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Welcome to the final installment of the For Aslan Christmas Gift Guides.  This guide will help you find a great gift for your evangelical theology nerd loved ones. This list is a mixture of really great books you can get for cheap and multi-volume collections that most theology nerds are too poor to buy for themselves.  These are all great gifts for your pastor, youth pastor, poor seminarian, theological blogger, or armchair theologian.

THEOLOGY NERD GIFTS – $0-$25

A Little Exercise for Young Theologians by Helmut Thielicke$7.19

Thielicke Young Theologians

(http://www.christianbook.com/a-little-exercise-for-young-theologians/helmut-thielicke/9780802811981/pd/2811981?product_redirect=1&Ntt=2811981&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP)

If you know someone in seminary or Bible college, I implore you to buy them this book.  This book is a swift kick in the gut to pride that can swell up when people get a semester’s worth of theology and Greek under their belts.  Thielicke provides a great reminder that the study of God produces humility when done properly.

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler$8.99

Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

(http://www.amazon.com/The-Explicit-Gospel-Re-Lit/dp/1433530031/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354111467&sr=8-1&keywords=explicit+gospel)

Matt Chandler is one of my favorite preachers alive.  He is an excellent example of biblical preaching, and he has glorified God throughout his suffering with cancer (Don’t Waste Your Cancer an Interview with Matt Chandler).

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney$10.87

Whitney Spiritual Disciplines

(http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Disciplines-Christian-Pilgrimage-Growth/dp/1576830276)

Most young Christians that ask their youth pastor how to grow “deeper” in their faith will receive an answer somewhere along the lines of “Pray and read your Bible.”  This is true, but Donald Whitney provides very real and practical steps in this modern classic.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer$11.99

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

(http://www.christianbook.com/knowing-god-j-i-packer/9780830816507/pd/1650X?item_code=WW&netp_id=101130&event=ESRCG&view=details)

Other than the Bible, this is my favorite book on earth.

Martin Luther Bobblehead$18.95

Luther Bobblehead

(http://oldlutheran.cybrhost.com/oldlutheran/page.php?page=store&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=OL&Product_Code=800&Category_Code=HO)

Does anyone really need a Martin Luther bobblehead? No.  Would many people appreciate it as a gift? Yes.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones$19.48

Sermon on Mount by Martyn Lloyd Jones

(http://www.amazon.com/Studies-Sermon-Mount-Martyn-Lloyd-Jones/dp/080280036X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354112352&sr=8-1&keywords=sermon+on+the+mount+martyn)

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a brilliant expositor of the Bible.  This is a very long book, but it is worth the price and the time needed to read it.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography by Eberhard Bethge$32.34

Bethge Bonhoeffer

(http://www.amazon.com/Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Biography-Eberhard-Bethge/dp/0800628446/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354111563&sr=1-2&keywords=dietrich+bonhoeffer+biography)

This is the exemplary biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Everyone loves Bonhoeffer, conservative evangelicals and theological liberals alike.  If you want to get them an actual Bonhoeffer book, go for Discipleship or Life Together.

THEOLOGY NERD GIFTS – $25-$50

Spurgeon’s Sermons, 5 Volumes by Charles H. Spurgeon$49.99

Spurgeon's Sermons

(http://www.christianbook.com/spurgeons-sermons-5-volumes/charles-spurgeon/9781598568325/pd/568325?en=google-pla&kw=church-and-pastoral-40-60&p=1167941&gclid=CL2b7Mfr8bMCFQU5nAoduikAXg)

Spurgeon was amazing.  All theology nerds get a bit geeked out about Spurgeon.  Plus, this set looks great on a bookshelf.

THEOLOGY NERD GIFTS – $50-$100

God, Revelation, and Authority, 6 Volumes by Carl F. H. Henry$96.99

Carl F. H. Henry God, Revelation, and Authority

(http://www.christianbook.com/god-revelation-authority-6-volumes/carl-henry/9781581340563/pd/40567?product_redirect=1&Ntt=40567&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP)

Carl F. H. Henry founded Christianity Today.  He was one of the great evangelical voices of the 20th century, and this is the pinnacle of Henry’s scholarship.

THEOLOGY NERD GIFTS – $100+

Church Dogmatics, 14 Volumes by Karl Barth – $129.99

Karl Barth Dogmatics

(http://www.christianbook.com/church-dogmatics-14-volumes/karl-barth/9781598564426/pd/564426?kw=karl%20barth%20dogmatics&event=PPCSRC&p=1018818&gclid=CISj0eTq8bMCFQkFnQod9EUAVQ )

I love Karl Barth. True, we have some major theological differences, but I respect him a ton.  This work usually costs upwards of $400, however, in recent years this publication has come out for much cheaper.

The Early Church Fathers, 38 Volumes – $229.99

Early Church Fathers

(http://www.christianbook.com/the-early-church-fathers-38-volumes/9781565630819/pd/30815?event=CF)

So…this is wicked expensive.  Most of these works are available online now.  But we all know reading a book on real paper is 1,000 times better than reading on an e-reader or computer screen.  This would be a great gift for someone if a bunch of people pitched in, but I personally think it’s a crazy amount of money to drop by yourself.

Until later friends…

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Life is rarely what we expect it to be. We make plans, those plans change. We expect health, health fails. We desire ease and comfort, but pain marks many of our days. Pain and disappointment find us at the most inconvenient times.  Such pain often causes us to ask “why?” Why me? Why now? Why her?

Book of JobLike Job, we wonder why the chips have fallen the way that they have. My wife and I are going through a difficult time right now.  Things are not going the way that I planned them.  There are unforeseen difficulties with our daughter.  Doctors believe these are fixable, but it is still distressing.  At times like this, I am thankful for the promises the Lord has given us in Scripture.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” – Romans 8:28-29

” He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4

These promises remind me of two things:

God is sovereign over all things, even pain and suffering. – This means that everything I experience has meaning.  There is no such thing as meaningless suffering.  God purposes to conform me to his image through every experience I have.

Pain and suffering are temporary – “This too shall pass.” These are great words of comfort.  All pain will cease one day. The Lord Jesus Christ will wipe my tears away, and I will see how all things have worked together for good.

This week I have been particularly encouraged by my church, especially the sermon this past  Sunday “Faith in the Midst of Trials.”  I have also found great encouragement through music.  Hear are a few songs that have been encouraging to me this week:

Farther AlongJosh Garrels

I love the hymn “Farther Along,” and Josh Garrels has added some great verses to it. This songs points to the future hope of Revelation 21. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and there will be no more pain.

In the Night My Hope Lives OnAndrew Peterson

This is poetic. I listened to this song for an hour straight the first time I heard it.

Approach My Soul, The Mercy SeatJamie Barnes (Sojourn Music)

“Thy promise is my only plea O God.”

Until later friends…

Today is Good Friday.  It seems like a misnomer in some ways.  Were you there on that Friday, you probably would not have thought anything was good. Jesus‘ own people demanded his crucifixion and the pardon of a insurrectionist.  Pilate, the Roman ruler of the people, washed his hands of the situation and sent Jesus to his death.

Jesus was beaten and bloodied.  He was completely mutilated.  Jesus was nailed to two pieces of wood through his wrists and feet.  He struggled for breath as pain pulsed through every nerve in his body. Darkness fell over the land.  Echoing Psalm 22,  Jesus called out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”  The earth quaked.  And the curtain in the temple that separated the people from the Holy of Holies was ripped into two.  Mankind had killed God the Son.

This day was awful, but we can still call it Good Friday.  It is good, because this was no accident.  Yes, Man killed God the Son.  But Jesus gave his life willingly.  He was the shepherd laying down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).  Jesus bore on himself the sins of the world.  Mankind was a debtor to sin and the price was death.  Jesus canceled the record of debt on the cross (Col. 2:13-15).  This was humanity’s darkest day, but it also brought about humanity’s greatest hope.

Rouault Crucifixion

(Note: Christians have often been accused – and many times, with good reason – of being anti-Semitic.  The crucifixion account is not anti-Semitic.  It is anti-human.  It shows that all people (Jew and Gentile) are sinful, and given the chance to follow the incarnate God, we killed him.  My sin and your sin are equal causes of the death of Christ.  Hence, the name of this post.)

Until later friends…

The Last Supper

Today is Maundy Thursday.  Today Christians commemorate Christ’s institution of the Lord’s Supper.  We also remember Jesus’  high priestly prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.   He began this prayer as follows:

1When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the onlytrue God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.5And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glorythat I had with you before the world existed.

John 17:1-5

Rouault Jesus Praying

Christ knew the pain and horror that awaited him the next day, but “for the joy set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and [he] is seated at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Until later friends…

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