Monday, October 31, 2011

It's early morning in Scottsdale. The sun is shining brightly as it does most mornings in this part of Arizona. In a few hours Charlotte and I will drive a few minutes to our son's home, pick him up and then drive down through Scottsdale to Green Acres Cemetery to attend the memorial service for our friend Ruth Noland.

About two or three years ago I was contacted to be ready to deliver the message at Ruth's service. She wasn't expected to live but just a few days. "Ok, we were planning to do some traveling out of town but I will postpone that and stand by." After several months I asked the family to release me from my obligation. They graciously agreed to do so and we all went on waiting for God to call Ruth home.

For some reason, I don't know why, maybe it's because we live in uneasy times---I have been reading a lot of books along with the Bible about the end times. Also, as I grow older I find I have a greater interest in the life hereafter. Especially heaven, but also hell.

The Scriptures teach that we all have an appointment with death (Hebrews 9:27). So the end for all of us will come---someday. It may be soon. It may be later. But it will come!

Ruth got ready "to go." She was ready had the Lord summoned her a few years ago when I was first contacted. She was ready a few days ago when He did wink at her and say, "Ok, Ruth come on home." 

I won't be speaking at Ruth's service today. The family needed to have someone prepared, ready and the important thing--standing by. I am happy that I am in town and able to attend her service today. I will be there to honor the great Christian lady that she was.

As I think about Ruth today, here is what is on my mind: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable---if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things." Philippians 4:8

Someday, for all of us, the last word will be FINALLY!


Monday, October 24, 2011

A Novel by Joel C. Rosenberg

OVERVIEW: In Joel Rosenberg's new novel, Iran has just conducted its first atomic weapons test. Millions of Muslims around the world are convinced their messiah―known as the Twelfth Imam―has arrived on earth. Israeli leaders fear Tehran, under the Twelfth Imam's spell, will soon launch a nuclear attack that could bring about a second Holocaust and the annihilation of Israel. The White House fears Jerusalem will strike first, launching a massive preemptive attack against Iran's nuclear facilities that could cause the entire Middle East to go up in flames, oil prices to skyrocket, and the global economy to collapse. With the stakes high and few viable options left, the president of the United States orders CIA operative David Shirazi and his team to track down and sabotage Iran's nuclear warheads before Iran or Israel can launch a devastating first strike. But will they be too late?

AUTHOR: Joel C. Rosenberg is a New York Times bestselling author with more than 2 million copies in print. A communications strategist based in Washington, DC, he has worked with some of the world's most influential and provocative leaders, including Steve Forbes, Rush Limbaugh, Natan Sharansky, and Benjamin Netanyahu. Once a political columnist for World magazine, he now writes commentaries for National Review as well as Flash Traffic, a weekly e-mail update for business and political leaders.

MY REVIEW: Because of my interest in what is happening in the Middle East today and what the Bible says about the end times, I found this book fascinating. This is an exhilarating political thriller―a pulse pounding tale of international intrigue that will keep you on the edge of your seat and wondering...what if this worst-case scenario comes true? I read and review many books but not many novels. I wanted to read this novel because Rosenberg is such a great writer. I hope many will read this book and take an interest in what is happening in our world today. Christians need to be thinking about what is happening in the world around us and praying about it everyday. I agree with Rush Limbaugh who said, "Rosenberg has become one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking novelists of our day. Regardless of your political views, you've got to read his stuff."

(I want to thank Tyndale House Publishers for giving me this book for review.)


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

God's Plan for Finding Peace and Contentment
By Dr. Linda Mintle

OVERVIEW: Does worry have you in its grip? Respected author, speaker, and counselor Dr. Linda Mintle comes to the rescue with basic, practical ideas drawn from longtime professional experience and her personal qualifications as a veteran worrier, with Dr. Linda's help, you can rethink your core beliefs and surrender worry to God as you discover
     *the spiritual roots of worry
     *what to do when anxious thoughts
     *how to have peace about health, job,
      money, and relationships
     *practical ways to cultivate a truly worry-free life
     *the biblical secret to lasting contentment

AUTHOR: Dr. Linda Mintle is a national speaker and bestselling author of over 15 books. She appears regularly on national broadcasts and is a network news contributor. A licensed clinical social worker, she specializes in marriage and family therapy and eating disorders. She holds a PhD in urban health and clinical psychology.

MY REVIEW: Because I come from a family of worriers and spent almost fifty years as a pastor--I know a lot about worry. I have felt the need to educate myself on the subject and therefore have read about and studied the subject as much as possible. Dr. Mintle's book is one of the best I have read. She covers the subject from every possible angle.

The best part of the book is that Dr. Mintle is not only presenting her common sense advice gained from years of experience, she is presenting God's plan for finding peace and contentment. She does an excellent job of pointing readers to God and His Word. I smiled when I read what Ruth Graham wrote in her introduction: "My friend Dr. Linda Mintle has written a valuable book--it could be titled All You Wanted to Know About Worry but Were Too Anxious to Ask!" I recommend you read this book if you are worried and anxious. It will help!

(Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for giving me this book for review.)


Monday, October 10, 2011

How The church Will End Extreme Poverty
By Scott C. Todd, PhD

OVERVIEW: Fast Living is unapologetically hopeful. Riveted with eye-opening economic progress. And firmly rooted in God's words. Scott Todd's keen biblical insights and on-the-ground experience will change forever how we live the "true fast" of Isaiah 58. And in dramatic fashion, he reveals the truth: Jesus never said the poor will always be with "us." For a generation of Christians tired of cliches or messages of guilt, Fast Living lifts our expectations to live our noble callings and demonstrate the Good News in a history-making way. Skeptical? Bring your questions and your doubts. Take a personal journey with Dr Scott Todd into Fast Living and join a movement that will end abject poverty on a global scale.

AUTHOR: Dr. Scott Todd is the Senior Ministry Advisor for compassion International and one of the chief architects of 58: Combining his analytical background in academic research and immunology with his passion for the cause of Christ, he speaks plainly about what is possible when the church bands together in strategic actions fueled with compassion. He is a champion for the poor. An encourager of the Church. And a voice speaking to a new generation of Christians eager to make a difference.

MY REVIEW: Wow! What a book! What a challenge!

When I first read the words: "How The Church Will End Extreme Poverty," I was skeptical--very skeptical. I almost laughed. And I thought to myself, "Oh yeah. And just how do you expect that to happen?" Well, it took awhile for Dr. Todd to give me a satisfactory answer. In fact, I had to read the entire book. Oh, I started thinking differently a few chapters in. But I have known all my life about extreme poverty and I truly did believe Jesus said, the poor will always be with us. What an eye opener to read Jesus' statement in context and to see the true meaning of what He did say. 

Do I think, as Dr. Todd does, that we will end pandemic poverty by 2035? I don't know if we will, but I do now think that it is possible. I have come a long way in my thinking on this subject just by reading this book. I think you will too. I encourage you to buy a copy of this book soon. Let's be a part of the answer to world hunger.

(I want to thank CGrant & Company for giving me this book for review.)


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Freedom from Six Addictive Behaviors
By June Hunt

OVERVIEW: In How to Defeat Harmful Habits, beloved biblical counselor June Hunt offers expert direction through the complex world of addictions. With heartfelt compassion, June combines wisdom from God's Word with the latest in science and research to answer questions such as:
*What are the underlying causes of addiction?
*How can you genuinely help strugglers without enabling destructive behaviors?
*When trying to defeat a harmful habit, what works and what doesn't?
*How can those who struggle experience complete freedom--permanently?

AUTHOR: June Hunt is the founder of Hope for the Heart, a worldwide biblical counseling ministry that provides numerous resources for people seeking help. She hosts a live, two-hour call-in-counseling program called Hope in the Night, and is the author of Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook, How to Handle Your Emotions, How to Rise Above Abuse, and Seeing Yourself Through God's Eyes.

MY REVIEW: There are hurting people all around us, in our churches and schools, in our offices and homes. Most of them do not have the willpower to overcome strong addictions and so they go on struggling through life. Many times these people find ways to hide their addictions and they struggle alone.

If you find yourself struggling with one of the addictive behaviors found in this book, June Hunt can help you. She offers great help for: alcohol and drug abuse, anorexia and bulimia, gambling, overeating, and sexual addiction.

One of the things I liked best about the book was the gripping real-life stories of former strugglers. These stories provide proof that with God, all things really are possible, including lasting freedom from even the most destructive addictions. You may not need the information in this book for yourself but you may need it to help others you love and care about.

(Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for providing me with this copy for review.)


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Biblical Truth for Our Deepest Concerns
by James Merritt

OVERVIEW: We all have a list of questions we'd like to ask God if we could bend His ear. Popular pastor and author James Merritt reminds us that God is neither surprised nor offended by our concerns. In this book, he wrestles with some of the most frequently asked questions about faith, life, and the world around us--questions that perhaps you've been hesitant to ask the only One who can answer them:
*God, why do You allow innocent people to suffer?
*Are people of other faiths with You in heaven?
*Did You use evolution to create the universe?
*Is the bible really Your Word?
*Do You really have a plan for my life?

AUTHOR: Dr. James Merritt is a pastor, author, and host of the television program Touching lives, seen nationwide and in 122 countries weekly. Known for the ability to communicate timeless wisdom in down-to-earth language he's been featured on 60 Minutes, Fox News, and MSNBC.

MY REVIEW: This book contains Bible answers to ten questions that claw at us. For example: "If You're So Good, Why Do You Allow Innocents to Suffer?. As a pastor for almost fifty years I was confronted with this question about human suffering, more than any other. James Merritt does a good job of taking the Bible and answering that question. Will you agree with the answers he gives to all of the questions in the book? Maybe not. But you may, because he goes directly to the Scriptures for his answers and then he gives wonderful stories and illustrations of the truths he finds there. Merritt writes in a way that holds your attention and makes you keep turning the pages. I believe this is a book that will be of benefit to most Christians and one that you will want to share with others. Do I agree with every answer Dr. Merritt gives? There may be a few points we differ on--but not many. Read the book for yourself and see what you think about his answers to questions like, "How Can You Be One God in Three Persons?", "Did You Use Evolution to Create the Universe?"

(Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for giving me this book for review.)


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

We all have at least one difficult person we just can't seem to mesh with. Perhaps they're too demanding, never satisfied with our efforts, or just plain ornery.
We can--and must--set realistic boundaries that will decrease our own stress level and may even benefit our difficult person. Whether your difficult person is a friend, relative, coworker, boss, neighbor, or just an acquaintance, Allison Bottke can help you establish those necessary boundaries to bring sanity back into your life using her popular SANITY. acronym:
          S - STOP your own negative behavior
          A - ASSEMBLE a support group
          N - NIP excuses in the bud
          I - IMPLEMENT rules and boundaries
          T - TRUST your instincts
          Y - YIELD everything to God
ALLISON BOTTKE is the author of Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children and the founder of the SANITY Support Group Network, an international outreach based on the acclaimed Setting Boundaries book series with groups meeting around the world and online. She has written or edited more than 25 nonfiction and fiction books, and is a frequent guest on national radio and TV programs around the country.

I agree with Suellen Roberts, Founder and President Christian Women in Media Association who said: "Allison touches the heart of the matter in this inspired expression of help and hope for all who face challenging relationships in life."

For forty-seven years I was a pastor and served with four churches and many difficult people. Church people are good people but they also can be difficult people. Before that, as a teenager I worked in two different grocery stores. Many customers were difficult. Before that I was busy "growing up" with brothers and sisters. They too could be difficult. And I am confident that all these difficult people found me to be difficult too.

Life is difficult and the sooner we learn that, the better off we are. Setting Boundaries with Difficult People is a good book. It will give you the steps you need to maintain or find sanity when dealing with challenging relationships.

(Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for this review copy.)