Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are You With Him?




Skye Jethani brings us through the different ways we box God in our lives. He basically takes a gentle whack at four different ways we do church and more so how we relate to God. Using simple stick figure illustrations, Jethani takes us through the four common postures we take toward God – using different prepositions to describe each posture: Life Under/Over/For/From God. He reasons that these four postures/views end up to be just different manners we try to control or manipulate God. Arguing that from the beginning, the posture God sort to have with us was one best described as WITH.


Coming from tradition of my own church and personal spiritual walk, the subject and idea Skye Jethani speaks of is not new to me. Books like Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, Communion with God by Mark Virkler and Patti Virkler and even John Piper’s Desiring God pursue the same or similar lines.
I found it difficult to put the book down once I started reading. What I found more difficult was the uncomfortable feeling when I was forced to examine myself and what my posture towards God and Jesus was. Was I just working FOR God so that and could get rewards FROM Him?

Jethani doesn’t leave you stranded if you have questions and are asking what now. At the end of the book he points you to resources you get back on track.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pot calling the kettle ....

I dun usually use this place to comment of some things. However, observing the current Presidential Elections I just had to say the following. One of the candidates said that the other three were previously members of the current ruling party/government and therefore can not truly act independently as a check and balance for parliament. They will have emotional baggage carried over from their past association with the ruling party. He however has no such baggage.

I have a problem with that though: Everyone carries some form of emotional baggage into the whatever situation they encounter. It is whether they allow that baggage to govern their actions or not.
IMHO, this candidate also has emotional baggage. Likely two of the other candidate he also has recently resigned from a political party - a party opposed to the current ruling party. Unlike the other candidates his emotional baggage is not one of affinity but adversarial. It was fairly obvious in his broadcast last week.

Is he saying that he will be able to put that baggage aside when he is president and work with the government for the benefit of ALL people in Singapore? If he says yes, then is he saying that the other candidate can't do the say.

In fact I think one of the other candidate has less emotional baggage than him as that candidate has not belonged to a political party longer than any of the others. Nuff Said.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

iLeadership - The Apple Way:

I picked up this book, cos I have been looking for a good book on the subject of Steve Jobs. The enigmatic figure of Jobs that been a subject of many books, articles and criticism. I already have two books, one audio book on hand a movie. All of which I felt did not do justice to the man. I must say that Jay Elliot did a decent job on the subject - Steve Jobs. Not exactly balanced, but there's already enough of the negative about Apple CEO out there. Elliot's counter perspective with a more positive reflection on the man without denying the negative.
There are few contemporary figures who draw my interest - Jobs is one of them.
There is another reason why I chose to read this book: It is because of the mention of Apple in "Simple Church" the book I was reading before this one. So what's Church and Mobile Media Device Company have to do with each other.
After finishing this book, it confirmed what I already suspected. Apple is not in the business of profit. It's in the business changing the world and it's doing it effectively. Isn't that the business of the church : to transform lives.


When Jobs walks on to the platform of an event like MacWorld or WWDC? Who do people see, I suspect they don't  just see a CEO of Fortune 500 company. They see a leader of a movement.


The book is about leadership of Steve Jobs. It does focus on skill in as much as the qualities of leadership.
Passion
Mission - Focus
Vision - 
Motion - Movement Momentum


Reading this book has led to me asking myself these question:-
What is the "business" of the church? 
What is our product /service offered? Who are our customers / consumers?
What is vision and goal of the local (or universal) church?

Simple Church -

This is not one of my regular book review that I receive from a certain website nd publisher. It really something I saw and picked up one day at a christian book store. It's an old book, five years since it was first published; but I bought it anyway. The title struck a chord in me. Simple Church.
One of  the elders at the church I do part time work at, saw me reading the book, commented that church is not simple but complicated. 

In the book, the authors, Thom and Eric, give some insightful information on the churches they researched and interviews they conducted. This was not a small sampling. 
The point of their book was not to be present another church model. They were looking at churches and their activities. Asking questions about what makes one local church dynamic and increase while another stagnate or even decrease;  even though they had/use the same church model.
The findings of their research has led to the writing of this book.


So what it all about. It's about keeping church simple. It about the question of what does a disciple of Jesus Christ look like. The short of this book is four words:

  1. Clarity = Can you articulate what your church is about and what a disciple of christ is.
  2. Movement = What is the process that people go through to reach the above?
  3. Alignment = Are the current ministries and programs in keeping with the process 
  4. Focus = Keep in view that which is essential to the process and the goal for the building of disciples of Christ
This book has set me thinking about how we "do" church and how we ought to "do" church. 

    Jesus Calling App

    I just started using the "lite" version of the app and I like already. Navigation is easy. 
    Having the app means that I don't have to lug around additional bulk in my already small bag. I can read the day's devotion while standing in a crowded train.
    A "notes function enables me to jot down thoughts for any particular day.
    I Tweet,  so my only beef with the app (at least the "lite" version) is that the share functions.
    I tweet my thoughts and there is an OAuth error every time I try to share on twitter. The app's function was not updated. 
    The Facebook share function works. However, I have to log in every time I want to share the thought on Facebook. There is no preference to save the Facebook authentication.

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    The Last Summit



    In The Final Summit, Andy Andrews seeks to find "the one guiding principle that will save humanity." He does this by telling a story of a man named David Ponder as he interacts with the archangel Gabriel. Andrews places his main character with historical figures, most of them well known, in a fictitious place somewhere between earth and heaven. They engage in philosophical discussions and discourses. It is a work of fiction with slices of truth thrown in along with tit bits of history. The book is written very much in the style used by C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, Peter Kreeft's Between Heaven and Hell and Ravi Zacharias' The Lamb and The Fuhrer.

    This is my first encounter with David Ponder, but it is not the character's first appearance. The book is a sequel to The Traveller's Gifts. I found this book easy reading. The idea of one guiding principle to save humanity ( from itself) seem too good to be true. Especially when that principle could be summed up in two words. Though i some what disagreed with the outcome of the book, I have no doubt that Andy Andrews achieved his goal for the book and that is that to set the reader (me) thinking about the ideas espoused in it.

    Andrews' treatment of the historical figures was pretty good from my point of view. I'll give the book 4 stars out of 5. If you waiting for what those two words are : read the book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    What's your legacy?

    In OUTLIVE YOU LIFE, Max Lucado takes us on a walk through the book of Acts. The book is written in short chapters. Each chapter prefaced with a verse reference from The Acts of the Apostles and ending with another relevant quote or verse from the Bible and a prayer. There is a study guide included in the book ad takes ups about a fifth of the book. The format is done in a manner where the book can be used in a group study or even personal reflection.

    I enjoyed reading this book. It's easy reading yet thoughtful. If not for the fact that I am in hurry to review this book, I would have taken the time to go through each chapter. Perhaps after submitting this I may just reread it.
    Max Lucado is not doing an academic commentary on the Acts of the Apostles in this book. He takes us through what life was like for the infant church, showing how they responded to the world and society around them, challenging us to do the same. To outlive our lives. The question he seem to ask between the lines is: "What will your legacy be?" For yourself and your church? However, Max is not going stay on his high horse and tell us what we should be doing, 100% of all his royalties from the sale of this book goes to World Vision. I'm wondering what will Thomas Nelson do? (hint hint :D). Just buying this book and you'll have started to Outlive Your Life.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    Getting the Max on Life

    In Max on Life, Max Lucado sorts take on some hard issues in life. The book format is in the question and answer format. Each question from different people focus on real life issues. The content is divided into seven section each section with questions focused various themes from questions about hope, future, sexuality, death, family, relationships, etc. The book is easy to read, you could take on a question a day without losing the train of thought.


    I'll be the first to admit that I'm a fan of Max Lucado. I like his writing style and have most of his books. So when the opportunity to review MAX ON LIFE fell on my lap I grabbed it.
    Requesting the ebook edition was the fastest way of receiving the book instead of a three week wait for the hardcopy.
    I have to be honest this book is a tad disappointing. I felt some of the answers were a bit passé and glossed over with platitudes. The book assumes the Bible as excepted authority. There are those, believers included, that do not recognise the Bible as the Word of God. Maybe it's because I am from Asia and the book seem to focused on issues faced by the average North American Christian.


    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Captured by Grace - Review ... Long awaited

    It was a struggle reading the book not for any reason of it being a difficult book rather huge distractions that came into my life.

    Using the words of John Newton’s classic and famous hymn, Dr. David Jeremiah takes on a journey on the understanding the grace of God. He does this by using each line of the hymn as the theme each chapter. Taking us along as he explains the meaning and implications of Grace. In the end you cannot but be compelled by Grace captivated by it.

    I must admit this is one of the books I didn’t read through. Not because it was difficult to understand or grasp but it made me uncomfortable. My inner man struggled reading the text. There's apart of met that was saying: "no I don't want to hear / know this." it would only compel me to respond. If I took away anything from this book, It was this: Grace, God's unmerited favour does not come free. In the words of a fame scientist “There’s no free lunch, someone had to pay!" Salvation and Favour may come free for us but someone had to pay the price and that someone was Christ.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”