Category Archives: Books

Have a Kindle? Enjoy “Moments that Matter”

Have a Kindle? Enjoy “Moments that Matter”

The cover of the tract I authored

Today’s post is to let you know about a really neat project that I have been blessed to be part of. Recently, brother Jonathan Jenkins from Katy, Texas, got in touch with me and asked it I would write a tract. That may sound like no big deal, but the format is really interesting, and I think there is potential here to reach many people with the truth of God’s Word.

Brother Jenkins is editing these tracts, but they are really e-tracts, because they are only going to be available on the Kindle. I think this is a wonderful way to promote the Gospel! Here are some facts about this series:

1. The series of tracts is called “Moments that Matter,” and the subtitle is brilliant: “Short Answers to Eternal Questions.”

2. Each tract is around 3000 words or so, so they are about the length of one chapter of a regular book. Someone could read the entire tract in about 15 minutes or less in most cases.

3. The tracts cost 99 cents…but here’s the beautiful part. Every so often, each tract will be FREE on the Kindle for one week, and Jonathan is letting people know about that through the Facebook page for Moments that Matter. So, someone could simply search for free materials on the Kindle (like I do quite often!) and come across these tracts. At first, it looks like 2 tracts per week will be free, but our hope is that this number of regular free materials grows as the catalog of tracts grows.

4. If you are studying with someone, remember that you can “gift” a Kindle book (or tract) to that person through Amazon, and it will show up on their device. This is a great way to give someone material very inexpensively (even free).

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So far, tracts have been published or are in the process of being edited by Drew Kizer, Dan Jenkins, Eric Owens, Dale Jenkins, Jeremiah Tatum, Bruce Morton, Jonathan, myself, and the staff at Apologetics Press. Other writers are also involved, but are still working on their first submissions to the series.

Here is how you can enjoy this great new idea:

1. If you are on Facebook, make sure you “Like” the Moments that Matter page. That will add it to your Facebook news stream, so you can see when new tracts are published, or when certain tracts become free to download.

2. Even if you do not have a Kindle, you can read these tracts. Go to this page and download a Kindle reader for your computer, tablet, or smartphone (it’s free). If you have never done this, I highly recommend it. Free is a great price!

3. Start your “collection” with a FREE tract by Jonathan called “Am I Saved?” Here is the link to that tract. Since it’s free, get one for yourself, and then “gift” it to someone you are studying with.

4. Go ahead and spend 99 cents and buy the tract I authored (or you can wait until it’s free, of course…haha). It’s called “How Will I Be Treated when I’m 120 Years Old?

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With the growth of e-readers and the relative ease of finding free material, I think this is a great “market” to be in, and I’m thankful that Jonathan thought of this. It is an honor to be involved in the project, and it is my prayer that many tracts will be written and that many souls will be reached through these efforts.

…and, yes, Jonathan, I’ve been working on my next submission, too!

Book Review: “Raising Real Men”

Book Review: “Raising Real Men”

Raising Real Men

Hal and Melanie Young

$15.00 (paperback) / $9.99 (Kindle)

I was honored to be contacted by the Youngs and asked if I would review their book. It has been a joy to read.

Raising Real Men is a highly practical book, showing how this family is raising six sons (and one daughter, poor girl!). The Youngs regularly present some of this material in seminar/workshop form, but the book is well-done and easy to read.

One of the aspects I appreciated the most in this volume is the emphasis on true masculinity as God defines it, not as the world defines it. The boys are taught to be mannerly, but are also allowed to be rough-and-tumble. Going against the grain of many in our modern world, they are taught to defend ladies and to always seek to be a hero to women. Personally, I want my son to learn that lesson. He needs to seek to always be a gentleman who reaches out to help women of all age, not because they are “lesser,” but because it’s just the kind thing to do.

The Youngs have a strong Christian leaning in this book, which I appreciate. One thing I wish were done is that Scripture references are done as endnotes to the chapters. Personally, I like them as a part of the text itself (done parenthetically), but this is just preference. There are many references to Old Testament passages, especially dealing with wisdom literature. These timeless traits need to be inculcated into the lives of our children.

For many of you, one “turn off” of the book is that there is a strong emphasis on homeschooling. The Youngs are very direct from the outset, that their book is just trying to tell what they have done, and that includes homeschooling their children. We homeschool our two children as well, so this was helpful information for me, but if you do not homeschool, you may find it to be a bit much.

Overall, this is a very good book with a much-needed emphasis. In a world that has seemingly forgotten what real masculinity looks like, it is past time we parents started reinforcing God-given maleness into our sons. This book is a good “how-to” for parents wanting to do just that.

[NOTE: To visit the Young’s website and blog, click here.]

Book Review: “Game On”

Emmitt Smith, the Hall of Fame running back, wrote this book as a way to help people live within their purpose in life. Smith’s strength in this book is helping people live focused lives. In fact, that is basically the basis of the book.

Using his own experience as the basis for most of the book, Smith shares some of the times in his life when it didn’t seem like he would be the one to accomplish something, but he shows how he made it. Maybe the funniest part of the book is Smith discussing how he became a surprise champion on Dancing with the Stars. Through every chapter, the reader is focused upon one aspect of how to achieve great things.

The weakness of this book is the usage of Scripture. While the book passes as a Christian living book, there is almost no Scripture. Personally, I felt that there was so little that it would almost be better if there were none, and the book was just an autobiography or a leadership book.

If you are a football fan, you’ll find several stories that you will enjoy. If not, there is enough of the other parts of Smith’s life that it will keep nearly any reader interested. This is an average book, but one I’m glad I read.

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NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for this review. The review is fully my opinion.

Book Review: “Enemies of the Heart”

Andy Stanley’s Enemies of the Heart is a re-release of his former book, It Came from Within. Stanley’s words in this book are highly practical, as the book deals with areas that every person seems to struggle with at times.

Stanley tries to deal with four areas–guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy–that not only harm our relationships with others, but that break us down from the inside. His book seeks to show not only that these things are real, but that they are truly problematic, and that these four areas will destroy us if we leave them untouched.

In my opinion, the best part of the book is the middle section, where the author shares what these four “enemies” do to us, and how they each have a connection with how we either “owe” something to someone else, or how they “owe” us something. (I’m being vague, because I don’t want to give away that part of the book.) These middle four chapters are a must-read.

Overall, the book is highly practical, but seems to lack the Biblical references that I expected going in. Having heard Stanley preach via podcast many times, this wasn’t too surprising, but I thought maybe his books would be a little different. Still, for a practical book, this volume is hard to beat.

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NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from Multnomah’s “Blogging for Books” program in exchange for a review. The review is fully  my opinion.

Book Review: “Our Last Great Hope”

Book Review: “Our Last Great Hope”

Ronnie Floyd’s latest book, Our Last Great Hope, is meant to awaken within evangelical Christians the need and necessity for fulfilling the Great Commission. Floyd served for one year as the head of a group within the Southern Baptist Convention that was charged with studying world situations and how best to approach taking the Gospel to the entire world. He wrote this book, not so much as a “report” from that committee, but from his heart that was awakened by seeing the situation.

Of course, there are some statements in the book that deal with doctrines that are false, but this book still needs to be read. As I read it, I kept finding quotes and longer sections that I was reading again and again, because they really were eye-opening and made me look into the mirror and ask, “Am I really doing my part?”

The book has two great strengths.

First, the book is worded very strongly. Floyd pulls no punches as to the need that is ever-growing, due to the increasing population of the world. This book will really make you think about the Great Commission.

Second, the book covers several aspects of how to fulfill the command of Christ. It does not just conclude that we should “get to it.” Instead, Floyd shares ways that individuals and congregations can look for open doors, in people, resources, and finances, to get to work.

I highly recommend this book.

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NOTE: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. The review is fully my opinion. The book was provided by booksneeze.com

 

I review for BookSneeze®

Review of “Plugged in Parenting”

Review of “Plugged in Parenting”

Written by Bob Waliszewski, Plugged in Parenting is designed to help parents in the digital age. Though backed with numerous statistics and examples, the book is still easy to read and is a quick read.

One of the positives of this book is that it doesn’t just present “troubles,” but shares with parents tools to help them equip their children to use technology both for information and entertainment. As one might expect, though, the book quickly points out many of the struggles parents face with the complete glut of technology in our children’s world.

As a reader might expect, the book mentions the website PluggedIn.com quite often, at times too much. While not meant as a “commercial” for the site, I still found the number times it was mentioned to be a bit much.

As I read the book, I was struck by how the book could hold up longer than some other books on the subject. While there were some specific examples, there were not as many as you might expect. I find this to be a good feature, as pop culture references and “cool” technologies change so often. I think this book, at least in its major principles, will last for some time to come.

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I received this book for free from Tyndale Blog Network. I was not required to give a positive review on the book.

 

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

Review of “Love You More”

Review of “Love You More”

Jennifer Grant’s story of international adoption was intriguing to me. As a parent of an adopted child, I love reading other adoption stories. This book did not disappoint. However, since our adoption was from within the United States, reading about an international adoption added to our knowledge of the subject.

Love You More is written by an obviously gifted writer, and the book truly shares the heart of one who wanted to adopt, but had to go through many of the usual “hoops” of an international adoption. The daughter they adopted, Mia, is from Guatemala, a nation that made adoptions quite difficult while Grant and her husband were trying to finish the process.

One of the unique parts of the story of Mia’s adoption is that the Grant family already had children of their own, but had always thought about adopting. The Grants both worked overseas and enjoyed certain parts of the world, so adopting internationally was part of their heart. That adds to the flavor of the story.

Another nice feature of the book is that Grant is willing to publish some of the emails she sent to friends and family through the process, which adds to the “human” side of the book. The book is an easy read, but will pull at your heart strings. I highly recommend the volume.

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I received a copy of Love You More for free from Booksneeze.com in exchange for this review. I was not required to publish a positive review.

I review for BookSneeze®

Review of “The Final Summit”

Read this book!

Andy Andrews is a master story-teller, and The Final Summit proves that, captivating the reader through one simple story for well over 200 pages. I told my wife that I considered this to be a life-changing book, due to its thought-provoking nature.

The main character in the story, David Ponder, is brought to a summit meeting with nearly countless historical figures. Most are well known, but a few are important, though slightly unknown. Their mission is to come up with a statement–just one statement–that will bring mankind out of difficulty.

The story then hinges on the intense discussion and debate among these characters as they try to nail down the final wording. Being a history guy, I was amazed at how well Andrews captured the personality of each of these men and women so well, and used that in the story.

I do not wish to spoil the message that finally comes in the end, but I will say that it is quite simple. However, reading the entire book provides so much food for thought that the reader will find this to be a book that will challenge as well as entertain, a rare combination. I highly recommend this book, and it is one of my favorite reads of all time.

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I received a copy of this book from Booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, except for the free copy of the book.

I review for BookSneeze®

Review of “The Walk”

Though not my favorite football player of the last few years, I have heard of Shaun Alexander’s faith for some years, so this book intrigued me. The Walk is Alexander’s “path” to spiritual maturity, one through which he has led men around the country, both in private studies and in more public speaking engagements.

One positive of the book is that it does not focus on Alexander to football player as some sort of “proof” that he is a religious man. Far too  many athletes are given a pass in the realm of religion, just because they can run fast or do other amazing feats. While the book obviously mentions football several times, that is not the focus.

The “walk” described by Alexander is 5 steps, that go from being an unbeliever to a believer. The believer, then, is encouraged to become an example, then a teacher, and finally an imparter. Alexander claims that the one who reaches this final “step” can perform miracles of varying types, a statement that clearly contradicts Biblical teaching (see First Corinthians 12-14). Other than this, though, the steps are ones that are quite normal.

Alexander claims that the Apostle Peter was his inspiration for these steps, and he ends each section by going back to the biography of Peter. It is an interesting part of the book to see that connection.

Football fans will be somewhat disappointed, since there is little football in this book. The book does have some interesting stories, and it sheds some light on a religious man, but the stretching and misuse of Scripture is hard to get past. I would pass on this book, unless you are a big fan of Shaun Alexander.

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I received a copy of The Walk for free from Blogging for Books, run by WaterBrook Multnomah. I was not compensated for this review, except through the free book.

Five More Reviews, as I Try to Catch Up

Here are some more book reviews to start your week.

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Getting Through the Tough Stuff

Charles Swindoll

W Publishing (2004), 231 pages

It had been some time since I had read a book by Swindoll, so I was happy to add this one to my list. Getting Through the Tough Stuff is meant to show us that we can get through anything, simply because Jesus did.

Each of the book’s 14 chapters deals with a different area of life that is “tough” (anxiety, divorce, prejudice, disqualification, etc.) and shows from Scripture how Christ handled these areas. As always, Swindoll’s conversational style makes the book easy to absorb, and a fairly quick read.

For preachers, maybe the most interesting chapter is 13, where Swindoll deals with dealing with disqualification. How do we handle it when we are seen as no longer “fit” for something (specifically, the ministry) due to mistakes and sins? It is a wake-up call, and a strong reminder that even that “tough” issue can be overcome.

While there are a few things in the book with which I disagree, overall, I highly regard and recommend this volume from Swindoll.

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I Do…Every Day

Cynthia Bond Hopson and Roger A. Hopson

Abingdon Press (2011) 112 pages

I read this book on my Kindle reader (no, I do not own a Kindle, but I use my iPhone and laptop with the free reader), and found it to be perfect for that type of devise.

I Do is a brief couple’s devotional book with dozens of 2-3 page “chapters” meant to encourage couples in nearly every area of life. Since the chapters are so short, they can be read in just a minute or two, but reflected on throughout the day.

Each day’s chapter has a Scripture, a story, some reflections (“things we’ve learned”) from the authors, and a “honey-do list” of how to apply the lesson. Then, each lesson ends with a prayer.

Due to the brevity of each chapter, there is not a lot of “meat” to the book, but I still found it to be helpful. It is very easy reading, but the point of this book is in the reflection. Most couples would benefit from it, but I would recommend it more to those who have been married for several years and are facing a season that is difficult. Working through a simple book like this one together could be just what is needed. It is light reading, but with serious points.

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From Conquerors to Kings

Drew Kizer

Riddle Creek Publishing (2011) 135 pages

Drew’s latest book–a follow-up to his brother’s Barton’s From Slave to Conquerors–walks teenagers and young adults through the history of the Israelite nation through the life of Samuel and then the first three kings: Saul, David and Solomon. Meant to be an overview, the book still takes a look at several famous stories from the lives of these individuals and makes proper applications from them.

The book’s 13 chapters make it perfect for classroom use, and teachers will find more than enough information in each lesson to have a Biblically-based discussion class.

Drew was a guest on the May episode of The Pages Podcast, as we discussed this book and the planned titles in the future through Riddle Creek. If you wish to listen to that interview, click here.

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Harriet Tubman: The Moses of Her People

Sarah H. Bradford

MacMay (2008) 112 pages

A free Kindle book, I highly recommend this little biography. Combining stories and notes from old interviews with Tubman, Bradford presents the life of a true hero in simple-to-read form.

Tubman was an amazing woman, and this book tries to relate both personal instances and historical significance to what Tubman did via the Underground Railroad. Her work in rescuing slaves though she was the most wanted person in the South, is a story that will touch you and motivate you.

The one difficulty with this book is that Bradford tries to write quotes from Tubman (and others) phonetically, so reading longer quotes can be burdensome, but by working through it, you can almost hear Tubman’s voice. If you are a history buff, this book will be a breezy read, but will remind you of one of the most important figures in American history.

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Deceiving Winds

Bruce Morton

21st Century Christian (2009) 304 pages

Deeply-researched and methodically presented, Deceiving Winds uses the ancient city of Ephesus and what went on there, both in the Church and in the culture, as a blueprint for what is going on in the West in our modern day. Morton then goes to the Scriptures to show how the Church in Ephesus was told to respond, and how we should respond, as well.

To be honest, at first I was overwhelmed by the depth of this book. I was reading it without any preconceived ideas, and I was expecting “just another class book.” If you choose to read this volume, you need to know that it is far more. Chapters have dozens of end notes (one appendix has 66 of them!), and Morton presents his case with great depth of knowledge.

The book concerns itself with several issues, but I was struck most by two. The first is the mysticism that we see in subtle ways in our society, but which is finding its way into “Christian” publishing, music and worship. Morton makes a strong point that these mystic influences are similar to–if not exactly like–those faced in Ephesus in the First Century.

The other issue that struck me was the radical feminist movement that has engulfed our society in many arenas. Again, Morton points out that this was done in Ephesus, and even some of the methods used by modern-day radical feminists were used in those ancient days, as well.

The call of this book, obviously, is to Scripture, but it is also to open our eyes to the fact that what is now subtle may not be subtle for long. I strongly urge preachers and elders to read this book, but give yourself time to read it with contemplation and thought. It is not a quick read, but it is worth the effort.