The Freebie Round-Up #103

I have an interview article over Driven By The Gospel which I interview Trevor Bates, author of the book, Confess. You can check also some quotes from that book if your interested to get a copy.

Anyways, here’s a list of great freebies for the week. If you’re new here to this post or you missed out other freebie round-ups, check the links to those post at the end of this article.

Also since I’m not 24/7 monitoring the latest freebies of publishing companies, I’m posting their e-mail sign up page, so you’ll be in the loop whenever they give out freebies. You can find it at the end of this round-up.

FREE digital audio download of “Understanding Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses” (Robert Bowman) – Credo Courses is back giving away some great stuff! Download this free audio lecture about two popular cults from America.

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Got Answers? Delighting Grace Interviews Jun Ballesteros 

It’s such a great joy to review a Pinoy Christian book. Not only does it tell you that the Philippine Christian literature scene is still alive and well, but it is something we can be proud about. That’s why Delighting Grace is helping local books and author to have a voice in the local market. One of which is the bestseller “Mga Mahahalagang Tanong At Mga Sagot (Important Questions and Answers” by Ptr. Jun Ballesteros. I contacted Ptr. Ballesteros and ask for an interview covering apologetics and of course his book.

Delighting Grace: Pastor Jun, in the scale of 1-10, how would you rate Pinoy Christians in terms of their knowledge with apologetics, how they incorporate in their ministry and church; and why?

Jun Ballesteros: I think it a 2, but I could be wrong. I say this because most of the apologists I know of are those who’ve gone through rigid training at seminaries or bible schools such as pastors and missionaries. These institutions have almost always been the only venue for equipping Christ’s disciples in this area of apologetics. It’s a must that we make churches “little” seminaries and train them how to hold on to sound doctrines and be able to defend their faith especially these days when the onslaught of false teachers is at its height, 2 John 1:7; 1 John 4:1.

Delighting Grace: How important is apologetics to a Christian? Many believers will dismiss that it will only harbor debates. Is that true?

Jun Ballesteros: It is not necessarily true. Sure, apologetics is very important. All believers in Christ should stand firm and be able to contend earnestly for the faith, Jude 3. Knowing the Bible’s sound doctrine does not encourage debates. It will make Christians to be always ready to give an answer to anyone, 1 Peter 3:15 and all true Christians should! However, to debate is a choice. Any Christian may choose not to in obedience to Paul’s admonition in II Tim. 2:14, 24. Our goal is to win as many souls as we can to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, not engage in debates. We are supposed to win friends, not arguments.

Delighting Grace: Its been said that sometimes asking questions means that you are an eager learner. So how can Christians profit from asking questions especially in matters of apologetics?

Jun Ballesteros: Asking questions and getting answers from right people can deepen knowledge and strengthen commitment; it broadens biblical perspective and it would also boost up faith and conviction.  When Christians have achieved this depth, width and height as people of the Word, they are ready for anything. Thus, they don’t waiver easily nor be swayed by any false teachings.

Delighting GraceWhere did you get the idea in writing a book like this? Can you elaborate the process of producing this bestseller?

Jun Ballesteros: As a church planting missionary some years ago, I knew I would not stay long in the island of Mindoro. One day I gathered a bunch of leaders for a seminar on Hermeneutics, Ecclesiology, Homiletics, Eschatology and other subjects. Just before the final session was closed, most of them raised a real concern, “What if we’re confronted with tough questions and objections, what should we do?” I remember saying, “Don’t worry, I will prepare some ready materials.”

As promised, l prepared a type-written material which contains common questions which I myself had encountered in some years of ministry. In this hand-out with several pages back then, I knew I provided them the same answers which I used to give to honest seekers, scoffers and narrow-minded objectors as well. Then I realized that what I did was not just giving the head-knowledge or the push and drive they needed. Then I handed to them this material several days I made that promise. I was able to give them a tool: an Easy Reference and a Ready Defence!

So they went forth and led Bible Studies without fear, ready at all times. As a matter of fact, some of them even had spearheaded several church planting ventures. Hence, this book was originally written for Christian leaders and workers who haven’t been through a formal training in Seminary or Bible School.  When my manuscript was used in a publication called, The Life Times Magazine, it was always a sought-after article. The Life Times Magazine editorial committee, which was headed by Brother Ric Avelino, Diony Espiritu, Gerry Oliveros among others, encouraged me to publish it as a book. So, in 1997 the first 1,000 copies were printed and copyrighted the following year.

Delighting Grace: As a writer what are the lessons you have learn while producing this great book?

Jun Ballesteros: I have learned that there are a lot more to learn to be able to help others learn as well! No one can give away what he does not have. Also, equipping Christians does not only mean providing the head-knowledge, the grip and the drive. It should also include a ready arm: a quick reference to the Bible’s sound doctrines.

Delighting Grace: As I check your book, there are lots of positive feedback, praises and stories from people who read it. So which is the most notable and really touched your heart?

Jun Ballesteros: Every feedback given is notable and touched my heart! To know that the Lord is using a very simple work gives me an awe-inspiring feeling! I am giving the glory back to our Lord God who gave me wisdom and the burden to write. I praise Him because this material, although it was originally written for Christian leaders and workers is also now leading the lost to come face-to-face with the Truth and that is Jesus Christ who is also the Way and Life (John 14:6).

Delighting Grace: How do you handle your critics especially when presenting the truth? What is the proper response of a Christian like if they see something on the internet that attacks their core beliefs?

Jun Ballesteros: God has gifted our country much freedom and we live in a democratic government where anyone can express his or her ideas. I have presented in print what I believe is true, by this same token, thus anyone has the right to prove it otherwise. Incidentally, let me mention that I didn’t have any iota of assault in mind against any religion when I wrote this book.  I just gave answers to questions which I myself had encountered in my years of ministry and put them altogether so others could also them as they are confronted.

Delighting Grace: Pastor Jun thank you for your time. Its a pleasure chatting with you. So tell our readers why they should get your book  “Mga Mahahalagang Tanong At Mga Sagot”.

Again, this book was not written for you my co-pastors and co-missionaries who have graduated from seminaries and Bible schools.  However, since all God’s children are and should always be at the cutting-edge leading lost people to Christ through cell-groups, they must be equipped and armed with this apologetic tool, Christians’ Easy Reference and a Ready Defence. This is the very reason why each of them ought to have a copy of this book. I am not surprised if some pastors, like Bishop John Sagaoinit of World Changers International, require or much less encourage their cell leaders and other workers to own a copy of this book. Amen!

Delighting Grace: Any parting words to people who already read the book? How can they maximize the use of this helpful tool?

Jun Ballesteros: Thanks to all for reading this book. Please help others to obtain a copy in its original book form and not the photocopy.  Let us remind them the Christian virtue of honesty and not the art of perjury though intellectual piracy.  The only way to maximize the use of this tool is for lay-workers to utilize it in the context of reaching people to Christ and providing answers to sincere queries on faith. Also, it is useful for their personal growth, increasing biblical knowledge and deepening conviction.

Ptr Jun’s book “Mga Mahahalagang Tanong At Mga Sagot” is translated in Filipino, Cebuano and English. The book is available at your nearest CLC Bookshops, PCBS, National Bookstore or online at http://www.clcphilippines.com

Blogging to Reach Mormons: Delighting Grace Interviews Sharon Lindbloom of Mormon Coffee Blog

“God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another — God alone.” -Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will

I sure love how Sharon quoted Martin Luther in an e-mail prior to this interview. God is the only one who can save sinners, even those who are trapped in cults. In this interview, Sharon shares her passion to share the gospel, ministry and blogging to bring the Good News to Mormons.

Delighting Grace: Our readers may not know this, but you used to be in another ministry geared also to Mormons, Word for the Weary. I used to receive your newsletters and I’m thankful for that. What happens to Word for the Weary?

Sharon Lindbloom: Back in the late 1980s God laid the lost condition of Mormons on my heart. I wanted nothing more than to tell Mormons about Christ! But I lived in an area of the United States where very few Mormons lived. So after much prayer and seeking of godly counsel, I founded a little ministry called Word for the Weary. This ministry became a vehicle through which I could tell Mormons about Christ and also share my burden for Mormons with other Christians, equipping and encouraging them to carry the Gospel to the Mormon people. After nearly 20 years of serving God through Word for the Weary, God provided an opportunity for me to become a volunteer staff member for a different ministry to Mormons — Mormonism Research Ministry (MRM). When I went on staff at MRM, Word for the Weary became dormant. Today, my ministry focus is channeled through MRM, but all the information from the old Word for the Weary website (www.answeringlds.org) is still available online.

Delighting Grace: Is there a difference between working with Word for the Weary then and Mormonism Research Ministry (MRM) now? Are their adjustments?

Sharon Lindbloom: Serving God through Word for the Weary was an incredible blessing! I am very thankful for the time I had in that ministry. I am also very thankful for the opportunity to serve with MRM. I love being part of a full staff — something I did not experience as the lone staff member at Word for the Weary. The Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV). It is a true blessing to work with the people of MRM, to learn from them, to benefit from their wisdom, to be encouraged by their support, and to work together toward the common goal to “propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to critically evaluate the differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity.”

Delighting Grace: What advice can you give to Christians who will leave or start a new ministry?

Sharon Lindbloom: The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). It is so important to know that it is God who is calling us to begin or join a ministry. When we follow God where He is leading, we know He will strengthen and equip us, and bless our efforts. In addition, I think it is important to have local support from believers. These friends will encourage, pray, and promote the ministry as it grows, enabling its reach to lengthen and touch those in need. Finally, we must be willing to step out in faith and trust that the Lord will supply every need, for if He is building the house, He will see to its completion.

Delighting Grace: I love Mormonism Research Ministry. I was happy when Bill McKeever (director of MRM) announces a few years ago that there will be a blog and you will be writing for it. I really love your works. So how do you come up with the name of the blog “Mormon Coffee” and what does it offer other than the already wealthy contents of MRM’s website (mrm.org)?

Sharon Lindbloom: Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Nitoy. MRM’s blog, Mormon Coffee, offers readers a very different experience than that of visiting the website. The blog is an interactive venue where readers may choose to become part of a vocal community, expressing their own comments, insights, questions and criticisms in response to the new articles that are written and posted to the blog twice-weekly. The name of the blog, Mormon Coffee, was chosen with two things in mind. One was in an effort to reflect the idea of a friendly atmosphere where friends can gather, like a coffee shop. But in Mormonism, drinking coffee is against a latter-day commandment. So the name Mormon Coffee was chosen as a light-hearted way to let readers know that the content of the blog is not Mormon Church-approved.

Delighting Grace: How do you prepare articles for Mormon Coffee blog?

Sharon Lindbloom:  Many Mormon Coffee articles are based on current events. I will read something about Mormonism in the news and an idea will occur to me on how I might use the news article as a jumping off point to teach people about inconsistencies within Mormonism and how that religion differs from Christianity. At other times, someone in the Mormon Coffee online community might bring up a question or an observation that suggests a good topic for a full blog article. Sometimes ideas come to me as I do my personal Bible study or listen to sermons at church. Whatever the source of the idea, the goal is always that outlined in 2 Timothy 2:24-26: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

Delighting Grace: For apologetics bloggers out there, what topics should matter to them and what should they give to their readers?

Sharon Lindbloom:  One thing I have learned very well over the years is that God reaches individuals in individually unique ways. That is, He chooses to use many different approaches and topics to prick the hearts and minds of the lost. The nature of a blog is that it offers readers fresh content continually. Because of this, a lot of different topics are raised and discussed in the natural course of blogging. I believe God can (and will) use every blog article that honors Him. As with any writing, the blogger’s goal is to effectively communicate truth to readers. Online readers might more accurately be called online skimmers. Many of them look over content quickly, grabbing onto a few nuggets as they go. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep any blog article concise and focused on one important point. More information can then be provided via the comment thread or in another blog article on another day. I must confess, though, that I am not good at following my own advice.

Delighting Grace: Me too Sharon :-). You’re ministering Mormons or Latter Day Saints (LDS) and you’re not a former Mormon. What are advantages and disadvantages for not being a former Mormon in reaching Mormons with the gospel?

Sharon Lindbloom:  I have noticed both advantages and disadvantages in ministering to Mormons while not having ever been a Mormon myself. Some Mormons think very poorly of ex-Mormons and will not talk to them or give their words due consideration; but they will talk with someone like me. Other Mormons hold the position that those who have never been members of the Mormon Church cannot possibly understand what Mormonism is or what it is to be Mormon. As I mentioned earlier, every person is an individual. God, in His mercy, has provided witnesses of all kinds to bring the Good News of the Gospel to those who are lost.

Delighting Grace: Sharon, please ask our readers to check out Mormonism Research Ministry, its website and blog.

Sharon Lindbloom:  Gladly! Please visit www.mrm.org to learn more about Mormonism Research Ministry and to find resources that will help you become an effective missionary to Mormons. At the MRM website you can: sign up for our free bi-monthly newsletter, Mormonism Researched; listen to MRM’s daily radio show and podcast, Viewpoint on Mormonism (both current and archived broadcasts); watch MRM.tv which offers many and varied videos for online viewing; browse recommended resources available for purchase; and, of course, access Mormon Coffee (http://blog.mrm.org/) and join in the discussion. We would love to see you there!

Delighting Grace: I wouldn’t end this interview without asking about Mormonism or The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (LDS). What one word best describe Mormonism and why it is NOT a Christian group.

Sharon Lindbloom:  I know I said we need to be concise and focused online, but one word is impossible! I would like to make a distinction between Mormons and Mormonism. God has laid the eternal fate of Mormons on my heart. My one-word descriptor for those dear people who are trying to get nearer to God by following the false prophets of Mormonism is “lost.” I plead with you all to lift these lost ones up before God and ask Him to grant them eyes to see, ears to hear, clear minds to understand, and hearts that long to know Him as He is. May God have mercy on their souls and give them abundant and joyful new life in Christ.

Mormonism is most definitely not a Christian religion, as you have said. While so many reasons for the non-Christian status of Mormonism could be listed, for the sake of brevity I offer a bottom-line reason: the god of Mormonism is a false god. You can learn more about the god of Mormonism at the MRM website (see specifically http://www.mrm.org/god-of-mormonism), but briefly summarized, Mormonism promotes a god who was once a mortal man who achieved godhood by conforming to all the laws and ordinances of the Mormon gospel — just as all gods have done before him, and all future gods will do after him. The Bible calls the worship of a false god “idolatry” and makes it crystal clear that only faith in the true God will result in eternal life (see Isaiah 43:10-11; Mark 12:29-34; John 17:3).

It is important to realize and remember that, using the analogy of Ephesians 6:12-20, Mormonism is what we wrestle against; the lost are who we wrestle for, while boldly proclaiming the precious mystery of the Gospel.

Delighting Grace: Thanks Sharon. Christians, we should all reach not only Mormons but people trapped in cults and false religions. Pray for them that they may see the truth in Christ.