Sunday, August 28, 2016

ONE OF THE FEW by Jason B. Ladd



Jason B. Ladd is a Marine who grew up in a military family. He spent many years as an agnostic/atheist. Now he's a followers of Jesus and specializes in apologetics. His book, ONE OF THE FEW, is part memoir and part apologetics. Ladd starts out his book with a Foreword. The Prologue gives readers the favor of this book and sets the tone for the book. Part One gives the account of Ladd's post. He includes the first eleven chapters in this segment. Ladd continues with Part Two. He continus this section with chapters 12 to 20. Ladd finshes with Part Three. Part Three includes chapters 21 to 27. Each chapter begins with quotes. Each chapter ends with notes. Ladd follows his claters with an Epilogue. He includes Acknowledgements of those who made his book possible. He includes an extended Bibliography and wraps it all up with an Index.

This book isn't light reading. It wasn't meant to be. As I read it online, I had to mark down chapters and secitions as I read them. This book is fairly fast reading. It was what I expected: deep, intellectual, and military. I didn't count on his use of his military experiences as metaphors for what our walks with Christ ought to be. But as the Bible makes it clear that following Jesus is a battleground, I wasn't too surprised. Our foes to battle are sin (our sin natures), the world (the world system and its values), and the devil (he is personal and real). Ladd's theology is, in most aspects, sound. In this book, he stresses God's holiness AND love, His grace AND His justice, His goodness AND His severity. I did take offense at one argument he made concerning the unreached peoples in this world, outside the West (for the most part). Ladd advanced the argument that God knew, ahead of time, who would accept the Gospel and who wouldn't. He asserts that these peoples have never heard the Gospel because God knew that they would reject it. This is how I read what he wrote. He himself wrote that his comment would sound cold and callous. More than that, it condradicts God's expressed desire that none perish but that all come to the knowledge of the truth. I know that the question of "those who have never heard" is a tough argument and that Ladd is trying to address it. For the most part, his theology is sound. It did seem to me that he could have made some of the good points he did, with fewer words. His stats on porn in the Church are sobering but I wasn't surprised. I already have researched this topic. This book is very informative.

I recommend this book for all pastors. The porn stats alone are worth their reading this book. This book is for anyone with an interest in apologetics as Ladd writies this book as an apologist for the Gospel. This book is especially well-suited for military people and their families. Veterans and those who want to get into the military, would also benefit much from this book. It speaks in their language, interest and experience. Atheists and agnostics would do well to read this book. If anything, it would plant seeds in their hearts. This book isn't for those who prefer light reading or who don't read for pleasure.

I received a complimentary ebook copy in .pdf format, directly from the author, in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't asked to give a positive review of this book.

Friday, August 19, 2016

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

Friday, August 12, 2016

REALLY BAD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE by Liz Curtis Higgs



This is a Bible study book that uses different Bible characters. Liz Curtis Higgs has written many of such books already. They have sold millions of copies, with over 4.6 million copies in print. She uses humor, research and personal experience, to communicate God's grace through her writing. She's also an award-winning speaker. As a long-time professional speaker, Higgs has traveled with Women of Faith, Women of Joy and Extraordinary Women. She has spoken for 1700 other women's conferences . This has taken her to all 50 states of the United States. She has also traveled to 14 foreign countries, including Thailand, Portugal, South Africa, and New Zealand. This book is arranged in eight chapters. She ends the book with a conclusion and Spoken Word, a Gospel invitation to salvation. Then she includes questions for book clubs, general questions about issues in the book. Then she includes the Study Guide for Bible study groups. This book ends with author acknowledgements. Higgs wraps all up with notes for each chapter, citing all the sources she used for each of the chapters.

This book is all that I expected. I have read a number of Higg's other books. I spent a few weeks, recently, in a Bible study featuring one of her books. I expected this book to be fast-paced, novel-style reading. It is. When Higgs features Bible character, she'll first start with a modern counterpart of the character. This is to send the message that the Bible isn't just an ancient, outdated book. It bears relevance just as today's news does. Higgs uses humor annd wit to communicate Divine truths. She inserts Bible verses only after making her arguments. I finished this book in a matter of days. She stresses God's grace over and above God's holiness and Divine wrath. But she uses her humor and wit to integrate the Law into her writing. Through this she keeps the reader aware of his or her sinfulness and total dependence on God's grace. Some pastors and Christian leaders may acuse her of of a one-sided portrayal of a gracious, loving, forgiving God. TBut Higgs does an excellent job of communicating God's grace to readers who need it. And we all do need it!This book is also an excellent corrective if you're tempted to self-righteousness toward those seen as "the dregs of society." No person is too hopeless for God. On the other hand no one is too good to have to depend on God's grace. It's clear that this author did her research for this book. Despit all the celebration of God's love and grace, this book can be quite convicting. I found each chaper just about equally convicting, in its own way.

I recommend this book for just about anyone. Each chaper points the reader to Jesus. The entertaining style of the writing will hold their interest. And they should make it to the end of the book where an appeal to embrace Jesus is made. For roughly the same reasons, new CHristians whill find this book helpful. It gives them the principles they need to get grounded in the Christian faith. Maturing and mature Christians will find this book a blessing. They'll be continually reminded that we'll always need to depend on God's grace. We don't ever outgrow our need for that! This book features women of the Bible. But pastors may want to use in book in leading Bible studies. This book is designed for book clubs and Bible studes. So book clubs and Bible studies ma find this book a major help.

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

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

OUTLAW CHRISTIAN by Jacqueline A Bussie



This is a nonfiction Christian book. Bussie starts out with her definition of the eye-catching title of this book. She arranges this book over six chapters. She starts the beginning of each chapter with a relevant Bable verse, saying or poem. She ends these chapters with a long Bibliography. Then she provides pages of notes for each chapter, giving the sources she used. She wraps this up with Acknowledgments of those who made this book possible and with her author bio. Jacqueline Bussie is Director of the Forum on Faith and Life and professor of religion at Concordia College in Moorehead, Minnesota. She is also an author and theologian. Her first book, The Laughter of the Oppressed (2007) won the Trinity Prize. An active leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Bussie teaches religion and theology at Concordia College in in Moorehead, Minnesota.

This book is much what I expected. This author grew up in the same tradition I did, in the conservative Lutheran CHurch. Then she became part of the more liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). By liberal I mean theologically liberal. This is where people take more liberties with interpreting the Bible as they see fit. As I read through this book, I found that, again, we indeed can learn from each other! I feel uncomfortable with the author one referring to God as She. I was nervous with her statements of God's limited power. She tried to get around this by saying that GOd isn't all-powerful in the way we traditionally define the word. But there is much we can learn from this book. In everything else but the concerns raised, I agree with this author. We put on an act in the Christian community. That's because we see worship services as "museums for saints." She raises valid points about building authentic community, relating to each other and living lives of love and grace. This book, however, seems aimed toward the middle-class and affluent who so often populate our congregations. But she does a great job at making the case for modeling Christ's love to those we may see as the "other." "Outlaw Christian" refers to being willing to depart from human tradition to follow Jesus. The term is obviously meant to grab your attention.

Who do I recommend this book for? I recommend this book for pastors but only so they see gain understanding on how members may see things. Pastors can disagree with ponits of Bussie's theology and not use this book for any theological purposes. They should use the book to gain insight on how to relate the their parishioners. I don't recommend this book for non-Christians or new Christians. The watered-down theology and singular focus on God's love and grace will confuse them. We are to ponder God's goodness and severity TOGETHER, always. This book, like so many others, doesn't do that. I recommend this book for those in Christian leadership. They may gain insight about those they lead, without counting on this book's theology.

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

TASTE AND SEE by John Piper



This is a book of 125 daily meditations. It's an updated version of this book, originally published in 1999. Piper starts out the book with a Preface. He follows this with Acknowledgements. What follows are those 125 devotions/meditations. Each meditation begins with the title and a tagline. Some of the meditations also start out with short poems. Piper wraps up the devotions/meditations with a description of his website and the link. This is followed by a subject index and an index of people mentioned in this book. Piper wraps this all up with an index of Scripture verses used in this book. Piper is the founder/teacher of DesiringGod.org. He's the Chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. For 33 years, Piper has served as the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. More than 30 years of his books and articles are available, free of charge, at DesiringGod.org. Piper has written over 50 books, including the classic Desiring God.

I just finished reading this book. I have read many of Pastor John Piper's books. I have visited his DesiringGod.org website. So I found this book everything that I expected it to be. His books are rich in theology, and this book is also. HIs books are based solidly on the Bible, and so is this one. God is front and centers in all Piper works. He's also front and center in Taste and See. I expected the book to mention a lot about social issues because of the book description. He did mention them, but not as much as the online description indicared. Maybe this is just me. This isn't a book to curl up with and unwind to. It's designed to make readers think. A hardback book, this one has good binding. Being a long, comprehensive book, this isn't fast reading. IT isn't meant to be. Meditations take time and shouldn't be rushecc through. I found them exciting and inspiring.

Who do I recommend this book for? I recommend it to serious Christians. This covers those who are committed to following Jesus. This covers those who want to know God better. This covers those who like to study theology. Pastors can benefit from this book in their own walks with God. New believers and immature believers won't like this book. The strong stress on doctrine and missions may bore them. The target audience of this book are serious followers of Jesus. So this book holds nothing for those outside the Christian faith.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't required to give a positive review of this book.

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