Saturday, 1 November 2014

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (1/11)

These are goodies from Ligonier Ministries celebrating Free Reformation Friday, in honor of the Reformation Day itself.

And  additional kindle deals! More deals can be found here.

Ligonier Ministries (free)

Reformation Profile (video series by Stephen Nichols)

Luther and the Reformation (video series by R.C. Sproul)

Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism (audiobook)

John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, and Doxology

The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther

The Expository Genius of John Calvin

$0.99 Books

Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive (this is a great short book, you really should get it at such a good price. I'll be posting a review on it in 10 days)

$2.99 Books

God's Will: Finding Guidance for Everyday Decisions

The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin (a helpful book that breakdowns John Owen book on Indwelling Sin)

Too many choices for you to choose and not sure what to get? How about a Giftcard?

Book Review - New Morning Mercies (31/10)

Are you reminded of your need for the gospel everyday? Frankly, for most of us, the answer is we’re not. This amnesia of ours is so bad even after we know the importance of the gospel, we somehow forget all about it again. So what can we do about it?New Morning Mercies

The first step would be to get this devotion and use it. Paul Tripp has done an excellent job in this book by helping christians, young and old, to see how we need the gospel each and everyday. There is one reading every day for the whole day, and everyday as you read each devotion, you begin to see firstly how the bible is real to your life and secondly, you begin to see how the gospel can be applied in your lives.

In this devotion, Tripp does this day in, day out. Sometimes as evangelicals, we may see the gospel very narrowly — as a way to be saved from our sins. Tripp does not repeat such mistakes, instead Tripp shows how in every moment of our lives, we need, desperately need the gospel.

No doubt, for some readers, they might find the mediations too brief. However. the author is not at fault for this, for these readers, they are encouraged to read ‘A Shelter in the Time of Storm’ and ‘Whiter Than Snow’ by the same author who showed deep meditation on specific passages.

One suggestion for future addition would be to include not just scripture index, but also a topic index. This may be one of the resources one would want to refer to in different situations, not having a topic index will not be helpful in this endeavour.

This is a highly recommended devotional since there is far too little devotional material that shows us how to apply all the word of God in all areas of our lives and at the same time reminds us of the goodness of the gospel.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you're interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (31/10)

This has been a great month of kindle deals. Some of them lasts till Sunday, some are shorter. So do get them soon if you're interested!

New Growth Press (free)

How People Change

$1.99 Books

Know the Creeds and Councils (my review on it here)

$2.99 Books

Telling the Truth

Worship by the Book

Hardest Sermons You'll Ever Have to Preach

Conduct Gospel-Centered Funerals: Applying the Gospel at the Unique Challenges of Death

Visit the Sick: Ministering God's Grace in Times of Illness

Prepare Them to Shepherd: Test, Train, Affirm, and Send the Next Generation of Pastors

A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir

A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering

How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture

Spurgeon’s Calvinism

A Simple Christianity

Women of the Old Testament

$3.99 Books

Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know

Preaching and Preachers ($3.79)

Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? 

Insourcing: Bringing Discipleship Back to the Local Church ($3.79)

Reclaiming Love: Radical Relationships in a Complex World ($3.79)

NoteWorthy Books (some might be expensive, but they're heavily discounted already!)

Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine  ($6.99)

The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism  ($5.98)

Church History, Vol. One: From Christ to Pre-Reformation ($7.99)

Church History, Vol. Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day ($7.99)

Politics: According to the Bible ($7.99)

Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples ($7.99)

Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City  ($7.99)

The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology  ($5.99)

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine  ($19.99)

The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way  ($18.99)

Too many choices for you to choose and not sure what to get? How about a Giftcard?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (29/10)

David C. Cook (free)

What’s Your Secret?

B&H Publishing ($2.99)

Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary ($0.99)

Heart-Deep Teaching: Engaging Students for Transformed Lives ($0.99)

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved

Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scripture

Doxology and Theology: How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader

HCSB Study Bible

Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary ($2.99)

Exalting Jesus in Mark

Exalting Jesus in Ephesians

Exalting Jesus In James

Exalting Jesus in 1,2,3 John

Zondervan ($3.99)

Heaven Is a Place on Earth ($2.99)

Don't Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough ($2.99)

Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns ($2.99)

The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs

PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace

The Pastor's Family: Shepherding Your Family through the Challenges of Pastoral Ministry

Bethany House Publishers ($0.99)

How to Talk to a Skeptic: An Easy-to-Follow Guide for Natural Conversations and Effective Apologetics

Too many choices for you to choose and not sure what to get? How about a Giftcard?

Book Review - Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus (28/10)

What is one thing that Christians often find most difficult to do? I have a sneaky suspicion that evangelism would be one of the top few. So why is evangelism so difficult? Many reasons could be brought up, but the more important question is how we can remedy this situation.

Here is where this book comes in. Mack Stiles has authored a helpful book to revitalise evangelism for christians.Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus

Stiles first starts by addressing an all too common notion people have about evangelism and conversion — altar calls. He proposes to the readers to discard their pre-notion on such things and seek to see what the bible actually says about evangelism. Here, he also explains the what, how and why of evangelism. His definition of evangelism, and a rather simple one, is ‘Evangelism is teaching the gospel with the aim to persuade.’

And with that he guides readers through what evangelism is. Stiles very helpfully points out that evangelism can never ever happen without the means of words, and hence the first verb in his definition, ’teaching’. Next, he explains what ‘gospel’ is. Showing readers how sometimes we have a too small/large view of the gospel.

In the next chapter, Stiles moves on to the communal aspect side of evangelism. Yes we are each called to evangelise, but we need to evangelise as a church as well. So he talks about how the members must be clear about the priorities they each have. The ministers of the church must stay focus on the proclamation of the Word and not be boggled down with other good or even excellent things. However, the members (christians) must live out the implications of the gospel. this means although the pastor is not championing such causes.  This is not an excuse to not do anything at all! He takes this principle from Acts 6:2-4, where the church saw and distinguishes between the priorities of the apostles and the needs of the windows. Faithful christians were appointed to administer the important task of meeting the needs of the widows rather than having the apostles administering the tasks.

Lastly, Stiles talks about how things would work in a day-to-day context. He gets right down to business and raises important pointers that pastors, ministry leaders need to be concern about, things like how we are never to assume that the church understands the gospel, or assumes that everyone in the church are christians. He has also left words of encouragement to those who are trying or have tried to evangelise. Stiles shows us that he like us, sometimes do not and are not able to present the gospel as how we should. Yet we must not stop, we must continue to improve and preach the Word to others around us. He assures us the God is at work even though it may not seem to be so at times. He remains us to not focus on ourselves, but on God even at times when we are weary or are even tempted to give us.

Within this book, Stiles has also added an appendix which he has a short explanation of what the gospel message is. It’s a relatively short one (a page and a half) which will be helpful for most readers, even those who are at a lost of not knowing what to share with others.

Yes, evangelism is difficult, but all christians are called to share the gospel. This book would therefore be suitable for those who are very new but want to learn, and also for those who have been a christian for some time, and have kinda given up on sharing the gospel. Hopefully this book will help you take the first step to evangelising once again.

Rating: 4.25 / 5

If you're interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (27/10)

New Growth Press (Free)

Caught Off Guard: Encounters with the Unexpected God

Crossway ($0.99)

Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church

Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry

George Whitefield: God's Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century ($1.99)

Zondervan ($2.99)

Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome ($1.99)

Rediscovering Holiness: Know the Fullness of Life with God

Gum, Geckos, and God: A Family's Adventure in Space, Time, and Faith ($5.99)

Gospel Coach: Shepherding Leaders to Glorify God

For Calvinism

God Is a Warrior

Four Views on Eternal Security

Five Views on Sanctification

Four Views on Christian Spirituality

Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew ($9.99)

Luke ($9.99)

Galatians ($5.99)

Ephesians ($7.99

James ($4.99)

Theological Textbooks

Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning ($7.99)

An Introduction to the Old Testament: Second Edition ($7.99)

An Introduction to the New Testament ($7.99)

An Old Testament Theology ($9.99)

Theology of the New Testament (Frank Thielman) ($5.99)

New Testament Theology (Leon Morris) ($4.27)

New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties ($4.99)

Baker Books ($3.99)

Preaching and Teaching the Last Things: Old Testament Eschatology for the Life of the Church

Moody ($3.03)

Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence

Too many choices for you to choose and not sure what to get? How about a Giftcard?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Book Review - James the Just (26/10)

The book of James has often been called the ‘Proverbs’ of the New Testament. This is because of James contains many short sayings similar to the book of Proverbs. Yet too many a times, we read the New Testament totally separated — without any sense of the continuity it brings from the Old Testament.

James the JustIn this book, David Friedman and B. D. Friedman aims just to show the readers how to read the book of James with an eye on the Old Testament, especially on the book on Leviticus. And this is the clear strength of the book, it helps the reader see the link between the old and new testaments.

The authors start very wisely by giving the readers an overview of what the book will cover, a short introduction to the book of James and the purpose of the book of James. Chapter 1& 2 forms the apologetics and defence of this thesis. The authors propose that the book of James is a ‘yalqut ’, “a compilation, collection or compendium of Jewish religious writings.” (p. 10), whilst chapter 2 purposes to the readers that James is actually drawing his materials from Leviticus, and it’s actually a ‘yalqut’ of Leviticus. Within this section, the authors quotes multiple sections where similar ideas are raised both in James and Leviticus to show the connection between the two books.

Chapter 3 introduces the author of James, James the brother of Jesus and talks about how James was a rabbi (teacher) during the earliest church time. And in chapter 4, the authors shows  more evidences of how James actually uses the Torah in his letters. Lastly in the last chapter, the authors tackled the issue between faith and works. In it the authors showed that there was actually no such dichotomy in proper Jewish thoughts since even the Torah supported the idea that real faith is never alive without works, which James is simply reiterating it to the readers once more, that true disciples are not without works.

Having read this book, I must say this book can only be fully appreciated if you are familiar with both Greek and Hebrews (or with their transliteration) since the authors used both quite regularly. Secondly, this book would be far too thin as a real help for any exegetical work although it is under the “Messianic Commentary” series. The book at best serves as an excellent introduction to the book of James. But there is one flaw with the strength of this book. Although the book is great in showing the continuity of how the new testament is with the old, it does not do so well showing the dis-continuity of the old to new. This is one area that is sorely missing.

Overall, I can only recommend pastors to read this, if they want to see things from the “Messianic Jewish” perspective, if not, i would recommend that readers seek out other more substantial commentaries that is widely available.

Rating: 3 / 5

If you're interested you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Book Review - Edwards on the Christian Life (24/10)

Jonathan Edwards has been the rave of the town for the past few years, he is without doubt one of America’s finest theologians. It is heartening to see so many reading Edwards in this day and age. And for those who are hoping to start reading Edwards, I think there is no better introduction to the thoughts of Edwards than the book by Dane Ortlund.

Edwards on the Christian LifeDane Ortlund has in this book very succinctly and comprehensively shown the readers the major themes of Jonathan Edwards. Ortlund has proposed to that beauty is the overarching theme of Edwards, which he explains and shows in the first chapter.

This then breaks off into smaller segments which covers different topics. I found the topics on prayer, heaven and satan especially helpful for me in understanding, and as with every book in this series. What is shared in these books are not brilliants ideas fit for the armchair theologians, rather they are things that are very practical and peculiar to the christian live. Furthermore, I found Ortlund often very insightful not just in helping me understand Edwards, but also in bringing out his point.

Let me give you an example: While talking about prayer, Ortlund brilliantly illustrates what Edward’s point was.

“Much contemporary evangelical exhortation to pray fails to land on us with power because it holds out before believers the urgency of the task and how practically to go about it more than the beauty of the One with whom we are communing and the greatness of what he promises. But the way to motivate praying is not to focus on praying but to focus on God. You do not need to pull out The Dummy’s Guide to Verbal Admiration when you stand before Victoria Falls in southern Africa. Beauty arrests us. The words of awe tumble out on their own.”

Edwards point was that when we see God in His beauty, then prayer would be the most natural response we have towards God. So what will spur Christians to  pray more? A deeper knowledge and enthralment of God, I cannot agree more.

This book has been, encouraging to read, it has spurred me to want to really dig in to read Edwards. What is more, it has helped me God, in all His glory as what Edwards has and spurred me on in my christian life.

Ortlund has also very clearly helped the readers see some of the flaws of Edwards, although these are not fatal flaws, they are nevertheless, flaws. Ortlund raises 4 of them, which I agree are valid points against Edwards. These are highlighted not to belittle Edwards, but to help readers read him carefully so as not to repeat the mistakes again.

What I highly recommend readers to do, is to read the preface carefully, it will give you a good overview of what will be covered within the book, giving you a logical flow and the structure of the book. This is certainly aid you as you plow through this book. It’s not too difficult, but it’ll certainly be good for your soul.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you really want to understand Jonathan Edwards. A big thank you to Dane Ortlund for writing it, and for Crossway to being willing to publish this great series. Looking forward to reading more of such books (Luther and Owen especially) in this series! You really should consider to buy one and read it.

Rating: 5 / 5

If you're interested you can get a copy here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Book Review - Despite Doubt (21/10)

I’m quite sure that we all have doubts one time or another in our christian lives, but what do with do with them? And after hearing sermons on doubting Thomas, some might even think that they shouldn’t be doubting. Some might just sweep it under the carpet, others may thrive in it, some fall away because of it. So what do we do with these doubts?Despite Doubt

Michael Wittmer wants us to ‘doubt away’. This is a deliberate play of words, he wants our doubts to be away, and he wants us to be honest with our doubts. This book can be spilt into 2 portions. The first portion deals with doubts that most people have, doubts about God, Jesus, Bible, etc… and the second section deals with some questions (doubts) that christians have about their lives, about trust, promise, assurances.

In the first section, Wittmer answers most of the common questions people have against or about christianity. Wittmer does this by taking up their stand and showing the readers about what their belief entails or implies in our lives, if we are to take up such system of thought. Essentially Wittmer wants us to doubt our doubts away.

Wittmer also has a very  written very helpful on the definition of faith and doubts. One example: when dealing with the topic on knowledge, he argues in order for our faith to grow, we need knowledge, but even a greater or fuller knowledge will never be able to obliterate faith. Uncertainty it not the opposite of faith, but rather the lack of knowledge.

In the next section, Wittmer deals with the common christians usually have or face. I especially like how he dealt with the topic of why the church is full of hypocrites (found in chapter 20). He answers this lucidly by showing that the church has hypocrites, simply because the church is good. No one fakes a bad stuff. But hypocrites doesn’t ‘prove’ that Christianity is not real. (Read the book for the fuller answer with explanation)

Finally, this is why I think this book is excellent. Often books dealing with apologetics, they do a great job answering questions, Wittmer does this too, but he goes further than that. He calls readers to re-examine their lives, he calls them to put their trust in Jesus, shows them what it means. And therefore, what he is really doing is to deal answer their doubts, and then to slowly lead them to Christ and discipling them into a church. This book would be fine for either christians or non-christians, and any teenager should be able to understand this book since there are not many technical terms, and they’re usually explained in a very layman language also. Wittmer has also provided discussion questions at the end that would be helpful for group studies, and the division into small but numerous chapters would be appealing to groups who wants to spend more time discussing about them. Or they could be group into multiple chapters and discussed, since the chapters flow very well one after another.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you're interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Here's the trailer:

And a introduction of the book by the author:

[vimeo 70348177 w=651 h=366]

Despite Doubt – Embracing a Confident Faith, By Michael E. Wittmer from Discovery House Publishers on Vimeo.