Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Evil Tree: The Story of Communism

An Evil Tree: The Story of CommunismAn Evil Tree: The Story of Communism by Agnes Murphy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A friend let me borrow this book to read. It was published in 1961. A short book with little information that I did not already know. This book lists the roots of communism, w which are: atheism, dialectical materialism, naturalism, and class struggle. The author goes on to explain the planting of the tree of communism in a country is revolution with the trunk of the tree being the dictatorship of the proletariat. The author explains the flowering of the tree of communism is the classes society. Section Two of the book discusses the makers of communism including Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The last section of the books introduces how the communist use youth to bring in the political system in a nation. The main point that made me give this book a low rating was its lack of footnotes.Where did the author get his information?

One interesting observation I took away from this book was how many of the things that communism tries to do I can see happening here in our great nation. It is something we all need to be aware of and study those run for office to make sure we are voting for those who will stand on the principles our country was founded.

If you are interested in communism and how it has effected the USA this would be a book you might like to read.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Sam Walton: Made In America

Sam Walton: Made In AmericaSam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Being an employee at Wal-Mart now for almost three years I knew this is a book I wanted to read. I also enjoy reading books about companies especially if the author is the founder. Wal-Mart's story is a fantastic story of America's free enterprise. I will tell you that some of the things revealed in the book about employees were either not correct or they have changed through the years. I know for a fact that many have changed and I think Sam Walton would not be happy about some of the changes. To help you understand was an amazing success story Wal-Mart is I have included a quote from the book below:

As everybody today knows, Wal-Mart's stock performance, and the wealth it has created, is a story in itself. Just fifteen years ago [this book was published in 1992], the market value of the company was around $135 million; today it's over $50 billion. But here's a better way to look at it: let's say you bought 100 shares back in that original public offering, for $1650. Since then, we've had nine two-for-one stock splits, so you would have 51,200 shares today. Within the last year, it's traded at right under $60 a share. So your investment would have been worth right around $3 million at that price. Obviously, our stock has made a lot of folks happy over the years, and - pure and simple - that's where the Walton family net worth has been created. It paid off beyond any of our dreams.

If you want to know more about Wal-Mart and/or just enjoy reading about companies then this would be a good read for you!

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The Overton Window

The Overton Window (Overton Window, #1)The Overton Window by Glenn Beck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is just like a Glenn Beck show. The novel is a story about how the government and others are trying to take over our nation. It is a good read and very believable. If you have enjoyed listening to Glen Beck then you will enjoy this book. It is a page turner.

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Ronald Reagan: 100 Years: Official Centennial Edition from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation

Ronald Reagan: 100 Years: Official Centennial Edition from the Ronald Reagan Presidential FoundationRonald Reagan: 100 Years: Official Centennial Edition from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation by Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Found
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read many, many books on my favorite president, Ronald Reagan. This book does not have much if any new information, but it does have some wonderful pictures. If you are a Ronald Reagan fan I highly recommend adding this book to your library. This book is put out by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

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The FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS

The FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRSThe FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS by Neal Boortz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have listen to Neal Boorz on radio since he was at "Ring" radio back in the 70's. I don't always agree with him but he is always entertaining. He has sense retired from radio. I knew about his Fair Tax book but had never read it. When I saw it in a Goodwill Store I knew it was time to give it a read. If the Fair Tax would work like Neal and John Linder say in their book, then I would be totally behind it. They make excellent points. The Fair Tax would replace the Federal Income tax(es) including Social Security Tax and Medicaid. The research seems sound and just think about all the time saved from filing Income Tax each year.

If you are interested in studying an alternative to the Federal Income Tax then this would be an excellent read for you.

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Beyond the Sunset

Beyond the SunsetBeyond the Sunset by George G. Brainard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My friend George Brainard wrote this book. It is a work of fiction but with much truth. George wrote the book to help those who struggle in their faith after a difficult time in their lives, for example a loss of a spouse. This is George's first book and he did an excellent job! The story centers around a college professor who has lost his wife of many years. After her death the professor starts to doubt his faith in God. He meets a person who has been accused of a crime he did not commit. This person, however, is a strong believer and has a great impact spiritual on the professor. At the end of the book the author, George, shares with the reader how some of the story is true in his own life and which characters represent real people in his own life.

I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys reading Christian novels.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Going Deep: Becoming a Person of Influence

Going Deep: Becoming a Person of InfluenceGoing Deep: Becoming a Person of Influence by Gordon MacDonald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gordon MacDonald hit another home run with this excellent book. He uses a make believe church to help the reader understand how to develop believers into deep people. The book is written in novel form, but has lots of Biblical principles for those who want to grow and to those who desire to help others grow. I believe today's church as a whole is missing the command to make disciples. It seems like most churches are all about growing the biggest church in numbers but not about feeding the church and helping believers to grow in their spiritual life. I trust the quotes below will be a blessing to you!

Disciples [deep people] are not manufactured wholesale. They are produced one by one, because someone has taken the pains to discipline, to instruct and enlighten, to nurture and train one that is younger.  ~Oswald Sanders

I remind you of the seminar Jesus offered His disciples just before He went to the cross. He described to them a world, not unlike ours, that was falling apart, and he appeared to be saying, “The good news amid all this, gentlemen, is that you’re going to get to plant a new movement in the middle of this mess. So be wise, alert, faithful, and productive.”  Mindful of such tumultuous days ahead, Jesus spent the majority of His time training a small group of men whose message to the world would go viral.   ~Gordon MacDonald

Great training has exponential results.  ~Gordon MacDonald

Leadership is first about character, then about a disciplined charisma and competence.  ~Gordon MacDonald

When you think about it, we do seem to know how to get unchurched people to visit our buildings and enjoy our programs. We even appear to know how to persuade many to acknowledge personal faith in Jesus. But some are saying that what we do not know is how to produce the deep people who are supposed to emerge after that. We do not produce them, at least, in the quantities that are necessary to the challenges of our times. The result is a growing scarcity in spiritual leadership. And the implication is that without an abundance of deep people – spiritual leaders – tomorrow’s organized church could be headed for irrelevance.  ~Gordon MacDonald

What might deep people in a twenty-first-century church look like? Here are a few ideas.
Some live quiet but noticeable lives of devotion to Jesus. We love to be around them because they exude qualities such as grace, peacefulness, joy, wisdom, encouragement, and unconditional love. They motivate us to want to live better, more faithfully.
Some know how to envision and organize others to do unusual things in alignment with the purposes of God.
Some possess the capability for praying, caring, and supporting people in times of struggle.
Some know how to teach and mentor others so that spiritual growth happens across the face of the congregation from children to senior people.
Some deep people might possess the apostolic (missional) call to project the evangelistic and compassionate work of the church into the surrounding community or to other parts of the world.
And some love to help.   ~Gordon MacDonald

Our Church Elevator Story
Our 175 year-old church is composed of people who, through the generations, have shared a common commitment to Jesus Christ. Following His example, we regularly worship God. Studying His life and the lives of those who followed Him, we do our best to emulate Him in the way we live in our community. Believing that God’s central message is about love, we try to assure that our relationships (God, marriage, family, friendships, strangers, even enemies) all reflect what He both taught and did. Finally, aware of His intense compassion for people who lost their way spiritually and physically, we attempt to represent His mission by serving others in the larger world when we become aware of their needs.  ~Gordon MacDonald

The elevator story can’t happen unless somebody’s constantly training people. If you’re going to keep that story honest, training, training, training is going to be your most important job.  ~Gordon MacDonald

You may be president [Pastor] of your store [church], but you should also be the chief training officer.  ~Gordon MacDonald

But how would one know that Christ is present? How about these evidences? Lives would begin to change; that’s conversion. People would begin to love, to care for, to enjoy one another; that’s community, or fellowship. A spirit of generosity would start to fill the air as each person invested his or her energies and resources in the life of the gathering; that’s servanthood. Children would be instructed; youth mentored; adults of every age would be encouraged; older people might be appreciated, even listened to. That’s love.  ~Gordon MacDonald

The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.   ~Richard Foster

Most of what you and I know has been learned from the people we watched. It’s not what anyone says or writes half as how they live it out under every circumstance.  ~Gordon MacDonald

Spiritual leadership is the power to change the atmosphere by one’s presence, the unconscious influence that makes Christ and spiritual things real to others.  ~Oswald Sanders

We teach people to grow by growing ourselves. It’s sort of like painting a huge bridge. The minute the painter finishes at one end, he goes back to the beginning and starts again.   ~Gordon MacDonald

Depth comes before competency.  ~Gordon MacDonald

I ask that my voice be the lesser, yours the greater. Amen.  ~Gordon MacDonald

A walloping great congregation is fine and fun, but what most [churches] really need is a couple of saints. The tragedy is that they may well be there in embryo, waiting to be discovered, waiting for sound training, waiting to be emancipated from the cult of the mediocre.    ~Martin Thornton

Make uniformed. Un-prayed-about decisions, and you pay a severe price later on.    ~Gordon MacDonald

The true spiritual leader is concerned infinitely more with the service he can render God and his fellow men than with the benefits and pleasures he can extract from life. He aims to put more into life then he takes out of it.  ~Gordon MacDonald

There are things that you learn best the hard way. You fail. And you fail again. And then, four, six failure times later, you figure out how to do something the right way. And you never forget it.   ~Gordon MacDonald

Reflecting on his (Brother Lawrence) work in a monastery kitchen, Lawrence said, “I turn over my little omelet in the pan for the love of God. When it is finished, if
I having nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and adore my God. From whom came the grace to make it.  After that, I get up, more content than a king.”

Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.  ~Gordon MacDonald

Every task and every activity contains the seeds of servanthood in the name of Jesus.  ~Gordon MacDonald

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

So You Want to Be Like Christ?: Eight Essentials to Get You There

So You Want to Be Like Christ?: Eight Essentials to Get You ThereSo You Want to Be Like Christ?: Eight Essentials to Get You There by Charles R. Swindoll
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This a great book for those who wish to learn more about being like Christ. I will let the following quotes from the book speak for itself. I trust they will be a blessing to many.

Christian [godliness] is not moralistic, for it is rooted in the Christ event (1 Timothy 3:16). It is not just outward worship, nor a mere concept of God, nor a virtue, nor an ideal. Over against a [Gnostic philosophy of self-deprivation] that regards creation as bad … true [godliness], born of faith, covers everyday conduct in honoring God as Creator and Redeemer, even though it may expect persecution from the very orders of God, which it respects.  ~ Anonymous Scholar

A “godly” person is one who ceases to be self-centered in order to become God-centered.  ~ Charles Swindoll

What sets Christian spiritual activity apart from all other religions is that they have knowledge of Christ as their goal; not moral perfection (although you will become more moral), not tranquility 9although your life will be remarkably more peaceful). And because of the grace you have in Christ, the disciplines will do nothing to make you more accepted by the Father. You cannot be more accepted than you already are in Christ, since He has already done it all for you!  ~ Charles Swindoll

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him – that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding [the wonders of His person] more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers]; and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death.   ~Philippians 3:10, The Amplified Bible, Expanded Edition  “My determined purpose [perhaps Paul means ‘my focus’] is that I may know Him.  ~ Charles Swindoll

When you pray, pray so that you may know Him. When you seek to simplify, do it as a means of knowing Him more. When you surrender, or behave with humility or sacrifice, do it with the sole purpose in mind to know Him.   ~ Charles Swindoll

So, you want to be like Christ? Me too. But that kind of godliness won’t just happen by hanging around a church or thinking lofty thoughts three or four times a day or learning a few verses of Scripture. It will take more – much more.  Disciplining ourselves will require the same kind of focused thinking and living that our Master modeled during His brief life on earth.  ~ Charles Swindoll

Distance from God is a frightening thing. God will never adjust His agenda to fit ours. He will not speed His pace to catch up with ours; we need to slow our pace in order to recover our walk with Him. God will not scream and shout over the noisy clamor; He expects us to seek quietness, where His still, small voice can be heard again. God will not work within the framework of our complicated schedules; we must adapt to His style. We need to conform to His way if our lives are to be characterized by the all-encompassing word godliness. ~ Charles Swindoll

God often does His best work in us when He catches us by surprise and introduces a change that is completely against our own desire.  ~ Charles Swindoll

Discipline is training that corrects and perfects our mental faculties or molds our moral character. Discipline is control gained by enforced obedience. It is the deliberate cultivation of inner order.  ~ Charles Swindoll

People who are close to God cultivate a personal intimacy with Him like a good gardener cultivates beautiful flowers. ~ Charles Swindoll

Our great tendency in this age is to increase our speed, to run faster, even in the Christian life. In the process our walk with God stays shallow, and our tank runs low on fumes. Intimacy offers a full tank of fuel that can only be found by pulling up closer to God, which requires taking necessary time and going to the effort to make that happen.  ~ Charles Swindoll

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
‘Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.  ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Christlikeness is a journey, not a destination. The joy is in the journey.    ~ Charles Swindoll

Next time you’re faced with a credit-purchase decision, wait. Don’t say no necessarily. Just wait. I challenge you to present your need to the Lord before presenting it to a bank, and see what He does with it.  ~ Charles Swindoll

Many seducers clutter the simple message of the gospel with legalistic additions, with convoluted attempts to legitimize moral compromise, and with psychological theories that turn churches into relational support groups instead of houses of worship.  ~ Charles Swindoll

May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the Kingdom like children in the market place, chattering about everything, but pausing to learn the value of nothing.   ~A.W. Tozer

Former CBS anchor Dan Rather found himself unprepared for a television interview with Mother Teresa several years ago. Ron Mehl described the newsman’s encounter this way:
Somehow, all of his standard approaches and formula questions were inadequate for the task, and the little nun from Calcutta, sitting beside him so sweetly and tranquilly, didn’t seem inclined to make his task easier.
“When you pray,” asked Rather, “what do you say to God?”
“I don’t say anything,” she replied. “I listen.”
Rather tried another tack. “Well, okay … when God speaks to you, then, what does He say?”
“He doesn’t say anything. He listens.”
Rather looked bewildered. For an instant, he didn’t know what to say.
“And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.”

I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person without stillness and silence.    ~ Charles Swindoll

When grace changes the heart, submission out of fear changes to submission out of love, and true humility is born.   ~William Hendriksen

Focusing intently on Christ naturally results in a lifestyle of increasingly greater selflessness. And it has another benefit. Gazing on Christ gives us greater ability to look past life’s trials and remain calm in the midst of what others would call chaos.  ~ Charles Swindoll

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.   ~Helen H. Lemmel

I am convinced that wise planning is good. But plans, like material possessions, must always be held loosely. Yes – always! Plan wisely, but be ready for God to rearrange things and take you along paths that may feel dangerous to you. Don’t sweat it; He knows what He’s doing. And He isn’t obligated to inform you … or request permission to upset your neat little agenda!  ~ Charles Swindoll

Part of the thrill of guiding children into adulthood is the release. But it’s also a parent’s greatest act of surrender. Still, you have to let them go. Start now.  ~ Charles Swindoll

Peter Marshall, the late chaplain of the United States Senate, concluded a message on anxiety titled, “Sin in the Present Tense,” with this prayer. I leave it with you to make it your prayer today  (~ Charles Swindoll)
“Forgive us, O God, for the doubting suspicion with which we regard the heart of God.
We have faith in checks and banks, in trains and airplanes, in cooks, and in strangers who drive us in cabs. Forgive us for our stupidity, that we have faith in people whom we do not know and are so reluctant to have faith in Thee who knowest us altogether.
We are always striving to find a complicated way through life when Thou hast a plan, and we refuse to walk in it. So many of our troubles we bring on ourselves. How silly we are.
Wilt Thou give to us that faith that we can deposit in the bank of Thy love, so that we may receive the dividends and interest that Thou art so willing to give us. We ask it all in the lovely name of Jesus, Our Savior.”

Prayer is listening as well as speaking, receiving as well as asking; and its deepest mood is friendship held in reverence. So the daily prayer should end as it begins – in adoration.   ~George A. Buttrick

Prayer is not a natural response; it’s a Spirit response. If we fail to cultivate this discipline, prayer winds up being our last resort rather than our first response.   ~Charles Swindoll

It’s not our church; it’s God’s – it’s not our responsibility to run it!  ~Charles Swindoll

When each elder or pastor has his will aligned with the Lord’s, we waste no time arguing for our own.  Charles Swindoll

Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.   ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.  ~Jim Elliot

We know that it was no accident. God performs all things according to the counsel of His own will. The real issues at stake on January 8, 1956, were very far greater than those immediately involved five young men and their families, or this small tribe of naked “savages.” Letters from many countries have told of God’s dealings with hundreds of men and women, through the examples of five who believed literally that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.   ~Elisabeth Elliot (the wife of one of the men that  was killed on the mission field; she stayed and ministered to those same ones who killed her husband)

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The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012