Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mayberry 101: Behind the Scenes of a TV Classic

Mayberry 101: Behind the Scenes of a TV ClassicMayberry 101: Behind the Scenes of a TV Classic by Neal Brower
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If this is not the best book I have ever read on the Andy Griffith show it is definitely one of the best. The author, Neal Brower, has taught Continuing Education courses at several colleges on the show. He has taken the course and added to it to write vol. 1 of this book. I have been trying to find out if/when other volumes of the book will be written. If any of you know please pass the word on to me.

This book gives a lot of behind the scenes about the show. Brower takes each episode and not only explains it in detail but has comments from an actor in that episode and/or writers, directors etc. They share things why a character was called a certain name (could have been a writer's neighbor etc.) or how the camera was set up, or how the story idea came about. If you are an Andy Griffith fan then you will throughly enjoy this book!

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat

If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the BoatIf You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great read! If you want to be motived to serve the Lord and to grow in your faith then this is the book for you. Using the story of Peter walking on the water to Jesus Ortberg teaches lots of practical godly lessons for believers today. I have listed several quotes below that spoke to my heart. I hope they will also encourage you!

There is a consistent pattern in Scripture of what happens in a life that God wants to use and improve:
There is always a call. God asks an ordinary person to engage in an act of extraordinary trust, that of getting out of the boat.
There is always fear. God has an inextinguishable habit of asking people to do things that are scary to them. It may be a fear of inadequacy (“I am slow of speech and slow of tongue,” Moses said). It may be a fear of failure (“The land we explored devours those who live in it,” cried the spies sent out to the Promised Land). It may even be a fear of God (“For I knew you were a hard man, seeking to reap where you did not sow,” claimed the servant in Jesus’ parable). But one way or another, there will be fear.
There is always reassurance. God promises His presence (“The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior!” an angel assures Gideon who had certainly never been addressed by that title before). God also promises to give whatever gifts are needed to fulfill His assignment (I will help you to speak, and teach you what to say” He tells a stuttering Moses).
There is always a decision. Sometimes, as with Moses and Gideon, people say yes to God’s call. Sometimes, as with the ten frightened spies or the rich young ruler who spoke with Jesus, they say no. But always people must decide.
There is always a changed life. Those who say yes to God’s call don’t walk the walk perfectly – not by a long shot. But because they say yes to God, they learn and grow even from their failures. And they become part of His actions to redeem the world.   ~John Ortberg

David Garland finds a clue in Mark’s version of this story (Peter walking on the water). Mark tells us that Jesus “intended to pass them by” on the water, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost. Why did Jesus want to “pass them by”? Did He decide to race them? Did He want to impress them with a really neat trick?

Garland points out that the verb parerchomai (“to pass by”) is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament as a technical term to refer to a theophany – those defining moments when God made “striking and temporary appearances in the earthly realm to a select individual or group for the purpose of communicating a message.”

God put Moses in a cleft in a rock so Moses could see “while my glory passes by.” … The Lord passed before him.

God told Elijah to stand on the mountain “for the LORD is about to pass by.”

There is a pattern to these stories. In each case God had to get people’s attention – through a burning bush, or wind and fire, or walking on the water. With each person God was going to call them to do something extraordinary. In each situation the person that God called felt afraid. But every time that people said, “yes” to their calling, they experienced the power of God in their lives.   ~John Ortberg

So let me ask you a question: What’s your boat?

Your boat is whatever represents safety and security to you apart from God Himself. Your boat is whatever you are tempted to put your trust in, especially when life gets a little stormy. Your boat is whatever keeps you so comfortable that you don’t want to give it up even if it’s keeping you from joining Jesus on the waves. Your boat is whatever pulls you away from the high adventure of extreme discipleship.

Want to know what your boat is? Your fear will tell you. Just ask yourself this: What is it that most produces fear in me – especially when I think of leaving it behind and stepping out in faith? ~ John Ortberg

Only Peter knew the glory of walking on the water. He alone knew what it was to attempt to do what he was not capable of doing on his own, then feeling the euphoria of being empowered by God to actually do it.  ~ John Ortberg

Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you.  ~ John Ortberg

Apparently there is something about all living creatures, even amoebas, that demands challenge. We require change, adaptation, and challenge the way we require food and air. Comfort alone will kill us.  ~ John Ortberg

The line between “Thou shalt not be afraid” and Thou shalt not be ridiculous” is often a fine one and not easily located. Knowing when to get out of the boat and take a risk does not only demand courage; it also demands the wisdom to ask the right questions, the discernment to recognize the voice of the Master, and the patience to wait for His command.   ~ John Ortberg

Arthur Miller writes that this what lies at the heart of seven-days-a-week faith: “It is using one’s endowed giftedness to serve the world with excellence and, through that service, to love and honor God! The calling that fully engages what God has given you is a holy task!”

You have a purpose – a design that is central to God’s dream for the human race. We are, first of all, according to Scripture, called to know God, to receive His love and mercy, and to be His children. We are called to live in the reality of His kingdom and to have Christ formed in us.

As a crucial part of your calling, you were given certain gifts, talents, longings, and desires. To identify these with clarity, to develop them with skill, and to use them joyfully and humbly to serve God and His creation is central to why you were created.   ~ John Ortberg

This is your day. If God’s kingdom is to manifest itself right now, it will have to be through you. God Himself will not come to take your place. You are on a mission from God.  ~ John Ortberg

A calling is something you discover, not something you choose. The word vocation comes from the Latin word for voice. Discovering it involves very careful listening.  ~ John Ortberg

“You cannot choose your calling,” Palmer [Parker Palmer, a Quaker educator and writer] says. “You must let your life speak.” By this phrase he means that an enormous part of following our calling is not so much choosing as it is listening.   ~ John Ortberg

It is very important to distinguish what I love doing for its own sake from what I may want to do because of the rewards it may bring me.   ~ John Ortberg on discerning your calling

Receiving a calling from God is not the same thing as falling into your dream career. A dream career generally promises wealth, power, status, security, and great benefits. A calling is often a different story.

God called Moses: Go o Pharaoh – the most powerful man on earth. Tell him to let his labor force leave without compensation to worship a god he doesn’t believe in. Then convince a timid, stiff-necked people to run away into the desert. That’s your calling.

And Moses said: Here am I. Send Aaron.

God called Jonah: God to Nineveh – the most corrupt and violent city in the world. Tell its inhabitants – who don’t know you and won’t acknowledge Me – to repent or die.

And Jonah said: When’s the next whale leaving in the opposite direction?

God called Jeremiah to preach to people who wouldn’t listen. It was so hard and Jeremiah cried so much that he became known as the Weeping Prophet. How would you like to have that job title? Who wants a business card that reads “the sobbing CEO” or “the depressed dermatologist”?

As a rule, the people whom we read about in Scripture who were called by God felt inadequate. When God called Abraham to leave home, or Gideon to lead an army, or Esther to defy the king, or Mary to give birth to the Messiah, their initial response was never: Yes, I’m up to that challenge. I think I can handle that.

The first response to a God-sized calling is generally fear. Henry Blackaby writes,

Some people say, “God will never ask me to do something I can’t do.” I have come to the place in my life that, if the assignment I sense God is giving me is something that I know I can handle, I know it is probably not from God. The kind of assignments God gives in the Bible are always God-sized. They are always beyond what people can do, because He wants to demonstrate His nature, His strength, His provision, and His kindness to His people and to a watching world. This is the only way the world will come to know Him.

That doesn’t mean that God calls us in a way that violates our “raw material.” Where God calls, God gifts.

It does mean, though, that natural talent alone is not enough to honor a calling from God. I will need ideas, strength, and creativity beyond my own resources to do what God asks of me. It will have to be God and me doing it together [I like to say God working through me as His instrument]. We are not called just to work for God. We are called to work with God [another way to say this is that we are called of God to work in us and through us as we yield to His Holy Spirit].   ~ John Ortberg

Sometimes, in the providence of God, the end of a career is the beginning of a calling. And you have a calling. You are not a spare part – you are on a mission from God.  ~ John Ortberg

Never try to have more faith – just get to know God better. And because God if faithful, the better you know Him, the more you will trust Him. The way to get to know His trustworthiness is to risk obeying Him.    ~ John Ortberg

What would you guess is the most common command in Scripture?    Fear not.  Lloyd Ogilivie notes there are 366 “fear not” verses in the Bible – one for every day of the year, including one for leap year!     ~ John Ortberg

Peter was willing to risk failure for the adventure of trusting Christ more.   ~ John Ortberg

All of us experience failure, and no one likes it. But for some people it becomes a kind of goad to push on to new learning, deeper persistence, more vigorous commitment, more courageous hearts. For others failure produces utter defeat – a sense of discouragement, a loss of hope, a desire to hide, a secret resolve to never again get out of the boat.    .   ~ John Ortberg

People’s perceptions of and responses to failure make an enormous difference in their lives – more than IQ, physical attractiveness, charm, and financial assets put together. Those who can learn from it, retaining a deep sense of their own value and marshaling the motivation to try again, become masters of failure management.   ~ John Ortberg

Elijah went up the mountain to the cave and was told that the Lord was about to pass by. (This phrase indicates an epiphany – a manifestation of God.) After a great wind, an earthquake, and fire came “a sound of sheer silence.” And then came a still small voice, as God asked Elijah a wonderful question: “What are you doing here?” The best part of the question is that God did not say, “What are you doing there?” God was with Elijah in the cave.   ~ John Ortberg

In the cave David discovered that, more than he wanted to be king, he wanted to belong to God. He would rather please God and live in a cave than displease God and sit on the throne. ~ John Ortberg

Hope got Peter out of the boat.
Trust held him up.
Fear sank him.
Everything hinged on whether he was focused on the Savior or on the storm.  ~ John Ortberg

Hope is the fuel that the human heart runs on. A car crash or a diving accident can paralyze a body, but the death of hope paralyzes the spirit.  ~ John Ortberg

But for one who believes in God, the hinge point is not simply what I’m capable of. The real question is what might God want to do through me.  ~ John Ortberg

It (Phil. 4:13) means I have great confidence that I can face whatever life throws at me, that I never need to give up, that my efforts have potency – because of the One at work within me.  ~ John Ortberg

When I hope, I believe that God is at work to redeem all things regardless of how things happen to be turning out for me today. Hope does not prevent me from expecting the worst – “the worst is what the hopeful are prepared for.” The Christ-follower is to be marked by what we might call vital hope.   ~ John Ortberg

… what God does in us while we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for.  ~ John Ortberg

Waiting on the Lord is a confident, disciplined, expectant, active, and sometimes painful clinging to God.  ~ John Ortberg

Waiting on the Lord is the continual, daily decision to say, “I will trust You, and I will obey You. Even though the circumstances of my life are not turning out the way I want them to, and may never turn out the way I would choose, I am betting everything on You. I have no Plan B.  ~ John Ortberg

Waiting on the Lord requires patient trust. Will I trust that God has good reasons for saying “wait”? Will I remember that things look different to God because He views things from an eternal perspective?  ~ John Ortberg

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Litigators

The LitigatorsThe Litigators by John Grisham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like all of Grisham's books this was an excellent read. He is such a great story teller. I have not one of his books that I have not throughly enjoyed.

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

Undeniably Yours

Undeniably Yours (A Porter Family Novel, #1)Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Excellent read! I personally did not like all of the romanic stuff, the story line was very good. I highly recommend this book for those would enjoy a good Christian fiction romanic novel.  I won this book from faithful

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great

America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation GreatAmerica the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great by Ben Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book outlines Dr. Carson's political views. He is definitely a conservative. If you not know Dr. Ben Carson, then you need to google his name and listen to a few of his speeches. He grew up in a single parent (Mom) home and they struggled. He and his brother both learned valuable lessons from their Mom. She taught both of them the value of hard work. I'm hoping Dr. carson will run for President. I will surely support him.

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Walking With Giants: An Ordinary Man With Extraordinary Experiences

Walking With Giants: An Ordinary Man With Extraordinary ExperiencesWalking With Giants: An Ordinary Man With Extraordinary Experiences by Elmer L. Towns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Walking With Giants" in the story of Elmer Towns. What life life he has lived. I never knew how many different churches and schools he has been involved with through the years. He is currently on the staff at Liberty University which he help found with Jerry Falwell. He also was the person who found the Baptist University Of America. If you are interested in reading an inspiring biography of a great man of God then this is a book for you!

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

Charlotte, North Carolina: A Brief History

Charlotte, North Carolina: A Brief HistoryCharlotte, North Carolina: A Brief History by Mary Norton Kratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful book about the history of Charlotte, NC. I have lived in Charlotte now for over 30 years. A lot of the information in the book I already knew, but many facts I did not know. The following quote from the book I thought was fascinating:

As soon as the predominantly Scots-Irish settlers built their early one-room cabins, they moved their modest goods from the wagons, where they had camped in the interim. Their next concern was always a church. Until the families had a building, they convened in an agreed-upon central spot for preaching - a home, a grove of trees or beneath a large, patriarchal oak, their horses hitched to saplings and their lunches tucked under the wagon seats.

The Scots-Irish brought with them the very serious conviction that education makes the man and the family. To that end, a spiritual leader was sought to teach them. Families often settled within several miles of one another in order to attract a preacher. When, and if, he came (for preachers were scarce), he was the exhorter, the academic and catechistic teacher of children and youth, as well as adults; a one-man cultural resource - no small task even for this era of extraordinary men and women. The community fed on interminable sermons, read Scripture as literature and used the Bible to teach reading and writing. In the "Colonial Records of North Carolina," Governor Dobbs reported seeing a group of settlers at Rocky River. "I set out the 17th of June to view my lands," he wrote. He saw between thirty and forty families and

"except two or three was not less than 5 or 6 to ten children in each family, each going barefooted in their shifts in the warm weather, no woman wearing more than a shift and one thin petticoat. They are a colony from Ireland removed from Pennsylvania of what we call Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who with others in the neighboring Tracts settled together in order to have a teacher of their opinion and choice."

To such eager, serious souls as these at Rocky River came Presbyterian Alexander Craighead, a lightning bolt of a man. He was a revivalist (a "Newsider" as they were called), and by preaching civil liberty, he altered the early county as no one else. Some call him the area's "father of independence."

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!


UnwrittenUnwritten by Charles Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the best novel I have read this year and maybe the best in years. Charles Martin is a great writer. Even the "Reading Group Guide" which I usually do not enjoy was top notch. The book examines the subject of forgiveness like I have never seen. The "question and answer" section with the author at the end of the book is very interesting. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys novels.  Below find one quote from the book that I trust will encourage you to read the book:

Of the six million species on the planet, only man makes language. Words. What's more - in evidence of the Divine - we string these symbols together and then write them down, where they take on a life of their own and breathe outside of us. Story is the bandage of the broken. Students of the shattered. The tapestry upon which we write our lives. Upon which we lay the bodies of the dying and the about-to-come-to-life. And if it's honest, true, hiding nothing, revealing all, then it is a raging river and those who ride it find they have something to give - that they are not yet empty.

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

One Nation Under God: Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America

One Nation Under God: Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of AmericaOne Nation Under God: Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America by David C. Gibbs Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you love America and want to learn about how our country was founded on Godly principles, then this book is for you. The author has practiced law for many, many years. I trust you will enjoy the quotes from this book:

… those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.  ~Abraham Lincoln

In a very real way, North America began in 1620 “in the name of God,” as the Mayflower Compact, our very first self-governing document clearly proclaims.  ~David Gibbs, Jr.

In the early 1830’s, a Frenchman came to America to investigate how our nation dealt with prisoners. Instead, he expanded his study and wrote a two-part book about his general observations entitled Democracy in America. Amazingly, after some 170 years, Alexis de Tocqueville’s book is still in print. In the opening of his second volume, de Tocqueville reminds us: “It must never be forgotten that religion gave birth to Anglo-American society.”

G. K. Chesterton was a popular writer who lived in the early part of the 20th century in England. In an essay entitled, “What I Saw in America,” he made this observation: “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence.”

The Bible “is the rock on which our Republic rests.”  ~Andrew Jackson

Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.  ~Daniel Webster

In 1681, William Penn provided a haven in Pennsylvania for Quakers and for all those professing Jesus as the Christ and Savior. He established a community based on both political and religious freedom that would be an example to the nations. Viewing his colony as a “Holy Experiment,” Penn wanted to establish a society that was both Godly and virtuous and to bring “the savage natives by gentle and just manners to the Love of Civil Societ[y] and Christian religion.”

One of the goals of the Georgia Trustees under James Oglethorpe in 1733 was to provide for the conversion of the Indians through the colony’s good discipline and example of just, moral, and religious behavior. Oglethorpe’s first official act as a Trustee in Savannah was to kneel with his company to offer thanksgiving and prayer to God. ~David Gibbs, Jr.

My hope in the One who created us all sustains me: He is an ever present help in trouble …  ~Christopher Columbus

The Pledge of Allegiance was created to honor the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America. The Pledge was written by a Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy (1856-1931) of Boston.   ~David Gibbs, Jr.

Some people now find the Pledge offensive, particularly because of the phrase “under God” which was added by Congress in 1954. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said at the time he signed the law: “FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural school house, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty. To anyone who truly loves America, nothing could be more inspiring than to contemplate this rededication of our youth, on each school morning, to our country’s true meaning.”

In 1955, President Eisenhower said, “Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first – the most basic – expression of Americanism. Thus the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.”

Columbus portrayed as a devout and sincere Christian who rejoiced in the souls that would be saved in this new land.  He wrote: “Therefore let the king and queen, the princes and their most fortunate kingdoms, and all other countries of Christendom give thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has bestowed upon us so great a victory and gift. Let religious processions be solemnized; let sacred festivals be given; let the churches be covered with festive garlands. Let Christ rejoice on earth, as He rejoices in heaven, when He foresees coming to salvation so many souls of people hitherto lost.”

No one should be afraid to take on any enterprise in the name of our Savior, if it is right and if the purpose is purely for His holy service.  ~Christopher Columbus

Columbus felt an urgency from the Lord, not merely to open a new trade route, but also to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. His purpose was twofold. First, of course, he wanted to reach Asia. Secondly, in the words of the World Book Encyclopedia, he wanted to use the proceeds from his expedition to “recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims. There, he said, he would rebuild the Jews’ holy Temple and bring on a new ‘Age of the Holy Spirit.’” He wanted to liberate Christ’s holy sepulcher from Muslim ownership back to Christian control. Because of all this, George Grant calls him “the last crusader.”  ~David Gibbs, Jr.

I forbade that they [the Indians] should be given things so worthless as pieces of broken crockery and broken glass, and lace points. … I gave them a thousand good, pleasing things which I had bought, in order that they might be fond of us, and furthermore might become Christians and be inclined to the love and service of Their Highnesses and the whole Castilian nation [Spain], and try to help us to give us of the things which they have in abundance and which are necessary to us.   ~Columbus in a letter to the King and Queen of Spain written on February 15, 1493

Columbus himself tells of the Christian motivation for his voyage in his Book of Prophecies, a volume he wrote in 1505, so named because he quotes many Biblical prophecies:

It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) to sail to the Indies and wonderful things for the earth, and the signs are that the Lord is hastening the. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures.

Columbus elaborates further:

For the execution of the journey to the Indies I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied … These are great end. The fact that [the] gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time – this is what convinces me.

Columbus erected a cross on the landing site, symbolizing the claim of Christ on a land that had not previously been exposed to the Gospel. He named the first island on which they landed “San Salvador,” which translated means “Holy Savior.” Other lands he later named included “Trinidad” (meaning “Trinity”), “Vera Cruz” (meaning “True Cross”), and “Navidad” (similar to our word “Nativity,” meaning Christmas). These Christian names remain to this day.  ~David Gibbs, Jr.

In the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, our nation’s spiritual heritage id honored even today among eight large paintings depicting important moments in American history. About half of these paintings have a direct reference in one way or another to Christ, including the Christian baptism of Pocahontas. One of these paintings depicts Rev. Robinson’s prayer meeting with the Pilgrims on board ship before they departed for America. In the picture, Robinson is holding a large open Bible. The name of Jesus Christ can clearly be seen (upside down) on the open page of the Scriptures. Visitors to Washington, D.C., can visit this very large painting. The picture stands as a beacon of our nation’s true history.   ~David Gibbs, Jr.

What was remarkable about this particular contract [the Mayflower Compact] was that it was not between a servant and a master, or a people and a king, but between a group of like-minded individuals and each other, with God as a witness and symbolic co-signatory.   ~Paul Johnson

The Mayflower Compact begins by recognizing the hand of God who had been leading all along: “In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James. … Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid. …”

Soon after the first Puritans arrived in Salem they called for a day of fasting and prayer in August 1629. Their goal, according to Cotton Mather’s early history of New England, was to settle “a Church State among them, and for making a Confession of their Faith, and entering into an holy Covenant, whereby that Church State was formed. “ ~David Gibbs, Jr.

In a sense, the clergy were the first elected officials of the new American society, a society which to that extent had a democratic element from the start …    ~Paul Johnson

The Bible did not merely govern their [The Puritans] spiritual lives. It also formed the basis for their political views.    ~David Gibbs, Jr.

God alone is Lord of the conscience …  Chapter 21 of “The American Church Manual” written September 30, 1648

The ultimate source of political power, as the Puritans saw it, was God Himself. Human rulers must rule under His dominion.  ~David Gibbs, Jr.

The Puritans did not view politics as a dirty business, as has sometimes been the case for modern Christians. For them, politics was a Biblical undertaking.   ~David Gibbs, Jr.

Rhode Island was a sanctuary for religious dissidents. Roger Williams called his new settlement Providence to honor God for miraculously sparing his life during his winter flight to the colony and also to honor God’s sovereignty over the affairs of man.    ~David Gibbs, Jr.

There is one great God and Power that hath made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day given an account, for all that we do in the world.    William Penn, in a letter to Indians

The social experiment in a rankles community, where the right of self-determination of every individual was sacred, where God was the final source of authority, succeeded and prospered, and it did so on the simple formula: love-industry-integrity.  Catherine Owens Peare, William Penn’s biographer, reflecting upon the success of the colony and its government based upon Biblical principles.

Liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is slavery.  ~William Penn

This great God hath written His law in our hearts by which we are taught and commanded to love and help and do good to one another and not to do harm and mischief one unto another.   ~William Penn

Religion and government are so intertwined in this document [William Penn’s “Frame of Government” for Pennsylvania] that it is impossible to separate them. To hold public office, one had to be a Christian, but there were no restrictions on denominational affiliation. Furthermore, like Roger William’s colony in Rhode Island, no one could be “molested or prejudiced for their religious persuasion, or practice, in matters of faith and worship, nor shall they be compelled, at any time, to frequent or maintain any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever.”     ~David Gibbs, Jr.

It is very clear that what Penn envisioned for his colony was not freedom from religion, but freedom of religion – not a separation of government from all religion, but a government that respected the religious consciences of all its citizens. He envisioned a place where every man was free, not to live an ungodly life, but to practice his religion in peace, to have the right to rule his own estate, and to participate in making laws and enforcing them. Individual freedom could only work if the people were self-governed and industrious. That statement is as true today as it was in 1680.   ~David Gibbs, Jr.

Any government is only good as its people.  ~David Gibbs, Jr.

William Penn turned down a great deal of money to betray the Indians and declared the following: “I will not abuse the love of God … nor act unworthy of His Providence, by defiling what came to me clean. No; let the Lord guide me by His wisdom to honor His name and serve His truth and people, that an example and a standard may be set up to the nations.”

The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.  ~Herbert Hoover

The Son is not to be excluded from anything. You cannot point to any natural realm or star or comet or even descend into the depth of the earth, but it is related to Christ, not in some unimportant tangential way, but directly. There is no force in nature, no laws that control those forces that do not have their origin in that eternal Word. For this reason, it is totally false to restrict Christ to spiritual affairs and to assert that there is no point of contact between Him and the natural sciences. ~Abraham Kuyper

During the Revolutionary War, the British Prime Minister, Horace Walpole, remarked to Parliament, “Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson.” That Presbyterian “parson” was Rev. John Witherspoon, the president of Princeton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence as a delegate from New Jersey.

The little colonial student in early America marched off to his one-room schoolhouse and opened his new reading primer, but instead of reading about Jane and Spot, our little colonial friend was taught to read using magnificent truths based on the Word of God. Here is on example:
An Alphabet of Lessons for Youth
A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure & trouble therewith.
Come unto Christ all ye that labor and are heavy laden and He will give you rest.

It being one chief project of that old deluder; Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue … It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children …  ~The Old Deluder Act, 1647

The “New England Primer,” the book used to teach colonial children to read, included the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, and the text of many hymns and prayers by Isaac Watts. John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Elbridge Gerry (from whom we get the word gerrymandering), and hundreds of thousands of other colonists learned their ABC’s from this powerful, tiny book. Here is one lesson from the “New England Primer” entitled “A Lesson for Children:”
Pray to God
Love God
Fear God
Serve God
Take not God’s Name in Vain
Do not Swear
Do not Steal
Cheat not in your play
Mind your Book
Call no ill names
Use no ill words
Tell no lies
Hate Lies
Speak the Truth
Spend your Time well
Love your School
Strive to learn

When colonial children learned the alphabet, they also learned key messages from the Bible. There was more Biblical truth imparted in the “New England Primer” for early American school children than is probably preached in the average American church pulpit today. Here is another example of how these children learned the alphabet:
In ADAM’S Fall we sinned all.
Heaven to find; the Bible Mind.
Christ crucify’d for sinners dy’d.

I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.  ~Martin Luther

One provision included in the Northwest Ordinance states, “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.  ~James Madison

We can learn a lot about Harvard by looking at some of its earliest rules, such as the Laws and Statutes for Students of Harvard College, 1643, which begins by stating: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3).”

Where there is no religion, there is no morality … With the loss of religion … the ultimate foundation of confidence is blown up; and the security of life, liberty and property are buried in ruins.  Timothy Dwight, President of Yale, 1798

In the early years of Yale, the Word of God was preeminent. Consider, for example, the regulations for Yale College in its new charter in 1745. Here are two of the requirements listed: “All scholars shall live religious, godly, and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the foundation of light and truth; and constantly attend all the duties of religion, both in public and secret.”

An early advertisement for King’s College (Columbia University) read: “The chief thing that is aimed at in this college is to teach and engage children to know God in Jesus Christ.”

Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.  ~Benjamin Rush, Signer of Declaration of Independence

Under God’s Power She Flourishers  ~Princeton University’s official motto

One early Ivy League school was founded entirely to raise up ministers and missionaries to the Indians.  That school was Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire.

You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.  ~George Washington to the Delaware Indian chiefs

Jonathan Edwards was the third president of Princeton, which at the time was still known as the College of New Jersey.

Jonathan Edwards and his wife Sara (Sara Pierrepont, whom he married in 1727) had eleven children who were all raised to be Godly people. William J. Federer notes:

Their success as parents was revealed in a study done in 1990, showing that their descendants included 13 college presidents, 65 professors, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, a dean of a prestigious law school, 80 public office holders, nearly 100 missionaries, 3 mayors of large cities, 3 governors, 3 United States Senators, 1 comptroller of the United States Treasury, and 1 Vice-Presidents of the United States.

Paul Johnson points out that this Great Awakening “sounded the death-knell of British colonialism.

The Great Awakening helped to forge all sections of the country together.

As John Adams was to put it, long afterwards: “The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the mind and hearts of the people: and change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.” … The Revolution could not have taken place without this religious background. The essential difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution is that the American Revolution, in its origins, was a religious event, whereas the French Revolution was an anti-religious event.”

Both before and during the Revolutionary War, at least twice a year, and always around the time of local election days, the clergy would preach an election sermon on the state of political affairs.

Rev. Mayhew knew that the power of government was invested in the people. He also knew that the consent of the governed was more important than the petty whims of magistrates who lose their authority to rule over the

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams

The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing TeamsThe One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams by Kenneth H. Blanchard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This little book has lots of ideas about working in groups. It presents four stages that groups go through in a work environment which include:

It is written in story form and can be read in one setting.

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

Unfinished: Believing Is Only the Beginning

Unfinished: Believing Is Only the BeginningUnfinished: Believing Is Only the Beginning by Richard Stearns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I heard my favorite coach, Mark Richt, of the University of Georgia,  had read "The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? the Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World" and how it had changed his thinking about missions I decided I had to read it. So several months ago I read the book and wrote a review of it and posted it on goodreads, and on my blog,

A few months ago I received a letter from World Vision Project Manager, Blogger Outreach, Ashley Day. She asked if they sent me Richard Stearns new book, "Unfinished," would I read it and write a review. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. I so much enjoyed the book and it challenged me in my walk with my Savior. If you are a believer and want to be challenged I would encourage you to read this book. The book's thrust is how God wants to use us to build His kingdom. As you will read from the quotes below I trust you will be encouraged to buy this book!

Mother Teresa’s profound words are surely true of me and true of you: “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”  My prayer is that He will use you to write His next love letter.  ~Richard Stearns

The meaning, purpose, and significance of our lives are found only by aligning our lives with God’s purposes, in lives committed to following Jesus Christ.  ~Richard Stearns

God created you intentionally to play a very specific role in His unfolding story.   ~Richard Stearns

If we are not personally engaged in God’s great mission in the world, then we have missed the very thing He created us to do.  ~Richard Stearns

The Author created you to play a key role in His story.  ~Richard Stearns

Well doesn’t it make sense that our story has an author too – One who created the world and the universe we were born into, One who cast the vision for the expansive plot and story narrative that has unfolded over eons of time, One who began the story and also will bring it to its conclusion? Doesn’t it also follow that this same Author/Creator gave life to each and every character in His story – to you and to me – and that He created each one of us with unique gifts, talents, and personalities; and that He placed us within His story in both space and time?   ~Richard Stearns

What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  ~Romans 1:19-20

The big story of God came to a climax in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. He is the truth; He is the story. “I am the way and the truth and the life,” Jesus said. “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life but that it bothers him less and less?  ~Vaclav Havel

In short, I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician … I had always felt life first as a story and if there is a story there is a story-teller.   ~G. K. Chesterton

The story of Scripture is the story of a Father’s love for His children. It is the story of a Father faithfully reaching out to the children who rejected Him. It is the story of a loving God who never gives up.   ~Richard Stearns

The birth of Jesus is the sunrise in the Bible.  ~Henry Van Dyke

A penny will hide the biggest star in the universe if you hold it close enough to your eye.  ~Samuel Grafton

Frei Betto said, “The head thinks where the feet stand.”  If you are North American or European, think of how different your worldview might be if you had been born and raised in Afghanistan, China, Gaza or the West Bank, Russia, North Korea, or Ethiopia.  ~Richard Stearns

Worldview: the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.   ~Richard Stearns

We see people and things not as they are, but as we are   ~Anthony De Mello

Most Americans are still drawing some water from the Christian well. But a growing number are inventing their own versions of what Christianity means, abandoning the nuances of traditional theology in favor of religions that stroke their egos and indulge or even celebrate their worst impulses.  ~Ross Douthat

Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is “finding his place in it,” while really it is finding its place in him.   C.S. Lewis

Just as God created birds to fly and fish to swim, he created us to live as citizens in His emerging kingdom and to invite others to join us.   ~Richard Stearns

Many of our churches are no longer the boot camps established to equip us for battle; they’re spiritual spas designed to enhance our well-being and give us a glow at the beginning of our week. We sing a few songs, shake a few hands, and listen to a pleasant homily. The call of Jesus to lay down our lives, take up our crosses, and share in His suffering seldom echoes from our pulpits.   ~Richard Stearns

Christ did not call us to retreat from the world’s pain but to enter it. He called us to go. The twenty-first-century church has everything required to finish the job-the resources, the knowledge, and the mandate. But the great mission given to us by Christ lies unfinished.  It is time to relaunch.   ~Richard Stearns

God leaves us here because He has a mission for us to fulfill. We aren’t here by accident; neither are we here simply to enjoy the good things life has to offer. We are here because God put us here, and He has a sovereign purpose in keeping us here. It’s true for us as individuals, and it’s true for His body, the Church, in all of its fullness. As Jesus prayed just before His arrest and trial, “I am not praying that You take them out of the world … As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:15, 18).   ~Billy Graham

Jesus’ call to repent was more than merely a call to feel remorse or regret for our sins; it was a call to change our minds, to exchange our agenda for His; it was a call to reorder our lives in the face of God’s dramatic news that His kingdom was now available to all. Eugene Peterson paraphrases Mark 1:15 this way: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Massage” (MSG). Jesus called us not just to believe but also to change our lives.  ~Richard Stearns

Scot McKnight talks about the difference between a disciple and a decider: “Most of evangelism today focuses on getting someone to make a decision; the apostles, however, were obsessed with making disciples.” Jesus called us to be disciples and make disciples, not just be deciders.

Deciders just believe the right things; disciples seek to do the right things. Disciples are dedicated to learning their Master’s truths so they can imitate their Mater’s life. Disciples seek to embrace their Mater’s mission and serve their Master’s purposes. Disciples try to plan their entire lives around Jesus’ teaching and commands. Deciders have their own plans for their lives and invite Jesus to bless them. Jesus had some harsh things to say about deciders.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  (Luke 6:46)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers! (Matt. 7:21-23)

Regarding entrance into the kingdom of God, Jesus’ death on the cross to atone for our sins made it possible for us to get our “certificate of citizenship” in His kingdom. But His expectation is that we will not only move in but also renounce our former citizenship; that we will become fully engaged citizens, enjoying our new rights and privileges, abiding by the laws of His kingdom, contributing to its growth and prosperity, and even becoming its ambassadors to those who live outside of God’s kingdom. Jesus wants us to enter into a new way of living in the here and now, empowered by the Holy Spirit, living under God’s rule and authority, forsaking the influence of other kingdoms, and taking up the full responsibilities of our citizenship. Tragically, many Christians make the decision, get their certificates, but never really move in to become full citizens of God’s kingdom.   ~Richard Stearns

It is not enough for us to simply enlist [in God’s army]; we are called to join the battle.  ~Richard Stearns

I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth. It is this: God wants His people to become like Christ, for Christlikeness is the will of God for the people of God.   ~John Stott

These church communities, because they seek to live under God’s rule and according to God’s truth, should be shining examples of a radically different way for people to live.  ~Richard Stearns

Our job is simply to populate the kingdom of heaven.  ~Ted Engstrom

He chooses us for a mission, and He chooses a mission for us.  ~Richard Stearns

We are saved by faith, and we are saved for works. And God Himself has prepared specific people for specific works.   ~Richard Stearns

God’s expectations of us can be summed up simply – love God and love our fellow man.  ~Richard Stearns

The teaching and example of Jesus and the bright thread of compassion for others that runs through all of Scripture underscores God’s desire that followers of Jesus will be recognized by their tangible expression of his love for all people.  ~Richard Stearns

As John pointedly said, “Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

The truth is not that God is finding us a place for our gifts but that God has created us and our gifts for a place of His choosing – and we will only be ourselves when we are finally there.  ~Os Guinness

Your life goal should be to follow Christ, live as Jesus lived, love as Jesus loves, proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God as we are sent into the world as His ambassadors. But being an engineer, accountant, or teacher might just be a very good means to that end. Everything we have and everything we are can be used in service to the Lord and to further His kingdom goals.  ~Richard Stearns

There is no difference for the follower of Christ between the sacred and the secular. All work is sacred if it does not violate God’s laws and if it is offered in the service of building His kingdom.  ~Richard Stearns

So what is the practical benefit of all the theology of the Holy Spirit? It is nothing less than the single enabling power that now makes it possible for ordinary human beings to be transformed and live differently than was ever before possible. Jesus’ call to repent and change our lives, to replace our agendas with his agenda, to literally become a new creation, is only made possible when the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts with power. It is only possible when God dwells in us. When that happens, we have access to abilities and insights previously unavailable. Again, it would take an entire book to unpack this idea fully, but let me list just a few of the gifts made available to us by the Spirit:
Wisdom: the ability to perceive things from God’s perspective
Comfort: the ability to have confidence in God and put our minds and hearts at ease
Discernment: the ability to discriminate between truth and falsehood, right and wrong
Intercession: the ability to access to the Spirit praying with us and through us before God
Direction: the ability to sense what God wants us to do and where God wants us to go
Power: the ability to do things we could not do before, speak things we could not speak before
Boldness: the ability to have the courage to take a stand and to face trails
Endurance: the ability to continue under stress, in suffering, with patience
Conviction: a keen sense of conscience about our sins and our behavior
Strength: the ability to overcome our weaknesses
Protection: the ability to remain safe from evil, from the principalities and powers in this world
Unity: the ability to bind together with other followers of Jesus within the church
Fruit: the ability to demonstrate in our lives the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control   ~Richard Stearns

First, as we learned earlier, we have to set the right destination, the one that involves replacing our agendas with God’s agenda – serving Him and building His kingdom. Second, just as my own GPS sometimes requires, we need to allow time to acquire the satellite; we need to invest the time to connect to God through His Spirit by spending time in prayer, reading Scripture, practicing spiritual disciplines, worshipping, and spending time with other believers. The stronger our satellite connection, the stronger the signal. Third, we need to listen and pay attention to the driving directions that are given. The thing about a GPS is that you can choose to ignore it, or you can just turn it off. We can choose to ignore the Holy Spirit in our lives as well. We can become so enamored with the sights along life’s roadways that we turn off the Spirit, turn off the road, and wander away from God’s plan for our lives. The Holy Spirit doesn’t coerce us. We need the Holy Spirit only if we want to obey God’s will and follow God’s path. If we want to follow our own way, we might as well turn it off. We aren’t forced to listen or obey just as we aren’t forced to heed a GPS. The choice is still ours. ~Richard Stearns

I am only one, but I am one,
I cannot do everything,
But I can do something.
What I can do I ought to do,
And what I ought to do
By GFleeod’s grace I will do.   ~Edward Everett Hale

Prayer is as much about listening to God as it is about talking to Him.    

There is an African proverb I love that goes like this: “If you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together.” Good advice for all of us on the journey.   ~Richard Stearns

We are to live with this question on our lips at all times: “how can I serve the Lord today, here in this place?”   ~Richard Stearns

The key to discovering your specific calling in the end is patience and faithfulness. Make yourself available, serve where you stand, be faithful with what’s in front of you, and trust God for the outcome.   ~Richard Stearns

There are no ordinary people.  ~C.S. Lewis

Drudgery is the touchstone of character. The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do. “Jesus took a towel … and began to wash the disciples’ feet”  ~Oswald Chambers

God had chosen a different way (then the way men would have chosen), a new way, to change the world. He had chosen the weak over the powerful, the humble over the noble, the poor over the rich, the servant over the master, he had chosen a baby in a manger over a king in a place (1 Cor. 1:25-29).   ~Richard Stearns

Whoever you are and wherever you are placed, know that you were placed there by the King to accomplish His good purpose!  ~Richard Stearns

You are a child of the King, a unique one-of-a-kind miracle, and you were created to play a critical role in the big story of God.  ~Richard Stearns

God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips those whom He calls.  ~Anonymous

It should be of great comfort that God’s plan does not rely on our greatness but rather on His.  ~Richard Stearns

No Goliath we face is mightier than the God we serve.  ~Richard Stearns

We have brought into a church-growth consumer mentality that compels us to make our churches as appealing as possible to “consumers.”  ~Richard Stearns

Better the church should shrink than risk losing its God-given purpose and identity. A community of true disciples, authentically living out the teachings of Scripture, is far more attractive than a latte bar or a Vegas-style musical performance. Jesus called the church to be salt and light in our world – salt to literally prevent decay (as in rotting meat) and light to counter the darkness of our culture.  ~Richard Stearns

Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.  ~Bob Pierce

We have gone from being fishers of men to becoming keepers of the aquarium.  ~Paul Harvey

The evil one wants nothing more than for the church to lose sight of its critical mission to assault the very gates of hell and bring the good news of the kingdom to all of God’s children. Insulated social clubs with fabulous facilities and Broadway-caliber Sunday worship services bring delight to the devil – “no harm, no foul!” The church that causes the demons to shudder is the church hell-bent on finishing the job that Christ commanded the church to do.   ~Richard Stearns

Jesus did not call us to build an institution; He called us to lead a revolution.  ~Richard Stearns

We live in the not yet, but God sees the already. We see today and yesterday but not tomorrow. God sees all three at once. In Him, those crushed in Haiti are alive already. In Him, those orphaned in Haiti are reunited with family already. In Him, those broken in Haiti are healed already. In Him, those grieving in Haiti rejoice already.   ~Richard Stearns

How then should we think? How then should we live? What then, must we do? Unlike God, we live in the time between the already and not yet and we must wait until then. Until then, we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. Until then, we are called to comfort the afflicted, give food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. Until then, we are to shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and grieve with the grieving. Until then, we are to care for the widow, the orphan, the alien, and the stranger. We are to “let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works and glorify [our] Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16 NKJV). Until then we are Christ’s heart and hands and feet – the ambassadors of His love in a hurting world. Until then we are called to show forth God’s deep love.   ~Richard Stearns

Every act of kindness, each moment spent in prayer, and every expression of love in the name of Christ pierces the heart of the enemy and sends him into retreat. ~Richard Stearns

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.  ~Attributed to Carl Bard

You see, Ralph and Cheryl didn’t sell everything they had and go onto the mission field; instead, they saw the mission field in everything they had. God used their passions, gifts, and skills right where they were planted, but they first had to make those gifts and skills available to Him.  ~Richard Stearns

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.  ~Attributed to C.T. Studd

It’s not the things we do in life that we regret on our deathbed, it is the things we do not. ~Randy Pausch

There are things that only you can do, and you are alive to do them. In the great orchestra we call life, you have an instrument and a song, and you owe it to God to play them both sublimely.  ~Max Lucado

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs befotre Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!  ~Beethoven

View all my reviews

To order this book click here!

Prisoners of Hope: The Story of Our Captivity and Freedom in Afghanistan

Prisoners of Hope: The Story of Our Captivity and Freedom in AfghanistanPrisoners of Hope: The Story of Our Captivity and Freedom in Afghanistan by Dayna Curry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a story of Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer. These two ladies traveled from the US to minister in Afghanistan. The first part of the book tells of their lives before salvation and how the Lord led them to travel overseas. The middle part of the book deatils there service and ministry in Afghanistan. The later part of the book tells of their imprisonment in Afghnistan because of their willingness to share their faith with the people of that nation. These two ladies were in Afghanistan during the "911" crisis in the United States. These two ladies endured much but were rescued by the Navy Seals. I really enjoyed reading about how these two allowed God's love to flow through their lives. If you like to read about courage or if you have interest in Afghanistan you will enjoy this book. The following quote from the book speaks for itself:

I came to see that God did not need someone with extraordinary gifts and achievements. He just needed someone who could love, share her life, and feel for others as He did. God was looking for compassion, not commendations. He was looking for faithfulness, not fame. God assured me that if I would be committed to loving and serving with a soft heart, then even if my life seemed small in the eyes of the world, before God it would be great.  ~Heather Mercer

View all my reviews

To oder this book click here!

I Never Played the Game

I Never Played the GameI Never Played the Game by Howard Cosell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you were alive during the 60's and 70's and was a sports' fan then you have heard Howard Cosell. Though I never cared for Howard's personality that was never a doubt that we was a great announcer especially for boxing. Cosell said of himself, "Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff." I agree with him on that self description. This book, "I Never Played the Game," is a detailed account of Howard never playing the political game in his vocation as a sports journalist. The book details his outrage of sports teams picking up and moving from one city to another. He also discuss his history as a boxing announcer. This is my favorite part of the book. He describes the matches as no one else can. He paints a picture and makes one feel they are at ringside watching the fight. You may remember that Cosell decided that boxing had become to violate and gave up calling the matches. He spoke before the United States Congress on several occasions both about the violence of boxing and the plight of sports' teams picking up and moving to other cities. He details his account doing Monday night football and the "monkey" comment. He talks about the reason he and Pete Rozelle (Commissioner of the NFL) starting disliking each other. He also explains his friendship with baseball commissioner, Bowie Kuhn. There was only one Howard Cosell and there will never be another one. If you enjoy sports you will enjoy reading this book!

View all my reviews

Enjoy the video below about Cosell:

To order this book click here!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Quilt

The QuiltThe Quilt by T. Davis Bunn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought the "little" book at Goodwill. I've read several T. Davis Bunn books. My Mom participates in a Prayer Shawl ministry. The ladies knit a shawl for a shut-in and while they knit they pray for that person. Well, this book's storyline is similar except the ladies in the book are helping a very elderly lady, Mary, make a quilt. Mary teaches the ladies the importance of prayer especially the giving of thanks. The following story is told by Mary after one of the ladies find a poem written on a sheet of paper stuck in one of Mary's old Bibles (George Matheson was the author of the poem):

"George Matheson was a man of the Lord, born and raised in Scotland. I forgot when he lived, but I know it wasn't in this century. He fell in love with a beautiful young lady, and they planned to marry. Not long before his wedding day, George Matheson discovered he was going blind."

Mary waited until the room quietened, then continued, "He did what he had to do, went to his young lady and told her the news. Told her she could break off the engagement if she wanted, but that he still loved her and wanted to marry if she would have him. The woman thought about it for several days, then came back and said that though she loved him, she did not want to spend the rest of her life with a blind man. And the wedding was off. Soon after this,  George Matheson wrote a hymn."

Mary turned back from the window. She lifted the brittle page with trembling hands, looked at it for a long moment, then handed it over to Lou Ann. Her voice was as shaky as her hands when she said, "Read that first verse for me, honey, my eyes aren't what they used to be."

Lou Ann studied the ancient script, read in a halting voice.

O Love that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

"The Lord holds me always in His love, Dr Caswell [this was her preacher who had given her this poem/hymn shortly after her baby had died) told me," Mary said to the silent room." Always there, always loving, always giving, always healing. At my weakest, the Lord is strongest."

Mary paused a moment, kneading one hand with the other, then said, "George Matheson went blind, and he didn't marry the girl. He lived a full life for his Lord, and toward the end of his time on earth he wrote a prayer. I think more than anything these words were what saw me through my own dark times." She looked at Lou Ann, said, "Just read that section there at the bottom that starts, 'My God,' please child."

Lou Ann cleared her throat, wiped her eyes, read,

My God,

I have never thanked thee for my thorn.
I have thanked thee a thousand times for my roses,
But never once for my thorn.
Teach me the glory of my cross,
Teach me the value of my thorn.
Show me that I have climbed to thee by the path of my pain.
Show me that my tears have made my rainbows.

"There's lessons right along to the end of the road," Mary said, her eyes back on the window. She sighed, shook her head, said softly to the world outside, "What strength that man must have had."

If you enjoyed this story you will enjoy the book!

View all my reviews

To order a copy of this book click here!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

Dead Lawyers Tell No TalesDead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Randy Singer is one of my favorite fiction authors. This book is no exception. He does a good job telling the story. A well known Southeastern quarterback that was set to prison for fixing games he was quarterbacking. He came to know the Lord in prison and felt called to study law. The law firm he joins has a lot of interesting problems. The only thing I didn't enjoy about this book was the jumping back and forth between scenes. If you enjoy mystery and lawyer books you will enjoy this one.

To order this book click here!

View all my reviews

The Andy Griffith Show BookThe Andy Griffith Show Book by Ken Beck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful book. Ken Beck and Jim Clark write this book as if the characters on the Andy Griffith Show were real live people with real lives. Of course, those of us who love the show feel that they are real. There are biographies of several of the shows main characters, a sort history of the town (Mayberry), lots of fun facts (like all of Barney's nicknames, Barney blarney  (how is mispronounces words), Barney's songs, his letters, what he may say when he gets mad at Andy, etc.). There is a section listing all of the cops and robbers (Sheriffs, Deputy Sheriffs, State Police, Federal Agents, Detectives, Judges, Lawyers, Justices, Attorneys, Prisons, Organizations, Crooks, etc.). mentioned throughout the series. An interesting chapter deals with codes and cases in Mayberry.There are lots of quizzes that many people will not be able to past without a good study of the show. Lots of great pictures!!! A chapter listing the music lyrics from the show, songs like "Mayberry High Alma Mater,"  "My Hometown," etc. A list of cast credits. Episode Summaries. A Mayberry Town Directory and a Mt. Pilot Directory as well as Yellow Pages for both cities. A List of all the TAGS Rerun Watchers Club. And a top twenty 1983 and 1994 of favorite episodes.

If you are a fan of this show this a must book for you!

To order this book click here!

View all my reviews

Founding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past

Founding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic PastFounding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past by Ray Raphael
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is the first book I have read by Ray Raphael and will probably be the last. He tries to make a case for the following well known American founding events:

That Paul Revere's Ride was not as significant as most people believe
The Molly Pitcher incident never happened (I can go along with this one)
That Sam Adams was not as significant in America's founding as many believe
The Shot heard 'Round the World is a myth
The Winter at Valley Forge was just a normal (average) winter
Jefferson borrowed from lots of sources to write the Declaration of Independence
That the Founding Fathers were just ordinary men and that many other average people had their hands in founding our nation
The "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech never happen but was written several years after the fact
"Do Not Fire Till You See the Whites of Their Eyes" was a myth and could not have happen
Their were very, very few Patriotic Slaves
The British were not more brutal than the Americans
The final battle of the war was not at Yorktown
The Americans were brutal on the Indians in taking the west

The book is like a He says, She says. He tells first the popular "stories" of the founding of our nation then explains why it could not be true, sometimes quoting other people.

I'm glad I read his book but I do not believe much of what he says.

To order a copy of this book click here!

View all my reviews

Gifted Hands

Gifted HandsGifted Hands by Ben Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hope that Ben Carson will run for President. This is the type of person we need to lead America back to our foundation. In his book "Gifted Hands" he shares his life story and what a story it is. Raised by a single Mom, he grows up without much of material things. He worked very hard to become a world renowned neurosurgeon. This book was also produced as a movie. I trust you will enjoy the quotes below:

“You’ve The Captain of Your Ship”
If things go bad for you-
And make you a bit ashamed,
Often you will find out that
You have yourself to blame …
Swiftly we ran to mischief
And then the bad luck came.
Why do we fault others?
We have ourselves to blame …

Whatever happens to us,
Here are the words to say,
“Had it not been for so-and-so
Things wouldn’t have gone that way.”

And if you are short of friends,
I’ll tell you what to do-
Make an examination,
You’ll find the fault’s in you …

You’re the captain of your ship,
So agree with the same-
If you traveled downward,
You have yourself to blame.  ~Mayme White Miller

Remember this as you go through life. The person who has the most to do with what happens to you is you! You make the choices; you decide whether you’re going to give up or ante up when the going gets tough. Ultimately, it’s you who decides whether you will be a success or not, by doing what is legally necessary to get you where you want to go, You are the captain of your own ship. If you don’t succeed, you only have yourself to blame.  ~Sonya Carson

When she (Sonya Carson) believed in something she held on and wouldn’t quit. I didn’t always like hearing her say, “You weren’t born to be a failure, Bennie (Ben Carson-Sonya’s son). You can do it!” Or one of her favorites: “You just ask the Lord, and He’ll help you.”  ~Ben Carson

What’s inside counts the most. Anybody can dress up on the outside and be dead inside.  ~Sonya Carson

That job [the one Ben Carson had between high school and college at the Ford Motor Company; his high school counselor helped him get the job] taught me an important lesson about employment in the world beyond high school. Influence could get me inside the door, but my productivity and the quality of my work were the real tests. Just knowing a lot of information, while helpful, wasn’t enough either. The principle goes like this: It’s not what you know but the kind of job you do that makes the difference.  ~Ben Carson

The kind of job doesn’t matter. The length of time on the job doesn’t matter, for it’s true even with a summer job. If you work hard and do your best, you’ll be recognized and move onward.  ~Ben Carson

There isn’t anybody in the world who isn’t worth something.  ~Ben Carson

As I think of Black youth, I also want to say I believe that many of our pressing racial problems will be taken care of when we who are among the minorities will stand on our own feet and refuse to look to anybody else to save us from our situations. The culture in which we live stresses looking out for number one. Without adopting such a self-centered value system, we can demand the best of ourselves while we are extending our hands to help others.  ~Ben Carson

Learn to recognize and accept your God-given talents (and we all have them). Develop those talents and use them in the career you choose. Remembering T for talent puts you far ahead of the game if you take advantage of what God gives you. ~Ben Carson

T also = TIME
Learn the importance of time. When you are always on time, people can depend on you. You prove your trustworthiness. Learn not to waste time, because time is money and time is effort. Time usage is also a talent. God gives some people the ability to manage time. The rest of us have to learn how And we can.  ~Ben Carson

Don’t go around with a long face, expecting something bad to happen. Anticipate good things; watch for them.  ~Ben Carson

H also = HONESTY
When you do anything dishonest, you must do something else dishonest to cover up, and your life becomes hopelessly complex. The same with telling lies. If you’re honest, you don’t have to remember what you said the last time. Speaking the truth each time makes life amazingly simple.  ~Ben Carson

Listen and learn from people who have already been where you want to go. Benefit from their mistakes instead of repeating them. Read good books like the Bible because they open up new worlds of understanding.  ~Ben Carson

Be nice to people – all people. If you’re nice to people, they’ll be nice to you. It takes much less energy to be nice than it does to be mean. Being kind, friendly, and helpful takes less energy and relieves much of the pressure.  ~Ben Carson

Knowledge is the key to independent living, the key to all your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. If you are knowledgeable, particularly more knowledgeable than anybody else in a field, you become invaluable and write your own ticket.  ~Ben Carson

I emphasize that active learning from reading is better than passive learning such as listening to lectures or watching television. When you read, your mind must work by taking in letters and connecting them to form words. Words make themselves into thoughts and concepts. Developing good reading habits is something like being a champion weightlifter. The champion didn’t go into the gym one day and start lifting 500 pounds. He toned his muscles, beginning with lighter weights, always building up, and preparing for more. It’s the same thing with intellectual feats. We develop our minds by reading, by thinking, by figuring out things for ourselves.    ~Ben Carson

Superficial learners cram for exams but know nothing two weeks later. In-depth learners find that the acquired knowledge becomes a part of them. They understand more about themselves and their world. They keep building on prior understanding by piling on new information.  ~Ben Carson

Never get too big for God. Never drop God out of your life.   ~Ben Carson

Mother Teresa’s profound words are surely true of me and true of you: “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”  My prayer is that He will use you to write His next love letter.  ~Richard Stearns

The meaning, purpose, and significance of our lives are found only by aligning our lives with God’s purposes, in lives committed to following Jesus Christ.  ~Richard Stearns

Here is the trailer of the movie:

To order this book click here!

View all my reviews

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?Where Have All the Leaders Gone? by Lee Iacocca
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lee Iacocca wrote this book to take out his frustration on President George W. Bush in my opinion. What is so ironic is most of his points really could apply to President Barak Obama. As you read through the quotes below see what you think:

Hey, America, wake up. These guys [the government officials] work for us.  ~Lee Iacocca

I’ve figured out nine points and called them “Nine C’s of Leadership.”
A leader has to show CURIOSITY. – If a leader never steps outside his comfort zone to hear different ideas, he grows stale. If he doesn’t put his beliefs to the test, how does he know he’s right? The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don’t care.  ~Lee Iacocca

A leader has to be CREATIVE, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different. You know, think outside the box.  ~Lee Iacocca

A leader has to COMMUNICATE. I’m talking about facing reality and telling the truth. ~Lee Iacocca

A leader has to be a person of CHARACTER. That means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you want to test a man’s character give him power.”  ~Lee Iacocca

A leader must have COURAGE. Swagger isn’t courage. Tough talk isn’t courage. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk. If you’re a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes. ~Lee Iacocca

To be a leader you’ve got to have CONVICTION – a fire in your belly. You’ve got to have passion. ~Lee Iacocca

A leader should have CHARISMA. I’m not talking about being flashy. Charisma is the quality that makes people want to follow you. It’s the ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust him. ~Lee Iacocca

A leader has to be COMPETENT. That seems obvious, doesn’t it? You’ve got to know what you’re doing. More important than that, you’ve got to surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing.   ~Lee Iacocca

You can’t be a leader if you don’t have COMMON SENSE.  ~Lee Iacocca

The Biggest C is CRISIS.
Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis.  ~Lee Iacocca

Who do you think Lee is describing?
“So here’s where we stand. We’re immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We’re losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership.”  ~Lee Iacocca

Here’s what management is about: Pick good people and set the right priorities.   ~Lee Iacocca

Teamwork is what makes the Green Bay Packers great. People who work together will win – period. And that applies to companies and governments.  ~Vince Lombardi

One of the most important lessons I learned in business was that if all you’re getting from your team is a single point of view – usually your point of view – you’ve got to worry. You can get your own point of view for free.  ~Lee Iacocca

Of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory. Abandoned by his party, betrayed by his friends, stripped of his office, whoever can command this power is still formidable.  ~Winston Churchill

Words can inspire. They can lift us to heights we never dreamed possible. Words can also provoke fear and rage. They can pound people into the ground. A true leader always strives to inspire.  ~Lee Iacocca

Democracy thrives on two factors: free elections and open discourse.  ~Lee Iacocca

The Constitution is a tool, and a blueprint, and a process that we have to use every day to preserve our great democracy.  ~Lee Iacocca

Through the Constitution, we intrinsically understand who we are. We say, “This is what we stand for.” Its meaning should be imprinted on every heart. It should come to mind every time we vote.  ~Lee Iacocca

A leader has to know who his true friends are, and it’s not always the ones who agree with everything or follow you blindly. With a true friend, there’s got to be equality. You share the good times and you share the bad times. There’s got to be respect. If your friend takes a principled position for the other side, you don’t have to like it, but you don’t call him names either.  ~Lee Iacocca

Ronald Reagan once said, “Facts are suborn things.” He actually got that quote from John Adams.  ~Lee Iacocca

When advertising slogans are better known than the Ten Commandments or the Bill of Rights, when shopping malls are our places of worship, when bad behavior is justified as long as it leads to profit, when debt is justified as long as it leads to a plasma TV, and when the measure of a person is the kind of car he drives, maybe it’s time to ask whether we’ve corrupted the very notion of capitalism.  ~Lee Iacocca

Innovation can be much more important than size. Often, when companies get big they tend to grow sluggish. It takes a constant infusion of fresh ideas and leadership to prevent that.   ~Lee Iacocca

We saved Chrysler for one reason. Everyone shared in the sacrifice – starting with me. You see, it wouldn’t have gone down too well if I’d asked the rank and file to tighten their belts while I was putting extra notches in mine. So I cut my salary to one dollar a year. That is an example of leadership, born in a crisis.  ~Lee Iacocca

I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.  ~General George Patton

So, if when you retire you think, "I'm tired. It's time to relax," think again. As the saying goes, you've got all eternity to catch up on your rest.  ~Lee Iacocca

To order a copy of this book click here!

View all my reviews

The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012