Eat This Book: Stop Dating the Church (Fall in Love with the Family of God) by Joshua Harris

26 12 2010

Probably this is one of the book of Josh Harris you wouldn’t buy because of two things:

1.) It’s not about relationships (like “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Boy Meets Girl”)

2.) The book is short (144 pages) yet it’s priced like his other long (or thick for that matter) relationship books

The truth is, this is a “relationship” book and we thank Harris for making it short for a topic that is very important (that can be written volumes). Relationship, because it’s about “falling in love” with the family of God or the Church. Short, because it’s short enough for us digest and understand the relevance of having a church.

Josh Harris with his down to earth and search mode style (we all love and familiar with) of conveying the topic gives you a personal and biblical approach on why we need to belong to other believers. We can relate to him because of his honesty on this book, how he use to be a “church dater” to saying “I Do” to his church. He unravels how God view His bride (the church) and how important to be a part of this phenomenal group God created. I think it’s one of the important issues that anyone who is either a new Christian or a professing Christian yet hasn’t made a commitment to a church. Christianity is not a solo effort and it will never be. A saved person needs to find a church for his spiritual growth. Harris gives us how to have passion, choosing a church and how to make the most of that special day, Sunday. He took this topic from the high theological shelf, placed it on our table for us to savor God’s intent plans for us as a member of His family. A very serious topic done it humble and friendly way that will surely grab you and consider how essential it is to love fellow believers and love the God who made the church.

Great for both new believers and long time church goers, who lost their appetite for intimacy to fellow Christians; this short book will lead and take you to that love you’re longing for God’s people. Now it’s time to fall in love with the church and get married to it.

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Love Hurts? An Interview About Domestic Violence with Vision of Hope Ministries

19 09 2010

Black and blue is not the color of love. But sometimes people paints it to others who they suppose to give their love. We shouldn’t  expect domestic violence in a relationship but in this fallen world we need to open our eyes to reality.  It really happens. A nightmare comes true when boy beats girl. A very painful truth.

Jason Sweeton of Vision of Hope Ministries gave us some dose of this sad reality and much more as we talk about domestic violence.

ROCK Ministry: First let me ask about your ministry and who do you minister?

Jason Sweeton: Vision of Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling ministry. We were started to minister to the victims of domestic violence. We also counsel teens in their many issues from cutting, depression, and sexual abuse. We counsel the victims of sexual abuse and post traumatic stress disorder. Our counseling centers also provide family and marriage counseling. Our centers treat much more though. We have counseled everyone from people that don’t go to church to pastors and missionaries and their families.

V.O.H.M. was started as an answer to a local problem in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. God had been dealing with my mother Joyce Sweeton for some time to start a ministry for battered women. At the time I was serving as the chaplain of the Chattanooga Rescue Mission. C.R.M. is a emergency homeless shelter in Chattanooga. I noticed women and children being brought to the shelter by the police from domestic assault situations. The women and children would stay at the most a couple of days and return to there abusers. I realized the women felt they had no choice. C.R.M. didn’t have the facilities to help them.

In 1997 I resigned from C.R.M. and with my mother we started V.O.H.M. to help the victims of domestic violence. The ministry God called us to do has grown beyond our expectations. We have ministered to 4,745 women 23,725 children 1,265 men in the past thirteen years. God has blessed us with the opportunity to lead 14,867 people to Lord Jesus Christ. We now have ministries in four states here in the U.S.

V.O.H.M. administers counseling centers, clothing and food distributing ministries for the homeless and poverty-stricken. V.O.H.M. has three 24/7 hour mission churches in Georgia and Tennessee. We have 11 full time missionaries and 54 volunteers. God has allowed us to counsel women and men in sixty five countries by way of the internet. Men and women who need help but we would never be able to reach any other way. God has blessed us so much. Our key purpose is to help people. We know no better way to help people than to share Jesus Christ with them. Jesus is at the center of everything we do here at V.O.H.M.

ROCK Ministry: I have a straight forward question: Why do guys sometimes beat girls?

Jason Sweeton: A batterer abuses because he wants to, and thinks he has a “right” to his behavior. He may think he is superior to his partner and is entitled to use whatever means necessary to control her.

ROCK Minstry:  Why does this kind of violence commonly happens in a relationship?

Jason Sweeton: Domestic violence often occurs because men may believe:
1 they have the right to “control” their female partners in any way necessary.
2 “masculinity” is physical aggressiveness
3 they “possess” their partner.
4 they should demand intimacy.
5 they may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their girlfriends.

ROCK Ministry: What are common abuse women undergoes in domestic violence
Jason Sweeton: Domestic Violence includes a wide range of abuse including:
1 Physical Assaults
2 Sexual Assault
3 Psychological abuse
4 Threats
5 Intimidation
6 Emotional abuse
7Isolation
8 Manipulation of children
9 Economic control
10 Destruction of property or pets

RM: What are the physical and emotional trauma attached to those experience?

JS: Victims of domestic violence often experience emotional systems like:
1 Having unwanted thoughts or pictures in the mind about the abuse when nothing’s happening to remind you;
2 Suddenly reliving the abuse as if it’s happening again;
3 Getting distressed or upset when reminded of the abuse;
4 Having the kinds of physical reactions when being reminded of the abuse that it’s usual for people to get when they’re frightened, like the heart beating faster, the breathing speeding up, the muscles getting tense, getting butterflies in the stomach, and other things;
5 Trying to avoid thoughts and feelings that remind you of the abuse;
6 Trying to avoid conversations, activities, people and places that remind you of the abuse;
7 Being unable to remember some important things about the abuse;
8 Losing interest in things like the job you were doing before, or the social activities or other things you used to like;
9 Feeling detached or cut off from people around you;
10 Feeling emotionally numb; so that would mean being unable to experience some feelings, perhaps loving or joyful ones, and being unable to cry;
11 Feeling as if you’re bound to die before your time or that you won’t achieve anything in life; not expecting to live to raise children to adulthood, or to be able to get a good job, and so on.
12 Having difficulty falling or staying asleep;
13 Feeling anger and grief about what happened.

RM: How can someone who says he loves a girl ever raise his hands to that girl?

JS: This one will be fairly simple, he can’t. love is not just word and feelings it is actions. Violence at it’s root is an action of selfishness and hate not love.

RM: What are the signs that most likely identify an abusive partner?

JS: Early warning signs that your date may eventually become abusive:
1 Extreme jealousy
2 Controlling behavior
3 Quick involvement
4 Unpredictable mood swings
5 Alcohol and drug use
6 Explosive anger
7 Isolates you from friends and family
8 Uses force during an argument
9 Shows hypersensitivity
10 Believes in rigid sex roles
11 Blames others for his problems or feelings
12 Cruel to animals or children
13 Verbally abusive
14 Abused former partners
15 Threatens violence

Common clues that indicate a teenager may be experiencing dating violence:
1 Physical signs of injury
2 Truancy, dropping out of school
3 Failing grades
4 Indecision
5 Changes in mood or personality
6 Use of drugs/alcohol
7 Pregnancy
8 Emotional outburst

RM:  What should a girlfriend do if she wants to get out of this relationship?

JS: Gather the support of your friends and family. Confide in your friends about your situation. Your friends and family should help for the first couple of weeks after your break up.

Make sure your mind is clear when you break up with your boyfriend.

If your afraid your boyfriend may harm you after you tell him you want to break up, take at least one friend with you, keep a cell phone by you at all times, and have another one of your friends waiting in a car outside so you can quickly escape.

If you are afraid of him harming your friends and family, do not even tell him about breaking up. Gather all your belongings ( Without him noticing of course) and leave immediately. Notify him that you have left him, and tell him that you are going to file a restraining order against him. This should be enough incentive for him to leave you alone.

File a restraining order against him. Do not answer his calls or texts.

Make sure he doesn’t know where you are. You may have to live in motels for a couple of weeks, but in the end, it will be better than having him find you. If you have children, keep your children with you at all times.

RM: There are girls who undergone this abuse and feels that no one will ever love them. What can you say to those girls who feel hopeless?

JS: The thing you need to keep in mind domestic and dating violence is an isolating experience. Let them know they are not alone. Simply put be a friend. Never push them to do anything they are not ready for. It will only make them feel more isolated and alone. Let them know you love them and will always be there for them. Above all else let them know Jesus loves them and is concerned about there suffering. When they are ready to seek help be prepared to act quickly.





A Trip to Booksale: Finding Christian books at a Second Hand/Used Bookstore

21 05 2010

Want to do something that will flex you Christian life? Read a Christian book! But you don’t have a budget to buy those books at National or PCBS. Go to Booksale!

Booksale is a popular second hand or used bookstore in the Philippines from a company called Visual Mix Inc. It’s a sort of ukay-ukay for books. They sell those books (from novels, children’s, coffee tables, comics etc.) in a very cheap price. It also carries new and back issues of magazines, local and international. You can find it at malls as stalls or a store branch. Sometimes it has Christian books that are classics and written by famous authors.

For years now, I’ve brought books at Booksale. Some had impact my life. You don’t have to pay expensive Christian books just to fuel your Christian walk. You can find some treasures at Booksale.

This article intends to give advice and tips on finding a Christian book if you ever be or planning to go to Booksale.

For first timers: Prepare for a lot digging, flipping and bending for books at Booksale. But your effort will be paid off if you get hard to find or classic books in a very affordable price. It might surprise you that big stores sell that same book for a hefty price but find it at Booksale very cheap.

You might as well be informed that this is not a Christian bookstore. Booksales carries men’s magazines and other stuff Christians should not set eyes upon.

Another don’t expect for the sales clerk to know or find a book for you. They are not like those from big bookstores.

The budget: Booksale gives prices as low as P10. The price ranges to P10-75 and over 100 which are still cheap compare with popular bookstores. If you’re going there, it’s safe to have P50-100. If you’re lucky, with that amount you can buy 3-5 books. If the book is prolific in Booksale, you might as well wait for them to lower its price. I’ve observed that if a book wouldn’t sell, they will change the price. You might notice the multiple price stickers on the book. I brought books which are classic for as low as 10-25 pesos. They don’t price it because of the authors, but to sell and dispose it.

Some publishers you might look out while digging: This list will give some ease and save some time on what is a Christian book by looking at the publisher’s name. Some publishers are Whitaker, Tyndale, NavsPress, Revell, McMillan, Moody Press, Regal, Bethany House, Spire, New Leaf, CLC (Christian Literature Crusade), Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Inter Varsity Press. These are legitimate Christian publishing company, but that doesn’t mean we should put off our discernment radar. Let’s use our Christian discernment by comparing those books with our stand in doctrine, morality, biblical worldview etc. Also I would recommend old stuff (50’s -70’s) from them which, I think still have biblical integrity rather that the new one (driven to just make money).

It will also help if you find a book or author to check them in the internet before buying it. You can search info, reviews, criticism and recommendations for that book and the author. Ask someone like a pastor or a fellow Christian if he knows something about the book you like to get.

Authors you shouldn’t miss: Booksale sometimes has great books by these authors: Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, E.M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, Corrie Ten Boom, Charles Spurgeon, and C.S. Lewis. Some of these authors are available in thin pocketsize books. I spot Left Behind series, In His Steps and Lee Strobel’s A Case For Easter more recently. The list I provide are some that are prolific in Booksale (which I have seen in BS over the years) but not necessary always available.

Of course, there are Bibles in different versions and sizes you can find in Booksale. You can own the greatest book in the world for a very affordable price.

Topics or Category you may find: Mostly Christian living, devotional and discipleship.

Rarely are apologetics and theology.

Great titles that influence me: Here are some books I brought that greatly helped me in my Christian walk that I got from Booksale (and I hope you can find it too.)

  1. More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell
  2. Spiritual Maturity by J. Oswald Sanders
  3. In Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
  4. Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  5. Of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis
  6. Discipleship: Up Close and Personal by Chuck Swindoll
  7. Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur Jr. (hardbound)
  8. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  9. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  10. The Song by Calvin Miller

Books You Should Avoid: Once in awhile I find some books that have spiritual stuff but don’t uphold a biblical Christian stand. So please check carefully the book you’re buying. Here are some of them:

  1. self help
  2. Hare Krishna/Divine Consciousness
  3. Robert Schuller
  4. New Age, Yoga and Shirley MacLane
  5. Dianetics by Ron Hubbard
  6. Book of Mormon, Great Controversy, Steps to Christ and other so called religious text from cults.
  7. Horoscope and other fortune telling stuff.

Top Secret Tips: If you find something that you really like but forgot to bring cash or you budget it to something else and you don’t want to come back to find its gone, don’t worry. You can reserve the book for a few days with no additional fee till you can buy it. Just tell the sales clerk or cashier and they can keep it for you.

Booksale changes books every month. That means new (old) books with much lower prices are available. Sometime they do it every first day of the month. So before anyone get something, better know when they change products.

Advantages: Here are some advantages in buying at Booksale:

  1. The price is very low. As I have said, you can buy something for P10.
  2. If your fortunate a Christian book can be in hardbound.
  3. Popular, hard to find and out of print Christian books are available.
  4. Books are printed in the US.

Disadvantages: Although the prices are very low at Booksale (which is an advantage) there are some disadvantages.

  1. Quality of the books-sometimes (but not always) some got ugly because of the price sticker, has missing or falling away pages, worn out, torn and crumpled cover. Flap jackets are missing. Markings like “Used” or “Discarded”. Lots of pencil or ballpen markings.
  2. You won’t get what you want-unlike PCBS or National bookstore you can go to a section for a specific book or topic you’re looking for. Sometime you won’t find any that fits your taste.
  3. Sales clerk- aside for not having one attending, they don’t know about the books and won’t even recommend you one.
  4. Not all malls have Booksale.
  5. Some Christian books available at Booksale (or even at National or PCBS) can be read or in some cases downloaded in the internet for free.
  6. Some are old editions and not updated.
  7. Sometimes they don’t have multiple copies of a title.

Not all the time I buy at Booksale, I visit National or PCBS and purchase (if I have the budget) books that are new, fresh and relevant with the time or culture. Or simply research the internet for specific topics that are available in different digital format free.

Interesting stuff: Over the years of buying, collecting and reading books, I find in Booksale I notice some stuff worth noting. Some of the books are discarded from libraries in the US because it still carries the index card or has the name of the library stamp on the first page. In some books I own, you know it’s a gift because of the handwritten dedication for someone. You can also know who previously owns it with the sticker of the owner’s name complete with address! Other times, someone might be studying the book that you can see pencil or ballpen lines and hand written comments on the spaces of each page.

I hope this article help you in finding a worthy read for your enjoyment and spiritual growth. If you have some question you can send an e-mail: allstarboyscout@yahoo.com or use it to add me up in FaceBook. Booksale has a website:Booksale. Happy Christian book hunting at Booksale!





Eat this Book: Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints by John Piper and Justin Taylor

15 05 2010

This is the by far the best in the Desiring God Conference turned into print form. Best because 3 of the leading Christian authors (my favorites) John Piper, Jerry Bridges and John MacArthur Jr. are here. It’s like the best of three worlds in one great book. Rarely would you find such book. You will get some teasers on what their ministry offers here also. And oh don’t forget Randy Alcorn and Helen Roseveare. You may think these two not so famous speakers won’t make such great contribution on this book. But in fact their part is important.

As the title suggest it’s about enduring and standing firm to what God calls every Christian. As the world tells us to embrace change and go for greener pastures, God tells us to hold on and stand firm no matter what. The authors are perfectly picked to be included to this book. Not only does it give biblical response to endurance but also personal experience from the authors. So the interview part in the last part is exciting. At first an interview part is odd for me but it adds more personal and up close profile on the lives of these men (and a woman) of God. Each one is gave different talk about godly endurance but when blend together its one power pack book.

The book opens with Jerry Bridges (author of Pursuit of Holiness) with his usual bible teaching combined with his enduring to the end journey titled “Four Essentials for Finishing Well”. He is good in discipleship teachings and I think you’ll appreciate this. Then John Piper (author of Don’t Waste Your Life and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ) exhorts “Getting Old for the Glory of God” on which he discusses and tell us to make Christ our treasure till the end of our lives. You can sense some Don’t Waste Your Life sprinkled over his piece. John MacArthur (Grace to You, author of Ashamed of the Gospel) relates his 40 years as a pastor of Grace Community Church. Randy Alcorn (author of Heaven and Treasure Principle) wave his Christian flag for the fight of the unborn. Lastly Helen Roseveare with her experience in a war torn mission field. Truly this is a book you won’t ignore.

The best part for me is the one from Helen Roseveare. She gave something that no other contributors can give: the woman side of godly endurance. Her talk was filled with fascinating stories about her mission in Africa. Teenage and young adult girls read her piece first specially the latter part. You will be inspired and be blessed for sure.

Recommended to mature Christians and leaders this book not only inspires but makes you think and evaluate your life in Christ if it counts. Go beyond fascination with the lives of the contributors. Make your Christian call count. Stand firm to the end and finish it well.

You can buy this book at PCBS for P195 only or you can download the entire book on PDF format from the Desiring God website FREE by clicking here. R.O.C.K. Ministry also gives hard copies of it for FREE to all supporters, leaders and committee members of the student organization.





Eat This Book: Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper

12 03 2010

Everybody got excited with this book. Not just because we gave it for free but the central theme of this book. Its rarely we see a subject about salvation dealt this way. So we gave Fifty Reasons… book five reasons why we like this book:

  1. It answers the “Why” questions. Everybody wants answers to why questions. Fifty thought provoking answers drawn from the New Testament. Some are common, some are very intriguing. John Piper opens those common answers then expounded with clarity and those intriguing answers, that we often miss, were given the magnifying glass treatment for us to zero in and intimately know more.
  2. The theme is about salvation and we only say “Wow. Jesus did all that!” You will never look at Christ redemptive act the same way again. It tackles also justification, sanctification and future glorification.
  3. An easy to read book. Because every reason or (God’s purpose as the book calls it) acts like a chapter which is just 2 pages long. You can actually finish this 127 pgs book in 1 day or so. Done in sort of a “countdown style”, you want to read it until you get to the “Top 50”.
  4. Not only is it a Christian living book but also an evangelistic one. It represents the gospel within those reasons. It mentions salvation by faith alone and eternal security to name a few.
  5. It’s not just a Christian living or evangelistic book but you can use it as a devotional book. Those fifty reasons can be use in a fifty day devotionals. Every chapter starts with Bible verses. Talk about usefulness.

My Top Five Favorite Reasons (and must read reason):

  1. Reason #5 To Show the Wealth of God’s Love and Grace for Sinners
  2. Reason #7 To Cancel the Legal Demands of the Law Against Us
  3. Reason #22 To Bring Us to God
  1. Reason #28 To Free Us from the Futility of Our Ancestry
  2. Reason #37 To Call Us to Follow His Example of Lowliness and Costly Love

Quotables:

“Imitation is not salvation. But salvation brings imitation. Christ

is not given to us first as model, but as Savior. In the experience

of the believer, first comes the pardon of Christ, then the pattern of Christ.” pg. 92-93

“When all is said and done, God is the gospel. Gospel means

“good news.” Christianity is not first theology, but news.” pg. 62

John Piper’s “Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die” will give the reader a better understanding of Jesus Christ of why He came to die. Powerful read for everyone who seeks more depth on why God send His Son for us.

This book is available for FREE to ANY one in Lyceum of the Philippines University Batangas City campus Please contact leaders and advisers of ROCK campus ministry for your copy. Also you can download this book FREE (PDF format) by clicking here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/books_pojc/bpojc_all.pdf