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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

"Inner Healing and Deliverance" (Jennifer Eivaz)

TITLE: Inner Healing and Deliverance Handbook
AUTHOR: Jennifer Eivaz
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Chosen Books, 2022, (224 pages).
Hurt people, hurt people. Healed people, help people. Being human, we often need to be helped first before we could help others. It has been said that Christ came to earth not to make people good, but to make dead people live. The Bible says that because of sin, we died, but because of Christ, we live. Some Christians claim belief but still live superficially. We need to change from the inside out. One way or another, we all need to be healed and to be delivered from the different impediments that prevent us from growing spiritually. Sometimes, there are deeper issues of the soul that need particular attention. This is where this book comes in. Written by one whose life has been changed from the inside out, this book represents the work and experience of an author whose conviction is that Christ heals and there is demonstrable power of the Holy Spirit that we need. Author Jennifer Eivaz asserts that every believer is a minister. Known also as the "Praying Prophet," Eivaz has spent her life teaching the need for inner healing and deliverance. Inner healing is "the healing of the inner [person]: the mind, the emotions, the painful memories, the dreams. It is the process through prayer whereby we are set free from resentment, rejection, self-pity,  repression, guilt, fear, sorrow, hatred, inferiority, condemnation, or worthlessness, etc." Deliverance is "from God and is part of the blessing of being in covenant with Him. It only destroys what is of the devil; it never destroys what is of the Holy Spirit. Since deliverance is a work of the Holy Spirit, it builds up the saints and edifies the Church. It tears down the strongholds of the enemy but builds up the work of God." Both are needed together. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

"The StoryChanger" (David Murray)

TITLE: The StoryChanger: How God Rewrites Our Story by Inviting Us into His
AUTHOR: David Murray
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishers, 2022, (128 pages).
What is the gospel about? The story of the gospel can sometimes be described in terms of these words: Creation, Fall, Israel, Redemption, Jesus, Cross, Resurrection, Church, and New Creation. These are theological milestones according to many Bible scholars. Unfortunately, for laypersons, these words alone might not communicate much meaning to how these come together as one big story. Enters David Murray with a creative way to pull these themes together under the "story-changer" motif. Basically, the story of the good news according to the Bible can be told through a series of interconnected stories. In particular, he shows us how God redeems humankind from their follies, historical, contemporary, and future follies. We learn of how God helps rewrite our stories for the better. Starting off with the famous declaration in Ecclesiastes that everything is meaningless, we are reminded that without God, everything indeed is and will be meaningless. The First Story is about the events in Genesis where God created everything great until sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Calling Satan the "Story-shredder," we get a picture of how evil could be. Humans try all they can to try to write their own stories. All, if not most, fail to tell it adequately. Showing us why we need a Story-Changer, Murray devotes the book to help us see the importance and significance of letting Jesus help us re-write our stories. We have a new story to write and to tell. Thanks to Jesus of course.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

"Stories of My Life" (Katherine Paterson)

TITLE: Stories of My Life
AUTHOR: Katherine Paterson
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2022, (352 pages).
We all love stories. Since young, many of us would recall listening to how our parents and grandparents told us all kinds of stories. From fairy tales to modern legends, biblical narratives to personal testimonies, stories captivate us in ways that no prose nor non-fiction could. Stories help us appreciate and understand tradition. They also teach us lessons about life, just like the world-famous Aesop's Fables. It takes a conscientious storyteller to tell a good story. It takes a gifted storyteller to tell a great story. Author Katherine Paterson tells her own story to give us many glimpses into her fascinating life as a writer, a missionary kid, teacher, preacher's wife, devoted mother, and a Christian. She shares about the ups and downs of her life. Events like her topsy-turvy days when living with her missionary parents to China to having children of her own following a miscarriage, Paterson shares her stories with vivid description and brutal honesty. She introduces the book from a readers' perspective via three "Frequently Asked Questions." 
  1. How did you become a writer?
  2. Where do you get your ideas?
  3. How does it feel to be famous?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

"Rose Guide to the Feasts, Festivals, and Fasts of the Bible" (Paul H. Wright, ed)

TITLE: Rose Guide to the Feasts, Festivals and Fasts of the Bible 
AUTHOR: Paul H. Wright (Editor)
PUBLISHER: Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2022, (232 pages).

What is the connection between Food and Faith? Why are festivals so much a part of the Hebrews? What is the significance of events surrounding feasting and fasting? How does food foster relationships? This book attempts to answer some of these questions from biblical, historical, relational, theological, and practical perspectives. Covering both the Old Testament and New Testament feasts, the author aims to help us see how the simple act of eating could bring people together and bind them. At the same time, festivals enable us to be in tune with the cycles of a religious year. Like seasons during the year, these timely observances enable us physically and spiritually to appreciate God's intended rhythms of rest, relaxation, and relational dimensions of creation. 

Beginning with Old Testament feasts, readers get a fascinating overview of what the ancient Israelites did through the year. Paul Wright asserts that food provides not just nourishment for the body, it is also for the soul. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

"Christianity and Modern Medicine" (Mark Wesley Foreman & Lindsay C. Leonard)

TITLE: Christianity and Modern Medicine - Foundations for Bioethics
AUTHOR: Mark Wesley Foreman & Lindsay C. Leonard
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2022, (384 pages).
How do we make critical medical decisions that do not have easy answers between right and wrong? Do we accept answers just because everybody is doing it? In matters that do not seem to have clear-cut answers, we need biblical guidance. We also need trained scholars and practitioners to help us interpret biblical principles in our modern contexts. Authors Mark Wesley Foreman and Lindsay Leonard combine their expertise in biblical studies, bioethics, law, and practical theology to give us an updated resource for tackling the controversial issues such as abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, assisted suicide, alternative procreation techniques, genetic ethics, clinical ethics, human experimentation, etc. Calling it "Foundation for Bioethics," the authors narrow down these discussions to legal and moral implications for bioethics. The authors define bioethics as " the analysis and study of ethical conflicts and problems which arise due to the interrelationship between the practice of the medical/biological sciences and the rights and values of human beings." Bioethics essentially cover difficult and complex decision pertaining to:
  • Life and Death Issues
  • Clinical or health-care issues
  • Medical Research
  • Social Health-care policy

Monday, June 6, 2022

"Why Believe" (Neil Shenvi)

TITLE: Why Believe? A Reasoned Approach to Christianity
AUTHOR: Neil Shenvi
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022, (272 pages).
As society gets more secular in outlook and atheistic in practice, why should anyone consider religious beliefs? With the ongoing religious controversies and wars, why should we give religions a chance? Amid the religious scandals reported on mainstream media, religious outlook in general has taken a dive. With churches in the West registering sharp declines annually, why bother about Christianity at all? These are some of the questions that fly straight at anyone considering any religious beliefs, and in particular, Christianity. Even among religious believers, it is a tough sell to even get them to consider believing in Jesus. In this frank book about the merits of Christianity, author Neil Shenvi takes us through his personal journey of faith and how he is eventually convinced about the message of Jesus Christ. Like many earnest seekers, he sought to deal with the key questions such as:
  • Are all religions true?
  • Are they all subjectively true?
  • Will there be true peace if all religions are eliminated?
  • How do we make sense of the Resurrection?
  • How do we deal with the arguments against Theism?
  • What evidence is there for the existence of God?
  • Can one be good without God?
  • What is the uniqueness of the gospel of Christ?
  • How do we understand sin and salvation from the Christian perspective?
All of these questions center around this: "Why should we think that Christianity is true?" 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

"Josey Johnson's Hair and the Holy Spirit" (Esau McCaulley)

TITLE: Josey Johnson's Hair and the Holy Spirit
AUTHOR: Esau McCaulley, with LaTonya Jackson as Illustrator
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2022, (32 pages).
What has a little girl's hair got to do with the Holy Spirit? Readers might find that intriguing but with patience and openness, one would quickly connect the dots and see many themes important for today. Josey Johnson is a little girl who loves her hair. Some days, she would have it braided while other days she would prefer pigtails or curly afros. Some days, it seems like her hair could very much take a life of its own! Like many young Church-going families, Josey goes to Church every Sunday morning with her parents. She would dress well for the occasion, but for that Sunday, it was a special occasion: Pentecost Sunday! Gradually, the author connects the different types of hair, the diversity of people gathered, and the meaning of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes. There are several themes that the author put out that readers (and children) could pick up quickly. The key theme would be the celebration of diversity, just like the Holy Spirit who gave different gifts to different people. When the Holy Spirit comes, He unites people from all walks of life, starting with believers. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

"Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community" (James C Wilhoit)

TITLE: Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community
AUTHOR: James C Wilhoit (2nd edition)
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2022, (288 pages).

A key purpose of the Christian life is this: How do we become more Christlike in all we say and do? What does it take to grow deeper in Christ? At a time in which the image of the church is undergoing tremendous cynicism, how do we recover from the negativity in order to live as salt and light of the world? For author James Wilhoit, the answer lies in the revival of local congregations to make spiritual formation their key goal. This goal must be manifested in all activities and programs of the Church. The how, the why, and the curriculum for doing it are all described in this book. More importantly, it reminds us that the best crucible for spiritual formation is not the individual disciplines but the Church. Now in its second edition, this book has been updated with positive psychology based on an Augustinian formation perspective. Readers are reminded that spiritual formation is not another kind of self-help project but an expression of the gospel given to the Church. Using the metaphor of public health by providing clean drinking water and vaccinations, Christian Spiritual Formation is about providing the best possible communal environment for individuals to flourish. Wilhoit sets the stage by affirming how spiritual formation need not be something extraordinary. Instead, using ordinary means and ordinary contexts, we can cultivate our souls within the ordinary environment of church and community. He then gives us some principles and patterns that we could adopt. Based on various Orthodox faith traditions, he combines them with some of the modern psychological practices such as Robert Emmon's work on gratitude and reducing anxiety. He uses mostly the spiritual traditions of orthodox theology. He takes inspiration from recent spiritual practitioners like the late Dallas Willard, Thomas Oden, Adrian Van Kaam, etc, as well as the spiritual masters of old. Before presenting his CSF curriculum, he helps us clear the decks about what CSF is and what it is not. This helps sets expectations. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

"Following Jesus in a Digital Age" (Jason Thacker)

TITLE: Following Jesus in a Digital Age
AUTHOR: Jason Thacker
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2022, (176 pages).
Android, Apple TV, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc are all familiar names in our modern culture. The news that we get in the past via newspapers, TV, and radio, are now being disseminated faster and more efficiently throughout the world. No more waiting for the latest paper edition at our regular newsstands. All it takes now is an Internet connection all at the convenience of a modern smartphone. Unsurprisingly, this modern innovation has changed the way we interact with people and communicate with one another. Traditional barriers of entry have been lowered. The communications bigwigs now have to compete not just with their mega-peers, but also with individual social media enthusiasts. The Internet and social media are here to stay. This will affect our relationships in how we live and what we say. Due to the ease of getting into social media, fake news are also on the rise. How do we deal with this new reality? How could we discern each piece of news as they come along? Are all sensational news false? Are all routinely boring stuff true at all? Technology is shaping us in more ways than one. Like the proverbial face of beauty that launched a thousand ships, an insensitive Tweet or a scandalous post could launch thousands of reactions, protests, and even violence. Author Jason Thacker notices the impact of technology and offers us some powerful reflections on what technology is, what technology demands of us, and how we could co-exist ethically and meaningfully with people in a society drowning in technological waters. Thacker offers us four reflections to help us recognize the technology that is trying to shape us, and the need to be true to ourselves. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

"The Life We're Looking For" (Andy Crouch)

TITLE: The Life We're Looking For
AUTHOR: Andy Crouch
PUBLISHER: New York, NY: Convergent Books, 2022, (240 pages).
As more people live and work online, the age-old question of what are we looking for remains unanswered. What are we searching for whenever we are at an Internet search engine? Are we dependent on personalization algorithms to tell us what we need or do we already know what we want? During our times of loneliness, what are we looking for to fill that relationship vacuum? Clearly, there is a growing problem. Research continually reveals that the problem of loneliness is growing. Technology was supposed to be the relationship saviour, but alas, it might have worsened the problem instead. The key is not to let technology lead us but to recognize our unique personhood. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle is not just impersonal, it reduces relationships to transactions. Just like cashiers going through the motion of collecting money for purchases without even looking at their customers. Worse, in an Internet age, transactions are increasingly conducted without having to talk to a human face or person. The framework of the book is as follows. First, the author highlights the growing problem of living in an increasingly impersonal world. Aided by technology, this trajectory is poised to get worse. If it is not recognized or addressed, we might be paying a deep price for the cost of technological and scientific advancement. Crouch asserts that every human person is a "heart-soul-mind-strength complex designed for love." The heart arouses our desire. The soul drives the depth of ourselves. The mind influences our quest for knowledge. The will emboldens our energy toward actions. Our chief goal is love. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

"Celebrities for Jesus" (Katelyn Beaty)

TITLE: Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church
AUTHOR: Katelyn Beaty
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2022, (208 pages).
How do celebrities for Jesus hurt the Church? Is it not a good thing to use celebrity pastors, preachers, and professors to draw in the crowds in order to listen to the gospel preached to the masses? Didn't Paul say in 1 Corinthians 9:22 that he would "become all things to all people" that people might be saved through the gospel? Well, the arguments are compelling that God could use anyone, especially flawed individuals to draw people to Him. That said, would God approve of the Church copying the ways of the world in the name of ministry? Does the ends justify the means? It all depends on motives. It also depends on which is the greater influence: Culture or Christlikeness? In this book that reflects on the virtues and vices of fame and celebrity-style ministries, we reflect on the root values that are driving people to do what they do. Three dangerous temptations lie at the root of the worldly celebrity mindset. The first temptation is the unholy use of Power. Beaty names how the famous (or infamous) Ravi Zacharias was able to captivate large audiences with his persona and persuasive words in public. Yet, his private life is filled with shameful abuse of power. Before his death, he was accused of sexual impropriety. After his death, his organization broke down after in-depth investigations exposed a history of cover-ups and multiple abuses of positions and power. Other celebrities include Mark Driscoll, whose charismatic preaching drowns out other accusations of abuse. Another charming celebrity involved in sexual scandals is the lead pastor of the famous Hillsong Church, Carl Lentz, who deceived not only his congregation but also his own family. Prosperity gospel preachers often gravitate toward the rich and the influential at the expense of the poor and needy. Their motive is the very thing they often preach about: Health and Wealth. Beaty reminds us that celebrity not only deceives people, it shields one from being investigated, and eventually isolates themselves from people. 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

"Beautiful Resistance" (Jon Tyson)

TITLE: Beautiful Resistance: The Joy of Conviction in a Culture of Compromise
AUTHOR: Jon Tyson
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2020, (256 pages).
Before Jesus left this earth, he prayed for all disciples that though they are not of the world, they are still in the world. Why? That they may be the salt and light of the earth. They are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed through the renewing of the mind. In a compromised and worldly culture, Christians are called to stand for the truth. How do they do that in an aggressively anti-Christian culture? Learning to be firm in our convictions but gently persuasive in our interactions. Resist the world but do it in a way that honours Christ. How could we make such a resistance "beautiful?" Author Jon Tyson shows us the way. He points to how a small ragtag group of resistance led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during WWII, and describes how their legacy inspires us today. Reflecting on the WWII martyr, Tyson offers us two key premises for a beautiful resistance:
  • "Discipleship must be stronger than Cultural Formation"
  • "Loyalty must be stronger than compromise"
Almost immediately, the author goes on to apply these to basic Christian Living. In relating to Church, he is aware of the broken images that the Church has been going through. Yet, the Church is still the Bride of Christ, the Temple of God, and God's main channel of resistance. That is why it must begin there. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

"Revelation Through Old Testament Eyes" (Tremper Longman III)

TITLE: Revelation Through Old Testament Eyes
AUTHOR: Tremper Longman III
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2022, (368 pages).
What comes to mind when we think about the book of Revelation? I wouldn't be surprised if the first thing that comes to mind is the letters to the seven churches, the various theological positions about the tribulation, or the frightening events of the Armageddon. That is one reason why many preachers continue to preach on these familiar chapters. Modern readers tend to dwell within these comfort zones. What if we could let the Bible interpret and read Revelation? What if we could see Revelation through the lens of the Old Testament? This is the key reason for this series on "Background and Application Commentary." The four key features include:
  • Running commentary
  • Interpretation via OT eyes
  • Understanding the structure
  • Deeper into application and implications for modern living
Longman starts his commentary with further observations about the general level of hesitancy in studying Revelation. He makes a case that if readers could be equipped with basic knowledge of the book's background and symbolism, they will be able to study the book more confidently. Interpretation requires authorial background, date approximation; genre awareness; and cross-references from other parts of the Bible. This book aims to supply us with more of the latter, especially from the Old Testament.

Friday, May 6, 2022

"Blessed" (Nancy Guthrie)

TITLE: Blessed
AUTHOR: Nancy Guthrie
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishers, 2022, (272 pages).
The book of Revelation is one of the most mysterious and some say difficult books to understand. With the many numeric signs, images, symbols, visions of wars, and destruction, people tend to be intimidated into avoiding the study of the book altogether. Author and popular Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie know it personally. This is especially when she was called to teach a class on Revelation at her church. After pushing aside initial reservations, she was struck by the way the apocalyptic text begins: "Blessed." That sparked her interest and laid the foundation for this Bible Study guide on Revelation. From this inspiration, she aims to help others in overcoming their fears about this letter. She deals with fears of not understanding it enough; concern about controversial interpretations; misguided views about the letter merely about the future without existential relevance; and other uncomfortable reasons for not studying the text at all. She then goes on to describe the reasons why we should be studying Revelation. Using one of the most popular words to hook our interest, she chooses the lens of Blessing to uncover 12 promises in Revelation. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

"Old Made New" (Greg Lanier)

TITLE: Old Made New
AUTHOR: Greg Lanier
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022, (176 pages).

Multiple surveys have shown that many are more comfortable and familiar with the New Testament. Study groups prefer it. Sermons predominantly are from the New Testament. Most believers know the New Testament more than the Old Testament. While believers typically proclaim the Bible as comprising both the Old and the New, in practice, they tend to read and prefer to study mainly the New Testament. One reason is relatability. Modern readers find it easier to relate the first-century writings rather than ancient texts before the birth of Jesus. Sometimes we even forget that during the time of Christ, the only Scriptures available were the Old Testament. The New Testament didn't exist yet! Many efforts have been made to encourage Christians to study not just the New Testament but the entire Bible. This book is one such effort. Author and professor Greg Lanier give some more reasons why it is important to study how the New Testament uses the Old Testament. Not only was the OT written for all of us, many of the references in the NT points back to the OT. Technically, this is known as the field of biblical intertextuality. What this book provides are basic tools for the layperson to do just that. Using the "Three-Step Process," we learn to use tools such as:
  1. Identification the Passage
    1. Looking at citations, quotations, and allusions
  2. Check Out the Old Testament Reference
    1. wording comparison, broader comparison of the OT passage, 
  3. Listen to the Remix
    1. look at predictions, patterns, prescription

Monday, May 2, 2022

"The Samaritan Woman's Story" (Caryn A. Reeder)

TITLE: The Samaritan Woman's Story: Reconsidering John 4 After ChurchToo
AUTHOR: Caryn A. Reeder
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2022, (216 pages).
One of the many critiques of the Bible is about the patriarchal nature of the ancient culture. Pointing to the unequal status of gender, women throughout biblical history have been painted (or interpreted) in a rather negative light. Many are victims of some male schemes, such as the maidservants of Abraham and Sarah, made to bear children for them. Others include the stories of Dinah, Tamar, Hagar, etc whose lives were either sad or tragic. With the highly male-centric cultural norms at that time, modern readers find it hard to reconcile the stories of women with the biblical truths of grace, fairness, justice, mercy, tolerance, love, etc. The famous story of the adulterous woman exposes a woman to public disgrace while the man (or men!) were nowhere to be found. Wasn't adultery a two-person affair? Why only accuse the woman? Moreover, the Old Testament laws also placed an unfair burden on women as if there was no such thing as sexual equality. Rather than simply accepting the popular cultural narrative of the Bible being sexist against females, biblical scholar Caryn Reeder offers us a new interpretation of the "intersection of women, sex, and sin" as well as an alternative interpretation of the story of the Samaritan woman. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

"You're Only Human" (Kelly M. Kapic)

TITLE: You're Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God's Design and Why That's Good News
AUTHOR: Kelly M. Kapic
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2022, (272 pages).
We live in a world that is increasingly used to things that are "unconditional" and "unlimited." They say the sky's the limit. So many people have prime preferences for unlimited cell-phone data plans, unlimited parking privileges, unlimited food on the buffet table, unlimited use of the gyms, unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming of movies, unlimited access to facilities, and so on. The truth is, nothing is unlimited. There are real limits to what we can consume. For one, time is limited to a maximum of 24 hours per day. Lifespan is limited. Earth's resources are incredibly limited. So, the word "unlimited" is more about what we can handle at best. We don't like limitations, but we are not only mortal, we are essentially human. Recognizing our limits honestly will help us live more meaningfully. Not only that, limitations are a gift from God, and they help us discover who we are instead of who we are not. This is the key thesis of this down to earth book about humanity. Learning to live with finite disappointment does not necessarily mean we cannot have infinite hope. The more we can realize our mortality and finitude, the better we can appreciate God's blessings and promises on what He could do for us, instead of us struggling vainly using our own wisdom and strength. Only God is sovereign and in full control. We are not and we are definitely not God. 

In this remarkable book about human limitations, we learn that to be human is not something that should weigh us down. Instead, it should help us be thankful and free. Free from unhealthy expectations, vain activism, and especially self-inflicted violence on one's soul. Not only that, unhealthy emotional selves could also inflict inner stresses on our physiological makeup and mental health. Limitations bless us in ways we are often oblivious toward. Kelly Kapic helps us look at these questions in a remarkably positive manner. Questions like:

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

"Praying with the Enemy" (Steven T. Collis)

TITLE: Praying with the Enemy
AUTHOR: Steven T. Collis
PUBLISHER: Salt Lake City, UT: Shadow Mountain Publishing, 2022, (384 pages).
Flying over North Korea with Napalm explosives. Near-death encounters with Chinese snipers and North Korean soldiers. Staying alive in terrible pits as a Prisoner of War. Missing in Action. Escaping. Challenge of faith in the midst of the horrors of war. Conflicting philosophies. Deceit. Military strategies, and more. Three countries involved in a devastating war that has divided families across the Korean Peninsula. Three different men from each country. These and many more form a pulsating action-packed novel filled with multiple twists and turns. The three protagonists in this novel are Captain Ward Millar (aka Ward), Kim Jae Pil (aka Jae Pil), and to a lesser extent, Lieutenant Kang. All of them are able to speak and communicate in English! The chapters begin by alternating their stories, beginning with Ward as a pilot flying over North Korea during the Korean War in 1951. When his plane crashed landed on enemy territory, though he managed to survive, he broke his ankles making it difficult to even escape. 

Jae Pil's story begins with him being drafted to serve in the Communist Army. His family were Christians. The communist party's ideals were constantly at odds with what he and his family believed. His family mission was to build a church and to enable people to worship properly without fear. Unfortunately, living in a land with a godless ideology makes their mission difficult. These constant struggles present Jae Pil with a dilemma to choose between his country or his faith; the Communist Party or God. Eventually, at great risks to his own life, he decides to do what he could to escape from the communists. That begins a gripping journey from a place he felt enslaved to his desired place of freedom. Alas! Even the land of South Korea is not kind to a defector from North Korea.