Tag Archives: New Growth Press

Worldview by Marvin Olasky

Olasky, Marvin. Worldview: Seeking Grace and Truth in Our Common Life. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2017. 200 pp. $17.99. Purchase for less at Westminster or for your Kindle.

Introduction

Marvin Olasky is the well-known editor-in-chief of World Magazine. He also holds the distinguished chair in journalism and public policy at Patrick Henry College and has authored more than 20 books. This particular work is a collection of essays penned by Olasky through the years.

Summary

Divided into five sections, Worldview offers a compilation of 25 years of columns written for World Magazine. Section one looks at Basic worldview formation while section two shows how we should engage the ever changing culture with an unchanging truth. Parts three and four offer insight into understanding various institutions and causes. The final section is simply entitled conclusions and offers a pointed perspective on the Who has the final word in history.

Review

Bringing a few (57) columns together into one book offers great insight into the thinking of one of today’s most trusted magazine editors. The short chapters, by design because they are after all columns for a print magazine reprinted in book form, makes for a quick reading in the morning or evening. It is amazing what reading one chapter a day will do to help you better engage the modern news reports that are flooding our social media feeds.

At the end of each chapter there is a year in parenthesis to help orient the reader with perhaps a better context of what was being said. This is valuable for those who were alive during the 25 years of these columns. I do think, however, the book would have become more timeless if greater information was provided regarding the context of each column. Nonetheless, an astute student of history should be able to piece together the clues from each article and understand what prompted the piece.

Perhaps an unintended consequence (or given Olasky’s profession, it was completely intended), was to draw younger readers into the field of investigative reporting.

Recommmendation

Whether you are wanting to study journalism or simply want to better understand how to view the culture through a biblical lens, this little book will equip you to biblically engage the news of the world. This would be an excellent resource for high school students as well as college students in a Christian worldview class.

Good & Angry by David Powlinson

Powlinson, David. Good & Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness. Greensboro, NC: New Growth, 2016. 26 pp. $19.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for less or on Kindle.

Note: This review first appeared in The Pathway.

Gary L. Shultz, Jr., Reviewer

Every one of us knows what it’s like to have our anger go bad. We get irritated and begin complaining, we pass judgment on people who don’t meet our standards, we seethe inside at some wrong we’ve experienced or blow up in a rage. We also know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of anger gone wrong, to be judged, yelled at, or ignored in a passive-aggressive fit. We live in a sin-cursed world where we get angry at others, angry at ourselves, and angry at God.

For as common as anger is, however, we understand very little about it. We have a hard time understanding the difference between sinful anger and righteous anger, or even agreeing if there is such a thing as righteous anger. We struggle to understand what it means to say that God is angry, or whether we’re ever justified in getting angry at him. Despite the proliferation of self-help and therapeutic techniques, we don’t know how to solve our anger issues or become less angry.

David Powlinson’s goal in Good and Angry is to help us deal with our anger issues, to help us increasingly express the right kind of anger in the right way. Few books so helpfully mix biblical truth and practical application. It’s the kind of book you need to read with a pen in your hand and a prayer on your lips. Each chapter ends with questions that drive truth deep into your own heart, helping to facilitate conviction, repentance, and grace.

The book is divided into four sections, and the first section begins by helping us to understand our own particular experiences of anger. We all experience and express anger in unique ways. Sometimes our anger is justified, but oftentimes it is not. We all need to recognize our anger and how we express anger if we hope to experience redemption from it.

The second section explores the nature of anger, and might be the most biblical and most helpful reading I’ve ever done on the subject. Powlinson explains how anger at its core is a good thing, that it is possible to be good and angry. Anger is an active stance that opposes something that is both important and wrong, something important enough to care about. In this way anger is related to justice, to love for the needy, to overcoming sin. When the Bible describes God as angry, it means for us to understand that God actively and lovingly opposes all that is wrong and sinful. The problem for us as fallen human beings is that we often substitute our desires for God’s desires, our will for God’s will, and our anger goes bad. This is why it is so hard to understand anger, because it is so often a mix of good and bad. Jesus Christ, particularly through his death on the cross, shows us the way to overcome anger, and that we best express anger in this fallen world through mercy.

The third and fourth sections build upon this understanding by leading us through an understanding of how to change, to go from sinfully expressed anger to mercy. The fourth section explores how we can grow and change in especially hard cases, such as situations like abuse or when we’re angry specifically at God. Powlinson doesn’t offer any quick fixes, but does use Scripture to help us understand how we can move beyond our sinful anger and be good and angry when anger is called for. Jesus can redeem us from our anger, he can change us, and this book can help us experience his grace.

Hidden Agenda by Steve Brown

Brown, Steve. Hidden Agenda: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2016. 224 pp. $19.99. Purchase for less at Amazon or on Kindle.

Introduction

Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster with shows like Key Life and Steve Brown, Etc. He is also the founder of Key Life Network.  He currently sits on the board of Harvest USA.

Summary

Divided into 14 chapters over 200 pages of text, Hidden Agenda offers a frank look at how we all have hidden agendas that prevent us from genuine relationships. Often times we hide our true motives with masks, what the Bible calls a hypocrite, to the point that we no longer can identify the real us.

Each chapter concludes with discussion questions designed to get “behind the mask.”

Review

In this day of Internet personalities and the ability to make yourself into someone you are not, this book comes as a breath of fresh air. Steve does not pull any punches in helping the reader to remove the layers of masks we have created. He offers gospel hope to the reader by pointing to God’s grace and mercy that is freely offered to all sinners.

Designed to be read alone or in a small group study, Brown will help the reader engage with the Scripture in order to be made more like Christ. Furthermore, in a group study, students will learn what it means to be in genuine fellowship where the “stained-glass masquerade” falls by the wayside and the real person is unveiled.

Recommendation

Hidden Agendas makes for a great group study as well as a resource to be read by anyone looking to better understand what genuine fellowship looks like with genuine people who can’t help but be real with one another because they know that God has begun, and will complete, a marvelous work in their lives.

Face Time by Kristen Hatton

Hatton, Kristen. Face Time [Your Identity in a Selfie World]. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2017. 130 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

Kristen is a pastor’s wife and mother of three teenagers. She leads a small group Bible study for teens. She has also written Get Your Story Straight. You can find out more at KristenHatton.com.

Summary

Divided into two parts, Kristen first lays the foundation of what are true identity is in light of who Christ is. She spends five chapters detailing the problems every teenage girl faces and points them to Jesus Christ who took on all of our sinful problems and offers us the gift of salvation…or, more importantly, His identity in exchange for our own.

The second part looks at twelve common false identities every teen-aged girl faces. From issues of comparison to materialism to drinking and sex and self-harm, Kristen explains how Jesus offers a better identity.

Review

Kristen’s experience with teenaged ministry is obvious on every page. She offers sound advice and keen insight into how the Bible speaks to the teenaged girl today. Her stories offered in the second part of the book are real-to-life and will certainly resonate with the reader. Her counsel is clearly rooted in Scripture.

She offers excellent reflection questions and offers great journaling prompts to help the young women wrestle with the Biblical truths and compare those to the lies Satan would have us believe. What I love the most about this book is that the veneer is beginning to crumble on the social media world. Kristen is dealing with an epidemic in the church of identification crises that are plaguing just about everyone…perhaps no group more than teen-aged girls.

Recommendation

Written for teen-aged girls, I actually found that this book would be great for teen-aged boys as well. That being said, I highly commend this book to parents of young women entering, or already in, their teen years. Youth pastors would do well to pick up this book and assign it as a group study (probably with a woman leading) for teen-aged girls.

Between Us Girls by Trish Donohue

Donohue, Trish. Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters. Greensboro:New Growth Press, 2016. 144 pp. $17.99. Purchase for less at Westminster Books or for Kindle.

Introduction

Trish is a wife and mother living in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She has two sons and two daughters and it was her desire to disciple her girls that lead to her writing this book. She and her husband, Jim, attend Covenant Fellowship Church where Jim is pastor.

Summary

Instead of chapters, Trish divided this book into 26 walks in which she offers guidelines for mother and daughter talks. Each walk has questions a mom can ask her daughter and also the daughter can ask her mother. The topics range from prayers to family and clothing and focus.

Review

As a husband and father, I read this book with my wife and two daughters in mind. I must confess that some of this was lost on me as I would never have considered some of these discussion in the way that Trish lays them out.

That, however, is one of the greatest strengths of this book. Many parents are at a loss on how to intentionally disciple their daughters (especially dads!). The conversation points are nothing super spiritual. Rather, they are the products of meditation on Scriptural principles and watching her own daughters grow and wrestle with the importance of walking in their faith.

Far from a legalistic manual, Trish has offered mothers a wonderful guide to help kick start many conversations in order that they might disciple their daughters with greater intentionality.

I mentioned fathers earlier because I am one. For those single dads with daughters, this resource may prove extremely insightful to you as well. Granted there are certain aspects of motherhood and womanhood that you will never be able to understand, but this resource will help you to engage your daughter with the timeless truths of Scripture in such a manner that you probably would never come to on your own.

Recommendation

I recommend this resource to all mothers looking to disciple their daughters. As mentioned above, single fathers would do well to peruse this resource as well.

Trapped by Andy Farmer

trappedFarmer, Andy: Trapped: Getting Free from People, Patterns, and Problems. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2016. 208 pp. $17.99. Purchase at Westminster Books in print for less. Or for Kindle for $17.99.

Introduction

Andy has served as the pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA for 20+ years. He also serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and has written two other books: The Rich Single Life and Real Peace.

Summary

Divided into 10 chapters, Pastor Andy shows his readers how to escape the various traps we encounter in life. His first chapter explains how being and feeling trapped is a real problem many Christians face every day. The second chapter explains that we are not as free as we would like to be even if we were not experiencing the many traps in life. The third and fourth chapters lay the foundation for the ultimate solution of escaping the true trap of sin through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Chapters five through nine look at common traps experienced at various levels throughout life. Though you may not experience all of them, you will undoubtedly experience some of them and know others who have experienced the traps you have not. These traps, in the order they are written in the book are; approval, laziness, secret escape, addictions, and troubled marriage. The final chapter brings the book to a close as he argues that we can indeed be free in a world of traps.

Review

I confess that at first I was reading this book simply for the purpose of review. Upon glancing through it, however, I realized that I needed to read it much deeper and seek to apply the biblical counsel and wisdom imparted by Pastor Andy Farmer.

Hardly a page exists in this book that does not have a reference to Scripture on it. In other words, the reader is not going to get what Andy thinks is the way out of the trap. Rather, you are going to see what the Bible says in regards to the various traps you are entangled. Furthermore, Andy, as all pastors must strive to do, offers biblical solutions and methods for dealing with what many believe to be the rigors of life.

Certainly, one of the greatest aspects of this book is the testimony of Pastor Farmer serving in the same church for over two decades. In other words, if his counsel was not worth reading, his congregation would have said so by now! The Biblical wisdom that flows from Andy’s pen is evident in both his ministry and his writing.

Recommendation

If you are living in this world as a Christian, I recommend this book to you. Though you may not be experiencing any of the traps listed as of right now, you will undoubtedly do so at some point. Also, you definitely know others who are experiencing these same traps. Allow Pastor Farmer to instruct you on how to help those for whom you love and care. This will be one of those resources that you pull off your shelf from time to time and are thankful you own it.

Like Father Like Son by Pete Alwinson

Like Father Like SonAlwinson, Pete. Like Father Like Son: How Knowing God as Father Changes Men. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2015. 192 pp. Purchase at Westminster Books for less.

Introduction

Pete Alwinson serves as Key Life’s men’s ministry expert. He is the founding pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Winter Springs (Orlando), Florida, where he served for 26 years as Senior Pastor. He has served churches in California, Illinois, Connecticut and Florida. In addition to his pastoral ministries, he has served as an adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL.

Summary

Divided into ten chapters over 154 pages of text, Alwinson offers a clear understanding of Fatherhood as rooted in the truths of Scripture concerning God the Father. Each chapter builds on the previous though can stand alone if one is dealing with a particular problem.

These chapters look at the irreplaceable father who knows you and is known by you. This Father is welcoming, gives approval, builds His son’s identity and offers freedom. There are other chapters, but the concept to be found on every page is that our model is in heaven.

Review

I needed this book. As a father, I feel like I fail daily. Truth be told, I do fail daily as a father to my children. I am grateful that I can point my children to a Father who will never let them down and always has their best in mind. As a matter of fact, this book helped me to realize I need to do a better job of pointing my children to God the Father. They often hear about Jesus, who died for our sins, but not about God who loved the world enough to send His Son.

The end of each chapter offers a “take it to heart” section that helps the reader to engage the subject matter at a deeper level. This could be used in a small group setting or for personal edification. While this book could be read quickly, the application will take the rest of your life.

Alwinson’s passion to equip men to be better fathers is evident on every page. His passion to glorify God is even more obvious.

Recommendation

If you are a father or know a man who wants to be a better father, I highly recommend this resource to you. It can be read over a 10-day period almost as if it was a devotional.

God Made All of Me by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb

God Made All of MeHolcomb, Justin S. and Lindsey A. God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2015. 32 pp, $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

What began back in 2011 as a book to help those affected by sexual assault as well as leaders to provide biblically based counsel to those who have been abused is blossoming into a (sadly) needed ministry for the church today. You can read a couple reviews on the book Rid of my DisGrace and the recently released study guide here.

You can learn more at the website, God Mad All of Me.

Summary

God Made All of Me is a simply-told, beautifully-illustrated story to help families talk about these sensitive issues with two- to eight-year-old children. Because the private parts of our bodies are private, the home is the ideal environment where a child should learn about his or her body and how it should be treated by others. God Made All of Me starts from the fundamental truth that God created everything and applies that truth—the doctrine of creation—to kids and their bodies. It equips parents to talk with both boys and girls about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others.

God Made All of Me allows families to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes.

Review

In today’s sex-saturated, porno-everything, these conversations are more relevant and needed than ever before. They are often difficult conversations to have as well because, as a parent, you don’t want to introduce a problem that is not a problem. Yet, at the same time, you need to have these conversations out of necessity.

Thankfully, the Holcomb’s have written their first children’s book that addresses appropriate and inappropriate touches and the sort. They do this through a conversation between Kayla and David and their mom and dad.

The beauty is that it begins with the first two questions in most catechisms: “Who made you?” “God made me.” “What else did God make?” “God made all things.” Then, they segue into the conversation.  This then roots the entire conversation in the Word of God.

Recommendation

Sadly, this book is needed in every home. It is needed in every church. If you are a Christian doctor or other profession dealing with children, you need this book in your office. It is a simple little book that deals with a most difficult and important conversation. I cannot recommend this children’s book enough.

 

Rid of My Disgrace Small Group Discussion Guide

Rid of My Disgrace SGRid of My Disgrace Small Group Discussion Guide. Justin S. Holcomb, Lindsey A. Holcomb, and Stephanie R. Hurter. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2015. 96 pp. $14.99. Get if for less at Westminster Books.

Introduction

Back in 2011, Crossway released a book entitled Rid of My Disgrace which dealt with victims of sexual assault. I reviewed that book and would highly recommend you read that review before continuing reading this review.

Summary/Review

This study guide is designed to be an 8-week course in a group setting. The aforementioned book will be needed as the weekly readings will come directly from there.

The first week looks at Disgrace followed by weeks focused on grace, denial, self-image, shame, guilt, anger and fear, and hope. By the end of the study, the participant will be brought face to face with the necessity of the gospel over and over.

Sexual assault is becoming more and more a reality in our porn-saturated culture today. Many churches are not equipped to deal with these situations. Thankfully, Crossway and New Growth Press as well as the Holcomb’s and Stephanie Hurter have written this study guide that is pointed and full of love and compassion for the hurting.

The participant will answer a number of questions from the reading and will be assigned a journaling topic along with a suggested Scripture to memorize. Then, during the support group or group study time, there are guidelines to follow and Scripture to discuss in addition to the times of meditation to cultivate in a group setting in order to bring it home for personal meditations.

This study is designed to encourage genuine gospel healing for victims of sexual assault. It is centered squarely on the participant’s need of Christ and grace. It is not, however, centered on the participant. Rather, the author’s recognize the problem that the participant has dealt with and helps them to focus outward on Christ and others, as commanded in Scripture, rather than internally and spiraling down into depression or worse.

Recommendation

If you are looking for a resource to minister to victims of sexual assault or are in need of ministering as a victim of sexual assault (first, contact your pastor or another trusted Christian!) then  you have found your resource. I recommend this resource to all pastors to have on hand and ready to use. This may be a ministry that is desperately needed in your congregation or community and you are not aware of it. Read the book and equip yourself to become more aware.

 

Grief Undone by Elizabeth W. D. Groves

Grief UndoneGroves, Elizabeth W.D., Grief Undone: A Journey with God and Cancer. Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2015. 224 pp. $17.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for less or for Kindle.

Introduction

Elizabeth Groves teaches Hebrew at Westminster Theological Seminary. She has written Becoming a Widow. She also has four children and four grandchildren.

Summary

With eighty-nine chapters in only 224 pages, one quickly realizes this is more like a diary of the author’s journey that emphasizes her husband’s battle with cancer. The book is divided into a number of subsections such as life before (the cancer), winter ’06, spring ’06 until his death in winter ’06-’07.

The largest portion of the book is Elizabeth’s immediate life following the home going of her soul mate and husband (chapters 61-83) and then a final section looking back on this most difficult period in her life (chapter 84-89).

Review

Grief Undone is a diary chronicling all the human emotional, mental, physical and spiritual struggles every human faces in life. In this case, it was the all too common battle against cancer. To that end, it must be noted how difficult it is to critique one’s raw emotions and their own personal experiences since it is so personal and private.

Perhaps that is what makes this work so valuable. On every page, you see the struggles of the flesh. You witness first hand the life of a believer in the midst of terrible strife. And on every page you see God-given faith and perseverance. You see humility. You see courage to face the world with a satisfaction of knowing that the God you worship is sovereign over cancer and other illnesses. Further, you see that there is a comfort in knowing that though this cancer may take your life in this world and, as is the instance for Elizabeth, leave you “by yourself” to await your own home going, it is not the end by a long shot.

The faith and hope poured into these words on the pages in this book are a comfort to the believer today. Why? Because we all must struggle with sin and the effects of sin in this world. Elizabeth Groves has written a wonderful and transparent book that will be an aid to all pilgrims striving to get to the Celestial City.

Recommendation

If you have cancer or know someone who does, I highly recommend this resource to you. If you struggle with the trials and tribulations of life, I highly recommend this resource to you. While Elizabeth is certainly someone we can all learn from in dealing with cancer and death, she ultimately points us to the One who helped her and will help you.