Book Review

December 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | 2 Comments
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RUTH, From Bitter to Sweet by John Currid

This book arrived in a pdf form first and I slowly began going through it while waiting for the book to arrive. I make no apologies for being a book person. I use and like my Kindle and have read other books in pdf form on my laptop but there is nothing like holding a book in your hands. Plus I like to write, underline and high light in my books.

This book was published by EP Books (www.epbooks.org) and came to me from Cross Focused Media (www.crossfocusedmedia.com). When beginning a book I go to the table of contents and the bibliography first. The table of contents reveals that the study will be divided among thirteen chapters. The author sees five main sections to the book of Ruth.

Part 1: Setting the scene (1:1-5)

Part 2: Naomi and her Moabite daughter-in-law (1:6-22)

Part 3: In the fields of Bethlehem (2:1-23)

Part 4: The scene at the threshing floor (3:1-18)

Part 5: Redemption (4:1-22)

The author’s breakdown of the book and outline are pretty good. I was looking forward to getting started. Now my personal complaint is that there is no bibliography and he uses end notes instead of footnotes. I prefer footnotes over endnotes anytime. I was surprised that there was no bibliography. Those are my personal preferences and do not take away from the book.

In each chapter the author takes some Scripture and explains its meaning. Then he closes the chapters with “Points to Ponder.” I like the way he does this. The Points to Ponder are pretty good and the reader will find some truth to apply in their lives.

Overall I liked this commentary. It would make a good gift for your pastor. I am passing it on to our Women’s Sunday School class teacher to look over. I have talked with her about it and asked her to consider using it in her class during the Spring Quarter of 2013. The thirteen chapters lend themselves to being used in a Sunday School class or small group. I would recommend it being used in either situation. Yes, I did ask for the book back when she is finished looking it over. It will go on my shelf for future use.

I received this book for free and was not asked for a favorable review.

Book Review: Missional Moves

December 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | 2 Comments
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Missional Moves by Rob Wegner and Jack Magruder

Missional Moves

This is a part of the Exponential Series of books for the modern church. It is intended to encourage and equip church leaders and others who are serving in their churches. This book contains three main parts and fifteen chapters. Both of the authors serve on the staff of the same church and seem to know each other pretty well.

There is a chapter for endnotes and the authors have done some research but most of it is with modern writers. There is a quote from Roland Allen in chapter 2 and personally I was glad to see it and wish there were more from practitioners like him or from his era to the present. There is a wealth of information available for the reader.

The research is not very deep; academic or based in theology. Most of the book is experiential. There is very little balance here. I am sure the authors mean well, but I would choose building off of Roland Allen rather than Alan Hirsch.

They describe their style as “a quirky mix of metaphors and pictures that they use to help us make sense of all of this.” They close by using an illustration from The Book of Five Rings (yes, I have read the book) and I was surprised to see its use here. I am not sure that I agree with their final closing point, but I will give them credit for trying. A reference to samurai always gets my attention.

Here is the table of contents:

PART 1// PARADIGM SHIFT

Missional Imagination

  1. From Saved Souls to Saved Wholes
  2. From Missions to Mission
  3. From My Tribe to Every Tribe
  4. From OR to AND
  5. From the Center to the Margins

PART 2// CENTRALIZED SHIFT

Local Churches on Mission

  1. From Top Down to Bottom Up
  2. From Diffused to Focused
  3. From Transactional to Transformational Partnerships
  4. From Relief to Development
  5. From Professionals to Full Participation

PART 3// DECENTRALIZED SHIFT

The People of God On Mission

  1. From Formal to Fractal Leadership
  2. From Institution to Movement
  3. From Mega and Multi to Mega, Multi, and Micro
  4. From “We Can Do It; You Can Help” to “You Can Do It; We Can Help”
  5. From Great Commission to Great Completion

Notes

The book will challenge your thinking and in the notes concerning a quote and position in chapter 12 they use the words, “we know this is a massive claim. You’ll need to dig in and decide for yourself.” I appreciate the honesty and there is much that the reader will have to think about and decide for themselves.

Overall I liked Part 1 the best. A lot of what they are saying has been said in other books, but I think they are sincere in wanting to get the “church” to live or act like the “church.” I cannot give this book a favorable recommendation. In the subject of “Mission of God” or “missional” there are better books available for studying and applying. I received this book for free from Cross Focused Reviews and was not obligated to give it a favorable review.

Book Review: A Study Commentary on 1 Kings

November 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | 2 Comments
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A Study Commentary on 1 Kings by John A. Davies

The chance to review this book was quite appealing to me. For one, it was a commentary and they are not usually available to review. Second, it was on a book of the Old Testament that I have read many times and preached some sermons from. Third, I figured I would use it again in the future as I studied or prepared sermons and teaching lessons. So I was looking forward to receiving this commentary.

When I pick up a commentary for the first time I usually look at the table of contents and the bibliography first. Maybe I should say I look at them carefully. Everyone does not start there but that is where I start.

When glancing through the table of contents the reader will notice that every chapter of 1 Kings is covered by its own chapter of study in the commentary. The chapters are studied verse by verse. Definitions and explanations are given to help the student understand the Scripture. The chapters are broken into sections of Scripture. Each section ends with suggested ideas of application.

End notes are used and I am not a big fan of end notes. There are approximately 21 pages of end notes after 1 Kings 22 is covered. The author has certainly done his homework and the reader will benefit from it.

The second thing I look at when considering a study book is the bibliography. This bibliography is approximately 20 pages long. I was quite impressed by the breadth of the author’s research. I am not a scholar, but I am a pastor who is currently working on a doctorate and I appreciate the work that has gone into this volume. The author’s work will benefit the reader.

The following quote is from the preface. “While aimed primarily at pastors and students, the commentary should be of benefit to the general reader who wants to understand better the character of this portion of Scripture — its literary subtlety and surprising theological richness” (p. 9). I do believe this work would be of value to pastors and teachers. It will help them study 1 Kings and complement what may already be in their library.

I do not think the average person who attends church will even pick this book up and look at let alone read it. The subject and the 464 pages would probably frighten them. The only real criticism I have is that my review copy came in pdf form and not an actual book that I could put on my shelf. I do recommend this commentary to pastors and teachers. I received this book for free for review purposes without obligation to give a favorable review.

Book Review: A Study Commentary on 1 Kings

November 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Book Review

November 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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 Christ and the Desert Tabernacle by J. V. Fesko

 It has been a while since I’ve blogged or reviewed a book and I wanted to get started with both again. I was intrigued by the title and thought this would be a good book to start with. I have read the Biblical account of the Tabernacle many times before but I’ve  never studied it. So when the book arrived I looked it over and liked what I initially saw.

After picking the time to get started with my reading I made a small pot of El Salvador Teopan Pacamara (www.staufs.com) so I could enjoy two of my favorite things at the same time. The coffee could be a different review for another time. Usually I start looking over a book by going through the table of contents and the bibliography. There are thirteen chapters here and no bibliography. I was a little surprised and looking forward to the read.

The introduction starts the book out well and gives the reader some information on the background of the author and how he came to this study. Then each chapter basically follows the format of a Scripture passage to be read; an introduction to the part of the Tabernacle; an explanation or description of the part; how it applies to us and a conclusion.

Each chapter contains a lot of Scripture references and I am grateful for that. This was a refreshing difference from many recently published books. After reading the book you come away with the thought of knowing what Fesko believes about the Tabernacle. The author even motivated me to pull a couple of other books on the Tabernacle off my bookshelf and read them and compare them to his.

I guess that is the best praise or endorsement I can give this book. Reading it encouraged me to know more about the Tabernacle. The author obviously has a high view of Scripture and its authority in our lives. He also has a balanced view of the typology and symbolism here and how to interpret it through the lens of the New Testament.

With thirteen chapters this book could be used as an adult Sunday School study or small group study. A good teacher would find it user friendly and be able to develop discussion questions for their group study.

I am passing this book on to some individuals in my church so they can read it, learn from it and enjoy it. I would recommend this book for pastors and teachers. I received this book for free from Cross Focused Reviews (www.crossfocusedmedia.com) and was not obligated to give a favorable review.

Bible Review: The Common English Bible, Genesis 1:1

December 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | Leave a comment
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I haven’t reviewed any books in a while and thought I would get started doing that again. I was given the opportunity to receive a copy of the Common English Bible (www.CommonEnglishBible.com) and thought that would be a good way to start reviewing again.

I never heard of this translation before so I was a little interested in it. When I first got saved and started studying the Bible I used the King James Version. While in college I tried the New American Standard Version. Then while in seminary (the first time) I switched to the New International Version. I have used the NIV in my preaching and teaching for many years. I am also familiar with the English Standard Version. I own other translations as well.

My plan is to begin by posting the same verse using different translations. This way the reader can compare the CEB with other common and widely used translations. I will post once a week for a while and will work in some information on the team that produced the CEB. The background on the translation team will have much to say about the translation.

Some personal preferences first off. It is not a red letter edition and I do prefer red letter Bibles. That is just my personal preference though. The Bible itself is nice looking. It is simple and two-tone in color with “Holy Bible” etched in the upper right. It really is a good looking Bible. The print size is good for reading. The color and weight of the paper are both very good. There is not much room in the margins to write in if you want to take notes.

There are footnotes describing words or subjects but there are no verse references to other passages. To me, that is a big negative because I think people should study the Bible and not just read it. I don’t know if the CEB may be available as a study Bible or with references in other styles. The CEB was copyrighted in 2011.

The table of contents and list of information in the beginning of the CEB are helpful. I am looking forward to going through the CEB and comparing it with other versions. You can learn more about it at: www.CommonEnglishBible.com.

For my review I chose to start at the beginning of the Bible. I am comparing the CEB with the New International Version (NIV); the New American Standard Bible (NASB); the English Standard Version (ESV) and the King James Version (KJV).

(1)When God began to create the heavens and the earth- (Genesis 1:1 CEB)

(1)In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 NIV)

(1)In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 NASB)

(1)In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 ESV)

(1)In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

Four of the translations are pretty similar in their presentation of the Hebrew translated into English. The CEB is a little different and leaves the sentence open. This may seem like a slight change, but we will have to wait and compare other Scriptures. A deeper study of the Hebrew would be helpful. Next week I will be comparing a familiar New Testament Scripture.

I received the CEB without charge for the purpose of reviewing it.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill

(Romans 15:13; Psalm 21:6)

A Christmas Gift for the Coffee Drinker You Know

December 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | Posted in Coffee Shop Reviews | Leave a comment
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When we are driving through Columbus we take the time to stop at Staufs. They are one of our favorite coffee shops and we have been to quite a few. They are running a free shipping special now on coffee purchases. Their Cafe Femenino Dominican Republic is one of my favorites, but their Nicaraugan is good too, and…… You get the idea.

You can connect to them here: www.staufs.com. Let them know that Take Courage and Bill and Kim sent you.

I am sure the coffee drinker on you gift list will appreciate what you get them.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill

(Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1)

Coffee Review: Heine Brothers’ Mountain Dream

August 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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We like to review coffees from roasters that care about making a difference. Heine Brothers’  (www.heinebrotherscoffee.com) is one of those of roasters. They are based in Louisville, KY and have a number of shops throughout the city. They are well worth the stop if you are driving through.

The first brew was with the auto-drip and this whole bean coffee is dark. The good thing is that it is not over roasted. The aroma is somewhat spicy and sweet. Mountain Dream is a blend of Nicaraguan and Sumatran beans. There is a somewhat spicy and fruity taste and a medium mouth feel to the coffee. We liked it and were looking forward to trying it in the
French Press.

Next up was the French Press and we thought we detected some chocolate notes in both the flavor and aroma. It has a good, smooth, balanced flavor and a fuller body with this brewer. It is not too heavy a coffee and the acidity is medium. There is a chocolate aftertaste too. This
was our favorite way to brew and enjoy this coffee.

We finished with the Chemex coffee brewer. The flavor seemed to be brighter with some fruitiness. There also seemed to be a spiciness that came out in the flavor and aftertaste. The coffee is roasted really well and even though it is pretty dark, it is not over roasted at all.

All in all this is an enjoyable cup of coffee no matter how you brew it. We shared it with friends and all of them thought it was pretty good too. If you are interested in trying a blended coffee we suggest you give Mountain Dream a try.

Now here’s another good part to this coffee drinking experience. A portion of each bag sold is donated to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to support their work to stop mountaintop removal mining. You can enjoy a good cup of coffee and help a good cause at the same time. We received this coffee for free and offer an objective review. Until next time remember to stop and enjoy the coffee and conversations.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

(Romans 15:13; Psalm 21:6)

Book Review: 40 Days to Better Living Optimal Health

August 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | Leave a comment
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I just posted a book review that was done by my wife. The book is by Dr. Scott Morris.

Cancer, Celebrations and Control

August 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Posted in encouragement | Leave a comment
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Cancer! The word no one wants to hear, especially if it is in regard to one of your
children. But that is what I heard from my oldest son. A few months ago now, we
had talked earlier in the morning. It was just a normal phone call. He had been
sick off and on and had lost some weight, but we didn’t think of anything
serious.

He had seemed to get sick more since being in the
Marines. We attributed it some vaccinations he got. But he worked out regularly
and was a part-time college student and a full-time police officer. But he kept
getting worse though he didn’t miss work. He had been to a VA Hospital where he
lives a couple of times in the last few months and didn’t seem to be getting
any better. Then one day another officer said he looked terrible and should get
another opinion.

So he called me to talk and ask about the church I
had just accepted a call to pastor the day before. During the conversation he
tells me that he is going to another doctor this morning and his neck is swollen
today. I ask him all the questions I can think of, plus his mom’s a nurse and I
know she will ask me some questions too. We joked about sci-fi movies and how
his neck looks.

Then he calls me back about two hours later and
tells me the doctor thinks he has an aggressive form of lymphoma. The doctor
wants to run some tests right away, not next week or in the future, but today and
tomorrow. My son told me that he told the doctor to give it to him truthfully
and that he isn’t afraid of the news. I pray with him and tell him that I love
him and that if I don’t see him again down here, I will see him in heaven. Yes,
we really do believe that and say that!

That night they confirm the aggressive lymphoma and
it is reconfirmed the next day. They want to start aggressive treatments as
soon as possible. I tell my wife and we pray and make plans to go and help him.
This was in early February. There is more to the story and that will come
later.

Celebrations! While the above is going on we were also making plans to move to a new ministry and
city; but the best was that our youngest son would be getting married. We moved
at the end of March and the following week we were in New York for our youngest
son’s wedding. We were glad to see how God had worked out all the details of
the wedding. Our daughter in-law looked beautiful and our son looked very
happy.

We stayed with our new in-laws and were glad to get
to know them a little better. The day before the wedding it rained most of the
day. The temperature was cold and nearby areas got snow. That may not seem like
much, but the reception was planned for outside their church. There was not
patio or tent. But God was gracious and the rain stopped and the grass dried
up. Everyone had a good time. The ceremony was very nice and we couldn’t have
been prouder.

We welcomed our daughter in-law into our family that
day. We are glad to have her. Some of our family attended the wedding as did
some friends from Massachusetts. It was a great day. We also got to take part
in a traditional Chinese dinner for a wedding. The food looked beautiful when
it came to the table and tasted great too.

We are looking forward to having another reception
later this year when our son and daughter in-law come to visit. When we came
back from the wedding we had a welcome service and potluck lunch at the church.
It was very well attended and we had a great time. There is more to this story
and it will come later.

Control! This is something that people usually have issues with. Since moving to our new
location a little over four months ago we are still in temporary housing. Most
of our things are in storage. We feel displaced and unsettled at times. We make
due and try to keep a good attitude. Sometimes we still can’t remember where we
put things. I almost have the location and contents of the boxes in four
different storage areas memorized!

We got our favorite coffee brewers together so we
can brew and review. Plus there were times I just missed having a good cup of
coffee. That will all change this week. We are still looking forward to being
in our own home and getting all of our stuff out. We are looking forward to
family and friends visiting. But we are not in control, God is.

God knew that a day after I said yes to a new
ministry that one of our son’s would be diagnosed with cancer. God also knew
that he would be too sick to attend the wedding of his brother. This same God
also knew what the weather would be like in April in New York on a specific day
and time. I had emailed and called friends and asked them to pray for good
weather and a dry wind to blow over the grass and dry it up. You have not
because you ask not. Remember, we are not in control, but God is.

God knows how much we would like to be out of
temporary housing and have our own place. “Be it ever so humble, there’s no
place like home.” Even though we have to wait a little longer and I don’t know
how little is little; God is in control. Through all of this our sovereign
Father God is in control. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know
that He holds the future. We are trying to be joyful and give Him thanks during
all of this. Yes, there is more to this part of the story too, and it will come
later.

Yes, our God cares about the big things and the
little things in our lives. I don’t want to get too introspective, but I do
want you to know that I appreciate what God is doing. I appreciate that He is
in control. We haven’t always been the most joyful and thankful of Christians
during this time of cancer, celebrations, and control, but God gave us a
special blessing along the way. One of them was finding Korean food and a good
local coffee shop that roasts their own coffee beans. In fact the roaster gave
us some beans to brew and review even while we felt displaced.

In the coming weeks I will be posting more about
each part of this story. There is much more to tell about the cancer, the
celebrations and the control. Look for some book reviews, some coffee reviews and
some other articles as well. Thanks for your time and remember, “He who
sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may
show him the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23 NIV)

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill

(Romans 15:13)

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