Monday, May 02, 2016

BookPastor >> "The Will of God as a Way of Life" (Jerry Sittser)

TITLE: The Will of God as a Way of Life: How to Make Every Decision with Peace and Confidence
AUTHOR: Jerry Sittser
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004, (256 pages).

When there is a book about the will of God, I will read. If it is written by an unknown writer, I may just borrow it from the library. If it is written by my favourite authors, I will usually buy it. This book is one of them.

According to Sittser, this book is about a perspective of the will of God, not a series of steps to attain the holy grail of the experiment called life. Sharing about how he manages to move through the twists and turns of life, the book reveals a lot about how Sittser fumbles through life, and eventually arriving at a clearer understanding of what God's will means for him. In Chapter One, he shares about 3 clues. Firstly, 'we will never know how things will turn out' (20). The second clue is about how suffering and loss dispels his idea of a perfect and nice will of God. The third clue is that the Bible says very little about the future path of God's way, but a present avoidance of anxiety and wrongful presumption. The conventional way of thinking is in terms of finding out that ONE specific will of God for each person. Such a thinking reveals 3 problems.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Touching Video - A Mother's Love

This is a moving video about a mother's love. It's about a runaway child and how a mother cares for her. Should be a reminder to get ready for Mother's Day next week (May 8th).




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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Midweek Meditation: "Incentives in Loving God" (Bernard of Clairvaux)

What are the Incentives to Loving God?

The faithful know how much need they have of Jesus and Him crucified; but though they wonder and rejoice at the ineffable love made manifest in Him, they are not daunted at having no more than their own poor souls to give in return for such great and condescending charity. They love all the more, because they know themselves to be loved so exceedingly; but to whom little is given the same loveth little (Luke 7:47). Neither Jew nor pagan feels the pangs of love as doth the Church, which saith, 'Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love' (Cant. 2:5). She beholds King Solomon, with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals; she sees the Sole-begotten of the Father bearing the heavy burden of His Cross; she sees the Lord of all power and might bruised and spat upon, the Author of life and glory transfixed with nails, smitten by the lance, overwhelmed with mockery, and at last laying down His precious life for His friends. Contemplating this the sword of love pierces through her own soul also and she cried aloud, 'Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love.' The fruits which the Spouse gathers from the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden of her Beloved, are pomegranates (Cant. 4:13), borrowing their taste from the Bread of heaven, and their color from the Blood of Christ. She sees death dying and its author overthrown: she beholds captivity led captive from hell to earth, from earth to heaven, so 'that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth' (Phil. 2:10). The earth under the ancient curse brought forth thorns and thistles; but now the Church beholds it laughing with flowers and restored by the grace of a new benediction. Mindful of the verse, 'My heart danceth for joy, and in my song will I praise Him', she refreshes herself with the fruits of His Passion which she gathers from the Tree of the Cross, and with the flowers of His Resurrection whose fragrance invites the frequent visits of her Spouse.

(Bernard of Clairvaux, on Loving God)

******

The ones who have truly felt and seen the love of God will love out of deep gratitude.

Monday, April 25, 2016

BookPastor >> "Preaching by Ear" (Dave McClelland)

You don't have to be a preacher to benefit from this book. There are lots of tips for Bible teachers and communications in general. This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on Nov 24th, 2014.

conrade


TITLE: Preaching by Ear: Speaking God's Truth from the Inside Out
AUTHOR: Dave McClelland
PUBLISHER: Wooster, OH: Weaver Book Company, 2014, (176 pages).

Preaching is not only about giving a sermon. It is also about preparing the preacher. This two step process is critical, but it needs to begin at the heart. For once, the heart is right, we have one foot firmly on solid ground. As for the other foot, we will need an "orally based model of preaching." This two-part preaching process is taught in this book, with a very intriguing title, "preaching by ear." I have heard of "playing it by ear" by musicians, as a way in which experienced persons "wing it" or let the spirit flow. In social circles, when people say, "Let's play by ear," it can also mean staying flexible to decide the right moves later. More importantly, in preaching by ear, one preaches out of something rich and full "because the preacher and the sermon are inextricably linked," so says Dave McClellan, Pastor of the Chapel at Tinkers Creek in Ohio. With a PhD in Rhetoric and Communications from Duquesne University, McClelland is well equipped to show us how to move sermons from paper into the preacher's heart, and then to the audience. For the author, preaching by ear is a movement from literary sermon to "the orally driven sermon." The former streams off from the written text while the latter springs from the impressed heart. Preaching by ear carries with it an aura of vulnerability and risk. How do we cultivate a heart that leads to the ability to preach by ear?


Friday, April 22, 2016

Powerful Testimony - Ex HK Mafia Teddy Hung Encounters Jesus!

This is a testimony of an ex-HK gang leader, Teddy Hung, who encountered Jesus and turned over a new leaf.



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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Midweek Meditation: "Loving the Gifts or the Giver" (Bernard of Clairvaux)

How to Love the Giver More Than the Gifts?

Those who admit the truth of what I have said know, I am sure, why we are bound to love God. But if unbelievers will not grant it, their ingratitude is at once confounded by His innumerable benefits, lavished on our race, and plainly discerned by the senses. Who is it that gives food to all flesh, light to every eye, air to all that breathe? It would be foolish to begin a catalogue, since I have just called them innumerable: but I name, as notable instances, food, sunlight and air; not because they are God's best gifts, but because they are essential to bodily life. Man must seek in his own higher nature for the highest gifts; and these are dignity, wisdom and virtue. By dignity I mean free-will, whereby he not only excels all other earthly creatures, but has dominion over them. Wisdom is the power whereby he recognizes this dignity, and perceives also that it is no accomplishment of his own. And virtue impels man to seek eagerly for Him who is man's Source, and to lay fast hold on Him when He has been found.

Now, these three best gifts have each a twofold character. Dignity appears not only as the prerogative of human nature, but also as the cause of that fear and dread of man which is upon every beast of the earth. Wisdom perceives this distinction, but owns that though in us, it is, like all good qualities, not of us. And lastly, virtue moves us to search eagerly for an Author, and, when we have found Him, teaches us to cling to Him yet more eagerly. Consider too that dignity without wisdom is nothing worth; and wisdom is harmful without virtue, as this argument following shows: There is no glory in having a gift without knowing it. But to know only that you have it, without knowing that it is not of yourself that you have it, means self-glorying, but no true glory in God. And so the apostle says to men in such cases, 'What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? (I Cor. 4:7). He asks, Why dost thou glory? but goes on, as if thou hadst not received it, showing that the guilt is not in glorying over a possession, but in glorying as though it had not been received. And rightly such glorying is called vain-glory, since it has not the solid foundation of truth. The apostle shows how to discern the true glory from the false, when he says, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord, that is, in the Truth, since our Lord is Truth (I Cor. 1:31; John 14:6).

(Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God)

******

We often come to God in prayer asking for basic needs as if we are always needy and poor. That is right. We are always needy. We are always poor. For this very reason alone, we need to grow up beyond the milk of physical requests and to seek God more. If physical requests are Level 1 (Food, Sunlight, Air), learn to seek God for Level 2 gifts: Dignity, Wisdom, and Virtue. Perhaps, we will mature even more to seek the Giver most of all. That is the level that transcends all of 1 and 2.

Monday, April 18, 2016

BookPastor >> "Understanding the Times" (Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel)

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on Dec 10th, 2015.

conrade

TITLE: Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews
AUTHOR: Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers, 2015, (640 pages).

How do we understand the cultures of today? How can we speak the truth intelligibly to a pluralistic, materialistic, individualistic, and multi-cultural population? With all the different competing worldviews out there, how are Christians going to speak truth in a marketplace of ideas? According to authors Jeff Myers and David Noebel, in order to understand the times, one needs to know "how tennis champs return opponents' blazing fast serves and how chess masters memorize the position of every piece on the board." Learn the rules. Recognize the patterns. One would then be able to engage effectively and intelligently. A worldview is described as "pattern of ideas, beliefs, convictions, and habits that help us make sense of God, the world, and our relationship to God and the world."

The Christian worldview is one that is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ. The Islam worldview is based on the Quran, and the Prophet Mohammad. New Spirituality is so fluid that it is hard to define. It is defined as a "free-flowing combination of Eastern religions, paganism, and pseudo-science that pops up in odd places." Secularism has humanity at the center of reality. Marxism believes that life is a struggle between the haves and the have-nots. Postmodernism questions set paradigms and deconstructs conventional ideas. By questioning everything, it eventually has to question itself.


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