Disruptions From the Old Normal

m5jhnbr

As my Facebook feed fills with news, memes, and rants about the COVID19, I quickly turn to check my e-mails. It also has tons of e-mails pertaining to the pandemic, but there are some exemptions. One of which is reminding me of something that is so important we might miss it out?

What might we miss in the midst of a global crisis?

Lent! We might forgot it’s still Lent. We are in the Passion Week. Also don’t forget, Easter. Easter pointing to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian message.  Will we miss this out in the midst of fear and anxiety? Will we miss it out because it belongs to the ‘old normal”?

As the so called “new normal” takes over because of the virus, we might temporary forget the “old normal” along with its holy disruptions like Lent. Let add also Sunday worship, prayer meetings, devotions and Bible study as disruptors of the “old normal”. But aren’t we already neglecting, forgetting or down playing these “disruptions” of the “old normal” even before this “new normal” came in?  Did the fire of these holy disruptions became cold as we progress in our Christian life?

I praise churches and pteachers that make much of these troubled times to go to technology to continue their services and Bible study. Some even had a digital communion. I’m glad believers are still pushing these holy disruptors of the “old normal” to the “new normal”. Truly it’s a fascinating time we are in. Of course, the “new normal” brought up by the pandemic drives people to seek God and it is a good thing. But what if after this ordeal and a new “new normal” sets in, will we further push the old “old normal” holy disruptions? How will the the holy disruptors thrive in the new enviroment?

Some of us are following the church liturgical calendar. Our church is not big on Lent but we do have a tradition of gathering for Lord’s Supper during Good Friday and a sunrise service on Easter. It’s a good thing to have these kinds of events that sort of nudging us to remember God in the “old normal” aside from the weekly Sunday service and Lord’s Table.

We might miss out Lent. We might miss Easter. We might miss out other things because of the pandemic.  Including His second coming. Impossible? Go check Luke 18:8.

So what should we do? What can we accomplish on both the “new normal” and “old normal” and supercedes these and everything that will come our way? I have a suggestion. Make these disruptions intentional! In reality, everything that distracts us whether it’s a holy pursuit or indulging in sin, for better or for worse, didn’t come to us unexpectedly. Nor does it came as an accident. We want to be distracted. We intent to be distracted.

We should thank God that He uses days, weeks, people, places and even virus outbreaks to remind of His grace and mercy. These gifts allows us to strengthen our Christian life. Whether its Lent or COVID19, we should be thankful for that reminder.  God is the God of the “old normal” and the “new normal”. His holy disruptions will go on with Him. The only question is: will we pay attention to these distractions?

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Pray Big” by Alistair Begg

qttzgtt

In these troubled times, we need God’s sovereign hand. Nothing in this world can be more comforting than seeking God who holds and sustains everything. Whether it’s the pandemic or as personal as asking for provision, God will surely listen to our petitions.

Here’s some quotes from the book, Pray Big by Alistair Begg published by The Good Book Company. If you like these quotes, please get the book by clicking here.

“Our conversation with others declares what is on our minds. But our conversation with God in private reveals what is in our hearts. Listen to someone pray—or listen to yourself pray—and you gain a window into the very center of the being.”

“The Christian knows that the Creator of everything is not a father; he’s their Father. That’s not a metaphor—that’s a reality.”

“A self-assured person is not going to pray prayers of petition; there’s no need to pray if you think you have got it all covered. A self-righteous person is not going to pray prayers of confession; there’s no need to pray if you think you’re good enough to earn God’s blessing. But the person who knows their heart before God—the person who knows the depth of their need of forgiveness and help from God.”

“If Jesus Christ, the greatest teacher in the world, followed up his instruction by prayer, what of us? If Jesus Christ, who was set on a mission that changed not just world history but all of eternity, took time to pray, what of us? If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, knew that he needed to pray, what of us?”

“Christ has gone ahead, and Christ has prepared your place. It’s hard to see day by day. Even when we understand intellectually, we may give in to fear emotionally. That’s why you need to ask God to make your hope real to you, and ask God to make it real to those around you. Pray for a focus on your hope. “

“Our knowledge of the love of Christ, in our heads and our hearts, is an experiential knowledge, but it can never be an exhaustive knowledge. We cannot exhaust the knowledge of the love of Christ. There are dimensions to his love that will always remain beyond us, even as we come to appreciate more and more how vast it is.”

“My prayers—whether I pray, how much I pray, about what I pray—reveal my priorities. And they reveal how much I really think I need God, or whether I am, deep down, in fact self-assured and self-righteous. “

“Prayer reminds us who we are, and who our Father is. Prayer expresses our dependence and it reinforces our dependence.”

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Thank God for Bedtime” by Geoff Robson

did2wog

Lifeway.PH is underway and as of now I’m inviting friends to contribute articles. Please uphold us as we write for local pastors and ministry leaders for this website.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from the book, Thank God for Bedtime by Geoff Robson published by Matthias Media. If you like these quotes please get the book by clicking here.

“God has been alert, fully functioning, and perfectly attentive for every single nanosecond of history. What’s more, not
sleeping has never caused him to become anything less than perfect for even a moment. I get grumpy and irritable when I have to wake up half an hour early; God has never slept, yet
remains utterly flawless.Stop and ponder that for just a moment longer: God. Never. Sleep.”

“God never disregards his people—not for a second—and our ways are never hidden from him. Why? Because he simply never gets tired. He never sleeps.”

“If you wake up tomorrow morning still trusting in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, it’s because God has given you the gift of ongoing faith in Jesus.”

“Declaring that God is good, even in a seemingly chaotic world, is more than wishful thinking; it’s a historically-based, cross-centred trust in God’s character. The only thing better than knowing all the answers is knowing that God knows all the answers and that, somehow, through it all, he’s working for good. “

“Every day, God gives us the gift of being able to climb into bed and leave everything in his hands. Sleep is incredibly humbling—and therefore incredibly glorifying to the God who never sleeps. God does not expect us to be super-human. He expects us to work hard, and he graciously gives us responsibilities to meet”

“We were never meant to eat the toxic bread of anxious toil. So God invites us to rest, to trust him to provide for us, and to receive the delightful gift of sleep.”

“God cares much more about our character than about our competencies. He cares much more about our works being good works—works done in holiness, in love for others—than about the sheer volume of works we accomplish.”

“Because we are whole beings, our sleep is complex and multifaceted. The more we understand the physicality of the good things that happen when we sleep, the more we’ll be driven to seek it, and to praise God when we find it.”

Book Review: Sacred Endurance by Trillia J. Newbell

wxrlfdq

I think Perseverance of the saints,  is a candidate being a discouraging letter in the TULIP acronym.   Christians will be glad that it is found in the end of the popular nickname for Doctrine of Grace. Believers will be more happy the “P” is actually left out.  As if you’re looking for a happy ending, you get this notion that it is not. You might say “With all those talk it all boils down to persevere and I thought God did it all for us?” Christians like me feels like walking on glass everytime someone talks about the letter “P”. I find it discouraging sometimes when I don’t do the “persevering” part for God.

Sacred Endurance answers the call to help Christians struggling on what it means to endure. Newbell lays it here clearly and joyfully that persevering won’t feel like a burden to us. This book is a map that will cLear out the fog out of persevering.

 As you read this book, you’ll see Trillia as an encouragement machine. Whenever you’re going down, Trillia will cheer you with her biblical insight and personal stories again and again. She won’t let you down. She’ll be your personal coach pumping you up and shouting “Focus on Jesus!” Page after page you’ll be encourage to endure in any circumstances in your Christian walk. Don’t just pick this book up when your down, get it to help you go on an extra mile with your faith.

Sacred Endurance is a book that will tell you not just the “what’ but the “whys” and the “hows” of enduring. Some of us gets bogged down by the “what” that we dread to ask the “hows” and the “whys.” This is coming from an author that has been through a lot in her family life and not a theologian on an ivory tower. She us coming as a fellow learner that we will meet along the dusty road. After reading this book you’ll find joy to go on and run the Christian race with joy!

 My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

(Review copy of this book is provided by InterVarsity Press)

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Sacred Endurance” by Trillia J. Newbell

s1zqfqj

I’m doing a giveaway tomorrow so stay tuned on this blog. This raffle is exclusive to Philippine residents only. What am I giving away? Watch out my big reveal and enjoy the SPURGE! This giveaway is sponsored by Lifeway.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from the book, Sacred Endurance by Trillia J. Newbell published by InterVarsity Press. If you like these quotes please get the book by clicking here.

” There’s nothing and no one who compares to our God. And this truth provides strength to our hearts. Our flesh may fail, our hearts may fail, but we will endure because God is the strength of our heart.”

“Troubles are part of the Christian life, but we’re instructed to take heart. How do we keep our hearts from being troubled? We believe and trust in God.”

“So how do we fight for truth and love in a world of hurt and rage? One way is to be subversive. We need fighters, but not the kind that burn down the nation. We need people willing to keep doing good. Yes, overthrow the culture with good. We need warriors willing to do good to their neighbors—as Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor.”

“Endurance that lasts can come only out of motivation marked by grace, faith, love, and God’s glory. Accompanied by the right motivations, living by grace sounds a lot like freedom, doesn’t it?”

“You and I are going to get this wrong again and again. We’re going to turn our anxious thoughts to inadequate things to give us security. We’re going to be tempted to lean on our own understanding. That’s because we have a battle with sin. But God, being rich in mercy, has given us a way of escape through his Son. And God doesn’t condemn us for our weakness; instead he invites us to come to him.”

“Our motivation comes out of our faith in a God who will never fail us. All others in our life might, but not the Lord. To fail us would go against his very character. So to be motivated by faith is to be motivated by the very character and trust­ worthiness of God.There is no foundation as sure as him.”

“The world tells us to follow the motivations of our hearts—in other words, to do whatever we want. In contrast, Scripture gives us boundaries that aren’t meant to stifle us but instead to help us to walk in the freedom of Christ.”
“The Christian life is a race that will have an end. One day we’ll be complete in glory and with Christ. We’ll receive a prize when this race is finished.But until that time, we must learn to run, endure, persevere, and finish.”

(Review copy of Sacred Endurance was provided by InterVarsity Press)

The Freebie Round-Up #61

2r08wat

Been hacking something for a while that I will launch in February 2020. It’s an out of my comfort zone thing so I have no experience in doing it. In fact, it’s giving me a hard time making one but still I’m enjoying the process. Please include me to your prayer.

Anyways, here’s a list of great freebies that are waiting to be downloaded. 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.

hmdettc

Free e-book “Discourses on Prayer” by Thomas Boston – The latest edition to the ever growing free e-books from Monergism this e-book is from the Puritan Thomas Boston tackling prayer on the basic level.

FREE Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Calendar printable, ornaments and reading plan- Based on the book by Sally Lloyd Jones, these free downloadables are updated for 2019 for your kids.

FREE e-book “The Bible Handbook of Difficult Verses” by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell  – The father and son apologist tandem goes to explain and gives assurance to believers when encountering difficult Bible verses. Download this free e-book from FaithLife by creating a free account (so you can read and save the e-book).xcmxluu

FREE e-book “C. S. Lewis: A Profile of Faith” from C. S. Lewis Institute- A free e-bookthat commemorates the life of this Christian giant with essays from different authors including Dr. Philip G. Ryken.

FREE music with videos, lyrics, chord sheet – 20 Schemes Equip provides music for the church to sing. All free and visit often for more updates.

lf0kmmw

FREE e-book “Why Sex is the Best Argument for Creation” from Is Genesis History? From the makers of the documentary Is Genesis History?  come this free ebookthat collects the best essays on creation.

Free e-book “The Wiersbe Bible Study Series: Accepting the Challenge to Confront the Enemy” by Warren W. Wiersbe- Available till December 13, this is David C. Cook freebie of the week.

By the way, to my Pinoy friends do you want to learn how to self-publish your book? Here’s a step by step video from Loida Bauto an AVM survivor and a PWD vlogger:

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

Freebie Round-Up #60

Freebie Round-Up #59

Freebie Round-Up #58

Freebie Round-Up #57

Freebie Round Up #56

 

5 Reasons Why Preachers Should Listen to Audio Bibles

wborq7g

In the age where apps rule, you’ll find dozens of Bible apps that offers instant access to God’s Word. With those Bible apps comes with features that are truly useful. Some offers Greek translations, multiple translations, devotionals, commentaries, videos and more. In short, there is plenty of stuff a Bible app can offer. But let us consider a special feature that may or may not be included to your favorite Bible app. If it’s not available, one simple search at Google and you’ll find online audio Bibles you can listen online for free. But you might ask, why should I try listening to the audio version of the Scriptures?

Listening is indispensable as reading and when we appropriately add it in our sermon preparations, it can enhance the skill that we already have. Given the benefits of it (as you will read some below),  rarely we associate the Bible with listening other that hearing it in a sermon or Bible study. So I suggest that you try and make it a habit.

I also provide at the end of this article audio Bibles you might want to check out.

Because preachers should be good listeners too. Aside from being a good reader, preachers should be good listeners also. Audiobooks, sermons, podcast and Christian music are great influence as much as reading. If you’re not into those, better consider trying those out. If your tired of reading its time to plug in the headphones. And while your exploring those resources, you shouldn’t miss a vast number of audio Bibles on the Internet for free.

It’s a different experience to the Word of God.  In listening to an audio Bible you’re not in control (sort of). The speed, accent, tone and emphasis of the reader are not in your hands, that you might consider adjusting. It’s like listening to a sermon but it’s all Scriptures.  Also you can attend to other things unlike sitting down and reading the actual book.   

Preachers might miss out some details in a passage. An audio Bible can give a different angle on how to grasp those passages.While you might have read the chapter or verse of the Bible many times before, being read by someone else for you may give some details to have missed. It really pays to re-read a passage your studying. Listening to it over and over as substitute to re-reading adds a different dimension in picking up what you’re studying. After all, we do have limitations and need all the help we can get. Listening to audio Bible is a great help to us preacher.

For proper pronunciations of words. We Filipinos are good in English whether in speaking or writing. However, there are words (i.e. names and places) that are not familiar to us. Listening to an audio Bible will help us overcome those pronunciations obstacles. In return, we can help our congregation speak those words with confidence.    

To fill in the gaps of our time. Preachers has other important things to do aside from preaching and preparing sermons. Some might have secular work. Some might be  working homebound. Aside from filling with some tunes from Spotify as you do your work, you can listen to audio Bibles. And I believe as you listen to it even as a background, God can move hearts in prompting lessons that will help you be more like Christ or something to preach on Sunday. If God can use it when we are reading the Scripture, He  can do it also when we are inclining our ears to audio Bibles.

Reading is a discipline that we mostly use as preachers as we prepare messages that we will deliver on Sunday mornings. We read, of course first and foremost  Scriptures. Then we go to commentaries, study Bibles, lexicons and other resources to properly understand and handle Word of God.  However, we should not forget another facet of discipline that we can grasp learning and help us in our sermon preparations. And that is listening.

Audio Bibles online that you might like:

Talking Bibles

Bible Gateway Audio

YouVersion

 

 

The Freebie Round-Up #60

bnmfoku

It’s the last week of November and it’s Christmas month next week! Yay! It will be a busy month for all of us as we anticipate the holidays. Let us take the opportunity to be more Christ like despite focusing our attention to the upcoming festivities.

Anyways, here’s a list of great freebies that are waiting to be downloaded. 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.

hmdettc

Free leader’s guide “The Way Forward” by Joe Barnard – Well the actual book is not yet release but you can download this free leader’s guide that breaks the book into 10 weeks of study for small group. And while you on it, check out some quotes from the book here.

FREE printable “My Bible Primer ABC’s” by Raising Covenant Children – This free primer is based on the New England Primer that let’s kids see essential Bible themes in an alphabet.

FREE ebook “Faith Blueprints: A Practical Guide to Culture” by Brent Knukle and John Stonestreet  –  And the freebie is back. Read this good book and you can dive into it in this sort of Cliff Notes version.

xcmxluu

FREE study guide “Westminster’s Confession and Catechism” – Glad someone post this on an FB group that I may share it to you. Download for free 20 week syllabus and watch video sessions of this study.

FREE tons of new resources from Log College Press– LCP is busy updating new free stuff so they put the collection in one blog post. New materials and authors to get some biblical insights with a Presbyterian perspective.

lf0kmmw

FREE e-book “The Church is A Family” by AAron Armstrong and Chris Surratt-  This is a very short free ebook but a good read presented by The Gospel Project.

Free e-book “J. I. Packer: An Evangelical Life” by Leland Ryken- This month’s free ebook from Faithlife takes us to the life one of the foremost Christian theologian of our time, J. I. Packer. If you have an account with Faithlife, it will automatically save this ebook in you account and you can read it online.

By the way, to my Pinoy friends do you want to learn how to self-publish your book? Here’s a step by step video from Loida Bauto an AVM survivor and a PWD vlogger:

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

Freebie Round-Up #59

Freebie Round-Up #58

Freebie Round-Up #57

Freebie Round Up #56

Freebie Round Up #55

Freebie Round-Up # 54

Freebie Round-Up #53

Freebie Round-Up #52

Freebie Round-Up #51

Freebie Round-Up #50

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “The Way Forward” by Joe Barnard

uwxgxsc

I’m back with lots of great news for you. Well I won’t tell it now but I’ll share it in a couple of weeks or so. All I can say to it now is: it’s massive.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from the 2020 release book, The Way Forward by Joe Barnard published by Christian Focus. Stay tuned to this blog for upcoming book review and information on ordering this book.

“If seen and appreciated with a heart of faith, the glory of God will affect the soul of a man in two ways. First, it will humble a man. Second, it will inspire a man.”

“The problem is not that men don’t love God or that men don’t value spiritual maturity. The problem is that they love minor goods more than the Greatest Good and that they value little things above the Chief Thing. At the end of the day, love always wins. Whatever a man loves most will direct the course of his life. If a man loves wrongly, he will live wrongly.”

“Being captivated by the glory of Christ is the secret to mounting a coup against a false god. “

“Christians are called to narrow their worship and to invest their spiritual devotion in a single god, in spite of the idols around them. The calling is difficult. The only way ultimately to avoid being taken captive by an idol is to be captivated by Christ.”

” Once a man is captivated by the glory of Christ he will sacrifice anything, endure anything, to be near to Christ, know Christ, and please Christ. He will declare, ‘Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you’ (Ps. 73:25-6). “

“Whoever does not desire Christ above all will not be willing to give up all to have Him. This is no exaggeration. This is the honest truth, a truth that contemporary men need to hear.”

“If men do not have a clear and true perspective of the Christian life, they will not understand what they are attempting, and thus the attempt itself will be naive and ill-measured.”

“Nothing is more basic to Christianity than the need to live by faith, not sight, which is to say by long-term, not short-term vision.”

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

frkmtsd

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)