Sunday, 29 June 2014

Book Review - What's Best Next (28/6)

I’m sure all of us wants to be more productive, but is there a distinctly christian way to being productive? Matt Perman thinks there is, and here the book he wrote on it.

The book can be spilt into 2 halves, the first half concentrates on the why while the second half concentrates on the how.

41f1CVYqkfLPerman first defends the purpose of his book, highlighting the need for christians to have a distinctly christian view on productively, and also why christians have to be productive — because God calls us to be productive.

Next Perman sets the context, explaining from the bible why there is a need for productively, because of sin. Next, Perman focuses between effectiveness and efficiency, convincingly making the case that christians need to be effective rather than efficient.
Perman then process to give some biblical principles of why we must be productive. The most surprising and most salient point was that christians ought to be more productive, so we can serve others. This point is one that Perman goes back to repeated, and helps the reader see how from the bible this point is derived. This is an immensely important point, too many a times productivity is immerse with self — “be more productive so you can live you life you really want”. Perman goes against the grain and reminds the readers that no christians should or must think in this way.

Perman then proceeds to give assurance to the readers that the gospel does give us the hope that we can be productive, and also explored how prayer is intertwined with being productive.

The next half, Perman brings out his tools that will help the readers to bring about the How-to be more productive. Perman gives many practical tips and also many short excerpts on what it’s like in his life. Included inside is also tips on how to organise your emails and your monthly/weekly/daily schedules.

What is good about the book is that Perman helps us not only be more productive, Perman also challenges the reader to not to stick to mediocre goals and shows how it is possible for us to slowly work towards accomplishing them.

What I think may be a minus in this book, would be perhaps the how-to seems to be quite absent of biblical teaching, sure there’s no “Christian way” of planning schedules or organising emails, but perhaps this is one tiny area that I think would make this book even better.

Having said that, this book is really a great book for all christians to read. It is amazing that no one has yet tackled the area of productively from the bible’s perspective, but I’m thankful that Perman that began to start the ball round, and to start it so well. Highly recommended for all christians who wishes to be more productive, and also know why they should be more productive.

Rating: 4/5

If you're interested you can get yours here and here (free international shipping)

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

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Dare to watch this ENTIRE video? (26/6)

Covenants vs. Dispensations (26/6)

Have you wondered what is the difference between dispensationalism and covenantal theology? This would be a good quick introduction on the topic taught by Peter Lillback

Libib - Great Home Library Organiser (25/6)

If you have a big library of books, and need something to keep track of it. I highly recommend this: Libib

I've just started to use it and I found it to be really good. It's easy to use, free, and you're able to input the books you have simply by scanning the barcode using your phone's camera.

Here's some others that you can consider too.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Book Review - Taking God at His Word (24/6)

TGAHW-300x457Kevin DeYoung aims at this book to get readers to take God’s word seriously. DeYoung does not attempt to do anything new or novel, instead he drives his point clearly from scripture in every chapter. The reader is brought to attention on 4 main points that DeYoung wants to bring across strongly:

  1. God’s Word is Enough

  2. God’s Word is Clear

  3. God’s Word is Final

  4. God’s Word is necessary

DeYoung first makes the call for christians to take God’s word not only seriously, but also passionately, desiring to want more of God’s word. Following which, DeYoung makes the points that God’s Word to us in scripture is something that is God’s word, written by man, yet without error.

The following 4 chapters are what I think is the meat of the book. They show convincing how scripture makes this exact 4 points and how preachers and christians should, no must, regain their trust and confidence on the Word of God alone. I felt that the chapter on ‘God’s Word is Enough’ was exceptionally well written and a good reminder for all christians in this generation that is so quick to want to move “beyond” the Word of God.

In the last 2 chapters, DeYoung shows us how we should take God at His Word — just as how Christ took God’s Word. DeYoung shows time and again how Jesus himself shown full confidence in God’s Word, how He has never wavered from it and how we too can emulate Christ in this. DeYoung then encourage the readers to stick on with the simple teaching of Sola Scriptura, inviting readers to think thoughtfully over their own history with God’s word, the ability and origin of the Word of the Lord and the practicality of it.

Lastly, DeYoung ends off with 30 books that he recommends for Christians to continue to pursuit on this topic.

What is good about this book is that it is exceptionally clear, and does not bog you down with needless details, DeYoung does not beat around the bush and drives you straight to scripture allowing you to see for yourself if that’s what is clearly said in Scripture and the appendix provided does point the reader to very good and recent resources that will surely help to deepen the reader’s conviction on the Word of God.

What could be improved though, is perhaps a chapter on cultivating better bible reading habits. Sure the reader most likely be convinced that we must take God at His Word, but how should I do it? Perhaps every a short guide on it, will be good. In the end, the reader is built up in his confidence on God’s Word, but if not applied, it will just remain as an apologetics for the sufficiency of the Word of God, but not sink down to bear fruit in the reader’s life.

Rating: 4/5

Get yours here and here (free international shipping)

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

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Book Review - John Frame's Selected Shorter Writings (21/6)

If you have been in the reformed circles long enough, you would have surely came across the name John Frame. Frame has often been praised for his lucidness, but frankly when I first tried to read his books (AGG, SBL), I went away rather confused. So it was with trepidation and a deeper desire to be better able to appreciate this theologian that I took up the task of reading this book. And boy was I glad I that made this decision.87317

The book starts with an essay on (tri)Perspectivalism, a great introduction to the distinctiveness of the way John Frame approaches theology. This essay is the best short introduction to the famed tri-perspectivalism and it is apt that the book begins with this particular essay.

The first two sections spend the majority of the time dealing with the theological topics that are the forte of Frame. In it, Frame raises many basic yet important and thoughtful questions that spurs the readers to become better exegetes (see his essay on what the bible does not say, in particular) and to think more deeply and thoughtfully over theology.

Following which, the next section discusses about apologetics — another area of his forte. It is however regrettably a little too short! (only 3 essays on it). One would have wish that the second volume would hopefully have more articles on this topic. Following which, some essays on the topic of ethics and worship. These chapters, I feel were a mix bag, some were really good, (see his Family, Church and State: A Triperspectival Approach), some were just his responses to reviews, which probably helps you understand his DCL better.

Lastly, it ends off with some personal essays about the author himself, letting the readers take a sneak peek into the life of the author and a list of 100 books that have most influenced him.

Overall, I found that the chapters were not evenly spread, some were long, some were really, really short, which seems odd even for a book titled “Shorter writings”, one would have wished that John Frame could have expanded some of the shorter ones to make this volume “fuller”. Even so, the short articles were often insightful and perceptive, many a times after reading a few paragraphs, one is made to pause and ponder over what was written. And I think, one of the greatest gains from reading this book is that one would surely begin to think more “perspectivally” after reading it.

This book is surely recommended to the younger or newer audience who hopes to dip into John Frame but fear his larger and more challenging works. May this be the first stepping stone towards reading more of Frame for yourself.

Rating 4.25/5

Get yours here and here (free international shipping)

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

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Mike Reeves - A Trinitarian Gospel (20/6)

Mike Reeves speaks on the importance of revealing God as Trinity when we present the gospel message.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Noteworthy Things for today (20/6)

Free ebook: Same-Sex Marriage and the Future by Russell Moore - Get it here.

Unpublished Essay on the Trinity by Jonathan Edwards - Get it here.

Family Worship - Advice For Busy Fathers (19/6)

Some godly advice from Joel Beeke

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (18/6)

Three books by Jeremy Walker that's on sale this week

The Brokenhearted Evangelist ($2.99)

A Portrait of Paul ($2.99)

Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ ($0.99)

walker_brokenhearted__98951_zoom 9781601780904 9781601782748_p0_v1_s260x420

Book Review - Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (18/6)

Jonathan Edwards is often considered as the greatest (if not one of the greatest) theologian in the history of the American Church. But how much do you know about him? His family? And the context he lives in?

0851514944In comes, Iain Murray’s ‘Jonathan Edwards - A New Biography’. Murray first explains his own presuppositions about Edwards and on the biography he has written. Murray then traced the life of Jonathan Edwards chronologically, starting from the first generation of Edwards who came to New England, till the death of Edwards, and also some of his family members.

Along the way, the family members of Jonathan Edwards, was given ample space to let the reader know not just about Edwards, but also about he family that he had, especially his wife and his 2 daughters, Jerusha and Esther.

Murray has done a thorough job by quoting many times, from primary sources, and help any reader see the context that Edwards was in. Not only so, Murray often gives helpful insights and comments on the situation. Jonathan Edwards, warts and all was presented in this biography.

The last chapter talks about how Edwards has been “forgotten” in the past, and is now slowly reaching a wider readership in this generation. Hopefully this book will spur even more readers to read Edwards for themselves.

Although this is definitely not the book I would recommend as a first introduction of a biography to Jonathan Edwards, it deserves careful study, and any Edwards scholar or Edwards enthusiast cannot miss out on this volume, but the reader has to be warned, it’s over 470+ pages and is not for the faint-hearted or the uninitiated. I myself have also “given up” along the way and slowly continued till I was done with the book. Hopefully you’re gain from this book a much better understanding of Edwards, his family and his time.

Rating: 4/5

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

Look at the Book (18/6)

There's nothing more we need in every generation than to really look at the Book.

This sounds like an exciting series that would be worth your time.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Sorry for the delay (16/6)

Sorry there wasn't any posts for the last 8 days, I was in China with my family for a holiday, turns out China banned Google, Facebook and Wordpress. There was no way I could have updated the blog, not even the mobile app works. Internet was also horribly slow......

Will resume my blog posts tomorrow, need some time to get back into my usual daily routine.

So do come back again tomorrow, I'll be posting some book reviews soon too, so do stay tuned for that. :)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence And Can Begin Rebuilding It (7/6)

Do you feel as if Christian have lost it's influence within culture?

Here's an interview with Greg Forster, the author of Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence And Can Begin Rebuilding It. HT: Justin Taylor


If you're interested, you can get this book here, and here (free shipping)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

How did Evil come into the world? & Homosexuality and the Bible? (6/6)

Came across some wonderful resources that I thought would be good for me to share. HT: The Domain for Truth

This speaker is William Edgar, the Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary.


How did Evil come into the world?







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


Homosexuality and the Bible: Who's is the Best Narrative?


Friday, 6 June 2014

Free e-book From Reformation Heritage Books

'Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism' EBOOK is currently FREE for a limited time, you can get it here.

On sale is also the paperback version for $10 here.



Book Review - B. B. Warfield: Essays on His Life and Thoughts (5/6)

B. B. Warfield has been recommended by many to be an important giant in the christian circle. But having read none of his actual works, I took up this book eagerly as an opportunity to help me to dive into Warfield works.

9781596380370The book starts out by introducing the family of Warfield, especially the maternal side and on his grandfather, Robert Jefferson Breckinridge. This is an interesting read and frankly unexpected. But this sets the book into context, Warfield’s heroic defence against the attacks from the liberals was not something that just came up. His rich history has made him into who he was. Furthermore, one might not have expected that for someone who’s now called the “Lion of Princeton” to have joined Princeton against his parents and relative’s decision.

Following which, the apologetics of Warfield was considered. This was to answer some critiques that was made against Warfield, to be a rationalist apologist. Paul Helseth shows well that Warfield use of reason is never above his fundamental belief in the scripture.

The next 2 chapters, are rather alike, which is a mystery. Both chapters highlights just about the same points as each other, and both explains that Warfield’s doctrine of Scripture, specifically Inspiration and Inerrancy is not what many might have assumed. Both chapters seek to show readers just that, by using a close reading of Warfield, allowing us to have a clearer and more accurate picture of what Warfied himself believed and defended against.

The next chapter talked about Warfield’s effort against slavery. Warfield’s upbringing had taught him to be familiar with the treatment that the slaves has had. His own grandfather had once mis-treated a slave, and who was in turn severely punished by his mother. Warfield had tried rather unsuccessfully, to abolish the rule that forbids the black to occupy key position in church. More importantly, it was clearly shown that these were not driven solely due to his family history, but more fundamental based on Warfield’s understanding of God’s Word. This remains to be an important point that would be repeated several times within the book.

Lastly, the last 2 chapters showed the differences and similarities between Warfield and his protegé, Machen; and also the controversy Warfield had with Charles Briggs.

This book is not for the faint-hearted. This book is loaded with footnotes and will require focus to slowly read through the various essays on Warfield. What I found was that it seemed to be rather lopsided in it’s presentation. Warfield’s doctrine of Scripture is often alluded, however if I do not remember wrongly, Christology was the topic Warfield wrote on the most. It is striking that not much is spoken about in this book.

Given the content of this book, I would have to recommend others to newer books like “Warfield on the Christian Life” for an easier introduction on Warfield. But, for those who intent to do a serious study on Warfield, this alongside with “The Theology of B. B. Warfield” would be a good resource for the motivated scholar.

Rating: 3.25/5

Get yours here, and here (free international shipping)

The Heavens Flimed For 7 Days (5/6)

This was filmed over the course of 7 days at El Teide, Spain’s highest mountain. It's a beautiful time lapsed video of how wonderful God's creation is.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
  the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
  and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Free Kindle Deal (5/6)

Get this soon, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (free) for now. Get it while it's still free.

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

China's Reforming Churches (4/6)

This looks like a good book to start if you want to know more about the state and growth of the China churches.


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

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (3/6)

There have been some good Kindle Deals recently, thought you'll be interested in them.

Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow (Free)

James: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) ($0.99)

Isaiah: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) ($0.99)

Genesis: A 12-Week Study (Knowing the Bible) ($0.99)

Reasons for Faith ($3.99)

Reasons We Believe ($3.99)

Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible's Origin, Reliability, and Meaning ($2.99)

Ancient Word, Changing Worlds: The Doctrine of Scripture in a Modern Age ($3.99)

PUB_1653_hardcover_june12a.indd  9781433534799   9781433534348   9781433535017   reasons   ReasonsWeBelieve   9781433529993   9781433502606

Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (3/6)

Here's a good follow from the video I posted 2 days ago.

Here's the latest edition of the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, free!

Why Waste Your Talents (3/6)

Singapore Youth For Christ is having this national sports competition event: Teen Games 2014, if you're from Singapore, you can sign up to compete in it, do note that a Christian message will be shared. If you're not, pray for us, we hope to reach out to 1500 youths through these avenue.







Actual Date: 18th and 21st June

Sign up Deadline: 8th June

Cost: $15 per individual (includes insurance, a uniquely designed dry-fit T-shirt, and a meal coupon on the 2nd day)

Location: St. Andrews Junior College

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Book Review - Preaching: Simple Teaching on Simple Preaching (2/6)

Alec Motyer sets out in this very small but useful book to help preachers or would be preachers to have a good grasp of what preaching is like and should be. Don't expect to find anything fancy here, it’s the usual steps that you will find in most books on preaching.

PreachingHowever, this book does set the tone in the beginning that preaching is HARD work. And no preaching does not just “come out”. Good preaching comes when you work hard at trying to understand the text, finding/thinking of relevant application and presenting it in a clear and memorable way.

Motyer slowly guides the reader along as though we took at peek at him preparing his sermon in the study. Motyer first reminds us that our sermons must always be driven by the Bible (text) and nothing else. The preacher’s job is first and foremost to explain what the text mean.

He then reminds us that the focus of the bible is Christ, and that we ought to be christ-centered in our preaching also. He also shows us how should not moralise (especially) the Old Testament characters.

Motyer teaches us really simple steps while preparing the sermon. First read the text, then note down the important phrases or points within the passage, next using a concordance find the meaning of some of these words (especially those you’re struggling to understand). Following which you work on the structure of the text, the presentation and application.

What the could be improved in this book could be to add some exercises that a person could do at the end of every chapter. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a theoretical book, it does contain many useful and helpful outlines on various passages done by the author himself. But, I do think that doing the exercises at the end would really drive the point home. This however, is just a minor issue within the book. It’s still is very practical and helpful to any preacher.

This really is a small and easy book, it’ll be a good refresher course for preachers who have been preaching for some time. There is always a danger of slowly changing our sermons so that we can have a “better response”. This book would help remain them the main scope of preaching, and also to encourage them to remain the course. Second, this would be a good primer for anyone who is intending to preach, no technical terms are used, and chapters are small and easily digestible. Added inside is also some reading plans that churches could use to help the congregation mediate on relevant text before coming on a sunday to hear the word of God preached.

Rating: 3.75/5

Get yours here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Learning Thankfulness From The Life of Baby Zion (1/6)

This is a touching video on the life Baby Zion, who lived just 10 days. What about you? How many days have you lived?

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

Help Boys Grow Up Well (1/6)

This is an interesting video on how to make schools more "boy-friendly".


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Book Review - The Word of the Lord (31/5)

Two days ago, I posted on the top ten most neglected books of the Bible. This book, I think, would help to reverse this negligence.

ThiWord-of-the-Lords has been one of the best book I’ve read for quite some time. Although the Prophets may take up a substantial portion of the Old Testament, they are often neglected. Many reasons can be attributed to this, first we don’t hear much preaching on them, second, we often don’t really understand the prophets even if we tried to study them. Too often, we’ll just give up thinking it’ll be a futile attempt.

This is where the “The Word of the Lord” comes in. Not only will it help us see the importance of getting us to read and study the Prophets, it also tells us how each of them ultimately point us to Christ.

Nancy first introduces us to the world of the Prophets, one of the reason why we find it so difficult to understand the Prophets is because we do not really know the context of these prophesies. Who are the prophets prophesying to? When they are prophesying? Is it before or after the destruction of Israel/Judah? Is it during the exile? Or is it after they returned from exile? Next, our unfamiliarity with the geography often hinder us from “catching” what would be obvious to the original audiences.

Each of the prophets would then be studied in the following format, “Personal Bible Study, Teaching Chapter, Looking Forward and lastly, Discussion Guide

In the Personal Bible Study, Nancy slowly brings us to study each of the 9 prophets with some guidance questions. These help us to get a feel of the text itself, we are made to discover each of the prophets, letting us see from the text what the book is about. Often we are led to see that Christ is already present in the prophets, we just need a push in the right direction.

Next comes the Teaching Chapter, this I feel was the gold mine of the book. Nancy is able to do good exegesis, always pointing out what the text is saying and what it meant. Not only so, each and every chapter is immediately applicable for us in our current context. Although they might be written thousands of years ago, they are still relevant to us today. The same struggle they had, is the same struggles we have to deal with everyday.

In Looking Forward, we are made to see how the prophets (often) in their failures points us repeated to the ultimate Prophet - Christ himself. Please do not be mistaken, this is not the only portion that shows us how Christ can be seen in the Prophets, Nancy has sprinkled these like gold nuggets within the teaching chapter itself also. As you read, you will find yourself nodding and wondering why how you managed not to see Christ while reading the prophets.

In the Discussion Guide, Nancy sums up what was learn and often also hits home with simple application points that is equally useful for individuals or groups using the book to study the Prophets.

The book is highly recommend for every christian, especially for preachers. This book would really help preachers see how they can preach the text faithfully, with a Christ-centered focus and also have practical day-to-day application of the text in the believer’s life. Rarely have this been done, but this is a great place to start.

There was only 2 drawbacks for this book. First, not all the Prophets are covered, hopefully one more volume would be published to cover the remaining prophets. Second, this book really helps us have a “Big-picture” view of the 9 prophets, and this book IS the place to start for the preacher. But for the preacher who intends to preach through the whole book, you will have to refer other the other materials reference within the book itself. Notwithstanding these 2 minor points, this is still a really excellent book that deserves to be widely read and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

As you read this book you will, like the disciples on the Emmaus road feel your heart burning within you while you see the Scriptures opened up (Luke 24:13-32).

Lastly, this is my sentence summary for the nine prophets mentioned in this book.

Jonah - Dealing with those who have no mercy
Hosea - Dealing with the unfaithful wife
Micah - Dealing with the one who trumps the poor
Isaiah - Dealing with unholy people
Habbauk - Dealing with self-righteous people
Jeremiah - Dealing with sinful hearts
Daniel - Living as strangers in another land
Ezekiel - Waiting for the better temple
Malachi - Dealing with a people dull with God

Rating: 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.