Monday, December 30, 2013

Making Moral Choices In A World Full Of Options
By Scott B. Rae
(Based on the Popular Film Series by Chuck Colson

OVERVIEW: In this capstone book to the Doing the Right Thing video and study series―the last major project of bestselling author chuck Colson before his death―Colson associate and ethicist Scott B. Rae shows that there is such a thing as moral truth, that it can be known, and that it can be put into practice. Looking specifically at the areas of medicine, the marketplace, and public life, Rae demonstrates how foundational ethical principles can lead to moral day-to-day decisions. (From the back of the book).

AUTHOR: Scott B. Rae (PhD, University of southern California) is Dean of Faculty and Professor of Christian Ethics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola university, in LaMirada, California.

MY REVIEW: Christians are in a war against the moral relativism of our culture. This book and accompanying DVD series are powerful weapons for the battle. Scripture encourages "Be ready always with an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in you" (l Peter 3:15).

I was surprised and interested to find that the first chapter of this splendid book, We're in an Ethical Mess! begins by explaining the financial crisis that began in 2008 and caused a worldwide recession. Rae helps us to see that this financial mess was caused by the collapse of ethics. He goes on to ask and answer the question Is There A Moral Law We Can Know?

Rae does not just ask questions like: If We Know What's Right Can We Do It? and What Does It Mean to Be Human? he answers them in a clear, easy to understand way. By easy to understand I do not mean simplistic. Professor Rae is a scholar and writes like a scholar but a scholar who knows how to communicate to anyone who picks up his book.

"Doing the Right Thing will equip you to promote virtue in your own spheres of influence and in the culture at large."

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


Friday, December 20, 2013

Underdogs, Misfits, And The Art Of Battling Giants
By Malcolm Gladwell

OVERVIEW: In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.

AUTHOR: Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996. Prior to that, he was a reporter at the Washington Post. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He lives in New York.

MY REVIEW: Malcolm Gladwell is a writer to be praised. Reviewers of his books have described his writing as: "Dazzling," "Royally entertaining," "Fascinating," and "A pleasure to read." David and Goliath is another success and could be praised with those adjectives and more.

This splendid book will help you overcome obstacles, disadvantages, and disabilities. We all face loses and setbacks in life and struggle with how to live. Gladwell draws upon history, psychology, and powerful storytelling to reshape the way we think about the world around us.

If you are wondering what all of this has to do with David and Goliath, I refer you to the Bible and the account of the young boy David killing the giant Goliath. Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling, and ever since then, the names David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David's victory was improbable and miraculous. From our eyes it looks like he shouldn't have won. But he did.

Read this book. You will be glad you did.

(I received this book from The B & B Media Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Living Well In A Sick World
By Bob Hostetler

OVERVIEW: Life Stinks...and Then You Die is a gritty, honest look at the world around us and the world inside us. It is based on an ancient text of wisdom that many consider to be the Bible's most perplexing book, by a man who seemed to have every advantage―wealth, education, and power―but still struggled to find happiness and meaning. It doesn't offer platitudes. No easy fixes. It doesn't spackle over the rough reality of life in the twenty-first century. But it does offer perspective. and hope. And a plan for living well in spite of all that's wrong with the world and with us. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: Bob Hostetler is a writer, editor, and speaker from southwestern Ohio. His thirty-two books, which include the award-winning Don't Check Your Brains at the Door (co-authored with Josh McDowell), Quit Going to Church, and Falling in Love with God, have sold over three million copies. He has won two Gold Medallion Awards, four Ohio Associated Press awards, and an Amy Foundation Award. Bob is a co-founder of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford. He and his wife Robin have two grown children, who have given them four perfect grandchildren.

MY REVIEW: This is a sick world. And most of us would agree with the author that life stinks...and then you die. If life doesn't stink all of the time, then maybe it stinks most of the time or at least―some of the time. If that's all the book was about then I wouldn't recommend it. But that's not all it's about. It's mainly about living well in this sick world.

Bob Hostetler uses the Book of Ecclesiastes in an entertaining way to show how to live well in spite of all the sickness in this world. I agree with Dr. David Faust, president of Cincinnati Christian University who wrote: "...With customary insight and wit, Bob Hostetler helps us delve into the strange but wonderful wisdom of Ecclesiastes as it asks the questions the rest of the Bible was written to answer."

I think you will want to get this book. It will bless your life. You may even want to get a few copies for those you really care about. This book has the potential to be life-changing.

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


Monday, December 09, 2013

A True Story Of Love, Murder, And Redemption
By Bonnie Floyd

OVERVIEW: Based on Scotland Yard's investigation, newspaper reports, court transcripts, and eyewitness accounts, Bound to a Promise has it all―exotic settings, courtroom drama, real-life adventure, convicting testimony, and puzzling mystery. The key to this disturbing drama hangs on a very crucial and binding promise made to Bonnie. Did the promise maker keep that promise or was there a chance it was broken? The answer to that burning question had everlasting consequences both for the one who made the promise and to whom the promise was made. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: BONNIE L. FLOYD has taken her contagious zeal for the Lord and her authentic love for people to various conferences, retreats and churches throughout the United States and beyond. Her powerful and dynamic messages bring the Scriptures to life for audiences of all ages and offer useful and practical ways to apply them to everyday living. For several years Bonnie served in various capacities with Women of Faith and is currently an administrator for Barry and Sheila Walsh. More importantly, she has a deep love and respect for God's Word that is born out of her service as a teacher and small group leader for more than twenty-three years.

MY REVIEW: Bound To A Promise is different from any book I have read recently. When I first read the sub-title: A True Story Of Love, Murder, And Redemption I didn't think I would be interested. I'm not into novels and that sounded like just another novel to me. But I do like true stories so that part caught my attention. When I read the words: "At six o'clock on a cold, foggy morning in Fresno, California, Bonnie Floyd's horrific nightmare began...but she was wide-awake!" she had my attention. Wow! For twenty years I lived in Stockton, California, just fifty miles north of Fresno. I know all about those cold, foggy mornings. Although this sounded like the beginning of a fiction thriller―I knew it wasn't. It was a true story. This horrific nightmare happened to a Christian. I was interested!

Bonnie tells her story with a page-turning, fiction style but Bound To A Promise is a nonfiction novel."This astonishing true story will grab you with the first sentence and hold you captive until the very last page." I agree with Sheila Walsh who wrote: "This is a heartbreaking story of intrigue, murder, and betrayal with more twists and turns than the wildest roller coaster ride. But it is so much more. This is story of redemption. This is a story of grace and of forgiveness to a depth few of us will ever know." Don't be surprised if this story captures your heart.

(I received this book from The B & B Media Group, Inc. in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Friday, December 06, 2013

Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained From Our Losses
By John C. Maxwell

OVERVIEW: When you're losing, everything hurts. What do you learn when you fail? While people are usually ready to talk about their dreams, they are not well prepared to answer a question about their shortcomings. Most people don't like to talk about their mistakes and failures. When they do find themselves falling short, they say something trite, such as "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose." The message is, "Hope to win, expect to lose, and live with the results either way."

What's wrong with that? It's not how winners think! Successful people approach losing differently. They don't try to brush failure under the rug. They don't run away from their losses. Their attitude is never Sometime you win, sometimes you lose. Instead they think, Sometime you win, sometimes you learn. They understand that life's greatest lessons are gained from our losses―if we approach them the right way. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: JOHN C. MAXWELL is an international leadership expert, coach, and author who has sold more than 21 million books. He is the founder of The John Maxwell Company and EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained nearly 6 million leaders in 177 countries worldwide. Each year he speaks to Fortune 500 companies, foreign government leaders, and diverse organizations such as the NFL, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and the United Nations.

MY REVIEW: In this book Dr. Maxwell will help you realize that learning is not easy in difficult times but with discipline you can learn to do the right thing when things go wrong. He leads you in examining the eleven elements that constitute the DNA of learners who succeed in the face of problems, failure and losses.

Although I read and review many books I rarely read one that I feel everybody needs to read. But I can't think of anybody that would not benefit from reading this one. I agree with John Wooden's  closing words of his Foreword to the book: "These pages offer more than just a how-to-manual for getting through difficult times; they offer the most valuable gift of all: hope." And I also like what Dr. Ben Carson said: "The first time I met John Maxwell, I could tell that he and I shared the same values. He cares about people and he wants to help them. One of the best ways to do that is to teach people how to overcome failure and adversity. That ability turned my life around. if you read Sometimes You Win―Sometimes You Learn, you will learn that valuable skill. I highly recommend this books."

(I received this book from Hachette Book Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hope, Healing, And The Struggle For Justice In Israel And Palestine
by Mark Braverman

OVERVIEW: An American Jew, Mark Braverman was transformed by witnessing firsthand the devastating consequences of the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians to bring peace to their land. From the bustling communities on either side of the Jerusalem barrier, to the historical intricacies of the Holocaust and South African apartheid, to the foremost voices in conflict resolution today, Braverman outlines the conflict's origins, gives Christians a biblical and historical basis for supporting both the state of Israel and Palestine, and offers a path of action both at home and abroad to initiate peace. Illuminating and provocative, this book will challenge what readers think they know about Israel and Palestine, and inspire them to help bring God's peace to the Holy Land.
(From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: MARK BRAVERMAN is an internationally known author and activist on the role of faith traditions in bringing healing and peace to the Israel/Palestine conflict. He is the author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land.

MY REVIEW: This is a difficult review for me to write. It is not difficult because I found the book difficult to read or because I do not understand what the author was trying to say. He is an excellent writer and his thoughts are easy to follow. It is difficult for me because I do not know how I feel about his opinions and what he offers as a way for hope and healing in the struggle for justice in Israel and Palestine. I wanted to read the book because I do want to understand a better way and the struggle has gone on far too long.

If I agreed or disagreed with Mark Braverman I would be happy to tell you that. And I do wish I held one or the other of those views. But I don't. I have read the book but I still don't know what I think about it. I am not a shallow person or thinker and most of the time I know what I think about a situation and state it openly. But today as I write this review, I am still confused about the right way to think about this conflict. I want to state again, Braverman states his opinions clearly I just do not know what I think about them.

My recommendation for this book is, read the overview I have posted and decide if this conflict concerns you enough that you want to spend time and money on this book to see if it will help you.

(I received this book from Hachette Book Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Saturday, November 09, 2013

You Can Experience Real Love,
Acceptance & Guilt-free Living
By Joyce Meyer

OVERVIEW: In God Is Not Mad At You, Joyce will help those who haven't truly received God's love because they are afraid of His anger and disapproval. She explores the source of this confusion, so His genuine character can be better understood and His love can be experienced on an entirely new level. Chapter titles include: *Perfectionism and Approval *The Pain of Rejection *Guilt and Shame *Developing Your Potential *Run to God, Not from Him *Getting Comfortable with God.

AUTHOR: Joyce Meyer's TV and radio broadcast, Enjoying Everyday Life, airs on hundreds of television networks and radio stations worldwide. Joyce has written nearly 100 inspirational books. She travels extensively, holding conferences throughout the year, speaking to thousands around the world.

MY REVIEW: I like these words from Joyce in chapter one: "It is important for us to remember that God's anger is directed toward our sinful behavior rather than toward us. If you feel guilty right now and are afraid that God is mad at you, then you are miserable. But your misery can be immediately changed to peace and joy by simply believing God's Word. Believe that God loves you and that He is ready to show you mercy and forgive you completely. Believe that God has a good plan for you life. Believe that God is not mad at you!"

That about sums up what this book is about. Joyce points the way to real love, acceptance and guilt-free living. Now! Right at this point, I suggest you stop and read my DISCLAIMER at the top of this blog. Hopefully you will understand that I am not reviewing Joyce Meyer's doctrine, worldview or all that she says or doesn't say in this book. It shouldn't be necessary for me to say this, but I have found that some feel it is. My review of this book is simply that―a review of this book.

I like this book and believe it will be helpful to many. Do I think it will solve all of anyone's problems? No. I don't think any book does or that she thinks this one or that the other dozens that she has written does that. I like this book and I like Joyce. I recommend it for its intended audience.

(I received this book from Hachette Book Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Thursday, November 07, 2013

Inspiring Stories of Love and Healing From CaringBridge
By Sona Mehring

OVERVIEW: In May 1997, Sona Mehring created the first CaringBridge website when a close friend endured a life-threatening pregnancy and the devastating loss of her newborn daughter, Brighid. Over 500,000 people a day now use CaringBridge, with 47 million unique visitors over the past year. Through CaringBridge, Sona has witnessed thousands of stories of hope, loss, connection, and love among people struggling with stroke, cancer, organ transplantation, traumatic brain injury, and other life-changing conditions. Hope Conquers All shares some of the most impactful and inspiring stories, in the voices of those who have endured. (From the dust jacket)

AUTHOR: Sona Mehring is founder and CEO of the major non-profit organization CaringBridge. org. In 2011, she was a finalist for Fortune's Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, was named one of Fast Company's Most Influential Women in Technology, and was highlighted by as one of the nation's leading Women Working for Change. She lives in Eagan, Minnesota, and is the mother of three sons.

MY REVIEW: This is a book for anyone who is suffering. It's about bringing family, friends, and loved ones together when it matters. This is a book full of stories of love and healing.

The best thing about this book is that it puts you in contact with the website―CaringBridge. This website has become the vehicle for the emotional sustenance that so many desperately need. NBC News ran a story on NBC Nightly News about the site. Jonathan Alter has become almost evangelical about spreading word of CaringBridge. Unlike Facebook, CaringBridge isn't just about staying in touch; it's about staying in touch for a specific humane purpose.

There are over twenty stories in this splendid book and they all will inspire you. The families share their journeys of hope that occurred with support and love through CaringBridge, creating new and forever changed lives. Hope Conquers All is a testament to the strength of community, and a reminder that we can be a powerful presence for each other.

(I received this book from Hachette Book Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Tuesday, November 05, 2013


Communion or the Lord's Supper is not something that most people go around thinking about. But reflecting on the Facebook question, "What's On Your Mind?" this is it―Communion. I have been meeting with other Christians around the Lord's Table and communing since I was seventeen.

Before I became a Christian I thought that communion was one of the strangest things going. People eating a tiny piece of unleavened bread and drinking a very small cup of juice didn't make a lot of sense to me.

Looking back over sixty-two years as a Christian and years of Bible study, I now treasure the opportunity to meet with other Christians and remember what Christ has done for us. I think of love, grace and mercy.

Over the years I have watched the protestant church put less and less emphasis on the Lord's Supper. In many cases, because of the size of the assembly, it is done quickly and without much thought. In too many cases it is being shuffled off to the side or forgotten all together.

1 Corinthians 11:23–26

23 For xI received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that ythe Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for5 you. Do this in remembrance of me.”6 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death zuntil he comes.

It seems to me, that when the church assembles for worship, we need to get serious about what our Lord said about this and give it the attention and reverence it deserves.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

When The Odds Are Against You,
God Is For You
By Matt Keller

OVERVIEW: God of the Underdogs taps into a recognizable metaphor to show how the Creator of the universe wants to use you to accomplish great things for him. By weaving his own underdog story with the stories of some of the Bible's greatest underdog heroes. Matt Keller demonstrates that men and women like Moses, Esther, King David, the apostle Paul, and even Jesus shared the "But I can't..." sentiment. They considered themselves ordinary―but God saw them as extraordinary!

AUTHOR: Matt Keller, founding pastor of Next Level Church in Ft. Myers, Fl. is known for his passionate and humorous communication style. Matt travels and speaks frequently, inspiring and teaching both inside and outside of the church. Matt writes regularly on his website.

MY REVIEW: Most of us love an underdog. Matt Keller tells us in this book that God also loves the underdog. Matt won't let you live in self-pity. He makes you get rid of excuses and embrace the fact that it is through your weakness that God makes you strong. This book is a fresh approach to how life should be lived. It is written in an interesting and encouraging way. You will see Bible characters like Moses, David, the apostle Paul and others in a new and interesting way.

Mark Batterson, New York Times best-selling author wrote, "You will love this book. Matt's unique way of storytelling will engage you from page one and leave you inspired to live up to your full potential." You may not love this book, but I am confident that you will like it. You will especially like it if you have ever felt like an underdog.

(I received this book free from BookSneeze, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers for an honest review.)


Friday, October 25, 2013

5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers
And Live An Extraordinary Life
By Joel Osteen

OVERVIEW: "You were not created to just get by with an average, unrewarding, or unfulfilling life. God created you to leave your mark on this generation. You have gifts and talents that you have not tapped into. There are new levels of your destiny still in front of you. But break out starts in your thinking. As you put these keys into action, making room for increase, expecting shifts of God's favor, praying bold prayers, and keeping the right perspective, then God will release floods of His goodness that will thrust you beyond barriers of the past into the extraordinary life you were designed to live." (Joel Osteen, excerpt from Chapter One)

AUTHOR: JOEL OSTEEN is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Listed by several sources as America's largest and fastest-growing congregation, Lakewood Church has approximately 45,000 adult attendees every week. Millions more watch Joel's messages as they are broadcast on national and international television networks. He resides in Houston with his wife, Victoria, and their children.

MY REVIEW: This is a review of Joel Osteen's book Break Out! and not a review of Joel Osteen. Let me repeat that: this is a review of Joel's book―not Joel, the preacher. If you want to read a review of Joel Osteen you will have no problem finding one. It seems that everybody has an opinion of him. Christians. Non-Christians. Friends. Enemies. People who hear him preach every week and those who have never heard him. Personally, I'm not interested in what you think of Joel.

So, what about the book? I like it. Do I agree with his interpretation of every Scripture referred to in the book? Probably not. But I didn't pause to do a serious study of every Scripture and there are many mentioned throughout the book. This may come as a surprise to many as I have heard that he rarely refers to Scripture. Not true. Joel gives 5 keys to take you beyond your barriers and help you live an extraordinary life. He does this in an interesting way. He tells good stories that keep you interested and wanting to know more. This is a gift that many dull preachers who preach the truth need to learn. What they are preaching is true but presented in such a way that nobody is listening. What a shame.

Osteen's uplifting message focuses on moving beyond barriers. If that is what you are looking to do in your life, this book will help.

(I received this book from Hachette Book Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

 A Pilgrimage Through Alzheimer's
By Jeanne Murray Walker

OVERVIEW: Award-winning poet, Jeanne Murray Walker tells an extraordinarily wise, witty, and quietly wrenching tale of her mother's long passage into dementia. This powerful story explores parental love, profound grief, and the unexpected consolation of memory. While Walker does not flinch from the horrors of "the ugly twins aging and death" her eye for the apt image provides a widow into unexpected joy and humor even during the darkest days. (From the dust jacket)

AUTHOR: JEANNE MURRAY WALKER'S poems and essays have appeared in seven books as well as many periodicals, including Poetry, The Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Image, The Atlantic Monthly, and Best American Poetry. She has won many awards. She is Professor of English at the University of Delaware as well as a mentor in the Seattle Pacific University Low Residency MFA Program. In her spare time Jeanne gardens, cooks, and travels.

MY REVIEW: This book touched my heart. It is an interesting, page-turning memoir that is hard to put down. And yet I put it down several times before I could finish reading it. It's a great story. But a tiring one. I found myself feeling tired all over after reading a few chapters. Well then, why read it? Why put yourself through that? Because for me, I met this book with mixed emotions. Although it made me sad, it also made me feel informed and created in me an understanding of those who have to go through this experience. I want to understand. I want to empathize. I think most people do.

I agree with author, Alan Jacobs who said, "A powerful tale of loss but also renewal, pain but also love. A treasure." And also author Marilyn McEntyre who said, Leads us through those rocky passages to a place not only of acceptance but of gratitude." Author and Professor Eugene Peterson wrote, "A sturdy witness to unexpected meanings and beauties and even humor."

This book may not be for everyone. But if you have any interest in Alzheimer's this is a must read. I recommend this book especially for those studying Alzheimer's but also for those who love a well told human interest story. This is a good one.

(This book was given to me by Hachette Book Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Friday, October 18, 2013

Inspiration for Every Day of the Year
by WM. Paul Young

OVERVIEW: This 365-day devotional contains meaningful quotes from Cross Roads along with insightful and thought-provoking prayers written by the author, WM. Paul Young, who also wrote the phenomenal bestseller, The Shack. It is designed to inspire, encourage, and uplift you every day of the year. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: William P. Young was born a Canadian and along with three younger siblings was raised among a stone-age tribe by his missionary parents in the highlands of what was New Guinea (West Papua). The family returned to Canada where his father pastored a number of churches for various denominations. By the time he entered Canadian Bible College, Paul had attended a dozen schools. He competed his undergraduate degree in Religion at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon. He also attended seminary in Oregon.

MY REVIEW: I tried―I really did. But I just could not like this book. I'm sorry. I don't like to be negative about a book, and rarely am. But this time, being honest I cannot recommend that you purchase Cross Roads Reflections. I read some of the reflections over and over and still could not understand the point being made or receive the inspiration I thought I should. Maybe you can. That's why I'm going to recommend that you go the book store and read a few of the reflections for yourself.

I have been reviewing books for several years and most of the time, because I have carefully selected the books I review, I end up liking the books I read. I recommend most of the books I review. In fact, I get concerned that some may doubt my reviews because every book can't be a winner. But I give an honest review and don't always rate books the same. Some are excellent, and others are just good. Not great, but good.

So I say in closing this review, I wish I could recommend this book. But I can't. I wish I could tell you what it is about. But I can't. I feel like a book that is suppose to provide inspiration for every day should be easily understood by the common man or woman. I don't think a philosopher or theologian can grasp what this author is getting at. I read and recommended Young's book, The Shack. I didn't find it easy reading but I did understand and appreciate it. The bottom line of this review is: Look the book over and decide for yourself. Books are expensive and when you purchase one I want it to be one that you will be pleased with.

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


Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Common sense. Where did it go? When did it go? Why did it go? Did we ever have any?

Oh yes, we have had common sense―lots of it. I can remember when I thought that's about all the sense we did have. We certainly weren't educated. At least not my family, my relatives, my friends.

In my family of four brothers and two sisters I am the only one to finish high school. They all dropped out of school to go to work. They were thrilled to help me, the youngest graduate high school and go on to receive a Master's Degree from the University.

My brothers and sisters did not receive a formal education but an education in life and ended up with a lot of common sense and real values.

Today, it seems to me, we have a lot of education and little or no common sense. Of course, not everybody, but generally speaking.

It's my strong opinion that two of our biggest problems are liberal college professors and the liberal news media.

It seems to me that we are being led down a path of liberal, crazy thinking and have lost the ability to reason.

I see young people who think they have the world by the tail and it's really the other way around.

What's the answer? Can we reclaim this lost power of reasoning and restore common sense?

Well of course, ALL COMMON SENSE has not been lost!

And as long as there is still even a small amount―there is hope!

My hope is in God. He's got the whole world in his hand. I'm on his side. I stand with him.


I'll use what common sense I have to stand against anything and everything that doesn't make sense.

And then I will leave the outcome to HIM!


Thursday, October 03, 2013

A True Story Of Hope
By Susan Call

OVERVIEW: A Search For Purple Cows is the story of a wife and mother's amazing journey out of darkness into a life fully restored. In this moving and extraordinary memoir, Susan Call recounts what happens when love deteriorates into a cycle of abuse and betrayal. She chronicles how she first met her husband, a handsome, charming, generous man. They fell in love, married, and had two children. Their life seemed idyllic; they had a beautiful home and everything a family could desire. But inside the walls of that home, Susan was tormented by her husband's alcoholism, anger, and infidelity, which cast her into a world fraught with fear and despair. God found her in the midst of her pain and showed her, through the unlikely source of a Christian radio station, that hope and healing in God was possible even in the most unthinkable circumstances.

AUTHOR: Susan Call is a speaker and author who enjoys sharing her insights from life's valleys, offering hope and wisdom to her audiences. She holds a master of science in marriage and family therapy from Eastern Nazarene College and a bachelor of arts in computer science from Susquehanna University. Susan lives in New Hampshire with her family. For more information, please visit

MY REVIEW: When I saw the title, A Search For Purple CowsI smiled. When I read the sub-title, A True Story Of HopeI felt good. When I read the book―I had mixed emotions, beginning with sad. I am happy to tell you I did not end the book feeling sad, but I did have more than one emotion. They were still mixed.

This is a true story. I like to read but I especially like to read stories that are true. However, because there is so much sadness in this story I found myself wishing that much of it was not true. It has a happy ending and I like that. God turned Susan's darkness into light and her story became a story of hope. That is good. That is very good!

Everybody does not need to read this book but many do. If you are not one who needs it I am sure you know somebody who does. Susan writes with candor and grace. A Search For Purple Cows will leave you believing that God is present and able, ready to shine a light on your path.

Where does the title, A Search For Purple Cows come from? I will let you find that out for yourself.

I received this book from the B & B Medium Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013


The little church in Medicine Park, Oklahoma needed a preacher. The total membership was eleven. Ten women and one man. They met in a little cobblestone school building.

My home church was eighteen miles away with a membership around two hundred. Two hundred was considered a large congregation in the 1950's. They agreed to pay me the same small salary I was making for working at a grocery store. I was a junior in high school. I preached for the little church until I left to go to college at Abilene Christian in Abilene, Texas. The congregation had grown to thirty-five members.

In 1957 I graduated from college and moved to California to preach full-time.

Over the years I have watched the church grow in number and change. Today it is not uncommon for a church to meet in a huge indoor stadium type building and have thousands in attendance.

More and more churches are going away from anything that looks religious in order to appeal to those who are not comfortable with religion. The appearance of the building, the music, the clothes the preacher and the church members wear, the Starbucks coffee, the food court---all represent a modern, contemporary, secular look.

I don't object to this as a way to reach the un-churched in a society that is turning away from religion.

I do object if the Scriptures are not preached and not taken seriously. But that is not the theme of this post.

Do I think that every church needs to change to look like this? Absolutely not!

Every church doesn't need to be a mega-church. If a church is growing and ministering to the members and the community it is showing the heart of God. That is good. That's very good.

I object strongly to tearing out pews, the communion table, the baptistery and anything else just because it represents religion. Elderly members need  a church to live and die in that they have identified with all their lives.

Some things about the church need to change. But not everything!

Is there a place for new music and a new appearance for the church? Yes!

Is there a place for older, traditional things of the church? Yes!




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hope And Help For Your Turbulent Times
By Max Lucado

OVERVIEW: You fear you won't make it through. You fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten? Yes! Deliverance is to the bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere. Consider the Old testament story of Joseph―tossed in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned. But God wove what was meant for evil into good. God is in the business of redeeming the broken. He was then. He is still. Do you crave some hope for these tough times? Then this is the message you need. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: More than 100 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

MY REVIEW: What can I say that hasn't already been said about Max Lucado's writing. There is nothing I can say that 100 million readers have not already heard. This book is no different. Once again Max brings comfort, hope and help for all of us going through turbulent times.

"You'll get through this" are not just words off the top of Max's head. Thoughtfully, carefully and respectfully Max takes readers deep into the Old Testament and into the life of Joseph. He points out that the God of Joseph is still alive today and is able to do for us what He did for Joseph. You'll get through this. Whatever "This" is―financial woes, relationship valleys, health crises.

Max says, "You'll get through this. It won't be painless. It won't be quick. But God will use this mess for good. Don't be foolish or naïve. But don't despair either. With God's help, you'll get through this."

Buy this book. It will help you regardless of how good you feel. Read it and then pass it on. You know somebody who needs it. Who? I don't know. But you do.

(I received this book from Book Sneeze a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing Company in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Seven Steps to Overcoming Depression,
Anxiety, and Anger
By Dr. Linda J. Solie

OVERVIEW: In this book Psychologist Linda Solie guides you through seven steps to dealing with negative or destructive feelings. You will learn and practice time-tested skills that offer relief from painful emotions, including how to: *Identify exactly what you are feeling, *Understand the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, *Choose new ways to think that produce emotional and behavioral change. No matter where you are emotionally or what you are dealing with, you can change the way you feel and behave. With nearly thirty years of hands-on-cognitive/behavioral experience, Dr.Solie provides tools designed to help you find freedom and joy.

AUTHOR: Linda J. Solie (Ph.D, University of Minnesota) is a licensed psychologist who has been helping clients overcome emotional challenges and specializing in issues of depression and anxiety for nearly thirty years. She began her practice as a hospital staff psychologist working with children and adults and has been in private practice for more than two decades. A member of the American Psychological Association, Solie speaks nationwide at churches and retreats as well as other venues. She makes her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

MY REVIEW: Do you sometimes have emotions you can't explain or don't want? If you do, this is the book for you. However, if you go into a book store, pick up this book and thumb through it, you will probably not like it. There are many small charts, points that are numbered, points that are noted by letters of the alphabet, and tables to be studied. At first glance, this appears to be confusing. But if you go by your first impression you will be mistaken. The way to approach this book is to begin with the introduction and slowly read page after page. It will not take long for you to realize the great value of this book.

I agree with Dr. Kevin Leman who said, "This book gives you a road map to the life you've always wanted." That's good isn't it? The life you've always wanted. That's a big order. Will this book completely remove depression, anxiety and anger from your life? It may for some. It may not completely remove these problems―but it will help, and in a big way. "Relief is on the way."

(I received this book from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Monday, September 23, 2013


Carmel, California is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Of course I cannot say it is the most beautiful place in the world. I have not seen everyplace.

Charlotte and I went there on our honeymoon fifty-five years ago. It was our first time there. We loved it then and we love it now. We love the entire Monterey peninsula.

While living in Stockton, California not far from Carmel we invested in a real estate venture. It was a beautiful house being built close to downtown Carmel that should have sold for a lot of money and brought us a nice profit. It did not sell. The builder went bankrupt and our money went with him. The builder fell out of our favor―but not Carmel!

If you have never been to Carmel, put it on your Bucket List.

I cannot guarantee that you will love it, or even like it. We all are different.

And another thing I can't do, is that if you do not like it, I can't keep from thinking that you are a little different. Not necessarily bad different―just different.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Most people I know do not especially care for cemeteries.
But most of us have visited a few and will again.
In fact, most of us will end up there. If not in a grave in a columbarium.
When I say end up there, I mean as far as this world is concerned. 
The first cemetery I visited was in the little town of Fletcher, Oklahoma. We had gone there to bury my mother. I was eleven years old. So many sad things about that day are locked in my memory.
Watching the casket being lowered down into the ground. Hearing the dirt clods hitting hard on top of the casket as the men shoveled the dirt in to fill the grave.
Over the years I have visited many cemeteries and helped bury many people---young and old.
As a minister I have walked that lonely trail of tears to cemeteries in Southern California, Northern California and Arizona.
Officiating at funerals was one of the most difficult things I did as a minister. I realized my job was to comfort those who had lost a loved one. Every funeral message I preached was bathed in prayer.
I have always felt closest to God when preaching.
There are some beautiful cemeteries in this world. But we do not like to leave our loved ones there.
I'm writing on this topic today only because it makes up a large part of my life.
We may not like to think about cemeteries and there is no need to dwell on them but we should think about them occasionally and what they represent.
Hebrews 9:27 says it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.
Something to think about-------occasionally.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Finding Hope And Healing
Through The Losses Of Life
By Rita A Schulte

OVERVIEW: Shattered explores how unidentified or unresolved loss impacts every area of life, especially your relationship with God. The long-range impact of these losses is often obscured, buried beneath the conscious surface in an attempt to avoid pain. This books calls you to "notice" the losses of life, and fight the battle to reclaim and reinvest your heart after loss through faith-based strategies.

AUTHOR: Rita A. Schulte is a licensed professional counselor in the Northern Virginia/DC area. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master's in Counseling from liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is the host of Heartline Podcast and Consider This radio programs. Her show airs on several radio stations, as well as on the Internet. Rita writes for numerous publications and blogs.

MY REVIEW: "Grief and loss touch people in countless ways. Millions are affected by divorce, death and disease, suicide, the rise of mental health disorders, war, terrorism, abuse, and economic failure." I was pleased to find wisdom and honest direction in this book for those who have had their lives shattered.

I think many of us at some time in our life could say what Fantine from Les Miserables said, "I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I'm living." Ah yes, a dream of a different life! But sometimes that dream is shattered. Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 Rita Schulte shows the way to reclaim and reinvest the heart.

I agree with author, C.S. Lakin who said, "Shattered is a thoughtful and insightful approach to processing and moving beyond the debilitating pain of loss. Rita Schulte explores both the necessity and the empowering ability of accepting and working through brokenness to a place of peace."


Tuesday, September 17, 2013


 She can never hear anything I say―it seems.

But let me put my hand in the cookie bag and she hears it―even when she is off in some other room.

Cookie jar? No. We don't need one. Cookies at our house don't last long enough to bother with taking them out of the bag for a more permanent residence.

There is nothing permanent about cookies at 5617 E. Marilyn Road.

I am told that children and elderly people are especially fond of cookies. I fall into the elderly category.

Once while visiting with Charlotte's elderly parents we took her mother grocery shopping. We were buying the groceries and were putting into the basket the things we knew they needed. Her mother kept putting in bags of cookies. Finally, Charlotte said, "You don't need anymore cookies you already have bags of them at home." Her mother dropped another bag in the basket and said, "We like cookies."

We like cookies. We surely do!

I'm tempted to start naming all the cookies I like. I won't though because the list would be too long.

Think of all the cookies in the world. Which one is your favorite? If you could have only one cookie and for the last time, which one would it be?


Saturday, September 14, 2013


No. I have never owned a cafeteria. I never have and never will. But I would like to.

There was a Clifton's Cafeteria in West Covina, California where we once lived. I have happy memories of eating there.

There may still be a few cafeterias around but I never see any.

I miss them!

Lubby's Cafeteria is the last one I remember eating at. The one we went to was located in the Paradise Valley Mall a few minutes from our home. I enjoyed eating there because you could select just the things you wanted. Of course you can do that at a buffet too but since they are billed as "all you can eat"---that's what I tend to do. Since I lack self-control, cafeterias are better for me.

Walking into a cafeteria I always smiled to see the dessert displayed so beautifully, the first thing in line.

I don't know why cafeterias went out. Maybe they will return some day. Maybe not.

There was a time when families gave Mother a break on Sunday and the whole family went to the cafeteria after church. Today many families don't go to church, to the cafeteria or any other place together.

Maybe cafeterias are still going strong in other parts of the country but not in the Southwest.

The longer I sit here the better "all you can eat" sounds. Maybe Hometown Buffett is not so bad after all.



I would never try hugging a cactus, but I do like them a lot.

Until we moved to Arizona I never gave cactus much thought. I had seen a few in other places where I had lived, Oklahoma, Texas and California, but not many.

But Arizona is different. They are everywhere.

The Saguaro is my favorite. We have one in our back yard.

When we moved into our new home in Arizona we had it professionally landscaped―Arizona style.

The one thing we didn't get was cactus.

Our friends, Homer and Bessie wanted us to forget about California and start feeling more at home in Arizona. So they brought us some cacti and even did the planting.

That was almost twenty-four years ago. Homer and Bessie have passed away. But their cacti still live and are growing in our yard. We miss our friends but we are blessed with their gifts and memories.

I love to drive out into the desert.



Friday, September 13, 2013


"No, I don't want a bagel. People from New York like bagels. Not me. I'm from Oklahoma."

"I think you will like these. They are different." " I don't think so. I've never cared for them before."

"Well, someone brought these to our Bible Class one Sunday and they are delicious."

"You say that because you love bagels―any bagels."

"Just try one. These are Einstein Bagels."

"Hey, I do like these. Einstein huh?"

Jews in New York helped start the bagel craze when they began to long for bread from the old country, rye, challah and bagels. This once-mysterious bread now seems to be an all-American delight.

I'm still not crazy about bagels but I do enjoy almost all of the different ones made by Einstein Brothers. They are good.

Einstein's new ads encourage you to "Spice Up Your Fall With Pumpkin."

I tried these last fall. And you know what, I think they did spice up my life.




In the old days Jack went to the Barber Shop. Jill went to the Beauty Parlor.

Today Jack and Jill both go to the Hair Salon. Sometimes they go together.

In the old days Jack went to the Barber Shop and waited his turn. Jill did the same thing at the Beauty Parlor. Today they use their computer to check in on the wait time before ever leaving home.

The Barber Shop is where Jack heard some of his first dirty jokes. Much of the same thing may have been going on at the Beauty Parlor but I think it was mostly gossip. I think!

I have been going to a hair salon to get my hair cut for years. Most men do. But a few still wouldn't go to a salon of any kind if their life depended on it. So a few barber poles are still turning.

I was always fascinated to see a man getting a shave. I watched with great interest as the barber placed a hot towel over the man's face, lathered his face and then slowly and carefully used his sharp straight edge razor to give the man a clean face.

I rarely saw a woman in a barber shop, but some did go there on occasion. Even today at the hair salon I see more men than women but it may just be on the days I go.

In our modern, improved age checking in by computer can be a good thing. But it can also be confusing to some. One elderly man sat patiently waiting while one after another went before him. Finally he jumped up and said loudly, "Sally Jo, I was supposed to be next. I have been waiting too long. I'm leaving and I won't be back" and out he went. The door closed slowly behind him but before it closed all the way he came back in, sat down and said he wanted to be next. He was!

Jack looked around the salon and said to Jill, "You think Spot would like this place?"
"JACK―Spot's a dog!"


Thursday, September 12, 2013



Don't ask me how many times I have sung this song. I can't give you an exact number―but it is many. This has often been the song sung following someone's baptism. As a preacher for almost fifty years, I went down into and come up out of the water with many who were baptized.
On a cold, November night in Oklahoma when I was sixteen years old I was immersed in water as an expression of my faith in Christ. I don't know if we sang "O Happy Day" or not―but it was for me.

This is not a doctrinal treatise on baptism. That needs to be handled in another post. Beginning with the Bible I have read just about everything I could put my hand on about baptism. There is a lot to be said about the subject and it is important. But in this post I am writing only about the experience of baptism―mine.

As a young man I preached in many evangelistic meetings―in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma. There were many baptisms as a result of these meetings.

At the local congregations where I preached at the end of every worship service, Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday evening we extended an "Invitation" for people to come to Christ―and many did. I believe that every example of baptism in the Bible teaches that when a person came to faith in Christ they were baptized immediately. So that's what we always did.

I also believe the Scriptures teach that baptism is by immersion. I have baptized people outside in lakes, and inside in a baptistery. When we went to the lake there were usually boats out on water but when we waded out into the water and the gathering on the shore began to sing, the boats came to a stop and reverence was given to the occasion. Because I was a student preacher for a small country church that didn't have a baptistery, in the winter months we would drive several miles into town to "borrow" a large churches baptistery.

Some preachers have records of all those they have baptized. I have never kept that kind of record but the names would fill a large book.

One of the joys of my life has been the wonderful opportunity God gave me to enter into this kind of an experience and relationship with so many.



Saturday, September 07, 2013

Discovering How God's Love Heals Our Hearts
By Anne Graham Lotz

OVERVIEW: In this book, Anne breaks the silence of the wounded and the wounders, in order to break the cycle of pain. Drawing on the biblical story of Hagar, Anne leads those who have been hurt by God's people on a path of discovering the healing power of God's redemptive love. This book is a love story...yours!

AUTHOR: Anne Graham Lotz is the president and CEO of AnGel.Ministries, a nonprofit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through His Word. Called the best preacher in her family by her father, Billy Graham, Anne launched her Just Give Me Jesus ministry in 2000. She has spoken on seven continents, in more than twenty foreign countries, proclaiming the Word of God in arenas, churches, seminaries, and prisons. She is also the award-winning author of ten books.

MY REVIEW: It's not just because I identify with this book―which I do, I believe this is one of the best books I have read this year. I believe that everyone has been others. But like Anne Graham Lotz, the sad truth is that our most painful wounds have been inflicted by religious people―God's people. This is so sad. It almost makes me cry just thinking about it. And I have shed many tears because of wounds inflicted by God's people. Let me say quickly that as one that has been wounded by Christians I, too, have wounded God's people. I am ashamed and sorry for that and have vowed that with God's help I will never again intentionally wound another person.

The most helpful part of the book is not just the true stories Anne shares about those that have been wounded, but how God helps those who have been hurt by others. She brings the life of Hagar into astonishing relevance. As she tells Hagar's story you will discover how time and again God acts to help those who have been hurt. But while Anne identifies with the wounded, the unpleasant reality is that she also identifies with the wounders because she has been one too. She helps you to see that by God's grace this wounding cycle can be broken.

I agree with Kathie Lee Gifford who wrote, "Anne's extraordinary new book encourages us to find our 'Inner Hagar' and set her free by the power of forgiveness. She has turned her own deep wounds into profound healing for others."

(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Aren't boys grand?
Most boys I mean. Of course there are always exceptions.
There is the old saying, "Boys will be boys" usually referring to BIG boys acting like LITTLE boys.
And that's not always good, We expect men to act like men and boys to act like boys.
Boys are a gift from God. He made them and he doesn't make junk.
His overalls hung on the hook by his hat, and I noticed
his pockets were bulging out fat.
So I emptied them out in a pile on the chair, and I
tenderly touched ev'ry treasure with care;

There were three rubber bands, a parking lot ticket,
Two paper clips and a fishing cricket,
A camphor ball and an empty match box,
A half dozen nails and a couple of rocks,
A yellow golf tee, two lollypop sticks,
A marble, a spool and three tooth picks,
A knife and a pencil, some dry corn silk,
A wire and a cap from a bottle of milk,
A rusty door key and a white chicken feather,
An old clock gear and a piece of leather,
A flash-light bulb and three or four strings,
A broken dog biscuit and two hair springs.

Then I gathered them up, all his "treasures" so grand―ev'ry rock, ev'ry nail and each rubber band,
And I put them all back, than I kissed him good-night,
and he smiled in his sleep as I turned out the light.
And I thrilled as I thought of the fun and the joy such trivial things could give to a boy.
                                                                  Author Unknown



Friday, August 30, 2013


Driving from our home to the church building one evening around sunset I came up over a ridge on Lincoln Drive that overlooks the city of Phoenix. Just as I reached the point where I was looking out over the city, the sun, in all it's glory was sinking behind the city and everything was aglow.



Why is ugly in and beauty out today?

To me, beauty is to be found in:

Flowers at the pulpit during a Sunday service.

Sun shining through the stain glass windows of a church building.

An elderly couple sitting close together holding hands.

A mother or father tenderly holding a child on her/his breast.

Waves breaking on the beach.

Rain drops blowing gently on a window and slowly rolling down.

Sunrise. Sunset.

Spacious skies, purple mountains, amber waves of grain.............


Have we grown tough, weak sighted---unable to see. Or is it true, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and every "Beholder" see things differently?

I hope "your beauty" touches your heart as mine does me. If it does you will feel the presence of God.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Besides baby pictures, one of the first pictures ever taken of me is of me standing in our front yard wearing a baseball cap and with a ball glove on my left hand.

I love all sports. I love ball―baseball, football, basketball.

When I was in elementary school we didn't have Little League. The closest thing to it was the boys from one school would schedule a game with boys at another school across town. And of course, we had neighborhood "gangs" that got together and chose up sides. Sometimes girls were allowed to play.

By the time I reached Jr. High my brother had found me a job in a grocery store. I went to that job immediately after my last afternoon class and never had time to participate in sports.

Graduating college I moved from Abilene, Texas to El Monte, California. Shortly after my move to California the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. They didn't have a baseball stadium and played their games in the huge Los Angeles coliseum. That's where I attended my first and only World Series when the Dodgers played the White Sox in 1959. 

One of the blessings of living in the Los Angeles area was being able to attend games of both the Dodgers and the Angels.

After we moved to Northern California I attended an Oakland A's game one time and I saw the San Francisco Giants play several times at Candlestick Park.

Our son, Allen enjoyed playing baseball when he was young. Once when he was scheduled to pitch a game we were 350 miles away at Malibu attending a Bible Lectureship. We left before the Lectureship was over and drove him home so he wouldn't miss the game. He still has a ball from the game he received for pitching a shutout.

Of course today my favorite team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have won their division five times and the World Series once in 2001.We have been to Chase Field to watch them play several times and we almost never miss a game on television.

"Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks........"

You know something, in all the times I have been to ball games, I  have never eaten any Cracker Jacks---in fact I don't remember ever even seeing any Cracker Jacks at a game.

 At a Diamondbacks game on Father's Day 2003