I made several New Year's Resolutions at the beginning of 2012. One was to lose 40 lbs. I've lost 33 lbs since the start of the year, but then again that wasn't with me doing anything. I mean I didn't eat anything, but well . . . Of course losing the weight due to eating nothing means as soon as you start eating anything, even with good portion control, you're going to gain some of it back. Either way, I'm on my way to making this a reality.
Another resolution was to try and duplicate my book reading for 2011. Last year I read 52 books and that's my goal this year. Instead of trying to do a book a week, which I didn't do too well last year, I'm just focusing on getting 52 read which would average to a book a week. Last year, I wrote a new blog post for each book, but this year, I'll stick to giving brief summaries at the end of each month about the books I read during the month. As always, if something grabs me in a book, I'll write on it more extensively.
So with that said, my books for January as it ends today were:
This wasn't really a sit down and read book, though I suppose it could have been. It basically divides up all sorts of ministries, holidays, outreaches, and other church events and lists ideas and plans other churches have used so the reader can get ideas of his own and get creative. Very good book for any minister looking for some new ideas or new approaches to some age old things.
I did end up almost reading every page though . . .
I read this book in a day. This was written by Perry Stone's father who passed away at the of last year after a lifetime in ministry. Bro. Stone was used greatly by God to heal and deliver individuals. God also gave him constant dreams and visions about prophetic things in our nation, but especially those things in his own ministry and for the churches and people he pastored. Bro. Stone spends the first half of the book talking about his upbringing and how he found Christ. He then spends the second half of the book talking about his ministry and his relationship with Christ. The last part of the book dealt with questions and answers that he has answered through the years. Bro. Stone lived a devout life before God and his prayer and fasting life was unmatched by many. This was a main reason God spoke to him and through him as much as He did. Bro. Stone is clear, if we will seek God with everything in us, God is longing to reveal Himself and bring fresh fire to the altar of our hearts and to the altars of our churches again. The emphasis is on us to seek God's face and the fire, for if we seek, we will find! Today Bro. Stone is enjoying his great reward in Heaven with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I met the man once in person and had a chance to shake his hand and speak to him. Just being in his presence was amazing and humbling. Even in a weakened condition, he sat in his chair as I and many others walked by him to say hello and he had a kind word for each of us. His word to me was to stay strong and to keep going forward. "God bless you young man." God certainly has. Great book!
This was a great book. Fallwell and other contributors break open 8 main things every church needs to be focused on in order to accomplish the Great Commission as outlined by Matthew from Jesus. Fallwell uses his own experiences and the ministry of his father, Pastor Jerry Fallwell, to speak to each issue in new ways, as well as, tried and true ways of our roots. I was inspired by his father's story. I had never heard the whole story, but God gave his father a vision as a boy of planting a church in his hometown of Lynchburg, VA. When he came back home to do so, he had to start in an old abandoned bottling company warehouse. A year later, the church was running over 800 and a new church was being built. Then God gave him the vision to build Liberty University on the mountain where he grew up as a boy. The story of purchasing the mountain with no money in the bank at the time of purchase and the building of the university buildings and chapel is nothing short of amazing. The man's faith was so strong. They witnessed a divine miracle when one of Rev. Fallwell's trusted associated was diagnosed with stomach cancer and given 6 months to live. Rev. Fallwell called an immediate prayer meeting and a 24 hour fast. During the prayer meeting, God divinely healed the associate and he is still living and doing ministry today. I was inspired on the principles listed in the book, but nothing spoke to me more than the story of faith that was the life of Rev. Jerry Fallwell.
This was the best book I read all month and I thoroughly enjoyed all that I read. This was a true story about a Baptist missionary to China and his amazing life that mirrored Christ so much, that he won entire villages to the Lord just through his life and work. Bill Wallace was originally from Knoxville, TN and left the US just as he was being offered one of the greatest medical promotions ever offered to an up and coming surgeon in his early to mid twenties. Wallace knew God had called him to be a missionary. He knew since he was a teenager. God spoke to him in his garage and he wrote it down in the back of his Bible. It was that Bible all those years later that Bill continued to read and minister from. Wallace was in China for about 20 years and endured through the Japanese invasion of China pre-WWII and during WWII. He endured the bombings and being shot at by machine guns on a regular basis. Having the opportunity to flee the country several times, he never would. The Chinese people had become his people and he lived as a refugee just as they were made to due to the war. Shortly after WWII, the Red Communists began to invade China and with another opportunity to leave, Wallace turned it down seeing all the devastation from the previous war and the new takeover. His people needed him. Working days on end doing surgery of almost every kind, Bill Wallace sacrificed everything that others may live and hear the message of Christ. When the Communist takeover reached the city of what was then Wuchow, they began shutting down the hospital and causing problems for Wallace and his staff. Eventually they arrested him after planting evidence in his home and hospital. They tried to turn the crowds against him, but they wouldn't say one bad word about him even though the Communist regime produced falsified documents and evidence supposedly proving their claims. They attempted to get Wallace to recount his own testimony and to admit to being an American spy. When he wouldn't they attempted to brainwash him with constant questioning techniques, lack of sleep and food, closed, dirty cells, and isolation. Yet Wallace never lost his faith. Eventually, the Communists became so incensed at Wallace for not cooperating that one day they began sticking long bamboo poles through his cell bars and began jabbing and plummeting him with them. Before it was said and done, they had gone too far and killed him. They tried to stage his death as a suicide hanging, but medical science proved otherwise. He was buried in China but later moved to Knoxville, TN almost 20 years after his death when diplomatic relations with China began to evolve. Today he is buried with his parents in a cemetery in Knoxville, TN. His life was beautiful and had this not have been a true story and had Bill Wallace not have been a real individual, I would have thought somebody wrote a fiction book on the life of Jesus if He has landed in China to preach. The man was so godly and good. I recommend the book to everyone!