Book Review – Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel (23/12)

Is America a Christian nation? In the recent years this notion seemed to have been challenged deeply. Yet Russell D. Moore will argue that this notion is completely wrong. America has never been called to be a christian nation and we better not have this notion at the back of our mind.

Onward: Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the GospelWithin this book, Moore wants christians to wake up to the reality that although the privilege of being in a “christian nation” has now disappeared, that is actually for the better for christians. Moore highlights the various differences that will happen to christians now. One such difference is that Christians will have to embrace a prophetic role. We have to be like the prophets of old who boldly proclaim God’s Word to a people who will not be happy with us and who will not listen to what we have to say. By the looks of how things have been going, it looks like this is very likely to happen in the near future.

Having raised his observation at the American culture and thinking, Moore then brings in different topics that he wants readers to think about. Moore very carefully helps the readers to think through these topics biblically, rather than thinking through them politically or culturally. These chapters seems to be a good wake up call for all christians on either side of the issue. Moore is careful not to push readers to the position he takes, rather he helps readers think through their own position critically and examine to see if it is really biblical or just seemed biblically.

I really appreciate how Moore ended his book calling christians not to have a defeatist mindset, rather we have to look ahead to how God will lead His own people. Our trust remains on God, the same God who has used a cult following, promiscuous man (Augustine) to further His kingdom in ways no one would have expected. I liked how Moore reminds us that the next person God might use for His kingdom may jolly well be the one who is fighting for the LGBT marriage rights or the right to abortion, just like how Saul, the persecutor of the church was miraculously changed to the apostle Paul. Moore leaves the readers with great expectation that God can and maybe will do great things in the near future. In the meantime, let us learn to live lives faithful to what the Bible calls us to and loving proclaim what God has spoken to us to the world.

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

P.S. If you might also be interested to get Fools Rush in Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone by Carl Truman, who gives thoughtful critiques on what’s happening in the evangelical circles. Here is my review on it. And you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

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Book Review – Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down (27/4)

What does an ordinary christian look like? You might think that an ordinary christian looks rather ordinary, lives ordinarily and acts ordinarily. However, If we really live our lives faithful to what Jesus has taught us, our ordinary christian lives, might not be that ordinary at all.

Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside DownTony Merida has written a book to show christians what it means to be an ordinary christian. You might be wondering why Merida should write a book on being “ordinary” as opposed to be being “extraordinary”. But after reading this book, you will find that simply being an ordinary christian makes us extraordinary in the world.

Merida brings to attention five traits that are often overlooked or neglected in our christian walk. This is important as these are the traits that the first christians displayed in when they became christians. This was what made them so different from their non-christian counterpart.

The first trait Merida raised was humility. In a day and age where there is a lot of emphasis on self-promotion, Merida reminds us that humility is really one of the marks of a true christian. Merida shows the readers that unless christians depend fully on God, they will not be able to accomplish anything based not their own efforts.

Following which Merida brings across the remaining 4 traits — hospitality; caring for the orphans; speaking up for the voiceless and showing neighbourly love to the people around us — in the context of social justice. Merida reminds the readers that these are not things that only extraordinary christians do, but these are what christians should have already been doing. Merida shows the readers that the bible teaches these truths and we are far too lax in keeping them. Merida brings the readers through different stories to help the readers visualise the scenes he has seen. This helps the readers understand the situation the world is in, and also highlights the need for us to act and to act fast!

Even though it is clear that we may not be able to eradicate these problems, Merida reminds us that we ought to be christlike in our thoughts, speeches and in actions. I am thankful that Merida has raised these issues for the ordinary christians, and I agree with him that theses are things that the ordinary christians should have been doing, and should continue to be doing.

I hope families and church will read this book and see how they can be doing social justice just through ordinary means, in faithful obedience to our Lord and Saviour.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you are 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 – Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive (11/11)

Some churches are dying, but they have not realised it just yet. So how do you tell the difference between a growing and a dying church? Thom Rainer has seen his fair share of that and likes to share his insights with the world through this book.

Autopsy of a Deceased ChurchRainer points out 12 pointers that he find that are common in the dying or already dead churches he has encountered. This book is insightful in that Rainer helps the readers see some of these tell-tale signs of such churches. Often, I see signs and symptoms of these things within my own church too. And this is the clear strength and purpose of this book, it helps readers to see what where the church has started to deviate — ever so tiny — from what the bible teaches.

I found the chapters on budget, the great commission and preference especially for my own church. Yes, this book has helped me see my church with new eyes, with a new health report. My church is not fine, but there’s still hope. We still can change what’s wrong.

Rainer after listing what are the signs and symptoms, then proposes some solutions for the various kind of churches. Most of them are quite straightforward, and practical. But I found the proposal for the most drastic church (the dying church) the hardest to swallow. Rainer proposed that for some of these churches, it might be better for them to close down and re-divert their resources to other churches in the area that are thriving. Although it is a hard pill to swallow, it might really be the one advice that is necessary to follow.

What is lacking in this book is negligence on the doctrines of the church. Even though this is not a book that focuses on doctrines, yet there are some churches that falter due to shifts in their theological stance. Perhaps a short chapter to address it, would be good.

Rating: 4.5 / 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.

Book Review- Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up (7/11)

Eight Twenty EightSometimes, there are things that happens that just change your life completely. This was what happened to author of the book. Larissa Murphy’s (then future) husband, Ian Murphy met an accident one day and things totally changed in an instant.

This book is really the story about the two of them, but it is not just about the two of them. It is also about the Saviour that they both love. This book is very heart warming, it talks about a love that wouldn’t give up. Larissa Murphy retells the story of how they both met, and the courtship that ensue shortly after. Intertwined between the stories she moves between past and present, but mostly writes about the past that has happened.

As you read, you will no doubt see how deeply they love each other. However, you will also be reminded of how much God loves them. Their story shows christians how even when they undergo suffering for reasons unknown to them can be reassured that God knows what He’s doing. Their deep trust in the Saviour gives us an example of how we should trust God not matter what happens in our lives.

This book would most certainty be suitable for those who are married, or who would be marrying soon. Read, and pray that if ever you are called to walk also in these footsteps, you will be able to proclaim still the goodness and greatness of God still.

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.

Here’s their story.

Book Review – Recovering Redemption (12/9)

Although on the outside this particular book might not look very impressive, you really ought NOT to judge this book by it’s cover. It has been a long time since I’ve read such a book that has been so clear on the gospel and also on the need for repentance.

Recovering RedemptionMatt Chandler and Michael Snetzer has written such a book that really helps the reader to see their need for the gospel, their need for sanctification and the need to fight for joy in the christian life. Chandler and Snetzer first gives starts at creation and the fall, then they move on to 4 different ways many have tried to salvage the situation and shows plainly why they ultimately fails, then they move on to the one who can solve this situation — Jesus.

The following chapters that follows really are a discipling process where several doctrines are taught and practical issues in the christian lives are considered and discussed. Many of them had very good examples that really brings out what the doctrine mean (I especially liked the illustration the used on sanctification). Practically, the authors also dealt issues like guilt, anxiety, fear, reconciling, forgiving, etc… and were all taught biblically and practically.

After I read this book, I can’t help but think of how I can recommend others to read this book. It’s really a great book. My only complain would be a lack of discussion questions. Although the contents of the book is really excellent, one wonders if those who are not as exciting about their faith would even bother to read it unless someone else was encouraging and discussion with them about what they have learnt. No doubt, it could be argued that everyone with such a burden would have thought about their own discussion questions on their own. Yet, I do think the book would be better served if the readers discusses about what they had learned in each chapters.

This book, I think will be a classical in the future, for it’s practicality and also the faithfulness of biblical teaching. I would recommend anyone who wants to really know about their christian faith or wants to grow in them to read this book.

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.

Here’s a video trailer for the book.