Friday, January 30, 2015

Yes, it's raining today. I know. But MOST days the sun IS shining.

So, welcome to the Valley of the Sun. We are glad you have come for the Super Bowl or whatever.

The Valley of the Sun is one great big happy metro area.

But I would like to tell you about about some of the cities that make up this big area.

Golf, hotels, spas, upscale shopping---all come to mind when Scottsdale is mentioned. The downtown area can be divided into several distinct districts. The Main Street Arts and Antiques District features a range of dining options, antique stores and art galleries. On 5th Avenue from Scottsdale Road to Goldwater Boulevard there are more than 35 dining establishments and over 80 specialty shops. This is a great place for dining and shopping. Twenty-five years ago when we moved to Scottsdale just a short distance from our new home there was nothing to the East but desert. Now it is a bustling, booming area with large hotels and spas and fantastic shopping. The Kierland shopping area is great plus there is a newer area just across the street---Scottsdale Quarter.

Glendale is one of the fastest-growing cities in Arizona. It is known mostly for the Cardinals Stadium and the Glendale Arena. But the old downtown area, divided into two sections spanning 10 blocks, gives Glendale small town charm. This weekend there is a big Chocolate Affair going on. It's too bad it's raining. That will put a little damper on it. But this is a charming little place with a lot going on.

Tempe is home to Arizona State University, the largest university in the United States. The downtown area consists mainly of ASU and the Mill Avenue District with many shops and restaurants, taverns and nightclubs. Even if you are well past your "night on the town flings" there are plenty of "grown-up" activities. Tempe has a lively cultural scene and a young attitude.

Downtown Phoenix has really changed in the last few years. It is vastly different than it was 25 years ago when we came to the area. There is probably more than 100 restaurants, 20 or more art galleries, Herberger and Orpheum theaters, Phoenix Symphony Hall, Arizona Science Center, plus Chase Field, America West Arena and the Dodge Theater. There is just too much going on to describe it all. You must go and see for yourself.

Again, we are glad you have come to visit and we hope you come back often. Just please don't come to stay. We are filling up fast!


They're gone now. Some here. Some there. Some left the church all together.

Theirs was one of the first churches in the city----pioneers.

They planted or helped start most of the other Independent Christian churches in the city.

They faithfully preached the gospel, sent foreign missionaries and did good in every way they could.

They married the young, buried the dead and encouraged one another, especially in worship.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward 
love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as
some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another---
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

They believed in following this Scripture closely and they faithfully came together on the Lord's day, primarily to WORSHIP. They believed in evangelistic outreach in any and every way as long as it was not against the Scriptures. 

But they believed the assembly was for worship as was the place where they assembled. Worship is a religious matter and so the place where they worshiped was conducive to worship. 

This body of Christians was a Christ centered,traditional, family of worshipers.

Change moved in. Not slowly, thoughtfully and with kindness and grace. But quickly and abruptly.

When the secular moved in and the traditional moved out hearts were broken, families were disrupted.

Yes, absolutely the church needs to reach out to the "nones" with the message of Christ.

But we do not need to destroy a great, old, traditional church of God in order to do it.

Wonderful churches like the one I have been describing are needed now more than ever.

These dear Christian brothers and sisters need to be allowed to meet on the Lord's Day to encourage one another until they go to meet Him or He comes to take them Home.

God bless the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Monday, January 26, 2015

A 90-Day Improvement Plan
By John C. Maxwell

OVERVIEW: John C. Maxwell, #1 New York times bestselling author, presents his 90-day guide to improving your leadership. Whether you want to increase your influence, prepare yourself for that big promotion, or get a handle on leadership for the first time, you can trust John Maxwell to help you in the journey. Jump Start Your Leadership will give you the insight, inspiration, and instruction you need to see tangible improvement in your leadership skills in ninety days.

AUTHOR: John C. Maxwell is America's # 1 leadership authority with over twenty-four million books sold. Leadership is one of his passions. He has been on a leadership journey for over fifty years and has dedicated his life to sharing with others what he has been learning about leading.

MY REVIEW: John Maxwell has done it again. He just keeps writing excellent books about leadership. In this book he leads you through ninety days with clear steps to help you develop in key areas of leadership. He begins by reminding you to take your focus off of a job title and explore how to earn the respect and trust of your team by developing relationships. From there he helps you give more attention to how to develop the team and increase productivity. Finally, he focuses on how to share what you've learned to help the people you lead to become leaders in their own right.

No matter where you are in leadership his 90-day guide will help you improve your leadership. It will take about 15 minutes a day for 90 days to improve your leadership. If you don't have a leadership position yet, adopting the principles Maxwell offers in this book will open the leadership door in the future.

Each day begins with a great quote. Using that quote as a starting point, John Maxwell writes a brief paragraph offering his thoughts on leadership. And then space is provided for you to write a response and take action. The ninety excellent quotes are worth the price of the book. One of my favorites is: "The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes." by Benjamin Disraeli. You can be ready for that opportunity by reading this book.

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


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

8 Undeniable Qualities Of A Winner
By Joel Osteen

OVERVIEW: "This is your time. This is your moment. Put your shoulders back. Hold your head up high. Walk with confidence. Winning is in your DNA, and it's about to come out in a greater way. You may have had some victories in the past, but you haven't seen anything yet. As you put these principles into action, you will step into a new level of your destiny. You will discover talents you didn't know you had, and you will see God's blessing and favor in amazing ways. Get ready! You can, you will." – Joel Osteen, from the Introduction.

AUTHOR: Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of America's largest church―Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His weekly services are seen by more than 10 million viewers each week in the United States, and millions more in 100 nations around the world. He is author of six #1 national bestselling books and has been named by numerous publications as one of the most influential Christian leaders in the world. He resides in Houston with his wife, Victoria, and their children.

MY REVIEW: This is a good book. It is another book by Joel Osteen that is uplifting, encouraging and will make you feel better about yourself. I do not tout Osteen as a great preacher of the gospel. I honestly do not know his doctrinal position on many matters that I consider important. I just know that he brings a message of hope. I like him, not so much as a preacher of the gospel, but as a good person with an encouraging message. He lifts you up when you are down. Regardless, there are many that do not like him or his message. I am not here to defend Osteen or his message but simply to say that I like him and this is a good book.

Osteen presents the message of this book in eight brief chapters: Keep Your Vision in Front of You, Run Your Race, Expect Good Things, Have a Positive Mind-set, Commit to Excellence, Keep Growing, Serve Others, Stay Passionate. Now for the life of me I can't find anything wrong with this message. To the contrary, I like it! So I recommend this book as one that will help you reach your potential and achieve new levels of success in your life.

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


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

How Achievers & Connectors Can Build a Marriage that Lasts
By Tony Ferretti, PhD & Peter J. Weiss, MD

OVERVIEW: Using true-to-life examples, The Love Fight offers insight into this challenging relationship dynamic and practical tools to heal, nurture, and grow your marriage.
     *Discover the common personality traits behind the succeed-at-work/
       fail-at-home syndrome.
     *Understand your spouse, and yourself, better.
     *Find simple assessments and exercises to evaluate your relationship.
     *Learn the best strategies to create a mutually satisfying marriage.

AUTHORS: Dr. Tony Ferretti is a licensed psychologist specializing in helping professionally successful clients with relationship problems. Dr. Ferretti holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of New York at Albany and received his PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Peter Weiss is physician and health care executive with a passion for helping others to physical and emotional health. Dr. Weiss holds bachelor of arts and doctor of arts and doctor of medicine degrees from Washington University in St. Louis.

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent book that will help achievers and connectors to build a marriage that lasts. But it is more than that. This book is valuable for anybody that wants better relationships, married or single. I was a senior minister for forty-seven years and did a lot of counseling. I wasn't very good at it and often referred those I counseled with to seek out professional counseling. I wish I had read this book back then. I needed it not only to help me with counseling but with all of my relationships.

I was impressed that Ferretti and Weiss included God in the advice they gave. They brought Him in carefully and gracefully. At the end of the book they very carefully invite the reader to come into a right relationship with God. This is good!

Both of these men are well qualified by training and experience. This book offers insight into the challenging relationship between achievers and connectors with tools to heal, nurture, and grow your marriage.

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