Book Review: Humble Calvinism by Jeff Medders

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Humble Calvinism is a call for all Calvinist to bow down to humility. As believers of the doctrine of grace, we have the tendency to puff ourselves in front of Arminians and sadly to unbelievers. Rather that have that attitude and because we have the biblical truth, we must clothe ourselves with utmost humility that the God of the doctrine of grace may magnified through a holy attitude. Medder’s didn’t have to take the readers any where else to see humility. He points them to the 5 points of Calvinism itself as the basis of such attitude. The 5 points screams meekness for the believers and Medders gladly discusses it in every chapter.  You can feel that every points or TULIP acrostics pounds you back to earth and makes you gaze up to look upon God’s goodness.

J. A. Medders is such a wordsmith that he nails every points at the same time ignites your mind of the readers. The opening chapter already grabs our attention. He is an effective communicator that you should not let him escape from your radar. In Humble Calvinism, he really did a fine job getting those words that sometimes are hard for us to come up with.  In fact, you can pick up lots of one liners in the book that you can post on your social media that will strike your friends.

This book reminds me of Killing Calvinism by Greg Dutcher and Graciousness by John Crotts.  I would like to add throw in the mix  Joshua Harris Humble Orthodoxy. All books are faithful reminder that we should lay down our arrogance and handle the doctrine with care. Each books have their own way on conveying the cage stage problem.

Isn’t a coincidence that this book will be released this year as we celebrate the 400th year of the Synod of Dort and 10th year of the “Young, Restless and Reformed” movement? Let it be a constant reminder that in any time in history, Christian should be reminded of the grace of God that saved us sinners. Humble Calvinism an antidote for the cage stage and a refreshing water to the dreary Christians who are tired of seeing Calvinism as a dry, lifeless slab of stone but a living, active energy that is contagious.

Pre-order the book on Amazon or add it to your wish list by clicking this link.  Also check out some awesome quotes from the book by following this link.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

The Quotable Round-Up #109

qak86riI read in a post that “book polygamy” or reading multiple books at the same time loses focus of the intent of accumulating ideas and thoughts ? For me I disagree.  It’s more productive because it can cover lots of books and given having a rest time for each books, it has an advantage. I’m currently reading two, one is for book review and the other is for my self-study. Both have been beneficial to me considering the one has a deadline to meet.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from the book by Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body.  Order the book on Amazon by clicking this link.

“The biblical view of sexuality is not based on a few scattered Bible verses. It is based on a teleological worldview that encourages us to live in accord with the physical design of our bodies. By respecting the body, the biblical ethic overcomes the dichotomy separating body from person. It heals self-alienation and creates integrity and wholeness.”

“According to the body/person dichotomy, just being biologically part of the human race (the lower story) is not morally relevant. Individuals must earn the status of personhood by meeting an additional set of criteria—the ability to make decisions, exercise self-awareness, plan for the future, and so on (the upper story). Only those who meet these added conditions qualify as persons.”

“The problem is that many people treat morality as a list of rules. But in reality, every moral system rests on a worldview. In every decision we make, we are not just deciding what we want to do. We are expressing our view of the purpose of human life.”

“In a Christian worldview, everyone who is human is also a person. The two cannot be separated. This view avoids the radical devaluation of human life. From its earliest stages, the body participates in the human telos, and thus shares in the purpose and dignity of the human person.”

“In the biblical worldview, sexuality is integrated into the total person. The most complete and intimate physical union is meant to express the most complete and intimate personal union of marriage. Biblical morality is teleological: The purpose of sex is to express the one-flesh covenant bond of marriage.”

“Scripture treats body and soul as two sides of the same coin. The inner life of the soul is expressed through the outer life of the body.”

“In Gnosticism, the highest deity would have nothing to do with the material world. By contrast, the Christian message is that the transcendent God has broken into history as a baby born in Bethlehem. The incarnation is genuinely physical, happening at a particular time and in a particular geographical location.”

Book Review: Sunny Side Up: The Breakfast Conversation That Could Change Your Life by Dan DeWitt

afdnawgI don’t usually include the sub title of a book on the title of a book review post for the reason of brevity. I think it’s enough to put the main title because it’s already striking. However in the case of Sunny Side Up, I don’t want people to get into confusion on what the book is about. You might think of it as a cookbook or those mushy generic devotionals that includes food or beverages on its title? Well it’s not. Definitely it’s about breakfast but I don’t know if they had eggs that morning. Kidding aside, what I can assure you is that Sunny Side Up is a life changer book.

The premise of Sunny Side Up is the Gospel of John, chapter 21 were Peter encountered our risen Lord. That morning talk made a difference in Peter’s life. And from that the author looks at other places in the Bible were this lowly fisherman, a denier of Christ turns into a person God want him to be. After reading this book, you’ll have a place for the apostle Peter in your heart like never before as he stumbles on issues of pride, love, following God and forgiveness that we, as believers also mess up too. Good thing God is there to pick us up.

This short book (about a short moment with Jesus and Peter) really hits every wall that hinders us to give our all to God. Truly this awkward conversation in an unusual setting shakes what we consider mundane sins to us. It’s amazing that Jesus, the Creator will have a stopover before going to heaven with a mess up fisherman named Peter. He wants also you to dine with Him. Read the book and prepare to be challenged.  If this is the breakthrough of the apostle Peter, it will also be yours.

My favorite chapter is “Cracked Eggs”. It’s the chapter about forgiveness. I know we all struggle with it and this chapter really pierced my heart and almost moved me to tears. I’m really thankful to the author for this part of the book.

Sunny Side Up is slated to be released on February 1. By then one month of 2019 is already over, but still it’s not too late to read it to start your year right. Celebrate love, humility, being a servant, following Christ and forgiveness in a fresh way from a breakfast conversation.

My verdict:

5 out of 5

The Freebie Round-Up #29

d4mxnqqHello guys! Monday is the start of a new work week and it’s a perfect time to apply what we have learned yesterday’s worship service. Are you excited to do it? Praying that God’s grant you grace to live out His Word today. I hope with these freebies, you’ll find something to kick start a Monday with God. And if your new here to this post or you missed out other freebie round-ups, check the links to those post at the end of this article.

FREE “Bible Basic” online classes – Riverview church prepared this free online class that includes 1 hour long video and 2 hand outs on how to study the Bible.

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Click here to read this post

FREE Conference video and audio of “Your Life in Christ” – Dr. Con Campbell of Covenant Hope Church of Dubai have a couple of conference materials that are free to download.

FREE printable checklist, discussion guides and illustrations for kids – Whether it’s children or teachers that you want to evaluate, Jack Klumpenhower has some freebies that could help. Includes salvation summary, post discussion guides and more!

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FREE e-booklet “What It Means to be Reformed” from Faith Alive – It’s an interesting question that people should ponder. This free booklet address this question and other issues surrounding this topic.

FREE access to Union Theology resources – Tons of video, audio and articles if you sign up for free to get full access including lectures from Michael Reeves.

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FREE “Current” magazine – This is the magazine of The Free Presbyterian Church of North America. It’s published quarterly and contains articles, Bible lessons, testimonies and news. Check this link to read all their magazines for free. 

FREE e-book “Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms” from IVP Press – Glad IVP Press is now in the freebie game (and I hope) they’ll continue to be generous. This free ebook is a valuable reference that contains over 300 terms clearly and concisely defined.

Do you want more freebies? Check out these past blog post:

Freebie Round-Up #28

Freebie Round-Up #27

Freebie Round-Up # 26

Freebie Round-Up # 25

Freebie Round-Up # 24

Freebie Round-Up # 23

Freebie Round-Up # 22

Freebie Round-Up # 21

Freebie Round-Up # 20

Freebie Round-Up # 19

Freebie Round-Up # 18

The Freebie Round-Up #17

The Freebie Round-Up #16

The Freebie Round-Up #15

The Freebie Round-Up #14

The Quotable Round-Up #106

vb6a6bkSaw a few articles that pits physical copy against digital copy of the book. Some lean to the physical ones and others cheers for the digital ones. If you ask me I go for both. There lots of advantages on both formats and also some disadvantages. I enjoy both formats and I think that is all that matters.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from the upcoming book by Dan DeWitt Sunny Side Up: The Breakfast Conversation That Could Change Your Life. Release date is on February 1 but you can pre-order the book by clicking this link.

“Orthodoxy may sound like a painfully expensive dental procedure, but it really means having proper beliefs  about God. Orthodoxy is where every person must begin in their relationship with God. That’s not to say people have to pass a test about the Bible in order to become a Christian. Thankfully, God isn’t looking for academic qualifications or good grades. But in order to become a follower of Jesus, you have to have a right understanding of who Jesus is and the forgiveness he offers..”

“It’s dangerously possible to grow in our knowledge of God without growing in our love for God. We can accumulate a lot of knowledge while our hearts remain far from him.”

“Loving God isn’t a flowers-and-chocolates kind of love. Neither is it cheering him on from the sidelines or singing his latest hit. God wants your heart—and he wants all of it.”

“Anyone who has begun a relationship with God understands the powerful impulse to give God our whole lives, our whole heart. But it’s an impulse that has to be nurtured and fed in order to grow. There’s a whole lot in life that threatens our love for God..”

“No matter who you are, or where you are, you can get in on the invitation to love God. God desires and demands our full affection. That’s because he is the greatest good. And his invitation to love him is for our greatest good. Loving God is what’s best for us.”

“Humility is where all learning really begins. What will it take for you to start learning the lessons God wants to teach you?”

“We need to think about how we prioritize our relationship with Jesus. Do we place Jesus above all earthly relationships? Does he even make it on to our short list? If you have to disappoint someone, would Jesus be the top person you would do anything to avoid disappointing? Maybe, as you read these words, Jesus is calling you to make him first in your life today.”

The Freebie Round-Up #27

USsMH08It’s the weekend and what better way to end the week than to indulge with these freebies. And if your new here to this post or you missed out other freebie round-ups, check the links to those post at the end of this article.

FREE “Young People Magazine” downloads – Solid biblical articles and news is what this magazine for the youth is all about. Download every issues from the Free Presbyterian of Scotland ever published for free.

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Fresh blog post. Click the image to read.

FREE e-book “Book of Praise” by Dennis Teitsma – Do you want your church to sing the Psalms? Here’s a free e-book that will help you. Composed of instrumental accompaniment of 150 Psalms and 85 hymns, this will be a great resource for those who wants to sing the Psalms.

FREE online listen or MP3 of “Psalms of David” sung in Capella–  Another music resource that can either be helpful in your church singing or for private enjoyment. This website has tons of music downloads that are absolutely free.

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Fresh post. Click the image to read.

FREE “AIM Magazine” download – Keep up to date on what how God is moving in the Aborigines group. Download this free magazine from Australian Indigenous Ministries and know their works and how you can help also.

FREE e-book “That They May Set Their Hope in God” by Justin Huffman –  A free e-booklet that focuses on Psalms 78. Justin Huffman points out the duty of every believer to teach the gospel to the next generation that would set their hope in God.

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Fresh blog post. Click on the image to read.

FREE e-book “God’s Good News” by Stanley D. Gale – Ive’d check this book and its awesome. It’s a free evangelism e-book that takes time to explain step by step the redemptive story to the gospel that soul needs. Save it for your ministry.

FREE digital download “The Attributes of God” video series by Steven J. Lawson –  For a limited time, Ligonier Ministries is offering this free download.  Get it while its free and Lawson is a great expositor.

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Fresh blog post. Click the image to read.

Do you want more freebies? Check out these past blog post:

Freebie Round-Up # 26

Freebie Round-Up # 25

Freebie Round-Up # 24

Freebie Round-Up # 23

Freebie Round-Up # 22

Freebie Round-Up # 21

Freebie Round-Up # 20

Freebie Round-Up # 19

Freebie Round-Up # 18

The Freebie Round-Up #17

The Freebie Round-Up #16

The Freebie Round-Up #15

The Freebie Round-Up #14

 

5 Reasons Why Your Sermon is Boring (and 5 Ways to Fix It)

wzOd8BWOf course, God can still use a boring sermon to bless His people.  However that’s not an excuse not to improve and use God given resources available to the pastor. I would like to share (based on my experience) five reasons why sermons are boring and tips to tweak it.

You use the same old illustrations over and over again – We understand that you use the same jokes or illustrations to make us easily grasp what you want us to understand. You want what is already familiar to us. At first we like those stories. However in time those illustrations breeds contempt. We became tired of listening to that part. We already know what part of the sermons were you will insert that. Some of us maybe rolling our eyes and saying in our mind “Goodness that worn out joke is coming…”.  Some of us might even joke about those same old illustrations. And some might feel embarrassed.

Fix it: Its time to find some great stories that will explain points in your sermon. Try reading books (Christian and non Christian), watching TED-talks videos on Youtube, check out Christian blogs or listen to sermons from other preachers. Another tip is what Dr. Nathan Busenitz had suggested is to use Church History. It’s gives informative and timeless  touch to your message. Another thing is, if its possible why not go straight to the point.

You preach the same old topic over and over again- We understand that when you emphasize a certain topic and repeat it over and over, you want to church to really get it.  Of course we want to be constantly reminded of something from the Word of God. However, if that’s often and there is no other topic to be preach, then we have a problem. It might be also that you stick to your forte and scared to try other topics. Whatever the reasons are you need to grasp the heart of church.

Fix it: Ask your preaching team or key laymen on what to preach. Let your other preachers in your church preach. In that way it might reveal what are the spiritual needs of the church.  Consult other pastors about what message matters to your church. Brainstorm in a place other than the church. And one last thing, don’t forget that the Holy Spirit will work even if you preached the topic once.

You talk too much of yourself- It’s one thing to put your personal anecdotes as a good illustration for the message, but when you become the sermon itself, eyes will roll and boredom will strike. In some cases, pulpits can be use to elevate self, academic achievements, virtue signalling and even solicit sympathy.

Fixt it: Let us remind ourselves that preaching is all about God and not you. You are responsible to point us to God through your message. If you’re trying to lift up your name in the pulpit, your glorifying yourself and not God. God didn’t called you to do that. He gave you that privilege to be His mouth piece.

Your sermon is too long – I’m not against long sermons. What I’m against are the unnecessary things included in the message that made it long. Beating around the bush, too much illustrations, personal stories that drift to a rabbit hole, random announcements etc., are some of the reasons the sermon had an unwarranted length.

Fix it:  Why not go straight to the point? Why preach 1-2 hours that will leave your listeners dire of boredom when you can preach a 30-45 minute sermon that will bless them? Maybe its time to sharpen the saw. Sometimes we as preachers should learn to adjust to the listeners not the other way around. Flexibility is the key. Of course, this is not a small step to compromising your message but by learning to be flexible were becoming good preachers in the process. Listen what Spurgeon has to say about shortening your long message:

“Brevity is a virtue within the reach of all of us; do not let us lose the opportunity of gaining the credit which it brings. If you ask me how you may shorten your sermons, I should say, study them better. Spend more time in the study that you may need less in the pulpit. We are generally longest when we have least to say.”

Your listener already heard enough talk even before the sermon begin –  Sometimes the one thing that drives boredom is not in the sermon itself but the talk you had before you start the preaching. You already consumed the listeners time and attention. What is left is disinterested folks who just wants you to get over your message. You already filled their ears with announcements, updates and adventures of your recent trips. Sad, sensitive and discouraging talks will leave them in the slump. Little did you know you long talk stole your sermon’s thunder.

Fix it: Place those important announcements and updates at the end of the service. Set a meeting specially if the issue are for members only. Print out some flyers containing those announcements so your member can read it at home. If its not that serious or demanding you can share it through Facebook group chat.

Pastors, we love and support you. We love you enough to say that their is something wrong with your sermon. We want to be biblically saturated and nothing else. And we know you want it also. However, their something that hinders that goal and that is your sermon is boring. So with all due respect listen to your flock. They want to bring out the best from you.

 

The Freebie Round-Up #26

uVqF9h8Happy New Year! This is the time of the year that we are in restart mode. It’s as if all is brand new and what is left is a clean slate. So why not do some goal setting for 2019? Gear up for a surprise that is waiting around the corner. Who knows what you’ll find. But if you want to boost your spiritual growth and maturity, let these freebies help you. So dive in and check out these free stuff.

 FREE e-book “Bible Study Blitz”  – Written by LaRosa M. Johnson, the who dishes out Bible study tips videos at BibleStudy.Tips, this freebie will help you have that breakthrough in your Bible study struggle.

FREE e-book “Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel” by E. Calvin Beisner – This is one helpful free booklet on what really the Bible is saying about social justice. Beisner answers the common claims of the “progressives”  that pushes “force grace”.

FREE “Clarion” The Canadian Reformed Magazine – You can download for free all the magazines issues from the present to way back 1973! In every issue it has articles, book reviews and news for you to enjoy.

FREE music, leadsheets, chords from Kenwood Music –  Kenwood Baptist Church (lead by Jim Hamilton) offers two albums for free listening and free downloads of chord charts and lead sheets for churches who wants to sing these songs.

FREE e-book “Clerihews” from Theolatte – Dan DeWitt offers his free e-book just by signing up to his awesome blog.

FREE audiobook “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon –  This a great way to start the year by picking up this great devotional from the Christian Audio. To get this freebie, create a free account first.

FREE e-book “Awe” by Paul David Tripp – This is one awesome book you shouldn’t miss. It’s worth the signing up and downloading the app to read this free e-book from FaithLife E-Books. Check my quote post from the book by clicking here and here.

 

The Freebie Round-Up #25

bVUn35jHello guys! It’s the day after Christmas! I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and glorify Christ this holiday. Of course, He is the center of the celebration. And I hope you got your gifts? If not then I’ll leave you with these freebies.

FREE Discipleship e-book by Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull –  Titled “Evangelism or Discipleship: Can They Effectively Work Together?” two veteran discipleship leaders shows how evangelism and discipleship can work hand in hand as church planting aide. Replicate ministries offers this freebie.

 FREE e-book “Gospel-Centered Small Groups: Five Ways the Cross Shapes Our Communities” by Michael Kelley and Chris Surratt – learn how to conduct a gospel-centered Bible study with this free e-book from the Gospel Project. Along with this freebie, you can try 3 free sessions of the Gospel Foundation.

FREE Comprehensive Gospel Centered Pre-Marital Mentoring Program – Biblical Counseling Coalition offers this comprehensive resource on mentoring pre-marital couples. Complete with videos and downloadable PDF materials, you can learn the step by step guide in this free mentoring program.

FREE e-book “Why Pro-Life?” by Randy Alcorn– Read this one and its good. This free book in PDF format answers questions thrown by pro-abortion folks and gives a clear and biblical case on being pro-life.

FREE downloadable newsletter from Kooteni Community Church – This collection of  Kooteni Communicator newsletter has different interesting topics to check out. From apologetics to preaching you’ll find this freebie helpful.

FREE playlist of MP3 sermons and PDF’s from Charles Simeon Trust – Get to know the Bible by listening and downloading these sermons and PDF on “Apocalyptic Literature” and “Preaching the Gospels”.

FREE audiobook “The New Evangelical Social Gospel” by Dr. Roger and Dianne Smalling – Monergism is spot on with relevant resources for Christians. This free audiobook , tackles the social justice of today and how it undermines the gospel.

 

 

4 Ways to Serve God with a Thankful Heart

wmzimcpPsalms 116 gives us more than reasons why God is good. It also shows us how, knowing God is good, to pay it forward. The last part of the psalm presents ways to serve God (and eventually others) with a thankful heart. Here are four of them that David did and we should follow these examples.

Acknowledge God’s mercy in our salvation (v. 13) – This is the first step in serving God thankfully. Like the cup people raised in special occasions, we uphold gratitude towards God by remembering His saving grace toward us undeserving sinners. Think about how God planned your salvation way back before the foundations of the world.  Then look at the extend God had done to His Son Jesus for you to be saved. Acknowledging God’s salvation to you might be enough to cultivate a heart brimful of thanksgiving and moving you to serve. Keep that tucked in your heart every time you serve Him.

Consider our commitment and plans for God (vs. 14 & 18)- What are your commitments to God? Do you set plans, ambitions or goals for God? Paying vows is like that. Not only will it challenge your faith to step to the next level but it will make your maturity grow. As vows committed in the Bible takes matured people to think of it and accomplish it, so will you if you seek to consider it. Of course you do pray, worship, read the Bible and share the gospel, having plans for God is intentionally setting aside something that will glorify Him. We look at our lives we plan and set goals for that vacation, that car or our children’s future. Can we do that to God too?

Have a continuous dependence to God (vs. 13 & 17) – If you look closely at the two verses, you can see that phrase “and call upon the name of the Lord” was mentioned twice. This is not just a prayer of supplication but it shows David’s continuous dependence with God.   Do you continue to ask God to help you? You should because He is glorified in our constant asking. The more we ask the more we grow in dependence to God. And that’s already service to God! Will you consistently seek Him in your journey to this life?

Put your involvement with God in public (vs. 18 & 19) – God had shown you the ultimate “public display of affection” through Christ hanging in the cross. Now it’s our turn to show another ultimate PDA. It’s living the life God intended for you to reflect His glory.   It starts by going to church. Show how you want to serve Him by listening, praising, praying and worshiping Him, with fellow believers in the church. As you root yourself in the presence of the believers and God, eventually your “publicness” with God will eventually flow to your family, work and other parts of your life.  As Matthew 5: 14- 16 puts it:

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Service to God starts with the right disposition of the heart. Having that kind of heart will help us navigate in the different phases of our ministry. A thankful heart matters to God as you serve Him and others.