Monday, October 29, 2012

Review of RADICAL by David Platt

David Platt
Copyright 2010 David Platt
ISBN 978-1-60142-221-7
Christian Living
219 pages
$14.99 softcover

After a life-transforming trip to Asia, and a soul-searching journey through the gospels, author and pastor David Platt began asking a lot of questions in his book, Radical.

Thought-provoking questions like, “Do I believe that Jesus is worthy of sacrifice in our lives?”

Easy-to-answer questions like, “Was I going to believe Jesus?”

Tougher questions like, “Was I going to obey Jesus?”

Proclaimed (in the press, no less) “The youngest megachurch pastor in history,” Dr. Platt (David holds two undergraduate degrees and three advanced degrees, including a doctorate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) found himself in a quandary.  The disparity between the soul-shocking sights, sounds and stories he experienced in Asia, and the multi-million dollar facilities, theater-style lighting, and cushioned chairs of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama was too great to fathom.  And the disparity between Pastor David Platt, (“the youngest megachurch pastor in history,” I remind you) and Jesus Christ ( in David’s own words, “the youngest minichurch pastor in history); well that, too, was too great to fathom.

David Platt has covenanted with God to answer all three of the previous questions in the affirmative, and challenged his flock to join him in this RADICAL departure from the usual way “church” is done in 21st Century America.  And his invitation is open to all who wish to accept it.

Jesus?  or The Great American Dream?  Which one is worthy of your time, your energy, your talents, your treasure . . . your life?  Are you having trouble with the question?  Let me put it in terms that I believe David Platt would appreciate . . . “What has America done for you lately?”

The conclusion that David Platt arrives at is both simple and profound:  this RADICAL Christianity that Jesus is calling us to is actually the normative Christianity that he has been preaching all along. 

Filled  with soul-stirring stories, humorous anecdotes, and down-to-earth doctrine from the Word of God, this book cannot help but transform the way you look at your relationship with God, with Jesus Christ, with the world, and with yourself.  You have been warned . . . this book is RADICAL!

Review of HIDE AND SEEK by Jeff Struecker with Alton Gansky

Hide And Seek
Jeff Struecker and Alton Gansky
ISBN 976-1-4336-7142-6
369 pages
$14.99 U.S.

If you are a fan of action-packed, no-holds-barred military fiction, this is the book for you.  By the same token, if you are a fan of  Christian inspirational fiction where God is real and the situations are, too . . . this is the book for you.  Hey . . . if you enjoy READING, this is the book for you!

This is the second book that the authors have constructed around an Army Special Operations team that is blacker than black, and is now being led by Master Sergeant J.J.  “Boss” Bartley.  And while I have not read the first book {though I’m planning on acquiring it ASAP) I had no trouble getting into the book.  It stands alone, and the references to the previous book are clear enough without bogging down the story line.

The Kyrgzstan government is precariously positioned for either a triumphant future, or a devastating defeat.  Army trained Foreign Affairs Officer Amelia Lennon is seeking to help stabilize the regime through diplomatic negotiations with the newly elected president.  While following the lawyer daughter of the president, she thwarts an abduction attempt by those who are resistant to the new government, and finds herself struggling to survive in the war-torn landscape of Kyrgzstan. 

“Boss” and his spec ops team have been tasked with the responsibility of rescuing the two fleeing women.  In addition to the old team, two new members have been added.  And now the team has been ordered into battle with zero time for assimilation.  Unknown to the team, there are larger stakes at hand in this game of war and deception.

Written with a thorough understanding of what it takes to get the job done, you will roll with laughter at the give and take that goes on between the team members, and you will weep with sorrow at the situations they are forced to endure.  Grab some coffee, and a box of tissues, because you are not going to be able to put this book down until you’ve finished the journey, and you are not going to want to get up to get supplies! 

5 stars.

Review of Germ By Robert Liparulo

Robert Liparulo
Copyright 2006 by Robert Liparulo
ISBN 0-7852-6178-8
496 pages
$22.99 Jacketed Hardcover

Do we have a match?  That is the question that is on everyone’s mind, as they contemplate their fate.  In Germ, the deadly Ebola virus has taken on a new dimension, as bioterrorists have developed the genetic know-how to determine just who will develop a full-blown case of the deadly disease, and who will survive with a common cold.  And the determination is made with cold-blooded, 100 percent accuracy.

Julia Matheson is a specially-trained FBI investigator, attached to the Bio-Terrorism Unit of the Department of Homeland Security.  Her partner, Goodwin Donnelley, has been ruthlessly murdered by assassins working for a shadowy figure, after coming in contact with one of the “carriers” of the virus.  Now it is up to her to unravel the threads leading up to her partners murder, bring the deadly plot to an end, and the sinister masterminds to justice.  Before they manage to target her for murder . . . or worse.

While in seminary, I was told to “leave the tools in the woodshed,” and bring out the finished product.  Robert Liparulo has done exactly that in his novel, Germ.  From page one I was drawn into this masterfully crafted work of fiction.  Even when handling technically difficult material, the author manages to “show” rather than “tell,” thus keeping the reader fully informed, completely up-to-date, and thoroughly engrossed.  While the price may seem a bit steep, you won’t begrudge the expenditure of a single penny when you invest it in the purchase of this action-packed thriller.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Finding God When You Need Him Most
Chip Ingram
ISBN 978-0-8010-6812-6
Christian Living
Baker Books
209 pages
$14.99 U.S.

Chip Ingram, president and teaching pastor for Living On The Edge, reveals how you can meet God in the midst of your most difficult circumstances.  This is a topic near and dear to Chip’s heart, as he strives to spur Christians to a deeper, more authentic walk and talk with God.   Candidly coming to grips with some of life’s most challenging, discouraging, and humbling situations, and providing personal anecdotes to let you know that he, too, has “been there,” Chip opens up the Scriptures to find God’s answers for each particular encounter.  There are also Questions for Discussion and Reflection at the end of each chapter, so you can use this book as a study guide for small groups, as well as a personal devotional.  This book would make a great gift for a friend or loved one who may be facing some of life’s challenges.

5 stars

A Review of ILLUSION by Frank Peretti

Frank Peretti
ISBN 978-1-4391-9267-2
Fiction \ Christian\General
Howard Books
498 pages
$26.99 U.S.

What if all the bad things that happened to you . . . didn’t?  What if all the accidents, all the bad decisions, all the pain and suffering from diseases and cancers could just be – skipped over?

In a poignant story of love, life, and loss, Frank Peretti crafts yet another page-turner of a novel.  Dane and Mandy had the storybook romance; married at a young age, touring the world as a magician and beautiful assistant, taking the world by storm and loving every minute they shared together.  Then a motor vehicle accident took Mandy from him, and Dane struggled to start over again.

At a small coffee shop, Dane is mesmerized by the 19-year old beauty who is holding the audience spell-bound with her magic act.  She is performing illusions that even he can’t understand.  More disconcerting is the fact that her mannerisms, her quirks, her very persona is familiar . . . hauntingly so.  How could this be?

As Dane and his new protégé establish and begin to build a new professional relationship, the uneasiness grows.  As does the danger.  And for Dane, the climax will be more than he ever bargained for.

Frank Peretti does a thorough job at explaining otherwise complex theories while keeping the reader firmly hooked with his masterful prose and winsome storytelling. 

5 stars