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Category Archives: Books

What the Bible says about heaven & hell

Book Review: What Happens After You Die: A Biblical Guide to Paradise, Hell, and Life After Death, by Randy Frazee

If a friend on their death bed asked, “Is belief in Jesus enough to get me into heaven?” how would you respond? That question was posed to pastor and author Randy Frazee by his mother. While he answered his mother with a confident, “Yes,” the question bothered him enough to do a thorough study of the Scriptures. The results of his study are explained in his latest book, What Happens After You Die: A Biblical Guide to Paradise, Hell, and Life After Death.

Pastor Frazee deals with the five most important questions about life after death.

  • Is Jesus enough to get me into heaven?
  • What happens if I die without Christ?
  • What happens if I die with Christ?
  • What happens if I don’t know Christ when he returns?
  • What happens if I do know Christ when he returns?

In addition, he also answers questions such as:

  • Are there such things as ghosts?
  • Are our loved one in heaven watching over us?
  • Is there such a thing as purgatory or Limbo?
  • Are there different degrees of hell?
  • Can we earn wings?
  • Will rewards be given out?
  • Will there be pets in heaven?
  • Will we keep our memories or regrets from life now?
  • Will there be marriages and family in God’s new kingdom?
  • What will our resurrected bodies be like?
  • What will we eat?
  • What will a day in the life on the new earth be like?
  • Do we have guardian angels?
  • Is it okay to be cremated?
  • What about people making predictions about the return of Christ?
  • What about life-after-death and near-death experiences?

As Frazee explains in the opening chapter, the book was born out of a deeply personal search for truth after his mother’s death. Throughout the book, he attempts to separate what is simply cultural tradition from what is truly biblical. He explains not only the death Jesus came to save us from but also the life he came to save us for.

The book is very helpful and encouraging. It clearly explains what Scripture says about what happens after we die.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Books, Heaven, Scripture, Theology

 

Overcoming Shame

Book Review: Loveable: Embracing what is truest about you, so you can truly embrace your life, by Kelly Flanagan

What if you feel you are not enough—not smart enough, not attractive enough, not tall enough, not successful enough, not popular enough, not influential enough, not powerful enough, not strong enough, not anything enough? How do you deal with the problem of shame?

Psychologist and author Kelly Flanagan answers these questions in his book, Loveable: Embracing what is truest about you, so you can truly embrace your life. The book is divided into four parts and laid out like a drama. The first section is “The backstory” where he describes the problem of shame and our search for healing. The second section is “Act One” where he tackles the subject of “Worthiness” (You are enough). In the third section, “Act Two,” he addresses “Belonging” (You are not alone). In the final section, “Act Three,” he explores “Purpose” (You matter).

The author includes stories from his background, family, and professional practice. He combines practical ideas with biblical principles. While helpful, I have to admit to having mixed feelings about the book. It struck me as a cross between biblical ideas and self-help psychology. He includes biblical principles but not biblical teaching. It’s an interesting book, but not one with lasting value.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2017 in Books

 

Using meditation to deepen your walk with God

Book Review: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation: Find True Peace in Jesus, by Robert J. Morgan

If you want to deepen your relationship with God, consider incorporating meditation into your spiritual disciplines. Before dismissing meditation as a New Age fad, consider that the words “meditate” and “meditation” occur 21 times in the Bible; the words “think,” “thinking,” and “thoughts” 252 times. The word “ponder” if found 9 times. God is the one who invented meditation.

Pastor and author Robert J. Morgan makes these points to explain that the way to have the mind of God and the peace of God is to fill your mind with the Word of God. Through the practice of biblical meditation, we focus on the wonder of who God is and gain perspective about life. By meditating on Scripture, we can calm our hearts and find peace in times of stress. Meditation will help us understand God’s Word and gain insight into God’s will. These topics and more are explored in Morgan’s book, Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation: Find True Peace in Jesus.

The author presents a three step process in biblical meditation—ponder, personalize, and practice. Ponder means to think deeply about the passage of Scripture you have memorized or are studying. Personalize means to think about what it means to you personally. Practice means to apply it to your daily life.

The book includes a 10-Day Meditation Guide and a number of suggested Scriptures to meditate on.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Books, Scripture

 

Breathing new life into dying churches

Book Review: Revitalize: Biblical keys to helping your church come alive again, by Andrew M. Davis

The old way of measuring a church’s success was to look at the four B’s—buildings, budgets, bodies, and baptisms, and if you were real successful—books and broadcasts. While church health is more than just numbers, the lack of numbers is often a key symptom of a church in crisis. That is when a church needs to be revitalized, to have new life breathed into its body.

Author, pastor, and professor Andrew M. Davis has written Revitalize: Biblical keys to helping your church come alive again, with the goal of offering practical insight into how to do just that. What is different about his book is that it is not only strategic and practical, but it is solidly biblical.

Davis starts by presenting the case that the church belongs to Christ and that God is able to speak life into dying churches. He then addresses 14 key principles necessary to breathe life back into the church: Embrace Christ’s ownership of the church; Be holy; Rely on God, not on yourself; Rely on God’s Word, not on techniques; Saturate the church in prayer; Cast a clear vision; Be humble toward opponents; Be courageous; Be patient; Be discerning; Wage war against discouragement; Develop and establish men as leaders; Become supple on worship; amd Embrace the two journeys of disciple-making.

Following each chapter, the author includes a list of “practical advice” as to how to implement the principle in the church.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2017 in Books, Church

 

What got you here won’t get you there

Book Review: How to Break Growth Barriers: Revise your role, Release your people, and Capture overlooked opportunities for your church, by Carl F. George and Warren Bird

Does your church want to grow? Are you willing to change your style of leadership in order to facilitate growth? Are you willing to adjust your role in order to help the church grow? These are the three essential questions dealt with in How to Break Growth Barriers: Revise your role, Release your people, and Capture overlooked opportunities for your church, by Carl F. George and Warren Bird. The book was originally written in 1993 and is now revised and rereleased in 2017.

The authors divide the book into three parts which focus on their essential questions. Part one focuses on the subject of vision. Does your church want to grow? What kind of vision are you casting as a leader? How can you grow and expand your vision? Part two tackles the issue of redefining your role as a leader. As a church grows, a pastor must be willing to hand off some of his ministry responsibilities to others. The pastor must go from doing everything to training and equipping others to share in the ministry. Part three addresses the questions of how to break specific growth barriers—200, 400, 800, and care barriers.

The book assumes that a pastor and church want to grow. It doesn’t address the biblical basis of growth or stress the importance of evangelism and discipleship in order to fulfill the great commission. Rather than convince church leaders of the need to grow, the authors focus more on the pragmatic issues of how to produce growth and change.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Books, Church

 

A thrilling conclusion to Joel Rosenberg’s J. B. Collins series

Book Review: Without Warning: A J. B. Collins Novel, by Joel C. Rosenberg

Like the previous books in the J. B. Collins series, Without Warning is a white-knuckle thrill ride you won’t be able to put down. It blends front-page headlines with thrilling suspense. It begins with an attack on U.S. Capitol during the President’s State of the Union address by ISIS forces and doesn’t let go until the final page.

Without Warning is the latest offering by author Joel C. Rosenberg. It is the third and final book in the series on the Islamic State involving New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins as the main character. The book picks up where the previous book, The First Hostage, leaves off.

In the first book in the series, The Third Target, Collins is reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists on an Arab-Israeli peace summit in Amman, Jordan. Israeli and Palestinian leaders are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for the survival of his kingdom. And the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured. The second book, The First Hostage, tells the thrilling story of the search for the President. In this book, J. B. Collins is part of a team searching for the ISIS leader, Abu Khalif, in an effort to bring him to justice. The hunt goes from the U.S. Capitol to Bar Harbor, Maine, to Tel Aviv to Cairo to Istanbul and beyond.

As Rosenberg has proven in his previous books, he has the unique ability to blend fiction and non-fiction. He weaves the reality of current events in the Mideast with a fast paced, believable story. The author also laces spiritual principles and a gospel message into the pages of the story. You find yourself on the edge of your chair wondering how the story will turn out.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network http://tyndaleblognetwork.com/ book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2017 in Books

 

A glimpse of God’s amazing grace

grace-is-greaterBook Review: Grace is Greater: God’s plan to overcome your past, redeem your pain, and rewrite your story, by Kyle Idleman

Pastor and author Kyle Idleman has penned another insightful and helpful book, this time offering insight and perspective on the grace of God. Rather than being a theological treatise, his book is aimed at helping his readers see and experience grace as if for the first time. As with his previous books, he digs into the subject by combining Scriptural teaching with his own story and the story of others.

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 is about the fact that grace is greater than our mistakes—our guilt, brokenness, and regrets. Part 2 explores the idea that grace is greater than our hurts—our wounds, bitterness, desire for vengeance, and resentment. Part 3 wraps up the discussion by stressing that grace is greater than our circumstances—our disappointments, weakness, and despair.

The book will help the reader to grasp the truth of God’s amazing grace. It is a truth that is best understood when you experience it.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Books, Theology