Saturday, January 26, 2013

Book Review: J. Warner Wallace - Cold-Case Christianity

This is probably the best classical apologetic book I have read. It is interesting and informative. What sets it apart from other books on apologetics is it is written from the prospective of a homicide detective. It is like CSI meets R.C. Sproul. That is my kind of book!

I truly enjoyed this book. Each chapter consists of true crime solving stories and how the same techniques can be used to prove both the Bible and Christianity are true. He moves from the Historical Jesus to how the scriptures were preserved. He also spends time showing how the Gospels were written earlier than the Liberal would admit. He uses logic to discredit the Liberal at every turn.

Many people today see Christianity as naive and silly, but the historical faith is more than a fairy tale - it it true. There is hard evidence for it.

Some of the criticism against Christianity is our own fault. For years I have heard many well-meaning preachers say not to use your mind, it will only lead you astray. Now why would God give us a brain if we were not supposed to use it. God created logic. He never contradicts logic. When the bible say the wisdom of God is foolishness, it is saying that God is so much smarter than man that they think He is foolish because they can not understand.

Wallace truly uses his mind in this book and his writing is so good, it feels like I am watching an episode of  Castle or CSI.

This book was a great read and I highly recommend it to both new and seasoned Christians alike.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from David C Cook and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Chad Norris - Signs, Wonders and a Baptist Preacher

This book is hard to review. On the one hand it is well written and easy to read and on the other hand the content is a little different to say the least.

In my Christian journey, I have seen a lot of things.

When I was first saved, I wanted to experience God in a powerful way. Because of my immaturity, I followed many who said "God is over here" They claimed seeing angels, hearing and seeing Jesus physically, being transported, and seeing people raise from the dead.

I took them at there word. Many of these same people were engulfed in petty jealousy, hatred and strife. Some had even deeper sins like homosexuality and adultery. At that time, I could not understood why God would show up in miraculous ways to people who were so mean, but not to many who were loving and kind.

After years of studying the bible and living the Christian life, I do believe miracles happen. God is concerned with our lives; He is sovereign and guides our steps. But...and there is always a...”but”. I do not believe God wants us to follow after signs. He rebuked people for following after signs. A miracle by definition is something out of the ordinary. That is why they call it supernatural, because it is not natural. It doesn’t happen on a regular basis.

Most of us spend our life eating the wrong way and not exercising - then we ask God to heal us. We spend all of our money and can't pay our bills, then ask God for a financial miracle. I am not saying God should not perform a miracle in that situation. Salvation itself is God fixing a mess we made. But if we are to have miracles everyday they would no longer be miracles. They would be normal life.

Why did Jesus performed miracles? Why not? He is God! Does He perform them today? Yes, He is God. The problem comes in when we seek these as the norm.

Jesus told Thomas, “Blessed are those who don't see but yet believe”. He rebuked the Jew saying they seek after a sign instead of Him. Paul told the Corinthians they were more obsessed with the gifts of the spirit than love.

Many need healing today, many need a financial miracle today, but an even greater need is new birth. We have worried so much about temporal physical things so much we have jettisoned the eternal. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world (health and prosperity) and lose his own soul.

In his book, Chad tells of stories about translation, seeing Jesus physically, hearing God audibly, seeing angels(one holding a sword), daily miracles, visions, wind inside a closed building, Jesus sitting on a bed, a woman covered in gold specks, etc.

He speaks of preaching the Kingdom, but never explains what that means. I assume it means healing and miracles. More than one time he says he would like to show the theologian or professor what it would be like to live a life of miracles. There is a little anti-intellectual bend to the book.

As far as Chad is concerned, he seems like a very nice and sincere guy. He comes off as a loving compassionate person who loves the Lord, But using his own words he may be a little "weird".

It was not a boring read, but I would be a little cautious. It could leave some new believers thinking that the Christian life is full of miracles and if you do not experience them daily, you are not complete in Christ.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from Chosen Books and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: William Audureau - The History of Sonic The Hedgehog

To review a book about Sonic the Hedgehog, is is out of my norm, but I could not resist.

Sonic has always been a favorite. My son and I have been gamers for years. It started with Mario 64 and kept growing from there. Anyone who loved Mario would sooner or later fall for Sonic.

I really enjoyed this book. It is a 300 page celebration of Sonic's 20th birthday. Each chapter shows graphics from different games and discusses how the games developed. It is packed with many antidotes and stories about how the games came to fruition and some that did not.

We see the struggles developers had with each other and the way it added to the final game development. It is very interesting to read about the glitches they had to deal with.

Even though I already knew a lot about Sonic, I learned much more. Here are a few spoilers.

During development, the original game was so fast it mad you sick.
They had trouble with sonic crashing through the loops instead of spinning around them.
Originally Sonic had a girlfriend named Madonna (yes she was named after the singer)

The last half of the book includes interviews with the developers and their thoughts on how Sonic has changed over the years. There are hundreds of great pictures and even glimpses of games that never made it.

If you are a Sonic fan or just curious about his history, I highly recommend this book.

Read it, then go out and buy a game and enjoy.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from Udon Entertainment and NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: J.I. Packer - Puritan Portraits

The Puritans have always had a bad rap. When we think of them, we tend to think of bitter, somber, witch-hunters. Nothing can be farther from the truth. They were strict in some ways but they were great Christian leaders who had a zeal for the Lord. There writings are packed full of theology and Devotional material.

Here Packer has collected a series of introductions to some of the best puritan works. J.I. is known for some of the best forwards to the Puritans. His intro to Owen's "Death of Death" is a classic.

This book was started when he was asked to write introductions for a group of puritan devotional books published by Christian Focus. These intros were collected into this book. It is sort of a companion to "A Quest for Godliness", a previous book about the Puritans from Packer.

I enjoyed this book, being a fan of the Puritans, it is nice to read a small summation of what each of these works are about. The added bonus is the summations are written by one of the best experts concerning the Puritans. Packer and a few others have helped to reawaken interest in puritan writings.

Each chapter takes a work, summarizes it, gives you important things to look for, and even contains criticism for the weaknesses.

Packer does not worship the Puritans, he only worships their God. He considers them as brothers in the Lord, but not infallible. He shows us how to learn from the good, but throw out the bad.

I highly recommend this book. If you have never read the Puritans, grab a copy of this book and a copy of any of the works that are summarized and get ready for a treat.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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

Book Review: John Crotts - Loving the Church

Loving the Church is what I would consider a Theological Novel. It teaches Biblical principles using a fictional story.

Years ago I came across a series of books by Richard P. Belcher. Each book in the series taught a doctrine of the Bible. What was so unique about them? Each book was in novel form. I enjoyed the series so much and wondered why this technique wasn't used more often. Other than that original series, this book is the first I have encountered in the same vein.

The story is set in a coffee shop where one by one a group of people overhear a conversation about someone leaving their Church. From there, they start meetings to discuss what the Church means and where each member fits in.

It is a very fast read, but chocked full of great information. Most of all it brings conviction.

During the Coffeehouse conversations a variety of subjects are brought up concerning the Church

Do we love our local Church?
Is our Church faithful to the Gospel?
Are we involved?
Do we miss service to spend time golfing or boating on the lake?
Are we held accountable?

Crotts not only speaks of the Church universal, but he focuses on the local Church and the importance of being there and being involved. He also speaks about Elders and Deacons and their requirements and duties.

I enjoyed this book tremendously. It made me rethink a lot of things.

As an added bonus, at the end of the book, he gives a list of books for further reading.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review: Roger Resler - Compelling Interest

Roger Resler has written the definitive argument against the killing of unborn Children. With clear, logical language he takes each argument for abortion and shows the logical fallacies and language twisting pro-abortionists have to use to make it acceptable.

This book is not written in an overly emotional tone. It is almost straight logic and does not skirt the hard questions. But I found myself fighting back emotions because of the logic.

It breaks my heart. How can we as a nation expect God to bless us when we destroy our own children just because they will disrupt our comfortable lives? This does not leave us without compassion for the mother. Unlike the pro-abortion crowd, we should give her alternatives. Adoption or help raising the child.
Rove v. Wade is the landmark Supreme Court case that made abortion legal. Since that day millions of babies have been killed. Compelling Interest contains interviews, quotes, extracts, and many other information concerning the case. He shows how it was one of the worst written cases in history..

When does a person become a "person". At birth? At conception? Somewhere in between? The pro-abortionist says we don't know, so we can terminate the pregnancy at any time before birth.

This logic is atrocious. Lets take that same logic into another situation. Lets say I have an old building I need to demolish. I am not sure if there is any one in the building at the time. I send someone in to see if it is clear. They come back and tell me they were not sure. They saw a pot of stew cooking over a small fire and it looked like a homeless person had been there. I then go ahead and demolish the building, because the potential homeless person is not the same as a homeless person.

If I was not sure if there was someone in the building, why in the world would I destroy it anyway. If the abortionist is not sure if the fetus is human, why kill it?

This was hands down the best book on the argument against abortion I have ever read. It is packed with so much logical information that there can be no argument against it.

I highly recommend it and wish I could give it better than 5 stars.

I give it 6 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from eChristian, Inc and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Also check out a comment from the author:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book review: Andrew P. Napolitano - The Freedom Answer Book

How has our country changed over the years? Did the writers of the constitution envision the country we have today? What has happened to our freedoms?

Andrew P. Napolitano has written a book to show us what the constitution says and means. Politicians today have never even read it, but they constantly pass laws that are diametrically opposed to it.

We have a nation ran buy Bureaucrats who believe it is their job to tell us what to do in every area of our lives. They believe that we aren't smart enough to run our own lives so they need to pass laws for our own good.

The Constitution and amendments give us a list of rights the government and each citizen has.

The Left and even some on the Right seem to think the government should be our nanny. But the government has no constitutional right to force us to buy things like health insurance according to Obama-care. They have no right to tell us were to live or what we do with our own property. What right does the government have to regulate the price of milk? Why would they even want too? How can the government pass laws against owning guns when we have a RIGHT to bear arms.

Napolitano discusses many things like this in this small book. It is in a question and answer format. It takes some pretty deep subjects and explains them so they are accessible to the average reader. He shows how the supreme court has over turned our law making process, by making legislating from the bench. These are things forbidden in the constitution.

Even though it is easy to read, it does not skimp on content.

I highly recommend this book. It is a great read.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from Thomas Nelson and Netgallery in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Tim Chester - Will you be my Facebook Friend

Tim Chester has written this short book to teach us how Facebook has changed everything. Millions of people log in everyday. We meet up with people we haven't talked to in years. We connect with those we have never met and friends of those we have never met.

Facebook can be used for good or evil. People can use it to connect with old friends or commit adultery. They can inform people about what is happening in their lives or lie about what their life is really like.

Chester cautions us that Facebook can overtake our lives, keep us from real-life friendships, and even drive us away from God. It is easier for us to create a life we want others to see than to share the life we actually live in the real world. We tend to share our good side, but hide those things that are negative.

He gives an interesting list of how people tend to word their postings to get people to hit “like”. For instance, Never say my cat died. Who would hit “like” on that?!? They need to say, “My cat was a great pet”. Worded like that, who wouldn't want to hit “like”? He also noticed there is no such thing as “dislike”. You can “unlike” something, but that just unchecks the “like” button.

I enjoyed this book. I feel it was a little too short, but it would be great for the short attention spans of today’s online skimmers, I mean readers.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from 10Publishing and Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: Todd Starnes - Dispatches From Bitter America

Politics - Everyone says we are never to discuss it. But it is one of the most important subjects in the world today. How important are the people who choose the laws that govern our everyday lives.

I have looked forward to reading this book for a while. I saw it on a shelf in Books-a-Million and decided to buy it later on for the kindle. I purchased it, but had not read it yet. Then I saw it was up for review and figured now would be a good time to read it.

Wow! It was even better than expected. Starnes' book is not only funny, but is very informative.

The whole premise of the book is about a statement Barack Obama made while running for president the first time. He said that everyday Americans were bitter and they cling to guns and religion. Starnes' travels around the US to show that the bitter ones are the left, not Middle America.

Todd's book is from a conservative point of view and it is a very fun read. He seems the kind of guy you would want to hang around. He shows that all of us “bitter Americans” can laugh.

My favorite part of the whole book is when he said we need a bailout for the poultry industry - we can call it "Cash for Cluckers" I laughed out loud!

With some of the foolish laws the left pass, we will either laugh or cry. They seem set on ruling everyone’s life. They want to control what you eat, buy, watch, listen to and read, but they say we are the ones who censor.
To the left, it seems everything good is bad and everything bad is good.
The stories he finds across America include:

  • People being fired for sharing their faith.
  • Children getting detention for reading the Bible.
  • Laws forbidding certain foods and drinks.
  • Schools teaching children how to have sex at the kindergarten level.
  • Politically correct indoctrination.
  • ...and many more.
If you like those crazy laws, this book is probably not for you. 

  • Murderers have a right to life, but babies don't.
  • We can teach Islam in schools, but a child's Bible is confiscated.
  • Soft drinks should be outlawed, but marijuana should be legalized.
  • Preachers can not talk about politicians, but liberal politicians can campaign in Churches.
  • Guns should be outlawed, but abortions should stay legal.

I highly recommend this book, whether you are from the right or left.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from B&H Books and NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Review: R. C. Sproul - Pleasing God

R.C. does it again. I have had this book on my “to read” list for a long time. When I saw it on a list of review copies, I jumped at the chance.

R.C. Sproul was my first introduction to Reformed Theology.
I saw “Chosen by God” on a shelf but had never heard of R.C. It looked very interesting. I had no idea that book would open up my mind and heart to a whole new way of thinking.

Since that day, I have read numerous Sproul books. Some better than others. This one is destined to be a classic.

How do we please God?
What is sanctification?
Is it OK to tell a lie if it is for a good cause?
Is pride always a bad thing?
What does God think about slothfulness?

Can we become perfected in this life?

These and many more questions are answered in this book. It is short, to the point, and very informative. R.C. is at his best. I would not rank it quite as high as “The holiness of God” or “Chosen by God”, but it is pretty close.

In this book, he shows that regeneration is just the beginning of our salvation. We are being sanctified throughout our whole life, but will only be perfected in the next.

We are to continually move forward. Even though we have times that we seem to fall back, the spirit is there to push us forward. He shows us that spiritual birth is instantaneous, but sanctification is a life-long process.

I give it ? out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from David C Cook Publishing and NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Daniel R. Hyde - God in Our Midst

God dwells among his people.

Finding another good book on the tabernacle is always exciting. I always enjoy studying this portion of scripture.

Reading through the list of materials for the construction of the tabernacle would seem boring. But when you see what it truly represents, a light goes on and you see the Old Testament in a whole new light.

In this book, Hyde takes us through the tabernacle piece by piece and through the dwelling itself. I was glad to see such an emphasis on Christ. Jesus said the Old Testament scriptures were about Him and that includes the tabernacle.

God gave the tabernacle as a symbol to show what would be accomplished by Christ. As the sacrifices of animals where being performed, a greater sacrifice was prepared - The Lamb of God. He would not just cover up sin, but would take it away.

The intro on hermeneutics was great. Hyde tells us that the study of scripture should never be speculative. If there is no verse to show a type and shadow, we should not use it.

The tabernacle shows that God desires to dwell with us. The fulfillment was in Christ who came to earth to tabernacle among us. Even greater is the fact that we will be with him in the heavenly tabernacle – Heaven. There we will dwell for eternity.

This book is a good read. The illustrations add to its value.

I high recommend it.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book, free of charge, from Reformation Trust Publishing in exchange for an honest review.