Book Review: Beyond the Big C by Jeremy Marshall

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If you’re a Christian with a terminal illness, how would you share the gospel to someone? Will it be hard to convince people to believe? Will they listen to you? What if you have a handful of facts to share to someone? What if your illness hinders them to believe you? These are the questions that came up as I turn to this book by Jeremy Marshall. Perhaps he has these questions too and took it as a challenge to open up a conversation about Jesus. That conversation will likely be this short book, Beyond the Big C.

Beyond the Big C is not a brief bio of Marshall on his journey with cancer but as his mention it over and over the book, it about someone else (which is Jesus).  He gladly admits that he is an ordinary Christian meaning he’s an average Joe with a few (but essential) things he knows about Christianity and why it is true. As you will find in this book, his pain, fear and doubts are the same as what you might experience. However, he is placing his trust whatever the outcome of his battle to God.  And he is challenging you whatever your struggling to place it also to God.    

As Marshall shares his beliefs you’ll find that he’s not arguing Christianity as an excellent  apologist or well learned theologian. He comes in the book as a friend with enough convictions that will not turn you off because it’s becoming preachy or technical. Nor Marshall over loads you with information. Consider him as a stranger starting a conversation with you in a coffee shop, at a park bench or at a hospital lobby.   Marshall is sharing the Christian message with a comforting and encouraging tone without compromising it. 

Beyond the Big C is a one sitting read that you’ll share to people that might be struggling in their life. It’s also for people who is just as he is, ordinary that doesn’t want to do with any religion. I don’t recommend Beyond the Big C for those looking for elaborate, detailed and long arguments on Christianity. Look for something else. It’s a good read and you’ll find it a worthwhile read.  

My verdict:

4 out of 5

(Review copy of this book is provided by 10 of Those)

8 Favorite Quotes from The Book “Write Better” by Andrew T. Le Peau

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I’m half way in reading this great book from Andy Le Peau and I decided to share my first eight favorite quotes from the book (as of now there are many quotes I love). I’ll have part 2 of my favorite quotes once I finish reading this book. Also please watch out for this blog for the interview of Andy. What’s the interview about? Well of course about his book, Write Better and the other one is something I’ll keep for now to give you some suspense. Just wait for the interview guys!

Anyways, here’s some quotes from book, Write Better published by Inter Varsity Press. If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at IVP.

“Essentially, creativity isn’t concocting something entirely unprecedented. Rather it is bringing together two things that have been around for a while but previously hadn’t been combined. Innovation almost always involves building on the past.”

“We all know titles are important for the success of a book. If we are
self-publishing or titling a blog post, readers will decide to keep going or not based on those few words. Titles can even be important in getting a project a second look from an editor or agent. They are the first audience we may try to capture. So we shouldn’t be satisfied with a placeholder title, the first thing that comes into our head, even when submitting a proposal. We beer to work at it.”

“Always carry a small notebook or a smart phone with a note-taking app so you can put things down right away. Ideas can come to mind at any time—while talking to someone, watching a movie, taking a walk. Write down anything that could be developed later—a character’s name or a piece of her backstory, an illustration for a point in an article, a news item, or a vivid descriptive phrase.”

“Rhetorically, word-for-word repetition is far more effective in speaking than writing. In speaking, repetition can drive home points and implant them firmly in our memories. Repetition in writing must be done carefully and subtly. Too much direct repetition in writing is usually boring, tedious, and boring.”

“Stories aren’t just window dressing. They are every bit as much part of your content as the information or advice you might include. They are bound to stick with us long after the information has been forgotten. In fact, stories can be better than mere data because they are richer, embracing more depth, detail, and dimensions than a statement can. A story can tell us more (and in many ways it tells us more accurately) than a series of propositional statements which inevitably must leave out much.”

“Simplicity extends beyond vocabulary to the overall ideas you want to communicate. If you can’t explain the main concept of your piece in thirty-seconds, you are probably in trouble. This means you may need to limit the range of topics covered or keep working till you can express your key thought in a sentence or two.”

“When thinking about our audience, we should try to be as specific as possible—age range, economic status, religious background, ethnicity, geographic location, life experiences, and so forth. In fact, I encourage writers to pick out one person they know that they would love to have read their work. Then write for that one person.”

“The lesson for nonfiction authors. While opening with a strong, compelling story is always a good option, be sure the story is consistent with your main point as well as your target audience.”

5 Ways of Finding Biblical Answers to Your Questions Online For Free

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What is the Trinity? Is Jesus God? What is God’s will to my life? Does water baptism essential to salvation? How do I reconcile God’s love with His justice? What does the Bible say about suicide?

These are some of the questions that puzzles people and as Christians needs to answers. So here’s a list of five resources where you can find biblical answers to those inquiries.

Just a disclaimer though. As much as these online resources provides answers, its better for a Christian to find answers for it first in prayers and searching it through the Scriptures. Also before going online, check it offline by seeking assistance to your pastor or elder.

Ask it in real time – This is a great resource I go to time and time again. Whether if it’s for my personal Bible time or just plain curious, Ask Ligonier is my go to website. With a simple tap to the chat icon, it’s as easy as chatting to a friend on FB Messenger. It’s 24 hours and 6 days a week, Ask Ligonier will help you find answers to your theological or biblical inquiries from their well equipped agents.

Listen to a podcast — With over 1,000 episodes, Ask Pastor John provides answers for theological and biblical questions. They even ask about John Piper’s hand gestures when preaching. Listeners are encourage to send their questions.

Go to Youtube – There are a few ministries channels on Youtube that offers question and answer videos that I would like to share t o you. First stop is Grace to You, which of course is a teaching ministry of John MacArthur. They have this short and full length Q and A sessions you might want to check out. They are so kind to provide a playlist for it for you convenience.

Next is from The Gospel Coalition, which post daily videos on Facebook and Youtube. With their vast author, theologians, preachers and speakers, you’ll find a variety of view point for your questions. They don’t have a specific playlist for it but with a simple digging you’ll find something worthwhile.

Lastly, a channel that you’ll find answers is Reformed Seminary. Since Youtube can be searched by using a hastag, #WisdomWednesday of Reformed Seminary.

Download a free app – We all know the GotQuestions.org is a go to websites for us looking for biblical response to our inquiries. But did you know it has an app? Yes an app that you can read offline, loaded with tons of question and answers. When it’s installed on your phone or tablet you can take it anywhere. It’s also available in different languages.

Grab a free e-book – Let’s end this post with something from Ligonier Ministries again.  Crucial Questions by R. C. Sproul is a eBook series focusing on important questions in the Christian life. And it’s free forever! Another good news about these booklets, Ligonier Ministries keeps on adding new stuff under this series from time to time. Go to their website and create an account to download these ebooks. If you have a Kindle app, you can get the series over Amazon Kindle Store. Either ways the ebooklets are free!

What websites or apps helped you find answers for those burning questions? Please comment down below.

 

 

Book Review “Revolutionary Work” by William Taylor

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If you can’t stop singing “Everything is Awesome” because of the cover that reminds you about the Lego movie, then it’s OK.  Because this book is indeed awesome!

Revolutionary Work tackles on the biblical view of work. This book is based on a series presented at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate by William Taylor. Revolutionary Work shows us the work as God’s gift because of our stewardship role in creation. Therefore, it is essential to us. Also it shows a balanced view of it as all vocations are equal and we should not call one as “special”. Despite of being a gift from our Creator, futility can be seen as we are fallen humans as we toil for ourselves, our family and for God’s mandate. However, work should be done knowing God is our boss and the means for us to bring the gospel to our co-workers.

There are four chapters which are a bit long but you can read their summaries at the end of each chapters, which is cool. If you want to skip all of it and distill the essentials, you should go for the summaries.  However, as much as possible read all of it.  The indexes and the Q and A section are must reads also, so don’t put this book down yet.

I love how Taylor’s treatment of  John 4 on the work of God which is the end goal of all our work. The work of God meaning evangelism. That’s on chapter four, which for me is the most engaging part of the book.

All in all Revolutionary Work, though it’s a slim volume, delivers a meaty content that you can find in a thick book. So this is my third time to give 10 of Those and this book a two thumbs up! Now sing some more “Everything is Awesome”

My verdict:

5 out of 5

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “The Sacred Art of Joking” by James Cary

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It’s been a busy weekend because my father in law was admitted in the hospital due to kidney failure. Please pray for him for recovery and financial support.

Anyways, here are 8 favorite quotes from James Cary’s book The Sacred Art of Jokingpublished by Inter Varsity Press.  If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at Amazon or at the author’s website.

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“clichés have a grain of truth in them. Jokes rely on clichés and stereotypes, and this can easily be the cause of offence”

“the impression is given that any laughter in church will only ever come from the preacher and never from the Bible itself. This will perpetuate the stereotype that the Bible is always sombre and stern when that is not the case. The result will be that comedy will continue to be seen as a deviation from scripture, and something transgressive.”

“The Church needs an antidote for the barbed and pointed jokes made at her expense, some of which are undoubtedly justified. For a shift in culture to be sustainable, this revivial must spring from the foundational.”

“If the preacher repeatedly uses his or her own comic gifts and gets the congregation to laugh, what does that say about the comic potency of the scriptures?”

“Having been exposed to the extraordinary miracles of Jesus from a young age, many Christians have essentially been inoculated against seeing the humour in the gospel accounts.”

“Modern-day Christians who only want to focus on the lovely and the pure run the risk of trying to be holier than Jesus.” “

“There are other reasons for my concerns on starting with a joke, but here is the one most relevant to the matter in hand: it undermines the idea that comedy can be found in scripture itself. “

“Comedy has the power to awaken feelings of outrage or laughter. Either way, the response is immediate and vocal.”

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “To Fly To Serve” by Adrian Reynolds

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It’s the mid week and I hope you’re enjoying God in everything you are doing. Maybe you’re at the office busy (like my wife) or at home (like me taking care of our baby daughter). God is the God even in the mundane. If fact, the ordinary can be extraordinary when you do it for the glory of God.

Anyways, here are 8 favorite quotes from Adrian Reynolds book To Fly To Servepublished by 10 Publishing. My book review can be read by clicking this link.  If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by clicking to 10 Publishing.

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“Remember, your role as speaker is to get from the page of the text to the heart of the hearers.”

“…any Bible speaker in any setting must be prayerfully dependent on the power of the Spirit in their preparation and delivery, beforehand and afterwards. Only when he is at work will anything happen.”

“You can start badly, and even finish badly, but still deliver a good talk overall. However, if the middle section’s content is not there, even the best introduction and sparkiest ending will leave your hearers cold and empty.”

“Your task, as pilot of this Bible talk, is to get the truth from the page of the Bible to the heart of your hearers. Get that bit wrong and your Bible talk is not a Bible talk at all.”

” those of us who are piloting the Bible talks are doing so in complete and utter dependence on The Company: in our case, the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit.”

“With careful and prayerful preparation, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, the talk you are about to give may have exactly the same effect, or even better, than if Piper, Keller or Roberts was standing in front of your audience.”

” a Bible talk is not over until listeners are left thinking about what the main teaching and application is for them personally.”

“A Bible talk is easiest, let’s be honest, if your listeners are all in the same boat. But in most normal churches and settings that’s unlikely to be the case. You’re more likely to be speaking to a mixed lot.”

 

 

 

 

 

8 More Favorite Quotes From The Book “Raising Your Kids in a ‘You Can Do It!’ World” by Paul Tautges

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I really enjoyed reading the book Raising Kids in a “You Can Do It!” World and it’s a great resource for parents in raising their children. So here’s a second serving of 8 favorite quotes from Paul Tautges book Raising Kids in a “You Can Do It!” World, published by 10 Publishing.  I wrote a review of this book in case you missed it. If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by clicking to 10 Publishing or Amazon link.

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“The fear of the Lord begins in the heart, with our attitude. Like every other attitude, it works itself out in how we live and love. “

“Since the Bible consistently argues that all behavior flows from the heart, we must see our role as spiritual shepherds of the hearts of our children. “

“As parents, we should ask ourselves if our kids see in us an awe for God. In the way we speak and live, they need to see our reverence for the Lord.”

“Our goal should be to raise not self-confident children, but God-dependent adults.”

“Our kids don’t need perfect parents. They need parents who know how desperately they need the Savior themselves”

“Never, never lose the wonder of God’s great mercy. Be so thrilled with the gospel that your children will never be mistaken as to who you love most. “

“Make church attendance such a habit that there’s never a need for your kids to ask, “Dad, Mom, are we going to church tomorrow?”

“Seeing God as awesome naturally leads to adoration, humility, and submission.”

 

Book Review: “To Fly To Serve” by Adrian Reynolds

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Getting this book and starting to read it I was puzzled on what this book is about.  The word Bible talk didn’t help me grasp what To Fly To Serve  is all about. In my mind I thought this book, is about sparking a talk about the Bible while on board a plane. I also thought this book is about how pilots or crews can live up being a Christian in their profession. Well it took me a couple pages before I realized that its not striking a spiritual conversation on a plane nor Christians in the workplace. To Fly To Serve is book about sermon or message preparations that will make an impact to your listener.

To Fly To Serve Reynolds is so spot on in trying to convey the message of the book. Using how airlines works all through out the book is a very creative, unique and it makes it easy to digest in the mind. Reynolds really nailed it and manage to glue you till the end of this book. Reading it at the initial pages you might not connect on what Reynolds is talking about, but you’ll get the hang of it as you read further.

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To Fly To Serve is focus on how to deliever your message and not about the content of your sermon. Reynolds provides the step by step and also the ups and downs in preparing a good message that will stick to your hearers.

A quick guide on how to prepare for preaching or teaching in the ministry, To Fly To Serve is a great resource for Christians. This short book definitely will decluter the preparations of a message that sometimes we find complicated and messy. Both seasoned and novice will benefit from this book.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

Book Review: Raising Kids in a “You Can Do It!” World by Paul Tautges

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Raising Kids in a “You Can Do It!” World explores the importance of affirming your kids self-worth by pointing them away from themselves to God.  The secular world may praise our children for their talents and look,s but as parents what does the Bible say? How can we show the biblical view of who we are (sinners) in such away it won’t turn our kids to chase the world for affirmation but reinforces parents that these truth will draw them near to the one who trully awesome, God.   It’s an important subject and you might say it’s a tricky one to answer. However, Tautges superby gives biblical truths and practical through it 8 signpost. This brief book is well though out map that will help you see that God is concern with nurturing our kids self-image.

I haven’t read the whole series and I can only say my opinion on Paul Tautges book. However, by just reading this book, you’ll consider the books in this series.

You can actually read Raising Kids in a “You Can Do It!” World in one sitting and then apply it immediately. It’s brief enough not to get you overwhelmed by the wisdom Tautges shares, but not short that finishing the book that will leave you scratching your head  and wondering what you just have read. Tautges is spot on unpacking biblical truth and excellent in giving practical tips for parents. You’ll get excited reading and applying this book.

Short, clear and biblically solid, Raising Kids in a “You Can Do It!” World is a must read for every parents who wants to rear their children in biblical principles without being a complicated map that will leave you in confusion. Paul Tautges laser focus book will do a great job for parents who doesn’t know where to start or in a middle of a parenting maze.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

Arts and Works: Delighting Grace Interviews Quits Sabio

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While searching for pastors with sermons online for my blog series, a friend recommended me to consider Quits Sabio. Although he has no audio or video sermons online, a pastor having a blog is a plus for me. As I check him out, look at his blog and his websites, I’m impress with his bi-vocation career. And I think many will consider it a cool job. Also, he and his wife is into painting. So an interview must happen :-). And here it is.   We ask Quits about being a game developer, the industry, him being bi-vocation and the biblical view of creativity and arts.

Delighting Grace: Hello pastor. Can you tell us something about yourself?

Quits Sabio: I’m Enriqueto Sabio, but you may call me Quits. A husband to Malou and a father to our only princess, Amara. I’m bi-vocational; an elder at Sovereign Mercy Evangelical Church (SMEC) for almost 5 years now, and the current Technical Director of Funguy Studio. My wife and I love music and arts. In our spare time, we paint and play some music together.

Delighting Grace: How is the game developers industry here in the Philippines? How did you get into the job? It seems to be a dream job for some.

Quits Sabio: Game development industry in the Philippines is booming. Partly because of the height of mobile market here, and we have a lot of creative minds who worked on popular international titles in the recent decade. Not only that, most of our development companies offer diverse services. Spanning from games and onto enterprise applications, and multiple platforms such as mobile (ios, android, windows), console, pc/mac, vr/ar and many more.

How did I get into the job? I just posted some of my prototypes online after graduation, then one day I received a phone call from them. That’s how it happened and It is all grace. This is my first job and I haven’t left ever since.

Delighting Grace: What are the ups and down in your secular career?

Quits Sabio: The downside in my profession as a game developer is the constant need to meet the demands of our clients. Sometimes they’ll call you even on weekends or holidays just because there’s a bug in the game that needs fixing. But the upside is high pay grade. Definitely worth the effort. That is why by God’s grace I’m able to provide a little help in lifting some of the burden from our local church financially. Having said that, I still find some time to minister to God’s flock and be with my family. The other downside though is that sometimes I missed important company meetings and outings, because weekend is non negotiable for me.

Delighting Grace: So you’re a pastor and has secular work. And you manage to blog too. How do you manage being bi-vocational?

Quits Sabio: Currently, I only work three times a week in the office, and twice I have to work from home. With that setup, by God’s grace, I can still lead a bible study every Monday, prayer meeting on a Friday, a monthly visitation for each family, and corporate worship on a Sunday. For sermon preparation, I allocate an hour or so each day to read and be familiarized with the text and then I’ll work on my manuscript for the whole day of Friday and Saturday. That’s what my week looks like regularly. Of course that’s not always the case when I was just starting out on both of my vocations. I struggled a lot because I had to work at the office five times a week. But through God’s providence, eventually I got promoted, and so now I have the luxury of time.

I think the best way to manage your time is to prioritize what’s most important, namely God, then everything will fall into its right places.

Delighting Grace: Wow that’s indeed God’s providence. Pastor, your work requires being creative as well as artistic.  So what’s the biblical view of creativity and arts?

Quits Sabio: A biblical view of creativity and arts is not that far from how we view objective reality around us. Just like how nature reveals the glory of God and His invisible attributes, a true art must reflect the  Author of the good, the true and the beautiful. In other words, there really is such a thing as beautiful artwork and an ugly artwork, good music and bad music. I don’t buy the secular mentality that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. That it’s all subjective. Yes, we may respond to it subjectively, but the criteria for good art is not subjective. There are some criteria for beauty such as form, symmetry and asymmetry, color harmony, contrast and values(light and shadows). It must represent truth even though what you’re portraying is a fiction. Meaning, behind the imagery are objective realities. And if it is to be good, it must either explicitly or implicitly reflect God’s holy character. So just as there’s a standard for morality, there’s also a standard for beauty, namely God.

Delighting Grace: What are the common misconceptions of arts & creativity held by Christians?

Quits Sabio: One common misconception that comes to my mind is the idea that for an artwork to be considered as “Christian Art”, the subject must be biblical figures and events. That is not the case though. Art can be considered a “Christian Art” as long as the Christian artist did it to glorify God. To quote R.C. Sproul; “art is its own justification.” If it attest to God’s beauty and majesty, then it is a Christian art.

Second, as I mentioned earlier, is the notion that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. God himself declared that his creation was good only after he brought order to the void of Genesis 1:2. Also when God commissioned the construction of the temple, He gave precise materials, measurements, colors and form.

Thirdly, and probably the most controversial one, is the issue of portraying the Son of God in paintings, sculptures and even in movies. To understand the issue better, I would encourage you to read the article “Graven Images” from Ligonier.

In the article Robert Letham said;

“Where We Agree. Reformed theology believes in icons too. The idea of image (eikôn) is a biblical category — man made in the image of God, Christ the image of the invisible God. However, beyond this, everything is iconic for the Reformed. God has imprinted evidence of His own beauty and glory throughout creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1–2). What Calvinism did was to enable a this-worldly appreciation of beauty. By eliminating art and sculpture from church worship, it drove it into the world, placing the aesthetic in the context of general revelation, as the witness to God in the world rather than as the focus of the worship of God in the church.”

Basically, what he’s saying is that creating icons or images of any sort is not evil in itself, as long as it’s meant to point us to God within the realm of general revelation. Like how the natural world points us to His glory, and not to replace Him as the object of adoration within the context of church worship. Having said that, the debate rages on even within the Reformed camp to this day. So one must be careful when handling this issue. I for one, don’t paint images of Christ and don’t own one. But when I’m watching movies that does portray Jesus, or when I expressed admiration to the artistry involved in Da Vinci’s Last Supper, I know that I’m not worshipping those images. I know that it’s just an image pointing me to the real one, just like how the heavens declare the glory of God. If that image drives me to God’s word where I’ll find the accurate portrayal of Christ, then that’s fine with me.

Delighting Grace: Now let’s bring those we have talked about in one bag. How do we nurture believers in pursuing a diverse vocation say game developer?

Quits Sabio: Create an environment where they will discover their giftedness. If it is creative arts and music, expose your people to art history. The remarkable thing is, much of the good artworks and music ever composed, or created were from periods and eras where Christian worldview flourished.

For computer programming, just as in biblical exegesis, it requires much thinking. I know this could be a stretch for others, but for me, my training in exegesis and hermeneutics helped me on how to understand programming languages and vice versa. Attention to details is necessary if you really want to have a career on game development.

So we should promote high level of thinking, and at the same time appreciation for good music and arts.

Delighting Grace:  If a young believer seek counsel to you in the matters of which career path he will take, he is choosing either what he is passionate about like graphic design or practical like being a nurse or engineer, what will you advise to him? Will it change if he is a family man?

Quits Sabio: It doesn’t have to be either or. Choose what is practical and you’re passionate about. For me, being a game programmer is very practical and yet is very close to what I’m passionate about, namely creative arts. I think that answers the second question too. It doesn’t have to change if you’re a family man.

Delighting Grace: Thank you pastor for your time. Please invite us check you out and some of your works

Quits Sabio: Thank you for this opportunity, Delighting Grace! You can check out some of my articles through our church’s website at Sovereign Mercy and through Reformed Exegetes Society. For my artworks, just visit MMS Music and Arts.