Category Archives: Books

Book Review: Heaven Hears

In 2001, Ryan Corbin crashed through a skylight and fell around 30 feet onto a concrete floor. His life hung by a thread, but he fought valiantly. This book, penned by his mother, Lindy Boone Michaaelis, speaks of how faith has carried the family–especially  her–through this long series of trials.

978-1-4143-8324-8Personally, I wanted to read the book because Ryan is the grandson of Pat Boone, and Pat actually wrote the forward. Lindy makes it clear that Boone’s celebrity status and finances have helped in certain situations, but that faith has been the true driving force behind Ryan’s slow but remarkable recovery.

Several times, Lindy and Pat appeared on Larry King Live, since Boone and King were old friends. These appearances caused many around the world to pray for Ryan. In some ways, this book reads like a “thank you” to them for their prayers. At times, there are even letters from viewers printed at the end of chapters.

I found this book to be very raw, as Lindy is willing to admit both the peaks and the valleys of Ryan’s struggle and her own walk as his mother. While she has obviously done tremendous amounts of good, she admits certain missteps or struggles that others might not want to admit.

Overall, this book is a good read. There are some issues with taking passages out of context, but they do not detract from the overall message of hope this book provides. If you are struggling, especially as you help someone with a protracted illness or sickness, you might want to get a copy as a way to help you walk through this difficult time.

—————-

DISCLAIMER: I was given a free copy of Heaven Hears from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to give a positive review.

Review: “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”

An updated edition of Joshua Harris’s most well-known book, this volume was one I was quite surprised to be available for free for review, so I jumped at the chance to get it.

The volume takes a look at how most people in our culture think of dating, and basically puts that mindset over against Biblical principles of wisdom and purity. Harris is very straightforward with his comparisons, but not so blunt that he does not allow the reader to think for himself.

The book talks about how we are always trying to get boys and girls to “couple up,” but how they often are not ready for such levels of intimacy–both physical and emotional–before they are married. Many young people, even in the Christian world, have been brought up thinking they have to go from one relationship to another, but Harris challenges that thinking by simply asking how that is preparing them for a lifelong marital relationship.

Further, when young people (or even young adults) are involved with another person, the attraction can almost become obsessive. We like to think of that as love, but it could be something that is not love at all. Harris is simply challenging us to think about this almost compulsive behavior when we are not married.

I found this book to be challenging, and one that I plan to keep “at the ready” not only for when my children are old enough to think about dating, but for sermons and classes about parenting and for young people, as well. Harris is open and honest about both his strengths and his weaknesses, and the book is highly readable. I very strongly recommend it.

————————-

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book from Water Brook / Multnomah in exchange for this review. I am not required to give a positive review in exchange for the book.

24:15 Publications Announces a New Title: “Building a Hero”

At the end of almost every post we send out, we have a banner for our publishing company, 24:15 Publications. These are self-published books that we are glad to be able to produce for you to enjoy, and we do our best to provide them at a very low cost.

Today, we are pleased to announce our newest book, Building a Hero. In reality, this is also our oldest book.

Huh?

You see, many years ago, I wrote this book about Nehemiah and printed it for my own use. Since starting 24:15 Publications, I have wanted to bring this title under the “house” of our new company, and now we have done that. With this new book, we now have 5 titles available from 24:15 Publications.

Building a Hero Cover 2

Building a Hero is a 13 chapter book about Nehemiah, taking one of the Biblical chapters per chapter of study. The book is designed for Junior and Senior High, and each chapter ends with questions for personal reflection and/or class discussion.

We are proud to be able to offer this book for only $6.50 per copy, but if you need to order in bulk for classroom use, contact us and we will help you out with the price.

To get to know more about this book, or to order a copy for yourself, click here.

———————————

To receive our blog posts via rss, click here. To subscribe via email, click here.

To sign up for our free monthly enewsletter, click here.

Click the banner to visit our publishing website

 

Book Review: The Language of Blessing

Joseph Cavanaugh’s first book is a very encouraging look at how we speak into the lives of people we know and how that changes them. What is most interesting about this book to me, however, is that Cavanaugh spends quite a lot of time reminding us to speak into our own lives, not just the lives of other people. If we are not speaking blessing into our own lives, we will not be sharing blessings with others.

The book is highly personal, which I like. The author is able to share times when he has both struggled to overcome negativity and when he has seen how speaking blessing into others has made a clear change. Throughout the volume, Cavanaugh (who admits to having a love of growing plants) uses the imagery of gardening. The consistent usage of this imagery adds to the overall feel and makes the book an easy read.

If I were to pick one drawback, it would be that the book also mentions a particular work that the author is involved in, StrengthFinders, over and over. At times, it almost feels like a sales pitch. While I understand him mentioning the work, it becomes a labor to read about it so often in a fairly short book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and was challenged in my thinking to work within my strengths and to try to see the strengths of others, then to build up people in their strengths. I think this would be a good book for parents, employers, or even elders.

—————————–

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for this review. I am not required to give a positive review.

Inside My Mentoring Group

In late 2011, I posted that one of my goals for 2012 was to start a mentoring group for young adult guys. I had a couple of guys who were somewhat interested, but it did not materialize.

6963288842_4c241ed9d3_zBut I really wanted to do this, so I changed how I approached asking guys to join in. Instead of a wide-open, anybody can apply approach, I started keeping a list of guys I specifically wanted to be part of the program. They are young men in whom I see a great deal of potential. I have a true passion for seeing younger men grow and mature into strong leaders for God and for family.

It has worked. Four accepted the invitation to be in the program in 2013, and a couple others are looking at 2014 already.

What Do We Do?

These guys agree to a very strict code of participation each month. They must do three P’s each time we meet: be prompt, be prepared, and participate. I provide them with a discussion outline for the next meeting, and they must have it ready to go. Honestly, I am blown away by how frank and open the discussions have been.

Part of that openness comes from one very important aspect of the group: what happens in the group stays in the group. (By the way, that is why I will not talk of any specific discussions in this post.)

Each month, the members (including me) are required to do the following:

  • Read one assigned book and make notes on the sheet I give out for that book. While reading provides us with the background for our discussion, this is far more than a book club. It is highly personal. We make life applications and challenge each other to be better men, workers, husbands, fathers, and students. [The list of books is at the end of this post.]
  • Memorize two assigned Scriptures. The passages from the Bible are fitting for the subject for that month. Sometimes it is only a verse or two, while other times it is several.
  • Participate in the discussion.

Besides these monthly requirements, each participant is required to do the following:

  • Attend Spiritual Renewal Weekend (part of Polishing the Pulpit) in August. While there, they must keep notes from at least 3 of the sessions they attend and turn them in at our September meeting.
  • Meet one-on-one with me for a meal twice during the year. We recently amended this slightly, so that those who are married could meet “two-on-two” with Leah and me if they wanted. These are simply informal meals to get to know one another a little better and to help with specific struggles or decisions.
  • Agree to lead a mentoring group in the future. It does not  have to follow this same way of doing things, but the participant has signed a form saying he will do this in the future at least one time.

We meet each month for a meal at our house, then we have our meeting, which usually last 90 minutes. The time truly flies, because there is so much discussion, and we are truly having fun.

I really can’t express to you how much this group is helping me, and I know it is helping the guys who are involved. If you would like more information about this program, contact me with any questions you may have.

Resources

Books we are using in this year’s program (all links except January’s book are to Amazon print version of the books. For this program, I do not recommend Kindle, because you will want to make a lot of notes):

Spiritual Renewal Weekend

I also highly recommend the book Mentor Like Jesus by Regi Campbell if you are thinking of leading a group like this one. It is a quick, but excellent read. You can get it for $11.35  here.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on this sort of program? What other recommendations do you have? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

———————–

Photo credit: Ryan Li on Creative Commons

To subscribe via email (and receive a FREE ebook), click here.

 

Tech Tip: Remembering Kindle Highlights

I love my Kindle! I read from it almost daily, and probably read about 50%-60% of the books I read from cover-to-cover on it.

As I read, though, I like to make some highlights. However…what do you do with those highlights once they are done?

I have struggled with that for quite some time, but here is what I am starting to do now. I hope it is helpful to you if you have struggled with this, too.

To purchase a Kindle for just $69, click on the picture. Just $69!!!

To purchase a Kindle for just $69, click on the picture. Just $69!!!

STEP ONE: Finding the Highlights

Amazon does a great thing in putting all your Kindle highlights in one place, but they make it a bit difficult to find. The best thing to do is to bookmark the page with your highlights, but if you forget to do that, here’s how you can find them.

1. Sign into Amazon

2. Then, in the url bar, type in kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights

Once you are on that page, Amazon shows all your highlights from all your books, starting with the newest ones.

STEP TWO: Archive on a blog

This is an extra step, I know, but it is one that I am doing, because I want to share these resources with others.

So, I created a Tumblr blog called “Resources from Adam Faughn.” Click here to see it, or here to follow it by rss.

If you do this, people who follow that blog will get to see all your favorite quotes. It’s a great way to share resources! Feel free to follow mine.

STEP THREE: Send to Evernote

If you are not using Evernote, you need to! It is the best way I have found to keep up with all the zillions of different things you find, but you don’t know where to keep. I recently crossed over 3000 notes in my account, and I use it to store all sorts of illustrations, sermon ideas, quotes, maps, pictures…and on and on.

I plan to clip my Tumblr posts into Evernote, and since the posts have tags (e.g. family, preaching, Matthew, etc.), they are then already tagged and searchable.

NOTE: One thing that I need to tell you is that I don’t make a ton of highlights. I’m not sure this system would work if you are a very heavy highlighter. But it’s a way I’m trying, and I think it will work.

QUESTION: How to keep up with your Kindle highlights and notes?

————————–

Photo credit: bfishadow on Creative Commons

To receive our blog posts via rss, click here. To subscribe via email, click here.

To sign up for our free monthly enewsletter, click here.

Click the banner to visit our publishing website

 

 

Book Review: 20,000 Days and Counting

Subtitled The Crash Course For Mastering Your Life Right Now, this book is a quick read that will cause you to think. In fact, since the book is about making the best use of your time, the writer, Robert D. Smith, wanted the book to be quite brief. The volume can be read quite thoughtfully in less than two hours.

Coming to the realization that he had lived nearly 20,000 days, Smith went on a retreat by himself and tried to think about, if he had 20,000 days left, what would he most like to accomplish? In reality, answering that question did not take long, because he knew what his most valued things in life were. The trick, of course, was just to do those things!

This book asks many challenging questions, but the overall thrust of this volume is very simple. It is to live to your priorities each day. Each chapter addresses that singular theme from a different angle. You may think, then, that this is a boring or very repetitive book, but that is not true. Due not only to its brevity, but also to the different angles of each chapter, you will find yourself enriched and challenged.

Of course, by making us think of days instead of years, this book really gives a strong challenge, but it is a Biblical challenge (cf. Psalm 90:12). I highly recommend this book.

——————————–

To order a Kindle copy for just $8.54, click here.

——————————–

I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze.com in exchange for this review. The review does not have to be positive, but only must reflect my opinion on the volume.

Book Review: “Life Promises for Couples”

Written by the author of The Five Love Languages, this short volume is meant to be a devotional-type book. Just 200 pages in length, each of the facing pages shares (on one page) about two or three Scriptures, then (on the facing page) a short thought based upon those Scriptures to  help your marriage.

One of the strengths of this book is that it covers a multitude of areas in the marriage relationship. When I first started the book, I was concerned that it would just be a “retread” of Chapman’s famous “love languages,” which I have read before. While those five common thoughts are clearly seen in the book, the reader will find this to be a very different book, both in type but also in material.

The book is laid out in such a way as to cause one to read it slowly. I tried to just read a  handful (maybe 5) of the devotionals at a time, since the subject matter jumps from concept to concept. In doing this, I found the book helpful and very encouraging.

This little book would make a wonderful gift for a newlywed couple, or for your spouse, as it will help anyone see the importance of marriage. In giving the book away, though, don’t forget to take the time to read it yourself!

————————-

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for this review. I did not have to provide a positive review.

Tyndale Blog Network

Book Review: “Then Sings My Soul” book 3

Robert Morgan has written several different volumes in this series. Personally, I own and have read volumes 1, 2, and 3 in the series, but have not read any of the “special edition” books.

Volume three in this series is slightly different from the first two. Both volumes 1 and 2 took one page to give a short history of either a hymn or its writer, with about 150 hymns in each book. In this volume, Morgan often lets the story go for several pages, providing more depth to the information. Further, this volume differs because the beginning of the book provides a brief walk through what Morgan called “The History of Hymnody.” Anyone interested in the history of religious music will find this section, while very short, to be a good summary.

As one who loves to sing, but who also enjoys knowing where hymns come from, I find these short histories to be refreshing and uplifting. Morgan’s words are brief, but very informative. Personally, I like the longer format to these histories, in contrast to the longer notes in previous volumes. As with previous volumes, the reader will also find a wonderful mix of songs that are very familiar with those that they may have never heard of before. This only adds to the charm of the book, as the reader wants to find more hymns to learn.

————————-

NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze.com in exchange for this review. I do not have to provide a positive review.
I review for BookSneeze®

The Big Announcement: 24:15 Publications

Today, we are so excited to let you know about a brand new endeavor we are undertaking. Obviously, as one who blogs so often, I enjoy writing, but blog posts are short-format. I also enjoy writing longer-format materials.

Like books.

So, for some time, I have started a writing regimen that has led to the formation of our own family publishing company. Today, we are thrilled to let you know about 24:15 Publications.

We take the name from Joshua 24:15, where that great leader told the people of Israel, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We want to help you and your family learn more about God’s Word so you can truly serve Him.

What makes our “publishing” company unique is that we are not actually doing any publishing of our own. All of our books are available through Amazon in a print-on-demand format. Some books will also be available on the Kindle. We will have some of our books in hand, but our goal is to drive people to our Amazon page so they can get whatever they want, whenever they want.

What We Have Available Right Now

In addition to “opening” today, we are starting 24:15 Publications with not one…not two…but THREE volumes! One of our goals was to have different types of books available, so we waited to start until we had three. All three of our books are very different.

So, what is available right now? I’m glad you asked. Here are the three books that are currently available for purchase.

1. Blessings from Revelation. This book is our first in our “Notes from the Preacher” series. These books are taken from sermon series or Bible classes that I have presented. This first offering deals with the seven “beatitudes” found in the book of Revelation. It is, of course, seven chapters in length and has 88 pages. This book is just $6.00.

2. The Epistle of Joy. We wanted to offer deeper Bible study books that any Christian could follow. Some like commentaries, while others like devotional books. So…we created “Commenotionals.” And our first offering in this series is a look at the book of Philippians. We like to think of these books are commentaries for the rest of us. Using footnotes for deeper Bible study, these books are still very readable and helpful. This volume contains 8 chapters and 136 pages. It costs just $9.00.

3. The “I” in Sin. Designed for Junior and Senior High Bible classes, our “I.E.A. Essentials” series is actually what got 24:15 Publications rolling in our minds. These are not typical class books. The goal is to simply give the teacher an Introduction, Explanation of the text or topic, and Application to share. Then, the teacher is to bring his or her own knowledge and study to help fill out the lesson. Our first offering in this series is a study of the word pictures for sin found in the Old Testament book of Hosea. Featuring 13 chapters and 94 pages, this book is only $4.50.

Wonderful! Where Can I Get These Books?

You may have noticed that we have not included any links to purchase the books yet. That’s because we also have taken the time and expense to create a brand new website for 24:15 Publications. We would like you to take a few moments to go take a look around the new webpage before going on to Amazon.  The webpage still needs a few little tweaks, but we are very proud of it. It will show you more about the types of books, as well as the individual titles we have available.

So, take a moment and visit our new website here: 24:15Publications.com

Finally, How about Something Free?

About 3 weeks ago, we started a monthly email newsletter from this blog. Over 50 people got that first issue, and as I write this there are over 60 signed up to get the next one in late December. The first issue contained a tease at the bottom for a free giveaway to every person–yes, every person–who was signed up for the newsletter by that late December date.

Why are we including this today? Because the giveaway will be our fourth book, which will be a available in just a couple of weeks.

That’s right, every single person who signs up for our free monthly newsletter will get a link to download a pdf version our next book, Understanding the Love Chapter, when the December issue of the newsletter comes out (Friday, December 28). So, if you have not signed up, you’ll want to get on the list. After that date, the book will be $5.50. If you are not on the mailing list, simply click here to join.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. Our huge announcement. We are truly excited, but our prayer is not to sell a bunch of books. Our prayer is that anything you gain from these volumes helps you in your walk with Jesus Christ.

Welcome to 24:15 Publications!