Sunday, July 29, 2012

Maybe you heard these words when you were a child and believed them:
What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
 Sugar and spice and everything nice? Well maybe, when they are little girls.
But little girls grow up and some people think they are not so nice―some of them!
I have been reading the book Mean Girls At Work―How To Stay Professional When Things Get Personal by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster. Katherine and Kathi are the authors of Working With You Is Killing Me.
Let me quickly say, "I have worked with several women, but never a mean one. But I do believe that some people have to and that they need to learn to make the best of the worst situations with other women in the work place.
I decided that since it is mainly women who read my reviews and see the books I recommend on Facebook that I would read and review this book for them. So here is my recommendation: If you are in a woman-to-woman relationship in the workplace that is complicated―read this book. 
The eight chapters are: 1 The Different Faces of Mean; 2 The Meanest of the Mean; 3 Very Mean; 4 Passively Mean; 5 Doesn't Mean to be Mean; 6 Doesn't Know She's Mean; 7 Brings Out Your Mean; 8 Group Mean.
"Sugar and spice and everything nice." Really? After reading this book, I have been made to wonder. 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Lunch has always been a happy time for me. As far back as I can remember I have always been ready to eat at lunch time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I was young I didn't like being called to dinner but now I love that call.

But then there's the matter of breakfast.

Growing up I didn't care for it at all. I usually just skipped it. "You mean you didn't eat much." No! I mean I skipped it. But sometime during my teen years I came to my senses and realized that I should be eating something for breakfast--but what?

I never liked cereal and still don't. I didn't care much for eggs. Pancakes and waffles weren't on my wish list either.

At some point in my quirky life I "woke up" and discovered I like a BIG BREAKFAST: Eggs, bacon,sausage, or ham and especially hash browns. Biscuits and gravy found their way to the top of my list also.

Charlotte gets up in the morning with a smile on her face. Eats her shredded wheat and begins her day whistling a happy tune. I know she cares for me or she wouldn't have stayed around for fifty-four years. But she never bought into the idea of cooking me a BIG BREAKFAST. Most of my life I haven't wanted to cook anything and certainly not breakfast. So I have just drug along being a bit bewildered about breakfast.

But recently I discovered a breakfast casserole that I like and I don't mind making. It's eggs, sausage, cheese, butter, milk, cheese and hash browns. I bake it. I cut it into portions, wrap it, pack it in a container and freeze it. 

I get up in the morning half asleep, bring in the newspaper, turn on the T.V., make a pot of coffee, and pop a portion of casserole in the microwave.

After reading the paper, drinking a cup of coffee and listening to a little news on the T.V. I enjoy that delicious breakfast casserole. 

I'm no longer bewildered by breakfast and Charlotte's glad to be alive, this is the day the Lord has made mood is rubbing off on me.  


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All my friends at Abilene Christian wanted to "kiss me good-bye." I was on my way West—going to L.A. All hope was gone. They knew they would never see me in heaven.

In Abilene in 1957 we were still discussing the sin of mixed bathing. Occasionally someone who had good sense would remind us it wasn't actually mixed bathing people were engaging in but mixed swimming.

They were right about me. One of the first places I headed after landing in L.A. was the beach.

Oh, how I loved it! And I still do.

Yes, my old bones love the warmth of the desert but my heart belongs to the ocean. 

Even in 1957 it was smoggy in L.A.—really smoggy. But you know what, I didn't mind it too much.

I hated the cold, blowing wind that just cut right through me in Abilene. Most days in L.A. were beautiful and still are.

Great weather, great restaurants, great beaches, great sports—the list goes on and on. Great!

L.A. is a great place for preachers. There's a lot of sin there. California is the Corinth of the Bible.

Looking for looney? Head West. Yes, I admit we are looney in the Southwest but they are loonier in L.A.

L.A.—land of the loonies. I have been gone from there for over forty years but I still miss it. Do I want to live there again. Absolutely not! I just want to dream about it.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stockton, California!

Yeah that Stockton. The one that went bankrupt. The largest city in the nation to do so.

I lived there just shy of twenty years. I loved every year I lived there accept the year I was being "run out of town."

Some―many in fact, would say it was an honor to be run out of Stockton. To them Stockton is Nowheresville.

One lady visiting from L.A. said she viewed Stockton as the armpit of the nation.

I'm the kind of guy that if I had the money I would love to live in a different city every year or two. And yet I'm a stayer. I'm loyal. Although the average stay for a minister is two years or less, I stayed at my first church for eight years, my second one six years, the third one a few months short of twenty years and my last one fifteen years.

Central in Stockton was my third church and my did I love it. I loved that Christian family with every fiber of my being. And I loved the city of Stockton. I could write a dozen blog posts on the good things about that city.

But there's a lot of bad there too. I could also write a book about that but wouldn't want to. Why would I?

So much of what I loved happened right there in that city. I'm a sentimental sap and my head and heart are filled with memories.When I drive through the city a memory pops up at every corner.

I have that sentimental feeling about almost every place, even when I'm just visiting. Whether it's leaving a little village in Ethiopia, a fish and chips restaurant in Boston, the Taj Mahal in India, the theater in London or the cable cars in San Francisco, I always think, "This is my last time for this moment. I won't ever do it again."

Yeah old bankrupt Stockton. Poor leadership. That's what caused it. Isn't that always the case?

Nowheresville. But I loved it just the same.

Thanks for the memories Stockton.


How We Got The Point but Missed The Person
By Leonard Sweet

OVERVIEW: In What Matters Most, Leonard Sweet presents a challenging and compelling approach to belief that is joined by dynamic engagement with God. You are invited to explore the uncharted regions of faith by following Jesus, completely on his terms. Once you begin, you will never go back to mere belief. 

AUTHOR: Leonard Sweet, PhD, is founder and president of Spirit Venture Ministries, a professor at Drew University in New Jersey, and a visiting professor at George Fox University in Oregon. A leading social critic and cultural observer, Sweet is the chief writer for and has authored numerous books that have changed Christian thinking, including The Gospel According to Starbucks. Sweet lives on an island in northern Washington state.

MY REVIEW: This excellent book was previously released as Out of the Question―Into the Mystery. I agree with Chris Seay, author of The Gospel According to Tony Soprano who said, "Len Sweet has really done it this time! In true midrash form, Len exposes the beauty of a relationship with our Creator. He asks all the hard questions and leads us to a place of grace beyond the formulaic answers. throw all your selfhelp books in the trash and immerse yourself in a book that will help you see your faith journey in a whole new way."

Sweet says, "Belief can exist in isolation, but faith requires a relationship."  He explains it this way: "As Christians we often talk about developing a 'personal relationship' with Christ, but instead of pursuing a relationship, we pursue knowledge. We are tempted to place confidence in our definite, settled beliefs, which offer a pale substitute for the daily adventure of an honest relationship with Jesus."

Leonard Sweet is a master with words. When I read one of his books I find myself wanting to underline or highlight every sentence. When I finish What Matters Most it will be underlined and highlighted from beginning to end. And what isn't underlined or highlighted will be important also. "Sweet has given us a great gift."

(This book was given to me free for this review by Blogging For Books and I was not required to write a positive review.)


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Piecing Together The Ministry Puzzle
By Sara Gaston Barton

OVERVIEW: The call to ministry is profound and life-changing — one that women are often forbidden to answer. In this sensitive and moving memoir, Sara Barton speaks movingly about how this call has played out in her life.

AUTHOR: Sara Gaston Barton holds a BA in English from Harding University and a Masters of Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. She has worked as a missionary in Jinja, Uganda, and served as a campus minister at Rochester college. Today, she teaches religion and composition courses and works with Rochester's early college program for academically gifted teenagers from urban environments. In addition, she speaks at conferences and retreats all over the United States.

MY REVIEW: Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful. This book is well written, easy to read and will keep your attention from beginning to end, if you are interested in this important subject—and I am. I am seventy-seven years old and retired after preaching for almost fifty years for Churches of Christ and Independent Christian Churches. I have read widely on this subject and listened to sermons, lectures and debates. But never have I read or heard anything that compares with the wisdom and spiritual beauty of this splendid book.

Author Scot McNight said, "This book is not an argument, so if you are looking to wrangle with a woman about who should be preaching you might best go elsewhere. What you will find instead of argument is a story. Scratch that—you will find a life." I say, "What a life. What a story." Author and activist Shane Claiborne wrote, "Perhaps the sky is not the limit, only our theology and prejudices are. Sara Barton invites us to break free—and to see that women are at the heart of what God is doing in the world, and they have been for thousands of years."

During my years of preaching for Churches of Christ, women were allowed to do very little in an "upfront" public way. And nothing as far as leadership was concerned. Once an older, Godly woman wanted to give up teaching her Fourth Grade class because one of the boys was baptized. In her mind, once baptized he was on the same level as an adult male and she didn't want to usurp authority over him. How silly! At the Christian Church I found a woman leading the choir and congregational singing. Women read Scripture and led prayer but don't miss this—they did not pass communion. They were not ordained, allowed to pastor a church or be an elder. We were the main supporting church for a woman missionary in India for over sixty-five years. She built a Children's Home and all the leaders were women. They led in every way except preaching and serving as elders.

My view has always been that it is Scriptural for women to do everything men do in a congregation except be a "local" preacher and serve as an elder. However, after years and of study and this book I no longer hold to these restrictions but I do so with an uneasy conscience.

I pledge to continue to study. I hope you will too. Reading this book will help.

(I was given this book free for this review by Leafwood Publishers.)


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Alter Your Health, Money, and Relationships Without Changing Who You Are
By Wayne E. Nance
with William Hendricks and J. Keet Lewis

OVERVIEW: The Real Life Management system, outlined in this book, centers on the 3 - Minute Survey. It will help you identify your core attitudes and then identify weaknesses, avoid faulty choices, and stay focused on your self-improvement goals. The 3 - Minute Difference gives you the tools you need to make permanent alteration in your life. Just ask the 50,000 + people who have already tried it!

AUTHORS: WAYNE E. NANCE is the President and CEO of Real Life Management Inc., a company dedicated to providing the education that has not been adequately taught in schools, churches, or families on health, finance, relationship building and how they are related. WILLIAM HENDRICKS is president of The Giftedness Center, a Dallas-based consulting firm specializing in organizational effectiveness and strategic people management. J KEET LEWIS is an inventor, entrepreneur, international management and marketing consultant, CEO coach, speaker, and trainer.

MY REVIEW: I agree with Tom Ziglar, President & CEO Ziglar who said, "The 3-Minute Difference is a fantastic book that hits the 'attitude' nail on the head and is perfect for people who want more success in their personal, family, business, and spiritual lives." This is so true. But it is only true for those who really do want it! You can read this excellent book and not gain a thing from it if you do not really want to do what it takes to change. This is a good book but there's no magic in it. What this book does is give you the tools necessary for making permanent alteration in your life. I am retired and need to do many repair jobs around the house. It has taken me years to learn that having the right tools for the job is an absolute necessity. These authors have put together in this book all the tools that are necessary. It will be up to the reader to carry through to the end.

Years ago, Wayne E. Nance was out of control. An incessant smoker, he weighed 315 pounds. His marriage was disintegrating and his finances were bottoming out. He finally realized that obesity, debt, and relationship meltdown were surface problems resulting from his core attitudes and beliefs. He found a way to bring his life back into balance. Today, Wayne is The Real Life Attitude Guy. His true success story includes losing more than 100 pounds, paying off more than $40,000 of credit card debt, and staying happily married for more than 35 years

I recommend this book to all who really want to make alterations in  their life.

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


Monday, July 16, 2012

by Ken Gire

We're all outsiders sometimes. Each of us has felt lonely in a crowd, or been passed over for a job opportunity, or been squeezed out by "friends." We've all spent time on the outside looking in. but take heart—Jesus will leave the ninety-nine just for you.

Bestselling author Ken Gire weaves together stories from the Bible, history, and his own life to create a soul-lifting picture of a God who relentlessly pursues the outcast and disenfranchised—a God who became an outcast himself to bring his lost ones home. Let your eyes be opened to the one who will never fail to find you and embrace you as his child.

Ken Gire (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is the author of twenty-four books, including the bestselling Intimate Moments With The Savior and Windows of the Soul. He has won two ECPA Gold Medallion Awards, and two of his titles were selected as C.S. Lewis Honor Books. Ken teaches weekend seminars on writing throughout the country. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland. You can reach him at his website:

(The above is from the back of the splendid book, RELENTLESS PURSUIT — God's Love Of Outsiders Including The Outsider In All Of Us.)

Ken Gire is one of my favorite authors and he has written one of my favorite books―if not my favorite, Windows of the Soul. His new book, Relentless Pursuit is outstanding. There is so much to recommend about this book that I don't know where to begin. I found myself wanting to underline a sentence in almost every paragraph and going back to read and re-read because I wanted his thoughts to sink in.

In the prologue Ken writes: "The Bible from start to finish is the story of God's pursuit of the outsider―the foreigner, the stranger, the outcast. From Adam and Eve outside the garden of Eden... to Hagar outside the camp of Lazarus outside the gate of the rich man. From corner prostitutes to colonized lepers to common thieves. From the down-and-out to the demon-possessed, the Bible is filled with outsiders pursued―and transformed―by God's relentless love.

Wow! I don't know about you, but this fills my heart with joy as I think about the grace of Almighty God!

YES! I give this one a YES!

(This book was given to me free for this review by BETHANY HOUSE.)


Friday, July 13, 2012

(The following is from Leonard Sweet's marvelous new book, WHAT MATTERS MOST--How We  Got The Point but Missed The Person)

A man was standing over his baby's crib, intently staring. His wife entered the room and watched in silence. She saw in her husband's face a wide range of emotions: wonder, doubt, admiration.

Deeply touched, she put her arm around him and, with eyes glistening and voice trembling, said, "A penny for you thoughts." Unhesitatingly, he blurted out: "For the life of me, I can't see how anybody can make a crib like that for $89.95."

Agog over the manger, amiss to the baby in the manger.

It's time to trust the mystery in the manger.