Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Title:  No More Dragons
Author:  Jim Burgen
    Helps us get free from broken dreams, lost hope, bad religion, and other monsters.
    Becoming a dragon is a dangerously subtle process.  It never happens all at once.  You make a long chain of bad choices.  The chain gradually wraps around you.  You aren't who you used to be and you aren't who you want to be.  More importantly, you 're not who you were created and designed to be.  Instead, your're a dragon.
    Jim Burgen was raised believing in Jesus, but by the time he was a college student he was very disappointed and disillusioned by "church."  As Pastor Jim narrates the remarkable process of Jesus reaching into his life and reclaiming him from himself, he implores modern church folks to shake off the trivial, sometimes weirdness, of religious churchiness in favor of the more important questions that make spiritual transformation and "undragoning" even possible to those who are looking for truth and grace.
    No more dragons is about discernment and making better decisions.  It is about asking Christ to deliver you from your own scales.

Jim Burgen has been the lead pastor of Flatirons Community Church in Boulder County, Colorado since 2006.  He also serves on the board of SOZO international, an NGO focusing on holistic community empowerment in Afghanistan.

    I found this book to be very enlightening.  I think it would be very helpful for young people. 5 stars

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

one God one Plan one Life - a book review

Title:  One God One Plan One Life
Author:  Max Lucado

    Max Lucado ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.  More that 100 million readers have found comfort in his writings.
    One God One Plan One life addresses important topics like faith, obedience, and self-control as well as difficult-to-discuss-with-your-parents issues like purity, bullying, and alcohol and drug use.  Each day includes a short devotion and scripture as well as a straight-to-the-heart idea that will inspire you to trust the one God who will love you through it all and despite it all
    I have read many devotional books in my life, but I have never read one as good as this one.  Not only is this book good for young people, it is very good for all ages.  There are devotionals for every day and every situation.  These devotions are very easy to follow and understand.  Teens and young people have life coming at them fast and hard, the Bible can be an "answer book" for them.  It is a good idea to read something from it every day,  This devotional is a good way to get started on a reading plan.  Teachers may pile on the reading assignments, but the Bible is the most important book you will ever read.  It's God's plan for your life, telling you what is right, what is wrong, and how to get to heaven.

I give this book 5 stars.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's a God Thing - book review

Title:  It's a God Thing
Author:  Don Jacobson
Don Jacobson is the founder of D.C. Jacobson & Associates, an author management company, where he works closely with authors--together dreaming about books that change the world by helping the church realize its true calling.

" It' a God Thing" is a very inspiring collection of instances where things that might have looked hopeless and depressing were used by God for good.  Most of these stories are truly amazing, and if one hasn't seen the "hand of God" in their own life up to this point, they surely will want to reexamine some of their past experiences more closely.
     The most amazing miracle of all wraps up the book reminding us that Jesus died so that we don't have to.  We are reminded that the three greatest words in all the world are "I love you"--which God so eloquently says to us through the gift of His Son.  No matter how bad the situation is or how messed up our lives are, there is always hope.  Jesus always offers hope.  No matter how much hatred we have endured or pain we have inflicted, God always gives us hope.  He loves us unconditionally, regardless of our messed-up lives.

Hopefully these stories will help all who read them and help them to realize that miracles are not reserved for the characters in the Old and New Testaments  they happen to everyday people: we just need to be sensitive to them.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You'll Get Through This - book review

Title:  You'll Get through This
Author:  Max Lucado
        The message is the message you need:  You'll get through this.  It won't be painless.  It won't be quick.  But God will use this mess for good.  Don't be foolish or na├»ve.  But don't despair either.  With God's help, you'll get through this.  Yes!  Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras:  bold, brassy, and everywhere.
        Sometimes our "pits" come in the form of a diagnosis or a traumatic injury.  Joseph's came in the form of a cistern.  Joseph was thrown into a hole and despised.  Sometimes we are thrown into an unemployment line and forgotten, into a divorce and betrayed, into a bed and abused.  Our life is reduced to one quest:  to get out of the pit and never get hurt again.  Pits have no easy exit.  Joseph's story got worse before it got better.  Abandonment led to enslavement, entrapment, and imprisonment.  He was sucker-punched, sold out, mistreated.  People made promises only to break them.  If hurt is a swampland, then Joseph was sentenced to a life of hard labor in the everglades.
        Yet, Joseph never gave up.  He never became bitter.  He never let anger metastasize into hatred.  His heart never hardened.  He not only survived; he thrived.
        Joseph's life offers this lesson:  in God's hands, intended evil becomes ultimate good.  Life in the pit stinks, but it forces us to look upward.  Someone from up there must come down here and give you a hand.  God did for Joseph.  In the right time, in the right way, He will do the same for you. 
        Max Lucado acknowledges the depth of sorrow and trouble in modern life and offers realistic hope in a faith in God, even when such hope is hard to find.

        Max Lucado ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet misbehaving mutt, Andy.  More than 100 million readers have found comfort in his writings.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Runaway Emotions - A book review

Title:  Runaway Emotions
Author:  Jeff Schreve
        This is a well written book about our emotions and how to deal with them.  We all have them and we all need to know how to deal with them and to realize that they are no unusual.  The author explores emotions from embarrassment to depression.  He helps us to know what causes us to feel inferior, loneliness, frustration, worry, anger, guilt, discontentment, and depression.  Emotions make life interesting.  Life without emotions would not be fascinating in the least.  He explains how emotions make life worth living.  They are the colors of life.  Unfortunately, as fallen human beings living in a fallen world, we aren't given the privilege to pick and choose which emotions we will experience in our lives.  We appreciate all the joy, love, laughter, peace and wonder we can wrap our arms around.  But then we also have to deal with the dark side of the emotional spectrum.  There we find fear, worry, anger, and bitterness.  Guilt, loneliness, and embarrassment also join in to rear their ugly heads.  Sometimes these negative emotions run away with our joy and peace.  The author likens these negative, runaway emotions to smoke detectors.  They tell us, "There's a problem here.  Something's out of adjustment and desperately needs attention.  The author helps understand that even these negative emotions can play a positive role in our lives.  He uses scripture to show us that there is a specific and compelling message in each of our negative, painful emotions.  He lets us know that God doesn't want any of us to get stuck in one or more or these troubling feelings.  The choice is ours to make.
    Jeff Schreve is a passionate communicator of God's word with a great desire to help people connect with Jesus Christ and experience His love and plan for their lives.  Since 2003 he has served as pastor of First Baptist Texarkana, Texas.  In 2005 he foualnded From His Heart Ministries a national and international radio and television ministry.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Victim of Grace Book Review

Title:  Victim of Grace
    Robin Jones Gunn is the much-loved author of several award winning series, including Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, Katie Weldon, Glenbrooke, and Sisterchicks, with more than4.5 million books sold worldwide.  Robin serves on the board of Media Associates International and often speaks locally and internationally.  She and her husband have two grown children and live in Hawaii. 
    This book helps us to understand how God comforts us when we feel as if we are at the mercy of other people's decisions or victims of circumstances.  Sometimes our faith seems to be tested and the "Teacher" seems silent during this test.  Robin helps us to consider women in the Bible such as Hannah keeping her promise to God to give her son back to Him  She kept her promise even though it hurt.  We learn to understand that our circumstances do not limit God.
    We also learn to wonder how our family legacy might be changed if we put all our hope in God the way Ruth did.  Ruth managed to navigate her way through her relationship with Naomi even though Naomi had become bitter and declared he emptiness to others.
    This book was extremely helpful for dealing with life's happenings.  I especially enjoyed the discussion questions at the end of the book.
I give this book 5 stars.
Karen M. Buckner

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Lambs Agenda - A book review

Ttle:  The Lamb's Agenda
Author:  Samuel Rodriguez
    Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, America's largest Hispanic organization.  Named by CNN as "The leader of the Hispanic Evangelical Movement" and by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of America's new evangelical leaders.
    The Roman historian Tacitus, writing nearly two thousand years ago, told us how the Emperor Nero thought he had put an end to that "class hated for their abominations, who are commonly called Christians.  Tacitus wrote::
     Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
    If Christians could survive Nero, if they could survive Lenin and Hitler, them they can survive the materialist present.  They have already outlasted the Beatles, whose John Lennon told us nearly fifty years ago:  "Christianity will go.  It will vanish and shrink.  I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right.  We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first--rock and roll or Christianity."
    Life is a cross.  No other symbol incorporates passion and promise like the cross--a simple symbol depicting two pieces of wood, one vertical and the other horizontal, successfully branded the eternal hope of glory to all mankind.
     In this book Samuel Rodriguez offers a blue print for Christian rejuvenation, a prophetic call to orient our lives at the nexus of the cross.
    Joining the Christianity of Martin Luther King jr. and Billy Graham, The Lamb's Agenda reveals the crucial connection between biblical social justice and spiritual righteousness.  Getting back to the basics of Christianity means extending our efforts simultaneously in the vertical direction of GOD and the horizontal direction of our neighbors.
        This is one of the most inspiration books  I have ever read.  I give this book 5 stars.
Karen M. Buckner