Book review [10/10]: Preaching The Cross

“If each is a true Christian teacher, then each has been commissioned by the same master with the same message for the same purpose—glorifying God by proclaiming His reign.”

-Mark E. Dever

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It has been of great delight to be saved, what more if God entrusts you to share the same message of His good news (to which all believers are called for) that also saved you. This book has a strong word for what the cross is. It mainly tackles the subjects that has the cross as its root: The life of the messenger (of the Gospel), Justification by faith alone, Glory of the Gospel, and the need to preach Christ regardless of what culture or generation we are in. It is quite hard to rate a book with different authors (as this book is sourced from the 2006 Together for the Gospel conference). The book has authors (some even heroes, for me it’s John Macarthur) sharing their love for the Word of God and how important it is to both have it in mind and in heart. I love how each author considers the other authors, for example: C.J. Mahaney’s chapter solely deals with the quality of character of a messenger of God’s Word and does not focus much about sound doctrine as he himself said “Because the rest of the book aims to equip pastors in sound doctrine, there is little need for me to elaborate on that here”. A book that also reveals a character’s heart makes the book more trustworthy. Aside from that, one expectation has not been met: I didn’t learn a technique how to preach the cross. And I think it is totally great that I didn’t because the message inside this book (which is mostly about the Word, Christ, theology, and culture) is sufficiently enough to teach us what information we need in order to deliver a sound preaching of the cross. I think its more of a “what” to preach, not “how” to preach. I truly believe our methods of preaching may be different but it has to be as sound as the same way Jesus did it, and with this I feel that the authors here tell us “what” to preach is a lot more important than “how” to preach.

Rating: 10/10

I was at first struggling to give it a 10/10 but after wrestling with R.C. Sproul regarding his chapter (Justification by Faith) to which I had a hard time understanding probably due to lack of proper foundation of how I understand the subject given, I finally understood it (after reading it again). But most importantly I gave it a 10/10 as this book may just become my mirror whenever (if ever) God will give me the opportunity to preach His Word.

Will I recommend this?
Absolutely yes! To whom? To all those who are in the Christian faith who want to learn sound doctrine and to those who want to learn how to live as a messenger of God’s Word.

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Book review [9/10]: Forgotten God

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I thought that this book will be more on descriptions of who the Holy Spirit is and why He has been forgotten. To my surprise, I found out that it goes beyond that as Francis Chan will help you experience Him as well. After reading this book, my idea about the Holy Spirit has not just become an entity which you cannot interact with in an intimate and personal way, the same way with Jesus and His Father. He is a “who” after all not a “what”. How Francis Chan speaks and shares his life has made this book more believable in my opinion. And in his life, we can trust that this book is not from his experiences alone but also from the very Word of God itself because I noticed that he will make you read chapters from His Word to make sure you open your very own Bible. He also doesn’t ignore the fact that if we’re going to learn to live by the Spirit, we will need theology, one that is grounded in the Scriptures. In a Christian setting where people think truth and love is like a seesaw, Francis Chan bluntly tells us its a need to know theology (and that theology is one of a humble one yet not watering down the truth). This book has been one of the most uncomfortable books I’ve read yet one that has a strong impact on who I believe The Holy Spirit is.

Rating: 9/10

I gave this book a high rating because it lived with the title and also the structure of this book is unique and very interactive. Francis Chan not only provides his viewpoint of his opinions regarding the Word of God but also gives real life examples, and one of the best pages here is when he provides stories of other fellow saints from old to the recent generation. The stories of the saints in this book has encouraged me that the Holy Spirit does really work in us, while the Word of God alone is our reliable source of truth, it also helps to see if there really are people living by the promises God has provided in His Word. This interactive book will make you indeed learn a lot about the Holy Spirit both in knowledge and in application.

Will I recommend it?

Yes. To whom? To those who have believed the gospel already. I cannot fully recommend this book to someone who is not yet a Christian. For what reason? Better if you read crazy love (by Francis Chan as well) first.

Book review [7/10]: Found: God’s Peace

“Some people assume worry is the result of too much thinking. Actually, it’s the result of too little thinking in the right direction. If you know who God is and understand His purposes, promises, and plans, it will help you not to worry.”

-John Macarthur

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It is of great sadness to learn that we, as Christians, forget that worrying is sin. This sin, which we often justify to feel, is what will be the end of our Christian joy. I got the book from OMFlit bookstore and I bought it because I heard it introduced all the time from Grace To You (sermons) application where I mostly listen to sermons for inductive Bible studies. In fact: because of the repetitiveness of that introduction in every sermon I hear from that app, I have memorized it and I sometimes even rehearse it (with the same speed and tone) every time I hear it. In case you want to see the transcript:

The following sermon is by John Macarthur, Pastor, Author, and the Bible teacher with grace to you. If you haven’t contacted grace to you we want to send you a free booklet by John called “Found: God’s Peace”. Its all about helping you defeat anxiety and know true and lasting contentment. Request your free booklet by writing to peace@gty.org. That’s p e a c e at g t y dot org. Offered good in North America and Europe through June of 2017. And now unleashing God’s truth one verse at a time, here’s Grace to You Bible teacher, John Macarthur.

Or if you want to hear it personally. Visit www.gty.org and listen to any sermon you can find there. Though the book is quite small (you can read it for a day) it will be dealing a lot with the heart by the use of God’s Word. The book in a sense tells us the reasons why Christians are not called for the worried life.

Rating: 7/10

I must say that the reason why I rated this book seven is because I felt as if there is something missing in this book that John Macarthur intentionally didn’t write for an unknown reason. If I am to guess what it is, it might be because he wants the reader to go for another one of his books called “Anxious For Nothing” to which he says it “goes deeper”. I expected the book to provide more details of Scriptures about how Christians can experience true peace, not exactly how to avoid being worried. Other than that, this book has helped me enhanced my prayer and thought life. One of my most favorite parts with how Macarthur explains (as always with his other books) is he gives a difference between the worldly experience and the godly experience. He makes it clear and always tells us that Christianity is indeed set apart. The peace we can experience is not the external acts we do (e.g. travel), it is Christ Himself, the Prince of Peace who decided to live in us. If I am given the time to read “Anxious for Nothing” I might just change and redo this review.

Will I recommend it?

Overall: John’s consistency with how he writes his books and his faithfulness to the Word of God is evident and though I have marked this as seven out of ten, I’d still recommend it. But I’ll also probably recommend that the reader will also read John’s “Anxious for nothing” before reviewing this.

Book review [10/10]: Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

“Wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians”

-John Piper

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This book has been and will be the worldview I will be holding regarding a specific subject to which we all have controversial questions with: sin. I was a new Christian when I bought this and this was the first Christian book I ever read and I cannot thank God more that it was the first book He allowed me to read. This may just be the reason why I decided that this book should be the first in line for my book reviews in my blog. As a new Christian back then, I took this book because the title has caught my attention since I had the question “How can a perfectly good God allow horrible events to fold?” before I even stumble to this book. One of the reasons why I bought this book is because the title made me think “Is there really something spectacular about sin?”. It has indeed answered a lot of questions to which I had ever since I was in grade school. This is why I love this book because it is not afraid of the questions (e.g.”Where was God when x event happened?”) to which we all fear be thrown to us if we stand in the Christian faith. If we fail to answer the questions that lingers in this current generation, we will fail to stand up for our Christian convictions and in the long run, our faith will surely be just for wimps.

Rating: 10/10

I am giving this book a perfect rating. I believe this book will make an impact to every Christian that is willing to grow more in love with the Lord Jesus Christ. It lives up to stay away from being a “wimpy” Christian and to answer the hard questions in light of God’s Word (and not human philosophy). It is a thoughtful book as well. Piper himself will honestly say that though the book has answered a lot of our questions, there will be those that cannot be answered. His humility spoke to me time and again that I am not omniscient like our God and I praise God that He is and I am not. With this: I learned that though His Word can answer the fundamental questions we humans have, it intentionally tells me that there are questions it leaves unanswered so as to tell me that I am in need to submit to God Himself and His wisdom alone.

Will I recommend it?

Definitely YES. To whom? To every fellow brother and sister in the faith. I will also recommend this to skeptical people (Christian or non-Christian). The Lord has truly used Piper to give His people the right knowledge of who He is and His sovereignty over all things.