Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If God is Good . . .


I have been reading Randy Alcorn's book, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. Randy is tackling a huge theological question basically everyone deals with at some point in their lives. I've dealt with it personally and professionally. What do we do with a good God, one who is not evil or mean, and yet, bad things happen to people.

We all ask questions about God's presence in our lives during our most difficult moments, and frankly we hope nobody asks us the same questions we are thinking about because we certainly don't have the answers. Some of the questions are - -

» Why is there evil in the world?
» Why does God allow suffering?
» What's with a good God sending people to Hell?
» What about senseless evil? If God is all powerful, why doesn't He stop it?
» How can life make sense in light of all this muck in my life?

Randy Alcorn has written If God is Good to answer all these questions, and many more, in an everyday style of language. Yes the unit sections seem pretty steep and deep, but I really believe this is an understandable book.

His approach is to share stories about grace and life, hoping to make sense of the chapters and topics he seeks to cover. He also attempts to give a biblical basis to his reasoning.

Alcorn attempts to answer this question in a long, 512 page book. He breaks the book down into 12 units, which are listed below.
  1. Understanding the Problem of Evil and Suffering
  2. Understanding Evil: It's Origin, Nature and Consequences
  3. Problems for Non-Theists: Moral Standards, Goodness and Extreme Evil
  4. Proposed Solutions to the Problem of Evil and Suffering: Limiting God's Attributes
  5. Evil and Suffering in the Great Drama of Christ's Redemptive Work
  6. Divine Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice: Accounting for Evil and Suffering
  7. The Two Eternal Solutions to the Problem of Evil: Heaven and Hell
  8. God's Allowance and Restraint of Evil and Suffering
  9. Evil and Suffering Used for God's Glory
  10. Why Does God Allow Suffering?
  11. Living Meaningfully in Suffering
This is a well written book, which helps us understand the difficulties we face and what seems unjust to the seemingly just.

You can find this book at

http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781601421326

This was book was provided for review by Random House Publishers.

Real Kids Prayers

Click on the title to watch this 1:50 video.

Kids Prayers from Granger Community on Vimeo.



It's powerful.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finding Wisdom in Darkness


Wisdom Hunter was originally released in 1991 by Randall Arthur; and has been rereleased in 2009. This was a fun nonfiction book to read. It was fast paced as you follow a middle aged, successful southern preacher, Jason Faircloth, who holds to legalism more than he does love. He is well respected and loved by many people but after enduring two life altering tragedies he begins a quest for his one living relative, which also leads him to have conversations with God and others as he seeks to rebuild his life.

His journey takes him on adventures he would never have dreamt possible for a faithful Christian like himself. Yet, he finds himself involved in situation after situation, sometimes from his own naivete, and the drama that unfolds along side of it. At times the book is a little sappy, but there is a powerful story with some great points about life, living it joyfully vs. living it dutifully.

You can find this book at http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781601422996&ref=externallink_mlt_wisdomhunter_sec_0908_01

This was book was provided for review by Random House Books.



Shadow Government was a fascinating book by Grant Jeffrey. In this book, Jeffrey writes about his concerns, and even more than that, his suspicion that surveillance is being used against everyday citizens like you and me.

Jeffrey goes into great detail and at times seems a little extremist, yet when reading this with an open mind, it makes you wonder where the surveillance starts and where it ends. For example, he writes about RFID chips. These are those little microscopic chips in books and 100's of other tech products. Wal-mart invested more than $250 million into these chips and requires their top 100 manufacturers to embed all their high end products which Wal-mart sells with these chips.

The end result, Jeffery explains is this, "IBM developed a program, named Margaret, designed to embed RFID scanners in the doors and floors of thousands of banks and financial institutions. Wealthy customers are given passbooks and loyalty cards that contain RFID chips, which alert the bank's ID system as soon as the valued customer enters the building. This allows members of a consumer relations team to provide a heads up to the manager and automatically brings up the customers account information on the bank's computer system. A teller can greet the customer by name, as if the customer were a long lost friend." That's scary folks.

Even IBM admitted, "The widespread use of RFID tags on merchandise such as clothing would make it possible for locations of people, animals and objects to be tracked on a global scale - a privacy invasion of Orwellian proportions."

It's an interesting book to read. How far will of this go, I don't know, but Jeffrey has alerted me to some issues that are out there which I need to know about. A good read for those interested in privacy issues, especially as they relate to the government.

This was book was provided for review by Random House Books.

You can find this book at . . .
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400074426&ref=externallink_wbp_shadowgovernment_sec_0908_01

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Reviews

I thought I would mention the fact that I receive a number of books to review. Probably I could end up reviewing one book per week, minimum. Most of the books are pretty good, some better than others. As point of interest, I do not get paid to read the books, I simply enjoy reading and at times will be given an extra copy of the book. More often than not I give the book to the church library for people in the church to enjoy. On occasion I will send the book off to a friend or give it away.

I have also been privileged to review a book by Bill Easum. My name is even mentioned in the forward of the book, A Second Resurrection: Leading Your Congregation to New Life.
Presently I have been blessed to be reviewing and editing another book from Bill. You have to understand, for me this is an honor because he is one of my main mentors. Bill is one of the top 3 church leadership experts in the country (just my opinion). He is radical, he is edgy and more often than not, he is correct. Bill is not a spring chicken, he's in his 60's.

Bill Easum
The title of his new book is, Preaching for Transformation: How to Re-start, Turnaround, or Go Missional.

Why am I writing this? Not that anyone asked or questioned me, but just to say how blessed I am when I have the privilege of reading someone else's work and the influence and real blessing it has in my life.

Thanks to many of the authors I get to read their works of love and passion.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Extraordinary

The book Extraordinary was just that, extraordinary. I've read other books by John Bevere and this was one of his best. His premise, which is mine as well, is that God wants us to live an extraordinary life.

As I was moving into a sermon series this book came at just the right time, and Bevere helped me unflesh some of my thoughts. Bevere believes we were created to be more than ordinary, we are to be extraordinary. He outlines a plan for us to move from living a normal life to one which is filled more and more with the presence of God.

He eventually speaks about our ability to bring healing to others because of God's grace and power residing within Christians. We must remember that Bevere comes from a more Charasmatic background and theology. At times this became a little troubling, yet, His basic thesis that we were meant to live an extraorindary life supercedes some of my disagreements with his theology at the end of the book. One other comment was his use of scriptrue using various translations. When an author does this, it can sometimes lead to their manipulating scripture to make it say what they want. Not knowing Bevere I can't say if this is what he's doing.

Again, in spite of a couple of concerns, I still see this is a good read.

You can purchase Extraordinary at

AMAZON.COM

or

CHRISTIANBOOK.COM

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Jesus smiling at you and for you!


How do you view Jesus?


How do you view your Heavenly Father? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? When you pray, do you ever have a mental image or picture of God? Most people don’t really have a picture or image of God.

I think our image of God (Father Son and Spirit) varies. Our image can vary from an angry wrathful God, to a disappointed God to a laughing and gracious God, with lots inbetween.

My picture of Jesus changes vastly. As I prepare for Sunday’s message about our marital relationship with Jesus (yes, you heard me right), wouldn’t it be great to picture Jesus as our Bridegroom counting the moments and longing for the wedding feast to take place. We can picture Him in many different ways, as our Best Friend, My Lover, My King, My Savior, My Shepherd, My Lord, My Counselor, My Soaring Eagle, My . . .

So, WHAT DOES YOUR JESUS LOOK LIKE???? Is He a stern father figure sitting on a golden throne waiting to bash you for wrong doings? Is He a large, grandfather figure with a long white beard like Gandalf? Is He the sweet baby Jesus in the manger? Is He aloof?

I like this picture of Him, smiling and laughing because He is happy with what I am doing. He also looks like He is simply enjoying life.

Powerful Video

This is all about a person being transformed, then taking action.

Click on the title Powerful Video to watch.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyEH0olSpxI&feature=player_embedded

The Courage to Grow!

I appreciate devotionals which are real and relevant.  This devotional perfectly meets that requirement.  Annie Downs has written a powerf...