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Thoughts on faith and life at Friendship Church

On Pastor's Night Table

Peter Brown

by Pastor Dennis Brown


I was recently asked to write a piece for the monthly newsletter in which I share what I am reading. As you can tell from my Sunday messages, I am a voracious reader and often have around ten books that I am perusing.  I do believe that “you are what you read,” and it has been my lifelong pursuit to expose myself to the very best—the good, the true, and the beautiful to shape my own life which I hope can be passed on so that your life can be shaped by some of those same things. So here are a few things I am or have been reading in recent days:

·  Daily Bread: McCheyne’s Bible Reading Calendar. Robert Murray McCheyne was a great Scottish preacher of the 1800’s. He recognized how hard it could be to read the Bible particularly if you start from the very beginning. So he developed a reading plan where you read from four parts of the Bible each day—both Old and New Testament. I recommend it highly and you can get it on your Kindle for a token.

·   Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. After Sinclair Ferguson visited us last fall, I was reminded of his seminary class based on the Institutes. The Institutes may be the greatest theological summation of truth ever composed since the days of the New Testament. It is like Mount Everest, and it is written in a beautiful, elegant style. But it can be overwhelming. If you want to have a go, e-mail me at and I can give you some helps.

·   Calvin’s Letters. I have been obsessed with Calvin and his influence which is so profound. His letters take you back to the days of the Reformation when people were being burned at the stake for their faith (some by Calvin!). How did they survive? How did the Word and the Spirit help them and us in our comparatively much easier lives?

·    The Inklings of Oxford by Harry Lee Poe. Here is the Amazon description: “Oxford’s fabled streets echo with the names of such key figures in English history as Edmund Halley, John Wycliffe, and John and Charles Wesley. Of more recent times are those of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the other members of the renowned literary circle to which they belonged, the Inklings. What would it be like to walk this medieval city’s narrow lanes in the company of such giants of Christian literature, to visit Magdalen College, where Lewis and Tolkien read aloud their works-in-progress to their friends, or the Eagle and Child pub, the Inklings’ favorite gathering place?” The book is a beautiful pictorial guide to this magisterial place.

·    Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Sermons on Romans. These are awe-inspiring sermons that I cannot get enough of. Also, John Stott’s commentary on Romans has been most helpful.

·    Experiencing the Trinity by Darrell Johnson. I have seen things about the Trinity that I have never seen before. So did Darrell Johnson. He describes how it rocked his world.

·    Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller.

·    Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon.

·    With Calvin in the Theater of God: The Glory of Christ and Everyday Life by John Piper and David Mathis (based on a series of talks given at the Desiring God conference a few years ago).

·    The Imperfect Disciple by Jared Wilson

·    History of the Reformation by Merle D’Aubigne. A classic work on what life was like in the Reformation.

·    The God Who is There by D.A. Carson. An overview of the Bible for both believers and skeptics.

·    The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son, and Spirit by Michael Reeves.

·    God and Churchill by Jonathan Sandys. Churchill always felt he was a man of destiny. While he wasn’t a professing believer, he had great respect for the God of the Bible and was shaped in many ways by his Biblical vision.

·    Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne.

·    John Owen by Sinclair Ferguson.