Book Review: God Without Religion by Andrew Farley

God without religion? Is he serious? Hmmm…the title got me looking twice at the back cover to check this author’s bio. He is a Christian. Check! He is a pastor. Check! In an evangelical church. Check!

The opening page grab me that I lead me the first 50 pages of it. Truly it’s an engaging read for me and I hope it will be for you too. Farley weaves stories that reflect the biblical lessons that will make you glued and understand the point he is driving.

me and the book
me and the  this book

Farley gave a fresh look at the relationship of the Christian to the Old Testament law and how it relates to us living radically in the new covenant of the New Testament. Bold and daring words that will make you sweat especially in the part were tithing, baptism or the theological positions are discussed. And when I say you’ll sweat, you WILL sweat! No punches pulled by this book or any sign of retreating. You don’t have to agree in every point he is hitting on but you will be definitely moved (or should I say get punched) to consider if you are really leaning on the Jesus Christ or on what you can do for Him. If you’re on the former then you’re serving God without religion.

If you already read similar books like “Radical” by David Platt or “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, be sure to leave a space for this book in your shelves. “God Without Religion” is truly a liberating book that will challenge your spirituality if you want to depend more on God’s grace in your Christian life. And yes, serving God without religion is that simple!

Reading Without Reading

I stumbled to one of the quirkiest books on the subject of reading books. The title is, get this, “How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read” by a Frenchman by the name of Pierre Bayard. It sounds crazy but this book divulge tips and advice on those “sticky social situation” you need to show some “culture” and “intellect”. As you go move check the book, it gives how-to’s in how to behave, different confrontational situations and ways not to read but still have something to say about it all. Chapter 1 opens with these lines:

“There is more than one way not to read, the most radical of which is not to open a book at all.”

Bold words from a book that teaches you to understand a book without reading it 🙂

You can get away with reading secular books but a book with a Christian bent is another thing. Reading books is not for impressing someone that you know something specially when reading Christian books. I find the following reasons important why we should read Christian books:

  1. To be biblically grounded
  2. Spiritual growth and maturity
  3. Built leaders from readers
  4. To gain knowledge in the subject or topic
  5. Have something to share or teach specially to unbelievers
  6. To enhance our reading, writing and speaking in English we are all struggling with

If reading Christian book is that important, well how much more is the reading of God’s Book for a Christian? Reading the Bible is as essential as eating (Revelations 10:10, Psalms 119: 103, and Ezekiel 3: 1-2) not just for survival but the only way to be nourished and satisfied us spiritually.  Have you opened the Bible today?

Delighting Grace Reviews CLC Philippines Books

PicsArt_1366534883007Just received last week four books from CLC (Christian Literature Crusade) Philippines to be reviewed in this blog. As I open the package I got excited because of the opportunity CLC has given me.

The package includes Marriage Matters by Winston Smith, The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall, God Without Religion by Andrew Farley and A Vision of the Deep by Susan Scott Sutton. The moment I’ve unpacked it one book caught my eye and start reading is God Without Religion. Some of our young people were there and got interested with the complimentary copies. So I assign to them the book of their choice to read and tell me what the book is all about. In short, I assembled our Delighting Grace book review team :-). My intention is not just for them to read, review and own those books. My aim for them (and of course me included) is for them to grow spiritual as the sink their mind to these materials. Also find something they can use and teach to others as well as enhance their English (whether in reading and writing). I hope and pray that by God’s grace, this will be accomplished.

My pastor is very supportive on this and sees this as an avenue for us in the YP fellowship seek maturity. Please pray for this effort in our part to pursue God always and help CLC in their promotion of their books. Lots are in store for this project that we would ask for you to uphold us in your prayers. I thank CLC Philippines for giving us the privilege to review your books and promote it as well.

4 Awesome Things to do to Unread Books

You don’t own Barnes and Nobles but it seems your room is brimful of books. Either some gave it to you or bought it without thinking. You want to read all but unfortunately you can’t. Also you are losing space on your shelf.  Here are 4 tips on what to do with unread books:

  1. Copy quotable lines – Yes. Scan the book for great quotes then post it on Facebook or Twitter. Better yet make a quote blog.
  2. Use it as a tool for promoting reading– Maybe someone is not interested in reading so it’s a best way to encourage them. As an added bonus, give it to them for free.
  3. Donate it at your library – Every library is in need of new titles for people to access. Have a heart give it to them.
  4. As a coffee table or for interior design purposes – Lay those books on the table for other to see, read or start a discussion. It will be great if its Christian books so that your unbelieving friends will grab and check it out. If they ask for it, give it away.

Any more you can add? Please post it on the comments.

8 Cool Ways to Encourage Reading a Book

 Is there someone you know that is indifferent on reading books? Do you want to unleash within him the bookworm he ought to be? Here is a list of ideas to encourage a friend to sit and read a book:

  1. Give someone a book – This one is a no brainer. Nothing can be more encouraging than giving a book as a gift to a non-reading friend.
  2. Give DVDs of book-adapted movies – Then say something like “The Chronicles of Narnia movies are adapted from C. S. Lewis books. I think some parts of the movie are slightly changed and some details are dropped. If you read the book it will fill those parts and more.”
  3. Give them different format of the book – They might have an I-Pad so give them e-books of that book. Audio books in MP3 is great too specially when they are driving to work or at the gym.
  4. Show someone websites that have free books – Maybe your friend is not into reading because he doesn’t have a budget to buy a book and too shy to borrow. There are gazillions of websites that offers e-books in different format and different genre. Some publishers on their websites give away fresh new titles in digital formats just by entering your e-mail address.
  5. Point out heroes of your friend and their favorite books – You can tell them their favorite celebrities, sports personalities and political figures read these kinds of books and shaped them who they are today. That will thrill them to consider picking up that book.
  6. Show them some books inspired social media – Goodreads, Scribd, and Issuu are awesome. Give them links over their site, encourage them to make an online shelf and even put an app on their favorite social media profile. Make them click on “Want to Read” buttons and encourage them to read the actual stuff.
  7. Show things that you have made out of reading books – Let them taste that Korean food you learned from a cookbook. Give them a sample of stunning photographs snag from a How-To photography book. Show your nifty room damped with some interior design you copied to an interior designing magazine. This way they won’t just be encouraged to read the book but find its usefulness in their life.
  8. Place them in a teaching ministry – whether a Bible Study group or Kid’s ministry they will be force to read materials they will teach. Not only will it enhance someone’s spiritual gift but create an appetite to appreciate the joy of reading.

Do you have number 9? Please post it on the comment.

Herman Bavinck on Religious Experience

Touching the subject of certainty of a Christian, Dutch reformer Bavinck explains why religious experientialism not rooted on the Bible should be denounced:

“The method that seeks to derive the objective facts of Christendom from religious experience of the church by reasoning from effect to cause out to be rejected. The Holy Scriptures never points us in that direction. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul does point out to the church of Corinth the indissoluble unity between blessings believers share in and the resurrection of Christ. But he does so only after establishing and confirming it with the witness of Scripture and the appearance of the risen Savior. The Holy Scriptures never make a believer dependent on himself. They always bind him to the objective word—to the law and the witness. If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. If they rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have? The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Paul threatens with God’s curse anyone who  preaches another gospel.”

(“The Certainty of Faith” by Herman Bavinck pg.69. Translation and special content copyright 1980 by Paideia Press Inc. © All rights reserved.)

Book Review: Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft

Leaders Who LastOk I’ll admit it I bought this book because of Re:Lit Books and I’m happy that Christian Growth Ministries Inc. (CGM) published it here in the Philippines. Nothing more.  Books on leadership abound these days that I think you don’t need another one. But if you think you had enough of it, we should consider this book by Dave Kraft.

Leaders Who Last is a collection of Christian principles cemented with both biblical wisdom and 38 years of experience of Dave Kraft in Navigators.  What I like about the writer is that he has experience in the ministry not in corporate settings. So you won’t have some thoughts nagging he will mix it with some Christian principles then bam! A generic serving of today’s Christian leadership book. Well it’s not that. Another thing because he is sharing his experience the book is not all theory, but incorporates practicality which I love. And it’s not an invitation to pragmatism. It’s the heart of Dave Kraft that you can read and hold.

The book is not the usual jam pack book of wisdom but enough to guide (or should I say coach) pastors, youth leaders, ministry leaders and Sunday School teachers to the long haul of his or her calling. The chapters are short but have nuggets of gold for the Christian to cherish. This book calls not just for how to do, think or feel in ministry but also how to take care for your eadership. Outstanding chapters about character, passion and growth are a pleasure to indulge.

Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft is a great book for a new Christian who’s just beginning in the ministry and a worthy ‘reviewer’ for the veterans. Not complicated but complete and concise for the Christian to spend time to. If you’re saturated already with leadership book then I suggest reading this book twice to let the content sink in to your heart and soul.  Leaders Who Last still can offer you things not available on other books on leadership.

5 Essential Christian Books for Your Skeptic Friends

Now you have no reason for not defending your faith and not giving a special gift for your skeptic friend. Here are 4 books about why Christianity is true and will diffuse any atheist or agnostic:

  1. More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell-a classic that sets the standard of apologetics book. I think this book gave a “pop” flavor for defending the faith. Finally book for the skeptical masses from a former skeptic himself. Short but compelling this is the zenith of all McDowell’s apologetic books and still a great giveaway for your unbelieving buddy.
  2. The Signature of God by Grant Jeffrey- the late Grant Jeffrey maley left us scratching our heads in a flop over the Millennium bug, but putting that aside this book is truly something for even believers to dig. It combines “More Than A Carpenter” arguments (with of course Jeffrey’s take) and an outstanding look at numerology in the Bible. Not just convincing but thought provoking.
  3. One Heartbeat Away by Mark Cahill-Cahill and Comfort paved the way for what is evangelism in the last decade. This book can be considered the “More Than A Carpenter” of that decade. Cahill is an evangelism machine and I think that’s why he wrote this book is for follow up for those who learned evangelism through his 1st book “One Thing You Cant Do In Heaven.” He took different subject from the existence of God, evolution, the reliability of the Bible, heaven, hell etc., and answer it this very helpful book.
  4. A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel- Lee Strobel, an award winning legal editor and a former atheist, didn’t just penned an apologetics book but by utilizing his journalistic expertise, a book that feels like a page turner of the latest bestselling novel. In his quest to know the truth, Strobel interviews prominent Christian scholars by throwing hard hitting questions against the faith. This very compelling book will reinforce your faith and make your skeptic friend consider Christianity.
  5. God Doesn’t Believe in Atheist by Ray Comfort-with a quirky title like that; this book shouldn’t be missed. The arguments are blend in a very friendly (and sometimes funny) manner as if Comfort is talking to you personally. This book doesn’t just provide logical point of view on Christianity but also lays the gospel and answers to common objections in Christianity. You’ll find this one enjoyable of all the books I mentioned in the list.


Anymore books you would like to add here?