Book Review: Graciousness by John Crotts

crotts_john-_graciousness_cover__52015-1515524014-315-315Truth be told, Christians has a bad reputation when speaking in truth. We have a tendency to run over everyone whether believers or unbelievers, that crosses our firmly held beliefs. The results are so ugly to look at.

John Crotts latest book takes you upfront that speaking for the truth requires more than zeal but love. “Graciousness” unravels the importance of doing so that is pleasing to everyone and to God. It’s a short book but lots of important aspects of being gracious are discussed. In a 100+ pages of “Graciousness”, the author balances the book for having the first half as setting up the case and the second as cultivating grace in the life of a Christian. For readers it important to have that balance because we want the takeaway part (and that’s why in the first place you pick up this book.)

I have been following Jeff Durbin’s video and I’m really floored on how he is gracious in talking to with unbelievers. Most of us may have spoke to JW or a Mormon and it might be more of an episode WWE than having a friendly conversation. For us being friendly or gracious is a sign of compromise. “Graciousness” begs to differ as it draws examples on how Jesus and the Apostle Paul’s encounters with people and encourage us to do the same.

“Graciousness” is an essential read for people who have been engaging in theological debate to friends who have conflicting views of the Scripture over a cup of coffee. It should be in every apologetics reading list and be read after a long apologetics book.  You’ll find refuge here. It’s a much needed stop over before we engage in a theological conversation. An over flowing graciousness is what every believer as you tell the truth that is edifying to everyone and glorifying to God.

My verdict:

5 out of 5

Check my book review of this book on Amazon: https://goo.gl/6Azejk

Check my book review of this book on Goodreads: https://goo.gl/LZWgm9

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Book Review: Ba’t Di Ako Rich? by William B. Girao

io5yxynMy wife bought this book yesterday and I feel hesitant to check it out. With the title “Ba’t Di Ako Rich?” (Why Am I Not Rich?) I thought Pastor Girao succumbed to the prosperity gospel. That’s why I ignore it in National Bookstore and PCBS. However reading the sub title “and other questions about everyday faith” it dawned to me that this is a Q and A sort of a book.

It was previously published with a different title (the former title wasn’t that catchy) and instead of 37 questions they narrowed it to 20 (which I think represents Pinoy Christian most asked questions). The book aims to answer questions that are very important to the Christian walk. These questions will assist Christians to live out their faith without hindrance. Written in Taglish, this book is surely easily understood by ordinary Pinoys.

Checking out the list of questions we find the usual (but nevertheless important like homosexuality, lust, horoscopes etc.,) topic discussed. Stand out topics for me are Filipino time and God’s will.  These 20 questions represent as 20 chapters and in every chapters/questions there are sub questions to further analyze the topic.

What I like with this book is the topic of giving time for God in the form of quite time, prayer and attending church extended to 5 chapters (16-20). For me this is crucial for the Christian walk and will further help the inquiring Christian.

If you want a book that will answer those questions leaves you wondering how to please God, get this book. “Ba’t Di Ako Rich?” is a helpful book and will encourage you walk by faith everyday.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

The Digital Round-Up #11

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Happy New Year to all! May 2018 bring you a more abundant grace from God. Lets focus on Christ as He leads us to this promising year. Here’s a collection of stuff that’s specially curated just for you. And Oh please come back often.

Free ebook: This Momentary Marriage by John Piper – download this awesome book in PDF format free. Check out the whole section of online books that are also free.

The Year in Pictures – Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” presents photos of those people, places and events that went viral in 2017.

Best of 2017 – Pocket app (formerly Read Later) presents the most saved article in 2017 by its users.

15 Signs You Need a Social Media Cleanse – we all need some time off online. Here’s the sign that you need one.

Justice League helps Wonder Woman on the streets of Manila – Wonder Woman is up against Darkseid..on the streets of Manila (Not Tokyo or New York). You can check it out in Wonder Woman #37 with awesome artworks of our very own Stephen Jorge Segovia and Carlo Pagulayan.

5 Most Ridiculous Books to Ever Become Christian Bestsellers – This is my first time to check Tim Challies Youtube channel and this video is very good.

The Digital Round-Up # 10

zkorsnzHappy New Year to all! May 2018 bring you a more abundant grace from God. Lets focus on Christ as He leads us to this promising year. Here’s a collection of stuff that’s specially curated just for you. And Oh please come back often.

Free Be Distinct by Warren W. Weirsbe –  Part of his “Be” series get this awesome ebook now or it will be gone soon.

Free The Case for Life by Scott Klusendorf – just by participating to this no so brief survey, you’ll get this free ebook in different format from Crossway.

25 Pesos John Stott audiobook – Get his classic book “Basic Christianity” for a very low low price of 25 pesos. Part of Church Strengthening Ministry’s “January Deals” it ends till January 31. Click the link for more details.

Reformation Bible College FB Live – There was some FB Live videos by Reformation Bible College. Dr. Stephen NicholsDr. John TweeddaleDr. Albert Mohler and others were featured speakers. Check the RBC FB page to watch all the videos.

Why People Get More Stupid in a Crowd – The dangers of bandwagon thinking.

Superhero Carbon Footprint –  Not a fan of this climate change thing (because the Bible already tells us to be stewards of this planet), this article poses the question: Is my favorite superhero, Batman environmentally friendly?

How To Teach Kids Spot Fake News

 

 

The Quotable Round-Up #72

tpn6bjcHappy New Year to all!!! To jump start this year here’s couple of quotes from J. P. Moreland’s book “Love Your God With All Your Mind”. May these quotes be your guide this year on what books you’ll buy and read. God bless and Enjoy Jesus!

“Have you been afraid to stand up for Christ when the opportunity presented itself? Or when you have done so, have you come off as shallow, reactionary, and defensive? If so, there is nothing magical about changing your life in this area. First, as with every other area of life, you have to study hard and gain an intellectual grasp of the issues so you can be confident and courageous. Second, you need to be sure that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life; that is, you are to serve His name, not make one for yourself.”

“We must develop intelligent Christians; that is, Christians who have the mental training to see issues clearly, make important distinctions carefully, and weigh various factors appropriately. If we are not really planning to see this happen, then at the end of the day, what we are really saying is that a deep understanding of the Scripture, creeds, and theology of Christianity just doesn’t matter that much.”

“Is it any wonder that we Christians started the first universities and have planted schools and colleges everywhere our missionaries have gone? Is it any wonder that science began in Christian Europe because of the belief that the same rational God who made the human mind also created the world so the mind would be suited to discern the world’s rational structure placed there by God? God is certainly not a cultural elitist, and He does not love intellectuals more than anyone else. But it needs to be said in the same breath that ignorance is not a Christian virtue if those virtues mirror the perfection of God’s own character.”

“Individual rights are important, and, for the Christian, they are grounded in the image of God and not in the state. In other words, the Christian believes that human rights are derived from the image of God in us; they do not ultimately come from the state.”

“Religion is now viewed by many as a placebo or emotional crutch precisely because that is how we often pitch the gospel to unbelievers.”
“Today, we share the gospel primarily as a means of addressing felt needs. We give testimonies of changed lives and say to people that if they want to become better parents or overcome depression or loneliness, then Christ is the answer for them. As true as this may be, such an approach to evangelism is inadequate for two reasons. First, it does not reach people who may be out of touch with their feelings. Consequently, if men in our culture are, in general, less in touch with their feelings than women, this approach will not reach men effectively. Second, it invites the response, “Sorry, but I don’t have a need.”

“The church must train high school students for the intellectual life they will encounter at college. As theologian Carl Henry put it, “Training the mind is an essential responsibility of the home, the church, and the school. Unless evangelicals prod young people to disciplined thinking, they waste — even undermine — one of Christianity’s most precious resources.”

 

 

Pastor Talk: Delighting Grace Interviews Jon Hawkins of Pastor Discussions Podcast (Part 2)

onc7eomLets continue our chat with Jon Hawkins, one of the pastor of Pastor Discussions Podcast that will hit the internet on January 6, 2017.

 Delighting Grace:  How can listeners interact with you guys and be part Pastor Discussions Podcast?

Jon Hawkins:   We have a website set up (www.pastordiscussions.com) and on the front page, there is a contact form. People can fill that out and get in touch with us that way. They can email us at pastordiscussions@gmail.com. They can  head over to Facebook and “like” the Pastor Discussions Podcast page. We just launched that about 2 days ago and already have been given show fodder. It’s great! If you want to stay up to date on upcoming shows and giveaways, you can join our mailing list (details on the website).

In the future we will be adding a group on Facebook for discussion of show content or anything else really. We are also looking at doing some shows on Google Hangout that are just question shows. People can jump on and ask questions and we will talk about them live. Another thing we are looking at is doing a T4G meet up where anyone that’s at T4G can meet up, hang out and chat. We might even record a show live at T4G. If any of our listeners have more or better ideas, we would love to hear them.

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Delighting Grace:  I’m excited already for your podcast. You said that you dont have any experience in podcasting? So now you have one what lessons have you learned in producing a show?

Jon Hawkins:   I have been on a podcast, but I have never had to deal with all the technical aspects of recording it. I just showed up and clicked a link. The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that God puts the right people in your life to help you do the things He wants you to do. Other podcasters have reached out and helped, we have people in our church that have helped and that have given technical advice, people like you have shown interest in what we are doing and offered to promote it, and there have been people that have been excited to be on the show.

It’s funny because don’t drop our premier episode until January 16th, but people are already excited about it. It’s just been amazing to see God bring the right people at the right time as we stepped out in faith. The second lesson I’ve learned is that quality is a must. We have invested in some good mics so that the content sounds good. As I’ve been researching podcasts, there are a lot that I stopped listening to within the first 5 minutes because of the audio quality. I’ve also learned that you can find tutorials for just about anything on YouTube.

Delighting Grace:  For you what might be a sticky topic that you might encounter in future episodes? Is Pastor Discussion Podcast open for controversial topics?

Jon Hawkins:   There are probably 1000 sticky topics because everyone has topics that they are passionate about and have strong feelings about. We have no issues talking about controversial topics because I think that part of the Christian life is dealing with controversial issues using the Bible. The gospel itself is controversial. It causes divisions and is an aroma of death to those who are perishing and an aroma of life to those who are being saved. Paul certainly talked about controversial issues. I’m preaching through Romans currently and Jew/Gentile relations was a massively controversial topic. So while we don’t want to be known for being controversial for the sake of being controversial, I’m sure we will hit on some issues that will cause some people to disagree passionately.

I think the key is to always stay tethered to the Bible and to speak the truth in love and grace. There is a way to say truth and be a jerk. We don’t want to do that. Anything is on the table though and we will try to be gracious and loving while at the same time, standing on our convictions from the Bible and if it’s a secondary issue, my hope is that we can discuss it, disagree with charity, and still be friends. Christians need to learn to disagree with charity and brotherly love. In a culture where disagreement means that you get demonized and are labeled “intolerant”, Christians need to learn how to have hard conversations and challenge one another without breaking fellowship or turning on each other. That will be our aim.

Delighting Grace: Can we have a sort of teaser on how episode #1 will go?

Jon Hawkins:   We are actually dropping 2 episodes on Jan 16th.

Delighting Grace: Wow two episodes!

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Jon Hawkins:   We want to give people a couple of shows to listen to so they can see if it’s something they will enjoy and want to be a part of. Al I ask is if you don’t like the first two shows, maybe stick around. Hopefully we will get better at this. So the first episode will be a kind of intro to the show. We will introduce ourselves and tell a little bit about why we are doing this show and what listeners can expect in the future. We will also be announcing the winners of a giveaway we are running (details on the website). The second one is a secret. You’ll have to check out the feed on Jan 16th but I am really excited about it.

Delighting Grace: The second episode is a secret folks. So better check it out. Please invite our readers to come check you out and how they can get connected with the podcast.

Jon Hawkins:   Thank you for taking the time to read this and giving me an opportunity to share a little about what we are doing. I’d like to invite you to be a part of it and join the discussion. We premier on January 16th, 2018, but the show is already up and active so you can subscribe to the podcast. You can find it on iTunes (https://apple.co/2lKiHZr), Stitcher (http://bit.ly/2CxOszg) and Spreaker (http://bit.ly/2CHJzkU). You can sign up for our mailing list and find show info and promo/giveaway info on our website, www.pastordiscussions.com. You can also find us on social media. Facebook (www.facebook.com/pastordiscussions), Twitter (@RealPDPodcast) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/pastordiscussions). Finally, you can email us a pastordiscussions@gmail.com.

Thank you again for your time and thank you Nitoy for allowing us to share about what God is doing. We are really excited about this and looking forward to having a weekly conversation about doctrine, faith and the Christian life.

Delighting Grace: Again it’s a pleasure giving a hand to your podcast. Guys mark your calendars, January 16 Pastor Discussions Podcast will premier and we hope you’ll listen to it and share it with your friend. God bless and Enjoy Jesus!

 

(Pastor Discussions Podcast premieres January 16, 2018. Check their website www.pastordiscussions.com to listen to their podcast, subscribe to the mailing list and enter exciting giveaways.)

The Digital Round-Up (Freebie Edition #1)

zkorsnzHi guys! Today we will have an all out freebie edition of “The Digital Round-Up”. Delighting Grace will serve you the best freebies that can be useful in your Christian and digital life. We have free ebooks, ebooklets, mp3 sermons, lectures, audiobook, music and videos. And in case you want more please do subscribe to my blog so you wont miss anything. So here’s your awesome freebies! Enjoy Jesus!

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The Confessions of St. Augustine – every Christian should check this classic work of this great church father (Including me if I can squeeze it in my reading list).

God Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life (Ray Comfort) – If you read his Way of the Master and wants to jump start a 10 Commandment evangelism, you should check this free book.

Free booklets from The Gospel Coalition – 14 booklets collected as book, this resource is about their vision for the ministry.

Free booklets from SBTS Press – The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is the home of Albert Mohler and they produce these ebooklets tackling the ministry and culture.

Free Mp3 courses from Westminister Theological Seminary – Featuring lecturers like Carl Trueman, Greg Beale, Scott Oliphint and others, its enough for you salivate and download this resource.

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Free Audio/ Video of 3 R. C. Sproul Children’s Books – Kevin Halloran rounded up these lesser known but excellent works of the late R. C. Sproul. You and your kids will love these stuff.

Audio/ Library – No Copyright Music – I discovered this Youtube Channel recently and I love their free music. You can use them for personal and commercial purposes.