Saturday, April 26, 2014

The tape is almost worn out. But I still pop it in occasionally and listen to the whining voice of Linda Ronstadt belting out "...on the California coast" from her hit song, Adios.

I once loved living in California. In 1957 I left Abilene Christian and headed west. I ended up at the end of the Santa Fe Trail in El Monte, California. I absolutely loved it there. I had never seen a freeway before but I loved driving into Los Angeles to attend Pepperdine University and to Pasadena to attend Fuller Seminary. Hollywood, Disneyland, the Dodgers and Angels, football games at the coliseum, the beach---ah yes, the beach, and the list goes on and on. I loved Southern California.

My first time to drive up the California coast was in 1958 when Charlotte and I went to beautiful Carmel by the sea on our honeymoon. And then on to San Francisco, the city by the bay. San Francisco was different then. It was beautiful, quiet, sophisticated and it was an easy place to leave your heart.

In 1970 we felt a "call" to move up north to Stockton in the San Joaquin Valley. We stayed for twenty years. Good years. Now that we lived so close to San Francisco we would drive occasionally to the city we loved. But things had changed over the years. In 1967 the Haight-Ashbury district of the city experienced its famed Summer of Love. What went on there that summer was felt in various ways around the world. Times were changing!

Ok, California has always been just a little crazy, always on the cutting edge, always liberal. As far back as I can remember, there have been reports that earthquakes were going to tear it loose from the rest of the country and toss it into the ocean. Is that what I am ready to do? No! Absolutely not!
There is much to love and appreciate about California---and I do. However, there is so much that is bad, bad, bad! So bad that I don't even want to bother you with stating it all. If you don't already know about it, you wouldn't believe it if I told you.

My heart in San Francisco, Stockton, the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley?
NO! Not now. However, if God wanted me there I could live there and be happy. I grew up loving Oklahoma and would have been happy living there all my life. When I graduated from Abilene Christian I was ready to go anywhere God wanted me to go. I have always felt that I could live anyplace and be happy. I used to sing: "I'll go where you want me to go Dear Lord, over mountain or plane or sea, I'll say what you want me to say Dear Lord, I'll be what you want me to be." I've tried. I'll keep on trying.

I'm grateful for the years spent in beautiful California. God opened up His heart and poured out great blessings on that part of our great country. I only wish that young people growing up there could still experience the good that I did back so many years ago. But most of that is gone forever. It's sad to bid it ADIOS!!


Friday, April 25, 2014

15 Ways To Get Ahead In Life
By John C. Maxwell
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

OVERVIEW: In this concise volume John Maxwell explores the principles which are proven to be the most effective catalysts for growth. Here you will learn what it takes to strengthen your self-awareness, broaden your prospects, and motivate others with your positive influence. Combined with discipline and determination, the instruction in this book will help you become a lifelong learner whose potential keeps increasing―and never gets used up. (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. His blog can be read at He can be followed at

MY REVIEW: He just keeps writing. And we keep buying his books. He has sold more than 21 million. How does he do it? He never stops growing. And in this book he shares with us 15 ways to get ahead in life. He is successful! And we want to learn from him.

I was impressed with his first point that we should become intentional learners. He says that growth doesn't just happen. He's right. It doesn't just happen. That's why I am recommending this book telling us how successful people grow. We need to put forth effort to learn and grow. John teaches us how to grow and how to help others grow. This is a book you will want to read and pass on to someone else that YOU want to help grow.

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


By Joyce Meyer

OVERVIEW: Joyce Meyer says that regardless of your past failure or your present struggle, God offers you a new beginning. Fresh starts aren't the exception; they're the rule. We see them all throughout the Word of God. Time after time, story after story―God offers a new beginning and His people make the most of a fresh start. The circumstances change, and the stories vary, but the grace of God never wavers. God always offers a new chance. A new opportunity. A new life. That life can be yours today. You can begin again.

AUTHOR: Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. Her daily broadcast, Enjoying Everyday Life, airs on hundreds of television networks and radio stations worldwide. Joyce has written 100 inspirational books. She has several bestsellers. Joyce travels extensively, holding conferences throughout the year, speaking to thousands around the world.

My Review: This book will help you to understand that it's never too late for a new beginning. If you look closely you will see that theme all through the Bible. Page after page. Joyce Meyer explores the beauty and infinite supply of God's love and grace. Through inspiring stories, Scriptural principles, and her classic practical, life-application approach, Joyce powerfully demonstrates that God isn't done with you yet.

I have friends who don't think I should review books like this one and they certainly think that I should not recommend it. I don't agree! If I only read and review books that I can completely agree with I may never read or review another book. It's ridiculous! I accept truth wherever I find it!
I don't read Joyce's books because I think she is a brilliant theologian. I read her books because of the practical application she makes to life. For example, in this book she takes the stories of Moses, Rahab, David, Ruth, Paul and others and help you to see that time after time, story after story―God offers a new beginning and His people make the most of a fresh start.

I recommend this book as a kind of self-help book. No matter what, it's never too late.

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


Monday, April 07, 2014

Getting Right What Samson Got Wrong
By Brad Gray

OVERVIEW: Make Your Mark unpacks the story of Samson to show how there is more to this man than his long hair and superhuman strength. Samson's story is about how he lost sight of God long before he lost his secret power. It's a story for humanity because it's about humanity. Samson was called by God to be a Nazirite: someone who is not allowed to kill. He strayed from this calling and each deviation escalated in degree: he started with a lion and went on to kill three thousand men and women. Brad takes this fascinating story and explores what it means to live out God's fullest design. when we understand how Samson missed his calling, perhaps we can learn how not to miss our own. (From the back of the book.)

AUTHOR: Brad Gray serves as the Teaching Pastor of Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, Michigan. He has traveled extensively to the biblical lands of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Greece, and currently leads two-week, biblical study trips to Israel and Turkey. Brad has a BA in Business Management from Cornerstone University, an MDiv from Western Theological Seminary and did additional graduate work at Jerusalem University College.

MY REVIEW: Just about everybody I know has or is struggling with finding their true calling in life. Those of us seeking to live the Christian life want to know God's purpose for our lives and what it means to live that out on a daily basis. This book will help with that!

This book helps to get right what Samson got wrong. Who is Samson? Well, every student of the Bible knows who Samson is but almost everyone, even those who never read the Bible, have heard of Samson. Samson is one of the great characters of the Bible.

Brad Gray helps us to see that there is more to the Samson story than what appears on the surface.
In this book he takes the reader beneath the surface to see the "big picture." He gives us a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the story. The real story is one that will inform you, challenge you, direct you and hopefully transform you. Samson's story is a story about life!

I recommend this book as one that will challenge and change you.

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