Summer Reading: First Sophomore Bro!

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Derek came in third, just before summer ends! Below are his thoughts on the book:


I recently finished reading "Satan and His Kingdom: What the Bible Says and How it Matters to You" by Dennis McCallum after coming back from summer classes. 

This book was recommended to me after expressing curiosity about the specifics of Satan's influence that is mentioned from time to time in our church .  I knew the basics of Satan's origin and that he tries to lead us away from God, but I still had so many questions, like:  Who is Satan? Why is he still out there?  How do evil forces work against people? Against churches?  What can we do to resist these attacks and keep our focus on Christ?

Thankfully, the need for clear answers to questions like these are what prompted McCallum to write this book.   

The book gives clear answers to all of these questions and more by the logical analysis of biblical and historical evidence, even going further to how we can apply these conclusions to living out the Christian faith.  

One thing that I found to be particularly challenging but true from the book is how McCallum defines our current state of living. He explains that we are in the midst of a spiritual war, a war that began with the battle between the angels of heaven and Satan, where Satan and his angels were cast down to our world (Revelation 12:7-9).  So God's kingdom in heaven was pure again, but now the conflict has moved to the earth, and we are in the middle of it.  As evidenced by Revelation 12:12, "Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them!  But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!"  So Satan's domain of manipulation is now on earth.  

McCallum then draws that in this conflict we should not seek conflict, but if we stand up for truth and God's blessing, we will find it because such conflict arises when Christ, who is in us, confronts the evils in the world around us.  Therefore, we should equip ourselves with weapons found in the word of God so that in this fight for our lives we can best handle these conflicts.  And even though such weapons may not seem like much, the Bible assures us that they are strong in spirit, which is where such conflicts are fought out:  "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Before we engage in spiritual warfare, we must know as much as we can about our opponent so that we do not underestimate his influence in our lives.  I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more or is struggling in faith, as it does an excellent job of providing clarity to this fuzzy topic.

Summer Reading: First Senior Bro!

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Joey completes his first book of the summer, "The Prodigal God", right before July! And here's Joey on the book:


I recently read The Prodigal God, written by Reason For God's author Timothy Keller. 

In this book, Keller speaks on the parable of the lost son in Luke 15 and paints a picture of who God is in relation to both sons and not just the younger one. 

Keller starts off the book with the definition of prodigal, which is to be either recklessly extravagant or having spent everything. In the beginning, I thought the title was confusing, however as Keller began to explain the different ways that each son was lost, it becomes clearer why God is actually the one who is prodigal. 

The beginning starts off with the decision of the younger brother to take his inheritance early and go on a wild adventure in the far country. We know that he ends up being able to come back and is restored to his status as his fathers son when he recognizes his sin. However, as Keller points out, it is actually the dutiful elder brother that ends up never reconciling with the father. When we look to the beginning of the parable, we see that Jesus is actually talking to two different types of people, the sinners who Jesus attributes to the younger brother, and the pharisees who Jesus identifies as the elder brothers. Jesus is not primarily focusing on the "sinners", but rather the proud older brothers in the crowd who, unlike the younger brother, did not physically run away. Keller points out the signs in the parable that show how the elder brother actually desired the exact same things as the younger brother, yet took a different approach to obtain it. Both did not view the father with love, but rather a means to get what they both wanted, which was ultimately separation from him.

I was really moved by the heart that the father has, not just for the younger son, but actually for the older son. From The Prodigal God, we learn how there are many different ways one can be far from God. I personally learned how simply obeying Gods commands does not necessarily translate to a heart for God. Personally, I was challenged by the description and motivations behind the elder brothers actions, and as someone whose been in the Church for a few years I could personally relate to a lot of them. 

I would highly recommend this book to every Christian as it does a fantastic job of explaining clearly the different ways one can be apart from God, as well as the bountiful love that God pours out to even those who betray him. I think it is something that we can all relate to and can continue to learn from. It shows how in the end, it really is God who is prodigal as he sent his son Jesus to the cross to spend everything in order to bring us back into his kingdom. 

Summer Reading: First Sophomore Sister and First Person in Klesis to finish a book!

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Xuan Xuan finishes reading "Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems" within the first week of summer (6/18)!

Here's what she thinks about the book:


Book: Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems by Janet and Geoff Benge. 

It's about a missionary, Amy, who started doing ministry work in her country. Later she was called to serve Robert Wilson, then China, Japan, and finally India. While in India, she spent her life doing God's work: preaching, rescuing and fostering children from temples, untouchables, and ones neglected from the family. She faced many judgements and disapprovals from the people of India because of the conflicts between Christianity, Indian culture, and the dominant religion, Hinduism. Yet, she learned to hold on to truth and trust God to provide with every step of the work. 

One thing that I learned from this book is that when Amy knows how good God is and how much God loves her, it changes the way how she acted each day.

It's a great book for those who likes to read stories. It's a really interesting life story book, easy read, and it'll go faster than you think! Would not be a disappointment! :)


She will be receiving a free book from the book table! Woo hoo!

Last week with Klesis!

Last week with Klesis!

Last Thursday, Ryan gave bible study on Titus 3 with warnings about the things that sidetrack us from the gospel, then we went to the board walk and played pirate-themed mini-golf. Friday and Saturday, the brothers camped at Big Sur National Park and enjoyed cooking sausages and super-size s'mores and went on a nice hike at Point Lobos in Monterey while the sisters went up to San Jose for Hot pot and Asian dessert.

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Jesus and the Sadducees: Is resurrection just “pie in the sky when you die”?

Jesus and the Sadducees: Is resurrection just “pie in the sky when you die”?

Wright spends a good deal of discussion in his book establishing the early Christian church’s belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the bodily nature of the final resurrection. He points out that the biblical view of the resurrection is actually at odds with the modern understanding of many Christians of what happens when you die.

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Historiography and the Resurrection of Jesus: The No-Analogy Objection

Historiography and the Resurrection of Jesus: The No-Analogy Objection

In this series of blog posts, we are discussing the objections of some scholars to the historical investigation of the resurrection of Jesus, as discussed by NT Wright in his book, “The Resurrection of the Son of God.” In the first post, we discussed Willi Marxsen’s claim that because we do not have direct access to the resurrection event, we cannot speak of it historically.

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Come See What Happened at SMC

Come See What Happened at SMC

In the summer, we packed our bags and hit the road down to sunny Southern California to Sky Mountain Camp (SMC). SMC is our church-wide retreat site in the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear. Since a lot of people went home for the summer, we wanted to see everybody and have some fun. And boy did we have fun (just ask anyone who went).

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