Alex Koo

About Alex Koo

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Alex K Koo is the Executive Director of Paradigm, a university ministry that challenges students to see what they really believe. He holds weekly inter-faith discussions from a Christian Worldview and dares skeptics to doubt their doubts. He's a Missionary, Evangelist, Communicator, and Apologist at our nation's largest university, the University of Central Florida. Entrepreneur, speaker, musician and writer.

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Words are Always Necessary

words necessary Top Christian Books

Words are Always Necessary by Alex Koo

Words have incredible power. A word can speak things into existence. A word can change a person’s heart — or break it. A word can change the direction of history. Don’t underestimate the word. Have you thought about how shaping words are to a culture?

Consider Eskimos, for example. While the typical American has a few working words for snow, Eskimos utilize over fifty words for snow. Or let’s think about Brazil’s Pirahã tribe. This tribe, consisting of 310-350 people, has absolutely no clue what a number is. Their native tongue simply has no concept of numbers, and consequently, no concept of time.

Language may arguably be the single most shaping factor of humanity and that is why some people give their lives to studying it.

Linguists argue that the distinction between animals and human beings is language. Sure, animals can communicate. They can make signals and create noises, but they don’t have language. Language is a distinctly human feature, precisely because we alone were created in the image of God.

What does it tell us about God when we ponder the fact that He chose to speak to us through His Word? What does it tell us about God when we read in Genesis 1 that God, when He could’ve created the world by a thought, chose to speak the world into existence?

It tells us that God uses words.

It tells us that God, in His wisdom, has chosen the means of the word to speak things ex nihilo — to speak something out of nothing. That’s why God says through Isaiah: “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Is.55:11).

But don’t miss this. It wasn’t just the heavens and the earth that were created by words. God uses words to speak life to dead hearts.

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23).

The same God that, with a word, spoke the words “let there be light!” is the same God that commands us to declare the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Why? Because when we use words to share this life-altering Gospel, the Spirit uses those very words to create life. Do not underestimate the Spirit’s power in your use of words.

So yes, Christian, preach the Gospel at all times … use words when necessary.

And words are always necessary.


Recommended Books

2018-01-08T22:53:47+00:00 By |

Christian Book Review: Prototype by Jonathan Martin

Christian Book Review: Prototype by Jonathan Martin
Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You're More Like Jesus Than You Think? by Jonathan Martin, Steven Furtick
Published by Tyndale Momentum
May 1st 2013
Pages: 235
Buy on Amazon

Book Synopsis

Jesus is God and we are not. Most of us get that. But what we don't always understand is that God loves us just as much as He does His son.
Many times in the Old Testament, God refers to human beings as His "beloved." But when God called Jesus His beloved, Jesus did something truly remarkable: He believed Him. He lived every moment of His life fully convinced of His identity. And unlike every other person in history . . . He never forgot.

In Prototype, Jonathan Martin creates a vivid understanding of what it means to be beloved by God. To completely trust, as Jesus did, that God loves you. To live life without fear, confident in your identity and purpose. To handle life's wounds as Jesus did, and to wake every day with a deep awareness of God's presence.

Martin reveals a startling truth at the heart of the gospel: Jesus is our prototype. And as we discover how the knowledge of being God's beloved changed everything for Jesus--how it set Him free to live out his purpose and love God, others, and the world--it will begin to do the same for us.

I still remember. The complete ecstasy in the freedom I felt as a child, knowing I was completely loved by my father, completely adored by mother, and completely oblivious to the darkness of this world. Time has passed since then and the pain of this broken world is now no stranger to me. Depression and anxiety marked my soul early on, eclipsing for the moment any memory of my unadulterated childlike joy.

Jonathan Martin, pastor of Renovatus Church, writes this bookamazon-adsystem to call me back to that joy. And he does it well.

I hadn’t heard of Martin prior to reading this book, but I’m glad I have now. I admire Martin’s unique giftedness when it comes to writing — his ability to tell a story so compellingly and winsomely that I couldn’t stop reading.

In many ways, Jonathan’s story is my story. He writes vividly of the innocence of his childhood, a time of imagination, joy, and wonder. On his bike, he would ride around the cul-de-sac, transporting magically in time, conjuring fantasies that swept him up to God with each pedal — until the reality of this world’s brokenness shattered his own world.

However, in the midst of this darkness, Martin discovered the beauty and truth of the Gospel. He discovered that Jesus came to accomplish more than the removing of our sins, He came to restore us back to our child-like wonder, free in the love of the Father; he came to show us what it means to re-become human. He came to be our prototype.

In nine chapters, Martin endeavors to “show you how we can unite as beloved children of God — people from the future who are fully alive in the present.” With an eschatological thrust, this book breaks down into three parts that I’ve labeled Identity, Redemption, and Resurrection. In these sections, Martin explains the Christian life, modeling it after the life of Jesus.

The first section, consisting of the first two chapters, brings us back to the beginning and asks the question: Who are you? He argues that our generation struggles with being so inundated with different voices that demand us to define ourselves, that we lose sight of who we really are. He beckons us to remember a time before all the brokenness, when we felt fully loved, fully free to wonder. Drawing from his own life stories and using David as an example, Martin says that our primary problem is that we don’t realize how deeply loved by God we are. This must be our ultimate identity

The second section consisting of the preceding three chapters, Martin describes the journey of how we realize our identity. It is through the struggle of obscurity and pain that we truly begin to under our calling and our identity. He calls this the “gift of the wilderness.” This was my favorite section of the book — I found myself nodding my head, constantly in agreement.

Finally, Martin expounds the resurrection, showing us how the resurrection expresses itself through the sacraments, the community of believers, and our witness. Although Christ has saved us and we are loved by God, we are still awaiting the time when God will make all things new — a time in the future when we will return to being fully human. So through the sacraments, the community, and our witness to this new reality, we are ushering in this new reality, in the footsteps of our Prototype.

In an age of rugged individualism, Prototype rightly heralds a holistic view of the Gospel and calls us back to a Kuyperian view of the world, a vision that all things will be renewed and resurrected, both creation and humanity itself. Martin urges and exhorts his readers to believe that because of the resurrection, we are able to return to our belovedness. I am thankful for this and wholeheartedly commend this effort to do so.

Yet, this book overlooks a monumental aspect of the Christian life. So crucial is this omission I’d argue that a good chapter or two devoted to this is needed, and this omission is that of sin. Nowhere in the book does Martin ever discuss in length the effect that sin has on humanity. Rather, Martin argues that the difference between David and Saul was that Saul simply did not recognize his belovedness. What of his pride? What of his disobedience?

There needs to be a section that deals with God’s righteousness, our sin, and the cross, before we can reconcile our original belovedness and resurrection. If not, to talk of our belovedness apart from the cross is meaningless.

With the exception of this flaw, I still appreciate the call back to our belovedness in Christ, as well as our vision for a renewed, resurrected reality. Ultimately, this was a captivating book — Martin writes skilfully to our emotions, pulling both from his own life and from Scripture, albeit with an understandable Pentecostal bent (he is a Pentecostal), challenging us to believe as Christ, our Prototype, did. While I would pair this book up with another book that explicitly talked about sin and the Gospel, I would nonetheless recommend this book to others, easily.

2018-01-09T12:12:58+00:00 By |

Christian Book Review: Counterfeit Gods by Timothy J. Keller

Christian Book Review: Counterfeit Gods by Timothy J. Keller
Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy J. Keller

January 1st 1970
Pages: 210
Buy on Amazon

Book Synopsis

In Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller shows how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message cements Keller's reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time

A former pastor in Manhattan, New York, and a prolific writer, Keller writes with incredible clarity on the biblical concept of idolatry in his book Counterfeit GodsAmazon Ad system. This book promises to engage the non-believing seeker and to convict the believer, identifying the pattern of idolatry in the bible and modern culture, and drawing an uncanny parallel.

This book is relatively old, but the wisdom Keller unpacks within it is far from archaic. From the very beginning of the book, he gently exposes the idolatry of the human heart, both from a 10,000 ft. altitude and on the ground; He tackles idolatry on a cultural level and on a personal level.

Our Modern Idolatry

So, what is idolatry?

Idolatry, Keller writes, is taking anything — relationships, power, success, money — and making it an ultimate thing. Idolatry is prioritizing anything over God, and frankly, anything can serve as an idol. Idolatry is a counterfeit god. This may seem puzzling to the average person, as the mention of idolatry usually conjures a picture of statues and prostrated bodies. Yet, the bible writes that idols are actually in the heart. And the catch? They’re not bad things.

Idols are usually good things. Great things, even. In fact, “the greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes.” But when good things are valued in an inordinate fashion, they enslave the heart. They destroy the heart.

What I appreciate about Keller is his ability to take complex concepts and then present them in a clear way. This is seen in how he categorizes idols — personal, cultural, and intellectual. So whether it’s at an individual level, or a national level, there is no escaping our gravity towards worshiping a counterfeit god.


The Four Idols

The book then begins to address four of the most common idols: Love, Money, Success, and Power.

Each of the following chapters is devoted to these four things (good things) that very often consume and destroy people and even nations. Keller does this by first highlighting each case with a biblical narrative that reflects each idolatry. He explores the broken relationships between Jacob, Leah, and Rachel to demonstrate the idolatry of love, he writes about Zacchaeus and his worship of money, he uses Naaman as an example of the idolatry of success, and takes the King Nebuchadnezzar to depict the love of power.

What impressed me the most was Keller’s skillful usage of many contemporary authors and thinkers, both Christian and non-Christian, weaving them effortlessly in each chapter to further build his point. Keller’s keen awareness of culture helps Christians like me understand biblical concepts like idolatry with a full, comprehensive worldview.

What was most helpful to me, however, was his distinction between surface idols and deep idols. I began reading this book with a familiarity of idolatry already; I knew anything could be an idol, be it a girl, a hobby, a dream, etc. However, what was new to me was the fact that underneath these visible “surface” idols were deep idols. “Each deep idol — power, approval, comfort, or control — generates a different set of fears and a different set of hopes.”

Keller ends the book by arguing that the only way to remove idols was the replace it. The only way to eliminate the idols of our hearts was to replace it, not with other idols, but with God Himself. “They go back to the beginning of the world, to our alienation from God, and to our frantic efforts to compensate for our feelings of cosmic nakedness and powerlessness. The only way to deal with all these kinds of things is to heal our relationship with God.”

A life of idolatry is ultimately a life out of step with the Gospel. Peter’s idolatry led him to racism and Jonah’s idolatry led him to nationalism. But only the Gospel, as Keller puts forth, has the power to melt our hearts when we fix our eyes on the God who meets every need that our hearts are truly looking for.


Favorite Quotes

“Every human being must live for something. Something must capture our imaginations, our heart’s most fundamental allegiance and hope. But, the Bible tells us, without the intervention of the Holy Spirit, that object will never be God himself.” (p. 3)

“If, however, God becomes the center of your life, that dethrones and demotes money. If your identity and security is in God, it can’t control you through worry and desire.” (p. 57)

“When you see Him dying to make you his treasure, that will make Him yours.” (p. 67)

“To be your own God and live for your own glory and power leads to the most bestial and cruel kind of behavior. Pride makes you a predator, not a person.” (p. 121)

“But Jesus shows us another way. By giving up his power and serving, he became the most influential man who ever lived.” (p. 125)

2018-01-09T12:21:06+00:00 By |


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