Monday, December 05, 2016

BookPastor >> "Answering Jihad" (Nabeel Qureshi)

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on April 14th, 2016.

conrade


TITLE: Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward
AUTHOR: Nabeel Qureshi
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (176 pages).

What does it mean to say that Islam is a religion of peace? Is this understanding the same for both Western and the Middle-Eastern minds? What is Jihad? How does a religion cause a person to become radicalized? What is the meaning of Islam and its origins?

Spurred by the rising anxiety of terrorism from Islamic radicals and the confusion surrounding religious truth and ideology, Nabeel Qureshi shares honestly and passionately about what Islam stands for, what Jihad essentially means, and how we can respond or relate to Muslims. Qureshi is a former Muslim who when young, was very pious about all things Islam. He has previously shared about his conversion from Islam to Christianity in a book entitled, "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus."

Some of the clarifications he have made in the book include his study, experience, and analysis of the history of Islam and the teachings of the Quran.
  1. The Western understanding of Islam as a religion of peace is different from the Muslim's understanding of peace. Islam means "surrender," a peace that comes only after all the enemies of Islam have surrendered. Violence may be necessary in order to bring about such peace. 
  2. The word 'Jihad' means 'struggle,' and is sometimes referred to as the sixth pillar of Islam. While the word sometimes is used in the Quran in a spiritual sense, it more often than not refers to a physical struggle for a spiritual goal.
  3. Each time anyone attempts to go back to the origins of the Islamic faith, violence is part and parcel of the struggle in the faith. A vast majority of Muslims have not bothered to go back to the roots of the religion. In order to understand the Islamic religion, one must also understand the contexts of the religion. 
  4. The history of the prophet Muhammad is replete with violence; both offensive and defensive forms of jihad. (Example, in Quran 9:29, there is a command to fight Jews and Christians because of belief, not aggression)
  5. "Sharia" literally means "path to water" but the interpretations of Shariah law varies tremendously due to "abrogation" where there are verses the some say are no longer relevant but others insist on its relevance.
  6. The expansion of Islam involves the use of the "sword" whether directly or indirectly.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Five of my Favourite Male-Band Songs

I thought I would put together a list of five of my top favourite songs by male-bands.


1) Savage Garden: "I Knew I Loved You."


2) Take That: "Back For Good"


3) One Direction: "Night Changes"


4) Backstreet Boys: "I Want It That Way"


5) Boyz II Men: "End of the Road"


c

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Midweek Meditation: "A Simple Way to Pray" Part 3 (Martin Luther)

Last week, we started on Martin Luther's teaching on prayer, based on his letter to his good friend and barber, Peter Beskendorf. We will continue with a series of meditations on the Lord's Prayer on the second petition.

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The Second Petition - "Thy kingdom come." 

Say: "O dear Lord, God and Father, thou seest how worldly wisdom and reason not only profane thy name and ascribe the honor due to thee to lies and to the devil, but how they also take the power, might, wealth and glory which thou hast given them on earth for ruling the world and thus serving thee, and use it in their own ambition to oppose thy kingdom. 

They are many and mighty; they plague and hinder the tiny flock of thy kingdom who are weak, despised, and few. They will not tolerate thy flock on earth and think that by plaguing them they render a great and godly service to thee. 

Dear Lord, God and Father, convert them and defend us. Convert those who are still to become children and members of thy kingdom so that they with us and we with them may serve thee in thy kingdom in true faith and unfeigned love and that from thy kingdom which has begun, we may enter into thy eternal kingdom. 

Defend us against those who will not turn away their might and power from the destruction of thy kingdom so that when they are east down from their thrones and humbled, they will have to cease from their efforts. Amen."


Monday, November 28, 2016

BookPastor >> "The Heart of Revelation" (J. Scott Duvall)

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on April 13th, 2016.

conrade


TITLE: The Heart of Revelation: Understanding the 10 Essential Themes of the Bible's Final Book
AUTHOR: J. Scott Duvall
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2016, (224 pages).

The book of Revelation is the last book of the New Testament. Filled with metaphors, images, and symbols, it is also one of the most challenging books of the Bible to interpret. What is Revelation all about? Why is it in the Bible? Who are the original audiences? What are the circumstances surrounding its writing? These questions continue to be asked through the centuries, even today. In fact, interest in this last book of the Bible remains very high. Many scholars and theologians have written on it. Many pastors and preachers have preached it over the pulpit. Many teachers have debated and shared the various perspectives for eager students. Still, the fascination remains.
  • What are the seals of the scrolls?
  • How do we understand the 144000 saved?
  • The horses, the wars, and the dragons, what do they all mean?
Author and professor, J. Scott Duvall is Professor of New Testament at Ouachita Baptist University. He shows us that there are three ways to reading Revelation. The first way is to read it once and then leave Revelation alone. The second way is to be obsessed by it to the point that one becomes paranoid about all things last days. He recommends the third way, which is to read in context, the understand the themes, and to practice the present with care to avoid the extremes of the two earlier ways. He points out ten themes to understand Revelation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Midweek Meditation: "A Simple Way to Pray" Part 2 (Martin Luther)

Last week, we started on Martin Luther's teaching on prayer, based on his letter to his good friend and barber, Peter Beskendorf. We will continue with a series of meditations on the Lord's Prayer on the first petition.

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The First Petition:
O Heavenly Father, dear God, I am a poor unworthy sinner. I do not deserve to raise my eyes or hands toward thee or to pray. But because thou hast commanded us all to pray and hast promised to hear us and through thy dear Son Jesus Christ hast taught us both how and what to pray, I come to thee in obedience to thy word, trusting in thy gracious promise. I pray in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ together with all thy saints and Christians on earth as he has taught us: Our Father who art, etc., through the whole prayer, word for word.  
Then repeat one part or as much as you wish, perhaps the first petition: "Hallowed be thy name," and say: "Yes, Lord God, dear Father, hallowed be thy name, both in us and throughout the whole world. Destroy and root out the abominations, idolatry, and heresy of the Turk, the pope, and all false teachers and fanatics who wrongly use thy name and in scandalous ways take it in vain and horribly blaspheme it. They insistently boast that they teach thy word and the laws of the church, though they really use the devil's deceit and trickery in thy name to wretchedly seduce many poor souls throughout the world, even killing and shedding much innocent blood, and in such persecution they believe that they render thee a divine service.

Dear Lord God, convert and restrain. Convert those who are still to be converted that they with us and we with them may hallow and praise thy name, both with true and pure doctrine and with a good and holy life. Restrain those who are unwilling to be converted so that they be forced to cease from misusing, defiling, and dishonoring thy holy name and from misleading the poor people. Amen."

Monday, November 21, 2016

BookPastor >> "Rare Leadership" (Marcus Warner and E. James Wilder)

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on April 5th, 2016.

conrade


TITLE: Rare Leadership: 4 Uncommon Habits For Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead
AUTHOR: Marcus Warner and E. James Wilder
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016, (240 pages).

Another book on leadership? How rare is "rare?" Is there some new thing that we do not know? These questions may be on the minds of some readers who find the words, "leadership" more and more jaded these days. It has been said that most 'new' ideas are not really new, just a new rehash of some old idea. While the idea is not new, the book reminds us of the important traits of leadership. Yet, it is important enough to merit a reminder because of three reasons. Leadership is lacking in many areas; Leadership is always needed in all areas. Leadership is also constantly renewed. What may have piqued some readers is the use of the word 'rare.' The word "RARE" here is used more as an acronym rather than an adjective. It is the conviction of the authors that four "uncommon habits" are related to emotional intelligence, which in turn will draw out the best in people through a "dramatic increase in trust, joy, and engagement."
  • R - Return to Joy (gladness of togetherness)
  • A - Act like yourself (identity)
  • R - Remain Relational (belonging)
  • E - Endure Hardship (let hard times unite the people)

Friday, November 18, 2016

An Old Classic: "This Guy's In Love" (Herb Alpert)

This is an old classic. Still so pleasurable listening after all these years.




Other links here and here.

****

You see this guy, this guy's in love with you
Yes I'm in love who looks at you the way I do
When you smile I can tell we know each other very
Well

How can I show you I'm glad I got to know you 'cause
I've heard some talk they say you think I'm fine
This guy's in love and what I'd do to make you mine
Tell me now is it so don't let me be the last to
Know

My hands are shakin' don't let my heart keep
Breaking 'cause
I need your love, I want your love
Say you're in love, and you'll be my girl, if not
I'll just die

Tell me now is it so don't let me be the last to
Know
My hands are shakin' don't let my heart keep
Breaking 'cause
I need your love, I want your love
Say you're in love, and you'll be my girl, if not
I'll just die


c

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