Category Archives: Advices

Book Review: The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need by Jeremy Pierre and Deepak Reju

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Some short books nowadays that teach basics are called “primer”, “sampler” and “bite-sized”. They carry topics that some of us think should be discussing in a thick volume. These are the most needed books in this fast paced culture that won’t eat away your time. They should be easily understand and accessible to anyone but still carry striking content. And that I think “Pastor and Counseling” by Pierre and Reju cornered those requirements.

“The Pastor and Counseling” is a minimalist of a book. Minimal in word by leaving not just the jargon but also mazes-like explanations. Minimalist on the topic which is solely about a pastor who is about to counsel someone.  A straight forward and laser focus to the topic is what this book boast.  Divided into 3 parts (concept, process and context) this book is gear to layout to any pastors essentials in counseling without the fuzz. I think this book can be pulled out of the shelves and a pastor can immediately dive before the counseling session.

The appendix is gold because it has the “templates” you need to start counseling your church member in need. An amazing “crash course” and “ready for action” book that makes you salute 9 Marks for bring this out. “The Pastor and Counseling” is an excellent resource that jump start you into counseling.

My verdict 4.5 out of 5

Review copy of the book is provided by Crossway.

More book reviews here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

The Quotable Round-Up #19

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Here are the freshest quotes from your favorite Christian authors. May this bring encouragement to you throughout the week. Enjoy!
“Faith’s neediness yields to faith’s trust.”
— David Powlison
“To obey God’s will is to love well because you are loved well.”
–David Powlison
“Functional atheism is our most natural state of mind.”
–David Powlison
“The human will is desperately set against God and is the great devourer and destroyer of thousands of good intentions and emotions which never come to anything permanent because the will is acting in opposition to that which is right and true.”
–Charles H. Spurgeon
“If the kingdom of God doesn’t sound absolutely beautiful to you, you will always be finding other things to worship.”
–Ed Welch
“The saints are not marked most deeply by what they do but by who they are. They are born again. They are a new creation. They do not go in and out of this newness. It is God’s work. And it is irrevocable. But the fruit of it in faith and obedience is a fight to the end.”
–John Piper
“The distance between us and God is infinite in every way. But God’s is infinitely great to span that distance.”
–Richard D. Phillips

Four Stages on How an Unbeliever Comes to Jesus Part 2

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Now we come to the last 2 stages of how an unbeliever comes to Jesus. We might find these people are not necessary following the four phases. They might be in the indifference, curious, seeking or belonging stage. But in any case meet them at any phase with the gospel.
Seeking
“Where has your beloved gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?” Song of Solomon 6: 1

After being curious, they want to see for themselves who this beloved that the Shulammite woman keeps talking about. As a Christian, this is an opportunity to further tell them about Jesus or take them to church. In this point they might accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

 

Belonging to Christ
“Return, return, O Shulammite, return, return, that we may look upon you. Why should you look upon the Shulammite, as upon a dance before two armies?Or dance of Mahanaim” Song of Solomon 6: 13

The daughters of Jerusalem found beauty from the Shulammite woman. Because of what how she spoke and how passionately love her beloved, she won the people’s heart. The word “return” was repeated four times suggesting they want more for her. They want what she got. However, King Solomon intercedes to their demand for his bride. It seems as if King Solomon is saying “Look at me”. The woman became beautiful because of King Solomon. Her beauty is brought up by how much she loves her beloved. At this point they might have accepted the gospel. They could be even gone through baptism. Believers should be aware that as they lead people to Christ, they need to keep on pointing them to our Savior. They might be there for you, for the church, for the music and for the warmness of the believers. Make sure they are there for Christ. Tell them their allegiance in on Christ. To be much useful in the church and to the world, they must be grounded to Jesus. We belong to Christ. Let us not forget that.
God bless us all as we lead others to Christ.

(To be concluded next week…)

The Quotable Round Up #4

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Guys its another Tuesday and you know what it means. It’s “The Quotable Round Up” time! Like we do every Tuesday we deliver 7 quotes from todays (and I hope yesteryears) Christian leaders. Today we present to you quotes from John MacArthur and David Platt. Enjoy!

“Our fellowship with God is not meant to wait until we are in heaven. God’s greatest desire, and our greatest need, is to be in constant fellowship with Him now, and there is no greater expression or experience of fellowship than prayer.”
–John F. MacArthur Jr.

“For if this gospel is true, then we must spend our lives and mobilize our churches for the spread of Christ’s love to unreached people groups all around the world. Jesus has not given us a commission to consider; he has given us a command to obey.”
–David Platt

“Since the ultimate purpose of our salvation is to glorify God and to bring us into intimate, rich fellowship with Him, failure to seek God in prayer is to deny that purpose.”
–John F. MacArthur Jr.

“We who know the gospel have been given the greatest gift in all the world. We have good news of a glorious God who has come to deliver men, women, and children from all sin and all suffering for all time. Therefore, we cannot —we must not —stay silent with this gospel. Gospel possession requires gospel proclamation.”
–David Platt

“Continual, persistent, incessant prayer is an essential part of Christian living, and it flows out of dependence on God.”
–John F. MacArthur Jr.

“While the human body has many parts—a head, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, teeth, arms, legs, fingers, toes, and internal organs—they don’t all have the same function. That analogy beautifully illustrates the relationship of individual believers to the entire body of Christ. We constitute one body, yet we have different roles that complement one another.”
— John MacArthur Jr.

“A true child of God won’t be preoccupied with his own plans and desires but the dtermination program of God, revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.”
–John F. MacArthur Jr.

Book Review: Transforming Households by Alfonso G. Pablo, Sr.

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photo grabbed from CLC Karuhatan Facebook

Met the author on his book launch last September, I remember briefly talking to him. A mild mannered fellow, I falsely assumed that he won’t write a book that goes beyond the usual Christian book. But looks can be deceiving! As I check his second book, “Transforming Household”, Alfonso G. Pablo, Sr is top caliber author and we need such writers with a vision to apply biblical foundation for the Filipino family.

“Transforming Household” is a book that you won’t ignore. Definitive and comprehensive it can outshines its foreign counterparts. This is a living testimony that a book about engaging the family with Jesus in a Pinoy setting is possible. Complete with charts and graphs and a runaway content, every Christian should watch out for this author as he serves more books in the coming year.

Something for the pastor and the church to consider, “Transforming Household” it is a must read. The book might be a bit bulky but its content is meaty. Brimful of wise and practical advice, its passion to bring the Pinoy family to the true biblical pattern can be truly felt in every page.

Finding the “True Church”: Delighting Grace Interviews Conley of TrueIglesia.org

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There have been lots of apologetics resources concerning the group Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC). But I came across at this webcomic http://www.trueiglesia.org. I find it very helpful for us Christians who wants to share the gospel to our INC friends. I had an e-mail interview with its creator, Conley, and we talk about his ministry and how to reach the INC for Christ:
Delighting Grace: First of all, its a pleasure chatting with you about your ministry that has a heart for INC members. So how did you get interested in reaching out this group?
Conley: Like the comic describes, I studied the INC while in the US and that’s also where I created the website.  There is a significant INC presence in the San Francisco Bay area and I can even walk a couple of miles to get to the nearest one here in Mountain View.  My subsequent trip to the Philippines during July was primarily to strengthen relationships with some churches I would like to partner with in future evangelistic efforts.  I hope to move to the Philippines permanently so that I can study the various sects that have sprung up there and publish resources to respond to their claims.  My trip wasn’t entirely unrelated to the centennial, but I didn’t have a chance to spend much time interacting with INC members over the course of the month.
Delighting Grace: Why a webcomic to reach the member of this church? As I read your webcomic, you made mentioned Comicon and for sure I think you love comicbooks.
Conley: A Filipino I had met on a previous trip suggested that I make a comic to keep the attention of the younger members.  It really did turn out to be a good idea.  Due to the format, I honestly think it’s one of the gentlest responses to the INC that exists on the web.  I do enjoy comic books myself, although I have never actually been to Comic Con.  Regarding the creation of the comic, I wrote the storyboard, my wife made the illustrations, a Pinoy brother at my church in California translated, and several other members of my church edited. It was a church effort, which is a huge blessing.
Delighting Grace: Is their a culture and language barrier as far as communicating to them the gospel and orthodox Christianity? Its pretty obvious that most INC followers are Pinoys. Maybe some non-Pilipino believers may have encountered this group and wants to share God’s love to them?.
Conley: Yes, there are some significant cultural and language barriers inengaging INC members at several levels. First, part of what has given INC doctrine so much success is largely that it relies on English-based equivocation, which easily goes undetected by those who speak English as a second language.  An example: the phrase “ends of the earth” refers to the distant parts of the globe while the phrase “ends of the world” refers to a future time.  The INC says that the words “earth” and “world” are synonyms, so therefore certain verses in the Bible that talk about the “ends of the earth” are referring to a future time — specifically a time when the INC would be founded.  The fact that the INC uses English translations of scripture to make these arguments makes it difficult for ESL people to catch the fallacy.

Another language barrier exists in their rhetorical vocabulary.  They don’t think that they “interpret” things, which is silly since that word simply means to ascribe meaning.  They equate “understanding” with “believing” and say that someone who doesn’t believe doesn’t understand.  I’ve had to learn how to avoid these problems words in order to avoid unnecessary hangups.

Coming from the other side of things, there’s a large cultural barrier in working with evangelical churches in the Philippines to try to share the gospel with the INC.  In the US, it’s perfectly permissible to go outside of a large event (like the centennial) and pass out tracts.  In the Philippines, that wouldn’t be considered as appropriate.  Additionally, few Filipino evangelicals are willing to engage in a polemic and speak out against false faiths.  Part of this is fear of persecution, but a lot of it is simply an eastern form of respect.  There are good sides and bad sides to that aspect of the culture.
Delighting Grace: Do you still have communication with them? How are they now?
Conley: I’ve since managed to speak with a couple of the INC members I met during my studies.  Unfortunately, not much has changed, but we can pray that God will send someone to water the planted seeds.
Delighting Grace: Can you give us tips on how to share the gospel with these friends of ours?
Conley: Here’s some tips on how to share the gospel to an INC member:
Personal preparation:
1. Read and know your Bible.  I can’t stress this enough.  INC members make the error of paying lip service to the Bible while they rarely read it.  It’s easy to think that we are better than them on this account, but ask yourself: how often do you really read and study the Bible?  Do you know it well enough that you could tell me the theme of Galatians or be able to characterize John as compared to the other gospels?  Knowing a few verses isn’t the same as reading and knowing scripture.
2. Pray for INC members.  This is an area where I fall very short.  We must acknowledge that it’s only God who can change the heart and part of acknowledging that is by going to him in prayer.
3. Be bold and have a heavenly perspective.  I know that many Filipinos are intimidated by the INC or even afraid of persecution, but if we believe the promises of Scripture, there is no reason to fear.  (Hebrews 13:5-6; Matthew 5:10)

When evangelizing:
1. Focus on helping the other party understand, not on winning an argument.  Too many times I see Christians present the truth to INC members in a way that is harsh and isn’t really focused on helping them.  We should by no means compromise on the truth, but a gentle response turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1) and causes people to listen.

2. Focus on gospel issues, not on tangential issues.  I see many Christians focus on disproving INC prophecies or criticizing the behavior of certain ministers.  There is certainly a time and a place for this if done appropriately, but I worry that people focus on these things just to tear down the other party and then are left in a situation that isn’t conducive to building a positive case for the gospel.  If instead you focus on their view of Jesus, you can give them a true Jesus.  If you focus on their works righteousness, you can give them Christ’s righteousness.  These things can cut to the heart in a way that talking about the meanings of Hebrew words or newspaper headlines cannot.

3. Focus on scripture, not on human philosophy.  Faith comes through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17), not though some other means.  Make sure your defense is based on the Bible and not own your own way of reasoning to truth.

4. A very practical tip: I personally think that Hebrews 1:10 is one of the best verses you can share with an INC member.
“8 But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
10 And,
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;”

In this verse, the Father clearly and directly says that the Son created the universe, something they reject.  The INC tends to get distracted by verse 8, where the Son is called God — they have arguments to say that’s mistranslated, but very few have ever considered Hebrews 1:10.  They will try to go to other passages, but if you can keep them focused on this one, they will have no choice but to face the fact that Jesus is the creator.
Delighting Grace: Thank you, Conley. Please invite them to you website and also your social media accounts.
Conley: You read the comic and learn more about this ministry at trueiglesia.org.  In addition to the comic, the site has nearly 100 published articles that may be helpful for anyone struggling with particular contentions that come up in INC discussions.  We also have a Facebook page with over 50,000 likes (facebook.com/trueiglesia) and a twitter account (twitter.com/trueiglesia).  During the day in the US, I’m available in our chatroom at trueiglesia.org/chat.

Delighting Grace: Any last words for our readers and of course our Iglesia ni Cristo friends?
Conley: To my brothers in Christ: be bold, regardless of how other faiths treat you.  Some people are goats and some people are sheep, but remember that Paul was a sheep even while he persecuted the church. There are many in the INC who are just like he was, a sinner destined for grace.
To my friends in the INC: I hope that as time progresses we can have some healthy dialogue that hasn’t really existed in the past.  As always, I would encourage you to read the Bible.  If you have not read the book of John before, I’d encourage you to start there.  May God bless you.

 

3 Essential Things That Matter In Life

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Only Luke 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!