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The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms Hardcover – November 10, 2015
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Praise for Preaching
"Superb . . . we should be grateful to Keller for his wisdom, scholarship, and humility."
-The Gospel Coalition
"If you want to see 'between the lines' and just 'below the surface' of our cultural moment and societal ethos . . . Which is to say, if you are any kind of Christian leader, teacher, writer, blogger, public thinker, politician, artist, media person, campus minister, youth leader, parent, Christian educator, spiritual director, or anyone with influence . . . then this is going to be exceptionally helpful for you."
Praise for Timothy Keller and his books
"Tim Keller's ministry in New York City is leading a generation of seekers and skeptics toward belief in God. I thank God for him."
"Unlike most suburban megachurches, much of Redeemer is remarkably traditional. What is not traditional is Dr. Keller's skill in speaking the language of his urbane audience . . . Observing Dr. Keller's professorial pose on stage, it is easy to understand his appeal."
-The New York Times
"Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians."
-Christianity Today Magazine
About the Author
Timothy Keller started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has more than five thousand regular Sunday attendees. Dr. Keller also founded Redeemer City to City, which has trained leaders to start more than three hundred new churches in nearly fifty cities around the world. He is the author of Prayer, Preaching, The Prodigal God, and The Reason for God, among others.
Kathy Keller received her MA in theological studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Kathy and Tim then moved to Virginia, where Tim started at his first church, West Hopewell Presbyterian Church. After nine years, Kathy and her family moved to New York City to start the Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Kathy cowrote The Meaning of Marriage with Tim. The Songs of Jesus is their second collaboration.
Top customer reviews
The Kellers recommend using the devotional three ways:
1. The simplest way is to read the psalm and the meditation slowly, and then use the prayer to begin praying the psalm yourself.
2. The second way to use the devotional is to take the time to look up the additional scriptural references that are embedded in the meditation and sometimes in the prayer.
3. The third way to use the devotional is to journal through it while keeping three questions in mind:
--Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?
--Admit—What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?
--Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?
The Songs of Jesus among other Devotionals (particularly Jesus Calling)
Why choose the book of psalms? The Kellers share their reasoning: “Many find modern devotionals to be either too upbeat or too sentimental or too doctrinal or too mystical because they reflect the perspective and experience of just one human author. The psalms, by contrast, give us a range of divinely inspired voices of different temperaments and experiences.”
In addition to a love for the Psalter, I have a hunch that at least part of the motivation behind this book was to provide a healthy alternative to the controversial, yet immensely popular devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.
In Kathy Keller’s review of Jesus Calling, she called it “unhelpful and to be avoided” because Young writes from the first-person perspective of Jesus and admits to doubting Scripture’s sufficiency (in the introduction she states: “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. I wanted to hear what God had to say to me personally on a given day.”).
Another critique was that Jesus Calling appeals too much to the experiential at the expense of the doctrinal—which is where the book of Psalms fits in perfectly as a book that so beautifully interweaves both rich doctrine with a wide range of human emotions. Keller’s review continues, “If you want to experience Jesus, learn how to find him in his Word. His real Word.” The Songs of Jesus will lead readers to Jesus through His Word and through praying His Word back to Him.
My first thought as I flipped through The Songs of Jesus was, “This wasn’t what I expected.” Being a big fan of Tim’s writing, I found myself craving more Scriptural and cultural insights than the 150ish word devotional and 50ish word prayer can offer. This disappointment dissipated when I remembered the purpose of the book: to help readers meditate on the Psalms and pray them to know and experience Jesus. In other words, I was focused on the on-ramp instead of the highway.
The Songs of Jesus are a rich collection of devotions that are clear and straight to the point, getting to the heart of each Psalm and helping readers think through them practically and prayerfully. Diligent readers and those who journal through it will feast on the richness of the Psalter and rejoice as they behold and commune with the Savior who so faithfully embodied the psalms.
Don Whitney says in Praying the Bible that many Christians are bored in prayer because they pray the same old things about the same old things. If taken to heart and diligently prayed, The Songs of Jesus will fight against this boredom and fill our minds and hearts with fresh thoughts and prayers to our Lord.
I expect this volume to expand Keller’s already wide readership base by offering an accessible and top-notch alternative to Jesus Calling. While I typically don’t like the daily devotional format, I will keep The Songs of Jesus close at hand for my wife and I to sing and pray the songs of Jesus together.
Title: The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms
Author: Timothy and Kathy Keller
Rating: 5 Stars
Review originally published on KevinHalloran.net
If you are at all familiar with Dr. Keller, you know what you are going to get in any one of his books: excellent theology, exceptional wisdom, practical teaching, etc. and this devotional does not disappoint in these areas. Everything is all here in one lovely, solid little book, perfect size for a devotional. In the beginning, there is a really nice, succinct intro about the reason for studying the Psalms, then a plan for the book which includes some highly useful, practical tips for using each daily entry to its fullest extent. Each devotion includes a passage of the Psalms, a brief meditation on the meaning, then an applicable prayer. It goes through the Psalms in order and you will go thorough the entire Psalms in a year. I found this to be extremely helpful as a supplement to Keller's outstanding "Prayer" book and a sort of logical "next step". I love that he co-authored this with his wife, Kathy, because I know the value that he places on marriage and that he, indeed, has a strong relationship with his wife. I am so excited to start using this devotional right away. Highly recommended!