Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dare to Drop the Pose - Book Review

Dare to Drop the Pose (Ten Things Christians Think but Are Afraid to Say) by Craig Groeschel is a republished version of Confessions of a Pastor.  I think the earlier title is the more accurate one as far as describing the book.  Pulling out the main points he is TRYING to make leaves the reader with the following:

Some Christians are hypocritical;
It is difficult to remain sexually pure as defined by the Bible;
It can be hard to be a Christian in today's world; 
It is normal to sometimes doubt God; 
Most people are afraid of failure.

These are not difficult concepts, but Groeschel spends the whole book trying to tell us what a rotten Christian he has been simply because he is human like the rest of us.  He talks himself down in an effort to talk us up.  I understand what he was trying to do, but was left more with a mild dislike of him as a person instead of being encouraged that "if he can do it, so can I".  There are much better books out there - I wouldn't waste your time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Lord's Prayer - book review

The Lord’s Prayer
Insight and Inspiration to Draw You Closer to Him
By R.T. Kendall

Dr. R.T. Kendall, minister and author, begins this book with a discussion of why we pray.  He then takes us line by line through perhaps Christianity’s best-known prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, dissecting the meaning and intent behind each carefully chosen word.  Instead of allowing us to recite the prayer from memory, often not even hearing ourselves as we speak, Dr. Kendall challenges us to understand and study what we are praying with these words.  As he states, “The purpose of this book is not only to examine each line of the Lord’s Prayer, but to learn how to interpret the will of God”.

As a Christian, I found this book to be very helpful.  It brought new insight into what God wants from us in this prayer He sent us.  Based on this point, I highly recommend this book.  However, there is one area with which I absolutely cannot and do not agree with the author, and I imagine this is one that will cause division among readers.  Dr. Kendall asserts on page 46 that ONLY Christians have the right to pray the Lord’s Prayer.  Jews and other believers in our God are excluded in his opinion because “Only those who receive Him (Jesus) and believe in His name have the right to be children of God and, therefore, to pray the Lord’s Prayer”.   I believe that God wants to hear from all of His children, lost and found.

This is a major barrier for me in recommending this book; however, the rest of the book is an excellent guide.  I leave it to the individual reader to determine whether this message of exclusion cancels out the other important and valid points in the book.

FTC Required Note: I have received a complimentary or advance reading copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Outlive Your Life book review

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado
Can ordinary people change the world?  Max Lucado says we can.  In Outlive Your Life, Lucado presents us with the challenge of living our lives so that we have made a difference that is tangible after we are long gone.  Whether we affect one person or millions, it is what God has asked us to do.  As Denver Moore, co-author of Same Kind of Different as Me (another must read!), says: “Pastor Max tells all folks how to move from Bible studies to Bible doins’ “.
I don’t often say this in reviews, but I thought this book was amazing.  Lucado asks difficult questions of us, questions that require inner discernment, a not always comfortable task.  He draws his questions from the book of Acts and the miraculous events that took place during that time.  He then challenges each of us to make a difference beyond ourselves.  He does not leave us without help though.  Each chapter ends with scripture and a prayer focused on the lesson just taught, both of which I found key as I reflected upon Lucado’s challenges to me as a Christian.
I cannot say enough good things about this book.  I plan to go back and work my way through the discussion and action guide at the end as additional discipline for answering the call to action.  I highly recommend this book as a guide and thought-provoking study to all those who wonder if it is possible to make a difference as only one person.
FTC Required Note: I have received a complimentary or advance reading copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer's Gone Part 2 - Review of Flight to Heaven

OK folks, here is part two for today.  We'll go for a book review.  As a teaser, I have a review coming up on Sept. 10 of an absolutely wonderful book!  The publisher has asked me not to post it until then, but I will say I love, love, loved the book and you will too, so come back to check it out.

And without further ado, here is today's book:

Flight to Heaven
A Pilot’s True Story
By Capt. Dale Black

Capt. Dale Black is the lone survivor of a horrific plane crash.  Through a long a difficult recovery, he finds an unexpected gift of faith that sustains him.  Months after the crash, his fractured memory releases the source of that faith – a visit to heaven and return to earth.

There is no question in my mind that Capt. Black is a man of faith.  His journey since his near-death experience has been amazing and Christ-filled.  However, I have to admit that the book did not move me the way that I expected it would.  I am not convinced that he actually visited and returned from heaven, though I don’t doubt that he at least had a miraculous vision.  To me the question remains: what is more important to his message – his experience in heaven or what he did with it here on earth?  I would argue it is his legacy of experiences here on earth.  The “flight to heaven” part has a sensationalist attraction to it that seems designed more to sell the book than to encourage others’ faith journeys.

I do not regret having read this book, but it is not one that I can recommend to others as a must read.  For some it may provide comfort, but I think for many the focus will be less inspiring than they had hoped.

FTC Required Note: I have received a complimentary or advance reading copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an unbiased review.

Summer's Gone

Wow, summer just flew by!  I had no idea it had been so long since my last post.  To make up for it, we'll go for a double today!

First, still lovin' my smoothies.  Yesterday's creation, which received two thumbs up from the local 11 year old, was blueberry/pear.

1 cup fresh blueberries
2 sliced pears (left the skin on since I now have a vita-mix - yay me!)
1 cup vanilla yogurt
agave nectar to taste

Blend away and drink up!