Book Review: “Enjoy Your Prayer Life” by Michael Reeves

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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.

The first book I read from Michael Reeves is Delighting the Trinity which is awesome. Reeves wrote it as if it’s not introducing the doctrine of the Trinity for the reason he lifts up the preconceive burden of understanding a complex doctrine. Instead, he pointed out the relationship of the between the Godhead. In similar vein, the same treatment can be found with this short book, Enjoy Your Prayer Life

  Reeves acknowledge that we struggle with prayer. The reasons might be the lack of time, becoming a dead routine or just plain boring. Reeves attempts in this book to convince us that prayer is not just important but it is enjoyable. Enjoyable? Yes, prayer is enjoyable. Well this book doesn’t present a new method of prayer or drive some guilt for your lack of praying. Instead, Reeves states that prayer is more than an abstract thing. It’s  a natural expression of faith that flows from the relationship of the Godhead. Reeves focuses on how each of the Godhead relates to the praying believer. Like what Reeves treatment with his award winning book, Delighting the Trinity , he handles the subject of prayer well and penetrating.

A short read but has meaty content,  will give you a refreshing perspective on prayer. Praying is truly enjoyable in the light of who we are praying to. If you want a new light for your prayer life let Enjoy Your Prayer Life shine on it.

My verdict:

4.5 out of 5

8 Favorite Quotes from the Book “Enjoy Your Prayer Life” by Michael Reeves

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Last Lord’s Day we celebrated Pastor’s Appreciation Month. We let our pastor take a back seat from his usual worship duties and our deacons and lay leaders did their thing which are truly a blessing to the church. Our pastor noted that last Sunday was the first time we had an elaborate program for the celebration and we hope it won’t be the last. Will you pray for our church and our pastor as we honor him and his care for us? Also lift him up to God for his ordination coming next year.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from book by Michael Reeves, Enjoy Your Prayer Life, published by 10 of Those Publishing. If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at 10 of Those.

“…your prayer life reveals how much you really want communion with God and how much you really depend on him.”

“It is the word of God, the gracious message of Christ, that awakens faith and so prayer – and so that must be the basic shape of our everyday communion with God.”

“…prayerlessness is practical atheism, demonstrating a lack of belief in God.”

“Praying is enjoying – and pleading for – the friendship and friendly assistance of God.”

“Prayerlessness always goes hand in hand with a lack of Christian integrity.”

“To know you are a beloved child of God protects you from thinking of prayer as a ladder to God or an exercise by which you work your way into his favour. Prayer doesn’t make you more accepted. Instead, prayer is growing in the appreciation of what you have been given.”

“Prayer is the antithesis of self-dependence.”

“When you default to thinking of prayer as an abstract activity, a ‘thing to do’, the tendency is to focus on the prayer as an activity – which makes it boring. Instead, focus on the one to whom you’re praying.”

Book Review: Essentials by Lee McMunn

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It’s great that McMunn starts his book with the Trinity unlike the usual gospel presentation. At first you might think it’s a short book about doctrine, but it’s not. Essentials is an evangelistic book . Essentials is giving a step by step explanation of the gospel. And as I have said McMunn started this book with the Trinity and ends with an invitation to have a relationship with God. Essentials is a presentable evangelistic tool because of appealing title, chapter title and cover image.

There are downsides in book. First, in chapter 3 which illustrates how Jesus rescues. Although the context is answering the question “So why didn’t he save himself? Why did Jesus stay on the cross?” an illustration of a kid drowning is not the biblical way to represent humanity submerged in sin. Total depravity points us that we are not drowning but dead at the bottom of the river.  Second the sinner’s prayer at the last part of the book, which is for me unbiblical. Decisionism is not part of the gospel message.

Essentials is a good book but has problematic issues. If for not those issues, I would have graded this book a bit higher.  Still you can benefit reading it for yourself and use some parts of it for your personal evangelism.

My verdict:

3.5 out of 5

8 Favorite Quotes From the Book “Essentials” by Lee McMunn

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Living with my in law who needs a dialysis twice a week, me and my wife need to adjust. I have a graveyard shift so my time in the morning is flexible. But I need to make much of those dialysis sessions. So I decided, since I’ll be taking my father in law two times a week (Tuesday and Friday) at the hospital for his 4 hour dialysis session, I might as well bring some digital “baon”. Aside from e-books, I’ll be listening to various podcast from Spotify. It’s a mix bag of Reformed theology, business, comics and kid lit. I want those 4 hours to count as I listen, enjoy and learn.

Anyways, here’s Lee McMunn’s book Essentialspublished by 10 of Those.  If you like these quotes, please get yourself a copy of this book by ordering at the 10 of Those website. Book review of this book is coming up.

“The Bible teaches that the God who is responsible for all the good and beautiful things, from the tiniest particle to the grandest planet, is a united family of three persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

“The Bible says it’s because the God who made us is a relationship of three persons, and we have been created to live in a similar way. That’s why relationships are so important to us.”

“The reason God has the right to rule our lives is because he created us. We know from our everyday existence that those who make things, whether small or grand, have ownership rights over their creations. “

“Passionate commitment to God and his way is for our happiness. Living with God in charge is not drudgery, it is delightful.”

“Rejecting God spells disaster for our eternal future. Cosmic treason is expensive. “

“Forgiveness alone would have been amazing. But the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit offers us much more. As well as forgiveness, we are invited to enjoy a relationship with each member of the Trinity.”

“Obeying Jesus in a world where many people don’t inevitably brings Christians into conflict with competing ideas. Therefore, anyone who follows Jesus should expect turbulence.”

“Relationship with the Father is very personal, but it is never to be individualistic. Anyone who follows Jesus instantly has lots of siblings!”

7 Favorite Quotes from “The Silent Shepherd” by John MacArthur Jr.

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It pays to wisely use an Amazon gift card and if there would be a great deal, use it immediately.  That’s why I got Total Truth by Nancy R. Pearcey and The Silent Shepherd by John F. MacArthur at a markdown price.

Anyways, here’s some quotes from The Silent Shepherd by John MacArthur. You can buy it at Amazon for $ 0.99 by clicking this link.

“The only perfect mediator who could meet all the qualifications for fair, just, and complete mediation was Jesus Christ, who was both God and man.”

“The danger with an undue stress on the gifts and leading of the Holy Spirit is that personal experience is often elevated over the objective truth of Scripture.”

“…the Holy Spirit’s role is crucial in bringing us to salvation, in empowering us to live our lives in Christ, and in bringing us to ultimate perfection in glory.”

“The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not a mystical force or metaphysical influence. He is a divine person—the third person of the Trinity—and acknowledging that fact is absolutely essential to an orthodox understanding of who He is.”

“God’s gift of the Spirit to us is His verification to us that our salvation will be completed in glorification. It is His promise to give us all the future blessings of that salvation.”

“The phrase “is inspired by God” is a translation of the theologically important Greek word theopneustos, which literally means “God-breathed.” The very use of this term, with the root pneustos closely related to pneuma, “spirit,” strongly implies the Holy Spirit was involved in the entire process of revealing God’s Word.”

“Many people are confused by the term total depravity. It does not mean that all people are as evil as they can possibly be. It means that the principle of sin has pervaded every aspect of human nature. We are corrupted through and through with sin.”

The Quotable Round-Up #105

WmUyJhsIt’s another year of reading books! I hope you’ll pick up one and start reading it. Even better, why not have a book reading challenge this year?  That will be a lot of fun (and challenge too).  I think Goodreads it’s a good site to do your reading challenge as it monitors your progress and share your accomplishment to everyone online. Better check that website. Anyways, here’s some quotes from the book by Bryan Litfin Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction. Buy his book by clicking this link.

“The pastor who expounds the Word of God before his people holds an awesome power within his mouth. His words can be a source of golden treasure.”

“When asked which of his students should succeed him in his professorship of rhetoric, Libanius replied, “It ought to have been John, had not the Christians stolen him from us.” John Chrysostom must have been a great communicator to have impressed his pagan teacher so much. Yet to Libanius’s dismay, John used his speaking skills for the name of Jesus Christ.”

“Athanasius possessed a profound understanding of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The whole question of the Son’s divinity was not some intellectual premise that could fit into a logical syllogism, as it was for many of the Arians. Rather, it mattered deeply to Athanasius because it was a question of Christian salvation. For Athanasius, salvation meant much more than individually “getting saved” so as to escape hell or get to heaven. His theology centered on the relationship between the created world and the Uncreated God.”

“The views of Arius began to receive imperial favor and were accepted by many bishops across the empire. Athanasius seemed to stand alone against a world that had gone completely Arian. His challenge was far more difficult in this new age of Imperial Christianity. Now he faced not only his theological opponents, but the all-powerful Roman emperors whose politics were tied to theology.”

“For several decades Athanasius was a lonely defender of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity against the Arian view. Only at the end of his life did his efforts begin to pay off as Arianism was finally rejected.”

“Interpretation in the ancient church was a spiritual quest, so everything depended on your heart for the Lord. Godliness was required for true comprehension, not just a good mind. The lifestyle of the interpreter genuinely mattered.”

“Perpetua is revealed to be a godly Christian woman—one who affirmed the high calling of being a daughter and mother, yet who put her loyalty to Jesus Christ before even those worthy vocations. Because of her close walk with the Lord, she became a spiritual leader of her band of confessors. The towering respect she earned among her jailed companions was based on the depth of her spiritual life. Her piety lent her a reverence and authority not normally accorded to women in Roman society.”

 

Book Review: “Rooted” by J. A. Medders and Brandon D. Smith

The title “Rooted” gives me the impression that this is just a “one cool word” books that are already out in the market. What got me excited is the subtitle “Theology for Growing Christians”.  So this short book is about theology. Actually they call this a “primer” that deals with the basics doctrine of Christianity. So this book doesn’t cover all the doctrines that we believers affirm.

As I read “Rooted” I can assure you that Smith and Medders really delivers and does connect the message to the readers. They know what they are saying and they can convey it in the manner that show the book is enough to be a primer and meaty enough to have great content. Medders provided an easy to digest and accessible explanations similar to his previous book “Gospel Formed” (which you should check it out too). They dropped the ivory tower jargons with millennial-friendly words which can reach believers (and unbelievers as well) whether new or seasoned.

Chapter 1 discusses the Trinity and how Godhead relates to each other. Chapter 2 zooms in the reliability of Scriptures. But I really enjoyed chapters 3 and 4 which tackle about the gospel and eschatology.

“Rooted” is the go to book to learn, unlearn and relearn about some of the basic doctrines that Christians believe. If you’re just starting or already ahead in your Christian journey and you want some map, pick this book up.

My verdict: 4.5 out of 5.

The authors of “Rooted” provided me a review copy of the book.

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

4 Must Read Books on Prayer

Prayer is a Christian duty of praising, confessing, and petitioning to God. Many (including me) struggle with prayer. But there are books out there that encourage us to pray powerfully. Here is my list of the best read about praying:

1. Prayer: Asking and Receiving by John Rice- the first book I read about prayer. This book is soaked with powerful Biblical teaching and personal experience on praying. Simply engaging read.

2. In Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray– a classic from this Reformed pastor. Teaches that we should be humbly willing to be a student in prayer and asking Jesus to teach us the basics of it. It’s a not so easy read but the content is tremendously inspiring.

3. Power Through Prayer by E. M. Bounds– I think this book is a sermon turned into a book. This book belongs to a collection books of Edward McKendree Bounds on the subject on prayer. This one stands out for me. I find this book preaching not only to the people of the pew but also on the pulpit. Truly soul stirring. Great book!

4. How to Pray by R. A. Torrey- Torrey exhorts us the not just how to pray but the importance of praying in different circumstances. Very basic but very helpful.

Do you have a book about prayer in mind? Please post it on the comment section.

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6 Things the Gospel is NOT

Here are some common misconceptions about the gospel today. If Jesus Christ will ask you what the gospel is, what will your reply will be?

  1. The gospel is NOT about going to heaven– that’s half the story. The gospel is getting God Himself and making much of Him.
  2. The gospel is NOT about good works– good works salvation nullifies the saving grace of God and gives man warrant to boast there achievement to the face of His Creator. If salvation by works is true, then how much work does it need for you to be saved?
  3. The gospel is NOT about religion– I hear a lot of people taking about religion as if their religion suffered and died on the cross. Religion was mention a few times in the Bible sometimes in a negative light and has nothing to do about salvation. For those people I direct you to Psalms 22 and 53.
  4. The gospel is NOT about prosperity– many popular preachers today preach that if you accept Jesus you will be wealthy and healthy. That’s good but it’s unbiblical. Also you’ll end up blaming God for not having what you want.
  5. The gospel is NOT having good character– humility, selflessness, altruism are by means good traits. Man should have these characteristics. But that is not the gospel and it won’t even guarantee you everlasting life.
  6. The gospel is NOT about you– the gospel is all about Christ. It’s about God’s mercy and grace. You don’t have any part from election to glorification.

So what is the gospel? The gospel is about Jesus Christ and his finished work in the cross. You can’t add or lessen it. All you have to do is accept it as a gift. Looking at yourself by God’s standard (The 10 Commandments) you find that you can’t measure up. God is holy and just. And you’re not. God call it sin. It’s our rebellion against Him. Every sin we committed (will commit) deserves eternal separation. That’s why there is hell. But God is so rich in mercy he made a way for us to be saved. He sends Jesus Christ to die on our behalf that we might stand blameless before God. We don’t deserve mercy. God won’t accept you unless you repent and believe the gospel.  Cry for His mercy today. You won’t be guaranteed another day.

(Originally from my Facebook Notes, 1 September 2011)

Getting to the Core of the Book

We love to devour those juicy read apples. Those crispy and luscious fruit we love to sink our teeth in. But we don’t go to the core. We throw it away because it’s worthless. But not with your books. We may consume the whole book without noticing the core. When I mean the core of the book it is the central part of the book that is where the whole theme of it is located. It is where the main lesson is placed then every other chapter or parts of it will be the sub-lessons. Like a movie, the core is the lead actor and others are the supporting cast. You can pull it out and the book will lose its relevance. You take it out and it will stand alone as if it’s the essence of the whole book.

In romance novels the good part or the most read is the most dent spine, most mess up page and the almost worn out. Once an author made that observation because the good part, according to her contains the love scenes. That’s why it’s the most read. But let’s not get into the romance novels, I think you got the point. The core is the main component of the book. If you’re keen enough in reading you will notice that part. Sometimes it’s the make or break of the book.

I pointed this out because of two books that came to my mind. One is from J. Oswald Sanders “Enjoying Intimacy With God” and “Courageous Leadership” by Bill Hybels (which by the way, I might mention here in this blog but with caution and discernment). Years ago I found in the internet a good lesson by Sanders titled “Circles of Intimacy of God” which became a tremendous help for our ministry. What I didn’t know is that its part of that book I mention. I got a copy of the book and with the look of things it is the core of it. Other parts are essential but you can see the first chapter tackling the four circles of intimacy carries the book itself. Another hand out titled “The Art of Self-Leadership” by Bill Hybels which I found in a campus ministry website, is a valuable and I would love to share to our young people. As of recent I found out it is chapter of a book on leadership by Hybels. Again the book is great but that chapter which I dig out as a handout stands by itself making its core.

I’m not here to make you core hunters and suck all the fun in your reading. That’s the real reason we should pick up the book. First is to inform us then for our enjoyment. But knowing the core of the book can be helpful in many ways. It saves us time or money to go on to the next book. We can dissect the core from a truly boring book and get all the nutrients. We can easily share it because we are giving the good part already. Handouts can be made. Lots of great things in store in finding the core.

Have you found the core of the book your reading now? I would love to know your comments on this topic.