Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Midweek Meditation: "How Children Learn"

One of the ways of the Christian life is to live as children of God. How does one live as a child of God? Maybe we do. Maybe we don't know how. Perhaps, even when we fail to experience the earthly love that we deserve, we can play a part to ensure that other children can benefit in some small ways. Here is a reminder from Dorothy Law Nolte (1924-2005), an American author and counselor whose famous poem below has touched many.

HOW CHILDREN LEARN (Dorothy Law Nolte)
 
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Monday, August 18, 2014

BookPastor >> "Autopsy of a Deceased Church" (Thom S. Rainer)

The title of the book may sound a little gruesome, but the message is essentially one of saving the church before it is too late. Learn so that one does not fall into the potholes others have fallen into. This review was first published on May 21st, 2014 at Panorama of a Book Saint. 

conrade

TITLE: Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive
AUTHOR: Thom S. Rainer
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B and H Publishing, 2014, (102 pages).

Spurred by the popularity of his blog post of the same title, the author and President of Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee has put together a whole book on church autopsy.

Gruesome? Not really. For the churches Rainer are talking about are already dead in the first place. Like a Church version of CSI, examining the evidence of the deceased church will bring hope and life to existing ones, especially those that are exhibiting all the marks of a dying church. In doing so, Rainer has helpfully identified 11 marks of a dying church and 12 ways to go about reversing the seemingly inevitable with 12 ways that say: "Not so fast."

The stories in the book are real, although masked in order to protect the real persons. The author based his research on 14 deceased churches. Deceased churches can possess one or more of the following 11 factors:
  1. Lost her vision
  2. Gradual erosion that members fail to see
  3. Over-clinging to the past
  4. Me-First mentality
  5. Inward-Looking Budgets
  6. Great Omission
  7. Personal Preferences Driven
  8. Frequent Pastoral Turnovers
  9. Poor Prayer Attendance
  10. No Clear Purpose
  11. Obsession with Facilities

Thursday, August 14, 2014

"What Can I Do With My Worry?" (Free RBC Booklet)

Worry is one of the most common emotions among people, especially high achievers. In fact, one of my most popular blog posts have to do with the subject of worry. It is entitled: "Is Worry a Sin?" Recently, I received a nice little booklet on Worry. It was written by an ex-RBC contributor David Egner, now retired. While recognizing that worry is a legitimate human concern, remaining in a perpetual state of worry can become a debilitating one. It impacts not only oneself but also others around us. In fact, worriers who call themselves "Christians" are not really demonstrating that they trust God. I like the way Egner concludes the article.

"When it comes to worry, at least two things help to distinguish us as followers of Jesus: what we are concerned about, and what to do with our fears. When the concerns of our heart show our love for others or bring us to our knees in a recognition of what only God can do, they help us (Ps 119:67; 2 Cor 11:28). But when our worries preoccupy us with ourselves or weaken our trust in the Lord, we are letting them work against us." (31-32)

He ends by saying: "Worry can either bring us to the Father in heaven, or it can drive us away from Him." Good reminder indeed.

It is a booklet filled with much wisdom and tenderness. Download or read it online today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Midweek Meditation: "Jehovah is Love"

This is a beautiful rendition of Ps 23. The world says that everybody need a break from time to time. Christians do too, but not simply a break. They need the comfort and peace of the Shepherd.

Mandarin version (link)




Cantonese version (link)




Monday, August 11, 2014

BookPastor >> "Can We Still Believe the Bible?" (Craig Blomberg)

The Bible continues to be under attack both inside and outside the Church. One of the chief ways is to first cast suspicion, then provide "supporting" evidence, and finally dissemination of such misinformation so as to discredit the Bible further. This book addresses various of these attacks and to bring back a vigorous defense of the reliability of the Word of God. 

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint.

conrade

TITLE: Can We Still Believe the Bible?: An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions
AUTHOR:  Craig L. Blomberg
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2014, (304 pages).

Over the years, there has been a steady onslaught on the reliability of the Bible. From the existence of evil and suffering, to the suspicions over the authenticity and interpretations of the ancient manuscripts, time, culture, and intellectuals have continued to challenge the whether it truly is what it claims to be. Many have challenged the Bible on its exclusivity claims; progressive cultural interpretations; biblical ethics; and difficult issues such as genocide, violence, and the issues of myths. Describing all of the issues would have been a massive project. Blomberg has chosen six key issues with regards to the reliability of the Bible.

  1. Aren’t the Copies of the Bible Hopelessly Corrupt?
  2. Wasn’t the Selection of Books for the Canon Just Political?
  3. Can We Trust Any of Our Translations of the Bible?
  4. Don’t These Issues Rule Out Biblical Inerrancy?
  5. Aren’t Several Narrative Genres of the Bible Unhistorical?
  6. Don’t All the Miracles Make the Bible Mythical?

These six issues are those Blomberg deems as opportunities to show readers that the Bible is actually more reliable than we think. Based on new findings, on top of the historical evidence, Blomberg attempts to address these questions in a non-confrontational way, unlike some "handful of very conservative Christian leaders" who themselves have not really understood the implications of the new developments.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Mother's First Birthday (Moving Tribute)

Sometimes, the most touching moments come when we remember the small little things that truly matter. Love manifested in remembrance, gratitude, and outpouring of care will move hearts.

This is a heartwarming video that pays tribute to young mothers on their journey to the most important job in the world. I double-dare you NOT to cry. If you do, I understand.




conrade

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Midweek Meditation: "Discipleship" (Oswald Chambers)

This excerpt is taken from Oswald Chambers' popular series: "My Utmost for His Highest." You can read the full devotional here that contrasts between impulsiveness and discipleship.

conrade


"Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he “followed Him at a distance” on dry land (Mark 14:54). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes." (Oswald Chambers, 1874-1917)

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