Book Review: UnChristian by David Kinnaman And Gabe Lyons

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If CLC has a “published book of the year” , “UnChristian” by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons will bag the award. A wonderful book that is totally blows my mind.

Based on their research, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons concluded six themes that the outsiders think. Those six themes are: hypocritical, too focused on getting converts, anti-homosexual, sheltered, too political and judgmental. With these topics, surely a concern Christian has something to think about.

Barna is the Christian version of Nielsen ratings or Gallop polls.I’ve heard lots about Barna and how it provides top of the line research. You’ll find this in the book. Kinnaman and Lyons will astound you with page after page of facts and views that will keep you on your feet. Every angle are scutinized. This is the real deal. No hype, no frills. No wonder this book is a bestseller.

Not only does this book majors on what outsiders perceives Christians but also look at the inside. Here and there it was finely discuss. Graphs and charts provides more of visual of the facts presented. It doesnt make the book boring (the book is tremendously readable) with those stuff hanging around but puts alot of credibility. Also insights from Christian leaders who looked at the data are included that is stunning for a well researched book. Online extras are also provided to further discuss the topic. This is a great too give you advice on how we should change not because what the unbelievers think, but what God think.

A very helpful tool to gauge how we Christian should deal with the world, this proves that CLC is serious in providing books that are not just relevant but cutting edge. Read this book then go back to the Bible to carefully look at what Jesus wants us to be.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Just Do Something By Kevin DeYoung

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Finally a book that will make you run to an open space and scream on top of your lungs. “Freedom at last!” Yes freedom indeed. Freedom to the never ending question every Christian has been pondering: What is God’s will for my life?

“Just Do Something” blows the conventional way of thinking of so many Christians about finding God’s will which according to DeYoung is simple and not so difficult to look for. First, Ptr. Kevin clearly gives the three kinds of will of God. Then he points out the five reasons why we fret about God’s will. After that, he listed why the conventional approach wont work and strike them all down.

“Just Do Something” brings us back to Matthew 6:33 and reinforce it like we never had it before. In the latter part of the book, he lead us to hold on God’s wisdom in what we want to pursue which really matters in knowing God’s will. Finishing this book will give you a feeling of relieve that God’s will is not “Where’s Waldo?” cartoon. Yes you can know God’s will!

A never to miss book on God’s will, “Just Do Something” will get you gear on action to do what God intents us to do. This short book packs up some biblical and truly practical lessons for us Christians who are seeking God’s will. Its readable and you’ll love share it with someone. Highly recommended. Prepare for liberation. “Just Do Something” is here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Never Alone” Book Talk at OMF Lit

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Five minutes late is not a good idea, especially when Rev. William Girao is giving a talk on his latest book titled “Never Alone” last April 12, 2014. We came to the OMF Lit shop at Boni. Ave and found ourselves with a bunch of folks already listening at the talk. His latest offering, “Never Alone” is about the beauty and grandeur of the Book of Revelation.

Revelation? What’s so beautiful and gradeur about the last book of the Bible you might ask?

That scary book about 666, Anti-Christ, tribulation, plagues, death, Judgment Day, Lake of Fire, etc. Hardly paints something pretty right?

So why do I call that book with a reputation like that? According to Rev. Girao, the Book of Revelation is not all about gloom and doom stuff to scare us but a book that will draw us to God’s hope. Actually the end time events on that book are incidentals, as Rev. Girao points out in the talk. If you will consider why and who the book is written you will see how awesome God is. The major emphasis is to comfort the persecuted Christians and tell them that even if thats their predicament, God is still in control. Revelation is about the Sovereignity of God.

We listen attentively as Ptr. William Girao cruise us to John the Beloved’s book. Well its John wrote the book but the source of it is from Jesus and the central theme of it is of course no other than Jesus. His people, the Christians has a part on this book. They are real heroes, main actors, and the VIP’s at the edge of history as Rev. Girao puts it. The believers are chosen and redeemed for the grand and eternal purpose, that is to gather people who will worship God through out eternity. Christians may be on the minority today but they will find out in the Book of Revelation that they are enumerable at God’s throne. They maybe persecuted for their belief on Christ but we should take comfort that God bring about justice. In fact, our prayers will bring judgment to earth.

In line with the sovereignity of God, Ptr. Girao states that in Revelation, God will get what He wants. His will will be fulfilled. It will be ireversable and irresistible victory from God. Further, Christ will be magnified in great splendor as He is presented as Lord of lords, King of Kings. Unlike His first visit on earth, Jesus will be coming back not a lowly baby or poor carpenter’s son but a conquering warrior. No wonder Ptr. Girao considers Revelations the most comforting book. And you should too! You can also find here about the power of the gospel, worship and many more! Makes you want to read Revelation again, right?

To finish his talk (which is powerful that you may call it preaching), Ptr. Girao admonished his listeners to look at Revelation as it makes significant emphasis on God and on how we treat God in ministry and personal life. He points out that let us not put God for the purpose of entertaining us, a slot machine that we get want we want, a formula for our personal success. Let us not trivialize God and worship. The Book of Revelation gives the proper place of God as worthy of our honor and praise that every Christian should know. Wow what an ending to this very awesome talk!

After a brief Q and A portion, we get to be up close and have our books signed by Ptr. Girao. I didnt get “Never Alone” (maybe some other day) but grab his book “Preaching With A Message” which caught my attention during the talk. Also Kevin DeYoung’s “Just Do Something”. My friend hurriedly got Ptr. Girao’s “Giving Up Is Not an Option” (which I was there on its book launch at the Manila International Book Fair 2012) and a book by John Maxwell. For her it will be her first time to read something from this prolific author. As Rev. Girao signs the book I thank him for the wonderful talk he gave. He in return thank me and talk about the book “Preaching With A Message” (which I will book review with “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung).

If you enjoyed reading this article, I would like to encourage you to pick up a copy of “Never Alone” by Rev. William Girao. Also I would like to thank OMF Lit for this event and I hope to attend more of this next time. God bless all of us as we read and grow to know more about Christ! Happy reading guys!

 

Summer Komikon 2014: The Fanboy Menace Part 1

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I was super prepared at the recently concludedΒ Summer Komikon last April 12, 2014. I’ve save money for a month. Since its summer, I have to wear a cool and comfy clothes bringing my backpack with so it be easy to move around. I also jotted down people to drop by and comicbooks to buy. My backpack includes: medicines, rubbing alcohol, juices, Snickers bar, brownies, various comicbooks to be signed, towel, extra T-Shirt, paper bags and tissue. And for the first time, I brought some gospel tracts, Gospel of John booklets and Christian books. I gave those to my favorite comic writers and illustrator. Im ready for action.

We came to the venue quarter to 2PM. It was easy to get the tickets and get in. Of course we took pictures at the big tarp of Summer Komikon 2014. As we enter the main hall, we quickly look for Kulas creator, Freely Abrigo. I requested for a chibi Batman for a church mate who is sick. We came on his booth and found he is busy doing his stuff. As usual, he is friendly and accommodating. I told him I’ll send his artwork to Australia where she lives now ask him to write some encouraging words for Roan Mae. Then told him that his family name Abrigo is familiar and I think I remember reading stuff from his dad. He affirms his dad was a comic writer. After our picture was taken I gave Freely a booklet and a gospel tract.


We walk further west and notice Gerry Alanguilan’s booth with his latest book. And if he is there, for sure his co-creator is there too. I got excited. Ecstatically excited! Arnold Arre, one of the greatest local comicbook writer and illustrator is there! I introduce myself and shook his hands. Holding my Cast comics I gave the issues he had drawn. As he was signing the comicbooks, I engage in a coversation about his previous works that are out of print and the future of Cast comics. He replied that their will be a reprints of his previous graphic novels and they are still working on Cast. I almost forgot to give him the booklets but. I found out his signatures on my Cast comics faded on the glossy paper. So I put my bag on the floor and turned back to his booth for another signature (I’m blessed for having someone with me). He glady scribbled again and with that I gave a booklet and gospel tract.

Rushing to go to Jamie Bautista‘s booth (which I saw when I was still at Freely Abrigo‘s booth), we pass by Ang INK (Illustrador ng Kabataan) which they offer very interesting items like postcards, stickers, comics etc. Got a sticker from them and gave to my friend who is with me. Before I say goodbye, I took pictures and gave tracts.

We landed at the Nautilus Studio booth and Jamie Bautista was so busy entertaining the other fans, but her assistant was helpful. Saw Cast bookmarks which cause 6 pesos but I get to have 1 free if I purchase anything on the table. The “Private Iris” special edtion caught my attention so I grab it and the other bookmarks. His assistant, Katrina hand it over to Jamie to have it signed. He signed each bookmarks and opened the Private Iris comics. I show them the Cast Comics autographed previously by Jamie and now inked by comic master Arnold Arre. They even gave me the Cast bag because I was such a fan of the book. I told them I love Cast and constantly rallying it to Jamie over Facebook to release issue 12. With that Jamie replied with a smile.

Before we took flight, I told Jamie, “Private Iris is a detective story, this one is also about investigation.” I was handling to him a copy of A Case for Easter” by Lee Strobel, a book excerpts of his bestselling apologetics book “A Case for Christ”. He kindly accepted it with the 1 Million gospel tracts.

My friend and I took our CR break, freshen up and ready for our next walkathon at Summer Komikon. That story will be on the next post so stay tuned!

(By the way, since I gave some of the gospel goodies over Summer Komikon here’s something for you guys:
For Your Joy” by John Piper )

3 Essential Things That Matter In Life

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Only LukeΒ is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. (2 Timothy 4:11-13 KJV)

Change is something constant to us. From people to the current news to the weather, we cant escape change. In the life of the apostle Paul change is unavoidable. Writing to his last letter to Timothy, we can observe that winter is coming and it will make his prison condition worst. And also we should not forget his impending execution. A very bleak future for apostle to the Gentiles. Despite of these predicaments, Paul shows till the very end what really matter in his life. And for us Christians, may these 3 essential things be ours too and take hold of it like Paul did:

1.) Relationships- that includes not only family and friends but your spiritual family and of course your personal relationship with God. Verse 11 Paul is talking not just friends but people involved in his ministry. In the end of his life, the brethren still matters to him. Friend, who are you with today? Are you investing quality time with people who cares for your spiritual well being? Are they building you spiritually or pushing you away from God?

2.) Contentment – Paul told pastor Timothy to “bring the cloke” or winter coat because winter is coming. This is a man who is waiting for his execution. But why didnt ask for more from Timothy? Well he could ask for sumptuous food, fine clothes etc. to give him comfort, after all his days are numbered. It wouldnt hurt if Paul will have a bit of Why didnt do that? Here’s the key:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffe need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13 KJV)

Paul learn to be content with God’s grace. He draws his strength from his Savior. His completeness in life is Christ. Life is not about the pursuit of having more or having less but dependancy towards God.

3.) Word of God - verse 13 “bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments. ” The books or scrolls can be parts of the Old Testament or his letters that are inspired. In any rate it pertains to the Bible. If you’ll gonna live in a secluded island for the rest of your life, what three things will you bring? Probably you will pick food, clothes and other amenities. I remember someone answered question. He will bring all his Beatles records to the the island because that is enough for him. Christian, the Bible matters to Paul. So it is to us. It not just give us direction, guide or rules in living but the very life itself:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63 KJV)

Knowing from the Scriptures the new life God wants to give to us, Paul despite his coming death, he is putting his life to what God has promised. May we Christians seek these important things. You dont have to live it out at the very end, we should start now!

Book Review: The Joyful Heart (Daily Meditation) by Watchman Nee

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A collection of bite size messages of Watchman Nee made into a 365 daily entries, “The Joyful Heart” that will not just inspire you with its deep and thought provoking meditations but will also stir your soul. Nee’s writing ministry proves that word’s of this man of God is commanding to the inner being of a believer. This book is a cross between Oswald Chambers and T. Austin Sparks, a delectable food saturated with Nee’s passion for God.

Every entry are climax of a sermon. Thats how this book is written. Novice or veteran to Nee’s writings will get their heavenly treat day by day. Taste something soul satisfying. Turn every page of this devotional and find God as source of true joy. This book reminds us everyday even their is testing and challenges, God is our true happiness. Through His Word we can be transformed and walk blessed through out the whole day. Let “The Joyful Heart” enrich, complete and satisfy our pursuit of God.

“The Joyful Heart” brings you a pace setting of true joy of a Christian that has a willful and obedient love to follow God. If you have gone through “My Utmost for His Highest”, “Morning and Evening”, “Streams in the Desert” put this in your devotional list.

Robert’s Pets: Delighting Grace Interviews Robert Magnuson

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It was Summer Komikon 2013, my first ever Komikon experience that I’ve heard about Robert Magnuson. He was on stage being interviewed. I wasnt paying attention till something caught my attention. Its that word he said! He said he worked on a Christian children’s book?! Well I check him over the internet and I found out he is a award winning children’s book, comic strip/comicbook writer and illustrator. I finally met him over Komikon 2013 last November. And man, he is so nice. He signed some of the comicbook and toddler books I bought (for the benefit of Typhoon Yolanda) and granted me this interview:

Delighting Grace: Hi Robert! Who’s your favorite superhero and why?

Robert Magnuson: I can’t say that I have one favorite superhero. As I grew reading comic books, and shifted interests from one hero to the next. The earliest superhero that my brother’s and I seemed to gravitate towards was Spider-Man. We liked him because of his humor. I also thought he had one of the best looking costumes. Very fun to draw. Somewhere down the line, I’ve enjoyed reading the adventures of Batman, Superman, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. There was a time I was a huge Rom fan. I was devouring that comic pretty much at the same time I was gobbling up issues of Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew.

Superman was interesting because he had such an iconic image to live up to and I really enjoyed reading the Return of Superman storyline when it was being released on a weekly schedule. In the same way, I was also fond of Captain Marvel (Shazam) and Captain America, because of the clear values found in these particular characters. As modern society’s values begin to blur, it has becomes easier to reason out why it is acceptable to break and bend certain rules to the point where they become excuses for self-indulgent behavior. I find it interesting how the integrity and values of these particular heroes hold up under such modern-day pressures.

Delighting Grace: You’ve created Porcupirate, Bullysaurus Rex, Kuting Magiting etc., now how do you look for ideas and character for the books?

Robert Magnuson: I get my best ideas from real life. All my stories are in some fashion or other anchored to real life event. It’s just that by the time I’m through writing them, they have talking animals. But the essence of the story remains tethered to the emotional core of an experience. Just as Porcupirate was written based on the feelings I was going through while watching my father die in a hospital, Kuting Magiting is fueled by my experiences with my very active son.

Delighting Grace: You had this collaboration with your wife Shirley in making comics strips in Junior Inquirer. So how does working with someone close to you and working with someone else differ?

Robert Magnuson: I enjoy working with others. I find that the exchange of ideas with someone can lead to even better ideas. Shirley tends to be my test audience and initial editor. I recall a time when I was creatively worn out from working on a comic page from a CADRE script by Emil Flores. I just couldn’t get the drawings to look the way I wanted, but I did the best I could. I remember showing the pages to Shirley and she told me “there is no way you are submitting these pages for printing. You can do much better than this.”

Being very drained, hearing this critique made me feel very frustrated – I knew she was right though and that I would have to redraw those pages. I struggled with them and in the end, I finished them. The pages were certainly an improvement over the previous versions. So tough love helped, really. And the experience made me appreciate just how demanding comics work can be.

Delighting Grace: Kuting Magiting crossover Sunday funnies, then to a comicbook then to a toddler book. Are their any difference between the three in terms of producing it? Which is your most enjoyable format between the three? Do Hero Kitten gets dizzy because of it :-)

Robert Magnuson: There was always a plan to have Kuting show up in more than one format. I think each format has its own inherent challenges. The main challenge for comics is space considerations. I’m limited by the physical dimensions of the page and I’m limited by stretching or compressing a story to fit within multiples of four pages (16, 20, 24 pages and so on). But since I have full creative control over the comics, this is challenging but it’s something I can eventually adjust to. I just have to make sure the pages aren’t expanded in such a way that it ruins the flow of the story.

The toddler books have less pages and are more expensive to produce, so I need to stick to the publisher’s predetermined number of pages. The challenge here is coming up with a story that will fit these few spreads while still offering the reader a worthwhile narrative.

The comic strip has even less space to work with. You can have just so many panels in a comic strip before it starts to look really crowded. I would have to say that the comic strip format is the toughest of the three. Which is why I have great respect for those who earn a living working in this format.

Delighting Grace: I love Kuting Magiting/Hero Kitten because it has this “universal” appeal. Well some of your creations are loved kids, teens and adults. How do you make that “magical” appeal?

Robert Magnuson: That’s the great thing about writing for kids – grown-ups can understand the story as well! It also helps to stick to the emotional heart your story. You can talk about complicated themes, for example “war”, but it helps to distill very common emotions from such potentially complex topics. At its heart, is it about fear, triumph, or friendship? These are emotions that both adults and children can relate to.

Delighting Grace: Some might take childrens book as simple, easy to make, but I’ve read some where that writing a toddlers or childrens book is not that easy and for a creators to penatrate the childrens book market it is very difficult. Any comments on that Robert?

Robert Magnuson: It can be very challenging. What’s even tougher is making a good book both kids and grown-ups will love. I’ve had the experience of writing books that seem to write themselves. Others have taken much more out of me.

It took a long time before I finally got my break into becoming a published writer. Prior to that, I simply enjoyed writing and drawing stories, even if my only audience was my parents and friends.

Even as a published author, “Market penetration” is always a major concern. Competition for space in bookstores is tougher now than ever before. On the plus side, we do have more venues for our work thanks to the advent of digital books. The terrific thing about eBooks is that they can reach international readers, and you can build a potentially large readership. That said, getting discovered in this online sea made up of millions of fish is the challenge of this particular medium.

Delighting Grace: As a Christian comicbook creator, how do one deal in the industry which sometimes promote violent, sexual and anti-Christian stuff. Does this limit or gives no opportunity for a comicbook creator to do his gpcraft? So if a Christian wants to follow your steps, what advice can you give to them to pursue this career without compromising the faith?

Robert Magnuson: For most of my life, before I became a follower of Christ, my view of Christians was that they tried their best to avoid discussing sex and violence and topics that seem anti-Christian. This view reinforced my misconception that Christians were detached from the “real” world. When I came to Christ seven or so years ago, what I found was that Jesus was not at all detached from the realities of the world. He clearly understood the human condition. The initial reason I started studying the Bible was because I was drawn to Christ’s very accurate description of the human heart. I also discovered many Christian authors and speakers who did not shy away from discussing topics that touch on the realities of life.

Besides, the Bible is full of stories showing people at their worst, and how ultimately there is only one way to rise above this desperate condition. I believe that by virtue of this perspective regarding our human tendencies toward violence and acts of violation, the Christian writer is called to engage these topics head-on in a responsible manner in order to offer readers a glimpse of hope in an otherwise difficult world.

Delighting Grace: We sometimes work or study in a world that doesn’t honor Christ. As a Christian what are the things we could do to magnify Christ in our careers?

Robert Magnuson: This begs the yearbook answer, but since the time that I began to study God’s word and have struggled to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, I have found that God is not a collection of fortune cookie quotes to suit every occasion. Rather He is very much alive, and although His word does not change, the way He works is ever surprising. He may very well tell us to drop what we think we should be doing and do something completely left field of what we expected. There is a difference between doing what He wants us to do, and doing what we think He wants us to do.

One of the things I am struggling with is to keep that eternal perspective within my everyday work. In whatever field we are in, it is so easy to get caught up in the business of being busy that we start to lose our patience with co-workers, or drive ourselves to the brink of frustration by working too many hours at the expense of family relationships. A person’s job, their private life, and their public life are all interconnected. If one flies off the rails, it will soon affect all the other areas. Given this, I think the best way we can magnify God is to walk with Him moment by moment, and make sure it is His hands, and not ours, that are on the steering wheel.

Delighting Grace: Well said. Robert please invite them to pick up your Kuting Magiting/Hero Kitten and other of your great books. Are you on social media so fans can connect with you?

Robert Magnuson: Thanks for this opportunity to share my thoughts with our friends out there, Nitoy. If people are interested, most of my children’s books are available in most local bookstores.

I have two books published by Adarna House: Mister Beetle’s Many Rooms, and Diego and Marie: A Secret Sense of Home.

My other books are with Hiyas: What Beetle Can Do, Bullysaurus Rex, The Great Duck and Crocodile Race, Porcupirate Plans the Day, Boom Bang Clang (done with Maloi Salumbides), Run, Kuting! Run!, and Go to Sleep, Kuting!

Porcupirate Plans the Day and The Great Duck and Crocodile Race are also available as eBooks for Amazon Kindle, Flipreads, Kobo, and Buqo.

My self published comics featuring Kuting Magiting and Poso Maximo are available during the Philippine Komiks Conventions which happen at least twice a year. Although they should check my FB wall for announcements, just to be sure I will be at particular Komikon events or not.

Delighting Grace: One last question: Why is Good Morning Dog named Good Morning Dog? Does he own a Good Morning Towel that why he was named like that?

Robert Magnuson: There is a reason he is called Good Morning Dog, but that’s a story for another time.

Delighting Grace: Or maybe another comicbook to watch out, am I right Robert?

(By the way this if off topic but very important, have you downloaded “For Your Joy” by John Piper? It’s free.)

Marianito “Nitoy” Gonzales is a 30 something introvert who’s passion is to proclaim the good news about God. He wears many hats but he is just an ordinary guy serving an extraordinary God. You can reach him at his Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.