Tag Archives: John Wesley

Donkey Tells: A Review

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! Yes, I know it is January 8, but I haven’t been able to write anything substantial until now. This, with the exception of a re-blog of something my daughter did, is the first post of 2015 – I’m so excited!

In December I wrote a couple of posts having to do with resolutions. One of the things I decided to do this year is read more – a lot more. As a matter of fact, I am going to attempt to read a book every couple weeks. Will I make it? At least I am going to try. What I will promise – and will achieve – is that I will be reading much more than that past, and that’s an improvement.

What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading. … And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. … You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian.” John Wesley to John Premboth on August 17, 1760*

The First Book!

Believe it or not, I am just now into the second week of the year and have already finished my first book: Donkey Tells a Promise Kept.

Shortly before Christmas, the author of Donkey Tells (J. Thomas – aka, James Neff) paid me a welcome visit. When he came, he brought an autographed copy of his book in exchange for one of mine – a fair trade, indeed. So, after a home-cooked Southern meal which included fried okra, banana pudding, and coffee, I agreed to read Donkey Tells and write a review.

The Review

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This is a unique little book, for sure. Even though it is meant to be read by younger children, the message is profound enough for the adult. I would, however, recommend buying this book to read to little kids. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of illustrations, so it might be more effective if read aloud as a nightly devotion for your elementary-aged child.

Donkey Tells a Promise Kept is a sweet story of a mother donkey (Sydney) explaining to her colt (Micah) the reason behind why the little colt would be carrying Jesus through the streets of Jerusalem (see Matt. 21:1-7). It also tells of what happens after all the “hallelujah’s” and “hosanna’s” fade away.

Now, don’t get your panties in a wad if you are the type who wants everything you read to be absolutely biblical; J. Thomas’ re-telling of certain well-known Bible stories, told through the recollection of a donkey, are not meant to be completely historical. However, Jesus may have talked to animals. Who knows? And, for that matter, animals may actually go to heaven, right?

Essentially, this is a sweet little book that can help communicate the gospel story to a child through an imaginative tale of talking donkeys with a little more spiritual insight than many adults.

The ending of the book leaves an opening for additional stories, to which I look forward.  However, I’d suggest firing the former illustrator and hiring me; just pay me in coffee, fried okra, pinto beans, and cornbread.

Donkey Tells is 132 pages long, but the print is larger, thereby making it a quick and fun read.

Buy the book or download it. You’ll enjoy it – and that’s a promise!

 

*Quoted in Ben Witherington’s Is There a Doctor in the House?: An Insider’s Story and Advice on Becoming a Bible Scholar, pg. 71.

 

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Preaching by Fire

Fiery Preaching

W. A. Criswell once said, “There is something wrong if a man charged with the greatest news in the world can be listless and frigid and dull.” In other words, as John Wesley put it, “Put fire in your sermon, or put your sermon in the fire.”

If there is anything I try not to be is “frigid and dull” when I proclaim the gospel. For that matter, I hate be “frigid and dull” in business meetings. I would make a horrible librarian, I suppose. My preaching style is one that seeks to wake the sleeping, not put people to sleep.

By the Fire

But even though I like to keep some fire in my sermons, I have never preached with a fire. This Sunday will be a first.

campfire 1Our church is having Vacation Bible School this weekend, and the theme is “Hay Day!” The stage in the main auditorium is set up to sorta look like a cross between a farm and a cowboy campsite – complete with an electric fire. On Sunday morning is when everything will wrap up, so the stage will remain set up for a campfire sermon.

It’s gonna be interesting, that’s for sure. Lord willing, I am going to remain 75% in character as I talk with a fellow cowboy/farmer about the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19). It should be entertaining for both the children and adults. Let’s just pray the sermon, preached by a fake fire, is full of some of that real “fire” John Wesley described.

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