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.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Book Review - The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness (17/10)

The only person in this world that really matters is me”. This common concept hidden in our lives today, though we might not be to crass to proclaim it out now, it lies deep within us. However, when we become christians someone else takes this place, and He is our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

So this really is a book about how we can be absent-minded about ourselves, because we are preoccupied with who Christ is. Timothy Keller in this small booklet, explains what 1 Cor 3:21-4:7 have to say about this topic.The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness

In the first chapter, Keller brings us to examine our hearts, namely our ego. Keller shows how man will always strive after the never-ending pursuit of excellence, significance and purpose, yet never be able to reach it, since there’ll always be a fear of not being able to keep up, or another person to measure against with. Then Keller moves to how our view of ourselves can be transformed by the gospel. First he shows how Paul portrays that transformed view of self, then he quotes from Lewis and shows how they made the same point in their books, essentially, Christians can be self-forgetful, totally focused on others.

Impossible, some would say. And that’s what Keller wants to show the readers in the third chapter, how to get that transformed view of self. And this is how you get it — when you understand how God sees you, and that is what it really matters. Essentially, if you are truly justified by faith in Christ, then you can, no, you must be self-forgetful. It doesn't matter what others think or say about you now, the cross tells and gives us a radically new identity, one free from the pressures of this world, one that this world can never take away.

One could only wished that Keller would have expanded on this topic and written an actual book on it. I highly recommend any christian to read this book, in our day and culture where we are constantly evaluated by people offline and online, it is easy to succumb to such pressures. This book will be a helpful antidote for christians against it.

Rating: 4.25 / 5

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

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Book Review - For the Glory of God: Recovering A Biblical Theology of Worship (14/10)

There might never be an end to worship wars this side of heaven, but for a topic that has been so hotly fought over, it is surprising to see not many books on the theology/biblical theology of worship. What comes to my mind immediately about this topic is the book by David Peterson “Engaging with God”. But now, I think there is another solid contribution on this topic.

For the Glory of GodDaniel Block has written a 400+ page study on the biblical theology of worship. This book according to the author, in contrast to the one by Peterson, is able to present more deeply the topic of worship from the Old Testament, and after i’ve finish this book, I fully agree with him!

Block has done a comprehensive study on worship, he examines all the nooks and crannies of worship, and in my opinion has truly left no stones unturned (maybe other than spiritual gifts bit).

It would make this review far too long to examine every topic within the book. So I will give broad comments on book as a whole. First Block brings the readers to see how the audience in OT and NT first understood worship, giving many valuable insights to this topic that is not often found elsewhere. From it, he derives his definition of worship, which he expands in the chapters that follows.

Block then logically moves from point to point within his definition and covers everything within the topic of worship. He would first examines from the Old Testament (he uses the word First Testament instead) what it says about the topic, discuss about them in their context, and make a quick summary based on what is covered. Then he will move to the new Testament, and examine what has changed/remained, and explaining why these changes have happened. Sometimes, for certain topics, he would also enlarge his findings to the records found in the early churches. Next he moves on to give some of his suggestions or thoughts on the particular topics and what it implies for us today.

Block’s observation from the text has been very detail, showing his depth of research and work put into this book. Block’s suggestions and thoughts often found at the end of each chapters was also very perceptive. Through them he guides readers to think even more deeply about these topics and how that should affect our worship.

One tiny critique to this book, in his definition, Block defines worship only as human acts, however don't the angels in heaven also worship the Lord alongside with us? This lack however will in no way affect the content of the book.

This might not be Block’s magnum opus book for the laymen, but will surely be one of the best reference book on worship for a long time to come. Highly recommended for pastors and worship leaders to think deeply, biblically on this topic. Be warned though, to complete this book will be no walk in the park, but you will be deeply rewards for your efforts, and thankful to God for what Block has done for the christian community.

Rating: 5 / 5

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

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

Monday, 13 October 2014

Book Review - The Gospel (12/10)

Far too often, christians forgets the gospel is also for them as much as it is for their non-christians counterpart. Too often Christians become bored with the gospel, the gospel no longer thrill us, excites us or awes us. Ray Ortlund has written to remedy the situation, he wants readers to be thrilled again by the beauty of Jesus.The Gospel

First Ortlund reminds the readers the most important news they should know — that the gospel is for them! Ortlund then highlights that it is only by knowing the gospel doctrines then, and only then can we have a gospel culture. Both are necessary and either can do without each other, but with both of them comes power. Ortlund then re-tells the gospel to the readers so that they will hear again the gospel.  Next Ortlund reminds the readers that the gospel is for the church — the body of believers in Christ, not just for individuals. He shows the readers that christianity is never meant for just individuals, but always for the community of believers.

Next, Ortlund shows the readers that the gospel is ultimately for everyone, for those who are within the church and those without. It is the only way of salvation for the world. Ortlund shows us that when Jesus is on world, he shows us the preview, the preview of what life will be like in the future. And that is where we are going, if we trust in the gospel.

Ortlund then moves to show how it is sometimes difficult for us to believe in the gospel, not only so, it is also difficult have cultures shaped by the gospel. Furthermore, sometimes the prevalent culture is already anti-gospel. He directs readers to think critically about our own culture, because sometimes our culture “denies” the gospel by not showing forth what the gospel entails.

Following which, Ortlund then calls the churches to expect to have fruitful seasons as we bring the gospel to people around us, we would definitely reap some fruit, however, we will also face opposition. Just like Jesus and Paul, whenever they goes there are those who are thankfully for the news they brings, and some are hatefully towards the message they bring. As disciples, we shouldn't expect to receive any less.

Lastly, Ortlund ends by exhorting the churches to be reminded that with the gospel comes 3 things: power, courage and love. It is the gospel that will accomplish God’s work, we must trust, and grow in it. Nothing else must replace or substitute it.

As I read this book, this book has helped me grown to love the gospel and also to think critically about my culture. Thinking practically about how the gospel shapes my life, my church and my culture. Highly recommend if you want to grow in the understanding of the gospel, and also in how you can think practically about the gospel in your life.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

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

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

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Book Review - Songs of a Suffering King (10/10)

One of the hardest things for a preacher to do is to find Christ in all of Scripture. This difficulty lies not in the text itself, but in the preachers themselves. As we are reminded from the story of what happened when Jesus walked with the disciples to Emmaus in Luke 24. We see how Jesus had no difficulty in trying to explain how all of scripture concerns him rather it was the disciples who were slow of heart!

Songs of a Suffering KingThe Psalms, in my opinion are one the of the most overlooked books in this aspect. John Fesko has written an excellent book to cover this gap. In this book, Fesko shows the readers exactly what the Psalms are: Songs. Next, Fesko is always careful to exegete the passage in it’s original context and bringing out it’s application from there. Finally, Fesko brings out Christ, not by force but naturally from the text. This is where Fesko really excels in this book. He is able to help readers see how each of the Psalm, from Psalm 1 to 8, is directly link to Jesus!

So within each of the chapters, Fesko expounds of the psalm faithfully and biblically. Although personally I not agree with the flow proposed by Fesko from Psalm 1 to 8, I do see that Fesko is able to link each of them from to the another and each from the context of David, and then to Jesus. Fesko should be applauded from his valiant effort! This is no easy feat to say the least. One can only lament that Fesko has not continued for the next 142 psalm. I highly recommend and anticipate Fesko to carry on this series so the whole of the psalms would be covered. And I recommend pastors to give this a thorough read, see how each and every psalm can preached in context and also be connected to Christ. One of the clearest books on how Christ can be seen in the psalms so far in the market currently, this is truly Christ-centred preaching at its’ finest.

Rating: 4.75 / 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.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Pastor Appreciation Month - Free eBook from Crossway (7/10)

Pastor Appreciation Month - Free eBook, "Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor" from Crossway.

Free - Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor

Book Review - Loving my (LGBT) Neighbor (7/10)

With the deluge of homosexuals “coming out” combined with the ferocious publicity and offence from the LGBT community, I’m sure most readers would at least know or are acquaintances with at least one or a few of them. The pressing question most faithful Christians wants answered is how do we love these neighbours of ours? We neither want to dilute God’s clear truths written in the bible about this topic, nor do we want to be seemed as unloving, bigoted or intolerance as the social media portrays us to be. So what can we do?

Loving my (LGBT) NeighborThe first thing we could do, would be to buy and read this book. I must say when I first saw this book, I greeted it with much skepticism as I found it hard for myself to hold on to God’s teaching and be very loving to the LGBT community, but as I read, I found that this book would really help us christians on this topic.

Within this book, Glenn Stanton, the director for Family Formation of Focus on the Family gives christians a well grounded teaching on what marriage is, how for us chrisitans to love our LGBT family, friends, church mates or colleagues.

First, Stanton very helpfully explained the term LGBT, along with the various connotations that goes along with it, such as queer, questioning, intersex, and ally, to help readers be aware of what these terms mean (or do not mean), and also the nuances between some of them.

Then Stanton moves to an elaborate definition of marriage which forms the backbone of the whole argument of what we as christians can or cannot do. Stanton also very perspective help the readers see that in some situation, christians are often presented with false choices, situation or scenarios that presents to us choices that are both equally bad, an example that was shown within the book was along the lines of “Either accept all of me, even my personal convictions, or we can’t be friends.”

Next, Stanton moves on oh how we can deal with different situations in our lives and how the biblical principles works out in a day-to-day context. Stanton then move to discuss about situations most would face in 3 areas, friends, homes, society. This is where the book really excels, because Christians hold on the biblical meaning of marriage as Stanton explains in the first part of the book, Christians are able to navigate through the many dilemmas that are presented to us using this undervalued institution. Many a times, Stanton shows us, the way to approach any of such situation is to ask, “Does what it entails violated any of God’s teaching of marriage?”. For example, one of the question raised within the book of whether we as christian can attend an same-sex wedding, or can we bless the same-sex marriages of your very own son/daughter.

However, Stanton is not always consistent with this approach, on one section, he says that it is not right for them to allow same-sex partners to have adoption parities on their centre, but it is ok for them to provide the venue for the birthdays of the children of same-sex parents (pg. 185), again on page 189, he says that it is not ok for service provides (e.g bakery) to provide cakes for same-sex marriages, but it is fine if it’s an anniversary. I see no big differences between the 2 situations as the birthdays and anniversaries, commemorates exactly what the christians support, namely, the definition of what is a family, or what is a suitable environment for a child to grow in.

Please do not be turn off by the two issue I raised, this area is sorely missed by books that have come out in the past and Stanton does provide many much-needed help in this area. So I do encourage any christian who wants to grow in knowing how we can love our LGBT in a practical and biblical manner to read this book. I predict that this book would be the go-to book in the near future for most christians dealing with this topic.

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.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (6/10)

K.P. Yohannan (Free)

When We Have Failed-What Next?

Crossway ($0.99)

Learning Evangelism from Jesus

A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table

Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals

Church History: A Crash Course for the Curious

How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator

The Leadership Dynamic: A Biblical Model for Raising Effective Leaders

Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons

John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace

Galatians: Gospel-rooted Living

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Counsel from the Cross

Exploring Grace Together

Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry

Zondervan ($3.99)

What's Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done

A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering

Preston Sprinkle

Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us (Free)

Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence ($1.99)

Pastoral Appreciation Month

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition ($2.99)

Preach: Theology Meets Practice ($.299)

Theology of the Reformers ($2.99)

David C. Cook

Replant: How a Dying Church Can Grow Again  ($3.82)

Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World? ($4.99) [I'll be posting a review on this mid next month]

 Ending soon!

Art of Neighboring, The: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside your Door

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

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Bible Project - Going Through the Bible in 5 mins (6/10)


Book Review - The Home Team (5/10)

If you play any team sports, I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy this book. Furthermore I find the illustration of a team excellent when discussing about the concept of family. Using this illustration, Clint Archer has written a practical and helpful book on how to build godly families in this thin and engaging book.The Home Team

First Archer tackles the issue about why raising godly families is difficult, he talks about sin and its effects on creation, family, and on menhood and womenhood. It is also in this chapter that Archer highlights to the readers that only their desperate need for the Holy Spirit to be to carry out anything outlined in the book.

Archer very wisely brings out the importance of the principle of one flesh and to forsake all others. This he affirms and wants christians to grapple with this truth early on in the book. This is the foundational truth that God has given to families.  Archer then very logically, systematically takes the reader through starting from husbands and dads, then on to wives and mothers. Archer reminds the men that as fathers, they are the spiritual leaders in the family, likewise he reminds the ladies, that as wives they are to be a helper to their husbands.

Next Archer delivers 2 very helpful chapters on children. Archer shows the readers very clearly that from the bible, the child's response towards their parents is very simple: to obey them in everything. However Archer also very even-handed tells parents that their aim in lives is not to have children who obeys superficially.  He includes a short teaching on parenting that is both insightful and perceptive. Archer also have an additional chapter on adolescents (and extended adolescents) he very wisely grapples with the issues of this age, and dishes out very wise and biblical advice on this matter.

Next, he covers an expected topic: Singleness. Archer helps parents see that God may have called some of His children to celibacy, as such we need to have a correct understanding of celibacy. It’s purpose to so that the celibate can serve the Lord more wholeheartedly. He adds also a short writeup on how we can help the singles in our church not to feel lonely in the family of God.

Archers then moves on to talk about the para-support system for families, these includes grandparents and the educational system. He addresses each of them and gives an idea of their rightful position. I felt this chapter has done an excellent job in the discussion about the boundaries and use of the educational system.

Archers ends off by topping out all this with the importance of prayer in the whole process. He encourages family to consistently spend time together reading God’s word, and praying together. Those with younger kids can start with an easy to read version of the bible and keeping it fun. Slowly they can move on to give our heavier content to the children, Archer reminds parents that kids do have a very strong ability to learn, even early on in their lives, do not to be too afraid to use some of the denser stuff like catechism.

This has been an excellent book on how to build a godly family. Short, insightful and biblical. I strongly encourage those who wish to build a godly family to start to read and learn from this book!

Rating: 4.75 /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, 4 October 2014

Book Review - Letters to an Atheist: Wrestling with Faith (3/10)

If you have listened in to any debate between an atheist with a christian, often times the debates centred around the ‘notia' aspect (knowledge), while that is not the only way to try to convert others to Christianity, that might be the most publicised way to do so. So what other ways can a faithful christian try to do? Scores of books on apologetics have tried to fill in this gap but too many a times, they too are leaning too much into the ‘notia’ aspect too. Letters to an Atheist

Which is why I think, this book ought to the read by those who wants to do just that. If you have heard about the author (if you don’t, google/wiki it), Peter Kreeft, you would have know that he is a professor of philosophy which might terrify some, and perhaps makes the rest of us wonder whether or not we should even attempt to read this book. But have no fear, it’s not as difficult as you expect.

In a series of letters, Kreeft corresponds with Michael, an atheist, trying to have a ‘debate’ about each others’ faith. Though Michael is a fictional character, it is by no means an ‘artificial' debate. Within this book, Kreeft approaches the topic with rigour (what I term as hard [or technical]  philosophical approach) but that is not the focus of the book, far more often, Kreeft approaches the topics using what I call the soft (or laymen) philosophical approach, for example, Kreeft uses the beauty and desire as argument/pointers for the existence of God. Sure, some will find this a little difficult to digest, but Kreeft has consciously (and deliberately) left out the most technical and difficult bits so as to make this book more accessible for the masses.

What is more, included in the last section of the book Kreeft answers against some of the questions often raised against christianity such as hell, the problem of evil, the harm religion has done in history and others. I found this section exceptionally helpful and had it not been included it would have made the book a lot less helpful.  Although these questions are not tackled in length by Kreeft, he answers them succinctly and to the point. Some might want to see this portion expanded more, but this was not the purpose of the book and should be sufficient for most.

So if you're thinking of reaching out to the atheists around you with some meaningful conversations, do give this book a read, it’ll help you to be able to have good time conversing with them, checking each others' presuppositions and its effect on our day-to-day living.

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.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Book Review - Loving Jesus More (30/9)

I don't know about you, but as a christian growing up, I often wrestle with the questions of why I’m unable to love God more? Why is my love for Him so lacking? Why aren't I growing as much as I hope to in my love for Jesus? If you’re like me, then this book is for you and for me.Loving Jesus More

In a series of 9 sermons, Phil Ryken takes the readers through various aspects of what a christians need to know and understand so that we can grow to love Jesus our Saviour more. Phil first takes the readers to the source of love, both our love towards God and more importantly, His love towards us. Phil then rakes the readers through many struggles a christian might face in the journey of being a christians. I felt that as i read, many of the sermons addresses real needs and questions for myself and for other christians and he always directs and reminds us of the love Christ has for us.

This book is also written very pastorally, Phil shows what is written in God’s word fearlessly and tells the readers to struggle alongside with him, he does not need or want to act as if he has reached sinless perfection. Although Phil is the president of Wheaton College, yet he is too is in the trenches with us, struggling and wanting to love Jesus more.

If you find yourself struggling or lax in your love for Christ, read this, be encouraged and I believe you’ll walk away wanting to love Jesus more. I foresee myself turning to this book time and again in the future, just to be encouraged to love Jesus more and more.

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. (I've also bought a personal copy)