Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Review of No Wonder They Call Him the Savior Experiencing the Truth of the Cross By Max Lucado

“I just want to know what counts.” Deep Irish brogue. Dark, deep eyes. The statement was sincere. “Don’t talk to me of religion, I’ve been down that road. And please, stay off theology. I have a degree in that. Get to the heart of it, okay? I want to know what counts.”

With that opening statement, Max Lucado voices the question that most members of the human race will ask in their life lifetime.  In writing his book No Wonder They Call Him the Savior; Experiencing the Truth of the Cross, Max Lucado tells what the answer to this question is.

Normally when I review a book, I like to remain somewhat distant and do a review based on how I believe the book will affect the reader.  With this review I can't do that.  With this book, Max Lucado details why the Cross is the answer to the question everyone asks: "I want to know what counts".  In the first section, titled The Cross: Its Words, Lucado takes the words of Jesus as he agonizes on the cross and tells the reader what those words mean in simple practical terms.

 In the second section, titled The Cross: Its Witnesses, Lucado tells the individual stories of the people who were part of the events leading up to and right after the crucifixion of Christ.  From Peter, to Pilate, Barabbas to John, the stories told by the witnesses take the reader on journeys of regret, disbelief, and grief, but then you are shown hope and joy.  Then there is the last witness.  I won't name this witness but I guarantee you that you will be surprised.

The third and last section is titled The Cross: Its Wisdom and the first chapter of this section will really surprise you by the style of writing Lucado used for it.  For the remaining chapters Lucado draws on his own life experiences and the glimpse into his life is a telling one, full of love, humor and wisdom.  The last chapter asks the reader an important question.  I know how I answered that question.  I wonder how you, the reader will.

This is a book that I read quickly, on a flight from Dallas, Texas to Seattle, Washington and it is a book whose words have stayed with me.  It is also a book that I will read and re-read time and time again.  I am recommending this book and though you may find it as quick read as I did, be sure to take your time as you continue to read it.  In its simplicity, you will find wisdom, and the answer to a question you may have asked before: "What counts?"

(Disclosure:  I did receive an advanced copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers to review and made no promises as to the nature of my review.  The posted review is mine and mine alone.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Review of The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenberg

Iran has the bomb.  The Twelfth Imam, Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali has arrived and is in the process of establishing the Caliphate. American leadership is listening to the peace talk of the Twelfth Imam and Israel seems to stand alone against the rising tide.  Welcome to the world of The Tehran Initiative.

With the second book of the trilogy, the first being The Twelfth Imam, Joel C. Rosenberg is showing once again why he is one of the greatest writers of Christian Political Thrillers in our time.

In The Tehran Initiative Rosenberg picks up sixty seconds after the ending of The Twelfth Imam and within the first few chapters the reader is taken on a action packed car chase in Iran, the attempted assassination of the American President, the Egyptian President and the Israeli Prime Minister, and plenty of political intrigue.  If you like action and are intrigued by the inner workings of international politics, then you will love this book!

Action is not the only facet of this story however.  There are very tender moments in Rosenberg's story centering on family and friendship, and there is a healthy dose of faith thrown in.  This book is Christian fiction and as such there are plenty of references to the Christian faith.  I personally am a follower of Christ and welcome the showing of faith in such a refreshing way by Rosenberg.  There are plenty of prophecy references, not only from the Christian perspective, but also from the Muslim perspective.  After reading this book, I can firmly attest that Rosenberg does not denigrate those of the Muslim faith, but instead simply tells it like it is.

Although this book can be read on its own, it is the second book of a trilogy and should be read after reading the first book, The Twelfth Imam.  If you like Tom Clancy, you will love the writing of Joel C. Rosenberg.  I am highly recommending this book to you.

You can hear Rosenberg in his own words here about his book The Tehran Initiative.

(Disclosure:  I did receive an advanced copy of this book from Tyndale to review and made no promises as to the nature of my review.  The posted review is mine and mine alone.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Review of Waking Hours by Lis Wiehl with Pete Nelson

In the genres of Christian Fiction especially the Supernatural genre, I have a few writers that I read and believe to be the best of the genre.  Among those are Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.  After finishing Waking Hours I will now add Lis Wiehl to that list of writers. 

Waking Hours is book one of the East Salem Trilogy and is one of the best supernatural mysteries I have read in a very long time.  Set in the town of East Salem in Northern Westchester County, a teenage girl dies a gruesome, ritualistic death which rocks the community.  The District Attorney's office brings in Danielle "Dani" Harris, a forensic psychiatrist to aid in the investigation.  As this is her first solo involvement, Harris shows herself to be nervous, but quite capable to handle the assignment. 

Alongside Dani Harris is Tommy Gunderson, the town's hero.  A former NFL football star, Gunderson is owner of a health and fitness club in the town and an aspiring private investigator.  He is the essential All American good guy:  Christian, clean cut, and definitely the hero type.

As this is a work of Christian fiction, you will not find cursing in it, nor will you find items of a sexual nature.  However, I would not recommend this book to pre-teens as I believe that the details of the murder scene and the corresponding notes from the medical examiner as they are discussed may be too mature for those under 13. 

The book is not "preachy" in it's Christianity and I believe that to be a plus, as this book would be a good gift to friends who like this particular genre and may not be Christian.  

Overall I am rating this book a five out of five and am looking forward to the next books in the trilogy.  If you read one book from Supernatural Mystery genre, then this would be the one I recommend!

(Disclosure:  I did receive an advanced copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers to review and made no promises as to the nature of my review.  The posted review is mine and mine alone.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Review of Average Joe: God's Extraordinary Calling To Ordinary Men by Troy Meeder

After reading Average Joe: God's Extraordinary Calling To Ordinary Men by Troy Meeder, I know that I am an Average Joe and I have a lot to work on. 

Mr. Meeder is what I would consider more than an Average Joe, but I believe he would disagree with me.  Mr. Meeder is a cowboy from Oregon who has lived what most people would call an ordinary life, but has gained much wisdom in his life and that wisdom is characterized very nicely in his book.  He tells of his wisdom and the wisdom of others in the chapters of the book, ranging from Mr. Meeder's learning humility in a pit he dug that was rapidly filling with raw sewage, to  a gardener he met while attending college, to his grandfather, a soldier, and a mentor just to name a few.  

This is a book that I think every man should read, and with the study guide and questions provided in the back of the book, study.  I came across a few items while reading this book, two in particular which challenge me even now and apply directly to my life.  I firmly believe that most every man that reads this book will have the same experience and this book would be a good addition to a men's study group.

The book itself is quite short, having only 147 pages, and is a very easy read.  Mr. Meeder's style of writing is very folksy, and quite entertaining.  For me, reading this book reminded me of sitting around a campfire listening to an older, more grizzled man, wise beyond his years spill his life experiences to a captive audience of eager youth.  I think you may find it the same way.

I am highly recommending this book.

 Please note that this book was presented to me by Multnomah Books for the purpose of reviewing the book.  I did not promise, nor in any way indicate a positive or negative review to the publisher.  The review as presented is mine and mine alone.