To change up a little this year, I'm going to revert back to what I used to do with my books I've read. Instead of devoting a whole blog to a book, I'm going to lump them together in one blog post for each month. The truth is that there are some books that I can easily write and write about. (Warning: if I read any Teddy Roosevelt books this year, you'll see.) Then there are other books that even if they're good, I didn't enjoy them enough to write more than five or six sentences. So there may be a few books I do give their own post to, but I'll probably look at clumping them together in months as I shoot for 52 this year.
Since picking up "All In" and the "Circle Maker" book by Batterson a couple of years ago, I've been all over his books. The two books after "Circle Maker" have been really good. "The Grave Robber" is the second book. Batterson focuses on the first seven miracles of Jesus as told by John in his Gospel rendition. Batterson does a great job at showing how each miracle not only built on the other, but showed seven different areas in which Jesus declared Himself Lord over. Starting with the wedding at Cana and ending with the resurrection of Lazarus, Batterson makes it clear that Jesus became a "grave robber" only because He was obedient to become the "water turner" and "water walker" among others. In other words, Batterson shows a pattern of progression and points to the way that we progress in our relationship with Christ and our ability to know Him and make Him known as we go through life. I'd highly recommend the book.
I really like Matt Chandler, but, I've been a little disappointed in his books since his first book, "The Explicit Gospel." That book is in my opinion one of the best books I've ever read. It was extremely in-depth, thought-provoking, and revealing. I took a small group through it and it became even better. But every book Chandler has put out since then has just lacked in my opinion. His second book was really good to me, and would have been even better to me probably had I not read "Explicit Gospel" first. I compared them and there's not really much comparison. In Chandler's third book, his theology seemed to either show signs of changing or either he was a little more forthcoming about what he's always believed as he basically espoused the idea of eternal security. I didn't really like the third book at all. So when the fourth book came out and it was about marriage, I jumped on it to see what it would be like. And it was pretty good. In my opinion, it's only half good if you're married. It's probably all good if you're not. The book takes a look at the Song of Solomon. The first half of Chandler's book is about attraction, dating, courting, and relationships. I would highly recommend anyone in a dating relationship or wanting one to get this book and read it. In those ways, it is amazing. I'm thinking of buying a few copies for friends. I may even make it required reading for any stupid little boy that comes knocking on my door in about 30 years . . . Anyway. The second half of the books is about marriage and is very good as well. I would definitely recommend this book all the way around. It was very good. I don't know that Chandler will write another book as good as his first, but this one was good. (For the best book I've ever read on the Song of Solomon, check out David Jeremiah's "Love, Marriage, and Sex."
I consider myself a deep thinker. I love allegory. I love metaphors. I love the telling of a story in such a way that it's different than it's meaning, but at the same time the same. Lewis is a master at this. His "Narnia" chronicles is a perfect illustration of his taking the Gospel message and retelling it using new characters, lands, and conflicts. While Lewis has been quoted as saying it wasn't entirely his intention to do so, there's no way someone leaves a "Narnia" book or movie without really understanding who "Aslan" truly is. All that said, "The Great Divorce" was too strange and I never got it. The book speaks of a phantom bus ride taking people to hell or heaven. Lewis describes hell and heaven in the book which, like "The Chronicles of Narnia," is a fiction story trying to convey a non-fiction point. It may have been the time period Lewis wrote it from, or it may be my own preconceived ideas of the heaven and hell, but the book was way off to me. Lewis' "hell" seemed more like a Catholic purgatory and his "heaven" seemed more like a neighboring land over the mountains. Ultimately, who are we to say exactly what either will be like? However, there are some real descriptions in scripture that I didn't see illustrated at all. I think a Lewis fan should probably read the book, and maybe I'll give it a reread some day, but I can't really recommend it.
Great, great book!! It's close to 300 pages and I read it in one sitting. For all that can be said about some aspects of his presidency, I still like George W. Bush very much. His first book, "Decision Points," was amazing. When I saw he wrote a book about his father, I knew I had to get it. The book did not disappoint. Bush talks of his father's life from his childhood all the way to his love of skydiving (even at 90 years old). George H. W. Bush was a trailblazer. Though he could have taken the easier road offered to him by family connections, he constantly sought out his own adventure. That spirit led him to leave his New England home, heritage, and family, and move to Texas to get into the oil business. Of course before any of that happen, Bush had already paved his own trail by enlisting in the military after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He became an expert pilot and the youngest pilot to fly many Pacific missions. His plane was shot down over the Pacific and he miraculously survived. That innate nature to survive and serve would be a bedrock in his life. Known as a humble man by friend and foe alike, Bush sought out the best for his family while refusing to hinder the other man from offering the best to his. As Bush eventually made his way into politics, he continued to display a moral character. When he lost some of his first races, he did so gracefully. And when he was tasked as the head of the Republican Party to look then President Richard Nixon in the face and demand his resignation, he did so sternly, yet with empathy for the man he had worked for and the state of the country. As President Gerald Ford took office, Bush was offered prize ambassador posts for his handling of everything with Watergate and before. Ever the challenge seeker, the elder Bush asked to be sent to China. Being sent to China was a demotion of sorts because diplomatic relations were still shaky and an official ambassador position did not even exist. Bush wasn't concerned about the position title. He saw potential and a path away from the busy DC limelight. Yet months later, when asked to come back to oversee the CIA after its many indiscretions came to light, Bush came back to serve his country and reorganize the CIA. That attitude of service would continue to push him all the way to Ronald Reagan's vice president and later the president of the United States. George W. Bush describes his father as a man of character and faith. He is a family man who also adores his country. He is a treasure to the country and this book was a perfect telling of his story by a son to his father.
I'm a big baseball fan. I'm a die hard Braves fan, but I've got several other teams I root for (as long as they don't play the Braves). The Cubs are one of them. The Tampa Bay Rays are another one. I like to call them my American League team. I've been to a couple of games and I've always liked the way they played. My favorite player on the team (now traded to Oakland . . . Come on!!!) was Ben Zobrist. I make sure I wear by Zobrist shirt when I do go to a game. I knew he was a strong Christian and that his wife was an up and coming Christian singer, so I really pulled for him. When I saw they had written a book a few months back, I picked it up immediately. The book was really good. The two detail their early childhoods and how God perfectly orchestrated their being together. It truly was a God thing to say the least. Their faith and strength of conviction was amazing and a perfect example of what should be. However, they also detailed their struggles and how God was able to pull them out of some tough spots in their lives and marriage. They have a great testimony and God is really using them in concerts and rallies to touch others. Now that he's been traded to Oakland, I suppose I'll be pulling for them this year . . . If you're a sports fan, you'll really like the book. Even if you're not, it's still a really good book as it talks about so much more than just baseball.
I was going through my library to look for my next book to read, and I found this one. This book is from 1966 and my Papa owned it. After he died a few years ago, I got it from his house and put it on my shelf. It was a pretty good book to say the least. Written in the 1960's, Lowery proclaimed that Christ was coming any time. He talked about how bad the world was and how sin was abounding. T.L. Lowery is still alive today well into his 90's. I'd love to know how he would compare the world in the 60's to what we're witnessing today. Besides the part of the book detailing the second coming, Lowery spends most of the book talking to the church about what we must do to be ready and to be active in the last days. That part of the book was really good. It read like a group of sermons put together, which was fine by me considering I'm a preacher. I don't know that I would have looked to read it necessarily just to read it, but I enjoyed reading it if for no other reason it let me think about my Papa and MaMa and how they may have read it or talked about it.
Ryan is engaged to Rachel and resides in Perry, GA. He is the proud "Dada" to Rylee and Charlee. He holds a Bachelors degree in Social Science Education and a Masters degree in church ministry / leadership. He has served in various positions of ministry, music, management, and more. He spends his free time with his girls, writing and playing music, reading books, playing and watching sports, and living life. To contact Ryan, email firstname.lastname@example.org.