The rating is purely based on this version of the text. The digital rendition had line breaks and page breaks that were unnatural to read. The Sermons...moreThe rating is purely based on this version of the text. The digital rendition had line breaks and page breaks that were unnatural to read. The Sermons themselves, this was the second time I have read these works and enjoyed them again. Highlights include Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and The reality of Spiritual Light.(less)
I borrowed this from my pastor and read it to see what I thought. The first two-thirds of the book breakdown the ideas of catechism and how it current...moreI borrowed this from my pastor and read it to see what I thought. The first two-thirds of the book breakdown the ideas of catechism and how it currently looks in the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. The history, background materials, and comparison charts are a wonderful read for those not knowledgeable; but as a whole, it reads more like a seminary textbook instead being intended for the average layman. The last third of the book would be most beneficial to Pastors and lay leaders looking to build "new members" classes and redeveloping the Sunday School program. The major idea being the creation of the three tiered program of classes that identify new believers, growth and discipleship of followers, and the mentoring of believers and leaders of the church. (less)
I haven't read a book by Jerry Jenkins in a long time. His style and pace was something I remember enjoying with the Left Behind series but I never br...moreI haven't read a book by Jerry Jenkins in a long time. His style and pace was something I remember enjoying with the Left Behind series but I never branched out into his other writings. With all of that being said, I liked about 90% of the book. I didn't necessarily love it, but it was fun to read. New characters in the christian archaeology thriller genre are hard to beat out the old ones but this one is worth the time for the new perspectives it brings to the apostles Luke and Paul. (view spoiler)[The premise of the novel is in the same vein as The DaVinci code and the Templar Novels. Paul's lost manuscript has been found and is now being sought after by art thieves and archaeologist. Enter, August "Augie" Knox, a theology professor at a small independent theological seminary in Dallas. His connections with tour guides and theologians in Rome pulls him into this now crazy race to find, protect, and ultimately reveal the precious artifact. I really like this new Augie Knox character and would be willing to read a story with him again. His faulty and quirky in a wholesome way that is continuous approachable. The problem is that the bad guys and psuedo-bad guys are wood characters and for the most part transparent in both motive and scheme. At the same time that we get this story, three others are layered on top of it. The story of Augie and his future wife. Paul in the last few weeks before his execution in Rome and the actually autobiography that Paul has written. The other major problem I have with the story is Paul's motivation for persecuting Christians. We get a great POV into how he is trained in Jerusalem and becomes a member of the Sanhedrin. We even see how he logiaclly stands against Jesus's ministry during his times at the Temple Mount and crucifixion. The problem occurs when it is assumed by Jenkins and MacDonald that a broken heart is his major reason for persecutions, it lost me. It actually got to a point were I wanted to speed through the story of Luke and Paul to get back to reading about the lost manuscript being found and moved around. In the end I cared more about Luke not getting caught in Rome, during the writing of the manuscript, than I did about Paul's pre-conversion story. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Steven James has quickly become one of my favorite reads in the christian fiction genre. Whereas other crime novels still have rough edged and broken...moreSteven James has quickly become one of my favorite reads in the christian fiction genre. Whereas other crime novels still have rough edged and broken nihilistic heroes, Patrick Bowers is a logical and faithful man of the law. He uses science as a means and not a ethical crutch to do he wants, that is directed at you Sherlock Holmes. In this novel, we really get to see the emotional and logical connection that law enforcement has to make everyday and it is not done in the stylist Lethal Weapon or Rush hour buddy cop kind of way.This time we find Bowers on the cusp of his wedding and what would turn out to be one of the worse weeks of his life. Richard Basque, the cannibal psychopath, is slowly working his way closer and closer to Patrick Bowers. Meanwhile, someone is tainting shipments of anti-depressants as a means to cause mass suicides across the US. As if this is not enough, Tessa, Bower's step-daughter, is in the final weeks of her Senior year, no Prom date but a cute guy is interested and a possible graduate speech to boot. Toss in a pair of garden sheers, a crime novelist, her daughter, and a side trip to India and you have the one of the best novels in the series. For those looking to find a hard science based legal thriller, without the sex and cursing, this is your series but do your self the favor and start at the beginning, The Pawn. Spoilers!!!!(view spoiler)[ After reading Opening Moves, I couldn't figure out what made that whole story seem off to me. I thought maybe it was the publisher/editor or the fact that it was a flashback. The novel was good but just wasn't the Patrick Bowers I was use to, then I read this one and it was obvious. I like the Patrick that is more like me. Family guy with stress from both sides of life, family vs career. Techie but still has friends and can unwind around regular people. Some of the best scenes for Patrick are the ones where he is trying to figure out how to handle being Tessa's "dad." Brineesha and Ralph are great foils for this and provide him parental advice that he desperately needs. Alternatively, after Lien-hua's attack she is mostly pointless in the story except for the wedding at the end. Her encounter with Basque really turns on the heat but I like her as a character and at times she completely disappears for chapters because of her recovery. Brineesha helps to fill the role and some muddled and teenage angst driven conversations from Tessa help, but Bowers is on his own in this one and that what scares him the most. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Michael Youssefis a great writer and for the first time in a long while I felt truly impressed by the leadership concepts being presented. Not one pag...moreMichael Youssefis a great writer and for the first time in a long while I felt truly impressed by the leadership concepts being presented. Not one page goes by without sound biblical reference and additional examples of modern leaders used to make a point. For many looking to read a neo-pop culture version of John Maxwell, this is your book. And that is not meant to be a drumming of the book at all, but instead an acknowledgment that the iPod generation is moving into leadership roles and they need more than just Passion Conferences Podcast to get them motivated to lead. His style of writing is light, airy, and conversational but not vapid. I was struck by his use of the CEO of Starbucks as an example, since recent comments of the CFO seem to be a little anti-church, but Youseff backs up the secular example with scripture. He balances the tools you need to be a leader with modern examples and the moral steerage of Jesus Christ, without the negative nagging patriarch tone of some older leadership readings. I'm really blessed for reading it and will definitely keep it in my rotation of leadership readings for the next few years. Comparisons would lead me toJesus, CEO, writings by Francis Chan or Louie Giglio, and some of Andy Andrews works.
Francis Chan continues to develop his readings for the growth of the church in modern America. The key elements that are pushed forward as a part of M...moreFrancis Chan continues to develop his readings for the growth of the church in modern America. The key elements that are pushed forward as a part of Multiply is that the form of Discipleship has waned greatly in the last century. Where churches have focused greatly on creating converts, the growth and depth of faith has shallowed out. Thus the lay leadership is ill-equipped to meet the growing needs of the current generation of believers. If I were to recommend this to anyone it would be a group, especially Sunday School Leaders, as a bible study focus for the a month or the year. A lot of what he has to say has more of an impact if a group can plan impact activities instead of an individual working singularly within a church.(less)
I finished this book in about two days and must say that it is a great book for anyone looking to enter the field of ministry or about to become the l...moreI finished this book in about two days and must say that it is a great book for anyone looking to enter the field of ministry or about to become the leader of a fairly large ministry/church. The downsides of the book are that it appeals well to a niche market. Those who have not read the copious amounts of leadership materials from Druker, Maxwell, and Roth will find this a great place to start reading about Leadership Principles. Mohler mentions them in passing and quotes them in various places but his purpose is slightly different from theirs. Where the previous writers speak more to the general ideals of leadership, Mohler talks about the application of leadership in a ministers/discipleship leader's life. I imagine that a bulk of this work was generated as a part of his teaching at Southern Seminary. At times reads as a do this, not that, if you become a head minister following your MA Div. His information on communication management skills and PR would be a critical leg up for anyone. However, those looking for a more generalized or business approach to leadership may want to go with other books available in the genre. Lay leaders of the church might also benefit more from a devotional style leadership reading instead of a how-to.
This book was provided to me as a ebook review by NetGalley and Bethany House Publishing(less)
For those who are big fans of Marc Royce's story, this will be a welcomed addition but not as great as his exploits in Iraq. The idea of a UN/Hallibur...moreFor those who are big fans of Marc Royce's story, this will be a welcomed addition but not as great as his exploits in Iraq. The idea of a UN/Halliburton based conspiracy is great and interesting but tends to fall apart at times. The uplifting elements come from the relationships developed between Royce, Kitra, Charles, and the local elders. The digital edition from amazon was nice but some noticeable copy/edit issues started showing up in the second half of the the book.
(view spoiler)[ My favorite parts of the book had to be his time in Israel. His dreams of a simple future and helping keep the watch of his newly adopted peoples in the Rift Valley. What completely tears this down is the idea that Royce wouldn't accept this as his true future and walks away from it and Kitra in the last chapter. Other elements that surprised me were that I could see Royce and Crowder redeveloping Lodestone or a new group based out of Kenya to do the work for Ambassador Walton. Overall the openness of this stories ending is too much for my taste and didn't seem to jive with the development of Royce as a character during his time in Israel. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>(less)
My wife found this at our favorite used bookstore. It was shelved in the Christian Fiction section and is distributed by B&H. First, Ralph Reed kn...moreMy wife found this at our favorite used bookstore. It was shelved in the Christian Fiction section and is distributed by B&H. First, Ralph Reed knows his way around beltway politics. His characters at times come off as being copies of current or former politicians and their actions are founded in truth. Second, he can develop a mystery that makes sense and seems to be believable. In this book a US Senator is found murdered and it may be connected to CIA/NSA investigations on the Iranian Nuclear program. The problem is that even though it is a political thriller, it is masquerading as Christian Fiction. Granted it is not laden with expletives, like many in the Political Thriller genre, and characters have some kind of faith, many are associated with a group similar to the Family Foundation, but the issue is that their faith is not necessarily motivating their actions. The reflective introspection of many characters as they challenge their faith with secular politics are lacking or completely missing. Compared to others who write in the genre their is no overwhelming faith driven characterization.
I would put his prose and storytelling on the same level as Joel C Rosenberg and Davis Bunn but there are times that his writing seems a bit flawed. If you are looking for inspiration from a character who is a prayer warrior of a flawed character looking for faith in a broken world this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a David Baldacci without the cussing and gratuitous sex, this is your book. In reality it should be a political thriller written by a Christian instead of Christian Political Fiction. I may try and find one of the other two books in the series but I've got others in the que ahead of this one.(less)
Probably the best book in the series because Capt. Geary is forced to deal with the major loses in Cavalas system, his impending return to Alliance sp...moreProbably the best book in the series because Capt. Geary is forced to deal with the major loses in Cavalas system, his impending return to Alliance space and the possibliity of political feuding, and the fleet commanders who are using computer worms to take over the fleet. Additionally this is the first book without any real romance since Geary and Rione began their odd relationship. From a leadership standpoint this book is excellent to look at the ussuses of post-failure/loss planning and the benefits of a trustworthy and trained leadership cadre within an organization. (less)
Book two in the series brings its own new concepts and ideas into the fray. For those who didn't read my last review, I will spend a majority of my co...moreBook two in the series brings its own new concepts and ideas into the fray. For those who didn't read my last review, I will spend a majority of my comments on the leadership style of the book's protagonist, Capt. John "Black Jack" Geary. This book spends a lot of the leadership issues surrounding what happens in the case of a mutiny on the part of seasoned leaders, the urges to micromanage, and gross negligence. As a whole the book stands up well next to the previous one. Again, it captures the ideas of hurry up and wait and the need for prolonged gaming of scenarios between engagements. Those who are looking for battle after battle should not read this series. We see Geary, along with so many leaders, struggle with not wanting to wasting time, but also ferreting away the opportunities of rest because of guilt. We also get a few scenes of the process of genuine praise and the process of rewarding a leader with new titles and responsibilities. This one is a solid four out of five and the major battle scenes are well written but seem to be missing some details at times. I'm beginning to see how some would see this as more military than sci-fi. Its missing a lot of the heavy handed science in the explanations of new and invented tech. I'm looking forward to the next one. Spoilers explain some of the key actions during the mutiny and battle engagements. (view spoiler)[
Following the mutiny lead by Capts. Falco, Numos, and Farera, Geary struggles to understand the motivation of those who are willing to seek defeat in the prescience of a notable better option. Makign a run for the Alliance border is a suicide mission. Howeer before they make the jump Geary yells out Ilion. He may have been mad as a hell that they left the fleet but if they survived he would be willing to met back-up later on. That is true leadership in the face of decent. Mutiny and decent can be driven by a lot of factors, in this case with three characters we see three options. Capt. Falco, sees himself as the salvation of the greater cause even though his training and experiences would suggest otherwise. When forced to follow a perceived subordinate he chooses mutiny. We find out later that Falco is mentally unstable but this is always possible in the moment and heat of battle. The commanding office of troops at San Juan Hill in Cuba, 1898 was overwhelmed by a bought of malaria and dysentery that left him hallucinating for two days before dying. Falco uses his celebrity to enlist the help of two other major leaders of the fleet in Capts. Numos and Farera. These two choose mutiny and the certainty of death because of jealousy. Their growing hatred for Capt. Geary and his notable successes begin to rub them the wrong way. Additionally their coaxing of other ships into an ill-fated pursuit showed they're selfish need for glory over the well-being of the fleet and its crews. The final choice is made by the captain of the battleship Warrior. He simply chooses apathy and fear over logic. When Falco seeks out a ship this man relinquishes command and hides until they are rescued in the Ilion system. Additionally in this one, Com. Cerelias really shines as a subbordinate. She volunteers to generate a program that can control the collapse of a hypernet gate and develops and commands major elements of the Sancere System Battle. When Geary awards her for valor and promotes her with a field command, it is not done lightly. It is nice to see the two types of characters juxtapose in one novel Duellos and Cerelias both command with honor and service to the greater good; whereas, Numos and Farera do so out out ill-gotten gain and selfish pride. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** Ever since Battlestar Galactica went off air, I have been trying to find something that fills the void. Capt. Black Jack Geary and t...more**spoiler alert** Ever since Battlestar Galactica went off air, I have been trying to find something that fills the void. Capt. Black Jack Geary and the Lost Fleet of the Alliance may just fill that void. Spanning the time of roughly a month we see the high speed pursuit of a butchered fleet as they attempt to return to their home space from deep within the Syndicate Worlds realm.
The book series is based heavily on an ancient Greek soldier, Xenophon and his army's retreat after a failed siege. What the book captures best: key ideas of military life at war, leadership and it's execution in the face of adversity by subordinates, bureaucracy and it's balance within a strategic alliance, and the foundations of skill versus talent. Some reviews have graded it lower because of a high expectation of combat. I would disagree. Geary even makes it a point, late in the novel that a naval tradition is to hurry up and wait before a battle. Too many other novels try to fill the pages with anyhow after battle; when, in reality no fighting force has an unlimited amount of red shirts.
If you are also looking to read a great guide on how to rebuild a broken or failed group, this book is a great place to start. Geary's poignant reflective moments give the reader an inside view of the challenges of leadership and command. I must admit that is the main reason I chose the book. The writing is heavy on the military and light on the scifi but it still holds up and I'm going to move on to book two, Fearless, asap. (less)
Horrible time reading this and gave up quickly. After reading Scalzi's books this became a big recommendation. Needless to say it is hard boiled 70s S...moreHorrible time reading this and gave up quickly. After reading Scalzi's books this became a big recommendation. Needless to say it is hard boiled 70s SciFi. Too much language + Too much sex = just not really that interesting. Disappointed because so many said this was a seminal work in the genre and it's just not worth it. (less)
Dr. Swain has taken on the political pundits and defeated them clearly. Instead of devolving into a heated, emotional debate, she uses polling data to...moreDr. Swain has taken on the political pundits and defeated them clearly. Instead of devolving into a heated, emotional debate, she uses polling data to back-up her commentaries on Immigration, Moral Construction, immigration, the Obama Administration and abortion. The basis of the book is one of a noble effort in that it is a call to galvanize the Christian population of America to openly discuss and debate the ideas that are being presented by the mainstream media on both sides of the aisle.
The chapters on Abortion, Immigration, and Obama are extremely poignant and fact based. This a great read for anyone who needs an emotionally balanced argument against the moral liberalization or America. I wish I could use this as a text to teach contemporary American politics. It provides a great example of independent thinking within a political group. Her choice of using a myriad of quotes to introduce each chapter clearly focuses the reader on objective she is attempting to push forward. For anyone who is politically involved more than the average citizen, at times she using redundant data to support her POV.
I did read this as part of a Booksneeze review and read the digital copy they provided. In the digital format, I would suggest a few layout changes that caused the book to appear longer than one would think. Her writing finishes somewhere around 52% on the Kindle edition and then is followed by the Appendices. Since they included the Ten Commandments, Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I chose only to read the the Dec of Ind. following her writing. I've read the others all before and use them in my classes annually. In addition, the use of block quotes throughout the text was again redundant and at times annoying on the Kindle because of formatting that would cause the layout to be a small set of lines followed by the block quote and then empty space or vice-versa. (less)
Great book but still a little short overall. Other books have more but I found much of this in other readers with more direction connections to a sing...moreGreat book but still a little short overall. Other books have more but I found much of this in other readers with more direction connections to a single verse or bible segment. (less)