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Just do something

A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will
or
how to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc.

by Kevin DeYoung

128 pages / 2009

What does God want me to do with my life? It’s a great question but not one we should get stuck on. Some folks sit around waiting for a sign from God, instead of using the brains they got from God. DeYoung wants Christians to stop contemplating whether this, that, or that other thing might be what God wants most for our lives, and wants us instead to “just do something.”

Does that sound…flippant? Careless even?

DeYoung’s point is that God’s will for our life isn’t that hard to figure out. We are to:

Live for God. Obey the Scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you’ll be walking in the will of God.

It’s that simple.

But because we do complicate things, DeYoung spends another 100 pages, explaining why various approaches to fathom God’s will get it wrong, and then he outlines “the way of wisdom”:

  1. using Scriptures to rule out some options (don’t date pagans) and to establish proper priorities (will this job be near a good church?)
  2. turning to our parents and other wise counsel for advice
  3. asking God for wisdom in prayer
  4. proceeding in confidence that we are honoring God in whatever decision we then make

There is an older book, a classic by Garry Friesen called Decision Making and the Will of God, that covers the same ground, but what takes Friesen almost 500 pages to tackle, DeYoung does in just 128 pages. It is that conciseness that makes this so very valuable: I’ve shared it with both young and old, and gotten rave reviews all around.

So two thumbs up for a very readable, biblical, and helpful book for this most important topic.

A version of this reivew first appeared in the February 2014 issue. Jon Dykstra also posts reviews at the Dykstra sibling book blog where you can find his brother Jeff’s longer take on “Just Do Something.” R.C. Sproul’s “Can I Know God’s Will” is another concise excellent book on this subject and while I think it not quite as good as DeYoung’s effort, Sproul’s is free as an ebook


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Articles, Book Reviews

200+ free e-books worth checking out

We live in an age in which so many wonderful resources are available for free. Of course, with the sheer numbers being passed along here, we haven't been able to read, let alone review all of them so, as always, be sure to use discernment. But there are certainly a good number of gems here. The books below aren't broken up by subject, but are, instead, divided into three categories based on whether you can easily download them, or whether some personal information might be required, or whether the book has to be read online. This is a list of recent books, with most published in the last decade or two. Monergism.com has a list of much older titles, with most published at a minimum of 100 years ago, and many springing right out of the Reformation 500 years past. Their list amounts to more than 700 titles and can be found here. 1. Downloads These books are completely free and can be downloaded with minimal fuss (usually just a click and you are on your way). Almost 100 from John Piper and friends John Piper seems to have released all of his books in free pdf versions, and has tackled topics as diverse as biblical manhood and womanhood, abortion, sex, retirement, C.S. Lewis, Open Theism, racism and biographies. On occasion, some of Piper's writings are clearly directed to specifically Reformed Baptists. So, for example, in his biography of Adoniram Judson, he lauds the missionary for coming to reject infant baptism in favor of adult baptism. But for the most part his books are intended for a larger Reformed audience. But with so many available, what should you start with? His short biographies are excellent, each about 70 pages or so, and one of his most popular is Don't Waste Your Life. While the majority of the books are by Piper, there are also titles by other authors and few of those seem to be free, except for a peek inside. Notable exceptions include Tony Reinke's The Joy Project: an introduction to Calvinism, and a book he helped edit, along with his wife, called Mom Enough. 16 by WORLD magazine's Marvin Olasky The editor of the Christian WORLD magazine has written books on Journalism and how Christians should read the news (and write it), on the history of abortion and the fight against, on a Christian perspective on compassion and the government's role in it, and even written a novel about radical Islam called Scmitar's Edge. There is lots to love here! 20+ from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church I still haven't had a chance to check these out, but plan to download Ned B. Stonehouse's J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir. 13 Individual downloadable titles Social Justice: How good intentions undermine justice and the Gospel: E. Calvin Beisner is probably best known as the head of the Christian stewardship group the Cornwall Alliance. But before he started speaking on the environment, he researched and wrote a lot on poverty and economics. In this booklet, he outlines how good intentions are not only not enough, but often harmful. 31 days of purity: This is a 31-day devotional to encourage and challenge the Church in regard to sexual purity. With contributions from Tim Challies, David Murray, and Joel Beeke, there are some insightful, trustworthy folks behind this. Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?: This is an important topic for any Christian considering the pill. Randy Alcorn's 200-page book can be downloaded for free, or, click here for a shorter overview. Abolition of Reason: Jonathon Van Maren, Scott Klusendorf and other “incrementalist” pro-lifers argue against "abolitionism" or “immediatism.” Memoirs of an ordinary pastor: The life and reflections of Tom Carson: Well-known Reformed Baptist pastor D.A. Carson on his unknown, faithful father. False Messages: A Guide for the Godly Bride: Aileen Challies, wife of the Reformed blogger Tim Challies, has written a booklet for women on a biblical view of sexuality (it is near the bottom of the list). The Holy Spirit: Kevin DeYoung with a short 30-page introduction to the Third Person of the Trinity. Scripture Alone: The Evangelical doctrine: In this 40-page booklet, RC Sproul does a wonderful job of defending this key Reformed doctrine. How should Christians approach origins?: At just 67 pages,  John Byl and Tom Goss have put together an incredibly succinct overview of an incredibly important topic. The Divine Challenge: on matter, mind, math, & meaning: In the world’s attempts to usurp God, they’ve crafted many a worldview to try to explain things apart from Him. In this brilliant apologetic work, Dr. Byl shares the world’s best godless explanations and shows, often in the proponents’ own words, how their attempts are self-contradictory or simply fail to explain what they set out to explain. Byl also makes evident how very often these godless philosophers understand the emptiness of their best answers, and yet cling to them anyway because they hate the alternative: bowing their knee to God. This 421-page book will stretch most readers, but what a delightful bit of exercise it is! Lone Gunners for Jesus: Letters to Paul J. Hill (1994, 47 pages): This was written after Paul J. Hill, at one time an OPC pastor, shot an abortionist, his wife, and their bodyguard. Hill had been arguing for years that such action was biblical, and had been excommunicated for making his arguments publicly. Gary North's response to Hill explains how his actions weren't biblical or effective. An important book to calm Christian whose love for the unborn is in danger of being misdirected, but it is also a good read for those who, whether in ignorance or a lack of compassion, don't stand up for the unborn at all. Exodus: A Novella: This is the book of Exodus, no additions or edits, but without verses, footnotes, or the usual chapter divisions. It is formatted, as the title says, like a novel, making this an intriguing way to take a fresh look at this inspired book. The Biblical View of Self-Esteem (1986, 36 pages): More booklet than book, author Jay Adams still manages to offers a lot of insight on this sometimes controversial topic. 2. Download for free, but they want some information These books are free, but getting them will require you to give your email address, or create an account, or in some way provide them some information. But these aren't spammers, so you can always opt out of their email lists. 39 booklets from RC Sproul In the last few years RC Sproul released a series of "Crucial Questions" booklets, all in the range of 40 to maybe 80 pages. That made them concise - something that could be read in an evening or two. And Sproul managed to pack a lot in these few pages while still keeping it readable. I will say, they still aren't light reads, but because of their small size, if anyone is interested in the question, then they should be able to work through Sproul's answer. I haven't read all 39 of them, but have appreciated each of the half dozen or so I've read so far. They tackle questions such as: Can I know God's will? Can I lose my salvation? What is baptism? Who is the Holy Spirit? The e-book versions are free and will be forever. You can find for free on Kindle here, or click above to get them from Ligonier Ministries. 12+ from Covenant Eyes equipping the Internet generation Covenant Eyes is a Christian Internet accountability company, and while they sell their software, their mission is to help Christian families so they have all sorts of free booklets on topics like pornography addiction, sexual purity, online safety, cyberbullying, and more. Individual titles (downloadable but they want your email) Love the least (a lot): Michael Spielman is the founder of the website Abort73.com, one of the most comprehensive pro-life websites on the Internet. And his Love the Least (A Lot) is one of the most readable, most motivating, pro-life books you could ever read. God and the gay Christian: a response to Matthew Vines: This is a response, by Reformed Baptist leader R. Albert Mohler Jr., to a popular book by Matthew Vines called God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. Mohler has also written a short book Homosexuality and the Bible. A guide to adoption & orphan care: Russell Moore offers helpful advice and encouragement. Why sex is the best argument for creation: The folks behind the fantastic documentary Is Genesis History? have created a short 115-page e-book with ten of their most popular essays, including the title essay. 3. Read online These books are free too but are only available to be read online. So you can't download them, but can read them, chapter by chapter, on their website. That makes things a little more troublesome, but if the book interests you, it is a minor inconvenience. 29 Creationist resources from Answers in Genesis Answers in Genesis is a creationist group with a presuppositionalist approach to apologetics, which means there is a decided Reformed influence in the group. But while all Reformed folk should be creationists, not all creationists are Reformed, so these books are not specifically Reformed. The very best is In Six Days, in which 50 scientists each take a chapter to explain why they believe in creationism. Old Earth Creationism on Trial and In the Beginning Was Information are also very good. 8 more great Creationist books Dr. Jonathan Sarfati’s Refuting Evolution, and Refuting Evolution 2 are available for online reading here. Letters to a Mormon Elder James White’s fantastic resource can be read for free online. Be a bit patient – it does seem to take a minute or two to load....


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