Saturday, June 30, 2007

Playing Cupid

Miss Match by Erynn Mangum. To read the full review of Miss Match, you'll have to visit YA Books Central. But here's a brief snippet:

Lauren Holbrook is a twenty-something who is content with her life. She’s got a best friend, Brandon, who loves her in spite of her quirks. She has a fun job as a photographer. She has an addiction to chocolate and coffee that can’t be matched. She is happy living at home with her dad. Quite satisfied to leave all the love and romance to other people. Not that she’s not interested in watching romance. She can quote Pride and Prejudice and Emma and countless other movies almost verbatim. No, what Lauren is most interested in is matchmaking. She sees perfect couples right and left. She thinks she has quite a knack at playing Cupid. But as Lauren finds out, sometimes God has other ideas. And romance isn’t quite as predictable as it seems.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

It's a God Thing.

Today's post isn't a review of anything. Other than perhaps a review of my sanity/insanity. Depending on who you talk to.

First of all, Amanda from A Patchwork of Books has honored me with a nomination/recognition: Rockin' Girl Blogger.



Amanda, know this. You have brightened up a very gloomy day. It is nice to be appreciated and recognized. And it couldn't have come at a better time. Hence just one of the many reasons this post is called "It's a God Thing."

There have been three books that have been instrumental in my life the past week or so.

Gods & Kings
by Lynn Austin has fueled me with a fiery righteous indignation of the church at large--and its increasing tolerance to change the gospel message to suit these new so-called "postmodern" times. Its willingness to tolerate anything and everything in the hopes that by not preaching biblically (in a clear manner) that they will appeal to a new crowd and have more and more people filling the pews and contributing to the offering plate. The disregard for the Bible's clear teachings and a need to make everything "relevant" and "new" for this generation. If you've read the book, you know Uriah and Ahaz are the bad guys. And I see a lot of modern-day Uriah's around. Some of them even in pulpits of large churches.

The second book that has impacted me has been Taking Back The Good Book by Woodrow Kroll. There are not enough words to say how much I love this book. It is so a God Thing. He again has fueled with me righteous indignation at the church's complacency and tolerance with complete and total ignorance when it comes to the Bible. The book shows how both inside and outside of churches--in all denominations--God's Word is being ignored and no one cares. No one. Preachers have stopped preaching the Bible. Members have stopped reading the Bible. Gospel truths are either unknown or unproclaimed. It's sad. Really sad to see how large a problem this is. It's sadder still to see that very few actually care enough to do anything about it. I've read this book. I've marked it up. I've shared passages with my sister. And of course my mother read it word for word. I wish EVERY SINGLE person would read this book. It could make a HUGE impact on the christian community if people started to take a stand as individuals.

The third book that has strengthened and enlightened me is R.C. Sproul's A Taste of Heaven. Really few books could have been more timely in my life. I read this book yesterday afternoon. In a single sitting. I learned new things. I felt convicted of certain things. But more importantly I realized just how crucial biblical worship is for the church. And how more often than not, we are getting it wrong. And again, not caring that we're getting it wrong. I feel I have learned so much from this book (and the Taking Back the Good Book) that it is immeasurable.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

An Army of One? Two?

Here's my themesong of the week. In light of my church battles. The sad thing. A really sad thing. A person shouldn't have to pray for a RIOT to occur in their very own church and with their very own pastor.

R.I.O.T. (Righteous Invasion of Truth)

Webster's dictionary say a riot is like an unrestrained
Uproar in a public place, turbulent right in your face
With the facts we're gonna spread God's Word
And attack every lie you've heard
Like the doctrines of men that are still fallen prey
To the silvery sword of God's Word today
It's true, we look to heaven and our mansions in the sky
And it's true we've got the gaze of eternity in our eyes
But before this church is raptured
There's no way we're gonna leave here quiet
We want a righteous invasion of truth
We want a R.I.O.T.

Jesus, we're callin' on Your name
Jesus, we're gonna see a change
Jesus, we're taking on Goliath
With a righteous invasion of truth
We're want a R.I.O.T.

Righteous - to conform to the Bible
Invasion an armed attack
Of truth - the real state of affairs
Like a church on the move that will not double back
From the fight, 'cause we're salt and light
And we thrive on Jesus, the theme of our lives
And here's the spin
Love nothin' but God, hate nothin' but sin
It's true, now's the time to win nations for the Lord
And it's true, now's the hour, the saints must go to war
We'll preach it, we'll sing it
We'll shout it, we'll cry it
'Cause desperate times need desperate action and that means
We need a R.I.O.T.

Satan is a madman, a relentless entity
He's the source of every plague known to the human family
We understand the mortal conflict in which we are engaged
And the gates of hell come crashing down when the saints of God begin to praise

Jesus, we're callin' on Your name
Jesus, we're gonna see a change
Jesus, we're taking on Goliath
With a righteous invasion of truth
We want a R.I.O.T.

Jesus, we're callin' on Your name
Jesus, we need to see a change
Jesus, we're taking on Goliath
With a righteous invasion of truth
We want a R.I.O.T.

With a righteous invasion of truth
We want a R.I.O.T.

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Let me hear somebody say...

From Carman's Radically Saved

Choose you this day,
Tell me, who will you serve?
Now is the time to stand up,
You gotta let your voice be heard
You gotta come out from among the rest
You gotta tell the gospel tale
Now you tell’em
Black is Black and White is White
And Hell is hot
And Sin ain’t right
And God is holy
And Christ is coming
And righteousness will prevail

I tell it to you once
I tell it to you twice
The only thing is gonna change this world
Is the gospel of Jesus Christ
Weepy saints won’t survive
The Spiritual warfare
If you know that Jesus is the only way
Let me hear somebody say, YEAH!!!

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A Taste of Heaven


A Taste of Heaven by R.C. Sproul, 2006. (Reformation Trust)

A Taste of Heaven is an engaging read that asks readers to contemplate and evaluate their own lives, their own churches, and to some extent the Christian community and culture at large. To those unfamiliar with R.C. Sproul's writings and ministry, A Taste of Heaven is the perfect place to start. It is both reader-friendly, and thought-provoking. (I would also suggest reading The Holiness of God as a nice introduction to Sproul.) But to those already familiar with R.C. Sproul's work let me just state that this work is one of his more approachable works. You don't need a doctorate degree to comprehend and appreciate it.

The preface clearly states Sproul's intentions regarding the purpose of A Taste of Heaven. He believes, and rightly so in my opinion, that today's churches "have made our worship services more secular than sacred, more common than uncommon, more profane than holy." (11) What he calls for is for churches to search the Scriptures for principles and instructions regarding worship instead of relying on "personal preferences, whims, or marketing strategies." (11) The remaining of the book outlines those principles Sproul has gleamed from the Bible that he feels the church should consider when designing their own liturgies or services.

In chapter one, "Forms of Worship" R.C. Sproul begins by examining some of the arguments in the worship debate of today's modern churches and denominations. Whether services should be liturgical or formal or informal, etc. But he quickly concludes that all services have some forms, and that it doesn't matter what you call it. A form is a form. And that form should have some biblical basis. But that leads Sproul to another question altogether. What place does the Old Testament have in the church? In the worship service? Does the New Testament make the Old Testament irrelevant or void? What truths about God and what truths about worship can be learned from the Old Testament? These are some of the questions, Sproul formulates in this chapter.

"The issue is not what stimulates or excites us. Though that is not an insignificant or unimportant issue, our overriding concern needs to be what is pleasing to God. The question we need to ask is this: 'If God Himself were to design worship, what would it look like?'” (14-15)

"I believe we can discern principles in the patterns of worship that God revealed from heaven to His people in the Old Testament, and that those principles can and should inform the patterns our worship follows." (19)

So the remaining chapters Sproul examines both Old and New Testament patterns of worship. In chapters two through four he mainly focuses on the Old Covenant. (He doesn't exclude the New Testament and/or the New Covenant. But he spends much time focusing on Judaism and the Hebrew nation.) He describes that worship primarily involved three aspects: praise, prayer, and sacrifice. In describing the old way of worship, Sproul makes assertions about what applies and doesn't apply to the modern church. For example, while animal sacrifice is abolished, living sacrificially is not. (See Romans 12). While the outward forms and requirements might have changed, the heart of the matter has not. God still want those who worship him to love him with all their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

"The all-encompassing criterion for acceptable sacrifice before God in the Old Testament was the posture and the attitude of the person making the sacrifice." (28)

"That’s what worship is—the presenting of ourselves on the altar of praise, so that what we think, what we do, and what we live is motivated by a desire to honor God." (46)

In chapter five, "Symbolism in Worship" R.C. Sproul begins to lay the foundation for the remaining chapters. In Chapters six through nine, Sproul examines the church's two foundational sacraments: baptism and communion. These chapters focus more on the New Testament instructions for worship. (But again, the Old Testament does play a role in this discussion as well.) These sacraments are widely debated between denominations. And for those seeking additional resources in understanding the arguments, I would recommend reading Doctrines that Divide by Erwin Lutzer.

Chapter ten, "The Whole Person" steps away from the previous chapters to some extent and shifts the focus away from what the Bible prescribes for the worship service and instead presents what the Bible has to say about the worshiper. (This has been covered to some degree in earlier chapters, but it now becomes a main focus.) While Sproul stresses the importance of worshiping God with your mind in truth, he also introduces the concept of how important it is to worship God with your whole being--through all of your senses--and not just your mind. This gave me something to think about, since most of the time authors, in my opinion, are saying that there is too much emphasis on feeling and not on the mind.

In chapters eleven through thirteen, Sproul focuses on how we as believers can worship God using our five senses. For example, he focuses on the visual in chapter eleven. How important it is for church structures and interiors to be visually beautiful and pleasing. He even addresses how the preacher's attire can increase/decrease the atmosphere of worship. (That is something I certainly wasn't expecting to find here.) In chapter twelve, he focuses on the sounds of worship. What should worship music sound like? He urges people to be as open-minded as they can when it comes to instruments--since Psalm 150 clearly states that God is worshiped through all sorts of musical instruments--but he also stresses the importance of lyrics. It is extremely important that all lyrics--whether in praise chorus or a traditional hymn--be doctrinally sound. So worship leaders should be discerning when it comes to selection. But traditional isn't "better" than contemporary and vice verso. Chapter thirteen addresses the remaining senses--touch, smell, and taste.

A Taste of Heaven is a readable book that offers practical insight into how to worship God.

Some churches take the position that anything that’s not prohibited in Scripture is acceptable for use in the worship of the church. Other churches have a principle that governs worship: the regulative principle. It says that only that which is authorized by Scripture is legitimate as a form of worship. (However, there’s a great debate about what it means to say that Scripture authorizes something. Must Scripture authorize something explicitly or can something be inferred by reasonable inference from the text of Scripture?) This controversy has caused many of us to practice the philosophy of the second glance, that is, to look again to the Scriptures to discern, if possible, what principles we can find there that would lead us and guide us in our worship, and at the same time restrict us from a godless type of experimentation in order to achieve a sense of the presence of God. That is what I am trying to do in this book—find Scriptural principles that should inform our worship. (129)

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Divine Appointment

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

THE DIVINE APPOINTMENT
(Howard Books June 5, 2007)
by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jerome Teel is a graduate of Union University, where he received his JD, cum laude, from the Ole Miss School of Law. He is actively involved in his church, local charities, and youth sports.

He has always loved legal-suspense novels and is a political junkie. He is also the author of The Election, another political thriller that we reviewed November of '06.

Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children...Brittney, Trey, and Matthew...and they reside in Tennessee where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

"They aren't hiding just one something, but a bunch of somethings..."


Small town southern lawyer, Elijah Faulkner is a dying breed...an attorney that actually takes pleasure in fighting injustice by working hard for the little guy. But when he takes on a case to defend a philandering doctor with a pregnant wife in a seemingly open-and-shut murder trial, Eli is not so sure he is on the 'right' side.

Back in Washington D.C., supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative President Richard Wallace to impact the direction of the highest court in the land. He believes God put him in the presidency for just such a time as this...to make a Divine Appointment. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.

A lobbyist with a vendetta, a small-time Mafioso, an investigative reporter with a Watergate complex, and a powerful Washington political machine combine to create a fast-paced suspense novel that explores the anatomy of a murder, and the ripple effect that it creates across the country.

"Jerome Teel has crafted an intriguing political thriller...nice twists and turns to keep you reading. he paints vivid mental pictures that bring characters and locales to life."
--Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee's 7th District

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blog Ratings

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

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My Favorite

For some reason the lyrics below aren't quite the ones I remember. And the video on this page--the PBS page--shows Mr. Rogers singing different words. So my request is that everyone goes to this page and hear the real words.

There are many ways to say I love you.
There are many ways to say I care about you.
Many ways, many ways,
Many ways to say I love you.

There's the singing ways to say I love you.
There's the singing something someone really likes to hear.
The singing way, the singing way,
The singing way to say I love you.

Cleaning up a room can say I love you.
Hanging up a coat before you're asked to.
Drawing special pictures for the holidays
And making plays.

You'll find many ways to say I love you.
You'll find many ways to understand what love is.
Many ways, many ways,
Many ways to say I love you.

Singing, cleaning, drawing, being understanding,
Love you.

Read more...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Mister Rogers



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Monday, June 25, 2007

The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers

Hollingsworth, Amy. 2005. The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers.

This was not my first time to read The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers. I first "read" it on audio cd. I can't remember if this is the first time to "read" it in book format or not. But I do know that my first impressions were more favorable. I remember really loving this book. Loving it. But the second (or perhaps third) time around, I can only say that I enjoyed it. I still think it's a good book. But I'm not as 'in love' with it as before. The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers is half-memoir of Amy Hollingsworth and family and half tribute to Mister Rogers. So it was enjoyable, but it would have been more enjoyable to have more Mister Rogers.

Do I recommend this book? Yes. If you loved Mister Rogers then you'll enjoy this book.




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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Can We Trust The Gospels

Can We Trust The Gospels? by Mark D. Roberts, 2007.

I have a feeling this review will really be more about talking about the book then reviewing it. But whatever will be, will be. I had a hard time deciding if I even wanted to read a book called Can We Trust the Gospels? Since the answer is so easily apparent. Can We Trust the Gospels? Of course. It's a question that almost any believer should be able to answer without hesitation. And yet, that is making some assumptions on my part. That is assuming that everyone is like me. And they're not. No two people are alike. And so for some, this book may be of interest and may prove useful in answering some questions or doubts. So while I didn't have any practical need to read this book, I finally was able to concede the point that maybe there are people out there who do need it.

For me, answering this question has always been one of faith. If you believe in God, then you shouldn't have a problem in believing that the Bible is the Word of God. If you believe in God, then you shouldn't have a problem believing in the miracles that the Bible records. If you believe in God, then you shouldn't have a problem with the Bible being both written by human authors and inspired (God-breathed) by God. It's a God-thing. Some things you just have to accept by faith. I've never doubted that the gospels were historically reliable.

Yet Mark D. Roberts is writing to a different audience. He's not excluding believers in his audience. But he has a much broader audience in mind. He is trying to reach skeptics, doubters, unbelievers. Since I'm not in the above category, my opinions on how he does this aren't really relevant. Are his arguments logical? Are his arguments valid? Are his arguments persuasive? I couldn't really say. When you are already "convinced" in a way, when you're already on his team...then it becomes harder to judge the effectiveness of his arguments. Doubly so when you've never asked the questions he's trying to answer.

I will say this, however. I think that he will come across as too liberal to the conservatives, and too conservative to the liberals. In his stance to stay firmly in the middle and not align himself with either side, he makes himself a target for both groups. Some, I have no doubt, will say that he doesn't go far enough....and some will say he's gone too far. A person can't please everybody. And most often, they shouldn't even try. But the reason he takes this stance, I believe, is he wants to reach the widest audience possible.

While I had my doubts about some of his arguments--the phrasing of several things within the book--by the conclusion, I had no doubts as to which side Mark D. Roberts really falls when it comes down to it. He may spend a lot of time in the book being firmly in the middle trying to be fair to both sides and not rush to judgement, but by the end...you know what he really believes. What his conclusion essentially comes down to are several things...you either approach this issue with your mind firmly convinced that there is no god (atheist) OR you approach this issue with your mind firmly convinced that there is a god (theist). If you're of the first camp, there is no reasoning with you. You will never believe any argument that says that the Bible--New Testament--Gospels are historically reliable. Why? The miracles will never make any sense because you're too close-minded. If there's no God, then there's no miracles. And all Christians are crazy. If you're of the second camp, you're already either firmly convinced of the gospel truths...or you're well on you're way. If you believe in a supernatural being--then there is always a chance that you'll be open to the arguments that the Bible is indeed the Word of God and that they are reliable in every way. It always comes down to this basic assumption. Everything you read, everything you write, everything you believe comes down to this core belief. You can't escape this basic viewpoint...one way or the other.

Read more...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Christy Challenge

Shauna from ShaunaRumbling is hosting The Christy Challenge. It started in early June (the announcement posted June 8th), and will continue through July 31, 2007. The goal? For participants to choose a book (or two) from the Christy Award list--either this year's nominated titles OR previous award-winners. If you are interested in participating yourself, you can visit the Christy Awards site.

Here are this year's nominees:

The Christy Awards 2007 Nominees

CONTEMPORARY (STAND ALONE)

* Dwelling Places by Vinita Hampton Wright (HarperOne)
* Straight Up by Lisa Samson (WaterBrook Press)
* Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner (Bethany House, a division of Baker)

CONTEMPORARY (SERIES, SEQUELS AND NOVELLAS)

* The Brethren by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House, a division of Baker)
* Escape from Fred by Brad Whittington (B&H Publishing Group)
* The Proof by Austin Boyd (NavPress)

HISTORICAL (includes four titles due to a tie)

* Glastonbury Tor by LeAnne Hardy (Kregel)
* Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press)
* Madman by Tracy Groot (Moody Press)
* Pieces of Silver by Maureen Lang (Kregel)

ROMANCE

* The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House, a division of Baker)
* Monday Morning Faith by Lori Copeland (Zondervan)
* The Redemption by M. L. Tyndall (Barbour)

SUSPENSE

* The Begotten by Lisa T. Bergren (Berkley)
* The Hidden by Kathryn Mackel (Thomas Nelson)
* Plague Maker by Tim Downs (Thomas Nelson)

LITS

* The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell (Harvest House Publishers)
* Everything’s Coming Up Josey by Susan May Warren (Steeple Hill CafĂ©)
* Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn (Multnomah)

YOUNG ADULT

* Bad Idea by Todd and Jedd Hafer (NavPress)
* The Way of the Wilderking by Jonathan Rogers (B&H Publishing Group)
* William Henry Is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke (Moody Press)

FIRST NOVEL

* Watching the Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth (NavPress)
* Where Mercy Flows by Karen Harter (Center Street)
* William Henry Is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke (Moody Press)

The Christy Awards 2006 Winners

Contemporary - Stand-Alone
Levi’s Will by W. Dale Cramer (Bethany House Publishers)

Contemporary - Series, Sequels
The Road to Home by Vanessa Del Fabbro (Steeple Hill)

Historical
Whence Came a Prince by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press)

Romance
A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House Publishers)

Suspense
River Rising by Athol Dickson (Bethany House Publishers)

Visionary
Shadow Over Kiriath by Karen Hancock (Bethany House Publishers)

First Novel
This Heavy Silence by Nicole Mazzarella (Paraclete Press)

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mozart's Sister

Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser, 2006.

I love historical fiction. I love it. I love learning new things. Of seeing things in a new way. So it shouldn't really come as a surprise that I really enjoyed reading Mozart's Sister. In some ways it is difficult to review books that cover such a large span of time. When a book covers the years from eleven or twelve up to death in the seventies...then it is hard to summarize all the action and note all the themes. The book begins with the Mozart children on tour. Both Nannerl (the sister) and Wolfgang (the brother) are great musical performers. She is around six or seven years older, so he is seen as more of a "prodigy" than she is. But they're both great at what they do. They're a team. But life has a way of changing it even when we don't want it to. As the children begin to grow up, certain things become apparent. Nannerl will not be "allowed" to perform much longer since she is becoming a woman. She will be expected to stay at home and learn feminine duties so she'll make a good housewife. And the second is that with age it is even becoming difficult for Wolfgang (Wolfie) to find success on the road. As he is growing to be a young man (mid to late teens), people see him less as a prodigy and more ordinary. Fame is fleeting it seems for the Mozart family...and money is always tight.

The book is divided into several sections, and as I mentioned before covers a large amount of time. But generally speaking, it addresses women's roles and the expectations of society. Nannerl may not end up living the life she dreamed about as a young girl--a famous musician and composer--but she does find contentment in her own small way.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


RELUCTANT RUNAWAY

(Multnomah, March 2007)

by




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a member of the CFBA. Her blog, Artistic Blogger, addresses issues about art, art theft, antiquities preservation, and the art of fiction writing. She takes art seriously - when she's not having fun with it, that is. The To Catch a Thief Series combines her love of the written word with her love of other art forms.

The first in the series was Reluctant Burglar , second is Reluctant Runaway. In January 2008, she will reveal the third book, Reluctant Smuggler. Jill is thrilled if the adventures that spill from her imagination can raise awareness about art theft - deemed "a looming criminal enterprise" by the FBI. Jill and her husband, Doug, have four children and live in Minnesota.


ABOUT THE BOOK:




Stolen Indian artifacts...A murdered museum guard



A missing woman…A baby in danger


Only Desiree can unearth the horrifying secret that links them all.

Museum security expert Desiree Jacobs doesn’t mean to get in danger’s path. Really she doesn’t. But when a friend is in trouble you don’t just walk away. No matter what your overprotective FBI agent boyfriend says! So when Desi and Tony’s date at a presidential ball is interrupted by a frantic Maxine Webb, Desi doesn’t hesitate to jump in.

Soon Desi is neck-deep in a confusing array of villains. Did Max’s niece run away or was she taken? Is she still alive or the victim of a perverse ritual? And who wants her infant son–and why?

Then Tony’s organized crime case collides with Desi’s investigation, throwing them both into the path of something dark and sinister. Something that craves blood...

From the streets of Desi’s beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must rely on God to thwart unseen forces–and save a young woman and her baby from a villain more evil than any of them can imagine.

"A fresh voice, strong heroine, and unique plot make Reluctant Runaway a can't-put-down read. Jill Elizabeth Nelson is an author to watch in the realm of romantic suspense!"
----SUSAN MAY WARREN award-winning author of In Sheep's Clothing

Read more...

Monday, June 18, 2007

In the Shade of the Jacaranda

In the Shade of the Jacaranda by Nikki Arana, 2006.

This is the second book in a series following the love story of Angelica Amante and Antonio Perez. I did not read the first book, by the way, but I found that this title worked for me anyway. While it would have been nice to know all the details of their romance--how they met, how they fell in love, etc., it was not necessary to know in order to enjoy this story. The story opens with Angelica finding out that she is pregnant. This unplanned pregnancy has its ups and downs. The child is loved from the very first moment, as soon as they find out, but one thing after another does seem to complicate this pregnancy and marriage. Can their love survive the unexpected? Can their love give them the foundation and courage they'll need to face the difficult moments ahead?

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

ESV Bible Plans

Chronological Reading Guide--ESV

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

You can read the passages online and/or listen to them!

Note: The links are for the first day in each month. But there are arrows directing you to the next day's reading and so forth. So it should be easy to manage from that point.

Read more...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bible Challenges/Plans

http://www.bibleplan.org/

Offers users thirteen different plans for reading the Bible. Simply choose a plan, choose a translation, and enter your email address to begin your readings.

http://www.bibleinayear.org/

Offers three reading plans, seven translations. Just choose what works best for you and create an account with the site. Your readings will be emailed daily.

http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html

While you can choose to receive this plan's readings by email, you can also choose to print this plan. (And/or download it as a pdf file) What is unique about this site is that it offers different categories (or foodgroups if you've read Kroll's book) of Bible reading for each day:

Sunday = Epistles
Monday = The Law
Tuesday = History
Wednesday = Psalms
Thursday = Poetry
Friday = Prophecy
Saturday = Gospels

http://www.faithchurchaz.org/documents/bible-reading.html

This site offers a one year plan and a three year plan.

http://www.heartlight.org/devotionals/reading_plans/

Offers five different plans for Bible reading.

http://www.backtothebible.org/bible-reading-guides.html

Offers five different plans for Bible reading.

http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/Bible/Plans.htm?QueryStringSite=Zondervan

Offers a variety of reading plans at three different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Read more...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Taking Back the Good Book

Taking Back the Good Book: How America Forgot the Bible and Why It Matters To You by Woodrow Kroll, 2007. (Crossway)

I loved, loved, loved this book. It had me at hello:

Do you remember your first Bible? I remember mine. It was red--the color; it was also read--the verb. I had a little trouble reading my first Bible because in those days I wasn't used to much more than "See Dick run. Run, Dick, run." But with time and practice, I got better at it. (11)

The message of the book is that whether people say they love the Bible, honor the Bible, respect the Bible, believe the Bible is important...the truth of the matter is that few people actually read it on a regular basis. People might think they ought to read the Bible; people might know that they should read the Bible. But one excuse after another keeps them away from actually doing it. So what has happened to the church, to the culture, to the country is that we've now reached a point where Bible illiteracy is rampant. Even within churches, there are many sitting there who are absolutely clueless when it comes to what the Bible actually says and what it means. It is a problem affecting people of every generation--from children to baby boomers. Somewhere along the way, it became "okay" even within the evangelical community to be biblically illiterate and spiritually naive.

What is Bible Illiteracy? Bible illiteracy has more to do with inattention than inability. For our purposes here when I talk about Bible illiteracy in America, the definition relates to a lack of familiarity with the Bible, not to a lack of ability to read it. Bible illiteracy is not the unfortunate, unintentional inability to read and understand Scripture; it is the unfortunate, intentional neglect of Scripture. (58)

So how does Kroll define Bible literacy? Reading [the Bible] is fundamental, but it isn't enough. You have to read the Bible and then interpret it and apply it to your life. Those are the initial steps in Bible literacy. They are also the first steps toward spiritual maturity. (58)

Biblical illiteracy is causing many problems within and without the church and evangelical community, but it isn't too late. Kroll outlines some important steps that everyone can take to reverse the situation. It all starts with you. It involves your time and your discipline. But it can be done. It should be done.

A huge disconnect exists between owning a Bible and reading it. Simply put, the number of people who claim to read the Bible isn't supported by their knowledge of the Bible (66).

Some people choose not to read the Bible because they're afraid it will contradict what they've already made up their mind to do. But the Bible isn't a dialogue between God and us. It's a revelation from him to us. The Bible should be our guide to life, not a sometimes-support for our pre-existing belief system. (71)

The Bible is read by people who choose to read it. Bible reading is neglected by people who choose to neglect it. It's just that simple. No excuses. Just honesty. (77)

When you win the battle for Bible literacy in your own life, you not only discover the joy of God, you are the joy of God. He delights in our getting to know him, and the most direct way to make that happen is by reading what he has revealed about himself in his Word (145).

If you don't take the Book in your life and read it consistently, you are saying to its Author, "I don't care enough about you or your Book to read it." That's what Bible literacy means to God. It means you love him, and you show it. It means you worship him, and you show it. It means you thirst for him, and you show it. Isn't it time we did some serious thinking about just how Bible-literate we are? Isn't it time for you to do some thinking? (151)

This book is for everyone. It doesn't matter how old you are (or aren't), this is a topic that concerns you--if you are in fact a Christian. It offers practical advice for everyone--including extra tips for parents, teachers, and pastors. But it has something to say for everyone. I can't recommend it highly enough!!!!

http://www.bibleliteracycenter.com/

Take the "Back to the Bible" survey yourself

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sophie's Dilemma

Sophie's Dilemma by Lauraine Snelling, 2007. Daughters of Blessing #2

This is my first Lauraine Snelling book, so I haven't read the rest of the books in the series set in the town/community of Blessing. (My mother has read some of them.) Anyway, even though I had no familiarity with the series, it didn't stop me from loving every minute of Sophie's Dilemma.

Sophie Knutson is a seventeen year old girl who has fallen in love. At least, she thinks she's fallen in love. When her young man, Hamre Bjorklund, takes a job on a fishing boat in Seattle, Sophie knows she can't live without him. She just can't. Even though Hamre is willing to wait one year for them to be married--and have her father's blessing--Sophie isn't. She insists on eloping with her love right then and there. But married life isn't all she thought it would be. You see, she's young and used to getting her own way--at least some of the time. And she doesn't quite understand why Hamre always has to be so busy working trying to support the family. In truth, she feels a little neglected. She's come all this way to Seattle, and she has nothing to fill her time with. Hamre is always working it seems. And when he's home, they often get into little spats. It's not that she loves him any less than before, she's just beginning to realize that maybe just maybe her parents were right when they said she was a bit too young for marriage. But when Hamre heads to Alaska for the fishing season, Sophie faces the hardest season of her life. Alone in a strange city, she takes a job at a cannery to try to 'surprise' her husband with some extra cash. But then Sophie is faced with a surprise all her own...she's pregnant. Excited but scared, Sophie has barely had time to adjust to the news when she learns that Hamre's boat has sunk in a storm. There were no survivors. Now, there's no place for this young widow to go but straight home to Blessing. Will her family and friends forgive her for leaving in such rebellious haste? Will her family give her the love and support she needs during this difficult time? And will her heart ever recover from such grief?

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What I'm Reading...What I Plan To Read

I am currently reading Sophie's Dilemma by Lauraine Snelling. I am 240 pages into it. So I should have the review written and posted on Thursday or Friday.

I am still trying to finish What Jesus Demands From the World by John Piper. However several things keep getting in the way: the first being MotherReader's 48 Hour Reading Challenge (Friday-Saturday) and the second being a shipment of books arriving from Bethany House. Distracted by new fiction books, I've put aside the nonfiction for the moment. But I will get to it soon I hope. It's been wonderful so far.

I picked up FIVE Christian Fiction books at my local library today. Those added with the ones Bethany House sent, should equal a fair amount of book reviews coming your way...eventually.

Tangerine by Marilynn Griffith
The Fragrance of Roses by Nikki Arana
In the Shade of the Jacaranda by Nikki Arana
Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser
Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake

All of these authors are new-to-me, but they look great. And I think many of these authors have new books coming out in 2007.

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As I Have Loved You

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


As I Have Loved You
(Revell June 1, 2007)

by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Nikki Arana is an award-winning author of highly-acclaimed inspirational women's fiction who weaves today's social, political, and spiritual issues into her novels. She has received numerous awards, including the Excellence in Media 2007 Silver Angel Award for The Winds of Sonoma.


The book was based on the true love story of how Nikki met her future husband Antonio as he was cleaning the stalls of her parents' Arabian horses. Nikki and Antonio have been married for over thirty years, have two grown sons, and live in Idaho.







ABOUT THE BOOK:


Contemporary Struggles...

...A Single Mom and College-Ages Son.

Leigh Scott is a widowed, single mother who wants the best for her son Jeff. She would like him to graduate from college, land a secure job, and start a family. However, Jeff, who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at a young age, has a God-given compassion for people. And his non-judgemental acceptance of all has unintended consequences.


Jeff starts dating Jessica, a girl with a questionable past and seemingly non-existent future. Soon, Jeff's grades drop as quickly as his sober determination to achieve the goals he's worked toward all his life, and Leigh finds herself caught ina relational tornado


To complicate matters further, Leigh is an author with a looming book deadline, a father battling cancer, and her former boyfriend and first love, a strong Christian Native American, coming back in her life.


Arana weaves a multi-layered, emotional family saga that brings the peril of judgement, the need for forgiveness and the gift of love to light




"Nikki Arana wrings the heart and exalts the soul."

---Romantic Times

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Diva Nashvegas

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


DIVA NASHVEGAS

(Thomas Nelson May 8, 2007)

by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Rachel is the author of many books. Her current release, Viva NashVegas is the second in a series which began with Lost in NashVegas. She is also a Blogger and a CFBA member! She lives in Florida with her husband. Visit her great profile and learn more.



ABOUT THE BOOK:



Even if you are not a lover of country music, you can enjoy this fun look at the Nashville entertainment industry.

What do you do when the past you’ve been skirting shows up at your door with cameras rolling?

Aubrey James ruled the charts as the queen of country for over a decade. She’d rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parents’ death-both of them pioneers in Gospel music. But while her public life, high profile romances, and fights with Music Row execs made for juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey has remained a media mystery.

When a former band member betrays Aubrey’s trust and sells an "exclusive" to a tabloid, the star knows she must go public with her story. But Aubrey’s private world is rocked when the Inside NashVegas interviewer is someone from her past-someone she’d hoped to forget.

All the moxie in the world won’t let this Diva run any longer.


"Hauck once again takes us into the country music world, this time through the experiences of mega-star Aubrey James. Aubrey's life journey is filled with flaws, as well as a great deal of joy, and real life locales makes this highly original story authentic. The extra tidbits - from Aubrey's liner notes to quotes from the "media" at the beginning of the chapters - add extra sparkle to the plot."

- 4 Stars, Melissa Parcel, Romantic Times Book Club

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

If I Stand

This is another post in the "Becky's Themesongs" category. A rather important one in my opinion. Rich Mullins' "If I Stand"

If I Stand

There's more that rises in the morning
Than the sun
And more that shines in the night
Than just the moon
It's more than just this fire here
That keeps me warm
In a shelter that is larger
Than this room

And there's a loyalty that's deeper
Than mere sentiments
And a music higher than the songs
That I can sing
The stuff of Earth competes
For the allegiance
I owe only to the giver
Of all good things

CHORUS:
So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

There's more that dances on the prairies
Than the wind
More that pulses in the ocean
Than the tide
There's a love that is fiercer
Than the love between friends
More gentle than a mother's
When her baby's at her side

And there's a loyalty that's deeper
Than mere sentiments
And a music higher than the songs
That I can sing
The stuff of Earth competes
For the allegence
I owe only to the Giver
Of all good things

CHORUS(2x)

And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Courting Trouble

Courting Trouble by DeeAnne Gist, 2007.

Esther Spreckelmeyer is known round town for three things: wearing crazy, elaborate hats, riding her bicycle and unseemly showing her ankles, and being an old maid or spinster. Essie, as her friends call her, is hoping to change all that. At least the old maid part. You see, Essie is thirty years old. She's giving up on God ever bringing the groom to her...and has decided that if she wants to walk down the aisle, she'll have to go out searching for a groom herself. When Plan A fails--preparing a delectable picnic basket for the box social auction--then it's on to Plan B. She gets out a pen and some paper. She lists every possible eligible man in town. She lists their points of merits and drawbacks. Still unable to decide, she decides to go with a more random selection process. Closing her eyes, she twirls her finger and points.

The first candidate? Mr. Crook. Mr. Hamilton Crook. A widower with a young baby girl, Mae. He runs one of the stores in town. So with her future groom all selected, she does what she must. She makes sure Mr. Crook notices her. She volunteers to be his help-mate at the store. Her help is unwanted, at least at first, but weeks later...Hamilton is beginning to appreciate her strengths and forgive her weakness. He still thinks her odd. He still thinks her hats are ugly. He still thinks she's bossy. But he can't deny what's right in front of his eyes: his store IS transformed. He is getting more business. And she is one great salesman. Incredible really. She could sell almost anything. But just when he is on the verge of speaking to her father, the unexpected happens...he's waiting to meet with her father, the town's judge, when he chances to see a slip of paper in a book. What he sees changes everything.

Essie is mortified to discover that Hamilton knows her secret. That he's seen the piece of paper listing his merits and drawbacks. Mortified. How can she ever face him again? But she needn't worry too much. Hamilton makes a hasty disappearance a day later only to return with a new wife.

But Hamilton isn't the only bachelor in town. And taking Hamilton's parting words to heart--that a man likes to do the chasing--she begins to look elsewhere. The big problem Essie faces is that her impulsive, trusting, naive heart sees what it wants to see. There is danger and temptation lurking around the corner...and if she isn't careful...she could get hurt.

This novel spans a year, a year where Essie learns some important life lessons...the most important being that trusting God to provide what you need may just be best after all.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

8 Random Things--Music Edition

I had such fun doing the 8 Random Things meme last week. The specialized Bible-edition of the meme that I created. That I thought I would continue the fun this week by focusing on Christian music. It has been such a huge part of my life.

1) My first-ever "favorite" song is a tie between "Rocketown" by Michael W. Smith and "When God Ran" by Benny Hester. Both make me extraordinarily happy and nostalgic when I listen to them today.

2) I loved listening to records. CDs were still a novelty when I was in sixth grade. And it was certainly something way beyond my reach. As a very young person I loved listening to Bullfrogs & Butterflies, Music Machine, Evie, and the Bill Gaither Trio's Especially for Children albums. Also Supergang. "Kid Talk" is one of the best songs ever.

3) Michael W. Smith was the first person I ever saw in concert. (It was at Six Flags.) I was in sixth grade. His latest album was i 2 eye. I still associate the song "Secret Ambition" with the sound of roller coasters. I still have my ticket stub. What I loved most about the concert was that he did old songs and new songs.

4) Ray Boltz's "Watch the Lamb" gets me every time.

5) I love Andrew Peterson. Seriously love him. His albums are my favorite and best. You'll be seeing a lot of his songs in the future under the category of "Becky's Themesongs." But one of my favorite songs that you won't see...because I don't think the lyrics can be found too easily...is the song called "Alien Conspiracy, Or, The Cheese Song" featured on his album Appendix A. How much do I love Andrew Peterson? If Rich Mullins had a mantle to pass on like Elijah gave to Elisha, it went to Andrew Peterson.

6) Speaking of Rich Mullins, the album that comes as close to perfection as a human can possibly get is Rich Mullins' Jesus album. It is a two disc album. One of the demos Rich Mullins was working on before his death. And the second is a 'tribute' album of sorts of those same songs sung by the best of the best. My favorite on the album??? That's easy. That Where I Am, There You May Also Be. I could listen to it for hours without ever getting tired of it.

7) There are two bands that make me bouncingly happy. It was a good thing for me that they sometimes toured together :) I love Audio Adrenaline and Newsboys. I love to call the Newsboys the "Bouncy" Boys. Because one thing you learn if you go to their concerts is that you have to get up and jump :) That and it's a sad but true fact that the band will play your favorite song while you're waiting in line for the bathroom. I don't know why it always works out like that.

8) I have almost always loved Christian music, but have rarely liked listening to it on the radio.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What I'm Reading...

I have been overwhelmed. Seriously overwhelmed. Reading enough books for TWO blogs is slightly more than one person can handle. But I'm naively pursuing this goal just the same. I've spent the past three or four days trying to read all the library books that were due today and Friday. Didn't happen. Returned about six of them unread. But I did read quite a few things. Anyway, the Christian book I am reading now....is What Jesus Demands of the World by John Piper. I love John Piper. Love him. And I am really enjoying the book. The thing I love most? It is in bite-size chapters. Three to five pages. All scriptural. All good. So I'm loving it. But it is a long book. So it will probably be a week or two before I get it all read. I'll try to fill the blog in the meantime with reviews of other things. I've got another book, a shorter book called The Prayer of Our Lord by Philip Graham Ryken. I'll probably have that one finished first in all likelihood.

I have joined the Summer Reading Challenge so perhaps I'll get more organized and focused as the month goes on. My goal? To read two or possibly three Christian books a week. That might not seem like much. But considering the fact that I'm trying to read that many books on top of four or five young adult books for Becky's Book Reviews and you'll start to realize why it's so easy for me to be overwhelmed with books. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It just takes some getting used to.

If you are a Christian author or publisher who wants to add to the load, feel free to email me. I'm always happy to receive review copies or ARCs of Christian fiction and nonfiction. I'm slightly pickier on what nonfiction gets reviewed. I'll only review books that I find to be biblically sound. But I'm always willing to give books a chance.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ultimate Music Makeover

Ultimate Music Makeover: The Songs of Michael W. Smith is a great CD for long-time fans of Michael W. Smith. The album features new covers of ten classic MWS songs: Go West Young Man, You Need A Savior, Rocketown, Secret Ambition, Pray For Me, The Race Is On, Lamu, The Other Side, Missing Person, and Friends.

Go West Young Man, from the album Go West Young Man, is covered by All Star United--and they do a great job! One of the definite highlights of the album. Individually, I would rank this song as five stars.

You Need A Savior, from the album Michael W. Smith Project, is covered by Sarah Kelly. Unfortunately, it is one of the low points on the album for me. I like her rendition of the verses of the song, but when she changes the melody of the chorus...she loses my support. I would rank this song as three stars.

Rocketown, from the album The Big Picture, is covered by Shaun Groves. This song is definitely in contention for being one of the best songs on the album. Definitely a five-star song.

Secret Ambition, from the album i 2 eye, is covered by the David Crowder Band. While it is hard for a cover to ever be "better" than the original, this song (along with Rocketown) comes close. Five Stars.

Pray For Me, also from the album i 2 eye, is covered by Plumb. I have not warmed up to this song...at least not yet. It takes a truly beautiful song and makes it musically odd and puzzling. Three stars.

The Race Is On, from the album Michael W. Smith Project, is covered by Michael W. Smith's son Ryan. It is a pleasant song highlighting one of those 'forgotten' songs in MWS's career. (Although I own the album MWS Project, I have never paid much attention to this particular song.) Four stars.

Missing Person, from the album Live the Life, is covered by Tree 63. It's another good song on the album. 5 stars.

Lamu, from the album The Big Picture, is covered by Taylor Sorensen. It is a pleasant song. For fans of the 'original' Lamu, they will find the cover a much calmer and more restrained song. (You can actually understand the lyrics.) This song just makes me want to listen to the original song :) 4 stars.

On The Other Side, from the album i 2 eye, is covered by Todd Agnew. It is a good song. I enjoy Agnew's vocals. 5 stars.

Friends, from the album Michael W. Smith Project, is covered by Stryper. I would say it's a good song. 4 stars.

Overall, I would say this is a great CD. The best songs on the album kept the 'heart' of each song alive despite their own musical changes to the songs.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

The Warrior

The Warrior by Francine Rivers, 2005.

The Warrior is part of Francine Rivers' Sons of Encouragement series. It is the story of Caleb (whom we first meet as Kelubai). The novel covers a great span of time. It begins in the middle of the plagues in Egypt. Moses has had several meetings with pharoah. Enough has been done to prove to this young man and his immediate family, that the 'god' of the Hebrews is the one, true God. Caleb places his trust in God and never looks back. He brings his family over to the Hebrews' land of Goshen. Better to be counted among the lowest of the slaves of Egypt, than to remain among God's enemies and face his wrath in the coming weeks. The story follows Caleb from Egypt through the desert. From the crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptian army, to God's provisions of water and manna. It tells of the giving of the law and the rebellious creation of the golden calf. It tells of his journeys as a spy in the Promised Land. It tells of his frustration and anger when the Hebrew people rebel against God and refuse to enter the Promised Land. It tells of the forty years wandering in the desert. But the story doesn't end there. Here the reader glimpses not only that important journey, but also the equally difficult years where the Hebrews were fighting their Canaanite neighbors for possession of the land. Caleb saw many good men in his days, the death of Moses and Aaron, the death of Joshua, before he finally took a role of leadership. The book follows Caleb's life journey until he passes on his legacy to Othniel.

The story was exciting. I really enjoyed it. And best of all, the long chapters didn't annoy me at all. I read this book in one sitting!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sons of Encouragement Series

A few days ago I posted a review of THE PRINCE by Francine Rivers. I was a little hard on the novel. I was picking on it for having long chapters. I just wanted to clarify that while I was initially annoyed that the chapters were not a more manageable size, I fell so in love with the writing that in the end it just didn't matter to me. What did I love about it? Francine Rivers seems to have an almost magical style where she makes the bible texts come alive. Now I know the Bible is the living word of God. So when I say she makes them come alive, I'm not saying that the original was boring. Far from it. I love the Bible. I love the history books of the Old Testament. From third grade on, I devoured the history books. 1 Samuel. 2 Samuel. 1 Kings. 2 Kings. These were the books I loved. The stories of God in action. The kings. The prophets. The battles. The struggles. The story of David and Jonathan were among my favorites. (Elijah is also a BIG favorite of mine.) So I loved THE PRINCE for the most part. Because I loved the original so much. Because I knew it backwards and forwards, I really appreciated the newness of Rivers' telling. I loved how she fleshed out the friendship between Jonathan and David. I loved how she showed that Jonathan was a godly man who had a heart after God as well.

Other books in this series include The Priest, The Warrior, The Prophet, and The Scribe. (The Scribe comes out this summer.) I will be reviewing them for this site as I track them down. I have finished The Warrior. My review will probably be posted on Monday or Tuesday. I can't wait to read the rest of this series.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Standing Up For Nothing

File this post under "Becky's Themesongs." Caedmon's Call is one of my favorite groups, although this wasn't always the case, and "Standing Up For Nothing" is one of my favorite songs. This song is just so me it's scary.

I can't stop staring at myself
My face reflected in this empty plate
I can't decide if it's the devil
Or if it's just something I ate
'Cause he's been down there all morning
He's patiently waiting at my gate
He's throwing rocks at my window
"Hey won't you come on out and play with me"

And everyday when I get up
I see folks trading in their crowns
For all the paper of plastic lives
An opiate for the masses' hounds
And pride like a vestige of lives lost
The stench of the old folks coming around
Now with the news I heard today
I can't tell if this world is lost or found

You go, I'll be waiting here
And I'm awake, no I cannot sleep
So I'll sit upon this rock is you
I ain't standing up for nothing

I've never seen my congressman
But I can't deny that he exists
'Cause I've seen his legislation pass
I've seen his name on the ballot list
Same I can't deny this fallen world
Though not my home it's where I live
How can I preserve and light the way
For a world that I can't admit I'm in

'Cause I know who you say you are
But these crows can't be made to stop
So I'll sit denying by this fire
I ain't standing up for nothing

Lack of interest leads to
Lack of knowledge leads to
Lack of perspective leads to
Lack of communication leads to
Lack of understanding leads to
Lack of concern leads to
This complacency denotes
This approval denies
The truth

But I can't stop staring at myself
It's my face reflected in this empty plate
And I know that it's the devil

So you lead, I'll be close behind
So you speak, I'll hang on your words
You gotta lift me from this hardened tree
'Cause I ain't standing up for nothing

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Friday, June 01, 2007

The Prince

The Prince by Francine Rivers, 2005.

I am always honest. Maybe not always brutally honest. But honest enough. I must admit to having a love-hate relationship with The Prince. Why? Only one reason. Long chapters. (For a 204 page book to only have six chapters....means the chapters are TOO long and require TOO much commitment.) Why do I mention commitment issues? Well, I do most of my reading at night. (If not all of my reading at night.) It is one thing to commit to reading a chapter that is eight or twelve pages long. It is quite another to commit to reading a forty page chapter. I suppose the obvious solution would be to read as far as I could and leave off in mid-chapter. But here's the thing, I hate to do that. It drives me crazy to not finish a chapter once I've started it. I'll occasionally do it. But it irritates me. I like closure. I like to have a nice, firm stopping place. Because reading "just one more chapter" seems so doable if it's short, I might read an entire book in one sitting. Possibly two sittings. I've read five hundred page novels in one night because I keep telling myself, oh, I'll just read one more chapter and then I'll stop. The problem, I keep flipping ahead. I would see how short it was and say, oh, I can do that much more. And so on and so forth. So those eight pages here or fourteen pages don't seem as daunting as forty or fifty page chapters. So my problem with THE PRINCE? It took me five days to read it. I never felt capable of reading more than one chapter at a time. It was very frustrating. I would like the story. Like the characters. But simply could not commit to reading THAT many more pages. It's very discouraging for me to NOT be able to read a fiction book in one or two sittings. I'm a fast reader.

Now that I've gotten all the negativity out, let me just say how much I really did enjoy this story. It is the story of King Saul, Jonathan, and David. Told from Jonathan's perspective. It begins with the missing donkeys and Samuel's anointing of Saul...and it concludes with the death of King Saul and his sons. I have always loved 1 Samuel. Always loved the history books in general. And the life of David has always been my favorite and my best. So I really enjoyed reading this fictional take on their friendship. I loved the godliness of Jonathan. I loved his devotion to his friend. I loved his grief over his father's horrible reign. I loved it all. So I do recommend that others read this book. It's a great story.

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