Monday, December 31, 2018

All Lives Are Sacred

All Lives are Sacred
Family Photo of My Baby Shower


You may have noticed that you no longer find regular posts here. Just book reviews.

There's a reason for that.

I have begun a new website a few months ago. Called AllLivesAreSacred, I have to say something upfront. The site is Christ-centered. This site is what we define as prolife. That is, all my posts stress, in some way or other, that all life is sacred. From conception to natural death. What does this mean? That abortion and euthanasia aren't morally acceptable. Yet this website seeks to inform the public, especially those facing crisis situations, of alternatives to abortions. These are options that, while not ideal, are a vast improvement over abortion as no one is killed. Also, I'm seeking support to legislate for a third option to replace abortion. If you want to debate abortion's merits or ask questions about it, I have set up a forum for you to question and debate (respectfully and without profanity). Been affected by abortion? Faced an unplanned pregnancy? Have a loved one who has faced an unplanned pregnancy? Have you been adopted? Adopted children yourself? Placed a child for adoption? Had an abortion and worked through it? Are you yourself been conceived in an unplanned pregnancy and worked through it? Then you can draft your story right on the "Share Your Prolife Stories" webpage. You can submit it anonymously. Also, I'm hosting something of a giveaway of of mostly Christ-centered books, newsletters, CD's and more. All freebies.

Looking forward to seeing you there! Whether you agree with my worldview or not.


All Lives are Sacred

Monday, November 21, 2016

AFTER THE CHEERING STOPS by Cyndy Feasel



After the Cheering Stops is primarily a memoir. Cyndy Feasel is the writer, co-writing this book with Mike Yorkey. An NFL wife. she shares the tragic story of her athlete husband's devastating injuries from repeated concussions. She covers what this all has done to her family. Feasel was married for for 29 years to her late husband, NFL Lineman Grant Feasel. An art teacher in Dallas, Forth Worth TX, Cyndy has devoted herself to getting out the word about the long-term damage of concussions. She also raises awareness about CTE (a complication of concussions), the degenerative brain disease which killed her husband.She begins her story with an Introduction to readers. Then she spreads her memoir across 20 chapters. Dr. Daniel G. Amen closes the this book with his Afterward. Then Feasel uses her Acknowledgments to give credit to those who made her story possible, Source notes, and a Bio of the two authors.

This is a riveting book. I read it in a matter of days. It's a heartbreaking book. I found it an education about concussions in contact sports. I always know that concussions can do much damage. I'm fairly familiar with the story of Muhammad Ali, though I'm not a sports fan. And not being a sports fan, I was not familiar with Cyndy's late husband, Grant, as a sports figure; I don't follow sports celebrities or any celebrities. Cyndi's story shows just how devastating the effects of repeated concussions can be. The abuse she experienced at her husband's hand was heart-wrenching. She records how Grant slowly and imperceptibly deteriorated from a godly, loving man, to an unrecognizable shadow of himself. Sadly, I can relate to what substances can to, altering your faculties, making you into a totally different person--for ill. In my case, I was a teen, and my doctors had given me prescription drugs that interacted with each other. I exhibited many of the behaviors Cyndy reports that Grant did. And reading about Grant's tragic change after his many concussions reminded me of that. I find myself wondering how responsible God holds a person whose actions are due to brain injuries from concussions, or from prescription drugs (especially as a child). But I know that we can, as Cyndi makes clear, trust in and pray for God's mercy. And I'm heartened by her closing her book with declaring that she looks forward to seeing her husband in heaven, this time completely whole.

I highly recommend this book for all coaches of contact sports players, including basketball and soccer. This includes school coaches and professional coaches. This book comes much recommended to all parents who enroll their children in soccer or basketball or other contact sports. Parents and coaches need to place the health of their athletes and children above winning. It's fine to push athletes and children to do their best, but that can be overdone. I recommend this book for all sports fans, especially fans of contact sports. Spectator or not. They need to see that while it's fine to enjoy and follow their game, that it must not be done at all costs. Let's make sure that the story of Grant and his family don't get repeated in any sports-loving family.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't required to give a favorable review of this book.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

JESUS OVER EVERYTHING by Clayton Jennings



Jesus Over Everything is a why-to book. Clayton Jennings, the author, is an evangelist, an author, and leads in this generation of Gospel preachers. He comes from a long line of many preachers. Jennings He also comes from a long line of missionaries and evangelists. He's unflinchingly bold in presenting Jesus to those without Him. He got his start as a minister in 2000. Eventually, his work grew into grew into a social media phenomenon. More than a million people follow him on Twitter, Instragram, and YouTube. Over 10,000,000 people all over the world have viewed his Gospel messages. Thousands of people travel to see him preach at his crusades and revival meetings. His mission is to share the message that salvation comes through Jesus alone.

a This book makes for rough reading. In a literary sense, this book is a fast, easy read. Jennings writes in general English. This book is grounded in Scripture, mixed with many of this author's own experiences. I found myself most convicted in the chapters that dealt at-length with boldness for Jesus. Jenning shares at-length about his testimony. I followed his life experiences. He gives specific accounts of miracles and God's power at work, so unmistakably. I would ask myself: If I want this kind of life, this adventure, would I willingly pay the price? I contemplated writing Jennings a letter about my own story. But I know that Jennings, as on-fire for Jesus as he professes, is young and unseasoned by long life experience. Also, he's a stranger. He does have a Facebook profile, which I follow. Jennings has been blessed with a wonderful childhood with a solid Christian heritage. I found myself feel convicted by the things he said about the sheer volume of things teens have said about their parents' hypocrisy. Beyond that, Jennings testifies to getting hateful emails, death threats, and even being stalked. But the way of life he shares is closer to Jesus' discipleship model than what you find in the average congregation.

I recommend this book for all. Pastors should read it, though they find that it gives them more than they can take. Are you a pastor or in some other position of church leadership? Jennings will give you principles about how to get and keep young people in your fellowship. Any CHristian should read this. Warning: This book will challenge you, convict you, and stretch you. Don't say I didn't prepare you! Non-Christians should read this book. If you know you're not saved, this author will tell you, clearly, how to call on Jesus and encounter Him. But if you want to entertained or comforted, don't bother reading this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. It is an uncorrected proof and not yet for sale. I received it in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give this book a favorable review.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

THE DANIEL CODE by O.S. Hawkins



This newly minted devotional builds on the Bible character, Daniel. This black books sports a lovely leather-like covering on its edges and spine. Hawkins begins this book with an Introduction to the book. It describes the challenges that face us and which the the Book of Daniel applies to. This book occurs in six parts. They are meant to grab reader attention and hold it. The author covers four chapters each of the six parts. The author puts thirteen chapters under Part 4. Parts 5 and 6 have five chapters each. Put together, all these chapters equal 25. Then Hawkins provides a Conclusion, a Mission: Dignity Section, a Bibliography, and an author bio. For over 25 years, O.S. Hawkins has served pastorates. Among them are First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. He serves as President of Guidestone Financial Resources, which serves 250,000 pastors, church staff members, missionaries,and other nonprofit staffers. He has authored over 30 books. These include The Joshua Code, The Jesus Code, and The James Code. He preaches regularly at conferences, universities, business groups, and churches all over the nation.

I found this book a fast and easy read. I was able to use it in my devotions because of its strong emphasis on Scripture. Bible verses precede each chapter. Early on, the author's bias is clear. I would give this book five stars but for what I found on page 22. On that page, the author gives a couple examples of how humanism was starting the U.S. on a cultural decline, as early as 1933. This author compares the proposal of the barbaric practices of abortion and euthanasia with, guess what? He lumps these evils in with what he calls "redistribution of wealth"in the U.S.! That sentence angered me; how can pastors be so opposed to entitlements? I had a pastor who had stated, "I don't think Jesus would have supported Social Security and other entitlements." Since when have "entitlements come to be seen as a moral, Christian issue? I know that the Bible says that people who won't work shouldn't have the right to eat. But I didn't get the sense that the author was talking about that. Because of this I'm not giving this book five stars. Other than Hawkins' obvious conservative bias and failure to speak to social justice issues, I applaud this book. It'll speak powerfully to those who feel that we're in the middle of a "cultural war" and that our religious liberties are at risk. Compared to what our severely persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ suffer all around the world, our lot is pretty good. Our government is flawed because these people we vote for come from us. But our system is better than that of most people in Third World countries. Overall, the tone of this book is encouraging and aptly ends with a Gospel invitation. Good job!

I recommend this book for all those who feel "outnumbered" by our politically correct culture that values tolerance above anything else. This includes pastors and all those who identify as "conservative, Evangelical Christians." Any Christian, no matter what stage of spiritual growth, can benefit from this book. This book is great for teenagers to encourage and equip them to stand strong for Jesus amid their temptations. Those who identify as more progressive or liberal may be put off by the conservative bias of this book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through BookLookBloggers, in exchange to my honest review of this book. I wasn't required to give a positive review of this book.

Monday, October 24, 2016

FINDING GOD IN THE WAVES by Mike McHargue



This book is part memoir and part reflections. The author, Mike McHargue, identified as a former Christian turned atheist. His focus for this book? It's science that brought him back to faith in Christ. He uses his story to help others discover God in a scientific age. McHargue hosts and co-hosts two podcasts, Ask Science Mike and The Liturgists Podcast. Both have attracted interesting groups of Christians. The podcasts have also drawn those interested in spirituality, and the religiously unaffiliated. At conferences and churches nationwide he's in-demand. He writes for the Storyline blog and Sojourners and the Relevant magazines. Rob Bell, who runs a "megachurch," wrote the Foreward. Then McHargue covers his content over 15 chapters. He includes an Author's Note, Acknowledgments, Axioms About the Christian Faith, and Notes. The Notes cover the sources the author used for this book. He wraps all this up with an Index and an Author Bio.

I didn't quite expect what I found in this book. McHargue indeed was quite candid about his life, his experiences with and feelings about God, and his church experience. This author apparently is a lay person with a strong, lifelong interest in science. I think this book is quite touchy-feely. HcHargue writes about both the negatives and positives of his God-experiences. I certainly found it hard to swallow how he says he "rediscovered God," through being on a beach and being taken by storm by feeling God's presence. His experience, which he says causes him to cry to this day and "cannot be described," can be found on page 128. Can we call someone like this mystical? I'm quite uncomfortable with his liberal authority and alignment with Rob Bell, a megachurch preacher, whom many mainstream Christian leaders consider to be heretical in his theology. Bell questions the authority of the Bible, supports "marriage equality" and denies that hell is as horrific and final as the Bible seems to depict it as being. In this book, McHargue seems to have taken much of his theology from Rob Bell. I'm not denigrating either Rob Bell or Mike McHargue as people, but by Biblical standards, their theology is ear-tickling and harmful to the Church. This book gives readers what they want to hear, while the Bible gives us what we need to hear. We can't be true to God and to teachers like Bell or McHargue. I see them as what one local Bible teacher called "the unpaid bills of the Church." That is, the Biblically sound Church has failed people like these men. In our congregations, people sit in pews (and even in the pulpit) who may secretly harbor the doubts and fears that this author wrestled with. We should create an environment where people feel safe sharing their doubts and fears. Many people feel judged in local churches. But we dare not follow men like Rob Bell or Mike McHargue. It's like mixing oil and water. You can't do it!

Because of the questionable theology of this author and this book, I'm not comfortable recommending it to the general public. It'll give you what you want to hear but won't tell you what you need to know to be saved. I can recommend this book only for those who are sound in their faith and able to teach others, such as pastors and others in Christian leadership. They need this book to show them the doubts and fears many of their members or clients may wrestle with, and know how to better empathize with and serve those in need.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review of this book.

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