Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power (3/10)

In what age has man not been obsessed with money, sex and power? Probably none. Which is why this topic will need to be addressed in every age. John Piper has decided to tackle this issue. But he does so in a very even-handled way.

Living in the Light: Money, Sex and PowerFirst Piper wants readers to know that money, sex and power are not three separate issues that needs to be addressed individually. Rather they are issues that come out from the same root: sin.

This then becomes the focal point which Piper then tackles. This is not to say that Piper neglects the three topics mentioned. Rather he does not address them as entirely separate entities.

Piper then combs through the bible and see what the bible has to say about each of these topics. After giving readers a big overview, he then leads readers to see how each of them leads us away from God when we put them in the centre of our lives.

Piper shows readers how sex, money and power leads us to live idolatrous lives and why we should not worship them as gods. Piper then gives readers the correct perspective to view all these  gifts that God has given to us. When God is placed at the centre and sex, power and money in their respective place, God is honoured and man is free to enjoy these goodness that God has given to us.

This will be a good general book for all readers. Primarily, this will apply for those who are starting to work or marry, where these 3 topics will be directly relevant to their lives. For those who are not, this will book will still serve as a helpful guide before you confront these issues in future.

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

Book Review – Why Bother With Church? (30/9)

I love this title. This book highlights the thought that many (both christians and non-christians) has towards the church. In my own church, I see and feel that many youths have this apathy towards the church. So should we really bother with the church? What will we really lose if we are not involved in a church?

Why bother with church?Sam Allberry has written a short book to address it. Allberry starts by highlighting that the church doesn’t mean a physical structure or location. In fact church really means a gathering of people. He shows readers that the new testament christians were more concern about the gathering of the believers that the physical building they were at and that we should always keep this in the back of our mind as we talk about the church.

Next, Allberry highlights our need for the church. He shows us how as christians we cannot really divorce our faith from our community. This is what Jesus and the authors of the different New Testament books were concerned about. It is both our need and our service to be within a community to support and encourage and to be supported and encouraged.

Allberry then explains to readers what is a good church. He covers three aspects of the church. First the church is committed to learning from God’s word, next the members are committed to one another and third, the church is committed to worshiping God. Having done so, Allberry also adds a small excursus that talks about how to choose a church and about what baptism and communion is about.

Finally Allberry talks about a church’s governance and how we can be committed to a church despite the difficulties we have. I found this section to be honest and pastorally helpful although Allberry does not provide all the answers to the questions one might have, this is a good small for such a thin book. It leaves readers thinking how they can not be committed to a church if they’re christians. For those who think they’re over with the church, why not pick up this book and reconsider your conclusion? For youths who think church is boring and a waste of time, perhaps this book will be something you can consider as an alternative to what you believe.

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

Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century (27/9)

The mission of God brings the missions of God. This is the crux of the message of this book. Timothy Tennent has written what would be a standard text for anyone interested in missiology.

Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first CenturyWhat is unique about this book is how Tennent grounds all aspects of missions into the Mission of God. This is then further broken down by Tennent into the mission of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I am especially thankful that Tennent has written a textbook that looks into the trinitarian aspect of missions. This has been one aspect that has often been overlook in the study of missions but Tennent (and Chris Wright) has rightly pointed out that missions exist because God’s mission exist.

I also liked how Tennent traced the idea of missions throughout the old and new testament. I found that this really helped me ground my understanding of missions on the what the word really has to teach about missions. This I think, is one of the clear strength of the book. Some other chapters however will be slightly more difficult to comprehend and will need more than one reading for readers who are new to missiology.

I think this book will be really helpful for those who are thinking about missions or evangelism. Tennent has helped me understand deeper that missions is not just about evangelising to people across country/culture. Rather missions is really bring to gospel to everyone in a way that is relevant and understandable to them.It has broaden my understanding of missions to see how I can do missions at where I am currently.

In addition, pastors will be interested to know that this book will help broaden their understanding of missions and be able to see their outreach at church more holistically. This will help them see that missions does not just lie outside the border of the country you are in, but lies outside the borders of the church wherever it is.

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

Kindle Deals You Should Know About (26/9)

I’m back with some deals. Hope you enjoy the deals today.

The World-Tilting Gospel
The How and Why of Love: An Introduction to Evangelical Ethics
Messy Church Enhanced eBook: A Multigenerational Mission for God’s Family

Women, Sermons and the Bible
Born This Way: Making sense of science, the Bible and same-sex attraction
God’s Good Design

Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture

Too many choices for you to choose and not sure what to get? How about a Giftcard?
Don’t have a Kindle? No worries, do you know you can still buy them and view kindle books online or on your tablet or computer? Do check it out!

Happy Shopping!

Book Review – Just Business: Christian Ethics for the Marketplace (23/9)

Can business be good? Or even godly? Alexander Hill think so and advocates Christians to have just businesses.

Just Business: Christian Ethics for the MarketplaceHill starts the book by discussing crucial topics of his book. Within it, he talks about holiness, justice and law. Hill akin these to a 3-legged stool, all 3 are important to have a christian ethics for business. If one lack of them, there is a possibility that we will have a skewed ethics for business.

Next, he talks about the law, morality and agency. I especially appreciated how Hill talks about what agency is. He informs readers that we are responsible towards the actions we take in the workspace. And this certainly is deeply related to how we hold ourselves at work and how we related to others.

Next, Hill talks about the various topics one will face at a marketplace. I enjoyed how Hill uses many case studies to illustrate the difficulty and complexity of how christians can live out their christian ethics at work. Although Hill does not give us model answers to follow, his discussions on the topic is always enlightening and seeks to explore all aspect of the subject. For someone still very new in the marketplace, I have found this book useful for my own growth in this area. Business owners will find this book especially helpful as Hill also help employers think through some ethical issues within their companies.

Far too often, books target the employees but not the employers. This book helps readers see things from both perspectives. He helps employers see what kinds of ethical dilemmas their employees deal with in their workplace. But also helps employees understand the responsibility and burden the employers have when making ethical decisions.

If you are a pastor who have not worked in the marketplace. This will be a helpful book for you to understand the situations your congregation faces everyday. You’ll begin to understand the complexity and nuances that each situation have. This will help you see that there may not be clear answers in every situation, but we many a times we are called to wrestle through these situations prayerfully.

Rating: 4.5 /  5

If you are interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Book Review – Marketplace Christianity: Discovering the Kingdom Purpose of the Marketplace (20/9)

Are you a christians who is currently NOT serving in a full-time ministry, and probably DO NOT feel called to serve in a full-time ministry? Congratulations! You ARE the majority of the christians in church. Far too often, churches do shepherd christian who are serving well in the marketplace. This has to be a failure of the church.

Marketplace Christianity: Discovering the Kingdom Purpose of the MarketplaceThis is a book that seeks to minister to the majority who are serving full-time in the marketplace. As a christian who has started work a year ago, I am thankful that Robert E. Fraser has given much thought to this area. Too often those who excel or enjoy being in the marketplace feel so neglected within their church. But Fraser wants to help them serve God within the market place.

Fraser points out many relevant points that full-time pastors ought to take note.
For example “Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m so passionate for Jesus, I just have to go into business”? Why don’t we hear that? Because, without ever saying so, most Christians believe

that a marketplace vocation and passion for Jesus are mutually exclusive”

Too often, if pastors are not careful this impression sticks with the congregation: “The message is that marketplace activities are devoid of spiritual purpose. Christians can best express their love for Jesus, they are told, by coming to church meetings, volunteering with the youth, teaching Sunday school, ushering, greeting and so on.”

However, Fraser also highlights the danger of being suck into the rut of the marketplace. He calls christians to be careful to seek what is eternal and not what is temporal:
“Imagine that the U.S. government announced that at the end of the month green dollars would be worthless, and new red dollars would be our currency. We would be fools to keep green dollars. In the same way, God gives us the opportunity to trade the worthless for the eternal.”

There can be no doubt that is book is written especially for those who are working in the marketplace. Pastors would also be wise to consult this book, especially those who have not had any experience working in the marketplace. This will help you grow in your empathy for your congregation and also to be careful in the way you minister to them.

Rating: 4.5 /  5

If you are interested, you can get this book here and here (free international shipping).

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

Book Review – Spreading the Feast: Instruction and Meditations for Ministry at the Lord’s Table (18/8)

As a Christian who attends a brethren church, one of the things I appreciate the most is that we partake the Lord Supper weekly. I am reminded weekly of my need for Christ and His gracious love towards me. Yet, many a times, my understanding of the Lord Supper remains ever so shallow.

Spreading the Feast: Instruction and Meditations for Ministry at the Lord's TableSeeing this book, I was eager to see how this will help me grow in this area. Howard Griffith has written this book to help christians and pastors have a deeper understanding of the Lord supper whenever they partake of it.

The book is divide in 2 parts. The first explains the significant and theology of the Lord supper. The 2nd acts mainly as meditations on the Lord supper. These can be taken as topical sermons on the Lord supper. Two of them focus on the fulfilment aspect of the Lord Supper, The other on the application of union of Christ

So who is the book for? I would think this book is meant primarily for lay christians who wants a deeper and clearer understanding of the Lord Supper. The 3 mediations will prove to be especially helpful for christians to see the continuity of the bible. For pastors though, I would not recommend this to be a book for you to get. You will probably need a book that gives you more meat for the theology of the Lord Supper. Other resources will be able to better meet your needs.

Rating: 4 / 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

Book Review – Evangelical Ethics: Issues Facing the Church Today, Fourth Edition (15/8)

As a Christian, I’ve always liked John Frame’s definition of theology — “the application of the whole Bible to the whole of human life.” A case in point, this book by John Jefferson Davis is one of those that seeks to apply the word of God to all areas of our life.

Evangelical Ethics: Issues Facing the Church Today, Fourth EditionWithin this book, Davis tackles 13 contemporary topics. Some of the topics includes the usual like reproductive technologies, divorce and remarriages, abortions, etc… As a pastor these will be topics that one day you need to discuss or wrestle with with your congregation.

Unlike most books, Davis does not give readers a direct answer to their questions. Rather, David wants the readers to examine the questions historically, biblical and applicationally. He takes readers through the historical trends of each topics, then he examines the relevant pages of the bible and makes his observations and interpretation clear to his readers. Next, he comes to the topic at hand and gives his thoughts on it. Throughout the book, I felt that Davis was able to present the topics and his thoughts clearly, but not impose his conclusions onto the readers. I was clearly given the opportunity to think through the topic myself and come to a conclusion based on what I thought was biblical.

Pastors, especially those living in the united states will benefit most from this book since this was written from that perspective, and primarily for christians living in those settings. However, this book can still be useful for pastors living elsewhere as they provide clear starting points for pastors who are beginning to think about these issues.

Rating: 4 / 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

Book Review – Augustine on the Christian Life (7/8)

Other than Paul, Augustine is probably the most influential theologian of the Christian faith. For such a titan it would be valuable to know what he has to say about the christian life. This is what Gerald Bray has done in this book.

Augustine on the Christian LifeBray takes a look at the life of Augustine moving from him as a believer, then a teacher and finally as a pastor. Bray first gives a quick overview and introduction to the life of Augustine. For anyone who is new to him, Bray’s introduction will definitely be a helpful of him/her.

After the short introduction, Bray moves on to Augustine as believer. In this section, Bray deals mainly about Augustine as a christian, he focuses the discussion very much on his autobiography, the Confessions. He touches on three big topics on this section, his devotional life, his lifestyle and his life of faith.

In the next section, Bray then talk about Augustine as the teacher. He touches on three main topics here, first, he talks about what Augustine believed about the bible, how Augustine envisioned Christ in all of scripture and what the bible says about the end of man.

The next section will be one that will be of interest to pastors. Bray talks about what Augustine did as a pastor/bishop. He talks about what Augustine believed about preaching and how he served his congregation at his church. He uncovers many thought about Augustine as the pastor of the church how he sympathises with the congregation who has to sit in humid and warm conditions and listen for more than an hour on what he has preached. This was certainly one of the best part of the book, I have not met any who has talked about this area in the life of Augustine.

As I was reading this book, one of the things at was quite jarring for me was how there wasn’t many sub-sections. This certainly took some time to adjust, but as I read on, I adjusted the Bray’s brilliant writing style. This book is one that pastors should certainly read. I have found that too many books have targeted Augustine as the theologian but not many has offered the pastoral side to readers. This book fills this gap.

In closing, I shall leave readers with one closing statement that I felt was a good summary of this book.
“Augustine died in the knowledge that a few days later the barbarians would enter Hippo, which they were besieging at the time, and he must have feared that his life’s work would go up in flames. Things did not turn out quite as badly as that, but there was to be no lasting legacy of his labors in Hippo—no great basilica with his name carved into it, no academic chair dedicated to his memory, not even a park bench with a plaque saying that his estate had paid for it. To the naked eye there was nothing. Yet as we know, what must have appeared then as a fairly insignificant ministry in a provincial town became the most productive life of any theologian in the Western world. Generations of Christians who would never go anywhere near Hippo would read what Augustine wrote in the hot and dusty chambers that were his earthly dwelling place, and would marvel at his gifts and intellect. More than that, they would be moved, as we still are, by his passion for Christ, and would go away from his writings more determined than ever to walk in the way mapped out for them by God.”

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.

Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles (Kregel Exegetical Library) (19/4)

1 & 2 Chronicles is not a book that you will often hear preached expositionally. Part of the reason, I think, is how the book starts with 9 chapters of genealogies! Pastors will definitely not want to attempt to preach through these chapters expositionally.

Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles (Kregel Exegetical Library)Preachers can now reach out to a helpful commentary on the 1 & 2 Chronicles. Eugene Merrill has written a new commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles, a book that has been neglected by commentators for quite some time.

As with every commentary, Merrill starts with the introductory matters and then moves on to the actual commentary of the text. As one who has not studied 1 & 2 Chronicles, I found this introduction helpful in understand the main themes. Through his introduction I am also kept abreast on what has been discussed in the academic circles. Preachers who are not familiar with 1 & 2 Chronicles will find the introduction helpful for their preparatory work.

Merrill uses the NIV text as reference for his commentary, but he always shows his exegesis based on the Hebrew text. Merrill keeps references to the original language to a minimum which will be helpful to preachers who are not that conversant in Hebrew. I personally do not know Hebrew, but I still find the commentary helpful to me

Given that the technical commentaries on 1 & 2 Chronicles has not been as forthcoming as some other old testament book. This commentary will be a helpful addition to the current array of commentaries on 1 & 2 Chronicles.

Rating: 4 / 5

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

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