Wednesday, November 21, 2012

By Bob Hostetler

OVERVIEW: Quit Going To Church is about identifying and correcting the ways we have forgotten―or departed from―the way of Jesus. This book will ruffle more than a few feathers. At times, the going gets really hard, and you will be challenged and stretched, turned upside down, and maybe even broken. But the author is praying that when you are done reading you will be more in love with God than ever before and more active in bringing his kingdom in and throughout our communities.

AUTHOR: Bob Hostetler is a writer, editor, pastor, and speaker from southwestern Ohio. His twenty-seven books, which include the award-winning Don't Check Your Brains at the Door (co-authored with Josh McDowell) and American Idols, have sold over 3 million copies. He has won two Gold Medallion Awards, three Ohio Associated Press awards, and an Amy Foundation Award. He is a co-founder of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio. He and his wife Robin have two grown children, Aubrey and Aaron.

MY REVIEW: Here I go again. Yes, this is one of the best books I have read this year. And yes, I know that I say that often and that I have said it for the last two or three books I have reviewed. Suspicious? You might say that. For the suspicious minded you might think that I am writing a positive review for every book I review to please the publishers. I can only hope that you know me well enough to know that I am sincere when I post a disclaimer at the end of every review stating that this is a fair and honest review and all opinions are my own. Now, getting that out of the way I want to move on to the review of Quit Going To Church which is an excellent book.

I agree with Leonard Sweet, author of Real Church in a Social Network World who said, "...an astonishing book...entertaining in its form, and profound in its argument." When I read the title, Quit Going to Church I didn't know what to think. I had no idea what that could mean. But it's so simple. Bob Hostetler is arguing that we should stop just going to church and be the church. I think you have to read chapter one to get the full impact of that statement. All of the chapters are as challenging: Quit Saying Your Prayers, Quit Reading Your Bible, Quit Sharing Your Faith and eight more just as challenging and instructive. I especially liked, Quit Trying To Be Good.

There is an Epilogue: "The Scandal of God's Love" from Bob Hostetler's upcoming book, How to Fall in Love with God. I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

Get this book, read it and start living it.

(I received this book from Leafwood Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.)


Monday, November 12, 2012

A Theography
by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

OVERVIEW: Jesus is written for the average reader as well as scholars. Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola (authors of Jesus Manifesto) unfold the greatest story ever told in a fresh and invigorating way. So whether you are a seasoned Christian, a new believer, or someone who is intrigued by Jesus, this book unveils the discoveries of a lifetime, transforming the tired and familiar way we have read the Bible into an electrifying journey of rediscovering Christ.

AUTHORS: Leonard Sweet is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University (NJ), a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Fox University (OR), and a weekly contributor to sermons.com and the podcast Napkin Scribbles. With some of the highest "influence" rankings of any religious figure in the worlds of social media (Twitter,Facebook), and a pioneer in online learning, he has authored numerous articles, sermons, and more than fifty books. Frank Viola is a popular conference speaker and the best-selling author of numerous books on the deeper Christian life. His blog Beyond Evangelical is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today.

MY REVIEW: "In this compelling work, authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola reclaim the entire Bible as a gripping narrative about Jesus Christ. Virtually every other "Jesus biography" begins with the nativity account in Bethlehem. In this groundbreaking book, Sweet and Viola begin before time, in the Triune God, and tell the complete interconnected story of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus: A Theography is the first book ever written to combine historical Jesus studies with biblical theology, crafting together one breathtaking saga that tells the Jesus story in both Old and New Testaments. This flagship book demonstrates clearly that every bit of Scripture is a part of the same stunning drama, what the authors refer to as the theography of Jesus Christ."

I have been reviewing books on my blog for years and this is the first time I have ever started my review by quoting words directly from the dust jacket. But I am doing so this time because those words review this book in a way that I can not. I also am writing this review before I have finished reading the entire book. I am only half way through but I have stopped reading and started writing about this book for two reasons: I am so excited I can't wait to get this information out to my followers and I do not have to wait to see if my opinion changes. It will not. I recommend this book without reservation.

I preached for almost fifty years, my library shelves contain many books about Jesus―but none like this one. I have been reading this book slowly because I am underlining, high lighting and making notes on almost every page. "The Bible is often viewed as a disjointed array of stories, events, laws, propositions, truths, ethical statements, and moral lessons." But this book demonstrates that the sixty-six books of the Bible are woven together by a single storyline. It's the story of Jesus Christ.

I don't care how many books you have about Jesus. Buy this one! You need it.

(I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Thursday, November 08, 2012

When I was eleven years old I lived with my mother in a small apartment attached to the back of a grocery store. My mother rented from the friendly grocer and his wife.

One afternoon I came home from school to find my mother very ill. I asked if I could go to a friends house. And to this day, I am ashamed to say that I was very upset that she asked me to stay home. She was much sicker than I realized and the Dr. had her taken by ambulance one hundred miles away to Oklahoma City where she died a few days later.

She was my mother and teacher for only eleven years but during those years she taught me, among other things, to respect authority.

I respected her! I always said, "Yes mam, thank you and please." Out of respect to her I came directly home from school before going any other place.

I respected school teachers, principals, judges, lawyers, policemen, crossing guards, elderly people, anybody older than me----ALL ADULTS.

Did they all deserve respect? Probably not. But most did. Most did!

That was then. What about now? Do all adults deserve respect? No! How about most of them? No! And I'm sorry about that. But that's the world we live in. Some do deserve respect, of course but not most of them.

I am being told to respect the office of President and I do. But it is extremely difficult to separate the office from the man.

I see Bill Clinton in the Oval Office with his pants unzipped, you know what hanging out,  and and a young girl doing you know what to his you know what.Trust? Respect? No. Hell No!! And this is the man that a few days ago told his audience they shouldn't trust Republicans because they were liars. And yet this President was impeached for not telling the truth under oath.

And now there's Obama. I believe that at the worst he allowed those Americans in Bengasi to be killed and at the least he is lying about it, and I have no doubt about his lying. IF there is nothing wrong with his school records he would not spend thousands of dollars to keep them secret. I believe he knew about and maybe authorized the Fast And Furious fiasco that resulted in the death of an American security guard. The list of his failures goes on and on. So no, I do not respect him as President.

"Well Clif, surely you respect mothers just because they are mothers, don't you?" No!

I know mothers who have let their good for nothing, low down boy friends sexually molest their little daughters---not once, but again and again. Respect? If I had my way they would both be hanged in the town square.

I'm one of the most respectful people you will ever meet. But I am sick and tired of mealy mouthed, gutless
people running around smiling in the face of EVIL and thinking they are modeling Jesus.

Jesus would have taken a whip to Bill Clinton and the mother's boy friend---and especially the mother.



Wednesday, November 07, 2012

I never thought I would live to see the day. Yesterday we turned our backs on Mom and apple pie.

Why did Mitt Romney lose the election?

He is too decent. He believes in the old fashioned values of hard work, honesty, kindness, courtesy---saying, "Yes mam," "Thank you," and "Please."

Many today think nothing of defecating on a police car, having sex in public, and telling anybody who doesn't like it to go to hell.

Mitt Romney would have put people back to work and therein lies the rub. WORK?  It scares people to death.

In my mind I keep hearing a black woman's voice saying loudly over and over, "Obama gave me a phone, Obama gave me a phone, Obama gave me a phone."

He bought you a phone did he? Well, most of us worked for the money to buy our own phone.

There was no way Romney was going to defeat Santa Claus Obama.

Too many today want "stuff" given to them. Don't talk about work. That's scary.

Obama intends to take from those who work and re-distribute to those who refuse to work. He says, "It's the fair thing to do."

The values I grew up with are dead and gone. I don't see them returning in my lifetime.

I got my first job when I was in the ninth grade. I worked my way through college. Nobody gave me a dime.
I preached for fifty years and when I retired the churches had not provided me with a retirement plan. Charlotte and I live on Social Security and what we were able to save. Needless to say I don't want Obama taking anything from me to distribute to anybody.

Charlotte and I have always been givers. We give to the local church, to missions, to benevolence around the world. We have gone to mission points to help with famine feeding and drilling for water.

We don't want the government that can't handle anything right to take money from us and waste it on crazy projects.

Shows like "Father Knows Best" and "The Bill Cosby Show" have no place in today's society.

I know a wonderful mother who's daughter talked to her like she was a dog and then pinched her until she had big marks on her arms. So much for showing respect. Yet this daughter says she respects Obama.

Apple pie? Well, that used to stand for the American way. You remember: "As American as Mom and apple pie."

Well my friends, those days are gone.

Today it's "I'll screw anybody, anytime I want to and I want you to pay for the condoms that is if I bother to use one. If not, I want you to pay for my abortion. If I get aids I want you to wring your hands, weep and feel that you failed me in some way. And no I don't want to work. I want you to work and share with me. I need a color television, the newest and best phone and whatever else you have, I want it too."