Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Word Concerning Friday's SCOTUS Decision

On Friday the Supreme Court handed down an edict declaring that all 50 states must now recognize so-called same-sex marriage as marriage.  

The reality is that in many ways nothing has changed:

1.  Marriage is still the one flesh union of one man and one woman as established by God in Genesis 2:24.  Nothing else has ever been marriage.  Nothing else is marriage now.  And nothing else will be marriage in the days to come.

2.  Sexual perversion still exists today just as it did on Thursday before the ruling, and as it always has.  You do not have to read very far in the book of Genesis to discover that there is nothing new under the sun.

3.  The sovereign God of the universe is still on His throne.  He has always been on His throne, and He will always be on His throne.  He did not take a break on Friday and come back to discover what had happened while He was out.  He is not out of control.  Though the culture all around us may feel like sinking sand, we can stand firm on Christ the solid rock.

4.  The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is still for all kinds of sinners who would repent of their sin and place their faith in Jesus.  This is the message we must carry forth.  We must be clear about what sin is.  And we must be clear about what grace is.  None of that has changed.  May we continue forth as ministers of reconciliation, calling people to be reconciled to God in a world that is broken in many ways, including but not limited to sexual brokenness.

While there are many ways in which nothing has changed, there is much that has changed:

Make no mistake.  Friday's expected decision was a big deal.

1.  It means that the laws of our land now contribute to the confusion experienced by so many who feel attracted to people of the same sex.  Those five justices who represented the majority in this decision have blood on their hands.  The President celebrated (complete with rainbow lights on the White House) a decision that will lead people further down the path that leads only to destruction.

2.  It means that religious liberty is and will be in jeopardy in the days to come.  We have seen it already with a few individuals who have chosen to stand on their convictions rather than bowing to the new sexual orthodoxy.  I don't mean to sound like an alarmist.  I am not concerned that someone is going to bust open our doors today and prevent me from speaking the truth of God's Word.  I am concerned that there will come a day when churches and religious institutions begin to lose their tax exempt status for standing firm on God's Word.  I am concerned that many of you will be forced to make difficult decisions in the workplace about whether you will stand firm in what you believe and refuse to do certain things that violate your conscience.

3.  It means that the wrath of God is upon this nation.  I do not mean that God's wrath is going to fall because of this decision, though certainly it may.  I mean that it has already fallen with this decision.  Romans 1 is very clear that one of the ways God pours out His judgment and wrath is by turning people over to their own desires.  America has been turned over to her own desires.  A radical shift has taken place in public opinion over the last 10 years.  America got exactly what she wanted on Friday.  Those five justices did not find a right to so-called same-sex marriage in the constitution.  They found a desire for it among the people of this country.  And they ruled with the people.

As your pastor I commit to helping us think through these things in the days ahead as we navigate the rough waters in front of us.  But now I want to pray and ask God's help for all of us.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Let's Recover BIBLICAL (i.e. Congregational) Church Discipline

Church discipline has made its way into the news recently as a result of a situation at The Village Church in Dallas, Texas.  I first became aware of the situation there as a result of some watchdog blogs picking up the story.  It began to spread like wildfire on social media.  Then Sunday I opened up my computer to discover that the front page of Yahoo had picked up the story.  I was grieved as I read the way the Bible's teaching on church discipline was misrepresented to paint the Christian church in the worst possible light.

It is not my intention in this post to address the situation at The Village Church.  The details as reported by the media are certainly concerning.  But it would be wrong headed of me to presume that I know all the facts.  Even if I did have all the facts, I do not pastor The Village Church.  Let's pray for this church as they seek to honor the Lord in this very difficult situation, whether self-inflicted or not.

I never heard anything about church discipline growing up in church.  I do not recall ever hearing a sermon on Matthew 18 or 1 Corinthians 5.  I do not mean that as an indictment on the churches I attended or the pastors who served those churches.  There has been a renewed interest in church discipline in recent years that simply did not exist 15-20 years ago.  Because I wasn't there, I cannot speak as to whether there was teaching on church discipline taking place in the classroom when the generations who have preceded me attended seminary.

But church discipline is biblical.  It is not a new invention.  It is not something practiced only by the so-called "New Calvinists."  Jesus' instructions in Matthew 18 are very clear.  The church has been given the keys of the kingdom.  This means that the church must do the work of binding (membership) and loosing (discipline).  The Apostle Paul is very clear in 1 Corinthians 15 when he addresses a situation that was going on in the church at Corinth.  Paul told the Corinthian church to "Let him who has done this be removed from among you" (1 Cor. 5:2b).

My goal here is to point out that it is not simply a recovery of church discipline that we should desire, but a recovery of BIBLICAL (congregational) church discipline.  We do not need to recover a means of removing people from the church.  We need to recover loving confrontation of sin in an effort to restore our wayward brothers and sisters in Christ.  It may be that through this process we discover that a wayward member is likely not truly a believer.  Then, and only then, do we move to the final step of church discipline.

There is much that could be said about biblical church discipline.  I could unpack the relevant passages of Scripture and lay out exactly what I believe the Bible teaches concerning church discipline.  But that would likely fill much more than a single blog post.  Here I want to highlight a very important, yet sometimes neglected, component of church discipline: the role of the congregation.

Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, addressed this in a recent Baptist Press article.  Barber said that one way churches err in their discipline processes is by failing to include the entire congregation in votes to withdraw fellowship from individuals in sin who refuse to repent.  He went on to say that the process of church discipline outlined in Matthew 18:15-18 involves confronting a sinning church member individually, then confronting the person again with two or three witnesses if he or she refuses to repent.

Bingo!  Bart Barber hit the nail on the head.

Church discipline is not a group of elders confronting an individual and then deciding to remove the unrepentant person from the membership of the church.  No, church discipline begins with an individual Christian confronting another individual Christian with the hope of helping that brother or sister remove the speck from their eye, after having removed the log from his/her own eye.  After taking one or two others along to aid in clear communication and demonstrate the seriousness of the situation, if the sinning member still refuses to repent, Jesus says to tell it to the church.  While this necessarily involves the leaders of the church, it does not leave the matter in their hands alone.

Jesus made it very clear that the authority to discipline unrepentant professing believers belongs to the church.  Paul wrote his instructions in 1 Corinthians 5 to the entire church, not just the leaders of the Corinthian church.  But why is congregational involvement so essential to biblical church discipline?  Let me suggest five reasons.

1.       It is the way Jesus said church discipline is to be done.

This is by far the most important reason listed here.  This would be enough if none of the other reasons existed.  No other reason would be totally convincing without this one.  Dear pastor, you do not know better than Jesus.  I know that congregational church government sometimes feels cumbersome, but God has ordained it this way for a reason.  He knows better than we do.  Trust Him and do what He says.

2.       Church discipline starts with the congregation.

When many people think about church discipline, they think about removing people from the church.  This ought not be.  Rare should be the times when we reach the final step of church discipline where excommunication becomes unavoidable.  Church discipline begins in a very informal manner (Matt. 18:15).  It is so informal that we would never refer to it in such a formal way when actually doing it.  We would be more likely to use the language of the writer of Hebrews, "stirring one another up to love and good works."

Church discipline begins with one believer confronting another believer in his/her sin.  It doesn't begin when the leaders of the church are made aware of the situation.  It doesn't begin when the congregation is formally made aware of the situation.  And it certainly doesn't begin when the congregation votes to remove an unrepentant member.  It begins when one believer comes alongside another believer to help him/her grow in Christ.  This should be a regular occurrence in the life of the church.

So if you find yourself frustrated because your church doesn't practice church discipline, I wonder if you have opened yourself to loving rebuke by your fellow believers in the church.  I wonder if you are willing to go and lovingly confront those who have wandered into sin that they may repent and be reconciled to God because of Christ.  This is where church discipline begins: with individual members of the congregation.

3.       It will prevent you from being rash.

I can make a biblical argument for the first two reasons.  This one is of a more pragmatic nature.

You have been dealing with a situation where one of your members is caught in sin for what feels like an eternity.  You are ready to move on from steps one and two of church discipline.  You have spent time thinking, praying, and seeking the advice of others.  You are convinced that this is the right thing to do.  But then you think about the day you announce the situation to the church.  You realize that things aren't going to go well.  You know that the congregation is going to stop you dead in your tracks.  This should cause you to slow down.

Barber said in the Baptist Press article referenced earlier, "Having that congregational basis to [discipline] is helpful because my experience is that congregations are unwilling to extend church discipline sometimes when I'm willing to do it. So there's something of a mediating force in having to go to an entire congregation."

You may be right.  In a perfect world the congregation would see things as you do and willingly (but with sadness) remove the unrepentant member.  Well, scratch that.  In a perfect world there would be no need for church discipline.  But you get my point.  This reason for congregational involvement leads to the next one.

4.       God will graciously use it to prevent you from causing harm to His church.

Again, you may be right.  It really may be time to remove the unrepentant sinner from the fellowship of the church.  But the fact that you can't do it alone will prevent you from creating a situation where half of your people walk out because you removed someone that they didn't think should be removed.

Church discipline is for the good of the unrepentant sinner and the name of Christ, but it is also for the good of the church.  If proceeding with steps 3 and 4 of church discipline is going to cause irreparable harm to the church and your ministry there, God may sovereignly keep it from happening by the very fact that you need a congregational vote to proceed.  He is in charge like that.

In such a scenario, you can trust the sovereign God of the universe, and know that you have done all you can do on your own for the good of the unrepentant sinner and the name of Christ.  You can trust the Chief Shepherd to protect His flock.

5.       There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.

I keep saying that you may be right.  But you know what?  You may be wrong.  Not only does congregational involvement in church discipline procedures involve the wisdom of your fellow leaders, it also involves the wisdom of your brothers and sisters in Christ who fill your pews and have been serving Jesus for a long time.  You do not have a monopoly on God's wisdom.  God speaks to all believers through His Word.  We can lean into that wisdom when we seek to do things as God has told us to do them and involve the congregation.

There are also varying perspectives among your congregation that may not necessarily be present among the leadership of your church.  This is particularly true regarding ladies.  Some of us men who are gung ho about speaking clearly based on the authority of God's Word in a given situation need the ladies in our midst to help us demonstrate love and compassion to those caught in sin.

The bottom line in all of this is that God has told us in His Word that church discipline is the work of church.  Pastors have a role to play in this.  Other church leaders have a role to play.  But it is the church that has been given the keys of the kingdom.  Those who shepherd God's church must exercise oversight, but they must do so not as those who domineer over the flock, but as examples and fellow sheep under the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

National Day of Prayer

Every year Gene Hall and his team put together a National Day of Prayer event at Red Oak Excavating.  I had the privilege of speaking at this event this morning.  I am posting my manuscript for my speech below.

National Day of Prayer
May 7, 2015

            Have you had a good time this morning?  I count it a privilege to be a part of this event again this year.  Thank you to Gene Hall and others who are responsible for putting this wonderful event together.  It is a great blessing to gather with brothers and sisters in Christ in this free land to consider the importance of crying out to our God in prayer, and then to do just that.
I have been given the task this morning of pulling all of the speeches and prayers together in kind of a concluding fashion under the banner of the theme: Lord, Hear Our Cry!
Of course, as you have heard, the verse of Scripture associated with this theme comes from 1 Kings 8:28.
“Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”
This verse is found in the context of Solomon's prayer of dedication for the recently constructed temple.  If you are familiar with the story, you know that Solomon's father David desired to build a temple for the Lord.  This would be a place for the Lord to dwell.  There the people of God could have fellowship with their God.
            But it was not God's plan for David to build this temple.  Instead, He told David that his son would be the one who would build the temple.  God said to David, "Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart.  Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name."
            And here in 1 Kings 8 we see the fulfillment of that promise that God made to David.  Solomon has overseen the building of a temple.  Now He is dedicating that temple to God.  In doing so, He cries out to God, "Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day."  Solomon's hope was in the fact that the God He worshiped hears the cries of His people.  That is certainly the source of our hope this morning as we unite under the theme of "Lord, Hear our Cry!"  God hears the cries of His people.
            Because of the fulfillment of God's promise, Solomon's heart was filled with worship to God.  Solomon prayed, "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart."  He goes on later in the chapter, "Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised.  Not one word has failed of all his good promise which he spoke by Moses his servant."  Friends, this God that Solomon worshiped is our God.  He is still a covenant keeping God.  His promises never fail.
            Now, while there is a sense in which God's promise to David was fulfilled in his son Solomon, there is also a sense in which it was not fulfilled until many years later and is still being fulfilled.  As we turn to the New Testament in Matthew chapter 1, we see that Jesus the Messiah was a descendant of David.  This promise that a descendant of David would establish a place of worship for the one true God was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  In fact, we see Jesus refer to his own body as a temple during His time here on earth.  Also, we see Jesus establishing a people for God through His sinless life and death on our behalf.  And one day, we know that Jesus will return to establish a new heaven and a new earth where God will dwell with His people forever.
            But in the meantime, we are God's temple.  Those who have repented of their sin and placed their faith in Jesus, the people of God, are His temple.  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit of God resides in all believers.  Thus we know, that just as God heard the cries of His people in 1 Kings 8, He hears the cries of His people today.  Romans 8 talks about the Spirit interceding to God on our behalf.  The writer of Hebrews talks about Jesus as the mediator between God and man.  We have access to God this morning, as we gather for this day of prayer, because of Jesus.
            The cultural situation in which we find ourselves is bleak.  All one needs to do to see this is turn on the news.  Often it feels as if the enemy is winning the battle.  We see rioting in the streets of Baltimore.  Buildings burned.  Police cars are smashed.  Gunshots are fired.  We see more injustice piled on top of injustice.
            Then just a short drive down I-95 our attention shifts to arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States about whether states should be forced to recognize something as marriage that cannot and never will truly be marriage.  Confusion abounds as the truth of God is exchanged for a lie.  Rather than the worship of the Creator, we see men and women worshiping and serving the creature.
            And if you're paying attention, you know that the crowd screaming "tolerance" is the most intolerant of them all.  If you dare speak the truth of God and His Word to the culture, you better be prepared to face the consequences.  You may be ostracized and cast aside as a bigot.  While our nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom, that freedom is eroding before our very eyes.
            So where is our hope?  I truly think that perhaps the changing cultural tide in our nation is a good thing.  It doesn't feel good, but perhaps it will serve to set our minds on the author and perfecter of our faith.  For far too long we have placed our hope in the political process.  For far too long we have set our minds on the ballot box.  But the reality is that there is nothing our elected officials in Richmond or Washington can do to change the hearts of men and women.
            And friends, that is what we need more than new laws in Washington.  We need new hearts.  And this change must begin with you and me.  It must begin with the people of God.  We must fall on our knees first in repentance.  We repent of having trusted the political process more than we trusted God.  And we vow to live differently moving forward.  We vow to walk by faith, and not by sight.  We vow to be the instruments God uses to effect the change we desire to see.
            Our God is the same God who made His promise to David.  He is the same God who kept His promise in Solomon.  He is the same God who is keeping His promise even now in Jesus.  We carry with us, fellow believers, the greatest message in all the world.  It's the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who lived in perfect obedience to the Father.  The one who died to pay for the sin of all those who would repent of their sin and place their faith in Jesus.  The one who was raised on the third day.  The one who ascended into heaven and is right now seated at the right hand of the Father.  And He is the one who will one day return to establish His kingdom forever.  At that time, He will right all wrongs.  Friends, this is the only source of hope for us, and it is the only source of hope for this great nation.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To My Daughter

I am writing this letter while experiencing a whirlwind of emotions.  Your mommy and I have been waiting eagerly (and somewhat patiently) for your arrival.  It has been nine months since God first entrusted you to our care.  We are thankful.  We have shared the news of your coming birth with great excitement.  Our friends and family have rejoiced with us and showered us with gifts.  We can't wait to see you wearing all of the cute little dresses that have been hung in your closet with care.

We went to the doctor again yesterday.  Mommy is 39 weeks pregnant now.  We know that it won't be long before we hold you in our arms.  Perhaps it will be today.  I hope so.

But as I think about your entering this world, my heart is also heavy.  You see, you will be entering a world that is very broken.  A recent earthquake has devastated the country of Nepal.  The death toll there continues to climb.  Many are mourning the loss of those they love and trying to figure out how their most basic needs will be met.

Also recently, a young man unexplainably lost his life in police custody in Baltimore.  On Monday his body was laid to rest.  The tragic nature of this man's death has led many to peacefully protest in the streets of Baltimore.  Sadly, many have chosen to compound tragedy with more tragedy.  Buildings have been looted and set on fire.  Gunshots have been fired.  Police cars have been destroyed.  Businesses have been forced to close, and baseball games have been postponed and moved to different locations.

Even as all of this is going on, yesterday in our nation's capital, oral arguments were heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in a case that could affect the state of marriage in the country we love for generations to come.  In light of this, I want you to know that there is a God in heaven.  He established marriage in the beginning when He created Adam and Eve.  He designed marriage as the lifelong union between one man and one woman.  No human being or government official has the authority to alter that definition.

My heart aches for you, sweet girl, because I know you will be born into a world that is very broken.  Pain and suffering abound.  Our world is plagued by fear and uncertainty.  This is not a new development of course.  Sin started all the way back in Genesis 3 when our parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God the Creator.  As a result, sin has spread to the whole human race.  This is why people lose their lives in Nepal.  This is why those in authority sometimes abuse that authority.  This is why people think that the best response to injustice is to compound it with more injustice.  This is why confusion abounds in our culture about love, sex, gender, and religious liberty.

In spite of all this, I promise you that your mommy and I will do everything we can to protect you.  We love you.  We promise to wake up at 3am, feed you, and rock you back to sleep.  I promise to sing "Jesus Loves Me" to you, though it may ruin your ear for music.  We promise to do everything we can to provide for your needs.  We will teach you the Bible.  We will show you what it means to love and follow Jesus.

Despite our best efforts though, we cannot promise you an easy life.  We cannot be certain that tragedy will not come to our neighborhood.  We cannot be certain that the devaluing of human life will not increase.  We are not sure how receptive our culture will continue to be as it relates to our faith in Jesus Christ.  We do not know what the future holds for your life or ours.

But we know the ONE who holds the future.  We know that Jesus, the one who died to pay for sin and rose again three days later, is seated right now at the right hand of God.  We know that He is in control.  We know that He has gone to prepare a place for all those who repent of their sin and believe on Him.  We know that there is coming a day when He will return to right all wrongs.  We know that there is a promise of life eternal, free from pain, suffering, and sin, in the new heaven and new earth for all those who are in Christ.

Though we mourn the pain and suffering all around, we do so as those who have hope.  We are not afraid.  Fear not, little girl.  Jesus loves you, this I know.  For the Bible tells me so.

See you soon,


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Book Review: EP Study Commentary on Acts

I recently received a copy of Guy Waters' new commentary on the Acts of the Apostles.  The commentary is a part of the EP Study Commentary series.  The EP Study Commentary is a reformed commentary series that covers both the Old and New Testaments with 22 volumes thus far.  Guy Waters is a professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary.

I was not familiar with this series prior to receiving the volume on Acts.  I found it to be very well-written.  It is written in a manner that is adequately thorough, but is not overly technical.  Lay people and ministers alike will find it to be a valuable aid in Bible study and teaching preparation.

As a committed Baptist, and because Waters is writing from a Reformed perspective, I was interested to see how he handled baptism throughout Acts.  I was pleased to discover that Waters handled the passages that address baptism in a way that is very faithful to what the text of Scripture actually says.  He doesn't argue for infant baptism in Acts 10 where Cornelius and his household come to faith in Christ.  He doesn't shy away from believer's baptism as pictured in Acts.

I also just finished preaching 1 Corinthians 14 in the church I pastor.  For that reason, I was interested to see how Waters dealt with the passages that mention tongues.  He doesn't try to explain away the occurrences of tongues in Acts.  He also recognizes that the events of Acts are not necessarily normative for Christians today.

One of the things I appreciate most about the commentary is the sections covering application.  The commentary follows its discussion of each portion of Scripture with a section on application.  Application is one of the more difficult things for me in preaching and teaching.  It is also an essential element of a good sermon or lesson.  I know that this commentary will prove helpful in the future when I am preaching and teaching from Acts.

I would recommend this volume to anyone seeking to learn more about the Acts of the Apostles.  It would make a great addition to any pastor's library.  Those planning to preach through Acts should definitely pick up a copy of this commentary.  I look forward to using it more in my own study.

You can purchase a copy of this commentary here.

I received a free copy as a part of the Cross Focused Reviews program.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Power of Social Media

Nine years ago when I started college you had to have a college email address to open a Facebook account.  I knew about Facebook, and was excited to get my Liberty email address so that I could open my Facebook account.  Today, Facebook is not limited to college students, and it seems that the age demographics continue to expand at both ends of the spectrum.

With an increasing percentage of the population logging onto Facebook, the power of social media continues to grow.  Gone are the days when you needed a prayer chain to hear and spread gossip.  Now you only need to log onto Facebook.  All the juicy gossip you desire is then available right there on your computer screen.  If you are a Facebook user, you have likely seen the negative impact that one controversial discussion gone wrong can cause.

While I lament the negative impact of Facebook on relationships within families, churches, and communities, I rejoice in the positive aspects.  I am able to keep up with friends from college that I would have otherwise lost contact with as soon as we each moved the tassel on our graduation caps.  I am also able to share content with others very quickly and easily.  I also try to use Facebook to spread the word about church activities and events.

That brings me to the point of this article.  I want to invite you to use your Facebook account for the glory of God and the good of Drakes Branch Baptist Church.  That certainly begins with not posting things that dishonor Christ or His church, but it doesn't have to end there.  I want to suggest six simple things you can do with your Facebook account that would be more beneficial to our church than 100 expensive newspaper ads.

1. "Like" Drakes Branch Baptist Church's Facebook page.  By "liking" our page, you will receive updates in your newsfeed that you can then share with your Facebook friends.

2. Use cover photos from the Drakes Branch Baptist Church page as your own cover photo.  I made a cover photo to promote our Easter Sunday service.  By using that photo as the cover photo on your Facebook page, you can promote our Easter service.

3. Take pictures of church events and activities, and post them on Facebook along with a brief description.  Photos help people see what goes on when we gather together.  Show people what a good time we have together.

4. Post a brief invitation on your Facebook status for people to come to something going on at DBBC.  Let your Facebook friends know that you would love to have them join you for an upcoming worship service or special activity.

5. Share the link to the church website where people can find Sunday's sermon audio.  Sermon audio from the previous day is typically posted every Monday on the church website at  You can share the link to that Sunday's sermon on your Facebook page, especially when you found that week's sermon to be particularly helpful for you.

6. Share something on Facebook on Sunday afternoons that stood out to you from Sunday School or the Worship Service that morning.  Let people know what a good time you had studying God's Word and worshiping together with other believers.  When others see your excitement, it becomes contagious.

This article is not intended to suggest that you need a Facebook account to spread the word about the things God is doing at Drakes Branch Baptist Church.  Pick up the telephone and give someone a call to invite them to church.  Speak to that person that you run into at the grocery store about how much you would love to have them join you at church.  Let's all commit to looking for ways to be intentional in reaching out to others in our community.

Christ is building His church.  His kingdom will not fail.  Let's pray that God would use Drakes Branch Baptist Church as a part of His kingdom building work.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Reviews: Why Christmas? and Why Easter?

When given the chance to review Why Christmas? and Why Easter?, I jumped at the opportunity.  As the dad of a two year old son with a little girl on the way as well, I desire to be a good steward of the responsibility God has given me to train my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  I want to teach that that Christmas is about much more than Santa Claus and presents.  I want to teach them that Easter is about Jesus and His resurrection, not bunnies that lay eggs.

Barbara Reaoch has provided me with an excellent resource to do just that with Why Christmas? and Why Easter?  As I flipped through my copy of each book, I found myself impressed with the layout and design.  The illustrations are also well-done.  They very much add to each day's reading rather than distracting from it.

Each book is designed to be used in the four weeks leading up to their respective holidays.  Each day has a reading from the Bible, some additional thoughts related to that reading, questions for discussion, a memory verse for the week, and a song for the week.  Each of these different components will keep children engaged in family worship.

I appreciate that the "How to use this Devotional" page underlines the importance of actually reading the Bible rather than just the devotional material.  The devotional material is intended to supplement and support the Scripture reading rather than replace it.  In fact, understanding the devotional material requires that you read the Scripture passage for that day.

While my son is only two and does not completely understand everything I am saying when I read to him, I expect these two books will be a resource that I will use for many years to come.  The theology is solid.  The devotionals are written in a way that is easy for children to understand.  And they are intended to point our attention to Christ.  It is my judgment that both books do an excellent job of doing exactly that.

You can purchase Why Christmas? here and Why Easter? here.

I was given a copy of each book in exchange for an honest review as a part of the Cross-Focused Reviews program.