Deadlines are flocking on my schedules leaving me with so scarce time to blog. I must admit that my book giveaway is past my self-imposed deadline. But I hope a set of two books is worth the wait for those who are already asking. The winner will be taking home a copy each of The Radical Cross by A. W. Tozer and I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris.

We ought to acknowledge that books are essential to our spirituality. The Apostle Paul himself was still asking for his books even in the concluding days of his life (2 Tim. 4:13). And as I ponder upon this importance, I have just realized that the books that I read in the earliest seasons of my Christian life (at about my teens) have incalculable effects on what I am now. If you are a new believer, let me exhort you to choose very sensibly the materials that you read. These may shape you, your ministry, and your fellowship with the Godhead more than you can imagine. Let me introduce you to 10 books that I read when I was much younger.


As a student, I depended on freebies over the internet to sustain my desire for books. I received a couple of books from Moody Radio. One of which taught me about Bema Judgment and about bringing my money to heaven. Eversince reading Your Eternal Reward by Erwin Lutzer, my view on the Judgment Day and the selflessness of desiring rewards have just slightly changed.
Another gracious giver of free materials was Insight for Living, a ministry of Charles Swindoll. Swindoll is a very gifted teacher for young Christian minds. Christlikeness is so vividly presented in this Christmas gift that I received in 2000 from friends, Anna and Dol. For sanctification in new believers, The Quest for Character will be a recommendation.

The first reference material that I bought with my own money. Though already a local church youth president, I still had taken a lot of Scriptures out of context. My most persistent critic then, my pastor, had frequently emphasized my poor hermeneutics. How could I improve my hermeneutics if I didn’t even know what “hermeneutics” mean? Thank God for Kaiser and Silva’s An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics. I did not just learn the meaning of hermeneutics; I also learned better biblical interpretation.

Church discipline is a very unpopular theme in churches nowadays, unlike in the time of the Belgic Confession when it was still considered a mark of the true church. Jay Adams’ The Handbook of Church Discipline made me love Matthew 18 and other parts of Scripture that a lot find contradicting with love. Even excommunication can be the most loving act to a sheep acting like a goat. No other book made me a disciplinarian than this.

Argentina found My Utmost for His Highest in a Oneness Pentecostal bookstore. It appeared that someone already owned and used it but perhaps re-sold it because it was Trinitarian. So I received it on my birthday. I did not straightaway realize that it was 100x harder to understand than my previous daily reading. But Oswald Chambers’ thoughts were so brilliant that I made my perusing so slow in order to dig gold from day to day. Up to now, after 12 years, I still esteem this book to the highest among devotionals.

The Forgotten Spurgeon shaped the ambitious idealistic reformist zealot in me. It presented to me the hero I would be admiring ‘til my grave, to a man of whom this earth is not worthy. From his crash against the Hyper-Calvinists to his downgrade controversy, the prince of preachers is someone to whom I can wish to lose all knowledge that I have just to get a pinch of his pastoral skills.

I should warn that Knowing God is not an easy reading… but it is neither hard. Though J. I. Packer designed it for the scholarly, God perhaps marginally tweaked his writing style so that younger ones could also devour theology studies with more ease. For more than two decades, this book has already blessed millions of the exciting and rewarding joy of knowing God. I am glad that I am one of these multitudes.

I am surprised that I would even place I Kissed Dating Goodbye above J. I. Packer on influencing my Christian behaviour. Joshua Harris was such a popular name when we were teenagers because mainly of this book. It was not an understatement that new attitudes on love and courtship developed not just in individuals but also in youth organizations. If God will grant me a teenage child, I will definitely require him to read this book at least more than once.

Nothing shaped my view pertaining to the pulpit more than John Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching, my first Piper title. Its Trinitarian formula (goal, ground, and gift) for preaching and the expository preaching examples of Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon had stuck on my mind and heart and became very handy now that I already am a preacher. If I would institute a pre-requisite to not wasting the pulpit, surely reading this small book would be one.

Honestly, God’s providence used my foolishness to make this book my first buy. As a youth leader, I was looking for a book that would help me to deal with the young people’s materialistic living. I thought Ashamed of the Gospel’s subtitle “When the Church Becomes Like The World” was the cue for my battle against materialism. Thank God because John MacArthur did not just offer a solution to an itty-bitty youth problem. He called me to faithful ministry, faithful to God and to His Word. It contains the first of my favorites from Spurgeon, “Look you, sirs, there are ages to come. If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to his truth today.”

DOUBLE your chance of winning! Like our Facebook page and you automatically get your draw entry doubled. (If you have already liked our page, your entry is automatically doubled.)

You ought to enter the draw with the right answer only once. The game closes by July 30 midnight and the winner will be announced on July 31.  ^_^

I have previously blogged on my takes for the Amy DeLong Trial. I did not expect that an unpopular pastor from the east would get a comment from a member of DeLong’s trial team. The following is the unedited comment from Wesley White:
Blessings from a member of Rev. Amy's Trial Team. We know there are many who are upset about the decision of the trial court to respond in what they understood to be an attempt to move the church from threatened division through a restorative justice form of consequence. Your sisters and brothers in Christ who were put in a most difficult place and had to wrestle with two different part of the Book of Discipline and what it means to uphold a document that changes every four years (and in non-USA locations does not need to be followed and isn't everywhere).
One part of the Discipline speaks of providing ministry with all people, it says, "Do Ministry, no matter what!" Another part of the Discipline speaks of consequences, "Don't do that, no matter what!" The letter of the law regarding trial procedures was strictly followed.
Was the Discipline upheld? I believe it was upheld in its processes even if there are people on both side who look on without having seen and heard the evidence and claim the penalty was too strong or too weak to match the letter of the law they most associate with - "Do" or "Don't".
Thank you for continuing to wrestle with the difficult discernment of whether to cut a baby in two, to do more than weep with Rachel as her children who were denied/killed, or the reminder that Mercy is desired, not Sacrifice. I wish you well in ministering in your context as Rev. Amy ministered in hers.
With this letter, I realized that not only on sexuality issues do we differ but also on at least four more areas.

Differing View on Unity
It is narrated in the comment that the trial court attempted to heal for unity “through a restorative justice form of consequence.” Is unity attained in this way? Jesus, in His High-Priestly prayer, disclosed the key element of unity. John 17:23 says, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one…” Perfect biblical unity only comes through our union with Christ by faith and repentance. It, therefore, requires observance of biblical truth because Christ is Truth personified. As long as a party remains more committed to political agenda or to extra-biblical “expansive love of GOD” than to the revealed truth of the Bible, unity is unattainable.

Differing View on the Book of Discipline
It seems that the “most difficult place” for an adherent of this liberation movement is to wrestle with two seemingly opposing different parts of the Book of Discipline, when he is supposed to choose between "Do Ministry, no matter what!" and "Don't do that, no matter what!" I just can’t understand why portions of the BOD are forced to crash while these are supposed to be parallel. Some may argue that statements 2 and 4 imply that the least common multiple is 4. While on the other hand, some may say that statements 3 and 6 are suggesting for 6. But actually, statements 2, 3, 4, and 6 agree that 12 is the answer. When the BOD says “Don’t!” it is because not doing is the best way to “Do!”

Differing View on Ministry
There are at least two views on ministry: (1) Need-based, man-centered, culturally-defined ministry; and, (2) Redemption-based, GOD-centered, Scripture-defined ministry. Wesley White wrote, “I wish you well in ministering in your context as Rev. Amy ministered in hers.” With this concluding comment, the trial team member reveals his adherence to the first view. Through an article in Christianity Today titled “Toxic Pluralism,” United Methodist James V.Heidinger II already exhorted us in 1993 to flee from these types of ministries;
Evangelical pastors and theologians can learn from the mainline experience of placing relevance above truth. We must avoid the lure of novelty and soft sell, which, we are told, will make it easier for moderns to believe. Methods may change, but never the message… We are called to be faithful stewards of a great and reliable theological heritage. We have truths to affirm and errors to avoid. We must not try to make these truths more appealing or user friendly by watering them down. We must guard against a trendy "theological bungee-jumping" that merely entertains the watching crowd.
In the end, GOD will not evaluate us on whether our ministry is traditional or contextualized. But He will surely inquire whether our service is Scriptural or unbiblical.

Differing View on Mercy
White calls it mercy to unite in marriage lesbian couples, to let an elder clergy be engaged in a homosexual relationship for 16 years, to call these valid expressions of love, and to see these as acceptable in the eyes of (a) god. He calls this mercy. I never thought that a doctor who refrained from disclosing about his patient’s cancer could ever be merciful. Mercy is telling everybody to flee from the wrath to come not denying the existence of that wrath. Mercy will re-echo 1 Cor. 6:9-10, “Do not be deceived; neither homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God.”

We are on the contrasting sides not just because we have opposing views on sexuality. We are on the contrasting sides because we have opposing views on GOD, Christ, the church, ministries, the Word, love, justice, John Wesley, nature, math, and a lot more.

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