A Gift of Love
By Martin Luther King Jr. (Beacon Press)
Millions know Martin Luther King Jr. as a social activist, but first and foremost, he saw himself as a minister of the gospel. While it is altogether fitting that schoolchildren today learn to recite his “I Have a Dream” speech, Americans would benefit from broader exposure to his sermons. His biblically based messages provided the theological foundation for the principles of nonviolence and love for enemies he practiced in the streets of Montgomery, Birmingham and Selma.
The first audiences to hear the sermons collected in A Gift of Love were worshippers at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga. Most messages are rooted in the New Testament—the primary inspiration for King’s convictions about nonviolence.
This collection includes sermons from the previously published classic Strength to Love, with only one outdated omission—”How Should a Christian View Communism?” In its place, A Gift of Love offers two significant additions, “The Drum Major Instinct” and “The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life.”
King wrote and delivered most of the sermons 50 years ago, but the messages ring true today.
Ken Camp, managing editor
What’s Next? Navigating Transitions To Make the Rest of Your Life Count
By H. Norman Wright (Bethany House Publishers)
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Prolific author and family therapist H. Norman Wright poses the question, “Have you considered what God’s plans are for you?” in his new book, What’s Next?
One thing we all can count on is that life will change. Wright encourages readers to see God’s plans in the midst of the changes they face. The author presents these as transitions of life that should cause a Christian to ask God, “What’s next?” He shares 15 transitions most of us will face as we navigate through life. He deals with the seasons of parenting, midlife, retirement or redirecting of life, the legacy a person will leave and the last chapter. In each of these seasons, Christians are given insights and information that point them to God to ask, “What’s next, Lord?”
Wright provides discussion questions for each chapter that will enable the book to be used as a small-group study. The author’s years of counseling and writing make this book a great resource you will go to time after time as you navigate life’s challenges.
I highly recommend Wright’s book for all who realize teach person faces constant transitions in life.
Leo Smith, retired executive director
Texas Baptist Men
The Archivists’ New Testament:
An Archival Arrangement of the Documents of the New Testament
By Jeanette White Ford (CreateSpace)
Archivists have earned a well-deserved reputation as meticulous preservers of historical documents. They believe arrangement matters. Origin, provenance (the idea that a creator’s records must be kept together), retention of the original order and groupings add to the meaningful use of the material.
Jeanette White Ford, retired from the National Archives of the United States, applies those principles in The Archivists’ New Testament. Ford divides the New Testament books into four sections, each produced by a different missions team—Peter, James, Paul and John. Within each team’s works, she organizes by type and then chronologically. For example, the documents produced by Paul’s team begin with Luke, continue with Acts, and follow with the epistles in chronological order. For easier use, the table of contents provides page numbers of the traditional order and the archival arrangement.
In an age of specialized Bibles, The Archivists’ New Testament isn’t targeted to archivists. Instead, the volume provides scholars and serious Bible students with fresh approaches and creative insights to their study as they see the New Testament books arranged in a new way.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, second vice president
Baptist General Convention of Texas
Beautiful Battle: A Woman’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare
By Mary E. DeMuth (Harvest House Publisher)
How can spiritual warfare be beautiful? Mary DeMuth provides the answer in the introduction to Beautiful Battle: A Woman’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare. She writes about the “immense beauty of Jesus … the One who battles before and behind us.” DeMuth identifies the battles women face and offers strategies that work to defeat Satan’s devices. However, Beautiful Battle has more to say about the One who fights for us than the one who wages war against us.
Unhealthy attitudes and perspectives can be a set-up for spiritual attack. DeMuth shares her own battles honestly, with details that take the reader out of the classroom and into the field. She also takes us beyond her own experiences by including the stories of others. Beautiful Battle points out the chinks in our armor without pointing a finger. Instead, by confessing her own sometimes-faulty thinking, DeMuth demonstrates how we can become vulnerable to Satan.
Mary DeMuth is a great list-maker. Helpful lists of ideas are sprinkled throughout Beautiful Battle. She follows up each suggestion with a bit of explanation through an example or Scripture.
I liked all of DeMuth’s ideas of ways to free ourselves from an addiction to personal happiness—even the ones that sting just a bit.