2 New Releases Today!

We have 2 new releases today, 11/11: Everyday Prayer with John Calvin by Donald K. McKim and Psalms 42–72 (REC) by Richard D. Phillips.

Everyday Prayer with John Calvin by Donald K. McKim

$15.99 | 136 Pages | Hardcover | SAMPLE CHAPTER

About

Prayer is central to the Christian life, which is why John Calvin spends more time on prayer than on any other topic in his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Drawing from the Institutes and Calvin’s Old and New Testament commentaries, Donald K. McKim comments on Calvin’s biblical insights on prayer and intersperses his short readings with Calvin’s own prayers. Reflection questions and prayer points help you to meditate on Scripture, understand Calvin’s teaching, and strengthen your own prayer life.

Endorsements 

“Donald McKim draws on Calvin’s prayers to help us with our own. . . . This guide breathes spiritual passion, energy, and wisdom. If, like mine, your prayer life could use a little help, this book will be of immense value to you.”

—Michael S. Horton, Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

Everyday Prayer with John Calvin offers a helpful and thought-provoking guide to better understanding the purpose and practice of prayer in the Christian life. . . . There’s no better way to encounter Calvin at his best than in the reverence that he showed for the practice of prayer.”

—Jennifer Powell McNutt, Franklin S. Dyrness Chair of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies, Wheaton College; Author, Calvin Meets Voltaire

“Calvin’s emphasis on the ministry of the Holy Spirit led him to engage with and encourage believers’ daily prayers. Donald McKim . . . gathers choice practical texts on prayer from Calvin’s writings and integrates them into digestible and uplifting biblical meditations. Everyday Prayer with John Calvin affords rich nourishment for your soul.”

—Peter A. Lillback, President, Westminster Theological Seminary

About the Author

Donald K. McKim has served as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), a professor of theology and academic dean at Memphis Seminary, a professor at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and an editor for Westminster John Knox Press. He is an award-winning author and editor.


Psalms 42–72 (REC) by Richard D. Phillips

$39.99 | 392 pages | Hardcover | Reformed Expository Commentary | SAMPLE CHAPTER

About

In the inspired poems of the Psalms, we find the full range of human emotions laid bare before the heart of God—and in settings familiar to our experience. The Psalms are songs that God himself teaches us to sing: songs of joy, songs of pain, songs of fear, and songs of faith.

Pastor-theologian Richard D. Phillips provides thoughtful, devotional commentary on the psalms of Book 2 (Psalms 42–72), which is distinctive for its variety of authors. He shows that in the spiritual walk of faith, these psalmists take believers by the hand and guide us in our communion with God, pointing always to Christ.

As are all Reformed Expository Commentaries, this book is accessible to both pastors and lay readers. Each volume in the series gives careful attention to the biblical text, is doctrinally Reformed, focuses on Christ through the lens of redemptive history, and applies the Bible to our contemporary setting.

Endorsements

“In his exposition of Psalms 42–72, Phillips carefully explains the details of the Psalms in concise and clear language and consistently bridges the distance between the then of the ancient poems and the now of current life. Laypeople will benefit as they read the commentary with their Bibles open, and pastors will be instructed in how to turn their exegesis into meaningful sermons for their congregations.”

—Michael Barrett, VP for Academic Affairs/Academic Dean, Professor of Old Testament, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

“Both informative to the mind and encouraging to the soul, Richard Phillips’s sermonic commentary leads the believer through valley and mountaintop to discover that wherever we are, our faithful God is there with us and will minister to our every need.”

—Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

“Richard Phillips has provided an excellent expositional commentary on the second book of the Psalter, Psalms 42–72. It is theologically rich and robust, and will be of great use to pastors as they prepare their sermons on this part of the Psalms. I am especially pleased with how the author looked toward Christ through these psalms.”

—John D. Currid, Chancellor’s Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary

“Pastor Richard Phillips will open your eyes to the bright and dark hues of Psalms 42–72: confusion over God’s silence as evil prevails, appeal for God’s wrath to obliterate the defiant, protestations of righteousness, brokenhearted repentance, celebration of the King’s coming. . . . Best of all, along paths that fit these psalms’ diverse themes and moods, he leads us to Christ—his humble suffering, his just wrath, his overflowing grace, his incomparable majesty.”

—Dennis E. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California

About the Author

Richard D. Phillips (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, and coeditor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.


 

Circles: Knowing Your Role As A Friend Or Acquaintance | Loving Your Friend through Cancer

The following excerpt is chapter 2 of Loving Your Friend through Cancer: Moving beyond “I’m Sorry” to Meaningful Support by Marissa Henley.


Circles

Knowing Your Role as a Friend or Acquaintance

Our doorbell rang every Tuesday night at 5:30 for months. The young man at the door handed over a large half cheese, half pepperoni pizza without asking for payment. For the three young, picky eaters who lived under our roof, the weekly pizza delivery was a dream come true.

This kind gesture during my illness was arranged and paid for by a group of my husband’s colleagues. To this day, I still don’t know their names. They were not in our inner circle of friends. But they reached in from our outer circle of support and made a signifi cant impact on our family’s life for months.

If one of these men had offered to give me a ride to chemo, it would have felt awkward. I didn’t want them to fold my laundry or clean my toilets. But they knew that as acquaintances, one of their primary roles was to provide food, and they did so with generosity and thoughtfulness.

Knowing where you fall in your friend’s network of friends can help you determine the type of support to provide. She needs your support, regardless of whether you are in her inner circle of closest friends, a middle circle of friends and close acquaintances, or the outer circle of acquaintances. But the way you will support her should vary depending on how close your friendship is. Think of your friend as the center—the one who is experiencing the health crisis—and consider honestly where you stand in relation to her.

Determining Your Circle

In our social-media-obsessed culture, we often have a skewed perspective of the closeness of our friendships. Just because you know what your friend ate for dinner last night doesn’t mean you are in her small circle of best friends. Take time to realistically consider where you fall within your friend’s circles.

  • How often do you communicate outside of social media?
  • How often do you socialize?
  • Do you share personal information with each other beyond superficial facts and opinions?
  • Did she call you with the news of her diagnosis, or did you hear the news from others who are closer to her?

The inner circle includes her closest friends. Inner-circle friends talk, text, or visit frequently. Deeper discussions about your family, emotions, joys, and struggles form an essential aspect of your friendship. You know each other’s loved ones well. You are familiar with each other’s likes, dislikes, favorites, preferences, and personalities. When your basement floods, your baby won’t sleep, or your teenager makes you crazy, you’re in it together.

The middle circle includes friends with significant common interests. If you socialize occasionally, have more than a superficial relationship, or overlap in multiple spheres of life, you are probably in the middle circle. You may also be a middle-circle friend if you were in her inner circle in a previous season of life but don’t communicate on a weekly basis anymore.

Middle-circle friends have a significant level of common interest or large areas of overlap in their lives. Maybe you’ve been in a small group together at church, your kids play together frequently in the neighborhood, or you enjoy a common hobby. You share personal information beyond what you would share with an acquaintance, but you probably aren’t the first friend she would call in a crisis.

The outer circle includes acquaintances, online friends, and friends-of-friends who rally with support. If you know her well from one sphere of life but rarely socialize outside that sphere, you are probably an outer-circle friend. You chat after church on Sunday or at the gym. You keep in touch sporadically, but you don’t see each other beyond that one place where your lives overlap. You may relate primarily using social media. You know where she took her last vacation, but you don’t know her latest personal struggle.

To summarize, you can use this handy test to know your circle. Let’s talk about your friend’s dog for a minute:

  • If you know from firsthand experience that your friend has a dog, the dog’s name, and what the dog did last week to make your friend crazy, you’re an inner-circle friend.
  • If you know the dog’s name and have met the dog, you’re a middle-circle friend.
  • If the only reason you know that your friend has a dog is because she posts about the dog on social media, you’re an outer-circle friend.

If you’ve decided you’re an outer-circle friend, don’t put this book down! All the circles of friends have important roles to play. Remember our weekly pizza delivery? The population of someone’s inner circle is small by nature, and the middle and outer circles are larger. It’s likely that you will be in the middle or outer circles of most people who you know with cancer. But the support that you provide from those circles is valuable and critically important.

Once you’ve determined which circle most accurately describes your friendship, consider how your circle affects the support you should provide. Keep in mind that by showing up and supporting her consistently, you may find yourself moving inward among her circles of friends.

The Inner Circle

When you’re thirty-four years old and are praying for your husband’s next wife, you need a friend to share that pain with you. One early morning the week after my diagnosis, I sat curled up on my friend’s sofa, dressed in sweatpants with my bare feet tucked underneath me. We wrapped our hands around mugs of hot coffee and cried. I told her I wanted my husband to remarry quickly if I died. I confessed that I had been praying for God to provide a second wife for him and a stepmom for my kids. I asked her to speak up and let others know my wishes, so that no one would resent my husband if he started dating.

Having these gut-wrenching conversations is one of the roles of an inner-circle friend. Your friend needs a safe place to wrestle through her difficult emotions. Other primary responsibilities of inner-circle friends include

  • making sacrifices in order to serve your friend during this season of suffering
  • giving emotional and spiritual support
  • organizing the logistical support of other friends and acquaintances
  • providing childcare (since her children probably feel comfortable with you)
  • relaying information and support between your friend with cancer and her friends in the middle and outer circles
  • protecting your friend and her family from gossip
  • meeting other needs that require a close friend, such as accompanying her to medical appointments

When I was sick, my inner-circle friends sacrificed their own time, comfort, and convenience in order to serve me for several months. They cleaned my house, accompanied me to medical appointments, and even flew to Houston to care for me during chemotherapy treatments there. They organized several months of meals and made sure our logistical needs were covered. They served as a gate between the larger circles and me—protecting my time and my privacy while relaying information and needs to others.

My husband and I decided that our young children should be cared for by people they knew well in order to preserve stability for them. So this responsibility fell mainly to my inner-circle friends. They created an emotionally safe place for my kids during a remarkably unpredictable time in their lives. They took them on field trips and built gingerbread houses with them. And they sent me photos of my smiling children to encourage me when I couldn’t be with them.

My inner circle also served as a safe place for my emotions. With courage and compassion, they walked with me though my dark days of struggling with the implications of my diagnosis. They spent time in understanding the details of the cancer I faced and my treatment plan. They knew the names of my doctors and when my next appointments were. One of my best friends even kept a spreadsheet of my platelet numbers for months, looking for trends and predicting when they would bottom out during each round of chemo. They were aware of how I was feeling on a daily basis—throughout almost a year of treatment and months into my survivorship. My inner-circle friends understand that today I still struggle with emotional implications of that phone call in 2010.

My closest friends could not do all this while also bringing me meals three times a week. And so my inner circle mobilized others in the outer circles to meet certain logistical needs. Because your friend probably doesn’t want an acquaintance cleaning her bathroom or folding her underwear, some logistical tasks need to be done by an inner- or middle-circle friend. But those on the inside should delegate and communicate many of the logistical needs to the outer circles and should give them an opportunity to serve. Consider setting up a meal calendar or an online sign-up list to organize her needs. Your friend probably doesn’t have the mental energy to devote to organizational tasks right now, and it will be difficult for her to know how to handle the onslaught of offers to help.

As an inner-circle friend, you will have information about your friend that is not meant for public knowledge. One of your roles is to protect your friend from gossip. She has a sensational, and potentially tragic, story. In our fallen nature, we are tempted to gossip about tragic stories. Resist the temptation to share information without your friend’s permission. In situations when you are unsure of what to share, it’s best to keep quiet or only share information that your friend has already shared publicly. If you hear others sharing gossip, step in and stand up for her.

Most importantly, ask your friend what she’d like you to say when people ask how she’s doing. If she’s struggling with how to respond, suggest a response and ask her what she thinks. For example, if she’d rather not share much information, suggest something simple: “Thank you for asking. She really would appreciate your prayers for her healing!” If she’d like to give a little more detail, suggest: “Thank you for asking. She starts treatment next month and would appreciate your prayers for complete restoration.” But remember, as an inner-circle friend, you should have a response ready because you are sure to receive questions about your friend’s condition. Knowing how you will respond will prevent you from being caught off guard, ensure that you honor your friend, and help you quell the rumor mill.

The Middle Circle

The text message was very specific: Callie, a young newlywed I had mentored the year before, let me know she had free time each morning before work. She asked if there were tasks she could cover on a regular basis—maybe she could drive one of my children to school?

This offer from a middle-circle friend met a huge need. One of my best friends (who had just had her fourth baby) was covering my share of our preschool carpool each week. So Callie began driving my son and my friend’s daughter to preschool once a week, lessening the burden on my close friend and me.

Just as the circles of friends form concentric circles around the cancer patient, the responsibilities of the circles of friends also form concentric circles. Imagine the territory of the inner-circle friends as being the patient and the inside of her home: her emotions, her children, and her toilets. The realm of the middle circle is just beyond the home: the yard, transportation, errands, communicating support via mail or electronic communication, and popping into the home for short visits.

Here are the primary responsibilities of middle-circle friends:

  • providing emotional support by checking in with your friend at least weekly
  • assisting with logistical needs such as yard work, transportation, meals, and errands
  • visiting her
  • assisting inner-circle friends with logistical responsibilities of a personal nature, if needed

You should check in with your friend on a regular basis—every week or so—and set reminders if you won’t remember on your own. But understand that you may not always hear back from her. Preface your messages by saying, “You don’t have to write me back.” Consistently and repeatedly let her know that you are thinking of her and care about her. Pray for your friend, let her know you are praying, and encourage her with promises from God’s Word.

Appropriate logistical tasks for middle-circle friends include doing yard work, bringing meals, getting cars serviced, providing transportation to medical appointments, and running errands. Offer to pick up groceries when you’re at the store, ask whether she needs anything from the pharmacy, or give her kids a ride to school or to extracurricular activities.

Chapter 7 includes a detailed list of logistical ways to serve your friend. Consider how you can serve her family, and make a specific offer of help. Depending on how private your friend is and how extensive her logistical needs are, you may or may not be called on for the inner-circle responsibilities.

Ask your friend if she’d enjoy visitors, but keep your visits short. Give her the opportunity to share how she’s feeling about her diagnosis, and let her guide the conversation. Follow her lead if she changes the subject—she may not feel comfortable baring her soul to you just yet.

The Outer Circle

When I was sick, I loved getting notes in the mail. I received a note from the mother of our friend Jennifer, whose husband attended school with my husband. And then I started getting notes from the friends of Jennifer’s mom. I’ve never met her, but she asked several people to pray for me and encourage me. I’m thankful for her willingness to reach out to a stranger with compassionate and sincere support. She is one example of the many outer-circle friends who intentionally showed their concern by sending me notes, prayers, and casseroles.

The outer circle includes acquaintances who rarely socialize outside of a common interest or who primarily interact online. As a member of the outer circle, you have these primary responsibilities:

  • Bring food.
  • Communicate support.
  • Pray. Bring more food.

During my cancer treatment, my family received meals three times a week for eight months. That’s over a hundred meals, and it wouldn’t have happened without a large outer circle committed to feeding us! If your friend’s treatment lasts several months, you may need to bring her multiple meals.

You should regularly communicate your support—even if it is just a short message that says, “I’m praying for you today!” Remember that cancer can be isolating, and she needs to hear constantly from her crowd of cheerleaders. When I posted updates on my CaringBridge website, I was so encouraged by the guest-book messages. Along with social media comments, these guest-book messages were easy ways for others to communicate their support without requiring a response from me.

Please don’t stop praying for your friend. She needs your prayers for healing, strength, comfort, and peace. Consider organizing a prayer meeting and join with others to pray. Text or email your prayers to your friend. Add her name to the intercessory prayer list at your church. If she posts public social media updates, share them with others and ask for their prayers. Then let her know of your constant, continued prayers. I cherished every note I received that let me know someone was praying for me. (See chapter 10 for specific ways you can lift up your friend in prayer.)

Outer-circle friends can also rally to meet financial needs caused by your friend’s medical expenses or time away from work. A large network of supporters who each have a little to give can significantly ease your friend’s financial burdens. Be aware of fundraising efforts, and show your support by contributing if you are able. You might consider organizing others to give, whether through an online effort, a live event, or the sale of T-shirts or other products to raise money for her medical bills.

You might also look for ways to support inner-circle friends who are making frequent sacrifices in order to serve your friend. On occasion, a mutual friend provided a meal for my friend as she spent time caring for my children. It was a beautiful example of the body of Christ working together.

Remember, these guidelines are meant to be helpful ideas, not hard-and-fast rules. Use prayerful discernment to know how God is calling you to serve and support your friend. Ask your friend directly, or those in her inner circle, how you can serve most helpfully.


ACTION STEPS TO CONSIDER

All friends:

☐ Consider realistically where you fall in her circle of friends.

☐ Use the examples given in this chapter to prayerfully consider how you can help with your friend’s unique needs.

☐ Avoid the urge to gossip or share what you know about your friend’s condition (unless she’s given you permission to share).

☐ Set a weekly alarm or calendar entry to remind you to communicate your love and support through a text, email, or phone call.

☐ Keep gently pursuing your friend, even if she doesn’t respond.

☐ Read Resource 2.1: A Biblical View of Community for a better understanding of the importance of the community surrounding your friend.

☐ If both you and she are married, go a step further and hand your husband Resource 2.2: A Letter to Your Husband about Her Husband, so that your family can get involved in supporting her family as well.

Inner-circle friends:

☐ Listen and provide encouragement as she grapples with difficult emotions.

☐ Ease the burden on your friend by serving as a point person to relay updates and needs to the middle and outer circles.

☐ Care for her children, provide stability and fun, and be aware of their emotional needs.

☐ Assist with logistical tasks that are private in nature, such as accompanying her to medical appointments.

Middle-circle friends:

☐ Check in frequently with your friend to communicate support without expecting a response.

☐ Perform tasks that are essential but slightly less personal, such as yard work, transportation, or running errands.

☐ Visit her, but keep it short.

Outer-circle friends:

☐ Communicate support in ways that don’t necessitate a response.

☐ Bring food, and do so repeatedly if her treatment is lengthy.

☐ Pray without ceasing.

☐ Participate in fundraising efforts.

☐ Support those in the inner and middle circles.


 

NEW RELEASE — The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship, Revised and Expanded by Robert Letham

Now available: The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship, Revised and Expanded by Robert Letham.

About

Robert Letham’s award winning The Holy Trinity receives a well-considered update in a revised and expanded new edition. Letham examines the doctrine of the Trinity’s biblical foundations and traces its historical development before engaging critical issues. This new edition addresses developments in Augustine studies, teaching on the Trinity and election in Barth studies, East-West relations, and evangelical disputes on the relation of the Son to the Father.

 

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sinclair B. Ferguson

Preface to the First Edition

Preface to the Revised and Expanded Edition

Abbreviations

Introduction

Part 1: Biblical Foundations

1. Old Testament Background

2. Jesus and the Father

3. The Holy Spirit and Triadic Patterns

Excursus: Ternary Patterns in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians

Part 2: Historical Development

4. Early Trinitarianism

5. The Arian Controversy

6. Athanasius

7. The Cappadocians

8. The Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381)

9. Augustine

10. East and West: The Filioque Controversy

11. East and West: The Paths Diverge

12. John Calvin (1509–64)

Excursus: A Post-Reformation Development

Part 3: Modern Discussion

13. Karl Barth (1886–1968)

14. Rahner, Moltmann, and Pannenberg

15. Under Eastern Eyes: Bulgakov, Lossky, and Staniloae

16. Thomas F. Torrance (1913–2007)

Part 4: Critical Issues

17. The Trinity and the Incarnation

18. The Trinity, Worship, and Prayer

19. The Trinity, Creation, and Missions

20. The Trinity and Persons

Glossary

Bibliography

Index of Scripture

Index of Subjects and Names

 

Endorsements

“Robert Letham’s outstanding book (this substantially updated and expanded version is even better than the first) covers all the bases well, and yet still leaves us in awe of the incomprehensible mystery of our triune God.”

—Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

“The ancient doctrine of the Trinity has stirred up new discussion since Letham’s acclaimed first edition, but the author has kept up with what has been going on. . . . Letham continues to display more of his learning and more of his characteristic watchfulness when met by the latest Trinitarian neologisms and analogies.”

—Paul Helm, Emeritus Professor of the History and Philosophy of Religion, King’s College, London

“Letham is a master of historical theology. He brings his immense learning to bear on many contemporary Trinitarian issues in an astute and compelling way. Anyone who reads this work will be greatly informed and enriched.”

—George Hunsinger, Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

“In this carefully constructed second edition of his important book on the Trinity, Robert Letham forcefully and convincingly demonstrates exactly why the classical doctrine of the Trinity, rightly understood, is indispensable not only for all aspects of theology but for ecumenical agreement today.”

—Paul D. Molnar, Professor of Systematic Theology, St. John’s University, Queens

 

The Author

Robert Letham (MAR, ThM, Westminster Theological Seminary; PhD, Aberdeen University) is professor of systematic and historical theology at Union School of Theology in Bridgend, Wales, and the author of a number of books, including The Holy Trinity, The Lord’s Supper, and Union with Christ.


 

BOOK HIGHLIGHT — Written in Stone by Philip Graham Ryken

Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis by Philip Graham Ryken

240 pages | $14.99 | Paperback

About

The Ten Commandments are an expression of God’s eternal character and have binding force today. Here Philip Ryken offers basic principles for interpreting and applying them—explaining them one by one, illustrating each with a biblical account, and relating each to the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ.

This is a book to be read and savored. Readers will find themselves examining their own lives, changing their ways, and delighting in newfound grace.

Endorsements

“A tour de force for our times and a much-needed word of clarity in a time of moral confusion. It serves as an antidote to contemporary misrepresentations of the Ten Commandments and a powerful exhortation to Biblical Christianity.”

—R. Albert Mohler Jr.

“One of the best popular, practical, and Christ-centered treatments of God’s comprehensive moral law available. Providing the right balance between law and gospel, it shows how to use God’s law as a mirror to expose our sin and a map to guide our conduct.”

—Joel Beeke

“With pastoral care and clarity, Ryken applies timeless theological insights to his exposition. Read Written in Stone, and the fear of God will meet with thanksgiving as the spirit of God writes his law upon your heart.”

—Peter A. Lillback


Excerpt taken from When God Draws Near by Paul E. Engle

The following is an excerpt taken from When God Draws Near: Exploring Worship from Seven Summits by Paul E. Engle.

PREFACE

Not long ago, I spent an entire week in Seattle, Washington, without once seeing the sun. Undaunted by the drizzle, fog, and unremitting thick gray clouds, I kept sneaking glances toward the southeast horizon, hoping to catch a glimpse of the nearby snowcapped Mount Rainier—the topographically prominent stratovolcano that usually dominates the landscape. But to my disappointment, the summit remained totally obscured for the entire week.

When at last I returned to the airport, I consoled myself with the thought that there would be future business trips to the Pacific Northwest and perhaps a future sighting of Mount Rainier. Exhausted from the long, sun-deprived week and longing to get home, I buckled up in my window seat. As the plane climbed upward, I peered out the window at the dark clouds that had surrounded me all week long.

Until, all of a sudden, there it was! We had broken through the clouds. The eastern horizon lit up with a luminescent pink and yellow glow. Projecting through and above the clouds, the snow-covered Mount Rainier pointed up 14,411 feet toward its Creator. Below its peak was a surrounding blanket of billowing clouds that extended for miles and captured the radiance of the morning sunrise. The majestic mountain had been there all week long; I just hadn’t seen it.

My experience can serve as a paradigm for what happens in the case of all too many people who attend corporate worship services each Sunday. Clouds and fog can obscure what is happening in the invisible, spiritual realm when believers enter a service. This book is written to awaken Christians to biblical realities that take place in worship assemblies but that often go unnoticed.

In the following pages, we will break through the clouds in order to survey the horizon from several mountaintops—not Mount Rainier, but seven summits from the Bible. Over the course of the book, we’ll travel to Mount Sinai, then Mount Zion in Jerusalem, then Mount Carmel, then Mount Gerizim in Samaria, then Mount Hermon in northern Israel, and then the Mount of Olives. Finally, we will make the ultimate climb to the heavenly Mount Zion. Together we’ll discover, from the recorded events that took place on each of these sites, God’s design and purpose for worship. By the time you arrive at the last chapter, you will have journeyed from Genesis and creation all the way to Revelation and consummation.

For decades, I have had the privilege of teaching pastors and church leaders on the subject of worship in the United States as well as in many other countries. I owe much to thousands of pastors and students whose feedback has helped me to further refine the insights the Lord has taught me through my study of Scripture. I have ingested countless books on the theology of worship. The teaching and writing that I have done on this subject have been enriched by several trips to Israel, where I have explored the biblical summits and archaeological sites I describe here.

In one of his books on worship, A. W. Tozer wrote, “This book is a small attempt to fan the flame of holy desire toward God. I hope you will catch the passion and press forward to delight in the conscious, manifest presence of God.”*1 This reflects the beat of my heart for this book also. I have provided diagrams, charts, and maps for illustration throughout. If you wish to use this book in a class or a small group setting, each chapter concludes with questions for discussion and reflection.

The experience of Sunday corporate-worship assemblies is “the most outward, Godward hour in our weeks. . . . It’s a time when the invisible is made visible: the scattered church comes together; the signs of the kingdom are present in bread and wine and in the waters of baptism. The gathered church is a foretaste of the new heaven and the new earth.”*2 My prayer is that the journey we take in this book will elevate our perspectives and open our spiritual eyes to new realities so that we come to joyfully anticipate Sunday worship as the highlight of each week.

Maranatha! Let’s begin.

Paul E. Engle


*1. A. W. Tozer, Experiencing the Presence of God, comp. and ed. James L. Snyder (2010; repr., Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2014), 26.

*2. Mike Cosper, Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2017), 29.