JRF's #24 - Visit the Sick by Brian Croft

Do you consider care for the sick an essential activity for Christ followers?  Do you have a theology that is sturdy enough to shine even in the darkness of those on the brink of death?  Do you think to pop a few breath mints before you go and pray with someone on their sickbed?

This book presents a concise, Biblical and practical guide for caring for the sick in Christ's name and strength.  While Croft's many years of experience as a pastor as well as being the son of a doctor provide ample material for practical advise, it is the Biblical foundation that Croft lays prior to discussing the practical implications of that foundation that is the real strength of this book.  Too often books either expound on Scripture and theology but never make practical demands from that theology, or even worse, start with the pragmatic and then search for prooftexts in Scripture to give weight to opinions.    Croft does an excellent job of letting his practical exhortations flow from the Word of God, both from specific texts on caring for the sick and dying and from the metanarratives of Scripture.  Above all he shows that caring for the sick is about the Gospel.

This book was a great reminder of the essential ministry of caring for the physical needs of people as well as a great tool for accomplishing that task.

Mark's #3: Why Johnny Can't Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers

In my opinion, less than 30 percent of those who are ordained to the Christian ministry can preach even a mediocre sermon” – T. David Gordon.

When I received this book in the mail, I was initially disappointed by the relatively small size of it (108 pages).  I thought it would only offer some surface level assessment of the current problem of the state of the pulpit today.   Though brief, Gordon does an excellent job of diagnosing and analyzing the problem, and prescribing some first steps to recovering a Christ-centered pulpit.

Gordon argues that our culture no longer automatically prepares men and women to be clear thinkers, writers, and communicators.  Put simply, few people know how to read or write well.  Such technologies as the television, telephone, movies, Internet, instant messaging, are not conducive to deep thinking and clear communication.

As such, Gordon implores ministers and ministerial candidates to develop the discipline of reading slowly and thoughtfully, and to regularly practice meaningful writing (journaling, articles, blogs, etc.).    Those that do read a lot tend to speed read for information and miss the how and why of the composition of the text.  Subsequently, most ministers do not know how to think clearly, compose unified sermons with a clear point that is derived from and faithful to the biblical text.

As I read this book, I thought often how delighted our friend Ron (an English teacher) would be with Gordon’s solutions.   Gordon implores pre-seminarians to pursue a degree in English literature at the undergraduate level.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in pursuing ministry and any pastor interested in faithfully proclaiming the Word in a way that is Christ-centered and God glorifying.

5 Stars.