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.)