Christmas reading

I am not on holiday, but I’ve managed to do a bit of reading this week and I wanted to share some thoughts on the books I’ve read in the last few days.

Dr D Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Eryl Davies

Dr David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Bitesize Biographies) I had never heard of Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones until I first moved to Cardiff in 1999. I worshipped in the Heath Evangelical Church, and the pastor at the time, Mr Higham had been a close friend to the Doctor, and regularly referred to him. It was also the 100th anniversary of Lloyd-Jones’ birth, and there were special meetings organised, as well as some great offers on the Doctor’s books. At the time, I started reading the series on Romans and I read most of the volumes. It was very helpful spiritually. Years latter, I also read the two volumes biography by Iain Murray. This little Bitesize Biography had been given to us by the missionary committee of our sending Church (which happens to be the Heath Evangelical church). We also have kown the author well. It was a good way to refresh my memory about the life and legacy of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I long for God to raise up and call such a man to preach the gospel in France. We need someone to preach powerfully and biblically, who would lead the French Evangelical churches. It was a quick read and encouraged me to re-read some of the volumes of sermons by Lloyd Jones I’ve got.

Christmas Evans — no ordinary preacher, Tim Shenton

Christmas Evans: No Ordinary Preacher: The Story of the John Bunyan of Wales (History Today) This is an abridgment of a longer biography by the same author (published by EP). I had wanted to read the bigger volume for a while, but had not managed yet, so it was a good surprise to receive it from one of our supporting church at Christmas. Christmas was a giant, both physically and spiritually. He was greatly used by God all over Wales, but especially in Anglesey. Reading of the revivals he saw in his lifetime makes me long to see the same happen here. One thing that struck me is how human Christmas Evans was. This short book is not affraid to show some of his faults. But it also shows how God helped Christmas Evans overcome some of his faults. God doesn’t use perfect tools, Christmas Evans was far from being perfect.

One thing thing puzzles me though about that man, and ourselves. Evans seems to have drunk a lot for most of his life (without being a drunkard), before bcoming a tea-totaller, and he seems to have been a heavy user of opium amongst other things. When you read about the physical efforts he had to make to travel around constantly, no wonder he needed some help. Are we setting too high standards for our ministers, and often expecting them to behave like archangels?

Note to self, the discipline of preaching to yourself, Joe Thorn

Note To Self (Re: Lit Books) Finally, this is another great little book. I read it in one sitting, which you shouldn’t do really. The title says it all. It is highly practical, and sets your mind back to the gospel. I wanted to read it after listening to the Connected Kingdom podcast a few weeks ago. The author Joe Thorns was interviewed, and the hosts were both warmly recommending it. This book will warm your heart and help you to center your thoughts and life back on the gospel. It will stay handy near my desk for the coming weeks as I dig a bit deeper into it. You can listen the podcast here:

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