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

Book Review – Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety With Peace (8/6)

All of us live with different worries everyday. But as most christians will soon discover, Jesus calls us not to worry about tomorrow for today has enough trouble of its own. So how can a christian live out Jesus’s word faithfully? Timothy Lane has written a book that helps to address this.

Living Without WorryFirst, Lane defines the term worry for the readers. He shows the readers that worrying within the bible often talks about a mind that is distracted to the point that it is overly-concern about the issue.  Next, Lane takes the readers through 3 time zones where we often find ourselves worrying about — the past, the present and the future.

Lane shows the readers that in Christ, our past can no longer condemn us. In the midst of our struggles with anxiety, it important to constantly find ourselves bringing our sorrows to God, bring to mind His wondrous works in redeeming us, and also to find encouragement and support within the community.

Lastly, Lane gives us practical steps that we can take to help us be less anxious. This includes cultivating a heart of thanksgiving, constant self-examination and working out the issues. Lane also raises truths that helps christians think through about their anxiety, for example, Lane shows how the book of James reminds the readers that our life is short and unpredictable, and it is only when we begin that realise that the world rest on the God for whom life is neither short nor unpredictable, can we find solace.

The book is filled with biblical truths that really aims to help christians deal with their anxiety, be it if you struggle with Generalised Anxiety Disorder or PTSD, Lane is able to help you do these issues biblically. I highly recommend anyone struggling with anxiety to read this book and to see how God and Christ can help you in your struggles.

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 – The Resurrection in Your Life (9/2)

What does the resurrection mean for the christian? For many of us, this is an extremely important question. Christians, young or old seem to have a very shallow understanding on this topic. Mike McKinley has written a helpful and readable book to help christians deepen their understanding in this aspect.

The Resurrection in Your LifeMcKinley uses 10 bible passages to teach christians about the implications of the resurrection of Jesus. In the first, he helps to set the context for the readers, to help them see what it was like for the first disciples to hear and see the news that Jesus has resurrected. So often, it is difficult for christians to feel the shock and astonishment the disciples had when they first seen with their own eye the emptied grave. With the context set, McKinley then brings across the various events that happened after Jesus’s resurrection. These includes the journey to Emmaus, Jesus appearing to the disciples in a locked room, Jesus’s ascension to heaven, and many more.

I found this book very well written, it is both full of good theology and it brings out relevant application from each of the passage itself. One recommendation would be for pastors to buy a copy and after reading it, think whether you can do this in the up coming Easter Sunday service, here is a repository for 10 sermons that can be used for the next 10 years. Another recommendation, would be for cell group leader to use this material over 10 years after easter sunday, and in each week, you bring home one teaching with one application that can mould and shape our hearts and mind.

Overall, I found this book helpful, biblical and practical and recommend you to read it too.

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

Book Review – Purity is Possible: How to Live Free of the Fantasy Trap (13/12)

You can often find books on lust or addiction to pornography for guys, Finally Free by Heath Lambert comes to my mind immediately. But what if you have a had to recommend a sister in christ some literature on this same topic?  Sure you can recommend the same books, but it has been known that both gender struggle different in the fight for purity in life, heart and thoughts.  That is where this book comes in.

Purity is PossibleHelen Thorne has written a short book to help christian women in their fight for purity. Thorne first starts by giving the reader a preview, a vision of what a life of purity is really about: beauty, true beauty as God had intended.

Next, Thorne the deals with the common issues that women struggles with like fantasy, reading of erotic materials,watching of various kind of pornography, or perhaps being called to live a life of singleness, She then leads the reader to the heart of the problem, that is our hearts are idol-factories. We would alway want to worship alternative gods in our lives other than the real God of the bible and of the world.

Following which, Thorne very pastorally helps the reader to deal with various kind of guilt. She helps the readers see that they are some things we should be guilty of, yet at the same time, there are some things we need not and should not be guilty of! Thereafter, Throne points the reader to the loving kindness and mercy of God, showing the readers that forgiveness is, and can be found in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Finally, Thorne wants to reader to see that is it not enough just to know about the problem and solution, however it is necessary to act upon the knowledge that we have. She tells the readers what that means, then usher them to embrace their new identity that is found in Christ. She ends by reminding the reader that the fight for purity is a long and hard journey, by God’s grace we can preserve, but we must not be passive about it.

This has been a helpful book, it sets forth good, sound biblical teachings showing the readers from the bible what it says about purity and how to live it out. Highly recommended for any women who wants to live a life of purity.

Rating: 4.25 / 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 – Can I Really Trust the Bible (26/9)

The Bible has come under many attacks through its history. While this is not unexpected, many christians, and some non-christians after they had read the bible for themselves may be driven to put their trust into what the bible say. But they might really be uncertain about it. In our day and age, it is never advised to dive too deeply into anything. So should a christian really put theiCan I Really Trust the Bibler whole trust in this book? The answer, of course is, definitely we must!

So why should we? Barry Cooper offers 3 answers to why we can put our total trust on the Bible. Furthermore these are not five unrelated answers, rather these are answers flow very well one after another.

First Cooper examines the bible’s claim, does it claim to be God’s word? The answer as will be clear from the book (and from the bible) that it definitely does! Not only does it claim to be God’s word, it has never claims to be anything less than the very word(s) of God. This claim is seen both from what the authors of the individual ‘books’ of the bible says, this is also supported by what Jesus Himself claims it is, the words of God.

Next, Cooper explores to see if the bible seems to be God’s word. In this section, he deals with the archeological and textual support for the bible as a historically accurate document. Showing the readers how if the bible does claim to be the words of God, then these evidences ‘fits’ into it’s claims. If it’s truly God’s Word, wouldn’t He, even after 2000 years ensure that we get an accurate message from Him? And He does! What wonderful news is that! He also deals with the questions about the canon of the bible — Why are some books considered to be within the bible, and why are some others excluded? Cooper has also added in a very succinct explanation what evangelical means when we say the bible is without errors and also what it doesn’t mean. I’m sure this will clear up some doubts people have not he inerrancy on scripture.

Lastly, Cooper calls the read to taste and see that the bible is God’s word. I believe that is truly a good way to sum up this book. Far too often, critics of bible do not spend much time actually reading the book they are critiquing. Of course, not everyone who then reads the bible will end up convicted that it is God’s word. But yes, we do believe God’s word is still alive today, if we read His words, He might very well convict us that this book, is no ordinary book, it is rather the very Word of God.

Highly recommend for new believers who are struggling with questions about the bible, those who would like more ‘evidences’ might have to supplement their answers with other materials. But this is a really succinct book that will answer quite a lot of questions that one might have about the Bible. This is the fourth book I’ve read in this series, and have found it extremely helpful! Looking forward to the rest of the series!

Ratings: 4.25 / 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.

And here’s the (cheeky) trailer for the book.

Book Review – How Can I be Sure? (Questions Christians Ask) (5/9)

Doubts — every christian faces them in their life. So what do we do with them? Are doubts bad? Often when youths come to me with doubts they’re almost too ashamed to talk about them. So how should a christian deal with the genuine doubts we have?

How Can I be SureJohn Stevens has written a short and extremely helpful book on this important topic. Within the book, Stevens gives several examples of situations where christians faced with different kind of doubts, which is what he defines in the first chapter, and also highlights that not all doubts are wrong. Next, Stevens dwells on the topic of why some doubts are dangerous, essentially, some doubts do lead to disbelief, although that just means they were never really christians.

Following which, Stevens explores the benefits of doubts, how we can grow from it, and more importantly, how we can overcome our doubts in our christian lives.  Here is where Stevens differ from the rest of the apologetics style books, Stevens helps the readers to see that our own spirituality, and also our community plays a vital role when we deal with doubts. Which is what he further elaborates on in the next chapter, how to develop our faith so we will not doubt. This I think make the book very comprehensive. It not only wants to help believers deal with any doubts they might have currently, more importantly, it encourages and persuades readers to grow spiritually once their doubts are resolved.

Lastly, Stevens provides a short appendix for christians who have various doubts to refer to. For a book of this length, one might not expect much from it, but do not be deceived by how thin it is, this book achieves what it sets out to do, and with much clarity and gentleness! I would recommend this book especially to new or old believers, who are dealing with doubts, and for pastors to learn how to deal with doubts pastorally. One can only wished this book had been published earlier!

Rating: 4.75 / 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.

Book Review – How will the world end? (Questions Christians Ask) (26/8)

Judging by the number of movies that have been released based on world ending events, we are a people who are thoroughly fascinated about how the world will end!  Furthermore, If as a faithful christian you have ever tried to read through the notes on the ESV study bible on the book of revelation, you often go away puzzled. Now you can begin to understand why so many faithful sincere christians can differ so much on this one single book in the New Testament!How will the world end?

So it was with delight to see this book being published. Jeramie Rinne has given us a very easy to read and understand book on an extremely important topic — the return of Jesus! — the day that all christians have been looking forward to. However this topic is often filled with jargons and technicalities that discourages the simple christian from attempting to understand it deeply.

First, Rinne analyses the scene of the common responses people have towards revelation, next Rinne goes through briefly and succinctly about the various issues with regards to the return of Christ, such as,

What will the end of world look like, according to the bible?

What will the world look like when Christ is returning?

How will the return of Christ be like?

Next, Rinne then gives a very short but extremely helpful explanation about the various millennials and also the 4 or 5 main school of thoughts for understanding the book of revelation. I felt that this chapter is exceptionally well written, and worth the price of the book. It is able to doe what many books are unable to do, to explain them simply, but not being simplistic.

In the last 2 chapters, Rinne first very aptly talks about what will happen after Jesus returns — the judgement and the new heavens and new earth that awaits us. Following which, Rinne follows up with a chapter on how we should live now. This chapter is often missing or not seen in the books that tries to explain about the book of revelation. It equips the readers not just to be filled with head knowledge, but also with practical application points of how to live while we wait for Jesus to return.  Included in the book are also very common questions that people often asked such as ‘Why is the return of Christ taking so long? Who is the Anti-christ? Will there be a secret rapture?’ and many more.

I hope this book receives as wide a readership as it deserves. Simply a well written, insightful and sublime book. I’ll be recommending this book for anyone who wants to begin to understand the book of revelation.

Rating: 4.75 /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.

Book Review – 1 Samuel For You (17/8)

If you grew up listening to bible stories I’m sure you would have heard before of the story of King Saul and King David. However, when was the last time you heard them preached in the pulpit? For myself, I probably can only remember 3 instances where the sermon was from 1 Samuel, but none of them pointed me to Christ. So it was refreshing to see that Tim Chester had written a commentary that’s extremely readable and insightful for all christians.

1 Samuel For You1 Samuel isn’t particularly difficult book to understand, but many a times when we fear to read the bible text carefully or if we do not have a working knowledge of the original languages there’s many things that we will miss out. That’s my initial response when I was using the is commentary. It is remarkable that Chester has never tried to put out a Hebrew word or phrase, but he simply just tell us what the word means, which is sufficient for most christians.

Readers must not expect this book to be a verse by verse commentary , rather it takes blocks of 2-3 chapters (at times) and explains them in the context of the book, and also helps the readers see how each and every part of the book points us to Jesus. Chester is really able to show us how he derives his main points through the exegetical work he has done, yet Chester has the gift of being to lead the reader see how he has done his exegetical work without using any technical jargons or being too abstruse. Also, Chester is able to help readers see the link of how characters or situations in 1 Samuel are pointers to what Christ will fulfil/has fulfilled in the New Testament. Although I do not agree to all his allusions, I agree what he has been doing is a fine example of showing Christians how they should read their Old Testament, with one eye one the historical context, and with other of how Christ is ‘hidden’ in it.

This is really a book I foresee I will recommend others to if they want to have a deeper understanding of 1 Samuel. I foresee that pastors and cell group leaders will find this resource to be exceptionally helpful not just for those they lead, but also for themselves. Chester pull no punches in this book, and often confronts the readers with very apt application that will force the readers to reflection hard on their own lives about what they have learnt.

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.