Tag Archives: Timothy Keller

Three Touchstones of Prayer by Timothy Keller, Part 4: Where It Takes Us

This post focus on the next 3 Touchstones of Prayer from chapter nine of Timothy Keller’s book, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.

Part 4, Where It Takes Us:

  • Self-Knowledge: Prayer requires and creates honesty and self-knowledge.
    “Prayer must eventually take us beyond a mere sense of insufficiency into deep honesty with ourselves.”
  • Trust: Prayer requires and creates both restful trust and confident hope.
    “The final thought of every prayer must be for the help we need to accept thankfully from God’s hand whatever he sends in his wisdom.”
  • Surrender: Prayer requires and creates surrender of the whole life in love to God.
    “You should not begin to pray for all you want until you realize that in God you have all you need.”

Your turn… Which one of these  resonates with you the most today?


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Three Touchstones of Prayer by Timothy Keller, Part 3: What It Gives

This post focus on the next 3 Touchstones of Prayer from chapter nine of Timothy Keller’s book, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.

Part 3, What It Gives:

  • Perspective: Prayer reorients your view toward God.
    “Prayer brings new perspective because it puts God back into the picture.”
  • Strength: Prayer is spiritual union with God.
    “Prayer is the way that all the things we believe in and that Christ has won for us actually become our strength.”
  • Spiritual Reality: Prayer seeks a heart sense of the presence of God.
    “Through prayer our somewhat abstract knowledge of God becomes existentially real to us.”

Your turn… Which one of these  resonates with you the most today?

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Three Touchstones of Prayer by Timothy Keller, Part 2: What It Requires

This post focus on the next 3 Touchstones of Prayer from chapter nine of Timothy Keller’s book, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.

Part 2, What It Requires:

  • Grace: Prayer is “In Jesus’ name,” based on the gospel.
    “To come to the Father in Jesus’ name, not our own, is to come fully cognizant that we are being heard because of the costly grace in which we stand.”
  • Fear: Prayer is the heart engaged in loving awe.
    “One important sign of an engaged heart is awe before the greatness of God and before the privilege of prayer.”
  • Helplessness: Prayer is accepting one’s weakness and dependence.
    “To pray is to accept that we are, and always will be, wholly dependent on God for everything.”

Your turn… Which one of these  resonates with you the most today?

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Three Touchstones of Prayer by Timothy Keller, Part 1: What It Is

I’m currently reading the latest book by Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. It’s a another must read from Keller. Chapter nine focuses on The Touchstones of Prayer. Keller notes they are “not a set of  rules that merit or trigger God’s response in some magical or mechanical way. Rather, they are twelve touchstones by which we can judge the relative strength or weakness of our prayers for honoring and connecting us to God.” He has grouped them into four clusters of three each. The next four posts, beginning with this one, will provide on overview of these touchstones of prayer.

Part 1, What It Is:

  • Work: Prayer is a duty and a discipline.
    “Prayer should be done regularly, persistently, resolutely, and tenaciously at least daily, whether we feel like it or not.”
  • Word: Prayer is conversing with God.
    “To ‘walk with someone’ in the Bible is to have a friendship, because people talk as the walk together.”
  • Balance: Prayer is adoration, confession, thanks, and supplication.
    “All these ways of praying to God should be present, interactive, and balanced when we pray.”

Your turn… Which one of these  resonates with you the most today?

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Three Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading this Fall

I love to read and to learn and to share resources with others… and I’m really looking forward to reading these 3 books this fall by 3 of my favorite authors:

“We all pray . . . some. We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray. But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency? Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests. We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested. And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same? In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.”

“Despite the divorce statistics, people are still committing to each other, instinctively believing and hoping that theirs is a sacred union that will last forever. Yet when these couples encounter problems, they often lack the resources that keep them connected to this greater mystery surrounding marriage. Rob and Kristin Bell introduce a startling new way of looking at marriage, The Zimzum of Love. Zimzum is a Hebrew term where God, in order to have a relationship with the world, contracts, creating space for the creation to exist. In marriage, zimzum is the dynamic energy field between two partners, in which each person contracts to allow the other to flourish. Mastering this field, this give and take of energy, is the secret to what makes marriage flourish. Rob and Kristin Bell are brutally honest about their own struggles, their ups and downs, as together they pass along what matters most for couples. In this wise book, they explore the secret of what makes a happy union—probing the mystery at the heart of the extraordinary emotional connection that binds two people. With his down-to-earth charm, a dose of whimsy, and memorable stories, Rob, writing with his wife Kristen, changes how we consider marriage, providing insight that can help all of us create satisfying and sacred unions of our own.”

“Christians are taught that prayer is the main way to experience God. But aside from learning prayers by rote, few receive guidance in how to make the most of this essential Christian act. In Prayer, renowned pastor Timothy Keller shows us how to make prayer genuinely meaningful. With his trademark insight and energy, Keller offers brilliant and inspirational biblical guidance, as well as prayers for specific situations, such as dealing with grief, love, and forgiveness. Using great model prayers from the Bible and great Christian teachers throughout history, he discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.”

Your turn… What books are you looking forward to reading soon?

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Three Bible Study Books by Timothy Keller

I mentioned the God’s Word For You series in a previous post called Three Devotional Resources. Today I want to highlight 3 of the Bible Study Books from this series by Timothy Keller.  I’ve really enjoyed working through these recently and I think you will as well:

First in a new series of expository guides to the Bible, Timothy Keller’s Galatians For You is a personal or group curriculum that walks you through the book of Galatians, showing how the gospel message changes the whole of our lives.

Second in a new series of expository guides to the Bible, Timothy Keller’s Judges For You walks you through the book of Judges, showing how the flawless God is at work in the most flawed situations and the most failing people.

Join Dr Timothy Keller as he opens up the first half of the book of Romans, helping you to get to grips with its meaning and showing how it transforms our hearts and lives today.

Your turn… Have you read any of these yet? If so, take a moment to share your thoughts.

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Three More Books by Timothy Keller

I recently mentioned some books by Timothy Keller. Here are 3 more you should read:

“The most influential man to ever walk the earth has had his story told in hundreds of different ways for thousands of years. Can any more be said? Now Timothy Keller unlocks new insights into the life of Jesus Christ as he explores how Jesus came as a king, but a king who had to bear the greatest burden anyone ever has. Jesus the King is Keller’s revelatory look at the life of Christ as told in the Gospel of Mark. In it, Keller shows how the story of Jesus is at once cosmic, historical, and personal, calling each of us to look anew at our relationship with God. It is an unforgettable look at Jesus Christ, and one that will leave an indelible imprint on every reader.”

Erich’s note: previously published as King’s Cross. I read this one when it first came out and loved it. I would encourage you to use it in your devotional time and work through the Gospel of Mark at the same time.

One of the biggest obstacles for people to accept or believe in Christianity is that they think they know all about it already. After all, hasn’t it been around for thousands of years? Doesn’t everybody know what Christians believe? But if we look at Jesus’ encounters with various men and women during his life, we will find some of our assumptions challenged. These conversations were not about personal sins or specific religious views and practices, nor were they a set of talking points or a political platform. Instead, in these encounters we see him meeting people at the point of their big, unspoken questions: Who are we, and why are we here? Why be a good person; why love instead of hate? What’s wrong with the world—And what, if anything, can make it right? The Gospels are full of encounters that made a profound impact on those who spoke with Jesus in this way. Keller explores these encounters and how they can still address our questions and doubts today.

What are the marks of a supernaturally changed heart? This is one of the questions the Apostle Paul addresses as he writes to the church in Corinth. He’s not after some superficial outward tinkering, but a deep-rooted, life-altering change that takes place on the inside. In an age where pleasing people, puffing up your ego and building your resume are seen as the methods to “making it,” the Apostle Paul calls us to find true rest in blessed self-forgetfulness. In this short and punchy book, bestselling author Timothy Keller shows that gospel humility means we can stop connecting every experience, every conversation with ourselves and can thus be free from self-condemnation. A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating person or a self-loving person, but a self-forgetful person.

Your turn… Have you read any of these books by Keller? If so, share your thoughts.

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Three Books That Focus On Social Justice

Here are 3 books that provide some good thoughts and practical application on the topic of social justice:

“It is commonly thought in secular society that the Bible is one of the greatest hindrances to doing justice. Isn’t it full of regressive views? Didn’t it condone slavery? Why look to the Bible for guidance on how to have a more just society? But Timothy Keller sees it another way. In Generous Justice, Keller explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice. Here is a book for believers who find the Bible a trustworthy guide as well as those who suspect that Christianity is a regressive influence in the world.”

“During college, a professor remarked, “Being a Christian is about choosing Jesus and deciding to do something incredibly daring with your life.” Taking up that challenge, Shane’s faith led him to dress the wounds of lepers with Mother Teresa, visit families in Iraq amidst bombings, and dump $10,000 on Wall Street to redistribute wealth. In The Irresistible Revolution, you’ll be challenged by a radical Christianity passionate for peace, social justice, and alleviating the suffering found in the local neighborhood and distant reaches of the world. Live out your faith with little acts of radical love as you join the movement of God’s Spirit into a broken world.”

“Is something missing from our understanding of the gospel? In The Hole in Our Gospel, Rich Stearns urges reader to ask What if? What if all followers of Jesus looked beyond the walls of their churches and worked together to claim the world for Christ’s kingdom? This is a story about how a CEO faced his own struggle to obey God, whatever the cost, and his passionate call for Christians to truly change the world by actively living out their faith. Believing that the “good news” is more than a private transaction between God and us, Stearns challenges readers to consider the question “what does God really expect of us?” This fresh look at the gospel will lead you toward a deeper understanding of your own faith and inspire you to do your part to demonstrate God’s love for a hurting world. Two thousand years ago, twelve people changed the world. Rich Stearns believes it can happen again.”

Your turn… What are some other good books that focus on social justice?


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Three Books by Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller is another author I really enjoy reading. His most recent book came out earlier this month, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering. With that in mind, I thought I would highlight 3 of his earlier books so you can check them out too:

“Why does God allow suffering in the world? How could a loving God send people to Hell? Why isn’t Christianity more inclusive? How can one religion be “right” and the others “wrong”? Why have so many wars been fought in the name of God? These are just a few of the questions and doubts even ardent believers wrestle with today. As the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, Timothy Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced “doubts” skeptics bring to his church as well as the most important reasons for faith. And in the New York Times bestselling The Reason for God, he addresses each doubt and explains each reason. Keller uses literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and reasoning to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth.” (Publisher’s Description)

“Taking his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity, Timothy Keller uncovers the essential message of Jesus, locked inside his most familiar parable. Within that parable, Jesus reveals God’s prodigal grace toward both the irreligious and the moralistic. This book will challenge both the devout and skeptics to see Christianity in a whole new way.” (Publisher’s Description)

“Success, true love, and the life you’ve always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. The recent economic meltdown has cast a harsh new light on these pursuits. In a matter of months, fortunes, marriages, careers, and a secure retirement have disappeared for millions of people. No wonder so many of us feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful. But the truth is that we made lesser gods of these good things – gods that can’t give us what we really need. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings – and now is the perfect time to meet him again, or for the first time. The Bible tells us that the human heart is an “idol-factory,” taking good things and making them into idols that drive us. In Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller applies his trademark approach to show us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message will cement Keller’s reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time–for both the faithful and the skeptical.” (Publisher’s Description)

Erich’s note: if you haven’t ready anything by Keller I believe he will quickly become one of your favorites. You can find other titles here.  Make sure you check his sermon podcast and other resources out at Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

Your turn… Take a moment to share some thoughts on these books are others by Keller you’ve enjoyed.


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Three Devotional Resources

In addition to spending time reading my Bible I usually find myself reading through a daily devotional of some kind on most days. Here are 3 I really enjoy and think you should check out:

“After many years of writing her own words in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior’s voice and begin listening for what He was saying. So with pen in hand, she embarked on a journey that forever changed her—and many others around the world. In these powerful pages are the words and Scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart. Words of reassurance, comfort, and hope. Words that have made her increasingly aware of His presence and allowed her to enjoy His peace. Jesus is calling out to you in the same way. Maybe you share the author’s need for a great sense of “God with you”. Or perhaps Jesus seems distant without you knowing why. Or maybe you have wandered farther from Him that you ever imagined you would. Here is a year’s worth of daily readings from Young’s journals to bring you closer to Christ and move your time with Him from monologue to a dialogue. Each day is written as if Jesus Himself were speaking to you. Because He is. Do you hear Him calling?”

Erich’s note: I heard of this one about 2 years ago but it wasn’t until last year when some good friends, Joe and Jane Keller, gave me the leather-bound version for my birthday that I started reading it daily (and have absolutely loved it). Most days it feels as if it was written specifically for me.

“Ken Gire delicately weaves events, emotions, thoughts, and faces into a moving depiction of the life of Christ that takes you on a step-by-step journey with the Lord. Woven with threads of humanity and divinity, Moments with the Savior reveals the Lord who calls you to a more intimate relationship with him. This compilation of Ken’s best-selling Moments with the Savior books contains all the devotions from the four previous books as well as many new devotions — all in one deluxe hardcover volume.”

Erich’s note: I discovered this one more than a decade ago and have read through it several times. Get it, read it, reflect on it, and I promise you will not be disappointed.

“Each volume of this series takes you to the heart of a book of the Bible, and applies it’s truths to your heart. The central aim of each title is to be Bible centered, Christ glorifying, relevantly applied, and easily readable.”

Erich’s note: I have really enjoyed the first 2 volumes in this series Galatians For You & Judges For You (both by Timothy Keller) and I’m looking forward to the others as they come out (you can find a list of the ones they are planning here). Spend some time on their website and you’ll find lots of other great resources too.

Your turn… What are some devotional resources you would recommend others checking out?

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