Book Review: “Our Good Crisis” by Jonathan K. Dodson

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We look at The Beatitudes as golde rule for Christians to live by. We have read on books about it or listen to it as a sermon. Sometimes we put those words of Jesus on the pedestal either look at and admire how lovely those words are. Some put it on the pedestal and let it’s stay there. We manage to let the most important sermon get lost because of we tend to find it mere pretty words or irrelevant in our times.

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8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Our Good Crisis” by Jonathan K. Dodson

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Is there questions that have been nagging in your mind? Are you looking for answers but it seems Google is not your friend? Then head over a blog post on finding answers for your questions. You’ll be surprised that there are six ways to help you find answers and it’s free.

Anyway, here’s some quotes from the book, Our Good Crisis by Jonathan K. Dodson published by InterVarsity Press. If you like these quotes, please get the book by clicking here.

“Moral or ethical failure is often behind the crises that put us up in arms or down in the dumps. A failure of morals,
not nerve, lurks behind scandal and injustice.”

“The seed of every crisis exists in every one of us. No one is immune. But  if we can get a handle on our moral turbulence, we can ­contribute not only to our own good but also to the good around us.”

“The sermon opens with a series of declarations—beatitudes—that call for goodness. Beatitude is a strange but compelling word.  It comes from the Latin word beatitudo, which is a translation of  the Greek word makarios, meaning blessed, favored, or flourishing. The Beatitudes show us eight ways to live a blessed life (or nine, depending how you read Matthew 5:10‑12). “

” the Beatitudes is plural not singular—the poor, those who mourn, the humble, the merciful. Every subject is plural, which means Jesus isn’t calling just individuals to the character of the kingdom; he’s calling a whole community—the church—to be poor in spirit. “

“The kingdom of heaven is breaking into this world through God’s people. If you are already a citizen by the grace of God, live like it! Don’t settle for the kingdom of self.”

“When we are honest with God about our sins, forgiveness and comfort come rushing in. When we get beneath the routine busyness of life and discover we aren’t as noble or moral as we thought, mourning in the presence of the Comforter guides us to a better version of ourselves.”

” With Christ, the greatest and humblest of beings mystically indwelling us by faith, we don’t have to assign ourselves weight. We don’t have to conjure a lovely idea of the self. Instead a glory outside us comes to live in us: Christ in us, the hope of glory. Jesus secured this glory for us through his debt-paying death on the cross and his mighty resurrection: his injury for our reward, his obedience for our disobedience, his righteousness for our unrighteousness. It hardly seems fair. That’s grace! “

“Today insisting on exclusive allegiance to Jesus as the one true God and Savior of humanity is also radical. It’s a declaration of war against the cult of expressive individualism. It’s unpopular
to denounce the self, but it isn’t enough to confess Jesus as Lord. His lordship must be visible. It isn’t enough to have great theology about Jesus and claim him as your king. It isn’t enough to
say he is the God and there is no other. Rather our allegiance to him must be evident in our character and action. We must care for the poor, practice righteousness, seek purity, and make
peace with others. The Beatitudes of Jesus must define us. “

New and Upcoming Podcasts This 2020

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It seems to me that, everyone had a certain goals from the previous years that been in the basement of ideas. It’s  brewing for so long then simultaneously set it on 2020 to launch it. 2020 feels like having a new leaf for some to set an “out of the comfort zone” projects. It’s like starting a new beginning. And podcasting is not exempted.

Of course there is nothing magical with the year 2020. Nor will it bring good fortune to these newbies on the podcasting universe. But having new and upcoming podcasts will give us new choices to listen to and eventually new favorites.

Kevin Halloran posted something last January of 3 newish podcast and encourage me to post my own list. So here’s my list of new and upcoming podcasts you might want to check out:

The Disrupters – A collaboration between Christianity Today and Inter Varsity Press.  The focus of this podcast is to lay down disruptions and how it affects the church. It will be a mix bag of guest and will be hosted by Fr. Esau McCualley. You can read more about it on this article.

TGC Q & A – A new addition to  TGC podcast network, the podcast invites two council members to answer a specific question. So you wont get one but a collaborative answers that hits some angles most Q and A podcast don’t. The podcast is already on the roll with few episodes so please do check it out. By the way, podcast is one of the ways you can find answers for your pressing questions. There are five more on an article I wrote last year. 

Pardoning Grace – I just saw this on my Facebook feed and I dont have any idea of what this podcast will be. I like surprises and I know you like it too. But based on my Facebook friend Jason Boothe who is a pastor and uploads his preaching over Youtube and him being a blogger, I think it will be a discussion on theology. So to clarify I might reach out to him but this podcast will be good. So keep our eyes over the FB page of this podcast for further updates.

Anchored North/ Virality Podcast – Anchored North went viral because of the Love is Love video. From there, they constantly making video tracts and eventually a podcast. They use multimedia as a tool for evangelism to reach this generation. This 2020 they will relaunch the podcast with the aim to spark evangelistic conversations. You can find updates from them by joining the FB group.

I know this is a shortlist but I would like to encourage you guys to post in the comment new and upcoming podcasts you might have stumble upon. Happy listening!

 

 

Book Review: Carpe Diem Redeemed by Os Guinness

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Before you dig in with this review, I would like to invite you to read my favorite quotes from this book by clicking this link just in case you missed it.

Carpe Diem Redeemed is a book of kaleidoscopic convergence of different topics pertaining to time. From history, atheism, purpose, salvation, significance, truth to culture, wars, philosophy, anti-intellectualism, chronological snobbery, nostalgia, destiny all came together under one book and was handled with superb care by Guinness setting a path to the God of the Bible who has superior clarity of what it means of making much of our moment. Sure this is one endeavor that is monumental however Guinness gave us the lenses of an intellect and another is for the average Joe.

The Introduction is a bit intimidating because of the multiple quotes from prominent persons which has something to do book. Then again it serves as some appetizer of sort for the reader. It gives you the thought that whoever you are, time is essential to you. Another is that it lets you know that this small volume is filled to the brim of biblical insights on time.

As you step into the ever first chapter, you’ll find how old school Os Guinness in writing (and I think that’s why the book cover looks like something from the 80’s or 90’s cover design). The chapters are large even in this small book and the insights from Os feels like your reading an editorial.  There are lots of going on as he unravels his thoughts in the subject matter that are one point engaging then in another you’ll get overwhelm you’ll get lost along the way. In those places I suggest to keep on reading till you get back to the path. Also it will be beneficial if you’ll read this in a slow pace and consider re-reading if you miss out something from this book.

Don’t expect Os Guinness to throw bullet points about time management that easy. He did give some ways to redeem the moment but it’s sandwiched in between. Those takeaways are at “the eye of the storm” of the book, as Guinness unfolds what it really means for a Christian to seize the moment.

I like the way he incorporate his life with his family as Christians in China in this book. You won’t put down this book without being moved or into tears with his story. It’s a fascinating read as you near the end of this book.

Carpe Diem Redeemed is a short read but be prepare as Guinness shares his intellectual and biblical insights that will floor you. Redeeming the time never had this intellectually satisfying taste. So dig in and feast on this great book.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

(InterVarsity Press provided the digital copy for this review)

 

8 Favorite Quotes from The Book “Write Better” by Andrew T. Le Peau

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I’m half way in reading this great book from Andy Le Peau and I decided to share my first eight favorite quotes from the book (as of now there are many quotes I love). I’ll have part 2 of my favorite quotes once I finish reading this book. Also please watch out for this blog for the interview of Andy. What’s the interview about? Well of course about his book, Write Better and the other one is something I’ll keep for now to give you some suspense. Just wait for the interview guys!

Anyways, here’s some quotes from book, Write Better published by Inter Varsity Press. If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at IVP.

“Essentially, creativity isn’t concocting something entirely unprecedented. Rather it is bringing together two things that have been around for a while but previously hadn’t been combined. Innovation almost always involves building on the past.”

“We all know titles are important for the success of a book. If we are
self-publishing or titling a blog post, readers will decide to keep going or not based on those few words. Titles can even be important in getting a project a second look from an editor or agent. They are the first audience we may try to capture. So we shouldn’t be satisfied with a placeholder title, the first thing that comes into our head, even when submitting a proposal. We beer to work at it.”

“Always carry a small notebook or a smart phone with a note-taking app so you can put things down right away. Ideas can come to mind at any time—while talking to someone, watching a movie, taking a walk. Write down anything that could be developed later—a character’s name or a piece of her backstory, an illustration for a point in an article, a news item, or a vivid descriptive phrase.”

“Rhetorically, word-for-word repetition is far more effective in speaking than writing. In speaking, repetition can drive home points and implant them firmly in our memories. Repetition in writing must be done carefully and subtly. Too much direct repetition in writing is usually boring, tedious, and boring.”

“Stories aren’t just window dressing. They are every bit as much part of your content as the information or advice you might include. They are bound to stick with us long after the information has been forgotten. In fact, stories can be better than mere data because they are richer, embracing more depth, detail, and dimensions than a statement can. A story can tell us more (and in many ways it tells us more accurately) than a series of propositional statements which inevitably must leave out much.”

“Simplicity extends beyond vocabulary to the overall ideas you want to communicate. If you can’t explain the main concept of your piece in thirty-seconds, you are probably in trouble. This means you may need to limit the range of topics covered or keep working till you can express your key thought in a sentence or two.”

“When thinking about our audience, we should try to be as specific as possible—age range, economic status, religious background, ethnicity, geographic location, life experiences, and so forth. In fact, I encourage writers to pick out one person they know that they would love to have read their work. Then write for that one person.”

“The lesson for nonfiction authors. While opening with a strong, compelling story is always a good option, be sure the story is consistent with your main point as well as your target audience.”

Book Review: “The New Testament in Seven Sentences” by Gary M. Burge

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I’m so pumped up this set of new books by IVP that I never think twice of getting this book and Write Better by Andrew T. Le Peau. I think I’ve  been reading and reviewing books that are either about salvation or Christian living that I long to read something about the Bible. This new book by Gary M. Burge really rewarded me of that craving.

The New Testament in Seven Sentences tackles the major themes of the Bible and not just the New Testament as the title may suggest. These themes helps us better understand the Bible and it’s message. Further it helps us focus on what God’s sovereign plan through Jesus from here and eternity. Burge crafted this book that as you read, you’ll find the Old and New are inseparable and indispensible. Burge is absolutely good in this part stitching both OT and NT together, that you’ll get glued in reading this book. He imparts his skill to provide a solid read that requires less illustration that won’t overwhelm or bored you to death. I was hooked that I read a big chunk of it the moment I started reading it. And I hope you’ll find that enthusiasm over connecting youself with the topic of this book.

The seven sentences in the title are seven verses in the New Testament that presents the seven themes. They are Matthew 16: 16, fulfillment;  Mark 1: 15, kingdom; Luke 9: 22, cross; 1 Peter 2: 9, covenant; Romans 8: 9, spirit; and Revelation 21:1, completion. Some of these verses are familiar and you might know what they convey.  You might dismissed this as another one of the books that will have the same content discussing themes of the Bible. Think again! Burge breaks the familiarity and brings insights that you might have missed as he digs deeper to the OT to bring light to these themes.

My favorite chapter of the book is Burge tackling grace. Burge excellently delivers the the familiar mash up with insights that will further elavate the familiar and illuminate insights you might not heard of. The well balanced blend in the book is a delight for the readers.

The New Testament in Seven Sentences is an engaging book that supersedes its intention as an introduction for the major theme of the Bible. It’s not an introductory book that you will feel hurried or summarized that will leave you wanting but gives you a satisfying read. Please don’t supplement it for something less or it might steal the other book’s thunder. In fact, you might just need this one to do the job in understanding the crucial themes in the Scriptures. Highly recommend!

My verdict:

5 out of 5

(InterVarsity Press provided the digital copy for this review)

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “The New Testament in Seven Sentences” by Gary M. Burge

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I always look forward for October because it’s our cottage prayer meeting at our house. Our cottage prayer meeting consist of having our church members come to our home, have a 30 minute devotion led by our pastor and the rest is  fellowship over a meal. October is also the birth month of my father in law, sister in law, wife and our daughter. So it’s fitting to celebrate the birthdays by having a cottage prayer meeting. This year will be held at my parents house. Aside from the birthdays it will be a thankagiving celebration because of how God sustains my father in law through his dialysis. Please consider praying for us specially that the gospel may be preach and God may open my relatives heart as they hear the message.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from book by Gary M. Burge, The New Testament in Seven Sentences, published by 10 of Inter Varsity Press. If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at IVP.

“This is the mission of the church. This is the task of God’s people who have followed Jesus since his resurrection and ascension. We don’t simply equip people to go to heaven; we invest in kingdom building here on the earth.”

“…the Hebrew experience of God’s kingly rule had two dimensions. God ruled the present—sustaining nature and guaranteeing Israel’s present experiences in history. And God ruled the future—promising that his vision could see what was to come and his power could bring about his will. God ruled the future, and this meant he would decide how the future would unfold and how human history would end.”

“There is a difference between the experience of grace and recognizing it as a primary Christian (or Jewish) doctrine. The New Testament—from Jesus to Paul—wants to press us to return to first principles: that God has been working on our behalf throughout history and that this has been seen with pristine clarity in the arrival of Jesus.”

“The church that we know so well is thus not simply a collection of believers who have faith in Jesus. It is a community of men and women who are living out the mission given to Abraham four thousand years ago. The church is thus the “tribe of Abraham” now joined to a messianic mission that began with Jesus.”

Your identity was not exclusively anchored to what you believed intellectually about Jesus (though this was important). It was also anchored to a dynamic experience of God that could be quantified only with difficulty. As in Nicodemus’s conversation with Jesus (John 3), the Spirit is like the wind, which blows unpredictably. No one doubts its reality, but no one can calculate its movements.”

“The church in the New Testament is called the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27), which means not simply that the church belongs to Christ but that he indwells the church and gives the church its life. His Spirit indwells its members and equips them to sustain Jesus’ work so that it is not a cliché when we say that we are Jesus’ hands and feet in the world.”

“These Gospel writers believed that a colossal shift had taken place in Judaism—and in the world—and they are about to tell us what it is. And they knew it was going to be controversial. The Gospel writers do not shy away from the fact that whenever this story is told in full by Jesus, crowds are either won over or they are resistant and disturbed.”

“For the New Testament, the death of Christ was a turning point in history. God had shown his righteousness by achieving in Jesus our righteousness through a dramatic act of forgiveness on the cross.”

Book Review: A Week in the Life of a Slave by John Byron

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I think this is my second time to review a fictional book and this one is my first biblical historical fiction.

At first I’m abit surprise on how Paul, Philemon and Onesimus was portraited. Adding to that Demas was also in the story and had moments, knowing in the back of our mind, he will be a backslider according to the Bible.

A Week in the Life of a Slave delivers an interesting and page turning story of Onesimus and Philemon. It follows the fugitive slave to his journey to escaping his master, meeting Paul, the crisis with his presence in the prison where Paul was in, his conversion and his return to Philemon.

If you think this is just a simple and boring story about slavery in Bible times, well you’re mistaken. I was mistaken till I got that light bulb moment. It gives you the glimpse on how we as Christian are heir to Christ.

There are no boring or dragging parts in the book. You’ll find this book a delightful read every time you jump back in.  The supporting characters are interesting and had all been given a fair share of spotlight both real and fictional ones. Then every conversation are spot on. You can feel the emotions jumping over you without being over the top.

The latter chapters before the conclusion for me are the best conversations that I read from the book. The sub plot was well executed and it really helped the main plot.

If the narrative itself is good, the “information box” that accompanies the story is superb. Well written and with great images, it gives out the backstory in every twist and turn of the story. It feels like your reading book within a book. You can use it in either; read it so you’ll for the some cultural background of the story; ignore it and still the story is solid or for future reference material. But if you ask me, the information box will definitely enhance the reading of the already solid narrative.

A Week in the Life of a Slave is a must read that tackles Christian issues of equality and forgiveness that can’t be easily done in a non-fiction format. It doesn’t just fill your mind but this book wins your heart. Highly recommended!

My verdict:

5 out of 5

 

(Review copy of this book was provided by Inter Varsity Press)

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “A Week in the Life of a Slave” by John Byron

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Though it’s a dark providence that we are going through in my extended family, my father in law is improving. Good to see that his hemoglobin is going up. Despite having kidney failure, he was able to attend church and was able to thank the church for their constant prayers and encouragement. Thank you for praying for him and can I request another prayer item from you? My father (the biological one) will undergo surgery. Please pray for strength and financial support for him. Most importantly, may God use this surgery to get to know God and be saved.

Anyways, here are 8 favorite quotes from John Byron’s book A Week in the Life of a Slavepublished by Inter Varsity Press.  If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at Amazon or at the IVP’s website.

“Brothers and sisters? You consider these people your family?”“Oh yes, that is how we often refer to one another. God is my Father, and all these my siblings in Christ. I assumed you were a believer too,” Eutyches said, “but I see you are not.”

“Jesus became a slave to save us, Nympha. He commanded that we become slaves to one another. If we follow his example, humbling ourselves and becoming slaves to our brothers and sisters in the Lord,…”

“We worship a God who became a slave and died a slave’s death in order to save all of humanity, including slaves,” Archippus replied gently.”

“You understand the difference between slavery and freedom in a way that many do not. I suspect that your new life in Christ has helped you to appreciate freedom from a variety of types of slavery, including from that of sin.”

“Indeed,” answered Archippus, “there are some who wonder whether Philemon’s generous gifts and support are the result of his love for God or a desire to attain honor among the more prominent Christian citizens. I, for one, think his generosity is real and comes from God.”

” Paul looked at the slave and asked, “Tell me, Onesimus, do you worship the God of heaven and his son Jesus? Were you not in attendance at the gatherings in Philemon’s house?”

” Paul’s message was not merely
about another god. It included the claim that the Jewish God was the only true god and that Artemis and all the other gods of the empire were in fact not gods at all.”

“Nympha,” Archippus replied, “when the church gathers in your home to worship, we don’t come before the Lord as Jews and Gentiles or men and women. We are all one in Christ. It
should be the same for those born free and those who were not. In Christ, there is neither slave nor free, and this is how it should be when we meet and gather to eat together.” 

Book Review: The Sacred Art of Joking by James Cary

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We might think that people won’t get easily offended in this post Christian and social media saturated age. But that’s not the case especially when we joke about someone’s religion. James Cary sets out to explain this and other issue surrounding humor and Christianity in this book, The Sacred Art of Joking.

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The title is one reason I requested a review copy and I think people who might not even be familiar with the author will do that also. The catchy title grabs hold of me. We’ll it did deliver the goods but not with some rough parts. For those who are not familiar with some references it will be a bit bumpy. Also there are parts that really nailed it and some parts that took you off the rail. Nevertheless, discussion about how humor works, the French satire Charlie Hebdo, and why comedians don’t usually poke fun with Islam are some of the highlights of this book. By that you’ll consider The Sacred Art of Joking a worthwhile read.

The Sacred Art of Joking primarily seeks to present comedy as a part of the Christian experience and it did in some point. Cary raises some concern on how jokes are presented in either in church or secular setting. Cary wants us to consider the comedy found in the Scripture and presents the Bible a dark and gritty book.  A delightful and fresh read for those the curious on a Christian perspective on using humor from a comedy writer.

My verdict:

4 out of 5

Read quotes from the book by clicking this link.