Book Review: “Aspire: Transformed by the Gospel Part 1” by Matt Rogers

     This book is such a surprise because I would expect it’s just the usual book format that we all know. But as I open it from the postal package, it was this big journal size book. And as I thumb a few pages, the fonts are big and lots of lines which is where you’ll jot your answer. So this is not a usual book. And so is the content.

Matt Rogers “Aspire” is geared for one on one discipleship by tackling first the very foundation of the Christian faith which is the gospel. This book unravels the basic topics pertaining to the gospel in a 15 week study. The weekly studies discuss the gospel incorporated in some Christian doctrines. The starting point is creation where sin enters and how sin where our worship changes its focus from God to Satan. As the book progresses we see how this gracious and merciful God redeems these fallen worshipers. Of course when discussing doctrine, theological words are needed to be defined. “Aspire” covers that by highlighting these important words and defining it. The book’s later parts prepares the reader to be mission minded and to disciple too.

Now comes the sweaty part: the questions. You need to answers these to get most of the book. The questions on each part of the study are not just your run-of-the-mill passive questions you can get from a study guide in a usual book. Rather these questions will make you think and reflect for a moment. Also some of the questions are quite personal. And if you think this question and answer portion of “Aspire” left all the figuring out to the readers, think again. Chunks of biblical content are explained enough for you to chew and be satisfied on. “Aspire” will aid anyone to a healthy spiritual growth fit to be a disciple of Christ.
“Aspire” is well written, theological rich and personal workbook that will ground you in solid foundation. If you don’t know where to start with your discipleship, this book will definitely get you a jump start. If this book is so good how much more would be the sequel? For a pastor this will be a go to book for a deep one on one discipleship. For the individual Christian, prepare for a book that will pull you into a deep understanding of the redemptive story of God. Highly recommended.
My verdict: 5 out of 5 stars
(I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review)

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The Quotable Round-Up # 41

Here are some of the quotes from the book “The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage” which is part of the series titled “The Gospel for Life”. If you enjoy this quotes, please feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!
“Marriage is based in the complementarity of the sexes, and the very real possibility that marriage relationships produce children. Same-sex couples cannot, by definition, produce what society needs: children. This isn’t to be harsh or critical of same-sex attracted persons in general. It is to communicate, however, that the nature of same-sex relationships are never marital, and thus not biblical in any imaginable scenario.”– Russel Moore and Andrew Walker, The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage (The Gospel for Life Series) #biblicalmarriage #samelsexmarriage #russelmoore #andrewwalker #thegospelandsamesexmarriage
“Marriage is created and defined by God in the Scriptures as the sexual and covenantal union of a man and a woman in lifelong allegiance to each other alone, as husband and wife, with a view to displaying Christ’s covenant relationship to his blood-bought church.”– Russel Moore and Andrew Walker, The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage (The Gospel for Life Series) #biblicalmarriage #samelsexmarriage #russelmoore #andrewwalker #thegospelandsamesexmarriage
“Those who believe that God has spoken to us truthfully in the Bible should not concede that the committed, lifelong partnership and sexual relations of two men or two women is marriage. It isn’t. God has created and defined marriage. And what He has joined together in that creation and that definition cannot be separated and still called marriage in God’s eyes.”– John Piper, The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage (The Gospel for Life Series) #biblicalmarriage #samelsexmarriage #russelmoore #andrewwalker #johnpiper #thegospelandsamesexmarriage
“The husband displays the sacrificial love of Christ’s headship, and the wife displays the submissive role of Christ’s body. The mystery of marriage is that God had this double (of wife and husband) display in mind when He created man as male and female. Therefore, the profoundest reality in the universe underlies marriage as a covenantal union between a man and a woman.”– John Piper, The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage (The Gospel for Life Series) #biblicalmarriage #samelsexmarriage #russelmoore #andrewwalker #johnpiper #thegospelandsamesexmarriage
“The good news of Jesus is that God saves heterosexual sinners and homosexual sinners who trust Jesus, by counting them righteous because of Christ, and by helping them through His Spirit to live lives pleasing to Him in their disordered brokenness.”– John Piper, The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage (The Gospel for Life Series) #biblicalmarriage #samelsexmarriage #russelmoore #andrewwalker #johnpiper #thegospelandsamesexmarriage
“The heart of Christianity is that God saves sinners through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The best news in all the world is that Jesus Christ died and rose again so that the most bizarre sexual predator—homosexual or heterosexual—can be rescued from his path of destruction, washed, justified, sanctified, and given a place in God’s all-satisfying presence by faith in Jesus Christ. This is the heart of our message.”- John Piper, The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage (The Gospel for Life Series) #biblicalmarriage #samelsexmarriage #russelmoore #andrewwalker #johnpiper #thegospelandsamesexmarriage
“The recognition of so-called same-sex marriage would be a clear social statement that motherhood or fatherhood or both are negligible in the public good of raising children. Two men adopting children cannot provide motherhood. And two women adopting children cannot provide fatherhood. But God ordained from the beginning that children grow up with a mother and a father, and said, “Honor your father and your mother” (Exod. 20:12). Tragedies in life often make that impossible. But taking actions to make that tragedy normal may be worth prohibiting by law. That’s a factor to consider.”- John Piper, The Gospel and Same-Sex Marriage (The Gospel for Life Series) #biblicalmarriage #samelsexmarriage #russelmoore #andrewwalker #johnpiper #thegospelandsamesexmarriage

The Quotable Round-Up #38

Jolly good day guys! Its this time of the week that we collect some of the best quotes. The book we are now featuring is Donald S. Whitney’s “Praying the Bible”. Grab this book because I highly recommend it.

“God’s mind and God’s Word are so much broader than our own perspective, and he will prompt you through the Bible to pray with an awareness for things far beyond the same old things.”

“Prayer is talking with a person, the person of God himself. So prayer shouldn’t be considered a one-way conversation. And yet, somehow, many people assume that when they meet with God, they must do all the talking.”

“The good news is that you don’t have to come up with new ways to adore the Lord. The Lord has given us 150 chapters of divinely inspired praises (that is, the Psalms) for us to use in adoration.”

“Virtually every line in a New Testament letter suggests something to pray about. In fact, as we’ve already noted, many of these letters include actual prayers.”

“Your confidence that the Lord will indeed answer grows as you ask him to answer you, not because of the earnestness of your pleading but because of the reality that he has set you securely on high in Christ.”

3 Self-Examining Questions Every Christian Should Consider (Part 2)

We can’t go further in our pursuit to please God if there is something wrong in us spiritually. That is why we should have a reality check. In this final part of our lesson we will see the last two questions that are penetrating. It will bring forth who we are in the light of the Bible and lead us to repentance to God. We need to be broken and humbled to be of much use in God’s kingdom. Let’s go back to the Book of Job to see the final two.

2. “what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?” – Job 31:14

“What if God ask you and what shall you say to him?” is a question about the weight of God’s demand to response to His inquiry. Or will we be able to answer Him. What if God ask you on why did you made those decisions that are not God glorifying? What if God demand you to answer those behaviors that are not Christ like? What will you say? Knowing this are we not to be more careful of what we say and do?

3. “Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?” – Job 31: 4

We as believers should not walk in the “counsel of the wicked” (Psalms 1:1) and consider the Bible as the lamp to guide our steps (Psalms 119:1) because as this verse in the Book of Job indicates that He can see our ways and the steps we take. It is therefore a call to be authentic and leave the sinful and superficial things we do in the name of Christ. We can easily play with the thought that God is omniscient and omnipresent in other things but not on us. Here God’s attributes must make us think and floored us with its truth. We must walk in humble obedience to Him because He knows everything about us. Let us focus on how to be true and let this question shake us and do the right thing.  May our merciful God guide us as we desire to please Him in every ways.

More articles here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

3 Self-Examining Questions Every Christian Should Consider (Part 1)

Self-examination is uncomfortable. In our sinful nature we don’t want to see ourselves for who we are. We often want to dwell in this illusion that we are fine and nothing is wrong in our spiritual life. Truth really hurts. But examining ourselves is a necessity if we want to check who we really are and where we are going.

Let us now go to the Book of Job to see these questions. The Book of Job is not just about the patience, sufferings and faith of Job. Rather the main story is about God and His sovereignty. The crisis Satan brought to Job crush everything in him yet he remains steadfast for God. In the midst of his conversations with his friends, you can see that it’s theological in nature. Some do have the right understanding on God and some misrepresents Him. But there are penetrating questions we should consider that are scattered in the Book of Job. We collected three of them. Here’s the first one and next week we will see the rest.

  1. “Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man?”—Job 13:9

 

This question shows the weight of how God searches us. I ask if it’s well or bearable for us if God checks us out.  Our unfaithfulness, our secret sins and our deception might come in mind and we don’t want it to be found out by God. But the reality is He already knows it! We can’t deny what we already have done. This will drive us to be humble and come to Him with a sorrowful heart. Will we start cleaning our mess knowing how heavy this question is? I hope and pray we will.

 

To be concluded next week. More articles here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

Book Review: None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

Oh boy where do I start with this great book? Oops! Yes I already blurted out that this book is awesome. The character of God as a subject of a book might bring in your mind outstanding authors who made a name out of that subject. Wilkin did admit in her book that authors like A. W. Tozer, R. C. Sproul etc., who wrote books on the attributes of God, did influence her in writing the subject. However consider this book as a take on the attributes of God with a female perspective.

Wilkin discuss the 10 attributes of God (infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self- sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and sovereign) and how we finite beings try to live a life that we think we have those attributes. There are lots of things going on in this book but Jen Wilkin manage to gather it up in one place to bring us a one of a kind book on attributes of God. As she goes further and further discussing the topic it goes deeper and deeper to the heart of everyone who is reading the book. She brings forth who God is an intimate level that will not just make us guilty but stand at awe with our sovereign Creator.

“None Like Him” is well crafted book on the attributes of God that will shaken and drive us on our knees. We will get to know our finite self more and trust an infinite God. As for Wilkin, she is an author we should watch out. If you already read books by Tozer, Sproul or Pink on the attributes of God, please include this. This book is highly recommended.

My verdict: 5 out of 5

Review copy of the book is provided by Crossway.

More book reviews here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

Precious Gems Found in the Book of Ezra

Digging from list of names and letters from different kings, we found amazing verses that still penetrates the heart. Reading Ezra, we step into the time where God’s people are rebuilding the temple, wall and altar of Jerusalem.  Rebuilding is not just for the fortified city but also in the spiritual sense. Here are some great verses in the Book of Ezra that are treasure worthy:

“And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.” — Ezra 9:6 KJV

“Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons.” — Ezra 7:23 ESV

“For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.” –Ezra 8:22 KJV

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord , and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”–Ezra 7:10 KJV

“For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem.”– Ezra 9:9 ESV

“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord , “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord , because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”– Ezra 3:11 ESV

The Quotable Round-Up #35

Jolly good day guys! Its this time of the week that we  collect some of the best quotes. The book we are now featuring is from Frank Turek’s “Stealing from God”. Enjoy!

“True for you but not for me” may be the mantra of our day, but that’s not the way the universe really works. If it’s really true, it’s true for everyone.”

“In the same way, our improved understanding of natural laws can never disprove the Being who set up and sustains those laws. To say that a scientist can disprove the existence of God is like saying a mechanic can disprove the existence of Henry Ford. It doesn’t follow. The existence of secondary operational causes does not negate the need for a primary origin cause.”

“But there are very different atheist and theist theories on origin questions. They are more controversial because they cannot be settled by repeatable experiments in a lab. You can’t go in a lab and observe the creation of the universe again, or witness the origin of the first life or new life-forms. While scientists can observe how a cell operates, they can’t observe how the first cell originated. No scientist was there to witness it.”

“Some atheists seem to think that anything unexplained defeats belief in God, as if an infinite God can’t exist if finite creatures don’t understand everything. But there is a big difference between a mystery and a contradiction. Christianity has partial mysteries. Atheism has complete contradictions. Christianity predicts that evil will occur and explains why God allows it in general, but not in every particular case. We don’t have enough information to trace the particulars . . . yet. But good reason provides all the information we need to see that the very existence of evil is a contradiction for atheism. If evil is real, then atheism is false.”

“We can’t see the ultimate outcomes of events because the human story isn’t over yet—not here or in the afterlife where perfect justice will ultimately be done. And even if God were to tell us those outcomes and His reasons for allowing each evil, we wouldn’t be able to comprehend them all. That’s because every event sets off a ripple effect that impacts countless other events and people. How many lives will be changed in the future by the trillions of good and bad events happening just this hour? No human mind can know or grasp it all. And even if we could, knowing the reasons for a painful event might alter our behavior and prevent the good outcome that would have otherwise occurred.”

“Hitler’s words and actions couldn’t be more different than the words and actions of Christ. As Ravi Zacharias has observed, the Crusades and the Inquisition were the illogical outworking of Christianity. They went against everything Christ taught. And you don’t judge a religion or philosophy by its abuse, but by its truths. People can and will abuse true and good things. But that says more about us than it does about God or religion.”

“C. S. Lewis was once an atheist who thought evil disproved God. But he later realized he was stealing from God (grounds of a rational and logical argument) in order to argue against Him. He wrote, “[As an atheist] my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

“Now, an atheist might say, “In our country, we have a constitution that the majority approved. We have no need to appeal to God.” True, you don’t have to appeal to God to write laws, but you do have to appeal to God if you want to ground them in anything other than human opinion. Otherwise, your “rights” are mere preferences that can be voted out of existence at the ballot box or at the whim of an activist judge or dictator.”

“Even if there were infinite time and opportunities for nature to mutate DNA into the information necessary for new life, that still wouldn’t be enough to create a new life-form. That’s because DNA alone doesn’t dictate the formation of body plans.”

How to Create an Instant Digital Christian Library

Previously I posted on my Facebook an article from Tim Challies blog that made theology geeks everywhere shout for joy. The title of the article is “A Secret Way to Kick-Start Your Theological Library” in which he gave tips on how to create a digital library without breaking the bank. Tim listed links of free downloadable theology journals from different seminaries or organizations. He even  includes a link on how to use Evernote to save and catalog those fine resources. I already checked those journals and I can attest that they are great resources considering that they are free. So if you don’t want to buy expensive theology book, this article will give you the best alternative.

I do however have my own tips on how to create a digital library of Christian books. Like what Tim Challies gave in his article, it won’t hurt your wallet. In this way, you’re digital tablet will turn into a Christian library that will enhance you Christian walk. Here are some of them that I also love:

Desiring God– Aside from books written by John Piper, there are books by Tony Reinke, Jon Bloom and David Mathis that are worth reading.

The Gospel CoalitionSome basic Christian doctrines are featured here. Books that are author by Kevin DeYoung, Tim Keller and by those names it’s a guarantee that it will be an awesome read.

C. Sproul’s “Crucial Questions Series” – these booklets are free forever and it’s from R. C. Sproul. Nuff said!

Mongerism – Now if you’re into classic stuff from dead preachers or theologians, get your fix here. Features A. W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, Martin Luther, John Calvin and some unfamiliar but great personalities that are waiting for you to discover.

I could like some more but I think that’s enough books that will keep you company. Now for the app I recommend of course Kindle or UB Reader which you can get at Google Play or the App Store. Also please subscribe by to David C. Cook or Kevin Halloran’s blog for weekly free e-book alerts. That’s all for now guys. Happy reading!

More awesome articles here: https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com

The Quotable Round-Up #32

Hello guys! Here’s your weekly dose of quotes featuring the book “God’s Word, Our Story” published by Crossway. Enjoy and God bless!

“If you’re Chinese  and you become a Christian, you don’t become an African Christian. You don’t become a European Christian. You’re a Chinese  Christian. But your Christianity goes underneath your Chineseness. Likewise, it goes underneath your Italianness. It goes underneath your being a nurse or a lawyer. It goes underneath being an  abused child. It goes underneath anything. It goes to the uttermost  foundations.”–Tim Keller, God’s Word, Our Story

We can  know many things and be quite intelligent, but if our knowledge  is not founded upon and encased in the fear of God, then we just  don’t get it”– Paige Brown,  God’s Word, Our Story

“The fear of God, which is  a huge concept in the Scriptures, is the awe, the reverence, the  honor, and the worship demanded by the majesty of his person,  his power, and his position. This fear is the only proper response  to the God of the Bible. He is, of course, to be before all things in  our hearts, because he is before all things in reality. Therefore, this  fear is supremely rational.”– Paige Brown,  God’s Word, Our Story

“The gracious restoration of a right relationship through  God’s covenant with his people is the story of the rest of the Bible.”– Paige Brown,  God’s Word, Our Story

“A servile fear is appropriate for  those not belonging to God; a filial fear replaces that servile fear  and then characterizes those who are the people of God.”– Paige Brown,  God’s Word, Our Story

“The  fear of God always motivates our living and our doing. The fear  of God is not a contemplation. It is a motivation.”– Paige Brown,  God’s Word, Our Story