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I enjoyed reading Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase with the children. It had just the right touches of wit, adventure, trepidation, and justice. The article talks about her writing style as well as the time her family made home in a bus.

Brian Phillips, “The Practical Magic of Joan Aiken, the Greatest Children’s Writer You’ve Likely Never Read,” The New Yorker (Aug 31, 2018)

“The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses” by Chris Bruno /

The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses by Chris Bruno is a book about the Bible to help you see the forest and the trees.

It caught my attention because it’s cut from the same cloth as The Kingdom Story. Below is Bruno’s Bible summary and the individual verses he studies in the book. There’s a well-designed study guide and memory verse cards at the publisher’s site.

Cover of “The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses” by Chris Bruno
Cover of “The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses” by Chris Bruno

The Story

God created a kingdom, and he is the King, but he made human beings to represent him in that kingdom. Adam and Eve rejected this call, which led to sin and death. But God promised to defeat the Serpent through the seed of the woman, who is also the seed of Abraham. Through Abraham’s family, and specifically Judah’s royal seed, David, the covenant blessings would come to the world. Because all people were guilty and deserved death, the sacrifices of the Mosaic law revealed more clearly their need for a substitute — the suffering servant. Through the servant and the work of the Spirit, God would establish a new covenant and give lasting life to his people in the new heavens and new earth.

Jesus is the One through whom all of these promises find fulfillment, first in his sacrificial death as a necessary and just payment for sin and then in his victorious resurrection and reign as King. This great story will find its culmination when the redeemed from every tribe, tongue, and nation gather in the new creation to live with God forever.

The Verses

  1. Genesis 1:31
  2. Genesis 1:26–27
  3. Genesis 3:6–7
  4. Genesis 3:15
  5. Genesis 12:2–3
  6. Genesis 49:10
  7. Exodus 12:23
  8. 2 Samuel 7:12–13
  9. Isaiah 53:6
  10. Ezekiel 37:3–5
  11. Isaiah 65:17
  12. Mark 1:14–15
  13. John 19:30
  14. Romans 1:3–4
  15. Romans 3:21–26
  16. Revelation 21:1–4
“Writers to Read”: Wilson and Sons /

Douglas Wilson, Writers to Read: Nine Names That Belong on Your Bookshelf

Wilson, a pastor and classical Christian educator, names nine authors to read:

  • G.K. Chesterton
  • H.L. Mencken
  • P.G. Wodehouse
  • T.S. Eliot
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • C.S. Lewis
  • R.F. Capon
  • M.S. Robinson
  • N.D. Wilson

I wondered about the last author until I learned it was Wilson’s son. Thoughts of nepotism aside, I realize that Wilson is the quintessential Psalm 127 man. He holds his children like a warrior holds his arrows, and stands unashamed at the city gates. He’s trained his children well and confidently puts his young son in league with great writers.

So I checked out N.D. Wilson. While I wouldn’t say his work is that distinguished, who’s to say he isn’t great? He has initials in his name.

I’ve benefitted from his writing and so have my children. He has a gift and uses it with confidence. I recommend reading him too.

Kipling to Christ in Richardson’s “Lords of the Earth” /

Excerpt from Don Richardson, Lords of the Earth, Chapter 7, “The Weakling.”

One day his study uncovered evidence that Rudyard Kipling, foremost of his boyhood heroes, also drew inspiration from the Christian Scriptures, as Stanley himself was now doing. In a closing line of “If,” Kipling promised those who fulfilled his ideal of absolute, uncompromising manliness, “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.” Stanley discovered that this expression paralleled a line from King David’s twenty-fourth psalm: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (Ps. 24:1).

So, Stanley reasoned, pondering the poet’s meaning afresh in the light of this newly realized background, Kipling intends us to understand that a truly ideal man will share in God’s ownership of creation — he will be, under God, a lord of the earth!

Could this be true? ¶ Stanley recalled that Christ Himself also proclaimed, in spite of Caesar’s evident sway, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5)! ¶ And was not Kipling’s ideal man also meek? Doubted by others, he makes allowance for their doubting. Lied about, he does not deal in lies. Hated, he gives no place in his own heart to hating. Talking with crowds, he still maintains virtue. Walking with kings, he does not lose the common touch. ¶ All without looking “too good” or talking “too wise”! ¶ Suddenly everything began to fall into place! Christ was the only Man in history who fulfilled Kipling’s ideal to perfection!

Stanley gazed intently at the open Bible before him. ¶ Surely Kipling must have used Christ as model for his ideal man! Still more exciting, the spirit of Christ used Kipling’s poem as a tutor for Stanley! A sort of interim Old Testament to help an otherwise uninstructed boy see his need for repentance. ¶ How many other “interim Old Testaments” might Christ have at His command throughout the world, preparing otherwise uninstructed men for encounter with Him?

Later, perusing the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Stanley found a further biblical source for Kipling’s soaring promise: “For all things are yours, whether… the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:21–23).

He saw it now — the echelon that man is meant to fit into, the echelon that rises above man into the Godhead and descends below him to galaxies and atoms. He saw also the secret of that echelon: Remain subject to everything above you, and everything below you will be subject to you!

“Lord, apart from You,” he prayed in ecstasy, “Kipling’s poem remains just that — an awesome if which no man can measure up to! But any man who is united to You can do all things through You, because You have fulfilled Kipling’s ideal and more!”

Thus did Stanley Dale find insight to complete his transition from Kipling to Christ.


“If— ” by Rudyard Kipling, 1910

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Paradigms in Conflict /

I wish David Hesselgrave’s 2005 book, Paradigms in Conflict, was available as an ebook. I could spirit it here, to “where there is no bookstore,” or to other laborers abroad. I first found it on a cast-off clearance shelf not long after it was published. I’m glad to have stumbled across it; most Christian bookstores don’t even have a missions section. If we avoid tough questions in missions, it should come as no surprise that it remains in conflict.

Hesselgrave is a former pastor, missionary, missions administrator and professor. He asks “10 key questions in Christian missions today,” as it says in the book’s subtitle (and listed below). He is discerning and brave in writing Paradigms. He not only perceives the issues spot on, he is not afraid to give thoughtful and biblical answers. There is always the temptation when in conflict to be defensive, complacent or agnostic.

Many missionaries and theologians talk past each other because of a difference in underlying assumptions. The confusion is even more-so when proponents defend their views using Scripture verses. We need grace and help to understand and apply “the whole counsel of God” to missions together. Which of these 10 questions can Paradigms help you think through?

  1. Sovereignty and Free Will: An Impossible Mix or a Perfect Match?
  2. Restrictivism and Inclusivism: Is This Missions Trip Really Necessary?
  3. Common Ground and Enemy Territory: How Should We Approach Adherents of Other Faiths?
  4. Holism and Prioritism: For Whom Is the Gospel Good News?
  5. Incarnationalism and Representationalism: Who Is Our Missionary Model — Jesus or Paul?
  6. Power Encounter and Truth Encounter: What Is Essential in Spiritual Warfare?
  7. Amateurization and Professionalization: A Call for Missionaries or a Divine Calling?
  8. Form and Meaning: How Does the Inspiration of Scripture “In-form” Contextualization and Make It “Meaning-full”?
  9. Countdowns and Prophetic Alerts: If We Go in Force, Will He Come in Haste?
  10. The Kingdom of God and the Church of Christ: What on Earth Is God Building — Here and Now?
Reading “Seed Sowers” by Gwen Toliver /
Seed Sowers cover
Seed Sowers cover

In Seed Sowers: Gospel-Planting Adventures, Gwen Toliver gives a series of well-written and encouraging vignettes about the lives of Bible translators.

Another book I read recently, The Multilingual God by Steve Fortosis, detailed the linguistic task of translators. Toliver’s book provides a look into the physical and spiritual side of the task. Both books are less than 200 pages with many short chapters.

In Seed Sowers, you may find yourself hacking out a trail in Irian Jayan jungles or weeping and praying with village friends over their deathly-ill daughter. The experiences of the translators do not feel distant because the author does not present them as exotic. The message is communicated clearly through the stories: God is with his people — us! — not only as we bring his Word to those without it, but live it out as we do.

Reading “The Multilingual God” /
The Multilingual God cover
The Multilingual God cover

I just read The Multilingual God by Steve Fortosis. It’s a compendium of Bible translation fascinations, a popular-level work for those interested in the exotic experiences of translators and their rewards.

I benefitted most from the final chapters which discussed hard sayings in the Bible (different for each culture!), the need for humor when translating, and the implications of divine inspiration on Bible translation philosophy.

This book can help you appreciate the difficulties of the task but don’t let fascination with it distance you from personal, prayerful involvement. If you learn anything from a work like this it is that problems arise when translators work alone and solutions arise when we involve others.