Book of the Month

 

 


Against the Flow (Daniel Commentary)

                        by John Lennox

This month's book is Against the Flow by John Lennox. Essentially it is a commentary on the book of Daniel, yet it is written so dynamically that the feel of the book is different than a standard commentary. Lennox's background is in apologetics and portions of the book feel like a contemporary apologetic book. While explaining the text of Scripture Lennox makes many connections between the book of Daniel and our current cultural climate. Lennox particularly makes applications regarding tends of thought and philosophy of today. 

       I would definitely recommend this book on two levels. One, it can be read straight through as a contemporary apologetic book. Also, it can be kept on the shelf as a reference book for the text of Daniel. 

This month's book is The Prestige by Christopher Priest. I've never read a book quite like this. It's a suspense-mystery about a young journalist and a countess that uncover the history of a magician's feud between their great grandfathers. 

       The first and last sections of the book are written from a traditional first-person omniscient perspective, while the middle two sections are fictional magician biographies. All sections of the novel are pieces of a puzzle that come together brilliantly in the end. The way this novel is put together is truly a masterpiece in and of itself. 

        Masterfully written! I would especially recommend this book to all writers and particularly those who enjoy the craft of writing. 

        This month's book of the month is Storming the Golden Kingdom (Biogragraphy of Adoniram Judson). This short biography chonicles the life of the American Missionary to Burma. Judson was a talented, well-educated preacher in New England in the early 19th century, but felt the call and urgency to share the Gospel of Christ with the people of Burma. 

        Judson's life is full of joy, passion, and hardship. He sees many people come to faith in Jesus Christ and later be baptized. He does not waiver in his mission even when things get tough. Judson spent more than a year and a half in a Burmese prison during a war, and also experienced the death of his wife, Ann, along with multiple children while on the mission field. It is hard to read many of the sections of suffering. Nevertheless Judson's passion never dies. The Gospel of Jesus Christ motivates him. Burma (Mynamar) is forever changed because of Judson's work.

        Personally, this book has been monumental in my life since the first time I read it in 2010. Adoniram Judson's passion and desire to see the country of Burma saved is infectious and can easily motivate the readers to value and live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

This month's book is Between Heaven and the Real World; the autobiography of Steven Curtis Chapman. It traces the life of Steven Curtis Chapman from his humble beginnings in Paducah, Kentucky to his journey today as a Grammy winning singer/songwriter. He is also a committed husband, father, and grandfather.

          The book moves quickly through the early years of his childhood. He talks in depth about some of his families struggles and how things changed when his father came to faith in Christ. The family was very musical and he and his brother Herb performed concerts as a duo. It eventually led Chapman to Opryland when he took a job as a George Jones impersonator.
          Chapman speaks in depth about his marriage and how those early years of "fame" led to many uncertainties in his marriage. The music business led to a sporadic day to day schedule, and many nights away from home while he was on tour. He is not shy in describing their struggles, and how God brought them closer through it all.

          The later part of the book speaks of the trial concerning the loss of his daughter, Maria. She was killed tragically in an accident at their home. Chapman describes the hard days and the months of struggling. He also describes how God brought comfort and healing through the trial, and caused him to SEE.

           Personally, I have never read a 400+ page book that I thought was too short, until this book. There were so many fascinating stories concerning his music and the specifically the stories behind the songs. I also enjoyed hearing about his time working with prisoners and orphans. As a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman I can't say enough good things about the book. I couldn't put it down.

         This month's book of the month is The Power of Broke by Daymond John. It is an encouragement to those in small business to realize that even though you may not have "thousands" of dollars to invest in your business, you still have some of the most valuable resources at your fingertips. John says that when you are starting out with not much (broke) you have to think more creatively and strive harder to put out the best product you can.  The power of broke is the hunger that pushes you to succeed. He encourages entrepreneurs to never lose this "broke" mindset even after success comes their way.
          The book is full of examples of folks who harnessed this mindset in one way or another. And though I wouldn't subscribe to every example, there is an element of truth that all the examples worked hard and thought creatively. Personally I was struck by the example of Kevin Plank of Under Armour. He started out making the best product he could, and marketing it directly to his target audience in action (i.e. on the football field). Many of other examples did the same in different avenues of business.

          I would recommend The Power of Broke to all who run small businesses or have any type of product to sell. More than anything it will encourage you to think creatively. Great book, pick up a copy!

          This month's book of the month is The Sacred Acre (The Ed Thomas story). It is about small-town Parkersburg Iowa's beloved football coach, Ed Thomas. The book chronicles Thomas' life and the impact he made on many young men through coaching football.

         The book spends a considerable amount of time on the massive Parkersburg tornado that hit in May of 2008. Ed Thomas was a predominate figure for the town in helping it rebuild and find hope to carry on. Many homes were destroyed during that massive tornado. Thomas sought it as a goal to have the following football season run on schedule. With the help of his team and the community, Thomas succeeded his goal, thus bringing a glimmer of hope to the residents of Parkersburg.

         The latter half of the book focuses on Ed Thomas' murder at the hands of a former football player. The book walks one through what the family went through on that day, while seeking to forgive the one who took Coach Thomas' life. These chapters will likely leave you with tears in your eyes.

         The Sacred Acre is a well written book. It follows a narrative of the last year of Ed Thomas' life, while also bringing in snapshots of his life as whole. As I read the book, it made me appreciate Coach Thomas and the impact he made on the football players of Parkersburg, Iowa. I kept thinking to myself, "I want to make a difference like Coach Thomas." For those who played for him, he will never be forgotten. I recommend this book to all.

          This month's book of the month is Bonhoeffer (Abridged) by Eric Metaxas. It is a short biography on the influencial German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was an outspoken critic of Hitler during World War II, even to the point of assisting in Operation Valkyrie.

           The book is well written and is a good balance between an academic biography and popular writing. As I read the book I was challenged by Bonhoeffer's strong faith and how he saw theology as an academic pursuit as well as a way of life. He truly believed the Christian faith and this motivated him to action. This was a very good book and difficult to put down.   

            This month's book of the month is Resplendent Bride by Evan M. Welcher. It is a very good, tough book to read. Welcher walks one through questions and thoughts he has had concerning the passing of his "Resplendent Bride," Danielle. The book's feel is like the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes. The author ponders deep questions while knowing that his foundation is found in God and his home in heaven.

              The book is well written and has a unique blend of "witty humor" and sobering truth. One moment you are smiling about the simplicities of life and the next moment you are holding back tears. I definitely recommend this book to all, and to especially those grappling with the loss of a spouse or a close loved one.

       This month's Book of the Month is The Wonderful Wizard of OZ by Frank Baum. It is a tale of adventure and wonder as a young girl gets lost in the magical land of Oz, where she meets many interesting characters on her way home.

        Growing up I watched the Wizard of OZ at least once a year when it came on television. Even as a adult I still enjoy the movie for its adventure and colorful characters. I was surprised to find the book quite a bit different, but no less enjoyable. It is fast-moving and more complex of a story than the movie. I would liken it to an Alice in Wonderful type adventure.
        It is a fun, quick read.  

        This month's book of the month is Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. It is the classic story of five missionaries who worked in Equador and sought to reach a tribe called the Aucas. The book briefly chronciles the lives of the five men and their dedication to the Christian faith. Much of the book is spent showing each man's desire for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be spread to the people of Equador.  The men would later be killed by the tribe they were trying to reach.

        Elliot writes from a first hand historical perspective as her husband was one of the five men martyred. Her writing also has a persuassive tone to it as she urges her readers to consider the choice the men made. They valued the Christian message and knew that it was worth giving up everything to see it spread. Her husband, Jim, has a famous quote that embodies this tone, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."

         This book is life-changing and will definitely leave an impact on anyone who reads it and considers the message found in it. It is a must-read for any Christian.

        This month's book of the month is Calico Joe by John Grisham. It is arguably Grisham's best novel. It is about a young boy, Paul Tracy, who admires the Chicago Cub's rookie phenomenon Joe Castle, who smashes many MLB records in his first season. Though Castle and Tracy are world's apart their lives will become forever interwined in a most unexpected away.

        Though the storyline is fairly simple, the novel is a powerful display of forgiveness and restitution. It will encourage readers to forgive generously, and to live each day without holding on to regrets or bitterness.

        This book is a quick read that you do not want to miss.

         This month's book of the month is The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis. In this book Lewis grapples with the idea of how God could allow pain and suffering in this world. The book is both pastoral and philosophical.

          I would agree with Anthony Burgess of the The New York Times, "C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way."

         This book is a must read for all seeking answers on the problem of pain.

          This month's "book of the month" is The Admirer's Secret by fellow indie author Pamela Crane. I would characterize it is as a cross between a love story and a suspense novel. It is a about a young woman searching for identity. She is caught between two different paths lying right before her. It leads her to search her heart to figure out what she truly desires in life. Eventually, she will stumble upon a secret that will unlock the mysteries that cloud her life.

          The Admirer's Secret is a masterfully written novel. It explores large themes of love and forgiveness. For modern novels I would put it in my top 10. The ending of this book is shocking, and one I don't think I'll ever forget. I would encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this book, and definitely don't stop reading till the end.

        

 

         This month's book of the month is Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People by the late Truett Cathy. It is a collection of thoughts regarding Cathy's life and philsophy of business. As the founder of Chick-fil-a, he talks at length about his successes and struggles in business. Cathy talks about many of the business practices that shape Chick-fil-a today. Business owners will find much encourage regarding strategies and ethics in busniess practice.

         More than suceeding in business, Cathy talks about his desire to work with people. He wants his restaurants to be places where workers can learn work ethic as well as character traits that will shape them for the rest of their lives.

        He spends much time talking about his passion of working with children in his foster homes. He longs to see children from harsh situations be given a chance to succeed. As one reads the book it's easy to see his passion and love for the kids come through.

        A good, simple read, that will insipre. It actually reminds me of Donald Miller's writing how his thoughts are scattered at times. I think this only adds to quality of the book and Cathy's "Grandpa" type style of writing. The title is very good. I actually felt like I wanted to inspire people and eat Chick-fil-a after I got done.

           June's book of the Month is Fearless. It is the story of Adam Brown, and his Seal team six. The book chronicles Adam's life and troubled past. It tells the story of a man's personal redemption, and latter sacrifice for his country.

           This book is very well written and brought me to tears a couple times. It will make one proud to be a husband, father, and an American. So thankful for the sacrifices of our men and women overseas, fighting for liberty, freedom, and justice for all.

 

There is so much one could say about this book. I would encourage you to pick up a copy in anticipation for the 4th of July.

         This month's book of the month is The Visitation by Frank Peretti. It is a very interesting story about a supernatural visitor to a small town in the Pacific Northwest. The locals are put into vicarious situations where they will question what they know to be true about issues of faith. Particularly, one of the local ministers will experience an existential crisis in his faith that will cause him to search his past and explore the synthesis between his own experience and the character of God.

         This book is very interesting and well written. It may not be Peretti's most "fantastic" story, but it truly is a book that causes one to think deeply about the nature of God and one's own "religious" experience. It truly causes me to wonder what questions Peretti has experienced in his own faith.

         Worth a read, pick up a copy!

        

"Apparently this Oxford don and Cambridge professor is going to be around for a long time; he calls himself a dinosaur but he seems to speak to people where they are."

- The Washington Post      

 

 This month's "book of the month" is the C.S. Lewis' classic, The Screwtape Letters. The book is a dialogue written from the point of view of an experienced demon, Screwtape. He is writing to his young nephew apprentice, Wormwood. Their item of discussion is a young naive human under the care of Wormwood.

       A unique piece of fiction that dabbles in the psycology of spiritual warfare. I first read it as a 16/17 year old and many of the ideas in it have stuck with me through the years. It has been one of the most influential books in my life. A must read for any age.

 

 

Ravi Zacharias, Recapture the Wonder 

        This book is a call to christians everywhere to think deeply about God and His creation. He makes the case that as we go through life we oftentimes develop a philosophy of fatalism. Our motto is Que Sera, Sera (What will be, will be). He says that we will see dreams go unfilled and many disappoints come our way. Zacharias challenges readers to not fall into this trap, but to go deep, both scriptually and philsophically, into the wonder and all-consuming nature of who God is.

         Honestly, I would say this is one of the best books I've ever read. There were many lines and paragraphs that I underlined and highlighted. Specifically, his discussion on the difference between imagination and fantasy was very thought provoking. The book is both intellectual and personal. I'd encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this book. "Wonder is that possession of the mind that enchants the emotions while never surrendering reason." - Zacharias
 

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