Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Restoring Faith, Family, And Freedom
Before It's Too Late
By James Robison And Jay W. Richards

OVERVIEW: James Robison and Jay Richards recognize that the moral consensus that sustained our country has ceased to exist. But that doesn't mean all hope is lost. Robison and Richards offer a fresh and penetrating diagnosis of our cultural disease, how we contracted it, and what we must do to cure it. They examine politics, faith, and culture from a Christian perspective while also providing groundbreaking arguments to unite people of faith with all who cherish freedom and limited government. Together they tackle the tough moral, political, and economic issues that all Americans face, including: abortion, runaway government spending,marriage,poverty and prosperity, God and politics, energy and the environment, education and free trade.

AUTHORS: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a worldwide Christian relief organization. He is also the host of LIFE Today, a daily syndicated television program that reaches 300 million homes in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. He is the author of many books and has spoken to millions of people through evangelistic crusades since entering public ministry in 1962.

Jay W. Richards, PH.D., is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and the author of many books. He is the executive director of the documentaries The Call of the Entrepreneur and The Birth of Freedom. He has been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post and has appeared on Larry King live. He has also lectured on economic myths to members of the U.S. Congress.

MY REVIEW: Printed on the dust jacket of this book is a bold statement by Governor Mike Huckabee: "Indivisible can change forever how you see the world." I believe that will be true for many who read this excellent book. I'm not sure I have changed anything about the way I see the world but that's only true because I agree with everything I read. Now that's rare for someone who reads and reviews as many books as I do. I recommend this book without reservation.

I agree with Wayne Grudem, PhD, Research Professor, Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary who wrote: "A powerful, well-informed, persuasive argument that the 'social' and 'economic' issues ultimately will stand or fall together. James Robison and Jay Richards provide a fascinating analysis of all the major political issues today and show that conservative policies are both beneficial for the nation and consistent with Christian moral teachings." Wayne Grudem has also written an excellent book on this same subject: Politics According To The Bible―A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religion Liberty Commission wrote: "Indivisible is the kind of book that can alter the course of a nation if it is read and embraced by our nation's citizens." I agree with this bold statement and pray that many of our nation's citizens will read it.

(This book was given to me for this review by FaithWords a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

The generous folks at Hachette Book Group are allowing me to host this book giveaway for two (2) copies!
  • Winners are restricted to the US and Canada. No PO Box mailing addresses, please.
  • I must have a way of contacting you, so be sure to leave your email address in your comment
I'll close the comments at 6 PM March 14 and pick the 2 winners. I will contact the winners via email to get their mailing information. The winners will have three days to respond. If I do not hear from them within three days, I will select another winner(s). If you're interested, just say so in a comment and be sure to leave your email so I can contact you for your mailing address.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How America's Last Days Can Be 
Your Best Days
By Robert Jeffress

OVERVIEW: With a foreword by Governor Mike Huckabee, here is a bold road map to guide your attitudes and actions in these volatile last days. This book contains a timely message. Rarely in U.S. history have Christians been more discouraged and fearful about our country's future. Now Dr. Jeffress points a way out of this malaise, calling believers to action―not to restore a fading empire's glory, but to make an eternal impact on millions of eternal souls. It's evening in America. The remarkable society whose light once shone as a beacon to the world is dimming. This is the sobering assessment of Robert Jeffress in Twilight's Last Gleaming, yet he brings with that diagnosis a remarkably redemptive and hope-filled prescription for American believers.

AUTHOR: Robert Jeffress is an author and the senior pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. His bold, biblical, and practical approach to ministry has made him one of the country's most respected evangelical leaders and earned him a Daniel Award from Vision America. He regularly appears on major mainstream media outlets such as Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, The O'Reilly Factor, Cavuto on Business, ABC's Good Morning America, and CBS's The Early Show. He is the bible teacher on Pathway to Victory, seen on over 1,200 television stations and heard on more than 600 radio stations around the country.

MY REVIEW: What Robert Jeffress writes in this book should be prayerfully considered by all who care about the future of this great country. I can enthusiastically recommend this book. However, I do not agree with all that Jeffress has to say about selecting a presidential candidate. Yet in this review, I do not want to attack his views on this subject and give mine. That would be too lengthy and is not needed. What is needed is for you to read the book and decide for yourself.

We live in a time of economic chaos, spiraling immorality, cultural decay, terrorism, and global upheaval. We must do something! This book will help you know what to do. One of the most important things that must be done is to defeat President Obama and then select the right candidate. Selecting the right president for these troubled times will not be easy. Jeffress offers some guidelines for choosing the right man. Now, as I have already stated, I do not agree with all of his views on this important subject. But if your will prayerfully consider what he has to say you will have to think seriously about the subject and God will guide you in making your decision. This will be one of the most important decisions you will make this year!

(This book was given to me by B & B Media Group, Inc. for this review.)


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Discovering Divine Purpose and Provision
When Life Hurts
By Robert A. Schuller

OVERVIEW: Schuller chronicles a particularly dark period in his life and shares with the reader what he learned God was up to in his relationships, meeting his needs like health and finances, providing guidance in his emotional life, but most of all, in learning to know and trust God more.

Everyone gets "down to nothing" at some point in life, whether in relationships, finances, vision and courage for the future, physical or emotional exhaustion, or disappointment with God―everybody runs out of something at some point in life. It's exactly at those points that God does His best work. When we're down to nothing, God is up to something―truths to teach us, answers to satisfy us, assurance to bolster us, resources to supply us, or directions to guide us.

AUTHOR: Robert Anthony Schuller (born October 7, 1954, in Blue Island, Illinois) is an American televangelist, author, and television executive. He was formerly a minister on the Hour of Power weekly television program broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, California, where he was named senior pastor in 2006.[1][2] An ordained minister, he is the only son of Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller and Arvella Schuller. He is the best-selling author of Possibility Living and Walking in Your Own Shoes. In September 2008, he was removed from the Hour of Power television broadcasts while retaining his position as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. According to the Hour of Power website, he resigned as senior pastor on November 29, 2008. Schuller is now chairman of Comstar Media Fund, a media investment company.

MY REVIEW: This is a book for when life hurts. For some of us―that's often. Others of us only hurt occasionally. But we all hurt some of the time. Speaking out of his own hurts, Schuller helps us discover divine purpose and provision when we are hurting. Every person has three kinds of relationships in life: with God, with others and with self. The book encourages us to see that God is always up to something in all three areas of life.

The book is divided into four parts: Relationships, Needs, Emotions, and Knowing and Trusting God. Schuller says that when he was down to nothing that all four parts were critical in realizing what God was up to:

     *Relationships: with God, with self, and with others.
     *Needs: "down to nothing" means we have serious needs.
     *Emotions: fear, disappointment, guilt, search for peace―a roller-coaster
     *Knowing and trusting God: God is always there, always up to something.

This book will help us see how God works in our circumstances to prove Himself faithful regardless of why we find ourselves in need.

(This book was given to me for this review by FaithWords a division of Hachette Book Group)


Monday, February 20, 2012

It has happened before. It can happen again. We can change the course of history by praying.

"In the 1980's, a pastor named Laszlo Tokes took over a small Reformed church to minister to his fellow Hungarians, an oppressed minority living inside the borders of Romania. His predecessor had openly supported the communist Romanian government." Because he spoke out against injustice and protested government actions the police came out against him. Christians―Baptist, Orthodox, Reformed, and Catholic alike―poured out of their homes to surround the pastor's home as a wall of protection. They stood through day and night, singing hymns and holding candles. The pastor was arrested. But the crowd did not break up. Instead they moved downtown to the police station."Eventually the crowd swelled to 200,000, nearly the entire population of that area. A local pastor stood to address the protestors in an attempt to calm the rising anger and prevent a full-scale riot. He began with three words, "Let us pray." In one spontaneous motion that giant mass of farmers, teachers, students, doctors, and ordinary working people fell to their knees and recited the Lord's Prayer―a corporate act of civil disobedience. Within days the protest spread to the capital city of Bucharest, and a short time later the government that had ruled Romania with an iron fist toppled to the ground."

"During the darkest days of Communist rule the several million Poles welcomed Pope John Paul II to his homeland by shouting, in defiance of their Communist leaders, "We want God! We want God!" The chant went on for more than thirteen minutes, and historians trace the beginnings of the Polish Resistance and Solidarity to that dramatic day.

I predict that any conservative candidate for President of the United States that will call the nation to prayer and take as his or her motto: WE WANT GOD! WE WANT GOD! that people will turn out from the cities and towns across this country as they have never done before and the nation will be saved! I'm praying for that person to come forth. He or she has not appeared yet but I believe that prayer can change that.



(The stories and the words in quotes were taken from Philip Yancy's excellent book, Prayer―Does It Make Any Difference?")


Saturday, February 18, 2012

If you don't find God in the very next person you meet
it is a waste of time looking for him further.

Why do we miss so much of life--even God?  It's because we are going too fast. We need to slow down.

The signs of good and God are all around us but we need to slow down to see them.

Farmer John lived on a quite rural highway. But, as time went by, the traffic slowly built up to an alarming rate.

The traffic was so heavy and so fast that his chickens were being run over at an average of three to six a day.

The sheriff had the county workers go out and erect a sign that said:

SLOW: SCHOOL CROSSING.  The sign didn't do any good. He put up a new sign.

SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY. This sign didn't do any good either.

Farmer John asked if he could put up his own sign. The sheriff said he could. 



Slow down and see God!

(The thoughts for this post were taken from Leonard Sweet's excellent book, Nudge--Awakening Each Other To The God Who's Already There.)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Maximizing Physical Mental & Spiritual Health
By John M. Rowley

OVERVIEW: This book gives you a powerful playbook for your life. The Power of Positive Fitness enables you to: follow a plan for physical fitness leading to a lifetime of vitality and energy, take the confusion out of diet and exercise once and for all, develop the mental edge to break through fears that hold you back, practice Christian spiritual disciplines that will dramatically impact your health and happiness and learn the Lifestyle Restoration Cycle for success in all areas.

AUTHOR: John M. Rowley is a full-time author, speaker, television and radio personality. Wellness Director for the International Sports Science Association, and Public Relations Director for Powerhouse Gyms International. He also contributes to Martha Stewart Living, Fox News, Smart Money, and the Wall Street Journal. The media call him "America's Lifestyle Strategist." John and his wife, Cathy, live in Raleigh, North Carolina.

MY REVIEW: I agree with Coach Lou Holtz, who in his foreword to this book says, "This book gives you a powerful playbook for your life. Read it, enjoy the funny and inspiring stories, and soak in the simple-to-implement principles―but most importantly, use it." Be sure to linger on his words, "but most importantly, use it." Isn't that the key to a book like this? We will never know how good it really is until we put to use what we have learned. I am in the process of testing John Rowley's plan in my own life. I go to the gym four days a week and I take his advice with me and put it to the test.

In this book John Rowley gives us a fitness plan for physical, mental and spiritual fitness. He writes in an interesting and inspiring way. He makes you want to get up and get into action. If this was just a book on physical fitness it would be needed by many. But it is more than that. John helps us to see that being healthy involves how we think about ourselves, others and God.

I recommend this book to everybody looking for a "whole person" fitness plan. Now I want to mention my one disappointment. This is not a big thing but I would like the book even more if changes were made in the recipes offered. I will tell you that I grew up in Oklahoma, went to college in Texas and love comfort food. However, I have a good education and have traveled all over the world eating all kinds of food. I say that to let you know that I have not just walked out of the woods and into town for the first time. When I saw the recipes I asked myself, "Who eats this food? Will the common people receive it gladly?" Should the recipes be for biscuits and gravy? Absolutely not! But Grilled Octopus Salad with tomatoes and Arugula? Come on!

(I want to thank ACU Press & Leafwood Publishers for giving me this book for review without any requirements for a positive review.)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The longing of a woman's heart is to be wanted. "She wants to be more than noticed---she wants to be wanted."

She wants to be number one to somebody.

She's probably not going to tell you but she would love to be wanted by George Clooney.

But since that's not going to happen---and she knows it, she will wake up from her dream loving to be wanted by someone who really does want her.

Women want to be pursued, fought for---yes, but they also want to be part of the adventure.

She wants to be caught up in something greater than herself.

She wants to be wanted in every way one can be wanted!

I like the way John Eldredge describes the dream of a woman's heart of the knight in shining armor who comes to rescue her. He goes on to say:

So Zach comes back for Paula in An Officer and a Gentleman
Frederick comes back for Jo in Little Women,
and Edward returns to pledge his undying love for 
Eleanor in Sense and Sensibility.

It's true Charlotte, I'm no knight in shining armor and maybe our life hasn't been a great adventure, but know this:



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pasadena brings to mind roses. The Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade.

It's a pleasure for me to think of both of them. I always watch both on television and once I was right out there on Colorado Boulevard watching the parade live and in color.

But for me, Pasadena means more than two roses---Bowl and Parade.

FULLER SEMINARY. I attended this splendid seminary when some of the greatest theologians, professors and preachers in the world were associated with it: Edward Carnell, Carl Henry, Harold John Ockenga. I was privileged to sit at the feet of Wilbur Smith, William LaSor and Geoffrey W. Bromiley. What a joy.

NAZARENE BOOK STORE. You say, "But Clif, you have been to book stores all over the world, why would you care so much about this one?" I'm just sentimental about things like this. It was one of the first book stores I started going to on a regular basis just after graduation. I was with my first church full-time. I was young, ignorant but eager to learn. The church members were kind and patient with me and called me their "little preacher." There was so much I needed and wanted to know---for them. This book store opened the door to me to a wonderful world of knowledge. And going there was a family affair. Our young family: my wife, son and daughter loved going there.

WALT'S BAG OF CHICKEN. Just a little stand. Barely room for Walt to move around in and do his "magic." It sat out on Pasadena Boulevard in front of a skating rink. Nothing fancy here. We ate in the car. Loved every minute of it. Even now, these many years later, my wife or daughter will occasionally say, "I would really like to have some of Walt's chicken."

Yes, Pasadena is a grand, old city. We went there often when we only lived 11 miles away in the town of El Monte. We now live 371 miles away. I could visit the seminary again---but not as a student. I don't think the book store is there anymore and even if it is I can't go there as a young preacher building a library. My library is already built. Walt's Bag of Chicken? It's gone too! Yes, of course they still sell chicken in Pasadena. But what is gone is Walt, his little stand, our young family, eating in the car. All gone.

What is left are memories. Memories of youth, happy days, days of pleasure---pleasure in Pasadena!


Monday, February 06, 2012

Yes, I'm an introvert!

No, I didn't just become one on retirement from almost fifty years of preaching. I have always been an introvert.

Even though I spent years preaching, giving speeches, emceeing programs, counseling, going to parties my ideal celebration was and is a small get-together, rather than a big party. I am energized by spending time alone. I hate meetings!

 How about you? Do you "zone out" if too much is going on? Are you energized by spending time alone? Is your ideal celebration a small get-together, rather than a big party?

Good. You're an introvert. You should celebrate this as an inner strength.


I want to recommend two books to you:

THE INTROVERT ADVANTAGE: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World
By Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.

QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
By Susan Cain

As is always true, you may not agree with everything in these books but believe me---if you read with an open mind these books will bless your life.


Friday, February 03, 2012

Don't say it if you are not going to do it.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Be a person of integrity.

I love the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 23:16-22. I especially like the way the Message reads. Probably because I can understand it. 

"You're hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, 'If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that's nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that's serious.' 17 What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? 18 And what about this piece of trivia: 'If you shake hands on a promise, that's nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that's serious'? 19 What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? 20 A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.


Signs From America's Past That Signal Our Nation's Future
By Dr. Richard G. Lee

OVERVIEW: In The coming Revolution Dr. Richard G. Lee powerfully explains that a new revolution is coming. It may be in the streets of our nation's capitol―as we saw in Europe last year―or, better yet, in voting booths across America. Signs from our nation's past and present ring out the truth: a second American revolution is near at hand.

Using this country's rich heritage of liberty and democracy as a roadmap toward where we could be headed, Dr. Lee brings thoughtful clarity to the ever-growing probability of such a revolution in America; illuminating the important reminder that the voices of every revolution have been―and always will be―the ordinary every man.

AUTHOR: Dr. Richard G. Lee is the founding pastor of First Redeemer Church in metropolitan Atlanta. he is also the speaker for the award-winning There's Hope America television series and is widely recognized as a popular spokesman on the influence of America' religious history and its impact upon today's culture. Dr. Lee is a frequent speaker at national conventions and on university campuses and media outlets across the country.

MY REVIEW: Mike Huckabee calls this book "A moving call for the resurrection of the great American Spirit." Lt. Colonel Oliver L. North says it is "A powerful reminder about why America is great and worth fighting for." I agree with what both of these men said and also with Michael Reagan who said, "Within this book Dr. Richard Lee clearly reveals how the intolerable conditions being forced upon the American people by Washington's current  administration will lead to a certain and powerful explosion of predictable consequences."

I believe every American needs to read this book to discover how they can be a part of this country's social, political, and moral reform. This book makes it clear that faith in God will provide the guidance needed by patriotic Americans for shaping the future of this country.

(I want to thank Thomas Nelson Publishing Company for providing this book for review.)