Friday, December 13, 2013

All You Want To Know About Hell by Steve Gregg

   If you are one of those people who like to think deeply on theological subjects, than this may be the next book to read. Gregg contends there are three highly held viewpoints out there in the evangelical world, either one of which still can be defended through history.
     You may be surprised to read who in present day Christendom is in which camp.
     The three views are the traditionalist view that says hell is eternal and never ending. Then there is the Condition view that states Hell is for a time and then the souls are annihilated. The third one is that the unsaved go to hell but after a period of time are reconciled to God. This reminds me of the doctrine the Roman Catholics hold called purgatory. In the back of the book the three views are detailed and a chart is offered with the scripture verse, the held point of view, and the refutation. It is helpful to get the argument expressed in a way you can understand.
        I enjoyed the book. I am one of those who like to be challenged when it comes to doctrine.
       I feel the book is more for seminary students to have during their systematic theology course to consider other viewpoints. It is not a book for the common reader who may not understand the nuances of debate. Having said that I feel it is a well written and deserves to be read widely.
       I was given this book free to review by BookSneeze as one of their blog reviewers. I placed it on my blog as a part of the requirements. The viewpoints expressed are those of the reviewer and not of the publisher. I wasn’t required to give a positive review.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Power Of A Half Hour by Tommy Barnett

Time is important. There is so much you can do with time. In this case we look at the change a half hour can do. In a half hour you  can change your life path. You could change your character. You can establish or ruin a relationship. That half hour is important.
 Time as well as life is a gift. All of us are given the same amount of time. Once it is past we can’t bring it back.  We can’t grasp it and bottle it. All we can do is decide to use or not use it. The power packed in small amounts of time is ours.
 Barnett presents us with 30 action packed power principles.  At the end of his presentation he has a personal power action plan we can use in small groups or individually.
 I found this book to be thought provoking. It makes one consider just what he is doing with the time given to him and how he can make an impact in the world around him. Barnett even includes family time in the discussion A person doesn’t need large lumps. The small periods will do.
This book will be on sale December  17. I was sent a copy free from WaterBrook Publication to review. I was not required to give a positive review and any viewpoints expressed are mine and not those of the publisher.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

           It has been on the best sellers list for a few weeks and is no longer there. I decided  to see what it was that was so attractive about it. I had read his earlier work The Da Vinci Code   which was a stretch but also a good read.
            In this book Brown tells a fast paced ever moving tense tale. It is plot driven not character driven. He seems to be a one theme writer.
            Once again Professor Robert Langdon is involved. In The Da Vinci Code the main  clue was a panting of the Mona Lisa. Here Brown uses the poem The Inferno by Dante Alighieri as the focal point.
            The story moves disjointedly from scene to scene. The use of flashbacks slows the story and is not very well executed. The plot is thin but for people who like action it may not be noticed.   Unbelief has to be suspended too far.  The ending is unsatisfactory.
            Brown is a formula writer and I think he has reduplicated what little fame he got with The Da Vinci Code. .  He will not be remembered years after he dies. But then how many writers really survive?
I would suggest that a person check it out of the library and save their money. That is if they want to read it. There must be people out there who do or else he wouldn’t have been on the best sellers list for a while.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

C. S. Lewis: A life by Alister McGrath

         He is still popular even though he thought he would fade from importance. C. S. Lewis (1898 to 1963) an Irish man whom people now consider a British gentleman, was a scholar who aso was able to connect with the common man. He probably never wanted the fame he got.
       McGrath writes a more complete biography of C. S. Lewis. The other biographers of  Lewis had known him. McGrath had only the diaries and writings to depend upon. He does a good job.
      Lewis  was not a theologian in the sense of an ordained clergy. He was just an ordinary man living life. He was a prolific writer and seemed to enjoy scholarship.
     He soon sensed that good literary techniques could better express the deeper truth he was discovering. From 1898 to 1930 he was a atheist. He became a Christian in 1930, McGrath explores that fact well, not a Christian of any denomination or affiliation.
     During the sixties Lewis was almost forgotten but Americans became interested in his works, especially Mere Christianity, that his writings became read again.
     His Narnia Tales have been made into movies, at least the first three..
.   A time line is included at the end of the book.
    This is a welcome addition to the other biographies of Lewis.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Prodigal by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett

           This book is a fictional story. But the message of forgiveness and a second chance is still up to date.
            “You know, Jack,” his father said, “whatever you’ve done, it can be forgiven.”
            “No,” Jack said. “I don’t think so.”
            “Well,” his father said with that old gruffness in his voice again, “ you’re the pastor. But I hope to God you’re wrong.”
            This uses the motif of the prodigal son thus the name. Jack is the pastor of a large self built church. He is known as the People’s Pastor. But he is caught in sexual sin and refuses to confess. He loses his church and his wife and his respect. No one wants to associate with him.
            But his father comes to get him and take him home. Once home he has to reestablish himself and find who he is. He is able to reinvent and restore his self respect.
            I enjoyed this book even through it was in places a bit simplistic. But the writer had only so many pages he could use. Even with those limitations he was able to tell a good story.
            Manning did not see the finished book. But his co-author Garrett was able to complete the project.
            I recommend this book for those who enjoy a good redemptive story.
            I received a copy of this book free as a member of the blog review team of BookSneeze. The views expressed are those of the author and not of the publisher.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fearless by Eric Blehm

                     Books will be written about the Navy Team of Seals, a well trained fighting force we have. Everyone who serves on this force deserves to be counted as an hero
Every once in a while there needs to be an individual picked out to have a special biography written concerning him.
This book puts a face on the program by telling the story of one Navy Seal, Adam Brown. .Adam was a rebel. He was a child who was always turbo drive. There seemed to be no slow drive in his makeup.
His youth was  spent in trouble. He got hooked on drugs. He spent time in jail.
It is also the story of a woman who saw in him someone who could be great. She married him and inherited all his problems. With her help, and the help of God, Adam was able to accomplish things..
Adam never set his sights low. He wanted to be a Seal. Given a chance to prove himself he never looked back. He was able to be a great husband and father as well as a great Seal.
            On  March 17, 2010 he was killed in action.
            I am not one to read war stories. In fact I try not to even check out a book on the subject of war. But I do read biographies. This is a well written biography. For those who want to put a face on the war in Afghanistan, this is the book to read. .
I was given this book gratis from the WaterBrook Multinomah Publishing group for this review.  I was not required to give a positive review and the views expressed are mine and not those of the publisher.

Monday, October 21, 2013

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper with Cecil Murphy

           In  an earlier review I did the book “A Walk through the Dark” by Eva Piper. This book “90 Minutes in Heaven” is the book by her husband concerning the incident spoken of in the book by Eva. It was written long before Eva’s story.
                I decided after reading the book by Eva that I would seek out and find what the whole story was. I really don’t hold much credence for tales of out of the body experiences. In fact, being a Bible believer I question most spiritual occurrences.
                Rev. Piper was driving home from a Bible conference in 1989 when he was hit by a truck, his car was demolished, and he died. The medics who came upon the scene can document that. For 90 minutes he was reported to be in heaven. He describes it as a place of light and music.
                He was brought back to life through the prayers and singing of a Rev. Dick Onerecker. Part of what was asked for was that there be no close brain injury or internal injury.
                God answered that prayer.
                 This book details the recovery and the subsequent ministry of Piper.
                From this book you can see the power of prayer and the slow but steady recovery of an injured body.
                I liked this book mostly because Piper doesn’t glory in the fact that he was allowed to see heaven. He doesn’t major on that. In that case he is like the Apostle Paul who also got a glimpse of heaven but wouldn’t major on that fact. I would recommend this book for people who need to realize the power of prayer on one hand and the reassurance that God has a plan for our lives.  
      You can order a copy here:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dateline Jerusalem by Chris Mitchell

It takes a good eyewitness and a team behind him to report current events in such a way to make it a pleasure to read. Most books that try to interpret current events to project the future meaning read dry.  Not so this book.
 Mitchell is a reporter for CBN News who was posted in The Holy City and got out in 2011 when the Egyptian revolution burned hot and Mubarak was thrown out. He asks what this means for the Middle East and especially the small state of Israel.
He discusses the Arab Spring where democracy is being tried and the Islamic Winter where the Muslims are taking over the control of government and setting up a war against non-Muslims. He examines the Bible and its’ prophecies. He brings in the history of the title to the land which was granted to the Jews by the League of Nations after the First World War. For the history buff and especially for the Bible student the land of Israel is very important. Any book that can help further the understanding of both is welcome.
 You will ask,what can I do? Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. There is a group of people in Jerusalem who pray 24/7. Be one of them. Add your intercession to their prayer chain.
  What I like about this book is the research and the careful pulling together of the past to explain the present. He links the accounts given in the Bible of the nations to present day events to explain the meaning of what is going on.
It is a book that should be on the reading list of all concerned people.  
I was given the book free by BookSneeze as part of their blog reviewing team. I was not required to give a positive review. All points of view expressed are mine and not the view of the publisher.  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

God in My Everything by Ken Shigematsu
            How best to tell about this book? It appears to be a book built around  a journey to
get to know God better. The suggestion is given by the author that we need to set up our
lives as a journey.. In this journey he should see our life in a pattern or framework.
            The author, being of Japanese background, refers to the monks of Glendalough, a monastic community, and the Samurai warriors for the discipline needed to sustain this journey. The point he tries to suggest is we need to live a ecosystem type existence.  In this system we are to be aware of the inter-connection of  all of life.
            He sections the presentation into five areas. First-The rules we need to govern our life  Second-the roots we need such as Sabbath observance, prayer and Bible reading Third- The need to relate to other people. Fourth- The need to refresh ourselves through sleep and play Fifth-The need to reach out to others.
            At the end of the book he has included an appendix of what rules look like.
I see this book as needed for study groups on Christian growth. Shigematsu writes with a pastor’s heart seeking to help fellow Christians go deeper in their spiritual journey. For those who want to do the study , this is a book for them. .

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Men On Strike by Helen Smith PhD

   Men seem to be opting out of life. Fewer are getting married. Fewer are really working in the workforce. Few are leading their families.
            More are wimping out when it comes to asserting their leadership. With this behavior they are endangering women.
            You would think a book on this subject would be written by a man. Yet this book is written by a woman. From that perspective it is refreshing. It is not that a man couldn’t write this book. It is a case of  man being feminized and finally fighting back by dropping out. By dropping out I take to mean men not pushing himself forward
        They drop out because they don’t want to be harmed by the  myriads of laws, attitudes and backlash against them. Just looking at the paternity cases. The woman just has to say this man is the father and the man has no way to fight back or even get visitation rights. The cards are stacked against him because he is a male, Dr. Smith points out.
            But now men are fighting back. In their rational and logical mind they decided to drop out. If they don’t get involved in the first place, they figure, they can’t get hurt. If the woman won’t play according to the rules, then they don’t start the play. Everyone for himself.
           No longer women and children first.  That was the rule before feminism went wild. Rules used to be women were to be protected but now women want to be in the army, in the men only clubs, in the stressful employment positions., just to mention a few areas that used to be areas men could be themselves in
Women have places they as women can associate with their own sexes without men. It seems men are no longer able to let their hair down, so to speak.
            “Our society is made better by men who are productive, happy and treated with fairness. We have only ourselves to blame if we do not turn the tide of the war on men.”, Smith concludes.                                                      
            A chapter is here on what can be done to fight back. I recommend the book to anyone wanting to understand the shift in  society.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Heretic's Daughter

         It is not easy to be an historical novelist, I am sure. And when the period of time you are covering in your novel is still very much controversial, it is especially not easy.
            The period Kathleen Kent handles in her novel “The Heretic’s Daughter’ is the period in American History known as the Salem Witch Trails. The issue is not the amount of information available but the  interpretation of what really went on there.
            Kent tells this in the first person viewpoint of one girl caught up in the hysteria. Her family is one of those accused of being witches. As the story begins she is an adult looking back. She is recounting  the days before and during the time period.. When this happened she was a nine year old.
            Since it is from the viewpoint of a child we are spared the gross goings on. But we do view the dungeon and share in the mindset of the prisoners.
            Each chapter is a three to four month period of time.  The writing style is recounted as a diary, journal account. It is somber and moves along.
            Some stood up and spoke out against the mindset of the time, but the hangings still went on.
            The story takes us through the years of the Salem Witch Trials and into the days after.  I would recommend this book for people who enjoy a good story . Nothing new is revealed. It is a work of fiction.
The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pandora's Lunchbox

            Have you ever wondered what is in  that fast food you consume? Or have you ever stopped to look at the ingredients of  the frozen food you buy at the market? Someone has.
            Melanie Warner has spent some time looking at the food industry and has written up  her findings in this delightful book.
            Food science. That is what the discipline is called that studies how to mix food so that it doesn’t spoiled at a normal rate. A good case in point is the daily Spam we have. It doesn’t age. It was first manufactured to be K rations for the troops in war time. I am sure if anyone has the first can of spam it is still eatable.
            Warner has a pantry where she puts food to test how what time does to it. Most of the items in the pantry fared well over time. Others decomposed.
            She tells about some chicken nuggets she bought that over time liquefied.
            The reason it is done is the price. You can buy more of the processed food at a lower price than the real thing.  You can buy a cheaper loaf of bread that has had air blown into it than the bread without preservatives. If you are trying to save money which one would you buy?
             She tells the story of how Kraft Cheese now is  made of a milk substitute because after research it was found it was cheaper to make it artificial. Add emulsifiers and preservative and. call it processed cheese.
            Allergies can come from eating processed foods. The ingredients are not natural. This is one effect processed food can bring about.
            Be aware of what you are eating. You need to read this book to be informed. And then you can make your decision to go processed or whole foods.
Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal