Book Review: “The New Testament in Seven Sentences” by Gary M. Burge

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I’m so pumped up this set of new books by IVP that I never think twice of getting this book and Write Better by Andrew T. Le Peau. I think I’ve  been reading and reviewing books that are either about salvation or Christian living that I long to read something about the Bible. This new book by Gary M. Burge really rewarded me of that craving.

The New Testament in Seven Sentences tackles the major themes of the Bible and not just the New Testament as the title may suggest. These themes helps us better understand the Bible and it’s message. Further it helps us focus on what God’s sovereign plan through Jesus from here and eternity. Burge crafted this book that as you read, you’ll find the Old and New are inseparable and indispensible. Burge is absolutely good in this part stitching both OT and NT together, that you’ll get glued in reading this book. He imparts his skill to provide a solid read that requires less illustration that won’t overwhelm or bored you to death. I was hooked that I read a big chunk of it the moment I started reading it. And I hope you’ll find that enthusiasm over connecting youself with the topic of this book.

The seven sentences in the title are seven verses in the New Testament that presents the seven themes. They are Matthew 16: 16, fulfillment;  Mark 1: 15, kingdom; Luke 9: 22, cross; 1 Peter 2: 9, covenant; Romans 8: 9, spirit; and Revelation 21:1, completion. Some of these verses are familiar and you might know what they convey.  You might dismissed this as another one of the books that will have the same content discussing themes of the Bible. Think again! Burge breaks the familiarity and brings insights that you might have missed as he digs deeper to the OT to bring light to these themes.

My favorite chapter of the book is Burge tackling grace. Burge excellently delivers the the familiar mash up with insights that will further elavate the familiar and illuminate insights you might not heard of. The well balanced blend in the book is a delight for the readers.

The New Testament in Seven Sentences is an engaging book that supersedes its intention as an introduction for the major theme of the Bible. It’s not an introductory book that you will feel hurried or summarized that will leave you wanting but gives you a satisfying read. Please don’t supplement it for something less or it might steal the other book’s thunder. In fact, you might just need this one to do the job in understanding the crucial themes in the Scriptures. Highly recommend!

My verdict:

5 out of 5

(InterVarsity Press provided the digital copy for this review)

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.

 

 

8 Favorite Quotes from the Book “Enjoy Your Prayer Life” by Michael Reeves

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Last Lord’s Day we celebrated Pastor’s Appreciation Month. We let our pastor take a back seat from his usual worship duties and our deacons and lay leaders did their thing which are truly a blessing to the church. Our pastor noted that last Sunday was the first time we had an elaborate program for the celebration and we hope it won’t be the last. Will you pray for our church and our pastor as we honor him and his care for us? Also lift him up to God for his ordination coming next year.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from book by Michael Reeves, Enjoy Your Prayer Life, published by 10 of Those Publishing. If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at 10 of Those.

“…your prayer life reveals how much you really want communion with God and how much you really depend on him.”

“It is the word of God, the gracious message of Christ, that awakens faith and so prayer – and so that must be the basic shape of our everyday communion with God.”

“…prayerlessness is practical atheism, demonstrating a lack of belief in God.”

“Praying is enjoying – and pleading for – the friendship and friendly assistance of God.”

“Prayerlessness always goes hand in hand with a lack of Christian integrity.”

“To know you are a beloved child of God protects you from thinking of prayer as a ladder to God or an exercise by which you work your way into his favour. Prayer doesn’t make you more accepted. Instead, prayer is growing in the appreciation of what you have been given.”

“Prayer is the antithesis of self-dependence.”

“When you default to thinking of prayer as an abstract activity, a ‘thing to do’, the tendency is to focus on the prayer as an activity – which makes it boring. Instead, focus on the one to whom you’re praying.”

5 Questions You Need to Answer In Writing A Superb Book Review

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Book reviews are “staple food” here at Delighting Grace and I hope everyone is enjoying every morsel of it. But you might ask, what does it takes to write a book review? How can someone start writing a review? Well for starters I’m not an expert on whipping up one. However, I do have questions I need to answer when ever I write a book review. It serves as a guide to me. Here are five of them:

Is the title, sub-title or book cover appealing? There is nothing special about me. I may have a blog and I review books, still I’m just an ordinary Joe who likes books. Like many, the name, sub-title, and cover  also influence what I want to check out. For me the cover and title are Easter eggs for things to expect to the book. It might be titled boldly and reveals in the sub-title some claims that raises my eyebrows. So along with a great book cover, it will lead me to want to investigate if it really holds up to what it says up front. Will it keep what it wants to say to the end or will it be a meh? That’s where the the book aesthetics may cause me to read it.

Is it relevant to me, my ministry or church? This is important to me because . On one hand I reading it for pleasure and in another I consider if its important to my personal growth, ministry or church. After all, I’m investing my time reading this book to learn something I might as well invest on what will benefit me. It might be controversial or popular as long as it will provide solid food for the various areas of my faith. It might not be for immediate application but something I can take note of.

After reading the book, does it push me to action? When I put down this book, does it move me to do something? Does this book points back to God’s will for me as a Christian? I’ve encountered books that is so engaging that I didn’t need to finish it and I just sat down for a few minutes and meditate on it. It makes you want to apply the truths that touched your heart. This might  be getting your hands dirty for the Lord or sharing this truth to other Christians, either way, the words from the book connected to you is enough to hack up a great review.

Is the book biblically solid? Does the book centers on Jesus and the gospel? Does the author digs deep on the passages of Scriptures and not just slapping a verse here and there in the book just to make it biblical? Does he exalt enthusiastically Christ in the book that brings a certain excitement as you read the book? These are some questions that will guide someone when writing a book review.

Did I enjoy reading the book? It doesn’t matter who wrote it, or if it’s a long or short read nor who endorses it, it matters if I enjoyed it. It might come through how creative the topic was presented, or the style of writing of the author. His cool illustrations,  wit and humor that keeps you reading are also some factors to consider as long as the truth is thoroughly conveyed and satisfied my expectation for the book. Simply put, do I walk away happy?

That’s my 5 questions that will prep you up if your considering to write a book review. Now get a pen and paper (or laptop) and start writing that great review.

 

 

Cultivating A Passion for God Through Reading

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We had our laymen and women fellowship last August 17 which we focus on the theme Passion for God. The whole day affair was a blessing to us as we share the preaching and fellowship within our sector.

In the afternoon session, we had an open forum. We were grouped into four then we discuss questions pertaining on how we can develop a passion for God. Each group presented their answers in front of everyone. The afternoon was well spend with insightful and engaging discussions.

As much as the thought exchange went well, I feel that I have to share something since we are nearing at the end of this quarter fellowship. The open forum did miss out some questions our speaker provided. And something that is near to my heart was not raised out. So I ask our chairman if I can speak to answer a specific question. The question is about reading and resources that read to ignite our passion for God. So I gave brief talk probably 5 minutes about nurturing a passion driven reading habit. I wish I could have spoken for couple more minutes but I don’t have much time. But if they did allowed me to elaborate further, my response might be like the one below.

Cultivating a Passion for God Though Reading

In response to one of the questions our speaker gave us which is dear to my heart, I would like to share 3 things that could help in the pursue of God through the habit of reading.

It depends on what is accessible to us.

We might blame the internet for the collapse of the record store industry or an impending doom over physical book shops however the internet made something unthinkable. We can access music and literature online free. What can take days or weeks to access is now just on click away. The internet, though slay the physical stores, it offers something revolutionary in digital proportions!

It might be a happy ending then for us who hunger books and music then again what happen?

Just when the internet makes classical music accessible, what did we do?

Just when the internet makes poetry accesible, what did we do?

Just when the internet makes some Christian books accessible what did we do? We turn to social media. Messaging boards and chat rooms were the precursor of the social media today. We consumed them then moved on to Facebook and Twitter.

So how can we built a passion for God through our reading materials when we dont access the good stuff? How do we create good habits when we don’t avail those vast resources in the internet? How can we contribute our reading habits? Make the internet work for you. You have no excuse because of the bulk of materials that are few click away are at your disposal.

It depends on how we view reading.

In the Philippine context, we are not a reading culture. This doesn’t mean we dont read or we are illiterate, it just mean that reading is not in our blood. Reading here is a sub culture.  If I will look back on my childhood days, I can see all the magazines and comics I enjoyed.  I think this is the golden age of reading (late 70’s to mid-90’s) because we buy newspapers and when we go to our neighbor, we devour magazines, comics, songhits and pocketbooks to our hearts desire. Publishing houses are dishing out reading materials here and there. Booksales (the popular second bookstore) are everywhere. Those where the days as they say. Then the internet came and almost obliterate the publishing industry in the Philippines. It also took toll on how we value reading. Suddenly we became too lazy to read.

Then there’s was the emergent of Wattpad that gave us teens and young adults that read books (and also writes). For me that resurgence really made a mark and push people to read. Book fairs and comic conventions are booming is another factor to take note. But thats not enough.

Pinoy Christians should view reading as a discipline, a skill that we need to be learned and to focus on. Again, it’s not in our blood to be readers and it will take a time and effort to put it in our system to be a good reader, nevertheless it’s attainable. We can create a good habit of reading that will be beneficial to us. Reading that is not just for entertainment, but a more of empowering ourselves to pursuit a passion for God.

Social media, with all of it’s benefits to us wouldnt help us achieve that focus. We allow Facebook updates and Tweets to distract us for doing what matters most. It’s an instant gratification because it magnifies our narcissism. Maybe it’s time to lay down our phones and get something to read that in the long run will benefit us and the church.

It depends on what we are willing to let go.

Purposeful reading does have competitors. One of those rivals is Facebook. Rather that occupy ourselves with books that will glorify God we substitute it with something that will glorify ourselves. Not that Facebook is evil in itself but how it robs and distracts us of our time to allocate it to things that matter. Having said that, as believers are ready to give it up for the sake of reading for the Kingdom?

Another one is the TV shows that is a staple to our Pinoy culture. Phenomenal shows like Ang Probinsyano, The General’s Daughter and tons of K-Drama will keep us occupied the whole night. Are we willing to cultivate beneficial reading over Ricardo Dalisay?

We only got 24 hours everyday and sleeping already had a chunck of it. So how do we spead our time? Sacrificing distraction for something beneficial should be our priority.

In the church setting, it’s the responsibility of the pastor to teach his members to be good readers. How do the pastor do it? Recommend good books by mentioning it to the pulpit. Quote some of it on your sermons. Set up book reading clubs. Give books as gifts to special occassions to you members. Deliberately point out the negative effects of social media. Suggest time management. And on and on we can go with all of this. The point is, reading with the endgame of knowing God more matters even in our reading habit. May God bless us all as we take steps to attain this noble pursuit.

Book Review: Struggle Against Porn by Benjamin Vrbicek

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Before picking up this book, you should be aware of the title.  It’s Struggle Against Porn. And as the author explains, this is a book for those men who set to fight this sexual sin. So for those who doesn’t want to commit to cut ties with pornography, this is not your book. However, if you are taking arms to clash with porn, Struggle Against Porn is a truly rewarding read.

Unpacking this book’s  message, Vrbicek uses Scripture after Scripture. With no statistics (actually he provided it on the later part of the book) and a few illustrations and stories, Struggle Against Porn holds on to the power of Scriptures alone to melt the infatuation with porn. Vrbicek believes that the Bible is the only one that can convince porn addicts to turn away from it and come to God. And as you read this book, you’ll feel that intensity that will shake your soul.

Having multiple (but short) chapters,  Vrbicek really sets out to open every angle of the issue and to turn every stone to  expose pornography by shedding the gospel light on to it. And what he did in this superb  book.

Struggle Against Porn is solid and straight edge arsenal for men who wages war against this seemingly undefeated foe.  No gimmicks and no quick fix. The diagnosis is painful. However, Vrbicek’s latest book is ready to side with every Christian men who wants victory over porn. This book is a must read and it will cut through this stubborn sin.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

Read quotes from the book by clicking this link.

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

8 Favorite Quotes from the Book “Will You Be My Facebook Friend?” by Tim Chester

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I got something on my mind for my blog that is pretty cool. But I dont want to announce it yet. I need prayers from you guys for this and I hope and pray it will bless everyone and glorify God.

Anyways, here are 8 favorite quotes from Tim Chester’s updated book Will You Be My Facebook Friend?published by 10 Publishing. . If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by clicking to 10 Publishing or Amazon link.

“On Facebook you do not have a conversation, you have an audience. Your life takes place on a stage and you are your own playwright, creating or recreating yourself through your words.”

“Technology is good. But it readily gets perverted by our sin, and used for selfish ends.”

“What is Facebook’s product? It is you. You are its product, delivered in large quantities to advertisers! “

“many of us find social media so compulsive is that on social media I can recreate my world through my words to gain approval.”

“On Facebook I receive approval and I bestow approval. The result is that many people constantly check their Facebook page because this is where they receive affirmation.”

“Here is the test of whether you are facing this danger: Is your Facebook self more attractive or successful than your real-world self?”

“Some of us have little time for community life and missional endeavour because we are spending too much time on Facebook or watching television or surfing blogs. “

“The Bible is the true Facebook, the book in which we see God’s face. Prayer is the ultimate instant messaging. The church is the real social network.”