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Monday, December 24, 2012

Book Review: Byron Forrest Yawn - Suburbianity

Have we lost the gospel?

Along with Byron Yawn, I believe the answer is yes.

When walking through the Christian bookstore, it is almost impossible to find a book about the gospel. I see books about marriage, weight lose, relationships, but very few about Christ and Him crucified.

Byron Yawn's book is about this very subject. Much of today's Church has lost the Gospel. We have turned our services into self-help seminars. Everything is about me. Even books written to tell us it is not about you, go on to tell us it IS about you.

Every sermon is about 10 ways to have a better life, marriage, family, etc.

We have also sold out the Gospel for Marketing schemes. Most choices in church are centered around - “What can we do to get more people?” We take our cue from Forbes or Time magazine.

Yawn's book is excellent! He hits us right where it hurts but he doesn't leave us there. He explains where we went wrong and how to fix it. The Gospel is not how can my life be better. It is what Jesus did on the cross.

We think the drunk or drug addict are the people who need the Gospel. In reality, the man in the business suit needs it just as bad. All have sinned! The Gospel is for everyone!

If we have all have sinned, then we all need a savior. We all deserve punishment in Hell. The good news is someone took that punishment for us and we are free.

I really liked this book and highly recommend it.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from Harvest House Publishers and Netgallery in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Daryl Aaron - Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day

Many people believe Theology is a four letter word.

They believe it is dry, boring and sometimes even useless. Many will say that you are wasting your time. "That is only head knowledge and knowledge puffs up!!” They quote scriptures like 1 Corinthians 1:27 - "God chose the foolish things to confound the wise".

Theology is nothing more than a list of beliefs based on the Bible. Everyone has a theology, whether they know it or not. God calls us to worship Him in spirit and TRUTH. How can we worship a God we know nothing about? To worship Him in spirit we must know the truth about Him or we may be worshiping another God.

That is where a book like this comes in. Daryl Aaron has written a simple guide to the basics of theology. He uses very little technical jargon, but does cover most subjects. It is a good book for the beginner. He does not take an official position on each subject, but it is fairly easy to see where he stands on many subjects.

I enjoyed this book. What I can make of his personal theology, I don't agree with everything he writes. But it is always good to read from a different camp.

There are very little major differences, but being Reformed in belief, I can see some nuances that lead me to believe he is not.

All in all it is a pretty good book and is a great starting point for those who would like to dig deeper than the Sunday morning sermon or a daily devotional.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Bill Thrasher - God as He Wants You to Know Him

Is God knowable and if so what is God like?

Bill Thrasher wrote this book to try and answer these questions.

I will have to say I was very surprised with this book. It was much, much better than I thought it would be. The only way to describe it would be a theological devotional.

He takes the attributes of God, describes them, then shows how they should change our lives. Knowledge should always lead to wisdom. We can not have wisdom without knowledge but we can have knowledge without wisdom.

When the Bible says knowledge puffs up, God was not telling us to stay ignorant. He was telling us to utilize the knowledge we acquire.

This book takes knowledge about God and teaches us how to turn it into wisdom. How do we do that?

For instance, if God is omnipresent, he is everywhere. If He is omniscient, He sees everything. That knowledge should drive us to wisdom. Always know that everything we do is known by God and He is watching.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It is simple but gets the information across. If you are a new believer, it will give you some foundational principles about God that can keep you from straying into heresy.

If there is any shortcoming it would have to be on the subject of sovereignty. He speaks of God’s providence and control over the world, but does not touch on predestination and salvation.

I understand this. Because it is a subject of controversy, it may turn people away from the rest of the book. But it would have been good to at least have a small section with a list of differing views.

Over all the book was very good and I would recommend it to both new believers and old.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review: American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom - Rick Santorum

What are the two things everyone says we are never to talk about?

You guessed it - Religion and Politics! Those are my two favorite subjects. 

This book is not quite about politics. It is about the history of America and those who died to give us the right to talk about religion and politics.

I have always loved history, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. I have heard Rick speak and am very impressed. His writing is interesting and never boring.

This book is a great read. Santorum has taken small bite-size storys and created a very interesting book. Each story takes a segment of someone in history who gave their time, money and life to help in our struggle for independence.

Many lost everything they had. I thank God every chance I think about what our ancestors gave to make us free.

It is a short read, but almost imposible to put down. I read it in a day. Each story is short, to the point and will leave you wanting more.

I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from Tyndale House Books in exchange for an honest review.
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book Review: Jerry Bridges - I Exalt You, O God: Encountering His Greatness in Your Private Worship

I Exalt You O God by Jerry BridgesThis is probably the 5th book I have read from Jerry Bridges. He is an author that never disappoints. He explains theological doctrine in simple terms.

This book is a devotional. He splits the book in 31 sections - one for each day. Each section takes an attribute of God, explains it and ends with a prayer and praise.

This is a very good book. When reflecting on God's attributes, it brings us to a place of awe. God is sovereign, omniscient, and omnipotent. He is not only just, but also merciful.

I highly recommend this book and any other by Bridges. If you like this book you will love "Trusting God" by the same author.

I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.


*I received this book, free of charge, from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Review: John Currid - Ruth: From Bitter to Sweet

In this short commentary, the book of Ruth is brought to life. It seems like a Hallmark Channel movie. But unlike Hallmark, the story of Ruth is true.

Currid takes each section, explains the text and gives some background. At the end of each chapter there is a "Points to Ponder" section. Very simple and to the point, it almost reads like a novel. He does not speculate using types and shadows, but sticks to the text and it's meaning.

When we see what Ruth and Naomi went through and the way that Boaz rescues them, it gives us hope. We see God as sovereign. The King of the universe. Everything is worked out according to His plan.

Just like in Ruth, we see God working in our lives. The good and the bad happen to us, not as an accident, but God is working for our good. What man meant for evil, God meant for good.

This commentary is more than an explanation of the text, it gives encouragement that God still works in lives. He still brings things into our lives to work out His purposes.

I give it a 5 out of 5 stars

*I received this book, free of charge, from EP Books and Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: You, Your Family and the Internet by David Clark

So many things have dramatically changed in the 26 years since I became a Christian. 

I remember renting sermon tapes from Mount Olive Tape Library through the mail, driving over an hour to go to a Christian bookstore, and driving the same distance to go to Church. 

Because of the massive change in Technology, I can now download those same sermons online for free (Sermonaudio). I can also buy almost any new Christian book and download them straight to my Kindle. Most puritan works are now free from Archive.org. The only thing that hasn't changed is my drive to church.

David Clark has written a book that is needed in the Church. He shows how computers, Ipads, and Internet have not only benefited our lives but have also created new pitfalls to be avoided.

As Peter Parker's uncle Ben said, "With great power comes great responsibility". I believe Stan Lee was plagiarizing Jesus' statement in Luke 12:48, "...For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required..."

In this book, Clark shows that the new technologies can be both a gift and a curse. We must discern, not only the places to avoid, but also realize that even the good side of technology can take over our lives.

This book was not exactly what I expected. I believed it would be a list of things to avoid, (e.g., pornography and gambling). It did contain those things but it was much more. Clark delves into why even the good things can pull us away from God's desire for us. Many are so hooked on the Internet that they hardly have time for anything else.

Clark's section on privacy is very informative. What is posted on the Internet is there forever. We need to use caution when revealing who we are and where we live. Too many lives have been devastated because of a careless post on Facebook or a forum.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is connected to the Internet. It is short, to the point and packed with practical suggestions.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.


*I received this book free of charge, from
Day One Publications and Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: 1 Kings - John A. Davies

When a discussion arises concerning Bible reading, the response people most often give is "I don't read it often because I don't understand it."

When I first became a Christian, I had such a desire to read the Bible but like so may others I didn't understand it. That made it almost impossible to get much out of my Daily Bible reading.

This is where commentaries come in. Commentaries should not take the place of personal Bible study, but it should supplement it. Reading them along side of your Bible will give you information on the places, history, and background that you could never know by just reading the Bible alone.

John A. Davies has given us a great service with his commentary on 1 Kings. Here we have all of the stories we heard from Childhood - Solomon, The Queen of Sheba, Elijah, and Elisha.

What makes this commentary so good is it's accessibility. He explains many of the Hebrew words but you do not have to be a Hebrew scholar to understand them. He takes the text, gives us background information concerning it, then adds a section of application. It is very readable and never boring. He discusses each of the Kings of Israel and the Characters surrounding him.

If you are like me, I have a habit of spending most of my time in the New Testament. This book has forced me out of my comfort-zone and directed me to the front of my Bible. The Old Testament. The place where there are very few highlights and all of the pages are still attached. Going back to this section of the Bible is like having a reunion with an old friend.

I recommend this book for young and seasoned believers alike. Whether you have been saved for years or a very short period of time, this commentary would be time well spent.

Grab a copy, get your Bible out and finally understand who all those Kings were.

I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from EP Books and Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.