Double Blessing | Book Review

I have known Mark Batterson for 30 years and read most, if not all, of his books. Double Blessing is his fifteenth book, and it combines Mark’s trademark blend of insightful biblical commentary, memorable phrasing, optimistic cheerleading to go deeper in your faith, and random biographical and scientific facts. (For example, I learned about the Avogadro Constant in chapter 4). If I could sum up the book in one sentence (Mark’s), it is this: “The secret of the double blessing is simply this: the way you get it is by giving it.” In a culture that focuses on getting, this book is a blessing.

Book Reviewed
Mark Batterson, Double Blessing: How to Get It. How to Give It (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2019).

P.S. If you liked my review, please click “Helpful” on my Amazon review page.

Praying through All the Seasons of Life | Influence Podcast

The Book of Psalms is the prayer book of the Church. It shows Christians all the ways to pray through all the seasons of life, the good and the bad, the high and the low. No wonder the New Testament quotes it more than any other Old Testament book!

In this episode of the Influence Podcast, Dr. George O. Wood–aka, Dad–explains how to read the Book of Psalms for preaching and pastoral ministry. Dr. Wood is chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, former general superintendent of the Assemblies of God (USA), and author of A Psalm in Your Heart.

P.S. This episode of the Influence Podcast is cross-posted from with permission.

Tuesday’s Influence Online Articles

Today, over at

  • We interview Bryan Sederwall about the ministry of the Denver Dream Center. “Faith communities need to identity concerns in their cities and then establish a cause.”
  • Chris Colvin suggests different ways of saying “Thank you!” to donors. “If you want to see increased giving, watch occasional givers become consistent givers and instill a sense of purpose in your offerings, a ‘thank you’ is one of the best instruments you can employ.”
  • Paul Franks reviews Tactics, an apologetics book and small-group curriculum by Greg Koukl. “When we do begin to talk about our faith, it’s easy to find ourselves on the defensive.” Reading and using Tactics helps overcome that problem.
  • Here’s an encouraging note: “Even in an increasingly secular culture, about half of U.S. adults still bow their heads to pray when they sit down to a meal.”

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Faith, Hope, and Love (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

Gratitude has a reason. We give thanks for people or because of something they have done. After an accident or during a severe illness or in the aftermath of catastrophe, we give thanks simply to be alive.

Paul, Silas, and Timothy are thankful for the Thessalonian Christians. Their reason? “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 1:3). Faith, hope, and love are hallmarks of authentic Christianity (1 Cor. 13:13), and they marked the lives of the Thessalonian. For that, the missionaries express gratitude. The seed of the gospel they planted in Thessalonica had grown into a healthy tree.

Let’s take a closer look at faith, hope, and love.

First, work produced by faith: In Ephesians 2:8–9, Paul contrasts faith to works: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…not by works, so that no one can boast.” Here, however, he brings them together. “Faith, not works” is Paul’s slogan when it comes to how God justifies sinners. But “Faith produces works” is Paul’s slogan when it comes how justified Christians live. Immediately after arguing that we are justified through faith not, not work, Paul writes: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (2:10).

Second, labor prompted by love. The Greek word for “labor” is kopos. It seems to be used in two senses. On the one hand, in 1 Thessalonians 2:9, it refers to “toil” the missionaries performed in order to support themselves “while we preached the gospel of God to you.” On the other hand, in 3:5, it refers to the missionaries’ “labors” of evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. To which does kopos refer in 1:3? Probably the former. In 2 Thessalonians 3:6–15, the missionaries contrast their “toil” with the laziness of a few Thessalonian slackers. Such hard work earns Christians a good reputation, makes them financially independent (1 Thes. 4:9–12), and makes it possible for them to share their surplus with the poor who want to but cannot work (2 Thes. 3:6–15).

Third, endurance inspired by hope. The Greek word for “endurance” is hupomonē, which derives from the two words for “remain” and “under.” When trouble comes, Christians can remain under it without being crushed by it because of their hope. Hebrews 12:2 says of Jesus, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame.” Christians follow his example. But they know that suffering does not have the last word, in Christ’s life or our own. Hebrews goes on to say that Jesus “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Like Christ, those who endure “will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). Christ is our example and hope.

Faith works. Love labors. Hope endures.

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