Monday, August 29, 2011



Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Memoir
Carolyn Weber

OVERVIEW: When Carolyn Weber arrived at Oxford for her graduate studies, she felt no need for God. Her childhood in a broken but loving family taught her to reply on reason and intellect--not faith--for survival. Eager and expectant, Carolyn set out to study Romantic literature in one of the most inspiring and beautiful academic environments in the world. She had no idea that she was about to embark on a love story of her own--one much deeper, more colorful, and more surprisingly God shaped than any she'd read before.

From issues of fatherhood, feminism, and doubt to doctrine and love, Weber explores the intricacies of coming to faith with an honesty and insight echoing that of the poets and writers she studied. Rich with illustration and literary and poetic references, Surprised by Oxford is at once gritty and lyrical, humorous and spiritually perceptive.

Documented over the course of her first school year and organized according to the Oxford liturgical academic calendar, Surprised by Oxford tells the real-life tale of a young woman's search for--and eventual discovery of--purpose, identity, and what it really means to be human.  (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: Carolyn Weber holds her BA from the University of Western Ontario and her MPhil and her DPhil degrees from Oxford University. She has been Associate Professor of Romantic Literature at Seattle University, and has also taught at Westmont College, University of San Francisco, and Oxford University. Carolyn and her husband share the joy of parenting three spirited children in Santa Barbara, CA, and London, Canada.

MY REVIEW: One of the most delightful books I have read in a long time. I agree with Alister McGrath who said, "A hugely readable journey of cultural and spiritual discovery, sparkling with wit and wisdom." This book should be read by everyone who doubts that thoughtful people can be Christian. From the first page to the last this splendid book reads like a fast paced novel that you don't want to put down. Having visited Oxford, and being in love with England, I thrilled at every mention of places and things I remembered from my visit there. 

I wanted to read about the author's journey from being an agnostic to becoming a Christian. I also was greatly interested in her journey to faith and her worldview because it was so different from mine. I honestly thought however that I might be bored by it all. I couldn't have been more wrong. Far from being boring this is one of the most engaging and interesting books I have read this year. This is Carolyn Webber's first book but I predict it will not be her last--at least I pray it won't! This woman is a writer!

(This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing for this review.)


Friday, August 19, 2011

Honor Begins At Home
A novelization by Randy Alcorn
Based on the screenplay by Alex Kendrick & Stephen Kendrick

OVERVIEW: As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, and their partners willingly stand up to the worst the world can offer. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.

They know that God desires to turn the hearts of father to their children, but their children are beginning to drift farther and farther away from them. Will they be able to find a way to serve and protect those who are most dear to them?

When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God...and to their children?

Bestselling author Randy Alcorn brings the heart-pounding drama of the sreenplay by Alex and Stephen Kendrick to this inspiring novel that also includes subplots, characters, and backstory not seen in the movie.

AUTHORS: Randy Alcorn is the founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries. Prior to starting EPM, he served as a pastor for fourteen years. He has spoken around the world and has taught on the adjunct faculties of Multnomah Bible College and Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

Alex Kendrick is an associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist church. Since 2002 he has been writing,directing, producing and acting in movies. To date he has received more than twenty awards for his work, including best screenplay, best production, and best feature film.

Stephen Kendrick is an associate pastor at Sherwood Baptist church. Kendrick Brothers Productions in association with Sherwood Pictures has released four films. Stephen has cowritten, produced, and held key roles in all of the Sherwood Pictures movies.

MY REVIEW: This is an important book. Very important! Why? Because so many of our homes are in trouble. Not all of them, of course--but many. This book and the movie can help. I like the theme of the book: "Honor Begins At Home." Alcorn and the Kendrick brothers hit the problem dead center. The fathers in this story are "missing the mark" as fathers and they don't seem to even know it. Tragedy wakes them up and leaves them wrestling with their hopes, fears, faith and their fathering.

Trying to write an honest review I have to say that I found this book hard to read. I had to return again and again to reread pages because I kept confusing the characters. Now maybe that's a problem I have with reading novels. However, I don't think so since I have not had this problem with other books. I also had a problem staying interested in the flow of the story. I was pleased to read other reviews of this book and find that the reviewers did not have my problems. That's good.  So I will say again, this is a very important book. It is a needed book and I hope many will read it and that our homes will become stronger for God.

(Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this ARC.)


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Answering the Question Everyone Is Asking
By Mark Hitchcock

OVERVIEW: What can we know for certain about the Antichrist? Curiosity about the Antichrist is running high these days. As more and more people sense that we are drawing nearer to the end times, they're asking who the Antichrist is, what he will do, and when he will arrive. Among the more provocative questions are:
* Is it possible to identify the Antichrist before he rises to power?
*What are the signs that his arrival is near?
*What is the significance of the number 666?
*Will God allow the Antichrist to do whatever he pleases?
*Is the Antichrist alive on earth today?
This question-and-answer guide from prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock provides a fascinating tour of all the Bible's key passages about the Antichrist. You'll learn what you can know with certainty and how it affects your life right now.

AUTHOR: Mark Hitchcock is the author of more than 20 books related to the end times, including Cashless and The Amazing Claims of Bible Prophecy. He earned his ThM and PhD degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and is the senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. He also serves as an adjunct professor at DTS.

MY REVIEW: This is a well written book fully documented with Scriptures on a topic of great interest. But if you read the book hoping to be given the name of a person who is the Antichrist, you will be disappointed. When you read the last page you will not be able to jump up and down and declare with great joy, "I know who the Antichrist is, it's __________  ______________." And then you fill in the blanks. It just can't be done. Mark Hitchcock can't do it, you can't do it, I can't do it---nobody can! Not yet!

If you are interested in the end times you will appreciate this book. Mark Hitchcock is the author of more than 20 books on that subject. If you have an interest in knowing as much as possible about the Antichrist this book will be a great help. If you are fearing and dreading the Antichrist and worrying about things related to him, this book will help you find peace by answering many of your questions and fears.

I like the advice from Kim Riddlebarger that is offered as the last words of the book: "Instead of fearing and dreading the Antichrist and worrying about the latest events in the Middle East or whether the number 666 appears on a household product ID, we should be longing for the second coming of Jesus Christ. For Satan and his cronies have already been defeated by the blood and righteousness of Jesus, although for a short time they will run amuck because they know their time is short. Regarding the fate of our enemy, Martin Luther perhaps said it best: "One little word shall fell him." Amen. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus."

(This book was given to me free by FirstWildCard and Harvest House Publishers for this review)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reimagining The Way You Relate To God
By Skye Jethan

 Skye Jethani has written a  book that  will help you stop living your life under, over, from and for God and start living in communion with Him.

Skye Jethani is the managing editor of Leadership Journal, a publication of Christianity Today International. Skye also contributes regularly to Catalyst Leadership, Relevant, and The Huffington Post. Skye's blog, SKYEBOX, was awarded second prize for the best Christian blog by the Evangelical Press Association.

Skye has been featured in newspapers around the country and is a frequent speaker at ministry conferences such as Catalyst, Q, and Moody Pastor's Conference.

Skye earned a Masters of Divinity degree in 200l from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He and his wife, Amanda, currently live in Wheaton, Illinois, with their three children Zoe, Isaac, and Lucy.

Jim Belcher, author of Deep Church said, "Cleverly using four prepositions--under, over, from, and for--Skye Jethani convincingly diagnoses the reigning paradigms of life, whether secular or religious, and shows how each one has captured some element of truth but is in the end deficient. With
lays out what it really means to know and experience communion with God."

The most impressive quote I have read about this book and one that I completely agree with was  written by Scot McKnight. He wrote: "This book will do for our generation what J. B. Phillips, in his classic Your God Is Too Small, did for his. With reveals views of God that can't satisfy and opens up the possibility for exploring a life with God that more than satisfies."

This book has blessed my life. However, I did not just race through it. I found myself returning again and again to reread many passages. I could not with one reading retain in my mind what Jethani meant by living life under, over, from and for God. When I finally did get that I was able to go on and understand clearly his meaning of living with God. That doesn't mean that I find living with God easy--not at all. I now understand it. I just need to learn to do it!

This is a challenging book and one that I believe every Christian will benefit from reading. It will help you see yourself and others differently. I also recommend it to those who haven't had a relationship with God but who want to. 

(I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing for this review.)


Thursday, August 04, 2011

By Erwin & Rebecca Lutzer 

OVERVIEW: In this book, Bible teacher Erwin Lutzer and his wife Rebecca have carefully selected more than 100 Bible verses that speak directly to the most important issues of life, and explained the very practical ways those verses can encourage  and strengthen you in every possible circumstance. you will find a treasure full of God's truth to guide you and transform you in your daily walk with Him.

AUTHORS: Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, Senior Pastor of The Moody Church since 1980, is an award-winning author of more than 20 books, including One Minute After You Die. He's a celebrated international conference speaker and the featured speaker on three radio programs heard worldwide. Rebecca Lutzer, an RN, has used her gifts of hospitality, mercy and teaching to minister to many women. She and Erwin coauthored Jesus, Lover of a Woman's Soul. Erwin and Rebecca have been married more than 40 years, are the parents of three married daughters, and have seven grandchildren.

MY REVIEW: The purpose of this book is to bring about real change in your life and it will if you take the time to memorize these Scripture passages and grow in your understanding of the basic doctrines and teachings of the Bible. The discipline to grow in "the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18) lies at the heart of Christian maturity. 

I found the structure of this book easy to follow. The verses are listed at the beginning of each chapter and are followed by a commentary explaining the meaning and significance of these passages. There are nearly 40 chapters that introduce you to almost 100 life changing Bible verses.I especially liked the fact that the authors used many stories and illustrations to explain and help you understand the Scriptures you are memorizing.

If you want to know what God has to say about the things that matter most to you, you will want to get this book. Some of the Scripture topics are: Adversity, anxiety, eternal life, grace, heaven, hell, love, peace, and many more. 

(I want to thank Harvest House Publishers for providing this book for review.)