Monthly Archives: November 2011

16 Crucial Questions Every Catholic Should Ask

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1. What if I die today will I be in heaven?

2. Why is it that my church is the “the one true church” yet I cannot assure of heaven?

3. If the pope cannot assure spending eternity in heaven, how about me, an ordinary Catholic?

4. Why is it hard for me to ask questions regarding my faith? Do I consider it evil to ask? Am I too embarrassed? Or too confident to my church I haven’t bothered to check it out?

5. Have I read the official catechisms of my church? Have I read Bible references? Are the verses used to justify the teachings biblically sound or out of context?

6. What is the difference between veneration and worship? Can I give examples of both to give clear distinction from the two words? Does lighting candles’, kissing images, and praying to saints, kneeling to go to the altar while reciting the rosary a form of worship or veneration? Can all devotion mention be given to God and call it worship then the same devotions will be given to saints and the Virgin Mary be called veneration?
7. When I read the Bible specially the New Testament why cant I read about the popery, priest, monks, nuns, indulgences, purgatory, scapular, relics, rosary, prayers for the dead, good works, infant baptism, confession, confirmation, last rites, holy water, etc?
8. Does having been able to trace the roots of the church to the New Testament church make my religion true even if it doesn’t really resembles it? Are their any more ways to know if my church is true?

9. Are early church fathers (Augustine, Justin Martyr, Jerome, Origen, etc) reliable? The church to confirm the doctrines has used them but some of them contradict each other and contradicts some teachings.

10. Have I kept the 10 Commandments if following them will assure me of heaven? How about the other more than 500 Mosaic laws that I need to fulfill? And how about the Church’s approximately 700 dogma and teachings? Have I followed them flawlessly if I do not want to go to hell?

11. If committing sin to me is a mistake and makes me imperfect how about those things that I should have done but didn’t (sin of omission)?

12. Is Jesus my Savior or is He just my Helper to go to heaven?

13. Why is the doctrine of papal infallibility only came to be a teaching today? Does that mean from the past centuries of not having this doctrine the Catholic Church is in error and not guided by the Holy Spirit or is it just a man made teaching?

14. What does the Bible meant of adding things to the Bible and receiving a curse from it? (Rev. 22:18).

15. If I have to take all of this Catholic teaching by faith yet its contrary to the Bible what does my faith be?

16. Could I pick and choose what I want to believe in the teaching of the Catholic Church? What about those laws of the Church that condemns me if I neglect some of their teachings?

For more information check:

Answers To My Catholic Friends

Understanding Roman Catholicism

What Every Catholic Should Know

1994 Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

Council of Trent

 

Book Review: Preaching With Passion by Alex Montoya

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Who is Alex Montoya?” I ask a friend of mine when he recommended this book when he saw it on PCBS. If I ask you if you know him you’ll probably scratch your head. Maybe out of curiosity you might as well check him out. And maybe if it wasn’t for the “Foreword by John MacArthur” indicated on the cover, you won’t give this book a second look!

Alex Montoya really knows what passionate preaching is and we should take heed in this 160 page book as he unravels eight characteristics of passionate preaching to us.  As a preacher himself, you can feel his passion to teach and encourage to preach with passion in every page. John MacArthur is right when he said in the Foreword, Alex “is infectious” and this book will “start an epidemic.”  Reading the book gave me insights on preaching with passion.  And I hope it will in your part as we all seek to effectively preach God’s Word. This book will ignite your passion for preaching every time you read it over and over again. Having this book will lead you to an exciting adventure and a fresh perspective on preaching.

As for my friend, I gave him a copy of the book and he is now enjoying the benefits of its content.

Notable quotes:

“The secret to passionate preaching is spiritual power. It is God at work in our lives.”

“Passion is the power, the drive, the energy, the life in the delivery of the sermon.”

“Men who have convictions and live by them will also preach with conviction.”

“Passion originates in the heart of God processed through the heart of man.”

“Great preachers are forged in the furnace of affliction.”

“Brokenness is a requirement for strong, vigorous, and passionate preaching.”

“Seminary trains the mind, but suffering trains the soul.”

“God breaks a man who is full of himself; then he is useful to God.”

This powerful book is published here in the Philippines by Back to the Bible for P165 (very cheap!). Before you buy it I suggest checking the preview of the entire book at Google Books.

Used Book Finds: The Writer and The Writer’s Digest

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  Been following blogs to help me improve my writing ability and style but nothing beats a physical material that won’t strain my eyes staring at my laptop. Just this year, as I was excavating BookSale (a second hand bookshop in the Philippines) I noticed they carry some writing magazines that are so inexpensive it cost P5-P10 per copy! Yes Virginia it’s so cheap! The magazines are “The Writer” and “The Writer’s Digest”. Both (though geared for secular writing) deliver the goods that are very useful for writers. From tips, advices, interviews, online exclusives etc.; the two magazines are great companions for writers especially for us bloggers. As of now I have 8 magazines in my collection and counting. I suggest that you go search it out at the nearest BookSale branch. You can also find them on the web: The Writer and The Writer’s Digest.Happy magazine hunting and blog writing!

Used Book Find: Cheap Apologetics Books

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Apologetics (defending the faith) has never been this cheap! If you’re like me, I spend time digging books at BookSale (a second hand book store chain in the Philippines) and always find books that engaged you in defending the Christian faith. The price may be cheap but the books are not. In fact, what I find are classics and bestsellers from leading Christian apologist. Authors like Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel rings a bell to everyone who knows apologetics. So I’ll bring their books to the spotlight in this article for your search and enjoy the book.

First is the classic book (and I think the most popular) “More Than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell. This little book is the summary of his search to refute the claims of Christianity. As a student, he was challenged by Christians to examine the faith.  This book is a must read and a must have for Christians who is starting out with apologetics. It can be use as an evangelistic tool.  It was such a bestseller it was turned into a film. For years now it seems every time I visit BookSale I find this book. I make it a point to buy a copy (since they are price P10-50 only), stock it in my cabinet and donate it to schools. The book tackles topics like the deity of Jesus, reliability of the Bible, prophecy etc.  The book ends with a personal testimony of Josh McDowell.

If you want  more meat and fast pace read about apologetics I’ll direct you to the next book feature. It’s from a former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel. The titles are “The Case for Easter” and “The Case for Christmas” (which sells from P10-P45 only). Both books are excerpts on a bigger book titled “The Case for Christ”. The reason that they released it on a smaller volume is for mass evangelistic outreach. Definitely, those two books are awesome for seasonal give away or simply what I do, donate it at a school library. Having read his books (especially “The Case for Christ” which I got also from BookSale) I can say that Strobel gave skeptics a run for their money.  Using his journalistic writing style (which I love when he opens a chapter of the book) and his legal expertise interviewing Christian scholars that makes the book like a thriller novel!

So there you have it. Books that is best for apologetics.  I would like to end this article with appeal to Christian books stores here in the Philippines. If your own, work or patronized Christian bookstores please put or ask to stock these books. I’ve been checking out their shelves and I can’t find works by Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel (I stand corrected if you find one). We need such books to protect us from cults and false teaching prevailing and stand against the attacks of atheist and skeptics that undermine the truth in Christianity. God bless you as you do it not only for believers but also those who are seeking the truth.

Unpopular

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(John 1:40-41)

Being popular and famous is one of the pursuits of this world. You’re significant and you exist if you are popular. You get noticed if you’re good looking, done a hit song or did a very charitable effort. You’re famous if you wear the latest clothing line, listen to cool music and be with the “in” people. That’s why we idolized movie stars and rock stars.  One of the vocations of this world is that we should be “liked” by everyone to be popular (that’s why a social network site is a hit because we get to “like” people).

That’s what this world promotes. We should be popular and famous.

But how about being a Christian? Do we get popular and famous? Aren’t we doing things for God? If we are doing things for God it means we are doing momentous works. Works that is not just important but something bigger than that.  What if in the process you go unnoticed? What if someone else gets all the attention?

In this study we will get into the life of Andrew, an apostle of Jesus and the brother of Simon Peter. But before we get there, let’s lay some foundational truth to further maximize the lesson we will learn.

Foundational truth: Check vs. 41 and you will see that Andrew leads Peter to Christ. This is what we call evangelism. Sharing the gospel of Christ (that saves of course) is evangelism. It is the life’s blood of Christianity because no one will be a Christian and the church will not built. It’s our mandate to evangelized (Matt. 28: 19-20). This is big and urgent duty for every Christian.

So what is the connection of this foundational truth on being unpopular? With that big task given to us, what if in the process, we don’t get recognized for our work? We remain in the side line or we are overshadowed by someone greater and more popular than us. Or what if, we done only one task and that’s it, nothing follows. That’s were Andrew is. And so some of us.

Let’s dig deeper on Andrew’s situation then draw lessons from God’s Word.

1.)    Unrecognized (v.40 and 42). Andrew is referred to as “Simon Peter’s brother”. Check out how many times Andrew was mentioned in the New Testament without referring him as Peter’s brother. Now check out other references of Andrew doing something significant other than the one in our study. Then check how many times Peter is referred in the Scripture. How would you feel that you are overshadowed by someone else? Your existence depends on who the other person is. You might have the talent and necessary skills but why aren’t you recognized?

In verse 42, check out what Jesus has to say to Peter. What would Andrew react? What would you react? What if all Christians will say “Jesus, wait how about me? You said something great about Peter. I’m the one who lead Peter to you.  I’m the one who first left John the Baptist for you? Am I not that important to you?”

2.)    Only one task mentioned (vs. 41). Now you’re unrecognized and now your only one work is mentioned. In Andrew’s case is leading Peter to Christ. Just that. How would you feel? One work. One deed. One fruit. Now are you discouraged?

Question:

a.)    Is this what Christianity all about?

b.)    Is God being unfair?

c.)    Is this what you’ll get for all your labors?

The answer to these questions is: NO. Why? Because the purpose and will of God matters even if we are in this discouraging situation. What should matter to us is what God considers most important.

So what should matter to God?

a.)    Love (vs. 41).” He first findeth…” Andrew loves Peter so much that he is the first he seeks to tell about Jesus. Out of love for Peter that Andrew first shared the good news to Peter. Are doing something out of love for God or just to get noticed?

b.)    Value of that one task (vs. 42)” a stone…” Peter became one the foundational stone of the church. Consider what happen at Pentecost? Three thousand souls were saved. Consider the letters or epistle that completes the Bible? Peter wrote two of them. But remember their will be no apostle Peter without Andrew sharing him the gospel. Are you seeking the great value of one thing rather the many things you can do for God?

c.)    Obedience (vs. 40) “and followed him…” Andrew followed Jesus Christ. Trust and obedience despite the outcome matters greatly to God. Our problem is not the outcome. That’s God’s problem. What we should think and ask ourselves is: are we obeying God? It is not how big, how many, how much or how high. Let God do the math for us. What matters is did we follow God with our heart, mind and soul?

In your life is there something that you have done that comes unnoticed? In this world you may be doing something insignificant by worldly standards but bear in mind, God’s opinion matters. Further God promises that He won’t overlook what you have done for His kingdom. If you done it for Him, it will echo to the halls of eternity.

(originally from R.O.C.K. Campus Ministry FB page Notes, December 5, 2010)

The Road to Honor (Proverbs 15:33)

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Proverbs 15:33  “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.”

How do you define honor? It could be respect, glory, admiration, etc. However you define it we sometimes seek it. It might be in your studies, in your profession or in any aspect of your life. We may have attained something that is praise worthy. Something we can be proud of. Something that set us high above the rest. We might seek recognition or award for what we contribute. Sometimes we go unnoticed, we sometimes feel upset. That’s why we look for honor.

Do you know that there are stepping stones to reach the honor God wants you to have? As we check Proverbs 15:33, we will see how we can attain honor—God’s way.

1.)    Instruction of wisdom- where do we get God’s wisdom? Not in the latest Christian books or MP3 sermons but straight from God’s word. Wisdom tells us how we should do things God’s way. It says what should be done that is God pleasing. Like a recipe, it’s a set of instructions you have to do to make a masterful meal. It says the procedures, steps, materials and even the right measurements of the ingredients to reach that desired dish.

 

Notice in other translation the word for instruction is rendered discipline and teaches. In the Hebrew, instruction is “muwcar” which includes the words like chastisement, correction, rebuke, reproof, warning and restraint. Not only does wisdom teaches how to do it but gives correction if we are drifting in error. It restrains us to do wrong and free us to do the right thing.  Sometimes pain is involved to make us learn the lesson. Often it is the best teacher. It also lets us know what are the consequences and benefits if we follow or disobey.

Proverbs 3:13 “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.”

 

2.)    Fear of the Lord- Fearing God involves:

a.)    Holy respect or reverence- Do you give Him that respect for who He is? Do you acknowledge Him Lord in every areas of your life? Do you bow down to the wisdom He sets in His word, the Bible?

b.)    Trust-Do you turn to Him for your daily walk in this life and the provision for the future?

c.)     Hatred of evil- Do you hate what He hates? Will you turn off or turn away from the TV, newspaper, radio or Internet if you find something ungodly? Let that be a test if you hate evil and love God.

Proverbs 1:7  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

 

3.)    Humility- over God and man. Knowing that out of love He instructs you to get honor by His way we should humbly acknowledge who He is and have a humble spirit towards others. Humility says that you’re dependent on God and not your own strength. Humility sets aside personal gain for the more important one, God’s will and purpose for you. It’s extinguishing our pride and letting God and others first. Humility says we didn’t make it by ourselves. God made it possible. Family, friends and others helped us. Humility anchors us to the ground and never it swell to boasting. And if we are raised up to be known, let God do it for us.

 

Proverbs 22:4  “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.”

 

4.)    Honor- what is due to God and what is God glorifying. Honor comes from God when we first honor Him. It is a blessing from Him if we consider following His instruction, fearing Him and humbling ourselves to Him. He will bless us in all areas of our life as we first seek to honor Him.

 

 

Proverbs 29:23  “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”

 

Have you received recognition in your school?

Do people look at you as a good leader?

Have you been promoted?

Are you chosen as MVP?

Do you have great influence?

 

One final and important question: Did you get all of this honor by God’s way?

Want to be honored? Seek Proverbs 15:33 advice and let God shine to your life.

(originally from R.O.C.K. Campus Ministry FB page Notes, January 16, 2011)

5 Things to Do While in the Rural Area

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It’s exciting to give yourself a break from your tiring work and the grueling city to escape for a moment. A trip in the farm areas is rewarding for the body and mind while enjoying God’s creation. Here are some tips to make most of your visit:

  1. Enjoy the beautiful scene- truly sight seeing in the country side is a delight. Fresh air, lots of trees, rivers, animals and the blue sky. What else is missing? Julie Andrews…LOL!
  2. Take pictures- don’t forget to bring your camera to shoot some amazing photos. With your camera you’re in for a surprise.
  3. Rest- grab the opportunity relax under the shade of a tree. Take a break for lunch; listen to music or to read your Bible or book.
  4. Try picking fruits or flowers- just make sure no one owns it (except God).
  5. Have a long walk and tag along a partner– time flies when you share your walk with someone. It could be your friends who joins your for the adventure or rural folks going your way.

Any experience you want to share? Please fill it on the comment.

(originally from my Facebook Notes, August 28, 2011)