Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Touching Others With Your Words
By Charles R. Swindoll

OVERVIEW: Bestselling author and master communicator Charles Swindoll has been effectively speaking to others for over fifty years. In Saying It Well: Touching Others with Your Words he shares his secrets on how to talk so people will listen. Filled with techniques, stories, and models that clearly explain the formulas for successful speaking, Swindoll teaches readers the foundational principles for how to communicate, from preparing for a speech, organizing thoughts, and filtering out the superfluous to overcoming fears, grabbing the listener's attention, and knowing how and when to stop. With humorous stories and inventive, practical tips, one of America's premier communicators shares decades of experience on how to speak with authority in every situation, persuade others to consider the reader's perspective, overcome the reader's fears of public speaking,and love others more effectively with the reader's words. He also shares his personal story and his journey to becoming a world-famous speaker.

AUTHOR: Dr. Charles Swindoll has devoted more than four decades to two passions: an unwavering commitment to the practical communication and application of God's Word, and an untiring devotion to seeing lives transformed by God's grace. Swindoll graduated magna cum laude from Dallas Theological Seminary and has since been honored with four doctorates. For his teaching on Insight for Living, he has received the Program of the year award and the Hall of Fame award from the National Religious Broadcasters, as well as multiple book awards.

MY REVIEW: "Who is the best preacher you have on tape?" I asked the lady in the church office. She didn't hesitate. "Have you heard Charles Swindoll?" "No." I said. "I have never even heard of him." That was many years ago. I borrowed a couple of cassette tapes from the church library. That was over thirty years ago. I have been listening to Charles Swindoll ever since. I have heard him preach from his pulpit when he lived in California and I have heard him speak at Bible conferences. I have listened to more of his sermons on tape than I can remember and I have read most of his books. He is one of my favorite preachers!

I recommend this book to all preachers―especially young ones and to anyone who speaks publicly and wants to touch others with their words. Swindoll not only knows how to say it well from the lectern he says it well in writing. Because of my great fondness for him as a person, I especially enjoyed the way he shared his personal life. Even though it is only January, I can say without doubt―this will be one of my favorite books of the year.

(I am thankful to FaithWords of Hachette Book Group for giving me this book for review.)


Friday, January 27, 2012

Rediscovering His Truth In An Age
Of Mass Marketed Spirituality
By Ravi Zacharias

OVERVIEW: In this book, bestselling author and radio evangelist Ravi Zacharias analyzes the "spiritual" movements of the past forty years, debunking thier claims and returning the reader to the classic, biblical definition of Jesus' person, work and teaching. Focusing on Christianity's centrally important tenet—the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ—Zacharias makes a passionate, imaginative, and convincing case that the biblical Jesus is the real Jesus.

AUTHOR: Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias (born 1946) is an Indian-born, Canadian-American evangelical Christian apologist. Zacharias is the author of numerous Christian books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner Can Man Live Without God?[1] and bestsellers Light in the Shadow of Jihad[2] and The Grand Weaver.[3] He is the founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, host of the radio programs Let My People Think and Just Thinking, and visiting professor at Wycliffe Hall of Oxford, where he teaches apologetics and evangelism.[4] Zacharias studied as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University and held the chair in Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary from 1981 to 1984.[5] Commentator Chuck Colson referred to Zacharias as "the great apologist of our time."[6]

MY REVIEW: Ravi Zacharia has done it again. This is one amazing book! This is a book about the deep, irrepressible spiritual hungers we all have. These are confusing times we live in. We live in a world that mass-markets numerous paths to truth. But of course all these paths do not lead to truth. Zacharia has given careful research and deep thought to this subject. After traveling in numerous countries and many conversations over a period of forty years he is able to offer thoughts that lead to truth. Many today say they are not "into" religion but they are "into" spirituality. Ravi Zacharia looks into all of this, the forms of new spirituality and the religions that have provided the underlying worldviews from which these popular forms of spirituality have emerged. Finally, he looks at what it is about the message of Jesus Christ that, if properly understood, still offers the beauty, the power, and the only hope of any future for mankind. At the point of his conversion C.S. Lewis said, "I thought I had come to a place. I found out I had come to a person." that's what this book is about: examining the places we wish to be and those we should walk away from until we find the Person for whom we are looking. This is an important book. I recommend it without reservation!

(My thanks to FaithWords of Hachette Book Group for this book to review.)


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Answer to the Big Questions In life
By Edward T. Welch

OVERVIEW: Peer pressure, codependency, shame, low self-esteem--these are just some of the words used to identify how people are controlled by others' opinions. Why is it so important to be liked? Why is rejections so traumatic? Edward T. Welch's insightful, biblical answers to these questions show that freedom from others' opinions and genuine, loving relationships grow as we learn about ourselves, others, and God. This interactive book includes questions for individual or group study and is suitable for teenagers and young adults.

AUTHOR: Edward T. Welch, MDiv. PhD, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He has counseled for thirty years and is the best-selling author of many books including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression: A Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction; Running Scared: Fear,Worry, and the God of Rest; and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. He and his wife Sheri have two married daughters and four grand-children.

MY REVIEW: This is a book I needed to read sixty-five years ago. I agree with Walt Mueller, Founder and President of Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, who said, "This book is life-giving. And since God gives us limited years on his earth, it's a book for those who are young to read sooner rather than later!" This is especially for younger people but it will challenge people of every age. I especially like the way the author brings Scripture alive to help with this problem. The book is well written and easy to read. Most of us know people who are trying to win approval and escape rejection. You can bless them by giving them a copy of this book that just may challenge them and change their lives.

(Thanks to B & B Media Group, Inc. for giving me this book for review.)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Talented young preachers are putting forth a message lifting up Christ while putting down religion.

It sounds good. I know I certainly worship Christ and not religion.

But at its heart the message of Jesus versus religion is wrong.

Many keep embracing this message while saying, "Yes, this is wrong but we need to excuse it because of his youth."

I'm sorry but that is just not right. We need to lovingly correct this mistake not excuse it!

Please read, think and pray about the words of Kevin DeYoung as quoted in a Christianity Today article by Glenn T. Stanton posted 1-20-2012:

If you want Jesus, you have to take him for who He was. You can't re-construct a stripped down, organic anti-corporate version of what you think He should be. Jesus' gospel is a scandal to all of us, the hipsters and the geezers. It's different than your fabulous pair of pre-worn skinny jeans.
James tells us about religion, that there is some religion that God is quite big on.
So it's not a question of Jesus and religion or Jesus minus religion. It's Jesus and what kind of religion. And this is a bit of the problem with the "Just give me Jesus" and the "Jesus Plus Nothing" approach to faith. We'd like to make it all that simple. Jesus never did. He just didn't. He gives His church certain trappings for good reason.
Does the system of religion (of belief and practice) take you regularly to Christ, compelling you to cast yourselves before him in adoration and upon him in desperation? Or does it given you a false sense of your own self-sufficiency and superiority based on the system itself because it fits with your sense of right?
One is what each of us need. The other is rooted in the original and devastating sin of pride. So no, religion is not the problem. Our rewriting the script is.


Monday, January 23, 2012

The days of this year seem to be moving forward at a rapid pace.

 Regardless of how I describe it, this year is moving. It may be sinking. I'm not sure. If so, it is not a forward movement but a downward one. You can see I am confused. The year is definitely going. I'm just not sure if it is going up, down, forward or where the heck it is going---but it is going.

Yes, I am amazed that this month is almost gone. Kaput. Gone.

Don't ask me why I am amazed, surprised. It is always this way. "Here today. Gone tomorrow."

Every year, for fifty-three years when we take down our Christmas tree, my wife says, "We will just turn around a few times and be putting it back up." Of course it never happens that way but she always says it---and always will.

Why? Because life seems to be "flying" by. 

"What is your life? You are a mist that
appears for a little while and then vanishes."
                                                                                               James 4:14

I have already done a lot of "stuff" in this new year. The Lord willing, I will do a lot more.

I want to try and do everything I do to the glory of God. He does so much for me!

Yes. January is going. But February is coming. I'm kicking it up a notch into pure joy!


Saturday, January 21, 2012


Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,

to love what I ought to love,

to praise what delights thee most,

to value what is precious in Thy sight,

to hate what is offensive to Thee.

Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,

nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men,

but to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual,

and above all things always to inquire what is the good pleasure of They will.

---Thomas A Kempis (Germany/C. 1380-1471)


Friday, January 13, 2012

I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all
                                    things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
                                                                                                  Philippians 3:8

Remember Jim Elliot's words: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." That is what Paul experienced. He lost his religion and his reputation, but he gained far more than he lost. In fact, the gains were so thrilling that Paul considered all other things nothing but garbage in comparison!

No wonder he had joy---his life did not depend on the temporal things of the world but on the eternal values found in Christ. Paul had the spiritual mind and looked at the things of earth from heaven's point of view. People who live for things are never really happy because they must constantly protect their treasures and worry lest they lose their value. Not so believers with the spiritual mind; their treasures in Christ can never be stolen, and they never lose their value (see Matt. 6:19-21).

Perhaps now is a good time for you to become an accountant and evaluate the things that matter most to you.

(Taken from Warren W. Wiersbe's book Pause for Power--A 365-Day Journey Through The Scriptures.)


Thursday, January 12, 2012

I agree with Ben Stein who said in a recent article, "Time goes by so amazingly, incredibly fast."

New Year's Day 2012! I turned around a few times and here it is the 12th day of 2012!

It was only "yesterday" that I was sitting in the first grade classroom at Emerson School in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Now here I am at age 77 sitting in my upstairs study in Scottsdale, Arizona. I'm sitting in front of a computer---something I had never even heard of or dreamed of back in the first grade.

I was born in the thirties, lived through the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and have raced from 2000 to 2012. I'm tired!

But not exhausted!

I cherish the time I have left.

I adore my wife, my children and my friends. Many of my friends are gone and time is drawing to a close for several more. We all need to appreciate and enjoy our loved ones while we can.

Enjoy your days. They are slipping away--moment by moment.

I expect to shortly hear, "Dinner is ready dear." Charlotte's meatloaf. I love it. I will thoroughly enjoy it! 

These are the days my friends. Thank God for them.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

CLOTHING MATTERS: WHAT WE WEAR TO CHURCH, What we put on may be more important than we think is the title of a wonderful article in the January 11, 2012 issue of Christianity Today.

When I say wonderful I mean just that---WONDERFUL!

Do you ever read something and think to yourself, "Wow, I wish I had written that"? Do you? I do! Occasionally. And today was one of those occasions.

Author Duane Litfin served for 17 years as president of Wheaton College. His article about the clothing we wear to church has really touched a sensitive nerve with me. Yes, I realize the reason I appreciate his article so much is because he agrees with me.

People who wouldn't dream of going to a loved ones funeral or wedding dressed casually assemble for worship of the Lord looking like they just came in from skid row. And if they indeed did just come from skid row their clothing would be appropriate. It would be the best they had.

Following a recent memorial service I attended a lady said to me, "I no longer come here. I find it hard to worship. The preacher doesn't need to dress up but he comes looking like he is going fishing." I felt like saying, "Yes, but so does everybody sitting on the pews." But all those people, including the preacher were "dressed up" for the funeral that day.

Enough from me! I can't begin to explain this as well as Duane Litfin.

I implore you to read his splendid article. It is lengthy--eight pages. But please read it all. And read with an open mind. Think about it. Pray about it.

I will be happy to hear what you think, even if you disagree with the article and with me.



How Would You Rate Your Life?
By Terry A. Smith


Terry A. Smith has served as a lead pastor of the Life Christian Church for twenty years. TLCC is a nondenominational faith community in West Orange, NJ, serving the New York City metro area. Terry is a cofounder of the New York City Leadership Center and an instructor in its Leadership Fellows program. A gifted communicator, Terry speaks in a variety of venues nationally and internationally. He is passionate about challenging, developing, and encouraging leaders.

Visit the author's website.


Many of us dream of living a richer and more significant life—the kind of fulfilling life that, when rated on the scale of one to ten, would score a definitive ten. Inviting us to awaken to the TEN Life is the theme of a new book by Terry A. Smith, lead pastor of The Life Christian Church in West Orange, New Jersey. A gifted communicator, Terry is a national and international speaker with a passion for challenging and encouraging others, especially those who are completely unaware of their own unique power and potential.

Based on the tenth verse of the tenth chapter in the Book of John, Ten: How Would You Rate Your Life? (Higher Life Development Services, Inc) is a guide to living the life God dreams for us. “We can only know life in all its fullness,” he explains, “if we live the life God dreams for us. And part of the TEN experience is to try to figure out what that means for each of us as individuals.” Smith’s easy-going style of writing, coupled with his broad scope of reference, makes the book appealing to any reader wanting to create a richer quality of life.

MY REVIEW:  I agree with Ken Blanchard, author of The One-Minute Manager, who said, "If you are looking for significance in your life, this is a must-read." This is an instructive and inspiring book and will challenge you to grow. Terry Smith is a gifted communicator. Frances Hesselbein, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of The USA (1976-1990) said, "Ten is the guidebook for the journey--the wisdom for the future--for those who serve and those who seek to serve." This book will inspire you to create the best possible future for yourself and others. I was impressed and amused by what Priyan Feernando, President and Chief Operating Officer for American Express Business Travel said about the book: "Terry Smith inspires us to think and act more boldly in our personal, professional, and spiritual journeys. I read this book on the plane. Despite some great in-flight movies, I couldn't put it down."

I recommend this book. Your faith will become stronger.