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Thoughts on the Christian life in a fallen world

Monday, August 26, 2013

Death By Living - N.D. Wilson

Life is meant to be spent.  This book the author describes as "creative meditations," and a continuation of sorts of his previous book "Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl."  This is a different type of book that I usually read, and some may find it too philosophical for their tastes. This is a book of stories and writing, but not a how-to book on writing.  The author states "Life is a story" and he tells his story of his childhood, trips to Europe and relatives all intertwined among thoughts and memories.  Perhaps the best quote in my opinion "Stories are the closest our own words can ever come to being made flesh."  I get the feeling the author loves a good story, loves to tell one and hear one told. I also think he has many more stories to be told.
The stories of him and his large family visiting Europe are some of the most amusing parts of the entire book.
This is a Christian book (the author speaks of "One in whom we have faith.") and interpretations of Scripture and Bible stories are included.  The author is a Fellow of Literature at New Saint Andrews college and like everyone else, the book jacket says, is made of dust.  I did enjoy the flow and analogies made.  These are meditations with a Christian foundation.  He does have some great advice abut getting the most out of life- "Etch your life in stone, and what you make will be forever." and "Giving will always succeed, Hording will always fail." This book will not be for everyone, but I can't argue with the contents.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Free Books from Tyndale

Check out this link to get free books from Tyndale Publishing

The Prodigal Comes Home - Michael English

My story of failure and God's story of redemption.  This is not a pleasant story to read, but then again a man destroying himself is never pleasant.  After being on top of the CCM world, the author admitted to an affair with a fellow Christian singer, and a pregnancy.  After that began an addiction to pain pills and alcohol that lasted even after rehab.  Michael had gone just about as low as one could, before discovering God's grace and forgiveness in a new and fresh way.  This is his story with all the dirty and gritty details and how he found God to be loving and forgiving.  His description of withdrawl from drugs should convince anyone who reads it to never get addicted in the first place.  At several points you will say, "Why couldn't he just walk away from temptation?"  Or, "there is the point he should have just said no." It's easy to say that in hindsight, and not being emotionally involved.
I have heard it said that stories are written either as an inspiration - Do what these people did, or a warning- Don't do what these people did.  I believe this was written as a warning to others what may happen if temptation is allowed in our lives.
Before you say this could never happen to you, keep in mind that we are still fallen human beings, capable of sin in it's many forms. And we are all capable of falling this far from God, and being forgiven and accepting of God's grace.
This story should be an inspiration to someone who is addicted or who feels God can not accept them because of what they have done.  Some will look at Michael's story and see a hypocrite, but others will see someone who has been forgiven and has come back to the Father.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Open - Craig Gross

What happens when you get real, get honest, and get accountable.  The author is creator of x3watch accountability software that can be used with a friend or group for accountability purposes.  This book is divided into three parts Part 1 Why, -  why have accountability? because it is safety, good, deep and necessary.  Part 2 is What, -  what we need, we need honesty, courage and help. Part 3 is How, -  how to make it happen, get involved, get intimate, and get effective.  This is not a book to be passive about, it requires, and demands action.  There are resources for putting a accountability group together, and how to do it.
The theme of this book is realizing your need for accountability.  We all need it to really live free and open.  Free from lies, deception, second guessing, and guilt.  Every man needs this whether he realizes it or not.
I found this book to be an easy read, with useful and practical guidelines.
By joining or creating an group, and using the resources available, you can live open.
I have received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze for the purpose of review.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sticking Points - Haydn Shaw

How to get 4 Generations working together in the 12 places they come apart.  There is a foreword by Stephen M.R. Covey and the author has created a workshop by Franklin Covey called Leading Across Generations.  The Washington Post recently called the author a "Leadership Guru."
It is an interesting fact that this is the first time in history that there are 4 generations in the workplace.  Mr. Shaw identifies 12 areas in which there are generational differences, and how to bridge the gap.  Part one is Understanding the 4 Generations, with a chapter on each.  Part Two gets into the 12 sticking points such as communication, loyalty, policies, meetings and work ethic, and how each generation views the subject.
No matter what generation you may fall into, there will be something for you to earn about your own and other's generations.  I found it to be an interesting read and far from a dry book about doing things the "old way" vs. the "new way."  Using humor and personal examples, rather than just polls and opinions, the author keeps the reader's interest.
He begins Chapter 2 with the history of sociological changes that have happened in this country.  This book boils down to one quote on pg. 17 "We all speak English, and most of us didn't grow up in different nations, so this shouldn't be hard." He is right it shouldn't be hard, but frustrations and prejudice can lead to stereotypes, and there lies the problem.
There is a paragraph on pg. 21 about wearing ties in church that is interesting.  The idea of  flip-flops is also seen as a generational statement.
Website for author is www.mygenerationalcoach.com.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to bridge the gap between the 4 generations, and find out how they think and view this world, especially in the workplace. It may lead to understand yourself or your co-worker a little bit better.
I have been provided a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale for the purpose of review.
Published by Tyndale House Publishers.