Tag Archives: discipleship

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)

Book Review: What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me? by David Platt

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It’s a coincidence that this book was published by OMFLit in time of David Platt being the new president of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention. With the caliber of Platt, the IMB will never be the same and I looking forward for developments on it.

“What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me?” tackles what it means to be saved and the cost of following Christ which is both essential for a Christian. It maybe a short book but it has an engaging impact like any David Platt book. His message here is somewhat a combination of his “Radical” and John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life.” Also it is a sort of “prequel” of “Radical” and “Follow Me” which “….Follow Me?’ can be categorized as evangelistic while the latter (longer) books are for discipleship. Although it’s evangelistic, yet it tackles snippets of discipleship. As you read the book and how those aspects of evangelism and discipleship mix in, you’ll see that David Platt is a gifted writer.

OMFLit should be praised for publishing this book and how affordable it is. You can buy this in multiple copies to be given to new believers and unbelievers alike. If OMFLit can do it to other books like “For Your Joy” by John Piper or the Francis Schaeffer classic “The Mark of the Christian”, it will be pretty awesome. But as for now, “What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me?” they have published a book that if every Pinoy Christian will read, it will trail blaze us to a new level of loving and following Christ.

Marianito “Nitoy” Gonzales is a 30 something blogger who wears many hats. But his passion is to preach the gospel and make God know to all men. He blogs at Delighting Grace (https://delightinggrace.wordpress.com). You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr

The Right Response to the Wrong Fear

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“And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,” – Acts 4:24- 29

For the pass weeks, we have been tackling being fearless for God. Knowing that who should fear God rather than men, one might ask what shall we do then. You might have been in the situation that fear grips you because of what men can do to you because of being a Christian. But by grounding ourselves on the truth’s found in God’s Word, we see the light of hope for everyone to be bold for God.

 

We read in Acts 4 that Peter and the other apostles faced their enemy. They were arrested, tried and threatened. Nevertheless, they came out victorious because their allegiance to God is much stronger. How did they react after coming to that incident is vital for us to see and apply to our lives. Here are three things a Christian must consider:

1.)    They praised God – “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:” Acts 4:24. Instead of being sorry for themselves of the what happen, they gather together and praise God. What will you do if you face trials concerning your faith? Let’s imitate what the disciples did. Praise God no matter what.

2.)    They acknowledge God’s sovereignty of the matter – “For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” Acts 4:28. These believers are “Calvinist”. They are aware that God’s purpose will still stand as the dust of human threats fades. Whatever happens to them it is for their benefit and God’s might hand is in it. In this hostile world, expect people who will put you down. But take heed, God is in every twist and turns of your Christian life.

3.)    Never give up – “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,” Acts 4: 29. Because of the power of God shown to these followers of Christ, they ask for more boldness to stand up for the truth that people need to know. Please do not give up because God is in the business to fuel us up to go further for His glory.

 

Marianito “Nitoy” Gonzales is a 30 something introvert who’s passion is to proclaim the good news about God. He wears many hats but he is just an ordinary guy serving an extraordinary God. You can reach him at his FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram.

4 Reason Why It Is Wrong to Fear Men Part 1

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“Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”–Acts 5:28-29

If you are reading our text for this post, it will be fitting for us to go back to chapter 4 of Acts. As you can see, the accounts of chapter 5 is the second time that the apostles has been arrested and appeared at the council of the religious leaders.Isn’t this dejavu? We can see that for the second time, they are standing for God. Will you stand for God in the midst of opposition? Do you fear God more than men? Believer, its your duty to be a gospelizer and a witness to God.

So one might ask: why is it wrong to fear men? Here are the 4 reasons:

1.) They can hinder you, but you are unstoppable.

Acts 4:3 “And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day:for it was now eventide.”

Acts 4:21 “So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people:for all men glorified God for that which was done.”

The disciples are released because they cant find fault on what they have done. Their opponents had a hint that this is a work of God.

2.) They can question you, but you know the answers.

Acts 4:8-12 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other:for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Pressing words were thrown to the Apostle Peter on verse 7. Unbelievers may question us on matters of our faith. They may also jeer or laugh at us. We must not be discourage. In truth they are the ones who should fear for their lives because they dont know the most important answer to the question: where will I be when I die? For Peter, this became an opportunity to preach the good news to the ungenerate individual.

(To be concluded next week…)

 

Fearless Obedience to God

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“Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”–Acts 5:28-29

Fear is natural to man. We all have fears. But being a Christian reaching out this dying world, we should be fearless. Fearless to proclaim the gospel and live holy lives. That is what God mandated us to be. But how do we walk fearlessly?

Answer: Obey God

As we look at our text, we can see that the apostles were arrested for preaching he truth. But despite of being arrested, they continue to stand for what is right. They attribute their allegiance to the God than to falliable men.

Then we should ask as believers, who is this God that we need to obey? Reading further to chapter 5 of Acts we see two reasons:

1.) He is the True and Living God– Acts 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.” Peter is saying the God they are proclaiming is not conjured up by the Christians. It is the very God that guided Abraham’s through the ages. The God who created us. The God who is sovereign. The true God that both the apostles and their opponents should follow.

2.) He is the Savior – Acts 5:31 “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” God is the Savior. But as Peter responds to his opponents, notice that the way he shifts from God to Jesus. Taking a closer look at the words, we can see Jesus is God because they attribute saviorhood to Christ which is exclusive to God. Again notice “for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins”. Salvation in whole is of God and sinful men cannot and will not seek for it.

Do you treasure your salvation? Do you acknowledge that God is sovereign. Then exalt the one who gave it to you. Disregardthe threats of men form stopping you to follow God. Be fearless!

 

Book Review: Mentoring Conversations by Herman A. Moldez

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Finally, a home grown book from CLC Philippines! At first I thought with such appetizing book cover, its another book from an international author. But I was mistaken (dont judge the book by its cover, dont forget). And also the content which is overflowing with wisdom and biblical insights from Moldez. A well done, very thought out book that needs readers who really wants to follow Christ and mean it.

A discipleship/mentoring book with a a serious business to live out Christ. The chapters are short but meaty in biblical lessons. The highlight of of each chapter is at every end. Sort of a dig deeper section of the chapter.

As you read the book you wont see the distinction that this is written by a Filipino author which is great. Now we can see local books that can be at par to its foreign counterparts. Yes we could dish out high quality Christian books. Kudos to Ptr. Moldez and CLC!

Nevertheless I have a few comments on the book. Many readers will look for a paternal flavor all over “Mentoring Conversations”. If you are looking for something that has a William Girao or Isabelo Maralit appeal to it, you won’t find it here. Its a bit stiff and lacks of coziness. Another is I hope they will do this in the coming edition of this book is to have a more indepth emphasis over the end part of the chapters. An appendix with tips and advice on how to effectively facilitate the lessons and some answering sheet will do alot. But don’t get me wrong. Don’t let that bit of criticism from me stop you from buying the book and benefit from it.

This book is brimful of biblical and engaging content and thats a thumbs up for me. I would like to say to not look for any other book for discipleship/mentoring. This is the real deal.

Used Book Finds: Discipleship: Ministry Up Close and Personal by Chuck R. Swindoll

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      God used Charles Swindoll in my writing and preaching ministry. I love the way he explains verses then make it very practical. I copy some of his writing techniques so to make messages clear and simple. His books are the best specially on Christian living. Truly I’m in debt with this Bible teacher.

Through the help of BookSale (a second hand/used book store in the Philippines), I have collected books from this author. His Bible Study Guides (companion to his radio teachings) are very useful especially in Sunday School. I gave Discipleship: Ministry Up Close and Persona l (copyright 1990 Charles R. Swindoll) to our pastor then he used it in our Sunday School. Then he lends it to me for my personal study of discipleship. What a blessing it is.

If ever you find a book of his in BookSale to recommend that you get it. Many will benefit on his teachings.

So what’s your favorite book on discipleship? Please post it on the comment.