Saturday, December 12, 2015

Parables by John MacArthur


           I have reviewed some of Dr. John MacArthur's books in the past. The Pastor of Grace Community Church has a rich legacy of Biblical exposition and uncompromising integrity. So, when I was given his newest book "Parables" for free through the book review program for bloggers, available at I was looking forward to reading this work. The book is, as it's title describes, straight forward teaching on the parables of the Bible, those which the Lord Jesus Christ expounded in His teachings while on earth.
          First, true to form, Dr. MacArthur covers all of the material very thoroughly and with detailed explanations. His knowledge of history, culture, theology and languages gives a great depth to the stories and helps explain the context for many concepts which could be easily misunderstood. He is great at stressing the practical implications and applications of the parables, and challenges his readers to not just hear the word, but to do it.
          However, the draw backs I have with this book are not as much over the author as over the way the material is arranged in the volume. First, none of the chapter titles tell the name of the specific parable, not even as a sub-title to the chapter title. Second, none of the chapter titles lists the scripture reference for the particular parable, which would have helped a reader find a specific parable he was desiring to study. And last, on at least one occasion, (ie - where the author expounds on the rich man in hell in Luke 16), I did not agree with him referring to this story as a parable (as the author, himself, even admits that many others do not agree either) and therefore I believe it affects his explanation of the the story.
          Still, the book has value for the student of scripture and those wanting to understand the truths contained within the parables of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do actually recommend it for study, if the reader is aware of the areas I mentioned in this review that make it less easy to use as a study tool. Dr MacArthur still is a gifted writer and teacher and I look forward to delving into his works again in the future. And I trust that you will benefit from his rich knowledge of the scripture in the future.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

AD The Bible Continues, The Book Of Acts by David Jeremiah

          In 2015, a Bible mini-series aired called "AD - The Bible Continues" aired on network television, which gained quite a bit of popularity among both Christian and non-Christian crowds. Like all good television sagas that gather interest, marketing campaigns to promote the show began to rapidly multiply amidst the ensuing chatter about it's release. And one of the areas that inevitably evolved from the continuing propaganda was a couple of books that had been written, connected to the subject. One of those books by Dr. David Jeremiah, similarly titled "A.D. The Bible Continues, The Book Of Acts" was given to me for free to review, through the book review program for bloggers, which is available at
          Dr. David Jeremiah, the Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, has authored numerous best-selling books in the past. This book, however, is somewhat unique, in that it is not specifically a teaching book. Instead, contained within it's pages is the entire text of the twenty-eight chapters of the Book of Acts, as found in the Holy Bible, along with some color photographs from the show and periodic character sketches of the main characters found in this dramatic Bible book. And, for those not familiar with the Bible or it's contents, Acts tells the historical tale of the first few decades of the Christian church, birthed after Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
          First, the presentation of the book is outstanding. It is compact, fairly short by book standards and very classy in appearance. The translation for the text is the New Living Translation, which is very simple to read and understand. There is also a brief introduction, a prologue and an epilogue found in the book, written by Dr. Jeremiah specifically which highlight key elements of the Christian faith and challenge us on how to respond to the message presented by this historical story.
         All in all, it was excellent. But, please don't be expecting detailed teaching in this volume. I think it would make a great gift for someone, and the packaging for the product is so well done that I actually think the publishers should consider if another volume might be marketable for a different book of the Bible, with or without a TV show to promote it. I do have to caution the reader, however, that two books with similar titles were written about this TV series. The book I reviewed is not to be confused with "AD - The Bible Continues, The Revolution That Changed The World", also authored by Dr. David Jeremiah. The Book of Acts is part of our Christian heritage, and it would do all of us good to study it, learn it and live it's principles as the early disciples did in their generation.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Glory Days by Max Lucado

         I must confess, I had never read a Max Lucado book prior to this month. Even though Max is a popular Pastor, speaker and best selling author of dozens of books, I had never found anything that I wanted to read specifically. That is, until now. I recently received a copy of "Glory Days" to read for free, thought the book review program for bloggers, available at recently and began to read. The views expressed are entirely my own.
         The book is a series of lessons found in the Bible book of Joshua. Rather than going in depth into every single verse in the story, the author chooses to discuss major sections of the chapters, and still manages to cover a significant portion of the material. The subtitle 'Living Your Promised Land Life Now' is a concise statement of the focus of the pages, to help believers to live the life that God intends for them to enjoy now, while on earth. Through the stories he elaborates on from the book of Joshua, Max Lucado systematically helps others learn the things we'll encounter on the way to 'promised land living'.
         Some of the nice features of the book include study questions at the end. The questions focus on each individual chapter, and are divided into three parts, based on whether you feel like you're living in your 'wilderness', 'crossing moment' or 'promised land'. And, in the hardback copy I obtained, there was even several pages of preview for Max Lucado's new devotional book, "God Is With You Everyday".
         Overall, it was an enjoyable read and very simple. I think that some of the author's Pastoral experience comes in his handling of the issues people face daily, and he addresses them with compassion and sensitivity, including death, failure and loss. If you want encouragement and hope that God is with you through your own wilderness and that He desires even better for your life, this might be a good read for you.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Good Things by Kevin Gerald

 Life can tend to be negative, at least if you view it that way. With all of the pain, suffering, abuse, loss and hardship that everyone endures, it can sometimes be a challenge to "look on the bright side". Author and Pastor Kevin Gerald, in his new book, Good Things, does not deny that there can be trials in this life. He, instead, endeavors to help us adjust our focus in life, to see God, who is good, and to expect good things in our lives.
          Kevin Gerald is the Pastor of Champions Centre in the state of Washington. He has previously authored other books, but his latest effort is an attempt to help us view life from a different perspective, with the expectation of good. The book has 19 chapters, divided into 5 major parts. He begins with the foundation that God is in the good, and moves on to the origin of favor. He ends with training us to expect a life of good things, of favor, of not settling for less. The book does not ignore the pain and suffering faced by many, but instead discusses it openly and allows us to see how even these things can be used to bring about good, because of the grace of God.
          I particularly like his use of personal and applicable illustrations. He communicates through the pages well and takes you on a journey with him to discover the goodness sometimes missed when traveling the road of life. For those looking for deep Bible study, you won't find it here. But for those looking for encouragement, a new perspective and hope for the future, in spite of a rocky past, this may be worth your time to read.
         This book was provided for free to me through the program for bloggers, available at The views expressed are my own. I hope that Kevin Gerald continues to encourage others and shares scriptural insights from his years of experience as a leader. We all can greatly benefit from more good things coming our way.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

KJV Foundation Study Bible


     The KJV (King James Version) Foundations Study Bible was given to me for free as a part of the program for bloggers available at As with most study Bibles, the notes are rather thorough and I found it to cover most passages that someone would want answers to, as they read the scriptures. I have a variety of Bibles in my collection and this was another welcome addition.
      First, the edition I had was a hard bound one. It was well bound, but the potential for that binding to break after continual use is a good possibility. You may wish to check online if leather editions are available for use. Second, the print was a decent sized font and made it not too difficult to follow along. It does have references to other passages, but on the bottom as opposed to a center column reference, which would have taken more space. Each book of the Bible has a brief section listing the author, title, key verse and theme, kind of as a 'springboard' to help study the book. It includes other features as well, like a concordance, the words of Jesus in red and full color maps.
     You my wonder who did the notes, as did I, or what theological positions they hold on end-times, the Gifts of the Spirit, Calvinism vs. Arminianism, and other subjects. But, I find nowhere in the version I was given which indicates this information to me, nor was I able to find it online. Reviewing the notes in passages like 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 12-13 and other places of scripture left me unsure as to the position the writers held in their theology. I think this may have been done intentionally, making the study Bible more appealing to various groups and avoiding theological controversy. Still, it would have been nice to know who wrote the notes.
      I think it would be a good starter study Bible for someone very interested in learning more about the scriptures. It will help guide through some basic passages, give an idea of the reasons the authors were writing and provide a map for further study and growth in the Christian faith. I hope that you will read, enjoy and apply the truths to your life each day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Truly Free by Robert Morris

        Everyone at one time or another in their life has struggles in various areas that they need to overcome, and Christians are no exception. However, sometimes people struggle in these areas for long periods of time and freedom seems to elude them, no matter how hard they try. Robert Morris' new book, Truly Free, addresses the challenges that face people daily and offers hope and deliverance from the snares that entangle even the most sincere people.
        Throughout the book, Pastor Robert, the founder and Pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, shares some of his own battles that he has face throughout the years, and tells of the freedom that he found in the pages of scripture and applying the principles that the scriptures declare. The book discusses many topics, including pride, bitterness, greed, lust, past wounds and the battle in our mind. Everyone will identify with at least one, if not several of the subjects that are mentioned in each chapter. These, combined with the personal experiences he shares from himself and others give practical illustrations of how to be free from these problems.
        Deliverance is a valid scriptural subject and Pastor Robert outlines his position quite simply and straightforwardly. However, one area that I feel was weak in the book was the tendency to attribute too many areas to demonic spirits, rather than to works of the flesh. Biblically speaking, while Jesus did address demons often in His ministry, not everything was attributed to the devil. The book perhaps places an over emphasis on demon spirits as opposed to the victory of overcoming the flesh. However, the remedy he offers for these areas is sill good medicine, such as prayer, the word of God and seeking help from others.
        I did receive this book for free through the book review program for bloggers, available at and the views expressed are my own. I do recommend this resource if you have not yet found the freedom available through the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus stated that 'you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free'. I trust that this book will be one tool that God uses to bring freedom into your spirit, soul and body.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Finding Your Way Back to God by Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson


         Dave Ferguson and his brother Jon are the founders and Pastors at Community Christian Church near Chicago. They have many years of ministry experience and have written a new book called "Finding Your Way back to God", which I received for free through the book review program for bloggers that is available at The views expressed are my own.
        The book uses the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 to elaborate the various points it proclaims in it's pages. It is divided into five sections, each with the subject of 'awakening' at the forefront, including awakening to longing, regret, help, love and life. Through some of the scriptures found in the story of the Prodigal Son, and many tales of lives who were altered by the principles discussed in each chapter, the authors weave a tale of self discovery, ending with a life that most people desire, but don't often see. They also include a study guide at the end, with questions for discussion about the topics that are addressed.
        Finding Your Way Back to God is probably very good for a non-believer or Christian who feels they have stumbled beyond restoration. And many of the stories in it's pages tell of these type of experiences. For that reason it will be a benefit to many people. I, for one, however, am becoming more and more disturbed by the trend in Christian literature that has become more stories and less scripture. While the authors do use the Prodigal Son as the backdrop of their book, it is not a book based on the Bible. It is a book that contains scriptures to support it's points, similar to the way we might use famous quotes which illustrate what we're trying to say.
         I do not desire to criticize anyone, for I think the writing style is very good and they build their points from chapter to chapter well. But, if you're like me and are desiring more Biblical literature, this won't be for you. If you do, however, need to find your way back to God, I hope that you do read this book, that it's simple enough to help you and that you grow in the wisdom and knowledge of God, and in relationship with Jesus Christ, His Son, the Savior of the world who died for your sins and rose again.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Life Is by Juddah Smith


          What is life all about? What is living life supposed to be about? Have you ever had any of these questions come into your mind once in awhile? Chances are, you have experienced those wanderings from time to time. And it is questions like those which may attract some readers to Pastor Judah Smith's new book "Life Is" where the author explores some of the intricacies of life from a Biblical worldview and guides his readers to the right direction for their answers to life's probing questions.
          Judah Smith is the Pastor of the City Church in Seattle, Washington. He has written before, including the best-selling "Jesus Is". Following the pattern of the title set in his past work, "Life Is" is divided into 4 sections and 16 chapters. The sections each highlight an aspect of what life is all about, including how life is to love and to be loved, life is to trust God in every moment, life is to be at peace with God and yourself and life is to enjoy God. The chapters elaborate on each concept.
          First, Judah is a gifted communicator, which is one of the reasons he is well known in the United States and around the world. Second, he is very strong on his use of personal illustrations and rather funny in employing them throughout the book. The book is entertaining and simple, which is the desire many people share in choosing a good book. I found the Biblical content to be a little weaker than I expected, considering the rich spiritual background and reputation Judah and his church have in the Christian world. But, nonetheless, it was still a good read and enjoyable.
          Ultimately, life is about Jesus. God made us in His image and desires for us to know Him and enjoy the life He created for us. Only by aligning ourselves with God's thoughts and intentions for life, will we be able to enjoy it to the full. I hope "Life Is" will make this end more achievable for you and will put you on the path to an abundant life. This book was given to me, free of charge, through the Book Look book review program for bloggers, available at, and the views expressed are my own.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jesus Continued by J.D. Greear


        Who is the Holy Spirit? What does He do? And is it true, as the subtitle of J.D. Greear's new book "Jesus Continued" suggests that the "Holy Spirit inside you is better than Jesus beside you'? These are questions that the author deals with in "Jesus Continued...why the Holy Spirit inside you is better than Jesus beside you" and he offers a refreshingly unique study of the Holy Spirit's role in the life of a believer.
        J. D. Greear is the Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He holds a Phd in Systematic Theology and has authored previous works, including "Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart". His newest release is a balanced look at the role that the Holy Spirit plays in a believer's life and how we can learn His ways to better grow in our relationship with the Lord.
        The book has sixteen chapters, divided into three sections, which address overarching issues about the missing Spirit, experiencing the Spirit and seeking the Holy Spirit. This is not a book about wild, charismatic fanaticism. Nor is it a treatise on cessationism. The author believes in the expression of the Holy Spirit today through spiritual gifts and graces, but emphasizes the broader spectrum of His purpose in a Christian's life.
        In style, this book was not easy reading for me, but I do believe it was worth it. He approaches the subject of the Holy Spirit from a balanced view. His personal stories scattered in the book help illustrate his points nicely, and I was particularly impressed with the way he addresses the leadings of the Holy Spirit in several places. You'll have to read to discover why, but if you like your 'guidance' to be very 'cookie cutter orderly', then you might not enjoy his conclusions. I believe the book will help you if you want to grow deeper in your knowledge of the Holy Spirit and will help you to experience Him more in everyday life. This book was given to me, free of charge, through the Book Look book review program for bloggers, available at, and the views expressed are my own.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Stealing From God by Frank Turek

      Perhaps you've found it difficult to discuss Christianity with atheists. Maybe some of their arguments have even taken you off guard and made you wonder how to respond to their queries and their critiques. Dr. Frank Turek has recently written a unique book entitled "Stealing From God" which discusses some of the most common arguments most atheists propose, while demonstrating through solid reasoning why these same arguments require God in order to support their own positions. It is a thought provoking book that challenges the conventional thinking of skeptics, while equipping the mind of the believer to see the impossibility of some atheistic claims apart from the knowledge of God.
       Dr. Turek is the President of "Cross Examined" and the co-author of "I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist". He is not afraid to tackle questions that some might consider tough to argue and has debated at numerous campus and other public venues. It is his depth of scholarship, combined with his simplicity of reasoning that make his arguments worth reading and exploring carefully. He even includes small excerpts of public debates where some of the objections he addresses have been raised by others.
       Using the acronym CRIMES, he proceeds in the chapters of the book to examine the areas he considers some of the major places where atheists 'steal from God' to propose their doubts. In areas including, causality, reason, information and intentionality, morality, evil and science, each topic is probed by often quoting the words of the critics themselves to carefully articulate their ideas. But, then, with a surgeon's precision, he cuts to the real root of the trouble and gives the diagnosis that identifies the ailment for each one. It is a very thorough treatise of truth.
       The only area I think would have made the book an easier read would be in summarizing earlier in the book. He concludes by reviewing some of the main points addressed in 1-2 pages, which were simpler in form that the pages of material used to explain them. But, for those familiar with this type of debate, it may not be that unusual. I also like his presentation of CS Lewis "Four Point Case for Mere Christianity" and appreciated his willingness to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My recommendations are for those who want to learn better how to defend their faith, for some who think they have legitimate arguments, and for the individuals who are not afraid to tackle the questions which may baffle some, but are in reality "Stealing From God".