Category Archives: Books

=45= Books I’ve Read: CS Lewis

Ok it has been a while since i wrote one of these. What happened was that i grew tired of doing a ‘book review’ every single time after reading a book. Well, i decided that books are for me to enjoy. However, CS Lewis is so good that i need to give a tribute to him. In fact, i did in school! I shall show you my slides! 🙂

This is CS Lewis!
This is CS Lewis!
CS Lewis was known as 'Jack' beacuse of his dead dog
CS Lewis was known as ‘Jack’ because of his dead dog
Letters were collected to form books as well
Letters were collected to form books as well
Did you know that CS Lewis was from Belfast?
Did you know that CS Lewis was from Belfast?
And that he is a solider?
And that he is a solider?
He made a pack with Paddy Moore that if either of them survives, they would take care of their family
He made a pack with Paddy Moore that if either of them survives, they would take care of their family
Did you know he survived both world wars?
Did you know he survived both world wars?
He married a Russian who was 17 years younger than him!
He married a Russian who was 17 years younger than him!
He died... :(
He died… 😦
These are my books!
These are my books!
And my references!
And my references!

You can find a more detailed timeline here(I did not include the dates he published his books). I did not add in a lot of detail of why i like him because of sensitivity with my classmates, but since this is my blog i can do it! 😛

Ok where do i begin?

I picked up the habit of reading the preface of a book since i started reading Joshua Harris’ ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’. So when i first read the preface of ‘Mere Christianity’ by CS Lewis, to tell you the truth, i was put off. It was a bunch of writing about his writing. Maybe it was also because that i was reading it late at night. So i gave up. I picked it up again after completing the book i was reading, though i was practically dreading to read it. However, with a clear mind, i was able to understand the preface better. After reading a bit about the Law of Nature or the Moral Law, it intrigued me! Its amazing how he points out something that everyone knows yet never notice. His arguments were solid, his thinking is precise and his writing is skilful. After reading a bit into the book, i really enjoyed how he used punctuation. He uses brackets and dashes which usage are seldom in modern time. I liked how he always seem to dwell on a single thought and help people to think with that single thought(very Melancholic like). I also like that he doesn’t stuff what he believes down your throat – a lesson i need to learn. This book was a book based on talks he gave during world war two, talks that were given to strengthen faith. Mere Christianity is an amazing book and i truly believe it will be helpful for new converts to understand christianity and for christians to understand their faith more. After this one book, i was hooked.

I went on to buy ‘The Screwtape Letters’. A book i struggled to read. This book is about this experienced demon, named Screwtape, writing to his nephew, named Wormwood, teaching him how to ensure a man’s damnation. I was attracted by the novel way of learning about God rather than the straight non-fiction. This helped me to understand a few things. Something that stayed with me was that CS Lewis described gluttony as a desire to have things exactly our way. We may not be that after food in this day and age, but we sometimes want the food exactly our way. We want it in the right amount, the right temperature, the right flavour, etc. So we complain, we want to be pampered. This is a book i really struggled to read, yet, i still enjoy CS Lewis’ writing and thought process. This reverse thinking really helped me to deal with demons.

Even tough “Screwtape Letters’ was a struggle, the next book i bought proved that CS Lewis is able to explain things in novel form, in an extremely easy way. I bought ‘The Great Divorce’. This is currently my favourite book from CS Lewis. It is about a bus ride from Hell to Heaven and the journey in Heaven. Even though i am not certain that there is really a doorway in and out of Hell, i tend to see this entire process as on Earth. On Earth, we can truly get out of hell and go into heaven and enjoy eternal life(Its just my interpretation). Ok, so let me start on this amazing book. The book first depicts Hell as a greyish joyless place, where people would move from place to place because hey can’t get along with each other. Then they would take this bus ride to Heaven, the most beautiful place they have even seen, yet because they are ghost, and Heaven is solid, they cannot stand on grass without hurting themselves. The main character would later on meet George Macdonald, whom would carry him on his back to see how these ghost interact with the solid bright people. Ok i realised it all sounds really ridiculous, but trust me, this is an enjoyable book! 🙂

Finally the last book i read from him was ‘A Grief Observed’. This book was written after his wife passed away and it is about how he coped with his loss. I loved his frankness. Well, this is a short book, this is a good choice if you want a taste of CS Lewis! 🙂

Well, i hope you will pick up a CS Lewis book soon! You will certainly enjoy it!

-Kelvin-

Advertisements

=4= Books I’ve Read: Pain

Hey Guys! I just finished Phillip Yancey’s ‘Where is God when it hurts’. So from the  title you would have already guessed that this book is addressing the problem of Pain.

Philip Yancey said that Pain is very much like a warning system. it sensors loudly to alert the body of dangers and forces one to pay attention to the problem area. The book went on to mention this doctor, Dr Brand. Dr Brand is a renowned doctor, an expert on leprosy. After reading many passages in the Bible that mentioned Leprosy, it has certainly gotten my attention. I thought Leprosy was a disease that rots away the human flesh without pain. Apparently Leprosy primary works like an anaesthetic, simply attacking your body to cause numbness. So how is it possible to lose limbs? well without pain, one cannot recognise dangerous pressures, they would not know when to stop, when would it hurt them. They could be cutting themselves but not notice it. Without the gift of pain, it would be difficult to do what i would like to do, playing drums, eating even opening a door would be difficult. 😦

The book also points out that there is difference between pain and suffering. For example, a Leper would not feel pain but is suffering lots. But God is amazing, he is able to turn a horrible situation around, make it great! Sometimes joy can come out of suffering. for example, a hiker climbs for hours, he is hungry and tired. When he eats and drinks something, it is going to be more delicious than when he eats it when he is not tired and hungry. A person who has gone through life with a broken family will treasure this family more in the future.

Well, do you ever wonder why would someone actually suffer? Was it because of a past sin? Was it to test you? Well, Phillip Yancey offered two observations.
1) many old testament passages warn against painful consequences that follows specific actions.
Well this still stands true today! You eat alot, you grow fat. You don’t read the Bible you can’t protect yourself with the word

2) some old testament passages show God causing human suffering as punishment for wrong behaviour.
but every single time something like this happens in the old testament, it will come with lots of warning. Luke 13 says

13 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Well, we are all deserving to suffer for the sins we have done. the person who has cancer and the person who doesn’t, both have sinned.

Most of the time when we suffer, we will tend to find out the cause of our suffering. We will ask ‘God, why me? why put me in this position?’. But God seems to be silent. In the book ‘Disappointment with God’ Phillip Yancey has a few theories, that knowing why we suffer will not help us, the israelite know why they are suffering, but what can they do?

“Knowledge is passive, intellectual; suffering is active, personal. No intellectual answer will solve suffering. Perhaps this is why God sent his own Son as one response to human pain, to experience it and absorb it into himself. The Incarnation did not “solve” human suffering, but at least it was an active and personal response in the truest sense, no words can speak more loudly than the Word.”

Another theory is that the reason of cause is beyond our reach, we would not be able to understand.

But God focusses more on our response than the cause. I remember that the book said this, whenever one non-christian falls ill, God lets a christian fall ill, just as to show the difference in response. James 1:2 says this

Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This passage is not calling us to be crazy and shout, ‘Yay! God is making me suffer!’ But rather it calls us to consider it joy that we are suffering, for that is when i can grow the most!

I like to end with this. God did not exempt himself from suffering. He, brought himself down to our level, faced every single temptation we have faced, but still with no sin.The Temptation of Jesus is incredible, a loaf of bread will tempt anyone who has fasted for forty days, an assurance of safety would appeal to someone who was about to face torture and suffering and the splendour of all the earth kingdoms was predicted for the Messiah. Satan was giving God a ‘shortcut’ to achieve all his messianic goals. With no sin, he suffered like a human and died like a human. He did not rejoice, saying, ‘Yay Daddy God, i am going to suffer and die!’ but He said, ‘Father if you are willing, take this cup away from me’ He obeyed God until the end.

Well, This book is really such a great one! In fact i highly recommend it! I alway learn lots from Phillip Yancey’s books, well, i only read two… 😛 Ok hope this will help you to decide to read this! Trust me, there are much more content in the book than just this!

-Kelvin-

=3= Books I’ve Read: Digging Deeper

Hey guys! I finished another book! 
This time, its ‘Dug Down Deep’ by Joshua Harris
This book is based on the verse, Matthew 7:24-27
The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

It does not address to non-christians, it addresses christians. This verse show the difference between a well grounded christian and a weakly grounded christian. A well grounded christian is someone who not only hears God’s word, he takes action! Such a christian will not be shaken when tough times come! For he will have solid ground to stand and believe in God. That is why the book is called ‘Dug Down Deep’, It calls us to dig deep for rock!

So if u haven’t figured it out yet, this book is actually talking about theology, which means the study of God! Well, i admit it, studying God is not something that is easy, in fact it is super duper difficult…  Everyone struggles with it! As we have learned in cell, the triple threats are against us! The world, our flesh and the devil is against us! But press on! Studying God is worth it! 

I loved how the book puts studying of God’s word,
“There is right way and a wrong way to approach the doctrine of God. We can study God with a microscope or a telescope. a microscope makes something very small look very big. But this isn’t the way we are to magnify God. We should be like children under a telescope, its lenses enables us to see just how much bigger and more awesome something is than we first imagined”

This analogy actually would surface certain mistakes that we have taken in reading God’s word. Are we approaching theology in a sense that puts us bigger than God? Are we assuming that it’s God’s job to love us? I believe that we should be surprised that there is still goodness for people like me, i mean i have sinned against God, i have caused him to die, in fact He could just simply destroy us all! But he chose the way that costed him the most! He came down to the world he created to be a lower being, suffer like a human, and died for us! Is it God’s job to love you? is he obligated to? i believe not, but God chose to! He didn’t do it unwilling like us going to school, He did it because he loved us SOOOO Much!
But are we taking God’s love for granted?

Have you ever ask God, “God, please show me a sign!” Haha, i have… well the problem is being able to see and discern the sign, if God shows me a sign, i will ask God, “God, is that the sign? show me another sign to tell me if that is true” its an unending cycle where i find myself not satisfied, worse, what if the devil takes this chance to show me a ‘sign’ to encourage me to displease God? This book showed me this, why seek this unreliable source, when you know what the Bible has said about it? Why question the constant and unchanging Holy Bible that is so perfect that u cannot even add to it?

John 1:1 says
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Well, If the Word is God, shouldn’t we seek more of it? and more importantly act on what we have learned? Its God’s Words that actually created us, would’t that make the Bible important? its God Breathed! We should continue to approach it and dig deeper into God’s Word, guys, dun settle for superficial faith, dun be lazy and not clear your doubts! We all have questions when we learn something, i believe that applies to God’s word too! Dun be afraid to ask questions! Ask more, learn more, gather ground, dig for Rock! So when something comes, you will be steady and not fall!

I hope this long note has blessed you!  I hope you will get to read this book! It is a really nice to book to read to know more about God! I only provided a super condensed review, but if u can pick this book up and read it! I learned alot from it!  So ya! Thank you for reading!

-Kelvin-

=2= Books I’ve Read: The First Few

Ok lets do some Reviews! HEHEHE! well I have been reading! Sincerely surprised that i actually picked up the habit! But it is a great habit to have!

The first book that i have read this year was this book named,

‘Do Hard Things’ by Alex and Brett Harris
sounds weird right? actually it is pretty interesting, it goes on to say that the word ‘teenagers’ is only used in the last century. And that the Bible dun have a chapter or verse that actually targets teenagers.

in 1 Corinthians 13:11,
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. (NLT)
It only refers to Child and Adult. it does not say ‘teenager’

So why is this important?

It means that Teenagers are meant to live for more! Teenagers are meant to take up responsibility! After all, our ‘teen years’ is the time where we have the MOST TIME! In fact, the time we use for TV, Games, Etc etc, Could be used to Glorify God, could be used to impact the world! This should be the life that God has called us to! Not Mediocre life, but one full of meaning! This Book, challenges Teenagers to take up responsibility to live a life that God has meant for us to live!
The next book i read was this book by Eric and Leslie Ludy, ‘When God writes your Life Story’
This book is also about living a life that God has meant for us, not a dull life! This book goes more in dept into letting God take control of your life! Sometimes, most of us sing songs, pray prayers that say that we surrender it all to you! BUT do we really mean that? Some of us, still have areas in our lives that we refuse to let God write our life. The Life that God has meant for us is an AMAZING life! its an unending frontier! It’s a mountain so high that we can’t climb on our own! We need God’s strength to pull through, we need God to carry us up to the peak!

Then I read Joshua Harris’ “Sex is not the problem(Lust is)” 
Lust is a common problem among men, in fact, we all have weakness to lust, Both Men and Women are tempted by the devil to lust! In fact, in the society we live in, Women are encouraged to lust over guys! Shocking, but true. This book showed me that Sin first starts in our mind, maybe that is why when Jesus preached, he raised the bar, to say that sin in the mind is sin! They pointed to King David, a man after God’s own heart. Even King David, a man after God’s heart, fell to temptation and lust, committed adultery with Bathsheba, do u think u are safe? This book provides great suggestions and insights on how to overcome Lust!

Then i went on to read ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ by Joshua Harris
This book’s title sounds really weird i know… but it is a super interesting book! Many people told me that when i was reading it!
It shows how superficial dating really is in real life. It challenges people to wait until they are ready to date, for the right girl at the wrong time is the wrong girl at time. If we choose to date now, do we have the ability to support the other party? Are we really ready for commitment? When we get into a relationship, what is our motives? To get the girl? To be able to enjoy intimacy with her without the commitment? all these motives are selfish and someone is bound to be hurt… they had this phrase which i think is great! ‘The Joy of Intimacy is the reward of Commitment’
It then show the way we should seek friendship before relationship, for it is too easy to be someone else on a date, it is with friends that we reveal our true self!
Finally, this book says that we should base our love for our spouse on the example of Jesus’ Love for us! Just as Jesus has loved us so much, Jesus’ kind of love is the kind of love we should imitate, the love that we shouldn’t just show our spouse, but show everyone!

There is a second part to i kissed dating goodbye and that is ‘Boy Meets Girl: say Hello to Courtship’ In Which you should only buys when you are ready to date! (well, for me, i just wanted to learn more) This book goes to show what a heathy relationship with someone should be! The threats of an unhealthy relationship, the attitude of it. In a relationship with someone, we should approach it with a heart that says, i want to serve the person. This is ways to help two people to get into a courtship, a stage where is more than friends and less than lovers. A stage where is so difficult. A stage where they are to pursue a deeper form of friendship.

Then, i decided to try to read a book of Kenneth Yeo’s favourite author, Phillip Yancey. “Disappointment with God”
This is a book that surrounds the idea on being disappointed with God. When things dun turn out the way it should. When someone with great faith dies, what is the reason? Why Wouldn’t God show himself as much as during the Old testament? why not just do something, and make everybody believe?

Well, In the old testament, though signs of God are very prominent,(The different plagues, Water from rock, pillar of fire and cloud) People in the old testament still do not have faith… People were relying on the signs to believe in God. But that kind of Faith never last, the Israelites created a golden calf as a god. In fact, It is through silence and hiddenness of God, that Faith really Grows, for example, Abraham, he was told that his descendants will be made into a great nation, but at his old age, he still was not a father, but he gotten a son in his old age. and when God ask him to sacrifice his son, he had faith to do it, even though its painful! It then had a study of Job, which interested me quite a bit! Job was someone who had a lot, he had a lot of flocks, he had 10 children, but he lost everything in one day. Though he had lost everything, he had, he did not sin against God! And Job died happily! It goes to show that faith built through trials and testing cannot be shaken, cause it was built through being shaken! It is an interesting Book! I learned A LOT from it!

Then Finally, i recently read the book by Joshua Harris again, “Stop Dating the Church and fall in love with the family of God”
This isn’t a book on relationships with the opposite sex, this is one on the relationship with the church! This book, shows why people would church hop and not settle down in a local church. It shows the benefits of staying in a local church. It shows that we should love the church because Jesus himself loves it! We should just be dating a church not looking for a commitment, we should be married to a church, settling down and grow! It is a great book to read to understand that the life we have on earth is not a solo pursuit!

—————————————————————–

Well, i like end off with this, i really hope you try reading books! Cause we can learn so much from it! The church can only help u learn on Sundays, but you can learn every single day by simply reading! Trust me it is a difficult habit… in fact my first two books took me three months to complete reading… Well, but it is not about simply reading it, digest it! I hope you will be encouraged to learn by reading as well! Hope you like my reviews! Hope it has blessed you one way or another! God bless you!

-Kelvin-