Brueggemann
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2018, (200 pages).

There is a sense of familiarity in many Christian books. They are essentially about the Christian faith and perspectives taken from Christ. Yet, there is also a sense of freshness that even when it is about the same old gospel there is a strange fresh new truth to be reminded or to be reaffirmed. Books of hope tend to come into such a category. For hope is always about something fresh, something new, something to look forward to. Such is the gospel of hope. In this compilation of wisdom and sayings from his past sermons and published materials, Richard Floyd does the heavy lifting by putting together Brueggemann's memorable words according to the theme of hope. Brueggemann acknowledges Floyd as one who has "entered" his mind enough to know what he wanted to say most, and his rhetoric enough to know when he is most likely to say it. The gospel of hope has many sub-themes such as abundance, generosity, alternative worlds, freedom, fidelity, faith, justice, Jesus, identity, love, public witness, responsibility, and so on. In our world of short quips and concise statements limited by a tweet, a text, or a FaceBook post, we sometimes use words devoid of contexts. A master with words, Brueggemann's ability to nuance meaning upon meaning with literal devices and rhetoric makes this book a delightful read. With many quotes and quips, readers have many new things to learn. Rather than a series of random thoughts, there is a central theme in all of these: Hope. It is interesting to see how Brueggemann's thoughts can form a picture for the gospel of hope. Beginning with "Abundance and Generosity," we are reminded that hope is about enduring generosity, that the same God who had given us much yesterday and today, is the same God who would provide for us for the future. It is about being overwhelmed with the abundant generosity of God instead of being bogged down by the worries of today. Hope helps us become mindful of "alternative worlds." He contrasts the way we try to secure our future through economic, military, and other forms of human endeavors. Being content with what God has given us and what He will give us should spur us toward an alternative faith that is different from the world. One of the reasons why hope is so often needed is because of the restlessness of the human soul which is masqueraded as anxiety and a desire to be free from what enslaves us. Whether it is anxiety due to fear or fatigue, we must be constantly mindful that the gospel of hope is in Jesus. How? By remembering that what Jesus stands for is completely different from what the world stood for. Hope is sustained by a recognition that God is faithful and God will promise to give us what we need, even when we do not deserve it. God is not limited by anything. His heart is big for anything that we may thrown at Him. Jesus embodies hope. He is hope.