Published June 29th, 2017 by

I spent a couple hours arranging my upcoming book and, so far, it looks like I’ll have a 175-200 page general Introduction to the Baha’i Faith for Christian Readers. Actually, I’ll try to make it accessible to any reader, but it will be written from my perspective as an Evangelical Christian — I’ll be presenting the material in a semi-autobiographical fashion. There are a couple of reasons for this approach, but the most practical consideration for presenting this material to someone new to the Baha’i Faith is where we find ourselves in history — we are entering in on the “ground floor” of Baha’i history and development as a distinct religion.… Read the rest

Published March 15th, 2017 by

I knew Winston Churchill was a painter, but only recently heard of his essay, Painting As A Pastime. Former President George W. Bush credited this little book with both his deliverance from “sitting on the couch, eating potato chips” in retirement and awakening in him a newfound passion for art and painting. I thought I’d read the essay online, but The Estate of Winston S. Churchill has a tight hold on the former British Prime Minister’s massive collection of writings and correspondence.

I read the reviews and found this gem on Amazon.com “used” — it was actually new and I picked it up for about the price of a sugary, dairy-based corporate coffee drink.… Read the rest

Published January 19th, 2017 by

Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns

Let me begin my post about this book with one of the endorsements from the back cover:

Offenses will come. It’s a given. Unpacking Forgiveness wisely prepares us for the aftermath. Grieving the loss of our six children in a van accident and then being reminded of that loss throughout thirteen years of subsequent battles forced us to search the Scriptures concerning the issue of forgiveness. Chris not only has confirmed answers that we had found but has thoroughly sorted out what it takes to be right with God and man.

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Published January 12th, 2017 by

I’m a new artist and had this conversation with Denise the other day: “My drawing skills are horrible and I’m so impatient that I’m not really observing my subjects at all. After I get going, the process slows me down and I begin seeing everything I missed.” Denise, as she typically does, listened patiently to my exposed inner thoughts and acknowledged my concerns. Then, she continued with her reading. This is a “conversation” we’ve had at least five times over the past couple of months and it was just this last Monday I engaged in the self-flagellation one more time.

On the way home from Bodega Bay on Tuesday, we stopped at the Goodwill in Auburn,  I picked this book up for a song and began reading it last night.… Read the rest

Published September 23rd, 2016 by

91dmb9o48clI had the opportunity to attend the Andrew Fuller Conference at Southern Seminary this past week. On my flight home, I read a book I’ve been looking forward to for years — D.A. Carson’s Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson.

I was first drawn to this book through a couple of podcasts and/or interviews of Dr. Carson when it came out. The book recounts the rather ordinary, yet significant life of his father Tom, a Baptist pastor1 in French Quebec through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. There are a number of reviews of the book out there and I’ll link to a few at the bottom of the post.… Read the rest

Published September 10th, 2016 by

haykinBack in June of this year, Nancy Guthrie messaged to tell me that she was reading a review copy of a forthcoming book and I was quoted in it! Well, that was exciting news. I wrote Good Mr. Baxter about 25 years ago and it has remained in obscurity for the most part. I was just happy to see that someone read it and found something of value. You can find my semi-immortal words on page 49 of Dr. Michael Haykin‘s Eight Women of Faith!

This is my mini-review of his biographical sketches of eight historically significant Evangelical women, in one volume.… Read the rest

Published September 1st, 2016 by

autopsy-of-a-deceased-church-12-ways-to-keep-yours-alive_2525018From Thom Rainer’s book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, the author lists some tell-tale signs to alert us that our church is in trouble. Here are the most telling, in my opinion:

  • “The church refused to look like the community. The community began a transition toward a lower socioeconomic class thirty years ago, but the church members had no desire to reach the new residents. The congregation thus became an island of middle-class members in a sea of lower-class residents.”
  • “There was no attempt to reach the community.”
  • “More and more emphasis was placed on the past.”
  • “The percentage of the budget for members’ needs kept increasing.
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Published November 11th, 2015 by

I have to concur with the writer, that “racking up mile after mile is difficult, mind-expanding, and hypnotic—just like putting words down on a page.” But, it’s also energizing and freeing to be out on the road, around town or through the woods, working out ideas and problems, step by step, mile by mile.

Freedom, consciousness, and wildness: Running offers writers escape with purpose. When confronted with “structural problems” in her writing as the result of a “long, snarled, frustrating and sometimes despairing morning of work,” Joyce Carol Oates would ease her writing blocks with afternoon runs. For Oates and many other writers, running is process and proves especially useful for the type of cloistered, intensive work they do.

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Published May 12th, 2015 by

I don’t recall memorizing, reciting or reading Robert Frost’s poems in school, while growing up in Southern California. That may seem unusual for anyone my age or older, because he was the nation’s poet laureate and all the rage in the early ’60s. He wrote a poem for John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, which bound him inextricably to the times and events that many baby-boomers cling to as their coming of age.

I had, in the words of one Richard Baxter biographer, a defective and desultory education. I think it was more my fault than any deficiencies in the educational system or my teachers.… Read the rest

Published May 6th, 2015 by

leading_on_emptyLeading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro is a book for burnouts. I picked it up back in February of 2013, when I finally realized I was experiencing long-term exhaustion (the formal diagnosis). I was a classic case — I didn’t know I had arrived at burnout, until I was actually coming out of it. A friend pointed me to this text as a classic on the subject, specifically written for Christians.

The book was not overly helpful for me, because I had stumbled into solutions or had recognized and addressed many of the symptoms already. It did help me to make sense of the troubled waters I’d just passed through and gave me a few tips or reminders to get back on course.… Read the rest

Published May 5th, 2015 by

Let’s talk about Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More? Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist by Karen Swallow Prior. Dr. Prior is a Professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She is also the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (T. S. Poetry Press 2012) and a contributing writer for Christianity TodayThe AtlanticIn Touch, Her.meneutics and Think Christian.  Ms. Prior is a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Humane Society of the United States, living out a fierce commitment to her family of dogs, horses, and chickens in rural Virginia, along with her husband, Roy.… Read the rest

Published April 10th, 2015 by

I’ve finished reading Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More? Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist by Karen Swallow Prior. I have my own review, and I’m just about ready to push the “Publish” button. But, for now you can find this interview of the author over at The Gospel Coalition. From the biography:

Hannah More

More was born in a rapidly changing society, and her life embodies many of those changes. She was born to laboring class parents but became an early example of social mobility by rising well above her station by the end of her life. But having both lower class origins and upper class attainments gave More an opportunity to effectively reach both rich and poor and in between through her writing and her reform efforts.

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Published October 8th, 2014 by

512YfhhKXNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Alexander Strauch’s Biblical Eldership (BE) packs the most thorough exposition of relevant passages concerning elders in the Bible into one volume, while offering a spirited and compelling apologetic for the practice of non-clerical, plural leadership in the local church. But, it’s not just for church leaders – all readers will find a clear and well-reasoned appeal to all Christians to practice a humble, relational style of Christianity modeled after Jesus Christ. And, even if you do not find Alex Strauch’s model or paradigm ultimately convincing and advocate a monarchical episcopacy or congregational form of church government, I guarantee you will be challenged, inspired and equipped to take your ministry, whatever it may be, more seriously and you will serve with greater passion and effectiveness.… Read the rest

Published May 8th, 2008 by

 

redesign2It took nearly twenty years, but my short biography of Richard Baxter is in publication and you can get your hands on a copy of it on at Lewis and Roth, using PayPal, VISA© or MasterCard. It’s only $9.95 and a nominal charge for shipping and handling, so how can you go wrong? Most of my sales have been by money order or personal check and you can find that order form right here.

“Who’s Richard Baxter?” you ask.

The well-known Christian author and authority on the Puritans, J.I. Packer, called him “incomparable” in his zeal and abilities, as well as “…the most outstanding pastor, evangelist and writer on practical and devotional themes that Puritanism produced.”

His detractors called him Scribbling Dick, because he published over 140 works during his lifetime, all the while thinking he would be killed or die by the next Spring.… Read the rest