Category Archives: Fun Stuff

5 Confidence Boosters for 2016 (and 4 Ways to Thank God for It) Part 2

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Continuing last weeks list of confidence boosters that are God given, here are numbers 3 to 5. Next week we will conclude it with 4 ways to thank God for these awesome confidence boosters
3.) On God’s Word
A voice says, “Cry!”And I said, “What shall I cry?”All flesh is grass, and all its beautyOr all its constancy is like the flower of the field.The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it;surely the people are grass.The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”
– Isaiah 40: 6-8
The Bible is not a catalog of do’s and don’ts. It is the God’s Word. And since its from God, it is dependable. As we glance back to the verse, we can see that His words will stand forever. Man’s words may falter but the message of the Bible will not. Therefore it’s dependable.
4.) Proclaiming the gospel
Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news;Or O herald of good news to Jerusalem lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah,”Behold your God!”—Isaiah 40: 9
We have confidence that in sharing the love of Christ to others our labor will not be in vain. All of it is gain even if we face rejection. We don’t however gain anything if we don’t tell the gospel and lose the rewards God will give to us. The gospel is powerful because it came from God. For those who accept the gospel it is an eternal blessing. Rejecting this message of love leads to eternal condemnation.
5.) In God
“Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”—Isaiah 40: 10-11
One might complain that the God of the Old Testament is one unloving God. But Psalms 23 dispels that notion. And so are these verses. God is shown as a compassionate shepherd that tends His sheep. He “tends”, “gather the lambs in his arms”, “carry them in his bosom” and “gently lead those that are with young.” Its one thing to get a confidence boost on the promises of God in His Word and its another thing to lean to God Himself. The God of eternity to eternity gets personal with His elect. Getting personal has been a reputation of God. He has done that when he walk this earth 2,000 years ago. He will do it again soon.
(to be concluded next week…)
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Book Review: Getting Into God by Stuart Briscoe

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Everything has a beginning and the Christian life is no exemption. That’s why to be a Christian, one must be born again. And like a physical birth, spiritual birth starts with the basic in order to grow. Babies drink milk. So do new believers. Babies crawl then eventually takes small steps. Christians also has to crawl and do some baby steps. “Getting Into God” gives us some guide in order to grow in our newly found faith in Christ.

Briscoe divided this short book into two parts. It might be a familiar territory for some but the treatment of every part of this book comes with freshness that is why it’s a good read. Briscoe gave us a not-so technical approach to the first two chapters of the book. The lion share of the book goes to Part 2 and Part 3 which is about prayer and witnessing respectively. I find odd considering that reading the Bible, praying, going to church and witnessing which are essential for Christian growth should be treated in equal parts n a book. But as you dive in the book, you’ll appreciate what Briscoe did. Every chapter ends with something interesting.

Although this book is geared towards the new believer, it does however give something for seasoned believers. Dip in to this brief boom and you’ll benefit from it. The book ends with a personal Bible study that immediately sets the reader to benefit from God’s Word.

This beginner’s guide is a good tool for new Christians. Practical and insightful, get this book for yourself and someone beginning his Christian walk.

Comicbook Review: The Book of God by Ben Avery and Javier Saltares

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Finally Kingstone Comics hits the Philippines shores. These graphic novels are one-shot stories in high quality trade paperback. Content and artwork are great. CLC Philippines is a genius in bringing these Christian comics to the Philippine market.

The first book I read is “The Book of God”. The comic tackles the history of how we got God’s Word. Now the history of the Bible in a comicbook format is very risky thing to publish. Will the reader get bored or confused with the content? Will the artwork suffer considering it cant convey thilling action scenes? Will people tkae this book seriously considering its in a comic format? Despite the stuff you can throw to bog down this comic, all I can say this book is a runaway!

Reading this graphic novel clears all my inquires about the history of the Bible.  Ben Avery is a master storyteller that puts something that can be technical and will consume a thick volume to tackle topic in a comicbook. He brings the scholarly stuff to the hands of an average joe. He didnt withdraw in discussing the Apocypha books, canon and the Bible versions which may leave the readers having information overload or distaste to read more. The artwork is not a visual eye candy but helps also explain certain aspects of the story that words cant.

“The Book of God” connected the important pieces of the history of the Bible in a format that is accessable  and enjoyable. If I had to choose between a book with the same topic discussed in this comic, I would chose this graphic novel. For the new and the seasoned believers you’re in for a ride of your life. Its an oddessey through history filled with information that will equip you and fall in love with God’s Word. I highly recommend this comicbook.

Leading Kids to Christ: Delighting Grace Interviews EvanTell

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photo courtesy of pixabay.com

We are on the last four months of the year and having a blog theme about children is quite a challenge. Now we will focus on another aspect of this theme which is sharing the gospel to children. So I asked Sarah Bowler of Evantell to tell us something about child evangelism.

Delighting Grace: How important is child evangelism?

Sarah Bowler: Studies indicate that as many as 85% of all Christians came to faith between the ages of four and fourteen. That’s a powerful testimony to the importance of children’s evangelism and shows that to be a children’s worker is a high calling.
Additionally, those who come to Christ as children have the blessing of living their whole lives with the joy and peace that come from knowing Christ, as well as the opportunity to influence many others through the course of a lifetime.

Delighting Grace:  Is there an appropriate age that we can say this is the right time we can share the gospel?

Sarah Bowler: All children vary and may come to an understanding of the gospel at different ages, so there is not a particular age that is the so called “right time.” Some will understand the gospel at a much younger age than others.
Try to ascertain where a child is spiritually and begin from where they already are in their understanding. For instance, with young children or children who have not heard any of the gospel before, I often begin by telling them how much God loves them. I might start by giving specific examples such as how God created the world we live in or gives us food to eat. As their understanding grows, you can then take it to the next level by talking about the way God showed he loved us most—by dying for us.

Delighting Grace:  Is it hard to evangelize a child?

Sarah Bowler: On one hand, it is encouraging to know that the gospel message by which we are saved is simple enough that we can explain it to a child. However, children’s evangelism should be approached cautiously, because children can easily be confused by unclear gospel presentations, not understand what they are doing, and thus not actually trust Christ as Savior.

Delighting Grace: What if this kid is the only member in his family that received Jesus. Do you think the kid will have issues to his family because of what he did?

Sarah BowlerYes, it is possible that there will be some hard issues to face with a child’s family, particularly in countries that may be more harsh toward the gospel. I will say, though, that I’ve heard manymore positive stories in which a child who trusted Christ then went on to lead his or her whole family to Christ.
Recently, one of our EvanTell employees visited his home country of Vietnam on a missions trip to work with children and equip believers in evangelism. On a previous trip, he had helped lead some children to Christ. This time many adults in that same village came to listen to the gospelon his return trip because they had witnessed the testimony of Christ at work in the lives of those children.

Delighting Grace: What are the different ways to share the gospel to children?

Sarah Bowler: One of my favorite tools is the Good News Wristband (http://bit.ly/Z7kj2k), which is a gospel bracelet with 5 colors that each correspond to a Bible verse and specific part of the gospel message. Talking about what each color means is an easy way to share the gospel. I also love that it is easily adaptable. If I don’t have the bracelet, I could use construction paper, crayons, or colored beads to tell the same story.

Another fun tool is our CrossTalk tract (http://bit.ly/1rMRSUm), which unfolds in the shape of a cross as you read through the gospel message.
There are several good methods out there, but the key thing to any gospel message is that it contains three things: (1) Our sin separates us from God; (2) Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead; and (3) We must trust Christ alone for salvation.

Delighting Grace: If a kid comes up to you and say “I want to share Jesus to my friends. Can you help me?” what will you tell a child if he wants to share the gospel?

Sarah Bowler:  First, I would offer encouragement and let them know what a great thing it is to share Christ with their friends. Then, I’d probably go over a simple way they could share Christ, perhaps using one of the techniques above.</em>

As you talk with the kid, ask questions while you share your method to make sure that he or she is understanding what you are saying and also has a clear understanding of the gospel message him or herself.

Delighting Grace: If a Christian wants to reach out to kids for Christ, how do they start?

Sarah BowlerI’d suggest taking EvanTell’s free online Seedlings Training for children’s evangelism(http://bit.ly/1tu2CGX). Seedlings is great for anyone who is a children’s worker in a church, or simply knows children (grandparents, parents, caregivers, etc.)

Delighting Grace: Thank you for your time Sarah. Last question: How can we learn more about your ministry or receive evangelism materials?

Sarah Bowler: You can find out more about our ministry by visiting evantell.org or following one of our social media outlets: twitter.com/EvanTell, facebook.com/evantell, pinterest.com/evantell.mTo purchase materials, visit our evangelism warehouse—http://act111.christianbook.com/.

Recap “15 Days/15 Books” Part 2

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imageBefore I round up the 5 children’s book reviews in this book campaign, I would like to say something to our online friends. First, a thank you for reading the reviews and following me the blog. May you be bless by the review and the gospel message that goes along with it. Second, an apology if I’m posting too much in your little space over Facebook and making it look like spam post. Please bear another 5 days (?) and this is all over. Please pray that this blog will make an impact to people specially the gospel.

So before I tell you a good news, lets take another look at the 2nd batch of book reviews:

The White Shoes by Grace D. Chong and Sergio Bumatay III
http://tinyurl.com/m2n9q3t

Boom Bang Clang by Maloi Malibiran-Salumbides and Robert Magnuson
http://tinyurl.com/myndoxv

What’s in Jochebed’s Basket? by Beng Alba and Ingrid Camille G. Tan
http://tinyurl.com/kfeybot

Bakit Hindi Naka-lipistik si Nanay? by Grace D. Chong and Kora Dandan-Albano
http://tinyurl.com/lqtzrbe

So You Want to be a Scientist? by Elizabeth Ong and Harvey Ong
http://tinyurl.com/p6z8b3b

As I have said I have a good news. Creation Ministries International has a special concern over the Philippines in terms of educating us with creation science. They will be opening a Philippine based organization called Philippine Creation Network (PCN). They will be providing resources either free or low cost to reach out Pinoys. Not only that they will be speakers that will be send to hold seminars. Still in the works though but please include them in your prayers. Also I would like to contribute in PCN by offering my blogging skill. If God willing, this organization will help spread the creation science and the gospel. You can check CMI website, http://www.creation.com for more info. Till next post guys!

All Covered Up: Delighting Grace Interviews Nixon Na 

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I know you’ll consider me predictable because the topic of this interview is book covers and inevitably, I’ll mention the quote “Don’t judge the book by its cover”. Well you can judge a literal book by its cover, because Nixon Na, OMF Lit’s Art Director, points out that it tells what the book is all about. That and more will be discuss in this interview. Also as a bonus, we will get to have a sneak peek on his comicbook projects. Sweet….

Delighting Grace: How important is a good cover for a book? What do you think is the impact of it to the reader?

Nixon Na: In the book industry, where your first sales pitch is your cover, the cover should capture the interest of the book’s intended market in the first 3 to 5 seconds. In those few seconds a good book cover must say:
1. What the book is about
2. Who is the intended reader, and
3. “BUY ME!”

Delighting Grace: I think readers might have noticed this, why does the local edition and international or US edition of the same book have a different cover? Why do you have to come up with a Pinoy version when it already has one?

Nixon Na:Sometimes it has to do with licensing but most of the time it’s a marketing issue. The original cover may not work locally or the cover design is outdated. In these cases, our Marketing department along with the Editorial department recommend a “facelift.”

Here are some examples of re-covers I’ve done.

Saving My First Kiss by Liza Velthouse

Philippine Version

International Version

This is a good example where the original cover may not have worked well in the local market since the image of confetti is not something many Filipinos are familiar with.

Other times it becomes more of a “packaging” concern. In the case of Hearing God by Dallas Willard, by changing the cover OMF Lit was able to reach a younger and wider range of audience.

Philippine Version

International Version

Desiring God’s Will by David G. Benner is an example where giving it a “facelift” would help to increase sales of the product.

 

 

Philippine Version

International Version

Delighting Grace: Those are great examples of re-covers, Nixon.Please tell us the process involved in creating book covers for OMF Lit.

Nixon Na:To start, I will need some key information about the book. First is the book title, this may sound insignificant but knowing the title is important because it determines the type of image I will choose for the cover.

Sometimes, the artists are assigned to start conceptualizing the design but the book only has a working title, the title is not yet finalized. So you really can’t fully design the cover yet.

Second is the primary target audience. This info will help me choose the design style or design approach that is best suited for the project. Third and last is the author’s writing style. Knowing the “writer’s voice” serves as a guide on how I should make the design. Will it look whimsical? Serious? Academic? etc.

Once I have all of these information I then start researching (for photos, texture, fonts, other design elements). When I can’t find the right stock photo or image, sometimes I take the photos or illustrate the image. I then make thumbnail sketches of the design and then lay-out the design in Photoshop. Usually, I make three cover studies. The covers are presented to the covers committee. When the committee has chosen the most suitable cover study, I then finalize the design.

Delighting Grace: Say for example, OMF Lit wants you to do a local cover for Joshua Harris’s bestselling book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” which has this iconic cover, what will your cover be like?

Nixon Na: HAHAHA! You put me on the spot here.
I would have to consider that the original cover is already iconic, and we are just giving it a facelift for the present-day audience. I guess my three studies will look like this:

Study One: Photo of a guy with the same iconic pose and image cropped similarly. The guy will still have the same kind of hat but I’d loosen the stiffness of the suit in the original cover and have the guy  wear a simple long-sleeved shirt. I’ll stick to the same fonts used in the original cover.

Study Two: Again photo of a guy with the same iconic pose and image cropped similarly. But this time he’ll be wearing a cap and a T-shirt. Since this cover design is a bit more modern looking, I’ll typeset the title similar to how the title of Boy Meets Girl was typeset.

Study Three : Hmm…. I guess I’ll “cheat” and combine the image from study# 2 with the font treatment from study# 1 and make it monochromatic to make it look closer to the original cover, Hahaha! Paano, on the spot kasi eh :p

Delighting Grace: Hehehe. For you, what makes the best book design or cover?

Nixon Na: To answer this question, I’ll put myself in the position of a would-be buyer. For me, a book design has done its job well when it captures my attention and speaks me even if I’m eight feet away from it. If by simply looking at it I can already tell the tone of the author’s voice, then it’s a good design. And of course my best gauge for an effective book design is when the cover makes me want to buy the book even if I have no plans of reading it. Heaven knows I’ve done this more than a few times already, but the good thing is I’ve discovered some excellent writers this way.

Delighting Grace: Nixon you also illustrate comic books. How did you get into this kind of work?

Nixon Na:Illustrating comics is something I’ve always wanted to try ever since I was in high school. But not having the skills to write a story, I knew I would have to rely on a writer to be able to produce a comic book. I didn’t have many writer friends then. But when I started working at OMF Lit, I was blessed to meet Ian Magallona, who’s an editor. Through him, I met Emil Flores, one of the founders of Polyhedron Comics, who is a writer. Also through Ian, I met his best friend, writer-illustrator Robert Magnuson. Long story cut short, things clicked between me and these guys and so then I started illustrating comics with Polyhedron.

Delighting Grace: You’re working on your on solo project. I read somewhere you’re a bit hesitant with doing it on your own. Can you tell us more about it?

Nixon Na: I finished working on “CADRE: First-Born Sons” in November of 2011. In March 2012, by God’s grace, I was in C.B. Cebulski’s list of potential artists to work for Marvel Comics. So I was on a high! But there were no new stories for me to illustrate under Polyhedron. With no writer to partner with, I realize, I’m pretty much stuck with drawing pin-ups. By this time, I’ve also been designing book covers with OMF Lit for more than 10 years.

I soon started feeling dry creatively. I felt edgy. Then came a low point in my life which I prefer not to  discuss for now. Sensing how I felt, Robert encouraged me to write my own story.

With low grades in my English subjects, I’ve never considered myself a writer. So yes, I was very hesitant. But with Robert constantly encouraging me, and later on, Emil giving me his insights, I felt a little more confident to write a story. Best of all, my wife, Joan, who’s an editor (she’s also Robert’s editor), read my draft and told me I should pursue the story. So that’s how this solo project started. Now, I just pray that I can finish the first issue before the year ends.

Delighting Grace: Thats something to look forward too. So Nixon to wrap this interview up, please tell our readers to check out  your comic books. Do you have Facebook and other social media outlets so fans can connect with you?

Nixon Na: Yes, thank you for asking.  I illustrated Ulupong ng Morong, which can be found in the anthology titled, Triple Punch Komiks. Also look for CADRE: First-Born Sons. Both of these stories were written by Ian Val Magallona and published under Polyhedron Comics. I also illustrated a short story by Jordan Santos titled New Digs, which you can see on my Deviant Art account:  caswallon.deviantart.com. Also you can find me on Facebook: Nixon Na Art.

Marianito “Nitoy” Gonzales is a 30 something introvert whose passion is to proclaim the good news about God. He wears many hats but he is just an ordinary guy serving an extraordinary God. You can reach him at his FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

Summer Komikon 2014: The Fanboy Menace Part 2

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After the CR break we stroll to other rooms in the Bayanihan Center. But I forgot to tell you before the CR break we met the gals of Black Ink Shortcuts. Shortcuts are comicbooks that has 3 stories illustrated in manga style. Reira and Rica wrote and draw the “Ninja Girl” story. They were all shy but friendly. They signed my comics and even left the booth to have a picture with me. They do some extra stuff for fans. Again as always, I gave them gospel tracts and move on to the next stop.

 

We slip first in the Indie Tiangge section to say hi to Jun Dayo. I consider Sir Jun my connection with my childhood days with Funny Komiks. He is a legend. I know he already knows my presence because I can here from a far, “Pastor Nitoy is here…” (Note: while I enjoy being called a pastor, I’m not a pastor. I preach and lead our young people at church but I’m not a pastor. You can call me Bro. Nitoy or simply Nitoy 😊). I met his wife who is on the table while Sir Jun is busy doing his thing. I bought the 2 in 1 “Pinoy Old School Komiks” which his wife handled to Sir Jun to get signed. I also pulled a 1992 Funny Komiks which draw some attention from the younger crowd. I handled it to his wife then in turn gave it to Sir Jun. I gave him a gift. A book titled “Important Questions and Answers” (I saw one of his photo attending a Bible study I presume and I think its fitting to give this book. If your reading this Sir Jun, I’m praying for you and you family. You can always contact me and we can talk about spiritual stuff).

 

After that me and my friend left the room to go to the next room (little did I know Sir Jun run after me to have our picture taken. But we already have left. He told me on Facebook. And I promise to him on the next Komikon we will do it).

The next room was for Pinoy international artist who will do some artwork for you to take home or the Komikalye. Swarms of fans were there that makes an impression that you have to fall in line to have his autograph. But some of them informed me that I could squeeze in because I’m just after the autographs (they are waiting for their artworks). Those fellow comicbook fans are very nice to me for letting me through. If you read my Komikon article last year I was targeting this artist to have my Cast comics get signed. Finally, I get to meet him. Stephen Segovia who works for DC and Valiant (previously at Marvel) was on the farthest table.We shook hands and I showed him his artwork gig over Cast comics. He politely signed it and we had a photo op. I gave him the last Gospel of John booklet and the gospel tract. If you are a Christian, please uphold these folks to God that they may accept the gospel.

Returning back to the main hall, I have conceived two missions: get my Private Iris autographed by Arnold Arre and find the guilty party of my two Culture Crash comics. Unfortunately, we reach back Arnold Arre’s table to find he is gone. Mission #1 failed! On with Mission #2: find the artist and writers of my 15 year old Culture Crash comics! Again, I forgot to tell you (see I not getting younger) before leaving Nautilus Studio I asked Jamie Bautista if he knows the creator of Culture Crash. He told me to ask Elbert Or. So me and my friend travelled to Elbert’s spot, only to find him gone. We ask the some creators nearby but they pointed us to the center tables to try our luck. We ask to ladies who are selling comics but we receive negative replies. Last try are comic folks near the sales ladies.

“Do you know the artist of this comicbook?” I ask.
“Ok go to Michael David the creator of Kubori Kikiam” they replied.
“Thank you!”

Michael David’s booth is near Arnold Arre’s spot. We pass by there a few times. Again we stroll to near the stage to meet Michael.
“Are you Michael David?”
“Yes Iam!” he said as we shook hands.
“Do you know who are the artist behind this comic.” showing my decade and a half Culture Crash comic. He then pointed me ove the next booth.
“He’s the only one who’s here. Elmer Damaso suppose to be making an appearance but he has other matters to attend to.”
I came near to Taga-Ilog who illustrates the series “Pasig”. Before I could talk to him someone is calling on his phone. So as he signs my comicbook, he was talking to the phone. Talk about multitasking. But I was entertained by a fellow comics fan and we talk about of course Culture Crash. It was a short but sweet talk then she walks away. Me and my friend said goodbye Taga-Ilog (later I found out his name is Melvin Calingo) and to Michael David. And thats it. Mission #2 is victorious!

After all of the tiring walk, my friend suggested for us to watch “Ang Maskot”, a short filmed starring Alex De Rossi, Ketchup and Ramon Bautista. Finally, we can sit back and relax. Its a good thing I still have my bottled juice and a Snickers bar to dig into as we watch the film. The film was totally hilarious (it has a scene where Ketchup is giving a dirty finger and saying explicit words which I object. Is it necessary to have that on a funny movie to make a point?). It gave us time to massage our feet and rest our aching back.

Wrapping up our adventure as we exit we saw Stephen Segovia and Arnold Arre getting interviewed by TV5. Its so great to see that mainstream media is covering this event and showing every Pinoy that the local comic scene is alive. So guys, let us support our own comicbooks. Till the 10th Komikon on November, happy komiks reading!

(By the way, since I gave some of the gospel goodies over Summer Komikon here’s something for you guys:
“For Your Joy” by John Piper http://goo.gl/PFGRiV)