Monthly Archives: September 2013

Book Review: What Shall This Man Do? by Watchman Nee

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Since being a new Christian I (like others) has this sort of an appetite to find his or her own niche in the ministry. We try and try various things to know what we will do in the ministry. But still their is hanging question to me: What is the will of God for me? How do I fit in the kingdom of God? What can I do for the church?

“What Shall This Man Do?” provides a biblical perspective on your calling from and your place in the ministry. This book draws up bio sketch from leaders used by God in three areas of the ministry namely evangelism (Peter/Way), teaching (Paul/Life) and discipleship/mentoring (John/Truth). The book tackles not just what they have done in the ministry but also how did God revealed their place in the ministry which is crucial to a believer. Nee calls the Christians not just to know his place in the ministry but to have a personal knowledge of God in their life.

Please bear in mind that this book (or collection of writings) were from the pre-WW2 times. This doesn’t mean that its irrelevant for our time but still strikes the very heart of the believers inquiry on his place in the ministry. Pure and raw, far from books coming out today with all those strategy stuff that you can dismiss it as business management book rather a Christian book. This volume resembles like those vintage books of the late J. Oswald Sanders, which is meaty with biblical insights that you wont crave for quick fix.

Finally a book that will answer your question, “How can God use me?” Watchman Nee’s book “What Shall This Man Do?” will give refuge for that question and much more so that you can built and carry God’s calling to your life.

Book Review: A Table In The Wilderness by Watchman Nee

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When you hear the name Watchman Nee what comes to your mind? Probably an oriental sage with mysterious teachings only the chosen few can understand. Or a Chinese version of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who in became a hero after he was killed. Or for some, he is completely unknown. But checking this book of his titled “A Table In The Wilderness” you wont just get fun size of his teachings but a sumptuous meal for the soul.

This is Watchman Nee’s devotional book drawn from his writings (like many of his books). The entries are short but packed with spiritual insights that will challenge and bless the believer every time he opens this book. Nee constantly reminds us in this book that Christians should seek God, know who we are in Him, heed His warnings and the privilege we have in knowing Him. “A Table In The Wilderness” is written for the Christians daily walk in Christ.

This book can be likely compared to “My Utmost for His Highest” but with a deeper personal touch. Sampling some of its entry, we can almost find “I”, “we” etc., pertaining to Nee as he injects personal experiences and struggles. Its a combination of meditation of the Word of God and sort of diary like writing that makes this devotional uniquely delightful for readers. You will truly be bless by this book as you read it for your quite time.

Turn every page of this devotional daily and you will be captivated by God’s message and Nee’s personal account. Highly recommend for believers who wont settle for snack food spirituality. Prepare to feast on this.

The Prayerful Leader in Times of Adversity (Part 2)

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Let’s go back to where we ended our last lesson. It’s a lesson on leadership from Jehoshaphat the godly king of Judah as he confronts adversity in his life. Are you thinking about some adversity in your life? How did you resolve it? Will you be thanking God for the divine help for you? I hope so. Now with our text:

“It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.

Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.

And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”  2 Chronicles 20:1-3 

After looking last week at adversity which really not just shapes us but tells us we are human let us consider:

2. Adversity not only led us to count our priorities but shows us our utmost priority.

 

Again verse 3 “and set himself to seek God.” Have you seen those live reports on TV where there is fire in a heavily residential area? As people run out of their burning houses, you can see they are bringing out their valuable belongings. TV, refrigerators, jewelry boxes, documents and even pets. Why? Because those things are important to them.  Likewise, in adversity it brings out what matters most to us. We don’t want to lose them. Also our priorities are the ones we think about in times of crisis. We sometimes say “What will happen if I lose my job?” What will happen to our family, career, ambition, to my car, to our house or investment?” We seek those important things in adversity. We cherish them. They are precious to us. They complete us. They are our security. They are our priorities. But look at what King Jehoshaphat did. He seeks God’s counsel to this matter. He could have thought of other things. He could have thought of his army, the weapons or allies which will help him in the war. He could think about his family, his staff or his kingdom that needs to be safe out of the bloody battle that is on their way. But no he seeks God which is his utmost priority in life. Is God your utmost priority in your life?  Are you in the midst of a grueling struggle? If you are banking on your fleeting priorities, go to the One which is the utmost priority and has you in His eyes as an utmost priority for all eternity as His child.

(To be continued next week….)

There Goes the Rub

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Being at this year’s 34th Manila International Bookfair (MIBF) is such a joy not only to dig your hands to books but also to meet authors of your favorite books. I know National Bookstore, Summit Media and PsiCom have guest authors dropping by to meet and greet fans, Christian publishers and ministries have their own version of it. For us readers it meant a lot to see the writers who made our day by enjoying their books. For the publishers’ side it adds flair to the event and encourages people to read Christian stuff. So this year, I met three Christian authors at Church Strengthening Ministry (CSM) booth.

First one is the author of the“O Assuming Lang?” series, Ptr. Armand Canoy. I grab his book “Pastor Nga Ba o Assuming Lang?” and got it signed. With the looks and how he talks, I could dismiss him as more of a businessman rather than a pastor! Nevertheless, he is a nice and accommodating. Like William Girao last year, I ask him my “million dollar question”. “Are you a Calvinist?” He replied he teach both theological views in Bible school. So I clarify my question: “What’s you stand on Calvinism?” Again, he replied that he don’t favor any views because both can be found in the Bible (well that’s how I recall it). To change the topic, he asked me if I’m a pastor. I said I’m not. He followed it with another question: “Do you have a calling?” “I’m praying for it…” I replied. He told me that in this book you’ll read about how I will know if you have a pastoral calling. After a couple of photos, he gave me a handshake and I’m off to the next booth.

Its 12 noon and I don’t feel hungry.  That time I fetch (or is it vise versa) Dems outside at the counter so we can tag along (which happens to be documented at my Part 2 of MIBF 2013 adventure). She’s eager to meet another author at the CSM booth. So after visiting the OMF booth, talking to Mr. Lawrence Chan and finding an ATM, finally it’s time to meet Ate Marlene Munar Legaspi. She is the author of the bestselling book “Add Mo Ko As Friend” (which this blog reviewed) and her fresh new book “Life In the Middle”. She is very warm and friendly, we immediately had this delightfipul chat. Dems didn’t know that Ate Marlene and I are already friends. Dems met her at the OMF Bloggers Fellowship. So she told us a little bit about the new book about being in the mid-life (which Dems and I don’t relate but enthusiastically endorse it). I ask Ate Marlene to sign my Bible. As she was signing it, she wrote “Enjoy your Life in…” which I made it a joke that she should not put the words “in the Middle” (pertaining to the new book) because I not in my mid life yet. She finished it with “Christ” so I made sigh of relief which made us all laugh. That was one funny moment!

As we are talking with Ate Marlene, I notice a familiar face sitting on the sofa, signing and having pictures with a kid that made me look twice. Wow its Grace Chong! So I told Dems about it and she gave me a nod that it’s Grace Chong indeed. So I approached her, gave my Bible and ask for an autograph. She signed it and asked me if I’m a pastor (twice that day someone asked me that). I told her I’m not and I’m still praying for it.

Thank you again to CSM and OMF for having their authors over the event. I had an awesome time rubbing elbows with people who you take pleasure in reading their works and looking up to them as writers. As readers we will continue to support your books and authors especially Filipinos.

The Prayerful Leader in Times of Adversity (Part 1)

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In times of adversity leaders especially Christians shine the most. This is where the rubber meets the road. And as Christians face the cold truth of a crisis, problem or conflict, here we can see also how he will hold on to His Creator. Will he stumble or stand? Will he compromise or conquer? Adversity will be the standard of it all. Before we go to the Scripture let me remind you some nuggets of truth on being a Christian leader:

1.                   Christians are leaders whether they like it or not.

2.                   Christians are leaders that should lead others or others will lead him.

So let’s keep that in mind as we see another leader, well a king in the Old Testament. I’m referring to Jehoshaphat a great king with an amazing kind of leadership that Christians should follow. Our text starts with verse 1 of 2 Chronicles 20:

“It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.

Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.

And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”  2 Chronicles 20:1-3 

As you can see that King Jehoshaphat and his kingdom is in an impending crisis. Their enemies came to make war. Here we see how Jehoshaphat respond to something that will make or break his leadership. Not only his leadership but his kingdom and His God. How about you? What will you do in times like this? Have you been in a crisis or problem? Adversity is always around the corner in your Christian walk. Now let’s see how Jehoshaphat faces adversity and get wisdom from it as we also deal with adversity:

  1. Adversity not only shapes us as humans but tells us that we are humans. Notice the line “Jehoshaphat feared”. We always hear something like “experience shapes us or mold us.” That is true. But before it can shape us it tells us something about us. We feel different emotions on every experience we go through. Jehoshaphat feared. He feared the army that will attack them. It is normal to fear. It’s normal to cry, doubt, be angry and feel guilty. It is a human thing. We just can put on a face and tell the world outside that everything is ok when deep inside we hurt. We can’t put a “business as usual” sign around our neck when we are in the edge of some crisis. Adversity tells us we are humans. We are limited. We are weak. We need some help. We need God. Let adversity launch us before God’s throne to seek divine help on a predicament we are in.

(To be continued next week…)

Meeting the CLC Philippines Gang

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                One of the most memorable moments at the Manila International Bookfair (MIBF) is stopping at the CLC booth. I’m not good at introducing or presenting myself. I easily shy away. So I did the “silent” approach at the CLC Philippines booth. As I was checking the books out, some from the CLC personnel identified me. They immediately gave me the warmest welcomes and smiles. We had a photo-op at their cool backdrop and I met the CLC staff.

                Before dropping by the CLC (Christian Literature Crusade) Philippines booth, I already did my book shopping over Christian Growth Ministries (CGM) and CSM (Church Strengthening Ministries) booth. I also visit Lighthouse, OMF, Biblica and Philippine Bible Society. I made CLC sort final stop, the cherry on my Sundae, metaphorically. And boy, I got a surprised from the CLC crews’ warm welcome.

                I’ve been reviewing CLC Philippines books for a couple of months now and it’s an honor to finally meet these guys who I get in touch in Facebook or by e-mail. I get to meet Ptr. Chris, Sir Don Tan, Mam Shella, Sir Jack etc.I had a great time with them and I get to know those behind the scene stuff from Mam Shella.

Like booths of OMF and CSM, CLC offers also 100 pesos books. They have great titles on the pile and for sure you can find something that will suit you. I love their booth this bookfair unlike last year. They have this backdrop thing were you can take pictures with you and your barkada. A great way to promote CLC Philippines. Kudos for the creativity guys!

Again CLC thank you for the opportunity for reviewing your books and I hope you enjoyed the “panucha” I gave you. I assure you, you’re sweeter that those “panucha” because of your dedication to Christ. I know you’re tired and all but you did a great job out there in MIBF. More book reviews to come! See you guys next year!

Adventures at the MIBF 2013 Part 2

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Now with fellow blogger and Christian friend, Dems Angeles of My Kind of Perfect, we are up and ready to check the booths. As for me, this will be my 3rd lurk de France in the bookfair, but I might missed something. As I tag along with Dems, I affirm that I did miss something. She didn’t buy a book but claimed two from OMF as a prize on their online promo. As we wait for the toddler’s book (that’s for her goddaughter) I had a glimpse of the History Channel’s “The Bible” series. You might say that I’m harsh but I don’t like it.

We left OMF to meet one of her friend, a blogger; author and Manila tour guide Lawrence Chan. So he talks about lots of great stuff and I find this guy quite likeable. He led us to the National Book Development Board (NBDB) booth which offers application forms for authors. We’ll if bloggers counts as authors we are in (although Dems and I both contributed articles for magazines). So the kind lady from NBDB gave us forms and we need to get all the requirements so we can be registered. Wow we are officially authors! Also thanks to Sir Lawrence, we had a free graphology from his friend. They call it a science in knowing your personality by your hand writing. Dems and I got some dose of it that it got me half an hour to get over it. Sir Lawrence then took us some booths and we stop by Goodwill to check some freebies. Unfortunately, we got nothing. So it’s time to say goodbye to Sir Lawrence and I hope to meet him again.

After a walkathon to find the ATM outside the venue, we went back to find ourselves getting lost (that happened twice) over the long lines of Psicom and Summit fans, to went to back to CSM booth to meet Ate Marlene (which you can read in the next post). Another strolling here and there, we chat about blogging and books. Till we feel our feet tired of walking and our tummy rumbling we decided to have lunch (another walkathon again). It’s Saturday and as expected every food outlets are jam packed. Thank goodness we find seats outside Kenny Rogers. Once had our rest and lunch, its bye bye for Dems (who will catch up an event at Libis) and me (going back to the venue).

By the way, you might not know, Best of Anime 2013 was simultaneously on going up stairs at the SMX that day. I happen to drop by and got to enjoy my 60 minutes at the event. But since I can’t discuss this here nor write an article about it I might as well direct you to the photos at my Facebook account. Just click here and drool over the images. And oh while you are there, be sure to add me up as friend, OK?

So again guys it’s been a great year for MIBF and I hope to see you and your friends next year! Enjoy reading!