Category Archives: Books

The Pages Podcast: A Primer

The Pages Podcast: A Primer

A few weeks ago, Dale Jenkins and I unveiled “The Pages Podcast.” The podcast is set to record for the first time in early March, and we would love for you to be part of it!

The Pages Podcast will be, as Dale describes it, an old fashioned book club for the 21st Century. With advances in technology, we  have the opportunity to have a book club all over the country and even, the world!

Since unveiling the idea, a lot of work has gone in to getting the club organized in a helpful way. Here are some things you need to know:

1. This is not just for preachers. Our goal is to review books that deal with all areas of the Christian life. We will look at biographies, leadership books, finance books, and many other helpful books, both old and new. Our goal is to help you build a nice library.

2. The podcast will be recorded in the evenings. We are doing this so that those with “9 to 5″ jobs can be part of the live podcast. We will interview people from the club, leaders, and even some of the authors. In fact, on our first podcast, we will be interviewing the author of the book!

3. We have partnered with the Gospel Advocate company to bring you great discounts on the books. Our first book, The Seed Principle by Aubrey Johnson will cost you only $5. After that, we will be able to get books published by Gospel Advocate for 25% off, and all other books they sell for 15% off!

4. The podcast will last about 45-60 minutes each month, and we also want your feedback on our Facebook page. Each month, we want your comments and reviews on The Pages Podcast’s Facebook page, so we can build a good set of reviews.

So far, we have about 30 people involved. As word spreads, we feel this group will grow, and we want you to be part of it! If you are interested, send an email to keaton.bell@gospeladvocate.com. Keaton has worked very hard behind the scenes to set up the club in conjunction with Gospel Advocate, and we thank him for his work!

I hope you will join the club, and we look forward to reviewing The Seed Principle with you in early March!

Finally…Some Book Reviews!

Since I write very brief reviews, I have been waiting to do a review post until I had several to pass along. Here is the latest batch.

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The Mystery of God’s Will

Charles Swindoll

Thomas Nelson, 1999 (222 pages)

It is rare that a writer admits from the outset that he does not know the topic very well, but Swindoll clearly makes that claim at the beginning of this volume. Gaining a true and full understanding of the will of God is a nearly impossible topic to cover, but Swindoll’s effort in this book is commendable.

Obviously, there are some things Swindoll writes in this book with which I disagree, but I still found it to be a helpful read. Simply put, it is impossible to explain God’s providence and how it works, but in this book, Swindoll tries to do just that in ways that I find to be over-stating the case.

I would recommend this book for serious Bible students, but would not for those who are not well-grounded in the faith. The book is an easy read, and it worth your time, but it is not a book you can just skim through and take at face value. Deeper study is necessary alongside this book.

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Contrary to Popular Belief

Joey Green

Three Rivers Press, 2005 (272 pages)

This is a simple “gift book” that contains brief nuggets that we all assume are true. Green tries to give a few short facts to show that these things are not true.

Some are very interesting, while others are clearly wrong. Green, if he is a Christians, surely does not share a literal view of the Bible, as he has about three things in this list of 250 that are Biblical, but claims they are wrong.

The historical and scientific things in the book, though, are quite interesting. They are also fun to read. (One example: “George Washington was not the first President of the United States.” He was the first under the Constitution, but there were Presidents under the Articles of Confederation, too.) If you enjoy little nuggets like that, you’ll enjoy this book. Be warned, though, there is a lot of chaff with the wheat!

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Faith is My Fortune

Richard Clark & Jack Bates

Pepperdine College Book Store, 1962 (316 pages)

A biography of George Pepperdine, Faith is My Fortune is an interesting and entertaining look at a man who truly left an amazing legacy. Pepperdine is best known by many folks as the namesake of California’s Pepperdine University, but he was more than just a philanthropist.

In this book, the authors share tales of Pepperdine’s life from the very beginning. The book is basically divided into three parts. There is the background and growing up years, followed by his work with Western Auto stores, then his work in the Church and with the college. Each of these sections shares insight not only into Pepperdine’s personal life, but also into America at the time. From a small farm in the midwest to a very wealthy man on the west coast, George Pepperdine saw so much.

The book is hard to read at times, as it seems somewhat disjointed, but it is still worth your time if you are a student of Church history, or of biographies.

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Decision Points

George W. Bush

Crown Publishers, 2010 (497 pages)

I like “W.” While I don’t agree with everything he did as President of our country, I still find him to be a fascinating figure in modern history. His memoirs were a fantastic read.

The title is well-chosen, as Bush sets forth decisions he made throughout his life (mostly during his time as President, of course) that he felt were most important. Instead of a chronological day-by-day account of his time in the White House, these points of decision are a wonderful focus on what Bush will most be remembered for.

To me, the chapter on 9/11 (“Day of Fire”) is the most compelling. I knew much of what Bush’s day was like, but this chapter tells far more that I did not know.

One of the strengths of this book is that Bush is willing to tell of things he did that he now regrets. It is not just a “look what I did right” book, and I highly respect that. Even if you are not a “fan” of George W. Bush, you will find this book to be a great leadership volume. Though long, it is an easy read, and one that I hope to read again someday.

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Seven Things a Loving God Hates

Allen Webster

Heart to Heart Publications, 2007 (159 pages)

This is the second time I have read brother Webster’s book in a cover-to-cover manner, although I have used it many times for sermon and lesson preparation.

My Sunday morning Bible class is currently studying the book of Proverbs, so, when we came to Proverbs 6 and looked at these “seven things,” we used brother Webster’s book as the basis for our study. It was a great help to me as the teacher, and the class truly enjoyed the study and the discussion each chapter led to.

Based upon his popular tract series, Seven Things is a must-read. Webster supports each chapter with strong research, a multiplicity of Scripture references, and well-chosen illustrations. I highly recommend this book for personal study or for a class or small group study.

If You Like Books……..

If You Like Books……..

It is no secret that I love reading. But I know that many of you do, as well.

An older “tradition” that isn’t done as much anymore is the book club. However, I am thrilled today to let you know about a 21st Century version that you can be part of!

Dale Jenkins and I are beginning “The Pages Podcast.” It is a modern-day book club. Each month, we will announce a book geared toward Christian living. Then, on an assigned night, we will discuss the book in podcast form. You can listen live to our discussion, make comments in the chat room and even, if time allows, call in to make comments. Our goal is to get guests, including some of the authors, to come on with us as we discuss the book.

Now, here’s the best part: we are working on plans to get the books for less money than you would pay for them in book stores! Once the title is announced, we will let you know how to get that month’s book.

Please know that this is not just for preachers. We plan to talk about biographies, finance books, leadership books, books on parenting and family, and general Christian living books. Also, we have a goal of discussing books that are both new and old, so there will be much variety.

Now, what can you do?

1. If you would like to be involved, you can “like” the page on Facebook. If you are not on Facebook, or prefer email, email your interest to thepagespodcast@edge.net. By letting us know, you will be added to our email list and will be notified of the first title (to be named in early February) and the date of the first podcast (early March).

2. Spread the word. The more people we have involved, the more fun this will be. A larger number will also help us “leverage” with authors and book stores as we seek to get you the best price possible on the book each month. It would be great to start out with 100 folks!

We hope you will enjoy this new venture, and that you will learn from the reading and the discussion of these books over the coming months. Our goal is to record the podcasts in the evenings so as many folks as possible can join in live.

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Dale recently posted a “press release” about the launch. Here is that post.

A Great “Set” of Reviews

Four reviews today, and I like all four books. Enjoy!

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Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

Meg Meeker

Ballantine Books, 2006 (267 pages)

Simply put, this is one of the best (if not, “the” best) book on parenting I have ever read. Obviously, as a dad with a daughter, this book appealed to me, but I found some principles here, too, that will help in raising my son.

Meeker is able in this book to share very blunt truths with us fathers. Her approach is clear, concise and, at times, downright “in your face.” However, she backs up all her statements with almost countless references to research and also with life stories she has seen over decades of serving as a counselor.

The key word is “strong,” and Meeker never backs down from that concept. In a world that teaches girls to be “tough,” Meeker teaches us dads “10 Secrets” to making a girl become truly strong. Though not written from a true Christian perspective, the book still teaches that fathers are to pass along certain traits, including our faith.

Dads, read this book! While you may know much of what is said here, the book adds a lot of weight and depth to how you will approach your precious daughter.

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Words from the Fire

Albert Mohler

Moody Publishers, 2009 (200 pages)

Dr. Albert Mohler’s blog and podcast (“The Briefing”) are two of my favorite things to take in each day. So I was excited to get a book written by him. Also, considering it was on a subject that I enjoy, I was doubly excited.

And I wasn’t disappointed. The book deals with the 10 Commandments. While you may think there is nothing more to learn on these ten statements from God, Dr. Mohler is able to share with us some modern thoughts that are very needed.

The best chapters, to me, are those that deal with what we sometimes call the “vertical” commands (those dealing with our submission to God). Mohler hammers home the concept of the true holiness of God, and of our need to be absolutely reverent as it pertains to the Lord.

Preachers, you will find nearly every chapter to be helpful in your study of the 10 Commandments, and you will also find that each chapter can be “preached” with just a little work. I highly recommend this book.

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Fireproof

Eric Wilson

Thomas Nelson, 2008 (312 pages)

Rarely do I read novels, but I couldn’t pass on this one. Leah had read it and told me that it meant a lot to her, so I took the time to read it. I figured I would be bored out of my mind, but I could hardly put it down!

Due to the success of the movie by the same name, as well as the popularity of this novel, most of you know the basis of Fireproof. The novel is able to draw the reader in, and make you feel for this couple as they struggle through a horrible relationship, and as the husband strives to win back his wife.

The overall message that I gained was that my bride is worth fighting for. While the story is good, that application is priceless. Hopefully, Leah has seen that in me since I finished this novel.

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Living Life in the Zone

Kyle Rote, Jr. and Dr. Joe Pettigrew

Thomas Nelson, 2009 (329 pages)

I reviewed this book in another article for booksneeze.com. If you are interested, you can read that post here.

Good Thought-Provoking Book

Living in the Zone walks men through 40 days of Bible study and self-evaluation. The book is designed for those who love sports, and each chapter contains a story of someone associated with the world of athletics who models a specific and needed trait.

The 40-day approach has been all the rage lately, probably due to the success of Fireproof and its 40-day Love Dare. “Zone” is a book that is challenging, and will really cause men to think.

The 40 days are divided into 6 “zones” in which men need to evaluate their success and maturity against what God has to say in His Word. Maybe the most challenging is the zone of “work.” We often place work in its own compartment and fail to use it for spiritual purposes. The words of this book help us balance that against God’s Word.

The book is very much “devotional level,” but it is still challenging. Each chapter ends with questions and an assignment. Some of these assignments, though, are truly challenging. Some are more than one-day assignments, which might turn a few readers away.

Overall, I found the book to be helpful, and a needed reminder. If you are looking for a simple devotional book for men, this is a book to pick up. If you are looking for a deeper Bible study, you might want to look elsewhere.

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I reviewed this book for Booksneeze.com, in exchange for a free copy of the book.

I review for BookSneeze

Quick-Fire Book Reviews

When God Builds a Church

Bob Russell

Howard Publishing, 2000 (292 pages)

I read this book as I prepared some ideas for sermons for 2011. I had read this book several years ago, but thought it needed to be read again.

Russell, the “senior pastor” of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, wrote this book as a way to show that growing a congregation isn’t just about some gimmicky method or the latest fad. At the time this book was written, Southeast had about 13,000 in weekly attendance.

The book features 10 principles that are as simple as “worship,” “evangelism,” and “fellowship.” While these are old principles, they still work.

To me, the best parts of this book are two chapters. First, the first principle Russell speaks about is “truth.” While I don’t agree with everything Southeast teaches, Russell makes it clear that they will not stray from the core doctrines of their church. In a time when far too many are doing just that, this is refreshing to read.

However, the reason I highly recommend this book is because of the fourth principle, “excellence.” Russell makes it clear that, not only are people looking for excellence, true service to God demands it. We cannot “half-do” Christianity and expect people to be drawn to it. Leaders need to make this a part of all they do.

This is an easily read book. While you won’t agree with everything in it (considering it speaks often of choirs and bands, as just one example), the overall principles in this book are timeless and need to be reinforced.

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Why Men Hate Going to Church

David Murrow

Thomas Nelson, 2005 (248 pages)

We often speak about how there are more women in the typical congregation than men. Some of that is due to women living longer, but that is not all that plays into this dynamic. Murrow tries to present several reasons why men of all ages simply do not want to attend church.

I was excited to read this book, but I found myself slightly disappointed. The reason is simple: Murrow makes a great argument near the beginning of the book that congregations cater to women more than men, but then he basically says the same thing over and over throughout the pages of the remaining chapters.

That said, I think this book is worth your time. If you read it with an honest mind, you will see that nearly every congregation is “guilty” (for lack of a better term) of falling into some of these traits. The one that hit me the most was that we often simply do not challenge people enough, and men want a challenge! As a congregation starts and begins to grow, men are involved because there are all sorts of tough decisions to be made and long-range challenges to be addressed. However, as time goes on, we get comfortable and stop meeting big challenges. Men, then, are not as interested.

I would recommend this book for elders and preachers. Even if you don’t like to read, you can get the gist of this book from the first few pages, and that is a good start.

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Sheet Music

Dr. Kevin Leman

Tyndale, 2003–reprinted in 2008 (276 pages)

I won’t comment much on this book, because the subject matter is intimate in nature, but I do highly recommend this book. Dr. Leman’s book is subtitled, “Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage,” and the book is worth your time.

Written in a style that is both informative and fun, Dr. Leman helps husbands and wives see common problems in this area of marriage, and helps them know how to address them.

Again, we have several younger readers to this blog, so I will avoid being specific in this review, but I would recommend this book to any married couple. You may not agree with every page, but the overall message of the book is very clear and well written.

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Death to the BCS

Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan

Gotham Books, 2010 (195 pages)

Yes, I do read books other than those that deal with the Bible, money, and family!

If you are a college football fan, this is a must-read. Whether or not you like the BCS, which decides college football’s national championship, you will learn from this book. It is far more than a rant, and the book is deeply researched. It is clear and concise in dismissing the “stories” (to use a mild term) we are fed about this system.

The only drawback to this book is that it seems as though it was rushed to be published. I noticed a handful of spelling errors throughout the pages. While not many, it seemed to be a case of meeting a deadline more than waiting a few weeks to edit one more time.

Other than that, this is a fun read about a controversial subject that you will enjoy.

Oh, and I agree…the BCS needs to be killed off!

Three Reviews

This post will finally catch us up on book reviews! (At least, until I finish another book.)

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The Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis

originally published 1942, my copy published by Harper Collins in 2001 (209 pages)

I have had this book on my shelf for a long time, and a member at Lebanon Road suggested that I would love it. That gave me the “umph” needed to add it to my reading list.

I’m so glad I did!

Lewis is able to weave through the letters from “Wormwood” to “Screwtape” (an uncle demon to his nephew) the way we see Satan working in our world. The allegory is clear, but haunting. At times, it is almost too real.

Lewis stated that he struggled writing this book because he had to think like the devil would think. However, just looking at the world around with a clear mind will show how Satan works, and it comes across very clearly in this work.

In my mind, the most powerful letter is #25, where Wormwood tries to show how “the same old thing” is the worst  thing humans can think of. In other words, we are always looking for the newest, fastest, and most exciting. Sound familiar?

Read this book! It is short, but will truly cause you to think about how subtle Satan is, and of how well he does what he sets his mind to do.

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Facing Your Giants

Max Lucado

Thomas Nelson, 2006 (233 pages)

Based upon the life of David, this volume shares with readers how we can face the insurmountable times in our lives with God’s help. Lucado is able to take some of the more familiar times in the life of David and show how they were used to defeat more “giants” than just one named Goliath.

In my mind, that is the best part of this book. It is not just a look at David and Goliath. Instead, it is a devotional style walk through major times in the life of David, and it shows how this man faced many giants. We rarely will face a bully like Goliath, but we will face the “giants” of fear, betrayal, and loss. David faced these, too, and Lucado is able to use those common areas of life to show us how to handle them.

This is very much a devotional-level book. There are some times where I feel the author takes a few too many liberties with the text, but overall the book is helpful. The study guide in the back of the book is one that I find more helpful than many others I have seen.

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Communicating for a Change

Andy Stanley and Lane Jones

Multnomah Books, 2006 (199 pages)

This book does one thing, and that is that it tries to get those of us who preach to, well, do one thing: preach one point.

199 pages are spent showing the “why’s” and “how’s,” of doing that, but the one point of this book is to preach just one point.

I preach multi-point sermons like many other preachers do, but I didn’t see this book as an “affront” to that style. I read it as a different approach to preaching, and I did find a lot in it to be helpful. I see this book as another in a long line of books that show other ways of preaching (and preaching Biblically). It is up to the preacher and those who hear to determine what is best for the situation. Some need to be one-point preachers. Others need to preach several points. Some need to learn to make a point!

If you agree with the overall premise or not, this is still a must-read for preachers.

More and More Reviews

In our continuing effort to catch up on book reviews, here are some more this week! (We should catch up next week.)

Also, during this time frame, I finished reading the Bible in the New King James Version. Here’s my review: The Bible is the greatest book ever written!!!

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Living with Confidence in a Chaotic World

Dr. David Jeremiah

Thomas Nelson, 2009 (253 pages)

I reviewed this book for Booksneeze.com. You can read that review by clicking here.

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Mosaic

Dayna Zoll Cookson

self published, 2010 (85 pages)

I don’t read poetry books very often, but when you found out that the author went to high school with you, you make an exception!

Dayna and I both went to high school in Dexter, Missouri, and have reconnected via Facebook with several of our classmates. Her book of poetry, Mosaic, is a collection of poems that are designed to show her journey from a life of rebellion to one lived for the Lord. Because some of the poems show an earlier life of rebellion (including drug use and an abortion), several of the poems are quite dark and gritty. However, the honesty portrayed in the stanzas is truly eye-opening.

The book is basically divided in half, with the first half being poems of rebellion and fighting against the world, and the second half being poems directed toward God and a life of trying to seek Him. The transition is remarkable, and is worth the read in and of itself.

If you like deeply personal poetry, you will find this collection of verses to be a good read. I have already marked a couple of these poems to file away for use in future sermons.

The book is available on Amazon here. (There is also a Kindle version.)

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The Epistles of John

James Montgomery Boice

Baker Books (2004, originally published in 1979) 192 pages

I used Boice’s “expositional commentary” on these three letters from John as the major resource for a class I just finished teaching on those books. While I used many other sources, I used Boice’s outlines and tried to follow his flow through the books.

This is the first commentary by Boice that I have used, and I found it to be extremely helpful. While there was some Calvinism found in the work, the overall flow of the book was helpful for me, and kept my “on track” as I taught the class.

To me, the best positive of this type of commentary is that Boice gives different viewpoints on certain passages, but does so in a very concise way. You, as the student, can go to other works to study these controversies more deeply, but you will find Boice’s treatment to be fair and clear.

The weakness (other than Calvinistic thought) of this work to me was the treatment of Third John. I know it is very brief, but the book seemed to “run out of steam” when it got to that powerful book. While we looked at it briefly in my class, as well, I found myself using very little of Boice’s material for that class. Other than that, I think this is a worthy commentary to add to your shelf on these powerful little books.

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Jesus Came Preaching

George Buttrick

Baker Books, 1970 (239 pages)

This book contains transcripts from Buttrick’s Yale Lectures on Preaching. The focus, obviously, is on the very simple fact that Jesus was a preacher. However, as I read the book, it seemed that Buttrick tried to cover far more ground, and lost sight of the theme. The book was still helpful, and contained many good reminders for preachers (especially younger preachers), but it seemed to go off the major thrust of the lectures.

My major problem with this book was that it was extremely “academic.” That may seem like a stretch for a criticism, since the lectures were delivered at Yale, but at times it seemed as though Buttrick was trying too hard to sound academic. I like that he did that sometimes, but it seems as though a vast majority of his sentences were crafted to have that tone to them.

Overall, though, the book was a very good read on preaching. I gained much from it, and was reinvigorated in my work by it. If you preach, this might be a good little volume for you to add to your library.

Confidence!

Confidence!

Dr. David Jeremiah’s new work, Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World, was a refreshing read in a world filled with seemingly constant negative news. Through this work, Jeremiah is able to share with us the fact that God is still in control, though we read daily about wars, economic downturns and other awful news. In the midst of these constant negative stories, Christians often ask the subtitle to Dr. Jeremiah’s book, “What On Earth Should We Do Now?”

Featuring just 10 chapters, this work is filled with simple, yet Biblical teachings that the reader will find helpful. Significantly, each chapter title begins with the word “Stay” (e.g., “Stay Calm,” “Stay Connected,” etc.). Preachers will find some of these chapters provide good outlines for sermon material, as Jeremiah also illustrates his points well.

There is a clear ring of premellinial doctrine found in the book, as Jeremiah sees the current wave of events as a clear sign that we are nearing the end of time. Obviously, in my view, this takes away from the overall message of the book, besides being false in its teaching (see Matthew 24:36-44 et.al.). However, these teachings are not found often in the book, so they are easy to read “over” while still gaining from the positive and helpful message of Dr. Jeremiah’s work.

This is the first book I have read by this author, though I have heard of him for some time. Considering the help it gave, I do not think it will be the last. I recommend this book with the simple caveat of understanding that there is some false teaching about “end times” events found in its pages.

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I review for BookSneeze

I reviewed this book for Booksneeze.com, and was given the book in exchange for this review. If you are a blogger who likes books, you can find out more about this program at their website by clicking here.

Playing Catch-Up on Book Reviews

Playing Catch-Up on Book Reviews

Wow! It has been a long while since we posted book reviews. The following won’t get us caught up, but will get us closer. Enjoy!

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The 15 Periods of Bible History

Andy Kizer

Quality Publications, 1993 (68 pages)

My Sunday morning Bible class wanted to do a “survey” of the chronological Bible, trying to piece together how the Bible flows in time. Brother Kizer’s little book was our class book, although I used other sources in addition to this one to help me in my preparation.

Brother Kizer’s book is brief, but its intent is simply to give the basics of what is found in each of the 15 periods discussed. Major characters are given, as are the various texts that comprise each section.

The book is very hard to find, but should become easier to find in the not-too-distant future (that’s all I can say about that here). This book will help the individual gain a greater understanding of the chronology of Scripture, and I highly recommend it for your library to help you in your study. The study questions are a helpful addition, but a teacher will need to make more “discussion-type” questions to use this book in a classroom setting.

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Bringing Up Boys

Dr. James Dobson

Tyndale, 2001 (269 pages)

What an eye-opening book! Leah and I both read this book to gain greater insight into how to best rear our precious son, Turner.

Dobson’s writing is simple and blunt, but he makes it very clear that it is based upon mountains of research. The reader will find that to be a welcome part of the reading, and will also gain some levity from Dobson’s humor found throughout the book. While the subject is very serious and forthright, Dobson’s humor helps the reader continue through the volume.

The negative of this book, in my mind, was that parts of the book seemed to “chase rabbits” and go in a direction that should have been reserved for another book. For example, there is an entire chapter on single parents and grandparents. Are these needed? Absolutely, but to me, they broke the “flow” of the book.

There are some controversial (and a couple of provocative) statements in the book with which the reader will have to wrestle and that a mom and dad will have to discuss. Overall, though, this is a must-read for those with boys. It has helped Leah and I tremendously, and we hope that, over time, what we have gained from this book will help in some small way, as we seek to help Turner be a man who loves God first.

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Speaking for the Master

Batsell Barrett Baxter

MacMillan, 1958 (134 pages)

This is a quick and helpful read. The basis for this book is to help leaders show others how to prepare lessons and sermons to be presented in public. I read it as a reminder of some important principles in sermon preparation and delivery.

Baxter walks the reader through several lessons that are to be shared in a leadership course, and they run the gamut from simple public speaking techniques to constant reminders of the importance of the Bible in our lessons.

Most readers will find this book to be helpful in basic public speaking technique. For me, a great struggle is introducing and concluding a lesson. The chapter on that aspect of speaking was a great help, and caused me to focus on those portions of my sermons.

The book is out of print, but a paperback version (published in 1979) can be found on Amazon.com for very little money. If you want to “brush up” on your public speaking ability, it would be worth the minimal investment.

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A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

Phillip Keller

Zondervan, 1970 (142 pages)

Over the summer months, I preached a series on the 23rd Psalm. Outside of the text itself, Keller’s little book was my major resource. I readily mentioned in sermons that I was borrowing heavily from Keller’s work to gain insight into the mind and activity of a shepherd.

This book is quite well-known, but it needs to be read more widely. The language is not hard. This is not a scholarly work. If you like Psalm 23, you will gain so much from this little volume. Preachers can easily find sermon material and even good “sub-points” for outlines in the book.

While the series I preached was quite long (3 months), this book helped me keep the information fresh and helpful, because we wanted to learn much about why David worded the psalm as he did. Even if you know the 23rd Psalm very well, I would highly recommend this book.

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The Eternal Kingdom

F.W. Mattox

Gospel Light, 1961 (351 pages)

Subtitled “A History of the Church of Christ,” Mattox’s work is a must-read. I had heard of it for some time, but finally read it recently in word-for-word fashion. I am so glad I did.

While the reading can be a bit tedious in places, Mattox did a tremendous work in walking the reader through an overview of the Church from Acts 2 to the 20th Century. The book is a history book; thus, it contains many names and dates. However, Mattox’s book is fairly brief when you consider the amount of material he covers, so the reader does not get “bogged down” in detail.

For me, the most helpful part of the book was walking through the Dark Ages, where the glimmer of hope for the Church as God designed it seemed dim. Mattox shows us that there were some times–albeit brief–of hope. Also, for those who like Restoration history, the book will help reinforce your knowledge of that period of history.

If you are a Church history “buff,” or if you aren’t but would like to know some basic information about the history of the Church, this book will help you. While several years old now, the book stands up and will help you see that God’s Kingdom is, in fact, eternal.

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That gets us about half-way caught up. Lord willing, we’ll review more next Monday.