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.”

 

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

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Howdy! Time really flies and its already the middle of June. Hope you have read lots of books already and still on tract with your reading challenge (if you have one). As for me, I’m a bit slow due to my daddy duty, preparing for materials for our youth small group and graveyard work. Still I’m pressing on to flip some pages. Also bought some MP3 audiobooks of some fictional works so I can listen it on my car while driving to work and coming home.

Anyways, here are 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 yesterday so please do check it out. If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by clicking to 10 Publishing or Amazon link.

“every kid’s greatest need is to be redeemed by the grace of God, and renewed to the image of Jesus Christ.”

“before we get too gung-ho about directing our children to follow Jesus, we should take careful inventory of our own relationship with God.”

“what every child really needs is to be regularly confronted by two costs: (1) the cost God paid to make salvation free for sinners, and (2) the cost of discipleship. “

“A significant marker on the road to raising kids to walk humbly with God is the integration of the Word of God into every area of life. “

“Knowing God, and how He is intimately acquainted with us, stabilizes our souls. “

“God never intended us to read or study the Bible for intellectual benefit alone. Instead, He breathed it out of His mind so that we may know Him, so that our hearts would be born anew and our lives progressively transformed into the image of His Son.”

“Our own growth in Christ directly hinges upon our appetite for the Word. “

“to fear the Lord is to be in such awe of Him that it produces a desire to worship and obey Him by living within His authority structures (home, church, school, government, employment). “

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

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

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

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

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

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

The Quotable Round-Up #118

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The mid-term election is now over here in the Philippines. We can see defeats and victories of those who ran for office. Some are already proclaimed winners. Now lets get back to reality and pray for these newly elected officials that they may serve this country well. There are lots of works to do to help this country move forward. Whether you like the officials or not, keep them in prayers. And always remember the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men.

Anyways, here’s 7 quotes from the new book by Sean McDowell & J. Warner Wallace, So The Next Generation Will Know. The book review is on it’s way but if you want to get the book, click on this Amazon link to place your order.

“… a biblical worldview is grounded in biblical teaching. You can’t align your life to the truth of the Bible if you don’t even know what it says. That’s why everything begins and ends with the study of God as revealed in Scripture: theology.”

“If Christianity is considered to be just a subjective opinion (an individualistic preference about God) and not the unique and only cure for spiritual death (regardless of an individual’s personal opinion), don’t be surprised when young people treat Christianity more like a cookie than a cure.”

“Worldview is not just about the mind—it is also about the orientation of the heart. Simply put, a worldview is a fundamental commitment to reality that shapes how we live.”

“…worldview as simply a view of the world that answers three critical questions: (1) How did we get here?—Origin; (2) Why is everything so messed up?—Predicament; and (3) How can we fix it?—Resolution.”

“…every generation of young people has sought to find their place in the world. But what is different for Gen Z is the depth of loneliness many feel and the availability of endless counterfeits that claim to be able to fill their hearts with meaning.”

“The next generation of Christians faces spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and moral challenges like no prior group of believers. And much of this is because of the ubiquity of technology. Members of Generation Z face more challenges just one click away than previous generations did when they would look for it.”

“Theology and apologetics are not direction­less pursuits. They point us toward holy behaviors and provide us with answers to several questions that matter to young people.”

 

The Quotable Round-Up #113

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I’m half way through Broken Pieces by Simonetta Carr. The book is about  the tragic story of her son, Jonathan as he battles schizophrenia. If you want to purchase a copy of the book at Amazon please click this link. But for now, here’s 5 quotes from that book.

“Once we recognize our powerlessness and fix our eyes on God, we can understand why his Word constantly reminds us not to fear.”

“I remember a popular saying: “A parent only is as happy as his or her most unhappy child.” It’s true, as far as our tendencies go. We would like so much to take on their sorrows, even if that won’t do them any good. The only answer is to ask the Lord to give us all strength. He can sustain us while he works in our children’s troubled minds.”

“It’s easy for us to think that our motherly care is the main influence in our children’s lives, when in reality they are in God’s hands and he uses our parenting efforts for his glory.”

“Pain is an intrinsic part of the Christian life in this earthly pilgrimage.”

“I think that most Christian parents want to “be the Holy Spirit” for their children. We want to enter their minds and direct their thoughts, especially when we see them stray. This desire is magnified in my situation, when my son’s thoughts are absolutely unintelligible and unfathomable—just like the voices he is hearing.”