Saturday, July 27, 2013

Book Review: Indroctrination

Colin Gunn and Joaquin Fernandez present, Indoctrination:  Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity, one of their objectives being "to equip the homeschooling public with the ammunition necessary to effectively defend our educational choices....using these resources to graciously challenge our brothers and sisters who are still deceived by the public school system."

Whereas this book did not convict or further strengthen my personal stance to homeschool, it did open my eyes to the horrors of the public school system.  It was outright scary.  One article after another exposing the not so hidden socialist agenda promulgated throughout the system sent shock waves.  Does the public school system have its problems?  Certainly.  However, this outright crusade to indoctrinate children throughout this country, whether through mental manipulation or drugs, is blatant and intentional.

As a former educator, thankfully for only a short while, the role seems to be clearly defined as one of complacent obedience.  Teachers are no longer trained and hired to teach but to diagnosis.  Mediocrity and failure are the new standard and thus encouraged.  The goal for appealing to the masses has replaced integrity, work ethic, and overall motivation.  Teachers unwilling to submit are weeded out.  

This is not one author's opinion but a collaboration of experts, educators, and parents who have thoroughly researched this topic and provide many references and not simply personal opinions or experience.  Anyone in the aforementioned categories should look closely into this resource and identify their role as willing conformist or combatant against a system designed to strip parents of their God-given right to educate their children with a Biblical worldview.  

Let us all beware that their socialist agenda is clear--death and destruction to morals, values, and the family.  They want to warp and pervert children from very young to serve their own twisted agendas.  This book is a battle cry for any parent having school aged children to wake up.  The call to action might not be changing the system, but rather not allowing one's children to participate in it.  Neutrality is not an option.  

I received complimentary copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing  in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Review: Saving Eutychus

In Saving Eutychus, authors Gary Millar and Phil Campbell seek to deliver "fresh, honest, faithful and practical insights into preaching the whole word of God, Sunday by Sunday, without being dull."  

This could have been a how-to-preach-better-in-five-easy-steps kind of book, but it was not.  The authors made it a point to begin with the preacher's heart.  The authors' passionate appeal to depend on prayer all the while maintaing the central focus of preaching the Gospel  demonstrated their desire not just to be better preachers, but obedient children of God first and foremost. 

After laying the foundation of prayer and preaching the gospel, the book progresses into giving the reader 10 tips on how to improve one's sermons.  In discussing the importance of scripting one's sermons the author states:

It helps you think through in advance how you'll pace the flow of ideas, and writing it down commits you to expressing yourself in a way that's down-to-earth and accessible.  It also ensures you don't talk for too long.  And that could save a life. p. 47

I thoroughly enjoyed their shared commitment to preaching the Gospel throughout the Bible.  Living during a time when the Old Testament can be discarded as non-applicable to today's New Testament church, it is refreshing to see men committed to preach the whole Bible in context rather than man made principles and ideas.  

Our challenge, then, is to help people understand the flow of biblical theology.  Because when people grasp the Bible's redemptive storyline, the power of God's word is unleashed and the Spirit uses it to change lives.  p.90 

The authors spoke about the importance of critique in order to be pulled backed by particular temptations.  Their continual admonishment to preach with sincerity of heart was sobering.  

What we need most as preachers is to apply the gospel to ourselves--to the motivation, content and manner of our preaching.  often what wee need to do in response to critique is not to try harder.  Rather, we need to repent and run back into the arms of Jesus whom we preach.  p. 116

Their candor in sharing their own experiences, but mostly their challenges, helped to identify the common pitfalls one can fall into.  The diagrams and photograph of their sermon notes created clarity.  Seeing how they worked through the process of sermon writing was invaluable.  The peer review and its importance as well as the resources are wonderful tools.  Overall, this is great resource not only for those preaching the Word every Sunday, but anyone preaching the Word.   

I received complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Book Review: Runaway Emotions

 In his book, Runaway Emotions, Schreve seeks to show "how the truth of the Bible can make sense of our confusion.  The power of the Holy Spirit  can lead us to freedom, and Jesus Christ can give us true peace in the midst of any crisis.  Author Jeff Schreve says, "A specific and compelling message can be found in each of your negative, painful emotions.  God Himself is trying to speak to you through those emotions--right now."   

Although this is not meant to be an all encompassing book regarding human emotions, it does name a few "biggies" with clarity and succinctness.  The author identifies and defines the emotion and its root causes. But its purpose is not to stop there. On the contrary, the reader is just on the cusp of finding out what God would have them do about these emotions. 

The author makes numerous Biblical references to illustrate his points. Often the Biblical characters' weaknesses and difficulties can be glossed over, but the author does a great job of vividly portraying real-life humans not that much different than ourselves. 

For the most part, I agreed with the authors diagnosis concerning emotions except with guilt. The author portrays the recognition of guilt as a conduit for repentance but the Bible clearly states that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus as well as worldly sorrow leading to death. Only godly sorrow can produce repentance which leads to salvation. 

Besides the aforementioned exception, I agreed with the author's premise of identifying the root of our emotions in order to learn what God would have us do with them. There is valuable information within these pages that can be gleaned for anyone trying to find freedom from the slavery of living emotion led lives rather than Spirit-filled ones. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Review: I've Got Your Back

In I've Got Your Back, author James C. Gavin uses a parable about four twenty-something's who desperately need help in their careers. What they thought would be a way just to better their careers will turn out be an experience that changes their lives. Even their mentor, Jack Hendrickson, realizes that his combat mission days are not over but just on a different battlefield. 

From their Friday night Bible studies to their Monday work days, following along all four characters gave a clear picture of each of their struggles with leadership. Although the characters themselves just wanted mentoring to become leaders at work, they soon find it to be impossible to limit leadership to just one area of life. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity among the group. Instead of lumping everyone together and labeling them, the author presents each character with individual problems and solutions. There is no one solution fixes everyone except for the foundation of all solutions---Jesus. 

The author takes the reader along for the journey the four are undertaking to discover the truth about the following-leading dynamic. Instead of showing the big picture of the following-leading dynamic from the onset, the characters discover the principles themselves through doing their assignments, reporting their experiences, and learning from their mistakes. I appreciated the fact that it was not your common three steps to be a fantastic leader fluff but rather presented the truth of developing one's unique potential through becoming a REAL follower. 

Although the book is divided into two parts (parable first then the outline of the Biblical principles) and can be read in any order, I strongly suggest reading the parable first. By the time I finished reading the parable, I was able to understand clearly the principles outlined in the second part of the book. 

The author’s thorough use of Bible verses throughout demonstrate his conviction that leadership and followership are clearly God designed and should be obeyed as He ordained. When violated, man becomes an abuser of power and/or a victim of follower abuse. 

I would recommend this book to anyone because as the author clearly points out: 

As we grow in our ability to follow well, we also grow in our ability to lead. This is because leadership and followership are two sides of the same coin. To lead well we need to understand the leader-follower dynamic as God created it. To create the conditions for that dynamic to occur, we need to follow well and help others follow well. The best leaders are also the best followers. p. 194

I received complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.