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Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

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Just Jones: Sometimes a Thing Is Impossible . . . Until It Is Actually Done by Andy Andrews. Thomas Nelson. 272 pages. 2020
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Just Jones is the third book in the Noticer trilogy, following 2009’s The Noticer and 2013’s The Noticer Returns. The books are partly non-fiction (Andy Andrews and his wife Polly are included, and the majority of the book takes place in Orange Beach, Alabama, where Andrews lives), and mostly fiction, revolving around a mysterious old man name Jones. Not Mr. Jones. Just Jones.
Jones is an interesting character. He shows up and disappears without notice. He can make things happen that are beyond belief. He is a noticer. He notices things that other people overlook, most of which are in plain sight. He notices things about situations and people that produce perspective, or a broader view. Throughout the book, Jones also shares his personal philosophies on a variety of subjects.
The book begins with a confusing “Prologue”, which is later made clear. We then meet 27-year-old Keely, who is in a Florida jail cell with Jones. Keely is in jail on a charge of drunk and disorderly, along with hitting a police officer. We never find out why Jones is in jail. Jones calls Andy to pick him up from jail. They haven’t seen each other for six or seven years.

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BOOK REVIEWS ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper
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After Keely pleads guilty to her charges, the judge surprises her and offers her a second chance if someone would provide her employment. Jones, who hadn’t been noticed in the courtroom before this, steps up and states the while he doesn’t have a job to offer, he does have results that must be accomplished. Soon, Keely is working at his “Jones’s Five & Dime” in The Wharf, the entertainment district of Orange Beach.
We are introduced to the wealthy, mean and widely disliked Blair Houston Monroe, who moved to Orange Beach from Texas. Monroe hates everyone, and yet often loudly quotes Bible verses – none of which are actually in the Bible. We also meet red-headed 13-year-old Oliver. There is a past connection between Monroe and Oliver’s family.
Oliver begins working after school with Keely at Jones’s store. Eventually, as many as 71 people meet early mornings at the store for coffee conversations, drinking Just Jones Java with Jones at what becomes known as the Peace Table.
This is a well-written and entertaining book with positive messages about second chances, the choice between love and hate, and fresh starts.


  • Everything Made Meaningful. The doctrine of God’s providence is the theme of John Piper’s new book Providence. On the Ask Pastor John podcast, he is celebrating the real-life impact of providence on us. There are a total of ten implications. On this episode, he addresses implication number three.
  • The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: An Interview with the Author. Karen Swallow Prior interviews Carl Trueman about his acclaimed new book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.
  • Read These Books with your Church. In this short video, Mark Dever recommends three books that churches and small groups read together.
  • A Conversation with Dr. Carl Trueman on the Modern Self and the Sexual Revolution. Jason Thacker visits with Carl Trueman about his new book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.
  • The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. Sharon James reviews the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail She writes “Reading this book should compel Christians to prayer, but also to action. Resisting the false claims of gender ideology is an urgent matter of child protection.”
  • 40 Questions About Biblical Theology. Kevin Halloran reviews 40 Questions About Biblical Theology by Jason DeRouchie, Oren Martin, and Andrew Naselli. He writes “40 Questions about Biblical Theologyis a great starting place for going deeper into learning how God wants His Word to be read.”
  • The Mother of Modern Evangelicalism. George Marsden reviews Mother of Modern Evangelicalism: The Life and Legacy of Henrietta Mears by Arlin Migliazzo. He writes “It is hard to see how Migliazzo might have done more in presenting us with a portrait of such an effective leader from a very different time. The biography is worth reading in part because it provides an engaging account of a remarkable individual and also a window into an evangelical world of another era.”

BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?

Providence by John Piper

The providence of God is his purposeful sovereignty by which He will be completely successful in the achievement of His ultimate goal for the universe. God’s providence carries His plans into action, guides all things toward his ultimate goal, and leads to the final consummation.
John Piper draws on a lifetime of theological reflection, biblical study, and practical ministry to lead readers on a stunning tour of the sightings of God’s providence—from Genesis to Revelation—to discover the all-encompassing reality of God’s purposeful sovereignty over all of creation and all of history.
Exploring the goal, nature, and extent of God’s purposes for the world, Piper offers an invitation to know the God who holds all things in his hands yet remains intimately involved in the lives of his people.
Watch this six-minute video as John Piper talks about the book.

This week we begin by looking at the Introduction: Four Invitations. Below are a few takeaways:

  • In this introduction, I would like to offer you four invitations. First, I invite you into a biblical world of counterintuitive wonders. I hope that you will let the word of God create new categories of thinking rather than trying to force the Scripture into the limits of what you already know.
  • In the end, my invitation into the biblical world of counterintuitive wonders is an invitation to worship.
  • Second, I invite you to penetrate through words into reality.
  • People who love the Bible and believe that it is God’s word want to know what the Bible teaches, not just what it says. They want to know the reality being presented, not just the words that were written.
  • I am going to use the word providence to refer to a biblical reality. The reality is not found in any single Bible word.
  • Third, I invite you into a God-entranced world.
  • Fourth, and finally, I am inviting you to know, maybe as you never have known, the God whose involvement in his children’s lives and in the world is so pervasive, so all-embracing, and so powerful that nothing can befall them but what he designs for their glorification in him and his glorification in them (2 Thess. 1:12).
  • When Christ died, everything—absolutely everything—that his people need to make it through this world in holiness and love was invincibly secured.
  • I would like to help as many as I can to know the God of all-embracing, all-pervasive, invincible providence.
  • The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 defines providence and then illuminates a difficulty, namely, the self-exaltation involved in God’s aim to display his own glory. Part 2 focuses on the ultimate goal of providence. Part 3 focuses on the nature and extent of providence.
  • Providence is all-embracing and all-pervasive, but when God turns the human will, there is a mystery to it that causes a person to experience God’s turning as his own preference—an authentic, responsible act of the human will.
  • God is sovereign over man’s preferences. Man is accountable for his preferences.
  • We are obliged to follow his revealed precepts, not his secret purposes.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

One thought on “BOOK REVIEWS and NEWS

  1. Reading non fiction?

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