Book Notes: In the Kingdom of Ice / Next / Expositional Preaching

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21782247IN THE KINGDOM OF ICE The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

If you’re looking to lose yourself in a gripping but largely forgotten moment in U.S. history and exploration, then look no further than this book. Hampton Sides is up there with Laura Hillenbrand (author of Unbroken) when it comes to recounting history and biography in a way that focuses on the overarching narrative without losing sight of the human drama on display in all of the main characters.

In the Kingdom of Ice tells the story of explorer, George Washington De Long’s attempt to navigate through a wall of ice in hopes of discovering the open polar sea at the top of the world. The journey is told with attention to the details left by surviving crew members, the diaries of De Long, and the scientific theories at their disposal at the time.

“Grand” and “terrible” are great adjectives for this voyage. Hands down, one of the best books I’ve read this year.

41l+5WuzS5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_NEXT Pastoral Succession That Works by William Vanderbloemen and Warren Bird

Every pastor is an interim pastor. No matter how long our tenure at a church, we are temporary. Someone will pick up after we leave, whether our succession is due to emergency, moral disqualification, forced, or expected. Next focuses primarily on expected successions and what can go right or wrong in a congregation.

Reading this book, you sense that hard fast rules are difficult to come by, because every church is so unique. Still, the authors do an admirable job of distilling wise principles from successful transitions and issuing warnings from transitions that proved disastrous. W. A. Criswell’s transition from First Baptist in Dallas and the more recent events at Crystal Cathedral are two of the most famous examples of disastrous successions given in the book.

9781433543135EXPOSITIONAL PREACHING How We Speak God’s Word Today by David Helm

The 9Marks series of small hardback books are brief doses of potent medicine for church health. David Helm’s contribution on expository preaching isn’t comprehensive, nor does it intend to be. Instead, it’s an accessible introduction to the basics of exposition, unpacking the why‘s and how’s of exploring Scripture’s historical context, engaging in accurate exegesis, giving space to theological reflection, and delivering personal application.

There is no shortage of preaching books in the bookstores, but what makes this one so special is the amount of solid, practical material in such a small volume.

New preachers will find Helm’s insights to be a superb introduction to the basics of the craft. Veteran preachers will find a refresher on why good exposition is so powerful and needed. Don’t miss this one.

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