Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review

Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus

John Eldredge
Faith Words / 2011

Reviewed by Diane Busch
It's all about Jesus - he is the beautiful outlaw. He is considered an outlaw because many of the things he said & did were either not "lawful" (like picking grain to eat on the sabbath) or not expected or not acceptable (like talking to a Samaritan woman). Eldredge shows us a different side of Jesus that is sometimes neglected or incorrectly portrayed. He makes us think about the reality of things we may often gloss over as we read or not take time to think about. The humanness of Jesus, his humbleness to come to earth and live in a human body, and to be limited by that body. Having to walk 60 miles to Jerusalem rather than just showing up there.  Getting tired, hungry, thirsty, etc.

Jesus surprised many people by the things he said; by his personality; by his non-conformity.  It seems there is always more we can learn about Jesus.  This has been a great read leading up to Easter.

Book Review

Fatherless (fiction)
Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner
 Faithwords / 2012

Reviewed by Diane Busch
This is Dr. Dobson's first venture into fiction.  This well-written novel captures your attention and keeps it.  There are many levels to the plot going on at the same time.

Fatherless takes place about 40 years in the future, when it is no longer considered normal to be married with children. Those who do have children are called " breeders". All pregnancies are tested for defects and any problems are weeded out before birth.

People who are handicapped or old are considered to be burdens to families or society and are called “debits”. The Youth Initiative gives them the ability to go to transition clinics where they transition their estates to the next of kin and are euthanized.  Christians are in the minority and are looked down upon by those in the world who are more “advanced in their thinking”. 

Fatherless is thought provoking fiction.  Great for book club discussions.  I suggest by the way the book ends that there may be a sequel coming.

Book Review

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians DebateTORN: Rescuing the Gospel from the gays -vs.- Christian debate
by Justin Lee
Jericho Books / 2012

Reviewed by Diane Busch

To be honest, the reason I read this book is because my pastor encouraged our church staff to read it.  And I’m glad I did.  I was educated.  I came away sympathetic and compassionate toward Justin and other Christians who find themselves in this situation of being Christ followers who have same-sex attraction.  Formerly, I didn’t know that could occur.  Not knowing anyone personally who is gay, I have only thought of homosexuality as a choice and as a sin.  

I was also educated about the definition of the word “gay” - that someone who says they are gay only means they have same-sex attraction, and not that they necessarily act on that attraction.  

From reading this book I have changed my attitude toward gays and lesbians--to not be condemning in thought if I am introduced or find out.  To love everyone in Jesus’ name and not be judgmental.  There are no levels or degrees of sin--a liar is no less of a sinner than a thief, etc.  And if a gay man is just being tempted by his attraction and no sin is committed, than is that any different than a thief who is tempted to steal but does not?  Temptation is not a sin.  Even Jesus was tempted.

We still don’t know all the answers.  These issues will continue to be discussed in our churches.  We will continue to be Christ followers who read scripture and pray for wisdom from God.  We will love God and love people.  All people.  Jesus did.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Releases

8 Important Money Decisions for Every Couple
Russ Crosson
Harvest House Publishers, February 2013
Discover how to achieve economic harmony in your marriage - no matter what your financial situation! Offering insights into money and its impact on relationships, Russ reveals specific areas of fiscal management where conflict usually occurs including working too much, why wives look for employment, the problem of debt, making sound investments, wise giving, and understanding insurance.

Kings & Queens CD
Audio Adrenaline
Fair Trade, March 2013
After five years away, your favorite rock band is back! Joined by a few new faces, this talented group has a common passion to be the voice for orphans and to celebrate God's transforming power. Includes "The Answer," "This Is God," "Change My Name," "City on a Hill," "Believer," "Twenty Seventeen," "Fire Never Sleeps Free," the title track, and more.

Revealing Jesus: A Live Worship Experience CD w/DVD
Darlene Zschech
Intergrity Music, March 2013
The long awaited live worship project from iconic worship leader Darlene Zschech is releasing just in time for Easter and Mother's Day 2013. Revealing Jesus is Darlene's first worship recording in the U.S., and was produced by four time Grammy winner and Gold selling worship artist Israel Houghton at the Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to Israel, Darlene is joined by friends Michael W. Smith and Kari Jobe as co-writers and performers on the project.

Passion: Let the Future Begin CD
Sixstepsrecords, March 2013
Recorded live at the Passion 2013 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, this praise album features your favorite worship artists performing songs that unite today's generation in spiritual awakening! Includes "God's Great Dance Floor" (Chris Tomlin); "The Lord Our God" (Kristian Stanfill); "Jesus, Only Jesus" (Matt Redman); "Revelation Song" (Kari Jobe); "My Delight Is in You" (Christy Nockels); and more.

Unconditional DVD
Provident Music Distribution, March 2013
Samantha Crawford (Lynn Collins, John Carter) is living a storybook life. That is, until her husband is killed in a senseless act of violence, causing her to lose her faith and her will to live. But will a death-defying encounter with two children---and a reunion with her childhood best friend, Joe Bradford (Michael Ealy, Common Law)---bring things into proper perspective again? Unconditional is inspired by true events. Dove approved (12+). Rated PG-13. Approx. 98 minutes.

The Power of the Resurrection DVD
Vci Entertainment, February 2013
Christ's last days are seen through the eyes of Simon Peter. Peter has been imprisoned, along with other followers of Christ. He is remembering the passion, death and resurrection. A young boy, one of his cell mates, wants to learn Christ and his teachings. Peter tells the young boy the story, beginning with Palm Sunday. As his narrative unfolds, the drama comes to vivid life. It shows the transformation of Peter the coward to Peter "The Rock." They young boy can now find the strength to forgive his persecutors. Peter has told him of a better place and of a man who waits in heaven for true believers. 1958. Approx. 60 minutes.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Releases

More or Less
Jeff Shinabarger
David C Cook, March 2013
What is "enough"? What would happen if we gave away our excess food, money, and clutter? Encouraging you to think about your consumer choices differently, Shinabarger helps you see generosity as a chance to experience freedom from greed in a selfish world; and guides you in making small changes now that will have a huge impact later. 224 pages, hardcover from Cook.

Alter Ego
Craig Groeschel
Zondervan, February 2013
Who do you think you are? This question may be harder to answer than you think. The world tells us one thing--that we want to be well-known, accomplished, or successful. Our friends and family tell us another--you're a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a daughter or son. Our own hearts often tells us something else--you're empty, lonely, depressed, vain, or angry, and always will be. While some of these labels may be true, they are not the whole story. They don't reflect the deepest part of ourselves, and answer our questions for purpose and meaning. Only God can tell you who you truly are. Not the world, not your family and friends, not even yourself sometimes. In Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are, Craig Groeschel believes that we only discover our true identity when we lay down our perceptions of ourselves, and allow Him to tell us who we are. We have a new identity in Christ and once we uncover what that is, our lives will never be the same. Place your false labels and self-deception on the altar of God's truth. It's time to embrace your altar ego and become a living sacrifice, wholly surrendered to God. Are you willing to take the journey?

Damascus Countdown (The Twelfth Imam Series #3)
Joel C. Rosenberg
Tyndale, March 2013
All eyes are on the Middle East. Israel has successfully launched a first strike on Iran, taking out all of their nuclear sites and six of their nuclear warheads-and causing The Twelfth Imam to order a full-scale retaliation. US President William Jackson threatens to support a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Jewish State for unprovoked and unwarranted acts of aggression. Meanwhile, CIA operative David Shirazi has infiltrated the Iranian regime and intercepted information indicating that two Iranian nuclear warheads survived the attack and have been moved to a secure and undisclosed location. In danger not only from the ongoing missile strikes on Iran but also from the increasingly hostile and suspicious governments of multiple countries, David and his team are in a race against time to find the remaining nuclear warheads before disaster strikes.

The Chance
Karen Kingsbury
Howard Books, March 2013
When Ellie and Nolan were kids, they put letters they had written to each other in a metal box, buried it beneath an oak tree, and vowed to return 11 years later. Now Ellie is a poverty-stricken single mom, and Nolan is an NBA star. Will their reunion heal their hearts---and restore their faith?

Jesus Firm Foundation CD: Hymns of Worship
Various Artists
Provident, March 2013
A dozen time-honored hymns of faith---now reimagined by your favorite artists! Includes "I Surrender All (All to Jesus)" (Casting Crowns); "Be Still, My Soul (In You I Rest)" (Kari Jobe); "Jesus Paid It All" (Newsboys); "It Is Well (O My Soul)" (Brandon Heath); "Blessed Assurance" (Matthew West); "Cornerstone" (Hillsong Live); "Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus" (Nichole Nordeman); and more.
Need You Now CD
Curb Records, February 2013
Delivering the signature sound she's known for, Plumb offers her infectious artistry in praise of God's faithfulness. Her upbeat lyrical witness to his providence and grace includes "Invisible," "Drifting," "One Drop," "I Want You Here," "Say Your Name," "Unlovable," "Chocolate & Ice Cream," "I Don't Deserve You," "Cage," "At Arm's Length," and the chart-topping title track.

VeggieTales The Little House That Stood DVD
Big Idea Productions, March 2013
When three little pigs stroll into town looking for building contractors, they meet one with a plan---and two without a clue. Larry builds with hay and Mr. Lunt with bricks. Only Bob follows plans from the Master Builder's Handbook. Whom will the piglets choose to construct their homes? Plus, a bonus story reveals what happened before Humpty cracked! Approx. 45 minutes. Closed-captioned.