Episode 104 – Who’s Got Your Back?


Recently Ray and I were sent copies of the soon-to-be-released book, Who’s Got Your Back? by David W. Smith. Here’s a quick preview:

Who’s Got Your Back? provides a clarion call for men to be the kind of men modeled for us by Jesus. This is a playbook on how to be strong, task oriented and achieving, but also warm-hearted and unmistakably relationship driven during the rough and tumble of everyday life. This good book brings into sharp focus a genuine and functional and real-life definition of manliness. David Smith has skillfully woven stories with practical application strategies for building more satisfying friendships. Those who have your back will usually be the same individuals who know they can count on you in the good times and in times of trouble.

So tune in as Ray chat about this book and need for genuine, Biblical friendship.

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Recommended Resources:

Who’s Got Your Back? by David W. Smith

The Bible Above Other Books

I’ve been thinking about books a lot lately. Those who know me well know that this isn’t something new. I love to read. Sometimes I am into reading (and writing) Christian fiction, sometimes I like to get heavily into theological treatises and biblical studies (again writing along those lines)..

Books are important to me. But as I reflect on books, I look back at my life and see a couple of different ways I have viewed books in the past. There have been times in my life when collecting books was a source of pride. My library (sort of a gaudy way to look at books) exhibited to the world and my friends how smart I was. In reality, I just had a lot of books that maybe never got opened.

There was a point in my life where books would just collect dust until it was time to move, then they become one heavy box after another. Or books became simply textbooks needed for another class toward another degree.

The point of this little diatribe is that books can become meaningless if they are treated as a trophy that never gets opened and used to enhance my life, not my ego, but something that truly makes me a better person.

The Bible can be used in the same way in spades. For too much of my life, my collection of Bibles would just gather dust. Or it became a way for me to show off my intelligence about the 66 books that lie therein.

The Bible, viewed properly, should never be used for the purpose of pride. It should never be used to justify my theological position on some matter. Rather, it should be used to introduce me and us to the Author of the Bible, God Himself. And, in that knowing, I am, and others are, changed, transformed. Yet,, in this case, the real transformation comes when the Author of this sacred book invades our very being.

So, I resolve never to use the Bible in any way contrary to its purpose in my life, in my study, in my daily walk with the Author. And this is done best in the context of community, not in some ivory tower intellectual way, or in some touchy, feely, emotional way; but in the way that leads me to the foot of the cross and beyond, in communion with God and in community with each other.

Ray Jewell is a frequent co-host on the Basic Bible Podcast, the director of the Janesville Community Center, teacher at Rock County Christian School and the author of the Ray’s Rambling Blog.

Episode 085 – Competing Spectacles


This week Ray and I met at Mocha Moment in Janesville to review the new book, Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age by Tony Reinke. The book seeks to explore what it means to live in an image-filled world where are bombarded with spectacle after spectacle all competing for our nine second attention spans. Listen and as Ray and I give our thoughts on this book and the issues raised by it. Disclaimer – Ray and I received free, advanced copies of the book for purpose of promoting it. But, we wouldn’t promote it if we didn’t like it.

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Recommended Resources:

Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age by Tony Reinke
12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke

Episode 84 – So the Next Generation Will Know


This week we take a break from our series on the Ten Commandments to tell you about a great new book to be released this week. J. Warner Wallace is known as a cold-case detective who turned to an apologist when he decided to look into the claims of Christianity. You can read about his story in Cold Case Christianity. Detective Wallace’s latest book is entitled, So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World. This is practical book about how pass along the faith to the next generation of Christians that seem to be walking from the church. You won’t want to miss this episode as Ray Jewell and I chat with J. Warner Wallace himself about the book.

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Recommended Resources

So the Next Generation Will Know: Preparing Young Christians for a Challenging World by Sean McDowell and J. Warner Wallace
Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace
God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe by J. Warner Wallace
Forensic Faith: A Homicide Detective Makes the Case for a More Reasonable, Evidential Christian Faith by J. Warner Wallace

Episode 80 – The Pilgrim’s Progress: A Poetic Journey


This week features a guest I’ve been looking forward to meeting – Paul Cox of RefToons. For the last year RefToons has been my favorite online comic strip. RefToons features great quotes from well-known Reformed theologians accompanied by an awesome, original illustration. Paul is now working an exciting new project, a children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress. He “and his wife, Stephanie, guide young readers through an incredible, poetic journey, filled with inspiring illustrations of the trials and triumphs of one man’s pilgrimage.” You will want to jump on board and support this project, but his Kickstarter campaign ends this week, so act now! Listen in to learn more about this book and how you can help.

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Recommended Resources:

The Pilgrim’s Progress: A Poetic Journey Kickstarter Page
RefToons Website

Episode 079 – Nobody Wants Revival


Most Christians, if asked, would say they want revival. They might even regularly pray for revival. But, do we really want a genuine revival and all that goes along with a true Bible revival? In his book Nobody Wants RevivalEvangelist Ben Everson confronts us with some false ideas people mistake for Biblical revival and challenges us to individually search our hearts and seek genuine repentance through humility, prayer and holiness. Listen in as Ray Jewell and I chat about this book with Ben himself. It’s a great conversation you won’t want to miss.

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Recommended Resources:

Nobody Wants Revival by Ben Everson

Book Review – The 10 Commandments by Kevin DeYoung


Title:   The 10 Commandments: What They Mean, Why They Matter, and Why We Should Obey Them
Author: Kevin DeYoung
Publisher: Crossway
Publishing Year: 2018
Pages: 203
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

Often when you hear about the Ten Commandments today it is part of an urgent plea to hang up a picture or erect a statue of them in a public place, courthouse or classroom.  After all, they are part of our Judeo-Christian tradition here in America. But, when was the last time we really studied them or thought about how they apply to our everyday lives?  In this book released last year, Kevin DeYoung urges us to recall what we may have memorized years ago from a Sunday School flannelgraph and reconsider them light of how we live and serve today.

DeYoung begins with a introduction reminding us that just because these are found way back in the Old Testament, they are still vital in these New Testament times.  In fact, these commands remind us about who God really is and how He is to be served. These are timeless principles. Yet, they are not steps to gain salvation or favor with God.  Ultimately it is Jesus who obeys and fulfills each one perfectly and on our behalf. Then through the rest of the book, the author walks through each commandment using personal anecdotes, parallel passages and New Testament principles that help us in ultimate applying them in practical ways.

This is book is not a difficult read, but certainly challenges us with difficult and convicting reminders of what the Lord expects from us.  This book serves as a reminder of some basic principles that often get neglected of forgotten.

You can purchase the book here.

069 – New Year’s Eve Edition – A Year End Review of Books


What better way to ring in the new Year than with Ray Jewell and I?  In this episode we discuss books that we read this past year.  But wait, there’s more!  In this special extended hour-long edition I ask several others what books impacted them this year.  So you will also hear from other great guests such as:  Ray Rhodes, Jesse Beernink, Jordan Cernek, Aaron White, Mark Ward, Bob Bixby and Phil Allen.

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Recommended Resources:

The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity by Soong-Chan Rah
Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing by Andy Crouch
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti
What Time is Purple? By Tom Hammond
The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down: The Lord’s Prayer as a Manifesto for Revolution by R. Albert Mohler
The Secret Battle of Ideas about God: Overcoming the Outbreak of Five Fatal Worldviews by Jeff Myers
The Character of the Church: The Marks of God’s Obedient People by Joe Thorn
The Heart of the Church: The Gospel’s History, Message, and Meaning by Joe Thorn
The Life of the Church: The Table, Pulpit, and Square by Joe Thorn
H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography by Charles H. Spurgeon
The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken
Romans by R.C. Sproul
Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life: Practical Wisdom from Richard Baxter by Michael S. Lundy
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
The Experience of God by David Bentley Hart
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges

066 – Bonus Episode – The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon


In this special bonus episode we invite Pastor Ray Rhodes Jr. who is the author of the great new book, Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon. Many of are already familiar with the Prince of Preachers himself, Charles Spurgeon, but what do we know about his wife? “Susannah Spurgeon was a remarkable woman in her own right. She rode nobody’s coattails and was as instrumental in the gospel ministry of the Spurgeon family as her husband, if less well-known. In this well-crafted and thoroughly researched biography, Ray Rhodes Jr. paints a portrait of Susie’s own life – her growth in faith, her joyful marriage, her strength in suffering, her devoted ministry, and her lasting legacy.” Listen in as we chat about Susie Spurgeon, her life, legacy and what it all means for us today. I guarantee you’ll learn something you didn’t know before and you might even be surprised about a few things.

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Recommended Resources:

Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr.
Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon by Charles Ray


Free E-Book – Luke 1-12 For You Commentary


The fine folks at thegoodbook.com have a nice little gift for you – a free e-book.  Luke 1-12 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading by Mike McKinley is part of a commentary series that I have really enjoy and recommend.  So, you won’t want to miss this deal.  Here’s the Amazon summary of the book:

Luke wrote his Gospel to offer his first readers, and his readers today, certainty over the truth of the gospel, and joy that God’s promises have been fulfilled with the coming of his King.

With a close attention to the text and a focus on real-life application, Mike McKinley brings face to face with Jesus in a way that is fresh and compelling for both experienced and new readers of the first twelve chapters of Luke’s Gospel.

So, download the book, for a limited time only, here.