Monday, January 28, 2013

THE SOUL OF IT ALL—My Life, My Music
Michael Bolton

OVERVIEW: One of the most successful musicians of our time, Michael Bolton, gives us a backstage pass into his life lived thus far—into the venues, buses, limos, and hotel rooms of stardom, and finally into his home and heart. The Soul Of It All is chock-full of all the incredible stories from his life, and the star- studded cast you'd expect, including: Paula Abdul, Cher, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Kanye West, Jay-Z, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Ray Charles, Celine Dion, Bon Jovi, Carlos Santana, Nicolette Sheridan, Terri Hatcher and others.

AUTHOR: Michael Bolton, the multiple Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and social activist, has sold more than fifty-three million albums and singles worldwide. Know for his soulful voice and poignant lyrics, he continues to tour the world, all while writing and recording for a wide array of projects spanning the realms of music, film, television, and theater.

MY REVIEW: I like what Bill Clinton said, "We all know that my friend Michael Bolton is a gifted musician and a devoted philanthropist—but you may not know that he's also a talented storyteller. The Soul Of It All is the fascinating journey of a man who is as powerful, bold, and soulful as his voice."

"From a fourteen-year old kid performing in dive bars in his hometown of New Haven, CT, to struggling to provide for his wife and kids, to finally breaking through with his Soul Provider album, and going on to sell more than fifty-three million albums and singles worldwide, Bolton has fought for and earned a life most just dream of." 

This is a well written, interesting book about music and the man who made it. I wanted to read and review this book for one simple reason—I like Michael Bolton's voice and many of his songs. I found his life story interesting but vastly different from mine. If you enjoy reading stories from the life of someone who started off at the bottom and reached the top (as our world sees it)—you will like this book.

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


Friday, January 25, 2013

Twelve Keys to Successful Living
By terry Felber
(Forward by Dave Ramsey)

OVERVIEW: Terry Felber's story of the monk and the merchant, set in Rome during the Renaissance, is full of sixteenth-century adventure and real-world truth. As his tale unfolds, Felber asks and answers questions about family, creativity, innovation in business, and God. As he explains in a new foreword, this book helped Dave Ramsey rediscover the marketplace as a mission field—and merchants as ministers. The book includes a personal and small group study guide.

AUTHOR: Terry Felber is an author and entrepreneur who speaks to large audiences around the world about principles for successful living. Over the past twenty-five years, Terry has built a sales organization of more than fifty thousand people. He has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals; the advisory board of Alticor, an international multibillion-dollar corporation; and a half dozen other corporate and ministry boards.

FORWARD BY DAVE RAMSEY: Dave Ramsey is America's trusted voice on money and business. He has authored three New York Times best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 4.5 million listeners each week on more than five hundred radio stations.

MY REVIEW: The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant is a much-needed biblical resource for individual and small groups that addresses money and ministry in the marketplace. Dave Ramsey said, "I immediately ordered a big box of these books and made it required reading for my whole team...My team and I love this book."

It took me a few pages to really get into this book but once I did it was hard to put down. This is a splendid story written in a very interesting way. You may be familiar with the twelve keys to successful living but I feel confident that after reading this book you will see them in a new light and they will change the way you see yourself, your job and your purpose.

I believe this book will open your eyes to the opportunities for service and leadership all around you.

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


Friday, January 18, 2013

What We Learn and Why We Never Forget
by Jill Kelly

OVERVIEW: Bestselling author Jill Kelly emboldens readers to embrace all of life's experience as the precious gifts of a loving and transforming God. Jill offers up the unforgettable episodes of her life―some sorrowful, others filled with joy―as a "living epistle" to her daughters. For the many other Christian mothers who also long to pass on their hard-won knowledge of God's steadfast love and healing grace to their children, Jill's down-to-earth reflections provide an inspiring example. Although great personal pain―her son's death, her husband's infidelity―inform these pages, Jill's story is ultimately one of forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope. Through the moments in time that Jill Kelly recounts, readers will recognize the daily reality and eternal value of God's plan for their own lives.

AUTHOR: Jill Kelly is the wife of former Buffalo Bill's quarterback Jim Kelly. In September 1997, months after their infant son, Hunter, was diagnosed with a fatal disease called Krabbe Leukodystrophy, Jim and Jill founded the Hunter's Hope Foundation. As chairman of the board of Hunter's Hope, Jill helps children suffering from Leukodystrophy, and their families by raising awareness and research funds to fight this devastating disease. She and Jim live in buffalo, NY, with their two daughters and three dogs. Hunter's Hope Foundation can be found online at Jill is also the author of Without a Word.

MY REVIEW: This is a book that touched my heart in many ways. I didn't think I had the time to read much when I picked it up one afternoon―but I did. I started reading and didn't stop until I had finished the entire book.

In almost fifty years of ministry with four different churches I have had a lot of experience counseling couples who have lost a child by death, unfaithfulness on the part of one or the other or both and other experiences Jill writes about. She writes about love, significance, forgiveness, suffering, giving, prayer, faithfulness, and death. She closes the book with a wonderful chapter on gratitude.

I laughed a few times while reading but most of the time there was moisture in my eyes. Why then would I recommend the book? Do I think you want to be sad? No! But I do think you want to learn from the experiences of others and this is a good book for that. 

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


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence,
And The Experience Of God's Love
By Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, Steven G. Post

OVERVIEW: "The Heart of Religion avoids simplistic portrayals of the subject by recognizing that godly love is often forged in the crucible of suffering, and that expressions of godly love vary across social contexts and life circumstances. This volume demonstrates that thoughtful scientific investigations can and  must take seriously the dynamics and experiences that are central to religion. It will offer an important correction to a longstanding oversight in the social scientific study of religion." - Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at San Antonio

AUTHORS: Matthew T. Lee
is Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Akron. He is co-author with Margaret Poloma of A Sociological Study of the Great Commandment in Pentecostalism. Margaret M. Poloma is research Professor of Sociology, University of Akron. She is the author of Main Street Mystics, among other books. Stephen G. Post is the President of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, the author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping, and a Professor of Medical Humanities at Stony Brook University.

MY REVIEW: This is a difficult review for me. I like this book. In fact it is an excellent book on a needed subject. It's difficult for me to write the review because although I like it I'm not sure that I can recommend it to others. The reason I feel that way is because this is a scholarly book and I feel that most of those who read my reviews are like me, they mostly read books about Christian living that are easy to read.

The love these authors write about is one of the most important topics in the world. The research they do is fantastic. The stories they tell help the readers understanding. But some of the stories dealing with miracles will be questioned and in some minds this will devalue the book. I wish that was not true but I'm afraid that it is. Still I feel the stories needed to be told.

The book is well written but in a scholarly way and that will make for difficult reading for some. The printing is average size but the paragraphs are close together on the page and every page is packed full. Perhaps I shouldn't say it but many readers are just plain lazy. They will thumb through the book and decide they don't have time for it and choose something else. Sad.

My recommendation is that this is a book for the well educated reader who likes to dig into a subject and get to the heart of the matter. If this book is read the way it should be it will open doors for you to experience God's love.

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


From one end to another, the Bible is full of stories about parties.

Our Lord's first miracle, the miracle of turning water into wine, was to keep a party going.

I'm an introvert and I've never like going to a party. The entrance to a party is what I don't like. After I have been there awhile I'm always glad to be there. Being there is fun.

Being in "full-time ministry" for almost fifty years provided many opportunities to party---and party we did.

I have been in parties (social gatherings) from L.A. to Las Vegas, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to New Deli India.

"Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness" (Exodus 5:1).

"Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9).

Being an introvert made it a little difficult for me to get revved up for this party business.

I went to Abilene Christian thinking and left thinking that I would study the Bible, preach, pray, visit the ill and elderly, preach funerals, officiate at weddings, etc. I never gave any thought to parties.

Well, I'm seventy-eight now and I have been to my share of parties.

Parties are God's idea.

"Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (l John 3:2).

I want to be like him.



Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day
By Cali Williams Yost

In Tweak It, Cali Williams Yost proves that a comfortable work+life fit can be achieved through making small, consistent, everyday changes--tweaks--that, cumulatively, will optimize job performance and well-being. This engaging, practical book, filled with case studies of people who've tweaked their way to professional success and personal satisfaction, guides readers through an easy-to-implement program that can be tailored to suit any individual's life, both on and off the job.

AUTHOR: Cali Williams Yost is the CEO and founder of Work+Life Fit, Inc., a flexible work strategy firm that advises individuals and organizations. A highly sought after speaker, Yost is regularly featured in such media outlets as the Wall street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today. A blogger for Fast Company, her site was named by Forbes as one of the "Top 100 websites for women." A former commercial banker and graduate of Columbia Business School, Yost is also the author of the critically acclaimed Work+Life: Finding the Fit That's Right for You.

MY REVIEW: This is a book that I highly recommend for people much younger than I am. I wish I could have read this when I was college age and just starting to seriously find my way in life. I'm not saying that at age seventy-eight and retired that I didn't find useful information in this book--because I did. But over the years I have learned a few things about organization and "handling my days." However, I have observed that many people go through life without learning how to get the most out of it.

Tweak It is an expression known to almost everyone today. This book will help you tweak it and  make small changes for big impact.

I agree with Susan Cane,bestselling author of Quiet:The Power of Introverts who said,"Cali Yost is one of our wisest and staunchest thought leaders. In TWEAK IT, she delivers a brilliant mix of deeply researched and deeply practical advice that will improve the life of anyone who acts on it. A must-read book for anyone who is overextended, overworked -- and passionate about their lives." 

(I received Tweak It Center Street, Hachette Book Group in exchange for a fair and honest review.)


Monday, January 07, 2013

How God's Goodness Frees Us from Everything that Plagues

By John Eldredge

OVERVIEW: Here is a book that explores the beauty of the genuine goodness available to us in Jesus Christ, and guides the reader through the process whereby God makes us whole and holy by his love. Readers will be relieved. Utterly.

AUTHOR: John Eldredge has written 12 books. He is the Director of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God. It has become a grass-roots phenomenon with millions of followers. For more on this movement visit their website:

MY REVIEW: If not all, most of us are seeking relief from what plagues us. John Eldredge believes that in this book he shows us the process whereby God makes us whole and holy by his love. Does he accomplish this? I believe he does! He shows us how we can be free through the healing work of Christ in our lives. He shows us where this begins and what it means.

I was personally convicted by what Eldredge wrote in Chapter Three, Set Free To Live. In Chapter Two he had written about the goodness of Jesus and genuine goodness. I loved that chapter and realized how strongly I believed what I was reading. And then comes Chapter Three and I identify with the man in his first story. A man who is resentful of all the stupid people he meets throughout his day. Being resentful of stupidity is not a good thing. I don't want to feel resentful. I want to feel good. Eldredge points out that the way to feel good is to let Jesus invade your life.

"The hope of Christianity is that we get to live the life of Jesus. His beautiful goodness can be ours. Jesus can heal what has gone wrong inside each and every one of us. He does this by giving us his goodness; he imparts it to us."

We all need the holiness of Jesus. This book will help us be more like Him.

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


A Physical and Spiritual Guide
By Harold J. Sala

OVERVIEW: Combining careful research, biblical narratives, and personal stories of physical and spiritual healing, internationally known Bible teacher and counselor Dr. Harold Sala points to how trusting God yields lasting and eternal rewards in What You Need to Know about Healing. While no one is promised tomorrow, you will receive true encouragement for any circumstance, and you will better understand the compassionate nature of our heavenly Father and how to find healing His way. This dynamic book is suitable for those who need physical or spiritual healing as well as for their family members, friends, caregivers, and other health or ministry professionals.

AUTHOR: Harold J. Sala is founder and president of Guidelines International, Inc., a ministry communicating the message of Jesus Christ so that people come to faith in the Lord and believers are discipled and strengthened. Sala has written dozens of books and is the featured speaker on "Guidelines: A Five-Minute Commentary on Living," a daily radio program broadcasting worldwide and translated into more than fifteen languages.

MY REVIEW: The Christian college I attended taught me that miracles such as we read about in the Bible ended with the apostles. After college I spent years preaching and teaching that doctrine. I have been a student of the Word and life in general for many years. It has only been in recent years that I have been able to accept the fact that God indeed may still, at his choosing, work such miracles today.

Recently I have read several books about healing. Craig Keener's magisterial two-volume study of miracles is now on my desk waiting to be read.

I agree with best-selling author, Joni Eareckson who said, "Healing is a perplexing topic, and Harold Sala handles the complexities with skill and ease. You will find much to consider in this special book." I especially liked the chapter, "Is the Great Physician Still Practicing?" Sala has written on this difficult topic in an understandable and believable manner. Many people the world over are asking questions about suffering and healing. This book combines careful research, biblical narratives and personal stories to help answer some of those questions.

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