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Thoughts on the Christian life in a fallen world

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Love and War - John and Stasi Eldredge

Love and War - John and Stasi Eldredge

The new book by John and Stasi Eldredge and Ransomed Heart Ministries is called Love and War, and it's about Christian marriage. Now this may sound like an odd title of a book about marriage, but the war part is about how the enemy tries to destroy Christian marriages. Our society today places very little importance to commitment, and even less to Christianity. It seems to promote the lowest common denominator in our entertainment and commitments. Love and War will encourage you to bring a 100% commitment to obeying the Bible as far as living for Jesus, having the kind of marriage that God has ordained it to be, and being an example to others.  I would encourage recently married or singles and couples who have been married 50 years to read this book, It really could be the thing that will encourage you and explain a lot of the mystery you may be experiencing. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

9 Things You Simply Must Do - Dr. Henry Cloud

9 Things You Simply Must Do - Dr. Henry Cloud

9 Things You Simply Must Do is a book by Dr. Henry Cloud who is the co-author of the popular book Boundries. The book is divided into easy to read chapters. Dr. Cloud uses examples from his own life and from his private practice as a psychologist. He also uses scripture throughout the book, and applies it to real life situations.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to make positive changes in his or her life, and is looking to learn skills to grow into a positive influence on others.
He has observed that some people are what he calls "deja-vu" people. They have learned certain skills and habits to be a success in life.
As I read this book, I couldn't help but think that this is a good Christian alternative to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Some of the same principles apply, although Dr. Cloud has put them in a Christian perspective.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stay Tuned - Philip Patterson

Stay Tuned Philip Patterson 

The subtitle of this book is" What every parent should know about media." It should be" What every parent who cares about their children, wants to raise them in a Godly way, and cares how the media is influencing them in many ways."
Philip Patterson is Chairman of the Department of Communication at Oklahoma Christian University and co-author of a textbook on media ethics. He uses the term "media" in a plural sense to include tv, movies, music, billboards, the internet, magazines and newspapers. He states that media is something we all must deal with and decide what we will do with it.
He has written this book "for those of us who haven't noticed the dinginess of the darkness because it's been around us for so long."
We live in a fallen world, and this obviously influences our entertainment. Rarely are Christian values or even responsible living seen in a positive light or encouraged in any media, outside of "Christian" sources.
Mr. Patterson encourages all of us to be aware of the influence any media has on us or our children.
This book is written specifically for Christian parents who want "practical and Biblical suggestions on how to make peace with the media in their homes" as the author says.
This book is also a wake up call for Christian parents to be involved in the media that is influencing our children, and those that are already involved to be more so.
"Doing something about (the media) is so much harder as is requires us to take a stand, provide ample alternatives, and take a more active role in our children's lives. That is a sacrifice some parents are not willing to take."
Sadly that is true.
Published in 2002 by Covenant Publishing

Faith Begins at Home - Mark Holemen

In Faith Begins at Home, author Mark Holmen makes the point that that a child's primary source of spiritual teaching should be from his or her parents. The home should be the place where Christian values are lived out in day to day life, seeing what it looks like as an example. The subtitle of this book is "The family makeover with Christ as the center."
The book is divided into chapters for makeovers for the home, parent, child, extended family, and church, covering every area of life. All of these must work together for children to grow spiritually. The author's main point can be summed up as:
"I think many of the problems families face today are a perfect reflection of the less-than-all commitment the've made to the Lord."
And Mark should know. He has spent 15 years seeing the things that worked and also the tragic results of broken lives. He is currently Senior pastor of Ventura Missionary Church in Ventura, CA.
At the end of each chapter there are family activities and small group discussion starters, and as such this book can be used as an individual or group study. This book is well researched, and easy to read.

In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day - Mark Batterson

In a pit with a lion on a snowy day is a book based on II Samuel 23:20-21 in which Benaiah bcomes a hero by chasing and killing a lion in not the best of circumstances, among other acts:In a pit with a lion on a snowy day is a book based on II Samuel 23:20-21 in which Benaiah becomes a hero by chasing and killing a lion in not the best of circumstances, among other acts: 2 Samuel 23:20-21 (New International Version) Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear.The passage is one that many are not familiar with, I had passed by it without really thinking why it was there. Why would God include this story in the Bible?
Mark Batterson has some good reasons why.

The author is the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. He uses a lot of personal experiences in his "lion chasing." His book is one of encouraging taking risks, unlearning, reframing, and dealing with uncertainty. A lot of his point can be summed up in this from his book:

"What we'll regret most at the end of our lives are the lions we didn't chase."

On starting a Christian coffeehouse (another big risk) he states:

"I've seen lots of Christian coffeehouses that don't do justice to Christianity OR coffee!"

(I can vouch for that one by personal experience.)
He states how many heros in the Bible seemed to look foolish to the world by taking big risks including Moses, Sarah, the Isrealities, David, and Peter.
All of them were blessed by God for their faith.
Lion chasers are always looking for God ordained opportunities, and to be good stewards of time.
Mark asks a great question near the end of his book-
What lion is God calling you to chase today?


Embezzlement - Kevin Cross

Embezzlement - Kevin Cross A true crime story. This is the story of a 19 year old who got a job in the Broward County Florida Sheriff's Office and hatched an intricate scheme with a partner to embezzle thousands of dollars.
The story is true, and names were changed to protect the identities of those involved. By his own admission, Kevin was involved in the trappings of greed, and of the love of money. His behavoir went undetected for a while, until the Mafia found out and he was kidnapped. I won't give away all of the details, but this chapter alone is worth reading the entire book for.
He eventually quits that job and somehow gets into law school, towards his dream of being an FBI agent. An anonymous tip led to his arrest and it was in jail that he finally came to trust in God. He credits reading C.S. Lewis's" Mere Christianity" as introducing him to a religion that he had not heard before. Eventually, books by Randy Alcorn and Larry Burkett influenced his thinking.
Kevin eventually became a CPA and ran a successful tax practice, then sold it to become the Stewardship Director at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia.
The last few chapters describes how he found a church, met his wife, and real stories of people he has helped in his ministry.
In his words, "My one and only goal is to help others avoid the pitfalls of greed, debt, and discontentedness." This honest book and his ministry are contributing greatly to that goal.
Kevin's story proves that no matter what a person has gone through, or what he has done, God can forgive him and totally change a person's heart into someone He can use to help so many others. Kevin had tried greed, money, relationships, and possessions to find security, and found that they all left him empty. It was only until he trusted in God, that he found true peace, security, and purpose in life.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Embrace The Struggle - Zig Ziglar

Embrace The Struggle - Zig Ziglar Anyone who has read any recent business or self help books in the past know that Zig Ziglar needs no introduction. He is a dynamic speaker and author who has influenced millions with his books and presentations. This book is about his recent struggle with. . .
his fall down a fight of stairs in March of 2007, and his memory loss and brain damage as a result. This book tells of his attitude towards his limitations and adaptations to his injury from his perspective and also the effect on his family. He has had to adjust his presentations to an interview format because of his memory loss, but that has not stopped him from being positive and influencing others. as he says, "Complaining about my situation won't change a thing. But, embracing the struggle has the potential to change everything about the situation."
The amazing thing about this story is how he has been able to maintain a speaking schedule and a positive attitude through all this. Many others who have gone through similar or even less debilitating injuries have either given up or wallowed in self-pity.
Mr. Ziglar credits his attitude mostly on relying on his Christian faith and relying on God to meet his needs. He did not become a Christian until in his forties, and some will be suprised to learn of his family struggles. He had experienced the death of a daughter, and other family members struggle with achoholism and other issues. He feels it is important to be transparent to yourself first, and then to others. The subtitle is Living Life on Life's Terms.
This book is divided into chapters about physical struggles, financial struggles, marriage struggles, and addiction. He has included stories of that others have shared with him about their struggles, and how they have made it through. I would recommend this book to anyone who is familiar with the author's other books, and anyone who wants to maintain a positive attitude through anything by embracing the struggle,  and relying on God to get them through.