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Muscle and a Shovel: 10th Edition: Includes All Original Volume Content, Randall's Secret, Epilogue, KJV Full Index, Bibliography

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  997 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
10th Edition: Includes all original volume content, Randall's Secret, Epilogue, KJV full index, Bibliography. Muscle and a Shovel is a raw and gritty true story about a pair of young newly-weds who move to the city to chase the American dream. In the process they're befriended by a man who turns their belief about God, their church, and their faith upside down! Baptists, M ...more
Paperback, 418 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Michael Shank Ministries (first published May 20th 2011)
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Darrin Shockey No I don't agree. I was a member of this church for 48 years. When I was born again and the Spirit of God started to become alive in me he started to…moreNo I don't agree. I was a member of this church for 48 years. When I was born again and the Spirit of God started to become alive in me he started to confirm in me what was truth and what was not. People walking in Spirit of God has eyes to see and ears to hear. They have a "knowledge" only given by the Spirit of God. The Church of Christ that this man writes about was started around 1850 by Stone and Cambell. The true Church was started on Pentecost and its members are children of God and they have a true relationship with their creator and he walks in them. People who are chosen worship in all different denominations, not just this one. (less)

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Samantha & Tucker
You are CONTENT with your DENOMINATION, and your CHURCH...I suggest you DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. This book is focused around the church of Christ, and it will try and convert you to their church.....It will make you question your faith, and your soul..... I did not give it a star at all, becuase I do not think that this book needs to be "rated".....Instead of reading this book, I suggest you pick up your BIBLE and read it instead!
Ryan McDonald
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! It will make you think about every aspect of your spiritual life. I will warn you though, it could challenge your entire belief system. If so, don't put the book down, instead try and prove it wrong through study of the scripture. You will find that very hard to do.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I have ever read. This is a true story. It is a book about a man's journey to become a Christian, the difference in teachings and which church is right for you. It can make you angry at times but keep reading and if there is something you do not agree with find the answer in the bible and prove you are right, then notify Mr. Shank. He welcomes it! I guarantee, if you read the entire book you will learn something whether a Christian or not. I know I did and I have been a Chr ...more
Oct 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I probably would have liked this book quite a bit better if they had let me edit it before it was published. The constant need to add commas and adjust awkward phrases got old very quickly.
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've grown up in the church of Christ. Yet, even I was "cutting off the end of the ham." This book helped show me why we do some things that I've never thought twice about. And while there are a few things I don't agree with 100%, I can see why some people believe that now based on the scripture provided. I love that everything is backed up with scripture. I just wish it wasn't King James Version as I've always struggled to understand it. If you are curious as to why the church of Christ practic ...more
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. Everyone should read it. It is simple to read and takes you to the Bible for what it truly means to be a Christian. Very enlightening.
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Have you always wondered why certain things you hear from the Sunday morning pulpit don't always match up when you read your Bible? This book is about several characters, all of whom are looking for change in their life. They don't all understand why or how at first, but eventually it all comes to light.

Randall is such a caring individual. He is always cheery and helpful no matter what his lot in life is. He is someone most people either naturally gravitate towards or completely ignore. I need
Rick Harper
May 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Michael Shank is either incredibly ignorant or totally deceptive. This book reminds me of Nazi propaganda; it's only missing pictures of the deformities and birth defects of the offspring of Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, non-denoms, etc. Horrible. Shank preys on the ignorance of his readers , both historical and biblical ignorance. He simply continues to parrot everything that is constantly parroted by Church of Christ denomination members. I had to force myself past every page ...more
Robert Durough, Jr.
I first want to address the form of the book Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank that I purchased. It is an e-book (Kindle) and the 5th edition. I purchased it for $9.99. It was strewn with typographical errors and poor grammar, had no table of contents or means by which to jump to chapters (there are 40, plus the following sections: introduction, epilogue, end notes, bibliography, and Bible verses used in each chapter), no links to end notes from where noted within the chapters, and missing ...more
Angel Pickard
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Mansel
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Masterful examination of the process of becoming a Christian by the purity of God's Word rather than the corruption of man's ideas.
Jan 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
The positives: encourages you to study your Bible for yourself and not to trust someone else to do it for you. Michael Shank really loves his wife (her eyelashes must be something, he really likes them). He is a happy man, who loves his church.

Okay, now to the other stuff. This is a minor point, but it bugged me and is part of what makes my Goodreads review a 1. By the 6th edition of a book with a cover price of $16, it is well past time to get an editor to look at it. The typos and glaring erro
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have never read any type of religious book like this. It takes an honest look at the Scriptures while telling a captivating story. The story and the truth behind it is one that left tears streaming down my cheeks as the book ended. It is one I whole-heartedly recommend to everyone. It will cause you to reexamine your beliefs and desire to be a better evangelist. It is a MUST READ & one I look forward to reading over and over again.
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting personal story of how the author came to salvation. From a story-telling perspective, it's not a masterpiece, but I don't think the author has an inflated view of his prose. Actually, I enjoyed the way he made self-conscious references to 1980s pop culture as a way to set it in the time frame.

Great book for anyone who wants to know how the Bible says we are saved, and become part of God's Church.
Havebooks Willread
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very thorough record of one man's discovery of the Truth of the Bible. Through the influence of a co-worker, Mike realizes the importance of studying the Bible for oneself rather than following what any man says or the traditions one has been taught.

"Why were people so careless with the Bible? Why didn't people study the Bible like their eternal souls depended on it?. . .Studying and understanding the Bible isn't for the lazy. Studying the Bible requires muscle and a shovel. Mental mu
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
A great story about what the Bible says about all of the Christian denominations created by men and about the meaning of the one true church purchased by the blood of Christ. This would be an excellent book for a small group study -- lots of scripture to look up and discuss.

There are two parts that I'm struggling with -- I accepted Christ via the "Sinners Prayer", which is slammed heavily in this book, but then I was baptized in obedience to what Jesus tells us to do in the Bible when I was in 1
Denise Snyder
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thought the book was fantastic. Going through with Michael Shank's discovery that he like most people do not search the scriptures in depth to see what the Bible says is very much what I went through in my teenage years. Most take whatever is taught at their churches rather than finding out for themselves what the Word says. If a person really wants a true relationship with God and Christ, they have to search the scriptures. Find the church that teaches closely to what one believes the Word says ...more
David Cox
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you want to read a book about someone who is honestly struggling to resolve the questions that he has regarding his religious background and how he comes to learning the actual truth about what is clearly written in the bible on how we are to follow His Word, this is the book you need to read if you desire to be in a saved state with God!! Nobody has ever written anything as eloquently as this man has regarding how he comes to terms with his faith and becoming baptized. The only other book th ...more
Gwendolyn B. Hildreth
Absolutely a "must-read" for Christians and non-Christians alike

My son recommended I read this book two years ago. I didn't and I am upset with myself for that decision. This book has been and will continue to be such a blessing. The story makes the book flow so easily, you don't realize how very much you are learning. Anyone that has ever faced the question, "why do you believe what you believe", needs this book in their arsenal. A great companion to the Bible for anyone searching for true Chri
Kandice Poirier
Jul 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book was gifted to me by the sweetest person in my life, ever. However, this book came off to me, as propaganda. As a former member of the Church Of Christ, and a lifetime of being told that church is the only church going to heaven, I just couldn't even get in to this book. Not at all. The first two chapters I thought it would be ok… but it wasn't. The intention behind the gift of this book was pure and one of love. The book however, is not anything I would ever choose to read on my own af ...more
Grayson Key
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Michael Shank will take you through his several-month journey from having his faith challenged to putting on Christ in baptism. Follow him through time with an open heart and an open Bible, testing both what he was told and what he says himself against God's revealed word. You just may find your own faith strengthened or reformed.
Kristi Bell
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-books
This is an excellent book on how a man was converted to Christianity and it is very scripture oriented. It answered some questions for me that I've had. I would highly recommend this book. This book is backed up by Scriptures throughout it. It does take a "muscle and a shovel" to dig through God's word! Randall, the guy who studies with Michael, is a member of the church of Christ.
Tanya Roe
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
The only good thing I can say about this book is that it prompted me to read the Bible more. As a Christian I cannot support a religion that purports to be better or know more than others. God is the only one who knows and it is He who determines eternity, not the name on the sign at your church.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Basically an account of the Bible studies this guy had with his friend from work and his subsequent conversion. I learned some interesting things, such as some opinions that "church father" type reformation people held that I never knew about, and a new way of looking at what it means to "obey the gospel."

The main thing that stood out was... the crazy lengths people had to go to to learn even the SMALLEST FACT in pre-internet days. He was asked, "Who founded the Baptist church?" and basically po
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I never sign-up or write reviews on these topics or sites, yet I felt the need to on this book.

First off, do not listen to the nay-sayers. They have either been taught an improper Gospel or just do not get it. NO denomination has ever made sense to me and I have been to every single one, I have asked many "preachers" questions they could not answer, and if they did answer it made no sense; or they would just tell me to have more faith, I needed more faith, I needed to study more, etc. Basically
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My experience in my conversion and arriving to the church of Christ was similar as far as my discoveries and eye-opening moments I had when I began seeking out the truth of what the Bible actually taught. I was disenchanted with watered-down Christianity and knew there had to be something more. I didn't have a lot of the disillusionment the author did, because I arrived at my conclusions before I was old enough to just accept denominationalism out of resignation. I appreciated the simplicity in ...more
Jeremy Walker
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Good book, The author does a really good job at accurately pointing out real issues with the modern church, but because of his dismissal of certain key doctrines comes the wrong conclusion about Baptism and Salvation.

I agree with what he continues to hammer throughout the book. Read the Bible to determine if any doctrine is true and Biblically justifiable. That is what I would encourage anyone to do that agrees with the authors viewpoint on the issues below....

Biblically Unjustifiable Doctrines
Mike Hovis
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've just finished reading this fine book. It is Michael Shank's account of his conversion, and that is his wife, from denominationalism to true Bible Christianity. This book brings home at least 3 valuable lessons.

First, it reminds us that there is no substitute for an honest, thorough study of the Bible to learn the will of God. You cannot find the will of God in creeds or other religious materials, even though they are produced by good people with good intentions.

Second, it reminded me that
Beth Dickey
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
This is one man's story about how he came to study the Bible and decide what he believes. He's not a professional writer, and the book could've done with some stern editing. Still, worth a read. He uses lots of scripture, as the primary purpose of his book is to show you what he sees.
Really, I agree with this author more than I disagree, but I had some problems with this book. I admire his zeal, but not the way he arrived at some of his conclusions. Also in places his tone felt strident and dis
Lisa Lewis
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it
I initially gave this book 5 stars, but, have since taken back two. As I study for myself, I see things in the bible that don't line up with what this book is claiming to be facts. I just can't look at Randall as being the end all be all of the truth about God's Word. If I do then he becomes somewhat of an idol. I can't risk that. Romans 10:9 is what clergy has taken from the bible and began calling it the "sinner's prayer" So, it is biblical, just because clergy is calling it the "sinner's pray ...more
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“Doubt causes indecision. Indecision causes inaction. Inaction causes us to put the important back there where the unimportant things reside. Inaction causes idleness and additional doubt. It builds a wall between what's important and what's unimportant. Once those walls grow, it's difficult to know how to tear them down.” 4 likes
“It is easier to believe a lie one has heard a thousand times than to believe a fact one has never heard before.”                                                                                                                                               —author unknown” 3 likes
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