Monday, December 14, 2015

Our Presidents and Their Prayers by Rand Paul and James Randall Robison

What is the single most important common thread that unites all American Presidents - such a small number of extraordinary people from different centuries, parties, backgrounds and experiences - as they shoulder the overwhelming responsibilities of the office of President of the United States? There is only one possible answer: their faith.

As a respected national leader and a man of deep faith himself, Senator Rand Paul has written OUR PRESIDENTS & THEIR PRAYERS in collaboration with James Randall Robison to remind us all that in a country founded by religious people, that abiding and rock-solid belief in God has been the key to each and every president's strength. 

Senator Paul's inspiring look into the heart-felt sentiments and personal prayers of leaders past and present becomes a powerful testament to our incredible accomplishments: winning the Revolution, writing the Constitution, and leading the world as the most exceptional and longest-lasting democracy in history.

It's nothing short of a miracle, then and now.

Every man who has answered the people's call to become President has looked for and found answers in his faith as he faced the nation's problems, and each president has frequently described his reliance on the Creator in his public speeches, official proclamations and private prayers.

Join Senator Paul in applauding the important role faith has played in our country through over 225 years of triumphs and struggles, justice and injustice, accomplishments and setbacks, war and peace.
In OUR PRESIDENTS & THEIR PRAYERS, Senator Paul stands up to the doubters in this most timely and important affirmation of how faith and prayer have always guided us, and why they must continue to do so as we face major decisions for the future of our country. 

My review:

   This book caught my eye as soon as I saw it in an email containing books I could review. Although I don't particularly like some of the men who have been presidents and am skeptical of  the faith of a few of them, it sounded like a book I would enjoy reading and reviewing; so I requested it.

  The authors did a great job of putting the book together. The book is an attractive hardcover with a dust jacket, and though books cannot be judged by their cover; the cover in this case is a just presentation of the contents.

  Every president is in the book from Washington to Barak Hussen Obama. Some of the presidents get more pages than others, but that is most likely because of how much is known about them and how popular they were/are. Each president has a bio, at least one picture, parts of their inaugural addresses, and quotes about God/religion/faith.

 I found the book interesting and informative, and learned a little more about several presidents and their faith and also other things about them I was not familiar with. Great book for a history lover.

About the authors:

U.S. Senator Rand Paul lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky with his wife and three children. He has been a practicing ophthalmologist for seventeen years. His run for the US Senate representing Kentucky was his first bid for political office. He is the son of Ron Paul, Texas congressman and 2008 Republican Presidential candidate.

JAMES RANDALL ROBISON (Randy) is a writer, video producer and host, and consultant. He lives in Fort Worth, TX with his wife and their four children.

Our Presidents and Their Prayers is available from Center Street Publishing, part of Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to Hachette for the review copy.

Worship Changes Everything by Darlene Zschech

An Invitation to Praise and Honor God in Every Area of Life

It can be easy to have a heart filled with worship on a Sunday morning as the church band is playing your favorite song. But then comes Monday morning's commute and Tuesday afternoon's pile of laundry. How do we maintain a heart of worship in the daily grind?

Darlene Zschech has spent her life thinking and teaching about worship. With wisdom and contagious joy, she shares her thoughts on what worship truly is and how it should invade every facet of our being. Everything we do can be an act of worship to the Lord, transforming our work, our friendships, our churches, our families. It's all about living in His presence--being aware of the Lord by our side and at work in our lives. 

Learn to live a life of worship. You will be amazed by the purpose and freedom it will bring.

My review:

  Who better to write a book about worship than a worship leader and songwriter? Praise and Worship music isn't my most listened to genre' of Christian music, but I am very familiar with Zschech and some of her songs. I was curious to what she might have to say, so I requested the book.

  The book is well written and is an interesting and easy read. It has two sections: The Heart of Worship, and The Hands of Worship. The subtitle of the book is "Experiencing God's Presence in Every Moment of Life", and she does a great job of showing how we can worship God in every day life; not just in church. The book also shows how everything; our actions, attitudes, and more; affect our worship.

 The author uses a lot of Scripture and personal stories to illustrate and support her points, and though this is not an exhaustive resource on worshiping God; there is a lot in here that is helpful and can help us worship God more in the way we should; if we take the contents of the book to heart.

About the author:

Australian Darlene Zschech is acclaimed all over the world as a singer, songwriter, worship leader and speaker, most notably for her involvement in the music from Hillsong Church, Sydney over many years. Although she has achieved numerous gold albums and her songs are sung in many nations of the world, her success simply stands as a testimony to her life’s passion to serve God and people with all her heart. Darlene, alongside her husband Mark, are Senior Pastors of Hope Unlimited Church on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia.

As a songwriter, Darlene is perhaps most famous for the chorus “Shout to the Lord,” a song that is sung by millions of churchgoers every week and has been covered by many other artists. “Shout to the Lord” was nominated as Album of the Year for the 1997 Dove Awards and was nominated as Song of the Year for the 1998 Dove Awards. In 2000 Darlene received a Dove Award nomination for Songwriter of the Year and received the International Award for influence in praise and worship.

In addition to “Shout to the Lord,” Darlene has written many songs that have been published worldwide, which apart from Hillsong Music worship projects also include solo projects : “Kiss of Heaven”, “Extravagant Worship”, “Change Your World”, “Simply Darlene”, “You Are Love” and “Revealing Jesus” a live worship album recorded with Grammy award winning Israel Houghton. Through the Compassionart project 2008, Darlene was honoured to be allowed the privilege of writing with some of the most generous-hearted worship writers and leaders of our day, with the goal to write an album where all the monies raised went to others in less fortunate circumstances. Darlene is also passionate about raising and training other worship pastor, leaders, teams and writers and has written four books – “Extravagant Worship”, “The Kiss of Heaven”, “The Art of Mentoring” and the new “Revealing Jesus” devotional. These titles combined have been translated into over 20 different languages.

Many years ago Mark and Darlene made a life commitment to do whatever they could to bring answer and relief to human suffering, and one of their great joys in life is to work with Compassion International, serving the world’s poorest of the poor children.

It was during a Compassion trip to Central Africa in 2004 that Mark and Darlene were prompted to initiate Hope: Rwanda, a global endeavour designed to bring hope to a nation seemingly forgotten since the horrific genocide of 1994. The 100 Days of Hope (April 6 – July 15, 2006) project was strategically coordinated to cover the same 100 days that saw approximately 1 million people viciously slaughtered. Now HOPE: Global continues to bring hope and healing to Rwanda, and a new ‘HOPE’ has spread into Cambodia, Vanuatu, and India. The HOPE team are excited about all the future endeavours that continue to gather great momentum.

Darlene and Mark live in the beautiful Central Coast of New South Wales with their three daughters, Chloe and Zoe, Amy and son-in-law Andrew and beautiful grand-daughter Ava Pearl, grandson Roman Emmanuel Mark and brand new grand-daughter Ruthie Feather. While they travel extensively and have the honour of working and ministering alongside amazing friends around the globe, family remains Darlene’s supreme delight. As she says, “First and foremost I am a woman who simply and wholeheartedly loves Christ, and serves Him through loving my family, serving the church, and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

The First Hostage by Joel Rosenberg

“The president of the United States . . . is missing.”

With these words, New York Times journalist J. B. Collins, reporting from the scene of a devastating attack by ISIS terrorists in Amman, Jordan, puts the entire world on high alert. The leaders of Israel and Palestine are critically injured, Jordan’s king is fighting for his life, and the U.S. president is missing and presumed captured.

As the U.S. government faces a constitutional crisis and Jordan battles for its very existence, Collins must do his best to keep the world informed while working to convince the FBI that his stories are not responsible for the terror attack on the Jordanian capital. And ISIS still has chemical weapons . . .

Struggling to clear his name, Collins and the Secret Service try frantically to locate and rescue the leader of the free world before ISIS’s threats become a catastrophic reality.

My review:

   This has been a book I have been looking forward to reading ever since I finished the book that preceded it, The Third Target; which ended on quite the cliffhanger.

  I have often wished that sequels did what TV shows often do when continuing events from an episode that aired a while before, and do a "last time on....."; only for books...... and they actually did that in this book. There is a six-page preface that gives events from The Third Target, which I found helpful and awesome.

  After the preface, the book immediately takes up where the last book left off. A massive airstrike and attack has been launched in the Middle East and the president of the Unites States is missing. At the center of it all is the main character from the first book, J.B. Collins; a news reporter for the New York times.

  Awesome is a word that gets overused, but it is a worthy description of this book. It is obvious that Rosenberg knows his stuff: politics in the US and Middle East, ISIS, Muslims in general, relations between different countries, and military and political actions that would most likely take place and under what circumstances. He takes all of that and spins a fascinating tale that kept me on the edge of my seat. With ISIS growing in power, the events of the book do not seem all that unbelievable and could almost be taken from the news headlines of today.

  Having a news reporter telling events in the first person adds an even more interesting dynamic to the story, and especially such a likable character.

 I had to put the book down a few times, but it is one that I could have read through in one sitting had I had the time. This book is suspenseful, full of drama, action, military fighting, and everything else that Rosenberg is known for. It is possibly the best book I have read this year, and I highly recommend it..... but it should be read after The Third Target.

About the author:

Joel C. Rosenberg is the founder of The Joshua Fund and the New York Times best-selling author of THE LAST JIHAD (2002), THE LAST DAYS (2003), THE EZEKIEL OPTION (2005), THE COPPER SCROLL (2006), EPICENTER (2006) and DEAD HEAT (2008) with more than 1.5 million copies in print. THE EZEKIEL OPTION was named by the ECPA as the Gold Medallion winner of the "Best Novel of 2006." Joel, an evangelical Christian whose mother is Gentile and whose father is from an Orthodox Jewish background, previously worked with several U.S. and Israeli leaders, including Steve Forbes, former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky, and  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and TV shows.

He and his wife have four sons and live near Washington, DC.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Like Father Like Son by Pete Alwinson

Call it machismo, masculinity, or manliness---it can never anchor a man's life, shape his identity, or repair what is broken in his relationship with his earthly father. Key Life men's ministry expert Pete Alwinson shows convincingly how a growing relationship with our heavenly Father gives a man real purpose as a son, father, brother, or friend.

If you don't know what it means to be a "real man," there are approximately 2,341 books that will tell you how. But Like Father, Like Son is a refreshing message of grace amongst the voices encouraging men to "just do it" or pull themselves up by their bootstraps. By focusing men on their biblical, core identity---being sons of the Father by grace---Like Father, Like Son channels the thirst for adventure and freedom into a radical exploration of grace. Filled with stories collected from the author's forty years of men's ministry, Like Father, Like Son is sure to connect with and encourage men where they really live.

My review:
   As someone who used to struggle a lot to believe God loved me, and still have a little difficulty with viewing God as my father; I was looking forward to reading this book. The author did a great job on writing a book about God being a father to we men.

 The chapters cover the character traits of God as a father. Traits such as God as the welcoming father, the identity-building father, the guiding father, and several others. This is the author's first book, and is is definitely one worth reading on this topic. I not only found it interesting and easy to read, but I also was helped and encouraged by it to view God more as a loving father instead of a demanding tyrant as I used to. He uses examples through the book to make some of his points that make the book even more interesting,

 Each chapter ends with a "take it to heart" section that has six questions for further thought and introspection.

  This book is definitely written for men, and I highly recommend it to any guy whether or not he has trouble viewing God as a Father.

About the author:

Pete Alwinson is Vice President of Leadership and Men for Key Life Network and has pastored in a variety of settings for 30 years. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, teaching communication and theology of ministry, and has written and spoken nationally for Man in the Mirror and Key Life. He has been married to Caron for 36 years and has two married sons and one college-aged daughter.

Thanks to Litfuse for the review copy.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Guest post: Pieces on Earth by Cathy Bryant

  Christian fiction author Cathy Bryant has done a guest blog post for me about peace and her new Christmas book, Pieces on Earth. I have read three of her books and she is a great author. Check her out if you haven't already.


 Peace. By reading today's headlines, peace seems in short supply, doesn't it? Although it might not be evident, peace is actually available to all. Let me explain.

Peace Defined

The world's definition of peace is absence of war or conflict. I'm not referring to that kind of peace. In fact, I don't believe that kind of peace truly exists worldwide. The kind of peace I'm talking about comes from the Hebrew word shalom, which means wholeness and complete well-being. It's the kind of peace that only God can offer.

The Opposite of Peace

Anxiety. Now there's a word that's not in short supply. Did you know that anxiety is actually a recognized medical condition and is characterized by a fracturing or splintering of our thoughts and minds? We all suffer the ill effects of anxiety from time to time, usually when an unexpected storm blows through. I don't know about you, but I find it highly interesting that God's complete peace is the exact opposite of the broken pieces of anxiety.

How to Experience Peace

When life hands us troubling circumstances, we have two choices. We can either be anxious or at peace. In my humble opinion, that's a no-brainer decision. But how do we acquire this peace?
  • ACCEPT. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." ~John 14:27
  • FOLLOW: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." ~Colossians 3:15
  • PRAY. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7
  • TRUST. "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You." ~Isaiah 26:3


Pieces On Earth by Cathy BryantMy latest book, PIECES ON EARTH (Christian fiction Christmas novella, rated at 4.9 stars with 35 reviews), explores in story form this vivid contrast between peace and pieces. Here's the book description:
As a young mother and wife of a naval aviator in sunny Pensacola, Florida, Liv Tulley eagerly anticipates the first Christmas in several years with her husband, daughter, and extended family. Then her husband is unexpectedly deployed for an undetermined amount of time, smashing her white Christmas dreams to bits. She also shoulders a secret as anxious thoughts for her husband's safety bring on a life storm she's not prepared to handle.
Can she find God's peace in the midst of life's pieces?

PURCHASE: | Print | Kindle |
"I highly recommend this story to one and all. Would be a great one to share the gospel with anyone who is searching for the truth." -Amazon Reviewer

Book Tour POE

About Cathy

Christian author Cathy BryantAmazon best-selling author Cathy Bryant loves writing heart-stirring stories of God's life-changing grace. Her first novel, Texas Roads, is an Amazon best-seller and 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers' Genesis finalist. Since then, she's added five more titles to the beloved Miller's Creek novels (Christian romance and romantic suspense) and is currently at work on the seventh book. In addition to her novels, she's written a Christmas novella, two Bible studies, and co-authored devotional books in collaboration with other Christian authors. She's also written devotionals for The Upper Room magazine. When she's not writing, you might find her rummaging through thrift stores or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister hubby of over thirty years. She especially enjoys spending time with the world's greatest grand-kids! You can find out more about Cathy and her books at her in the following online places:


PIECES ON EARTH eBook Giveaway

Cathy is offering one of you an eBook of PIECES ON EARTH. Drawing is open internationally and concludes on December 21, 2015. The winner will be contacted via email. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. a Rafflecopter giveaway