Monday, September 24, 2012

A Review of A Heartbeat Away by Dr. Harry Kraus

A Heartbeat Away
Harry Kraus
ISBN 978-1-4347-0257-9
David C. Cook
370 pages
$14.99 U.S.

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:”  Ezekiel 11:19 (KJV)

Following an opportunistic infection, Dr. Tori Taylor suddenly finds the roles reversed.  Now she is the patient, and the only thing that will save her life is a heart transplant.  Following a successful surgery, Tori looks forward to once again taking control of her life with the iron hand and indomitable will that has been her trademark and calling card for so long.  And while these traits have served her well, and made her something of a legend in the hospital community . . . it has not helped to win friends and influence people in a positive manner.

But Dr. Taylor’s tightly wound world is about to come unraveled.  Startlingly vivid nightmares wake her in a cold sweat.  Her eating habits have taken on a bizarre pattern.  She can sense the emotional and spiritual situations of those around her.  And why is she suddenly so emotionally out of control?  Research into the theory of cellular memory leads Tori to believe that the things she is experiencing were part and parcel of the life of her donor.  More disturbing, they seem to be leading her into exposing a drug ring, a dirty cop, and the ones responsible for the murder of the one who donated her new heart.

As her investigation probes deeper, those who want to silence her become more desperate, and her struggles for control of her life become increasingly futile.  Until she meets the only One who can truly calm the storm.

Those who write reviews will tell you, when their toes are held to the fire, that they don’t often read the entire book under review at the time.  Writing with the skill of a seasoned wordsmith, and the heart of one completely sold out to God, Harry Kraus has penned a novel which has earned the highest compliment I can offer:  I literally read every single word.  And for those who like to know more, Harry Kraus writes an afterword that takes you into his world, and reveals his passion for people, for surgery, and for the Lord.  It’s refreshing to meet one who is as open and genuine as Dr. Kraus, and I look forward to reviewing more of his books in the future.

5 Stars

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review of What Every Christian Ought To Know

What Every Christian Ought to Know

Author: Adrian Rogers with Steve Rogers
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
September 2012
ISBN 978-1-4336-7785-4
Genre: Religion \ Christian Life \ Spiritual Growth
Reviewed by: Steve Hilton

Adrian Rogers. Enough said. The late Dr. Adrian Rogers, former pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis, Tennessee, lived a life captivated by Christ and consumed with a passion for the Word of God and for grounding new believers into disciples and exhorting disciples to never stop growing. His life can be summed up in one word – integrity.

So when I received the opportunity to review WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN OUGHT TO KNOW, I literally jumped at it. This book was previously published by Dr. Rogers, and this new edition includes an introduction from Steve Rogers (president of the Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute) as well as discussion questions for personal reflection or group study. But the real draw for this reviewer is the bulk of the book. Written in a clear, passionate tone that trumpets a life time of walking with the Lord and studying the Word, WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN OUGHT TO KNOW is a primer for those who claim the name of Jesus and want to live up to everything that that stands for. Taking the major doctrines, in a lucid yet devotional tone, Dr. Rogers explains clearly what God’s word has to say. WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN OUGHT TO KNOW not only serves as a handbook for apologetics, it also reminds every believer of their “first love,” and encourages them to walk ever closer with The One who loved them first. 5 stars. 278 pages. $14.99.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Responsibilities and Resources

Found this in my devotional this morning:  "God is infinite, and when He pours Himself into us and into our abilities, we take on His capacity, not our capacity. When God pours Himself into the tasks that He calls us to do, there is no limit to how much He can multiply our efforts to accomplish His purposes." (Stanley, C. F. (2004). God's way day by day (279). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.) There are several passages that come immediately to mind, when I reflect on these words, but the one that sticks out is the Great commission;  "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.'"  Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV) 
     The emphasis always seems to be on our responsibility; "Go,"  "Teach," "Baptize," "Make Disciples."  We gravitate toward that verse because finally, WE are doing something; finally, WE are the center of attention.  The spotlight is on us.  And so we develop our programs, and ministries, and Bible studies, and small groups.  We pour all of our energy into getting them started, and sustaining them, completely ignoring the resources that are at our disposal.
     Jesus did, indeed, command us to do all of these things.  But the commandment is the center of the cookie; the filling of the Oreo to use a rather crude analogy.  In verse 18, Jesus told his disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."  And in verse 20, Jesus promised his disciples, ". . . and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
     I want you to meditate on those provisions this morning, and throughout your day:  if Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has all power . . . and he has promised to be with US eternally - there should be no reason we should not be able to carry out the commandments he has given us.  And if we are not carrying out these commandments, the fault lies with us.  We are shirking our responsibilities, despite the provisions that have been made.

In Christian Love, "Doc" Hilton

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Review of "Walk With Me" by Annie Wald

Walk With Me
Annie Wald
ISBN 978-0-8024-0593-7
Fiction/General/Classic & Allegory
River North
288 pages
$15.99 U.S.

A new twist on an old classic, Annie Wald has innovatively re-written Pilgrim’s Progress for couples.  In doing so, she has managed to grasp the core essentials of what marriage is really all about, and provides sage advice on how one can successfully navigate the oft-times rocky terrain of married life.  For Annie, marriage is more than a one-day affair; it’s a daily walk in a sometimes cold and unfriendly world.  There are snares and pits that the married couple must avoid (or work their way out of).  There are also periods of rest, refreshment, relaxation, and a rekindling of the old flame.  Truth be told – if you are married to the same person that you said your vows to, whether that was 5 years ago or 50 – then there is something definitely wrong.  Mark Lowry stated it something like this:  “Life is birthdays, and bills; it’s good, and bad, and ugly; it’s new cars and skinned knees.  And Jesus came to give life . . . ABUNDANTLY!”  In this allegory, Annie invites you to take a walk with Peter and Celeste as they journey toward the King’s City.  You’ll find yourself rooting for them, weeping with them and rejoicing with them.  And you might even find yourself in this book, as well.

Inventive, imaginative, provocative, and compelling are just a few of the words I would use to describe Walk With Me.   One last adjective might suffice:  life-altering.  Read it as a couple, share it with your couple friends . . . but don’t ever forget the invitation to Walk With Me.

5 Stars

"The Room"

I'm not really sure of the copyright details, so I won't post this soul-searching gospel tract in my blog; instead I'll give you the website and you can check it out yourself.  A member of my local church showed it to me this past Lord's Day, and it hasn't stopped working in my head and in my heart.  I'm praying that it will also start working through my hands, and make a complete difference in the way I live my life.

The link is:, and the gospel tract is called "The Room."  That's all I'm going to say.  You need to check it out for yourself.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Review of "Hidden In Dreams" by Davis Bunn

Hidden In Dreams
Davis Bunn
ISBN 978-1-4164-5672-5
Dreams \ Fiction \ Psychological Fiction
Howard Books
238 pages
$14.99 U.S.

Do yourself a favor.  The next time you receive a book by Davis Bunn, don’t look at the back jacket.  Instead, open the book to page one and begin reading.  Especially with this book, this is really the only way that you can “get” the point this amazing author is trying to communicate.  No preconceived notions . . . no spoilers . . . no peeking allowed.

Dr. Elena Burroughs is a clinical psychologist without a clinic, without a practice, without a clientele, and without a home.  Offered the newly created Chair of Psychology at a small Florida university, Elena seizes the opportunity to start over.  To retreat into a haven in which every aspect of her life was under her control.  Well, one can always dream . . .

Out of the blue, Elena is approached by Rachel Lamprey, the sister of her now-deceased best, and oldest, friend.  The pharmaceutical company that Rachel works for is preparing to release a new drug that will virtually eliminate ADHD. However, a test subject has suddenly begun having a dream.  A recurring dream.  A terrifying dream of future global financial ruin.  And he’s not the only one.  As a matter of fact, Elena has begun having the same dream.

Filled with a powerful compulsion to share her dream with whoever will listen, Elena is forced out of her comfort zone and assumes the mantle of spokesperson for the dreams.  And as the dreams increase in number, and come true in terrifying precision, the urgency to share becomes overwhelming as well.  You’ll have to read the book to find out how it ends!

As a sidenote, which I hope readers will understand this reviewer sees as the foundation of this book, Davis Bunn has captured and communicated for us, in Elena Burroughs, what has been referred to in Scripture as “the burden of the Lord.”  The prophets referred to in Scripture didn’t “sign up” for the job; they didn’t seek the position, and they rarely reaped any professional or monetary accolades for their work.  In point of fact, they were ridiculed, rejected, and removed from life in a wide variety of cruel and unusual practices.  Nonetheless, they remained true to their calling, and to their God, in a manner supremely worthy of emulation. 

The prophet Jeremiah put it this way:

“ O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, "Violence and plunder!" Because the word of the LORD was made to me A reproach and a derision daily.  Then I said, "I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name." But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”
                                                                                                      Jeremiah 20:7-9 (NKJV)

Hidden In Dreams communicates this situation clearly, and challenges its readers to “take up the mantle,” and proclaim the message that God has given them.  Are you up to the challenge?

5 stars.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My First Blog . . . EVER!

Greetings to all in Blog-Land!  This is my first post, of a newly created blog.  When I say "first," I mean just that.  My first blog.  Ever.  So . . . good luck to ALL of us!