Tag Archives: church

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

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     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)

The Quotable Round-Up #44

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Here are some of the quotes from the book “Tactics” by Christian apologist Greg Koukl. If you enjoy this quotes, please feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!
“Without the work of the Spirit, no argument — no matter how persuasive — will be effective. But neither will any act of love nor any simple presentation of the gospel. Add the Spirit, though, and the equation changes dramatically.”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth
“Here’s the key principle: Without God’s work, nothing else works; but with God’s work, many things work. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, love persuades. By the power of God, the gospel transforms. And with Jesus at work, arguments convince. God is happy to use each of these methods.”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth
“Our job is to communicate the gospel as clearly, graciously, and persuasively as possible. God’s job is to take it from there. We may plant the seeds or water the saplings, but God causes whatever increase comes from our efforts.”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth
“Understanding God’s central role in the process removes a tremendous burden. We can focus on our job — being clear, gracious, and persuasive — and then leave the results to God (what I called “100% God and 100% man”).”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth
“Sometimes the little things have the greatest impact. Using simple leading questions is an almost effortless way to introduce spiritual topics to a conversation without seeming abrupt, rude, or pushy.”– Gregory Koukl, Tactics #apologetics #christianconviction #defendingthetruth

The Quotable Round-Up #37

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For this week we are featuring quotes from J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith’s latest book titled “Rooted”. Hope you’ll like it and please pick up a copy.

“The church, Christ’s body, is called to live now in the light of the future.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Everlasting forgiveness is found with Jesus, by faith alone in his death for our sins and in his resurrection from the dead.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“When sin entered the world, God didn’t turn a blind eye. In his justice and mercy, he’s provided the Savior.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“What we need today is a gospel-minded bucket list. In eternity, you won’t be able to travel to Thailand and tell unreached peoples about Jesus. You won’t be able to give your money to pro-life movements. You won’t be able to evangelize your friends and family members, urging them to look to Jesus. That’s for now. Today. Right now. This is the mindset we need today.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“True worship is glorifying God in all of life—to the perimeters and edges of life.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“If you have a paralyzing fear of death, you are living as one who has no hope. You are living with a bad eschatology.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Christians have no need to fear death because we are going to be raised from the dead, joining Jesus in a resurrection like his.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

“Now, our greatest accomplishment is something we didn’t do, but rather something that’s been done for us and in us. We boast in Jesus’s cross.” –J. A. Medders and Brandon Smith, Rooted

 

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

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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: Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

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Missional and motherhood might the last two words you’ll put together. Missional is a task of engaging the world with the gospel either in Zimbabwe or your next door neighbor. Motherhood in the other hand might give you pictures of a homebound mother feeding her children. However in Gloria Furman’s latest book, “Missional Motherhood” these two words convey the plan of God to His elect, how Christ work uphold this nurturing and the important role of “mothering” to the church and the world.

Part 1 of the book is the story of God’s grand plan for us. It’s a re-telling of the Old Testament stories which God despite of what sin has done to us, He is there as a nurturer. Even if the image bearers rebels over and over, God’s redemptive plan is unhindered. It’s a long read that might make want to skip because you already know some of it. Then again for those who are not familiar with the story (it’s either a new believer or a non Christian) this is a thrilling read. Imagine reading the OT in one sitting and understanding the big picture.

Gloria gave the last part of the book the solution to what seems to us a foiled plan of God for us. She showed how Christ intercedes to us as we become “nurturer”.  We see here Christ as a creator, redeemer, prophet and more. It’s a well executed writing from Gloria Furman as she connects Christ roles to motherhood. It’s not a copy and paste thing then poof a book on missional. She knows what she’s writing.

Gloria Furman wrote not just another missional book but THE missional book about motherhood. She’s not jumping on the bandwagon but she sets something that everyone should give a second look. “Missional Motherhood” can set a bandwagon in itself because of its biblical and theological rich content that is engaging and accessible to everyone. Yes I said the word: EVERYONE. This book is not just written for “mothering” women but “mothering” men also. Men should not read this to understand women who are “mothering”but how men can be “mothering” too. Great book worth grabbing at Amazon or you local bookstore.

My verdict 4.5 out of 5

Review copy of the book was provided by the author.

My Goodreads review of the book: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1653777109

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

Millenial Motherhood: Delighting Grace Interviews Gloria Furman

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As the millenial or the connected generation slowly marches into marrying age, study shows that they have their own sets of views on having a family. So do want to consider having a full time focus on the family and some has the ideal number of kids which are distinct from previous generation. Being connected in mobile phones and Facebook has also some effects of what they value most. But as believers, no matter what is the trending paradigm, we need God as the center of our lives and reach people with the gospel.  Delighting Grace asked Gloria Furman, author of the new book ” Missional Motherhood” what she thinks of this unique generation and how to engage them with the message of the gospel:

Delighting Grace: What do you think are the challenges of millenials stepping in marriage and motherhood?

Gloria Furman: I think regardless where we live- from the Philippines to the US to the Emirates- the challenges of the millenial women stepping into marriage and motherhood will be to believe God’s timeless Word over the ever-changing culture. 

Delighting Grace: Does these challenges to grab hold on the Word of God differ from the other generations that came before them? I could say that other generations don’t have mobile or internet so it might have a different setting.

Gloria Furman: The challenge of believing God’s Word is a old as the garden of Eden. God created man and woman to be His image bearers and managers over His creations, so He gave them words to live by. They needed God’s word, and God’s story to guide their lives. But the Enemy schemed a way to make the story about him. Satan tricked the man and woman to bear his decrepit image, spread his kingdom of hell, and live by his poisonous words instead. This millenial generation will face they very same challenge of submitting to God’s Word and resisting temptation to try and stand in judgment over God and His Word.  

Delighting Grace: Wow that indeed is a challenge. One of the marks of being a millenial is being connected. How does this affect the lives of millenial mothers?

Gloria Furman: Millenials enjoy the privilege of being connected to one another virtually via the internet. The downside though, is the illusion that this virtual connection is indeed true. Living out the Scriptural “one another” commands is something we can try to do online, but is best done in personal relationships in our local church. Millenial mothers are affected by their desire and real need to be connected, but have to find creative ways to facilitate genuine connections with sisters in the body of Christ.  

Delighting Grace: Well said, Gloria How do we reach out these millenial mothers who are in need of the gospel?

Gloria Furman: We share Christ and his cross with joyful boldness. The situation of millenial moms may look complicated and foreign when you read the news from other places in the world, or meet someone on the streets in your neighborhood, but across the globe their deepest need is the same as everyone else’s. They need to be reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. There is no salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Share Christ confidently and with joyful boldness, knowing that Jesus is going to call His sheep and they will hear His voice. 

Delighting Grace: Yes we need that joyful boldness to preach Christ crucified. You came from the western culture and now ministering an different culture. Are there shifts or adjustments with this?

Gloria Furman: Absolutely. I’ve had to adjust in many ways and am thankful for everything I’ve learned from my Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ. One small way I have adjusted is to learn new words in order to communicate better with people. My vocabulary in English expanded, and certainly my vocabulary in other languages is growing. My Tagalog-speaking sister at Redeemer (church) have taught me to chat with their countrymen and as if they know the “magandang balita” (good news, the gospel). And tell them that “mahal ka ni Hesus” (Jesus loves you). 

Delighting Grace: Haha. Nice. Your learning some Tagalog words. So you have a latest book “Missional Motherhood”. Please tell us the process of writing it?

Gloria Furman: This book was written in the span of about three hours for forty days. This work beautifully to me, as a young woman named Katyln came to live with our family and help me care for my kids and physically disabled during the busy month. She took the kids to the playground and to lunch for a few hours a day so I can write this book and turn it in before we left  for an even busier summer. 

Delighting Grace: Please invite our readers to check you out in your social media and your new book “Missional Motherhood”

Gloria Furman: Yes please! I’m on Twitter: @gloriafurman, and you can find “Missional Motherhood” book over Amazon and The Book Depository. If you’d like to download the intro and the first chapter free, you can find the link on the Crossway page for the book: http://www.crossway.org/books/missional-motherhood-tpb/

Delighting Grace: Thank you Gloria for the sharing your time for this interview. So folks get her book “Missional Motherhood”. Gloria did an amazing job for this book. If you don’t believe me then try the freebie Gloria shared. Warning be ready to get biblically soaked with the excerpts. Please check back this blog for my review of the book. Till next time guys! God bless!

 

The Quotable Round-Up #30

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Here are the quotes for the week featuring the book by R. C. Sproul “What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics”. Enjoy and God bless!

“The call referred to in effectual calling is not the outward call of the gospel that can be heard by anyone within range of the preaching. The call referred to here is the inward call, the call that penetrates to and pierces the heart, quickening it to spiritual life. Hearing the gospel enlightens the mind, yet it does not awaken the soul until the Holy Spirit illumines and regenerates it. The move from ear to soul is made by the Holy Spirit. This move is what accomplishes God’s purpose of applying the benefits of Christ’s work to the elect.”

“What the unregenerate person desperately needs in order to come to faith is regeneration. This is the necessary grace. It is the sine qua non of salvation. Unless God changes the disposition of my sinful heart, I will never choose to cooperate with grace or embrace Christ in faith. These are the very things to which the flesh is indisposed. If God merely offers to change my heart, what will that accomplish for me as long as my heart remains opposed to him? If he offers me grace while I am a slave to sin and still in the flesh, what good is the offer? Saving grace does not offer liberation, it liberates. Saving grace does not merely offer regeneration, it regenerates. This is what makes grace so gracious: God unilaterally and monergistically does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

“Once we grasp the doctrine of total depravity, we know that no person will incline himself to faith in the atoning work of Christ. If God does not supply the means of appropriating the atonement’s benefits, namely faith, then the potential redemption of all would result in the actual redemption of none.”

“The ultimate aim of God’s plan of redemption was to redeem his elect. To accomplish this end he ordained the means. One was the atonement made by his Son. Another was the Holy Spirit’s application of this atonement to the elect. God provides for his elect all that is necessary for their salvation, including the gift of faith.”

“Faith is not something we conjure up by our own effort, or the result of the willing of the flesh. Faith is a result of the Spirit’s sovereign work of regeneration.”

“God certainly has the power and authority to grant his saving grace to all mankind. Clearly he has not elected to do this. All men are not saved despite the fact that God has the power and right to save them all if that is his good pleasure. It is also clear that all are not lost. God could have chosen not to save anyone. He has the power and authority to execute his righteous justice by saving nobody. In reality he elects to save some, but not all. Those who are saved are beneficiaries of his sovereign grace and mercy. Those who are not saved are not victims of his cruelty or injustice; they are recipients of justice. No one receives punishment at the hands of God that they do not deserve. Some receive grace at his hands that they do not deserve. Because he is pleased to grant mercy to one does not mean that the rest “deserve” the same. If mercy is deserved, it is not really mercy, but justice.”

“By definition grace is not something God is required to have. It is his sovereign prerogative to grant or withhold it. God does not owe grace to anyone. Grace that is owed is not grace. Justice imposes obligation, but grace, in its essence, is voluntary and free.”