There was an error in this gadget

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus - The Poverty of Nations

http://www.crossway.org/press-room/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Poverty-of-Nations.jpgEconomics has been a favorite subject of mine for the past few years. The whole Keynes vs. Hayek debate is fascinating.

I see the unintended consequences of Government intrusion into the economy as unacceptable. The world planers are not dumb, they are just naive. If we had a world that was not fallen, some of the plans would work. But we do have a fallen world.

Asmus and Grudem have written a much needed book. For far to long the Church has left economics to the liberal establishment. Because we felt that saving souls was our priority, we leave the everyday out-working of the world to the "Experts" The problem is the experts have an agenda and that agenda is to stay in power. The authors of this book show us that economics is important. Countries rise or fall according to their production of goods. How could that not be important?

If we are to share the gospel, it is much easier in a country that is free and has a government that allows its citizens freedom to work, eat, and worship. What could be greater than allowing people to choose their own occupation? Their own land? Their own possessions?

This book contains not only a list of things a country can do to prosper; it also lists the things that keep a country poor.
If a person is poor, common sense tells us we should give them money. But here the authors show us that in many cases, that traps a person in poverty.

We have all heard the old says - "give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." That is true. I can hand a homeless person a hundred dollar bill and it will be gone in a day. He will then be back the next day on the street corner begging again. If we give him a job, he is now, not only helping himself, but he is helping society.

This book is a God sent. It is timely and hits the mark. It should be read by every pastor, layman, and politician. It is refreshing to read a book that not only speaks about conservative economics, but it also comes from a biblical prospective.

I can not praise it enough. Over the years, I have probably read a dozen books on economics, but this one is truly the best.

I can not recommend it highly enough. It is one of those books you will read again and again.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Audiobook Review: Lex Luger - Wrestling With the Devil

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/p480x480/312162_10151629941603921_1174117685_n.jpgI have never been a big fan of wrestling. I did watch it a little when I was young, but that was before Luger was famous. I had heard of him, but knew very little about his life.

Just reading the description of this book had me hooked. It was well worth the time spent listening to it. The narration was spot on. I felt as if I were watching or listening to a show on the Biography channel.

Luger became one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. Here he shows his rise to the top and his fall. He includes background information on how the industry works and what the other wrestlers were like. You feel like you where there.

After living a life of drugs, partying and adultery, God changed his life. At the end of a dark journey was a gracious God who was there to pick up the pieces. I do not want to give away any of the story, but will just say that Lex has been through some very bad times. Near the end of the story it is heart breaking, but in the very end, we see what a great God we have.

Concerning the narrator, I had heard him before. In the past I was not particularly impressed. This book changed my mind. He brought the book to life and never missed a beat. The difference must have been the material that was read. In this book, he is articulate and exciting.

I loved this book. It keeps you hooked from the very first word. Even if you are like me and know nothing about wrestling, you will definitely enjoy this audiobook.

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

I enjoyed this book courtesy of the Christian Audio review program at http://christianaudio.com and received the audio book, free of charge, from ChristianAudio.com and
Tyndale Momentum in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Gray Matters - Brett McCracken

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/files/2013/07/9780801014741-194x300.jpgThis will be a controversial book, to say the least. I agree with the premise. All of life should be lived to the glory of God. Things should never be divided into sacred and secular. God is Lord over all of life. The difficulty is in how we live this out.

I want to say up front that believe McCraken is an honest Christian who truly loves God and is seeking to transform culture with the Gospel. His desire is for those who live for Christ, to enjoy life and the things God has given us but do it with balance. I hardily agree.

He divides culture into four sections: Eating, Listening, Watching and Drinking. The writing is interesting and he pulls no punches. I think the book should be read and digested. As Christians we should think. For too long in the church, emotions have trumped facts. We react before we get all the facts. Paul dealt with it in the question of eating meats that had been sacrificed to idols. He took a balanced approach and McCracken seems to do the same.

With that said, I had disagreements with some of the little things, but isn't that what the whole book is about?

McCracken starts his book with the subject of Food. Eating - we should enjoy those things God has given us to eat. God could have made food for utilitarian purposes only. He could have made food with no taste and given us some kind of mechanism to force us to eat for physical needs only. But food is more that a a necessary evil. God has given it taste and enjoyment. It is God's common grace that makes the eating of it enjoyable.

Brett shows us how to enjoy food, but not to over indulge. His theory sounds great so far. Where I think he goes astray is the "buy fair trade" and "Whole foods" part. Much of this sounds like "Liberal speak". Make sure the chickens we eat are treated with love and respect. Don't buy from large companies (i.e. Walmart). Buy local and eat slow.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this. It just gives a feeling that normal people who buy from Walmart and McDonald's are a little lower on the food chain (pun intended). Because we can not afford a seven hour, ten course meal, we are not quite experiencing the best God has to offer.

With that said, there is much benefit from this section. He does tell the food connoisseur not to be arrogant and look down on others that can not afford expensive "Whole Foods". It still feels a little like saying to your wife  - "That dress looks beautiful on you, BUT....."

The second subject concerns Listening (music). Another controversial subject.

As a musician, this subject touches home. When I became a christian, I felt all secular music was wrong. To my defense, I came out of a lot of drugs and very dark music. After a few years, I became a little more balanced. That is the stand Brett takes. Music in itself is a gift from God and should be used for Him but that does not mean every song has to be a hymn or worship chorus.

I do not agree with everything he listens to but it is a "Gray Matter".

Another subject is watching(movies).

I enjoy action movies. Personally I try to catch them on channels that remove much of the foul language and other objectionable stuff. McCracken believes if it does not tempt you or cause you to stumble, it is fine to watch. Again, I personally believe, if at all possible watch the edited version.

The last subject is Drinking(alcohol).

This subject really gets some people mad. This was my favorite section. He takes us through a short history of fermented beverages. He then gives his take on alcohol. He ends the section with a caution to those who would take drinking too far.

In each chapter McCracken starts out bold, but then brings in the balance. I believe this is a must read for all Christians. There will be a lot of disagreement, but that is one reason why you should read it. It WILL make you think.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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

Book Review: Ken Erisman - Grounded in the Faith

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-sC0smk7pnSI/Uf_MfSbgabI/AAAAAAAAGa4/aEV8PjrL1MA/s320/groundedfaith.jpgThis book was a pleasure to read. Each chapter takes us through a different bible doctrine. Erisman also includes many scriptural references and quotes from theologians past and present.

He takes some deep doctrines and places them on the lower shelf so that those who are new in the Lord can understand them. This is basically a short, easy-to-read, Systematic Theology.

It would be a great book to give to some one who has just been saved or one who would like to know what the Bible says about a number of topics.

Ken touches on everything from Justification to the Divinity of Christ. Each chapter or session contains an overview, the teaching itself, quotes from a number of theologians and a list of questions to make sure you understand the text.

His theology is from the reformed tradition and his writing is very direct and understandable. There is also a great Forward by J.I. Packer.

Sections include subjects like: Justification, Regeneration, Overcoming temptations, Prayer, The Trinity, and much, much more.

It would be a good book to use in a Sunday School class or bible study. It is well written and never boring. I will definitely read  Erisman again.

I highly recommend it and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: Christopher Bogosh - Compassionate Jesus

http://crossfocusedreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Compassionate-Jesus.jpegWe see from the thousands of pages in the new health care law and the continual rising prices of health care, that America is obsessed with life and health. Why not? Should we not as Christians use every means at our disposal to live a long and healthy life?

Christopher Bogosh shows us in his new book, "Compassionate Jesus", that things are not that simple. With so many new technologies, there are ethical lines that can be crossed. What is God's will in sickness? Are we to pray for physical healing? Does God have a plan for our sickness?

Here, the author takes us through the maze of ethical dilemmas many people face. Should we remove the feeding tube? Should the respirator be unplugged? Should Hospice be called in?

I can not say I agree with every single remark made in the book, but it has given me a whole new perspective on life and health. Proverbs 18:17 says, "The man who first puts his cause before the judge seems to be in the right; but then his neighbor comes and puts his cause in its true light."

Many beliefs we hold are based on the first thing we hear. This was true for me concerning health and dying. I had heard it said as Christians we should use every means to keep ourselves alive for as long as we can. Before coming out of the faith movement, I was even told that it was a sin to be sick. Biblically Paul said, "To live is Christ and to die is gain." If Paul saw death as gain, why do we fight it with every fiber of our being? I am not saying we should desire death only that we should not fear it. It is the vehicle that takes us to heaven and brings us into the arms of Christ.

Bogosh also brings up the subject of God's sovereignty. In fact that is the premise of the whole book. We see God as sovereign in every area of our lives, but seem to forget that truth when it concerns health care. Was God surprised when we found out we had cancer? Is He concerned? The truth is, He was right there?

Bogosh keeps a good balance. He does not suggest keeping medicine away from the hurting. His argument is against prolonging live for the sole purpose of gaining more time. Instead of using aggressive treatment that leaves the person in an unconscious state for the little time they have, he believes they should be comforted with medicine to relieve the pain. His goal is for the person to spend their last days with their loved ones.

A summary of the book would be: Do not worship life and health. Know that God is sovereign and He is the ultimate ruler who is in control. Worship Him only!

I enjoyed this book tremendously and highly recommend it to all. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, this is an important read. I pray that if I experience the same, God will grant the grace to practice the principles given in this book.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: Starr Meade - Comforting Hearts, Teaching Minds

http://www.starrmeade.com/wp-content/uploads/comforting-hearts-cover-large.jpgOne of the biggest problems in the church is a lack of knowledge. The Bible says that God's people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. There is an old saying that "ignorance is bliss". That is true more times than not. If there is a lack of knowledge, people's beliefs are driven by peer pressure, emotion, and the like. Our belief system should come from the Bible. If we are ignorant of it's contents, we are just guessing at truth.

Meade helps us learn from The Heidelberg Catechism what the Bible teaches in a variety of subjects. If you have never heard of a catechism, it is like an easy to understand Systematic Theology. It was written to be memorized. It takes the form of questions and answers.

Compared to other catechisms, the Heidelberg Catechism is very warm and personable. Most questions ask what has happened to you personally.

This book is geared toward Children and teens, but would also be of great benefit to adults. When it comes to Bible knowledge, most adults are just as unprepared as children. This book would also be a great family time study. It is set up in 52 sections for a year long study.

It takes us through every major doctrine in the Bible. It ends with the ten commandments.

I wished my parents had a tool like this available when I was a child.

I highly recommend it and give it a 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book, free of charge, from P&R Publishing Company and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.