Tuesday, November 22, 2005

You! The Journey to the Center Of Your Worth - Ed Young

Pastor Ed Young is a man on a mission. That mission is to change your life by introducing you to the second most important person in your life. You may ask, “Why wouldn’t I just want to know the MOST important person in my life first?” The answer is, “Because that person is YOU! And you can’t know the most important person in your life (our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ) until you first know YOU!” You might find this statement controversial, however, it is within you that He resides therefore that is where your search should begin.

With every Christian book I am privileged to review, I search to find something within the book that will help me learn and grow in my Christian life. In reading “You!” it was very easy to find what stood out the most for me. Pastor Young introduced me to the 4-F’s. The 4-F’s are four destructive tenets we experience that bring about our downfall.

The first is Fear. Our fear to be ‘found out’ is sometimes so strong that we try to camouflage our pain. Pastor Young explains how this fear grows and manifests in other aspects of our life. The second is Frustration. Frustration rears its ugly head when we won’t admit our mistake. The third tenet is Fatigue. Fatigue sets in when we get tired of dealing with the fear and the frustration. The continued juggling weighs heavy on your soul and it makes us easy prey of tenet four. Tenet four is Failure, which is what the enemy craves for you and I to experience.

You might think I’ve shared the premise of the book, however, the 4-F lesson is only three pages of the book!

Pastor Ed Young has created an extraordinary book to help young Christians find fulfillment in a Christian walk. It is a wonderful book that is easy to read and is perfect for youth groups. It is a great book to read together with a friend or just to read on your own.

YOU! The Journey to the Center of Your Worth offers insight for both the budding Christians and the seasoned Christian soldiers, the tools to make that journey. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Burn This Book - dreamslaughter.com

“You can always know the character of a man by the quotes he chooses to use.” – Robert Denson

As a child, my father used to quote famous speakers and authors to inspire me. “Son, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!” He’d say or, “No good deed goes unpunished. Your character comes not from your reward but from that in which you fervently stand.”

Dreamslaughter.com have captured the essence of wisdom through quotes and published it. The product is Burn This Book now on sale at their website http://www.dreamslaughter.com/.

Apparently, the project began in Internet chat rooms over ten years ago. They found that many people used quotes of famous people to support positions in political discussions. Dreamslaugher.com compiled these quotes.
Since “Burn This Book” is a collaboration, it was decided to use the chat room handle 'dreamslaughter' as the author. They used the title “Burn This Book” because the quotes used are provocative and thought inspiring. The book is edgy, passionate, angry, spiritual, compassionate and deeply thought provoking. It is a frontal assault on non-progressive ideals, using the words of notable people.

I applaud dreamslaughter.com’s ideals in producing Burn This Book and I highly recommend it. The thing that most Americans lack is the will to think for themselves. Burn This Book promotes freethinking through famous quotes. If you are opposed to individually educated thinking and support the status quo, you might have the urge to burn this book as well! I, however, am looking forward to the promised second edition.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Twist in Time - Bill Coate

You think you know history?

You might very well know the things that were taught to you in high school history class, but there is so much more to history than the stories that are told. There are many tidbits of history that were “left out” or “omitted” because they were felt to be unimportant.

In his book, “Twist in Time”, William S. Coate has captured and recorded some of the most intriguing, scarcely known facts of history. For example:

Did you know that there seemed to be a curse on almost every person remotely connected to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln? Coate lists eight people either directly connected to President Lincoln or to the events of his death. Each person either lost their minds or their lives, including the widowed first lady. Who were these people? You’ll have to see pages 100 and 101 of the book.

If that is not enough, consider this:

Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt was shot while running for another term as president? He was set to give a speech in Milwaukee and in route, he was shot in the chest at close range. Being the strong man that he was, Roosevelt ignored advice of doctors and gave the speech…with the bullet still in his chest! How did he survive? See pages 134 and 135.

I am quite fascinated with history. One of the things I liked most about “Twist in Time” is that I did not have to read it all at once. Every two to three pages are full stories within themselves. The book is very well crafted and provides much intrigue and mystery.

William (Bill) S. Coate has delivered a magnificent historical volume that will be sure to make the reader reign supreme in his/her knowledge of historical trivia. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Early Horror Works of H.P. Lovecraft

Call me cynical and morbid, however, two of my favorite authors are Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. These two authors have always been able to express man’s greatest struggle with the battle with inner fear rather than with outside circumstances. I did not think there were any other authors that could adequately portray this struggle on paper, until now. The funny thing is, I did not discover this through reading but from listening. Let me explain.

Though my bookshelves are filled with hardbound books, both for reading and for collecting, I have long since been a huge fan of audio books. Audio books are not only time beneficial, but educational as well. I have long believed that audio books are the wave of the literary future. Finally, someone else agrees with me...Classic CD Books.

Classic CD Books introduced me to classic writer, H.P. Lovecraft and his early horror works. Narrated and performed by former radio DJ, Erik Sellin, the five stories (The Beast in the Cave, Dagon, The Statement of Randolph Carter, The Terrible Old Man and The Music of Erich Zann) practically come to life as the words flow from the speakers. Erik Sellin does a marvelous job of making each sentence breathe through his emotion and pitch.

In my favorite of the five, The Beast in the Cave, a hiker is separated from his group and finds himself alone in a cave...or so he thinks. He is terrified because he has no idea where he is or how to get out. He soon realizes that he is not alone and that there is a creature lurking in the dark just beyond his vision. The creature seems to be stalking his every move. Reminiscent of Poe and King, Lovecraft does a marvelous job in describing the fear of mankind and the desperate actions taken when succumbed by fear.

This audio production was quite a wonderful way to discover and indulge in old classics! Visit http://www.classiccdbooks.com/ or order it on Amazon. I am looking forward to many more classics to be so eloquently produced by Classic CD Books. Long live the audio revolution!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Letters - Sean Hanzelik

When horrific atrocities are happening in the world, where is God? When an innocent child is being abused, where is Jesus? When your life is going terribly wrong and everything is falling down around you, where is our Savior?

The answer to each of these questions is, “He is there.” Sometimes He speaks to us and sometimes, He sends us letters.

“Dear Reader, It is now time for you to read this book. I have helped write it for your enjoyment and for your enlightenment. Listen to your heart as you read, and hear My message. I look forward to speaking to you in the very near future. God.” You might find this to be ‘over the top’ until you crack open the book and read the divine messages displayed upon its pages.

Sean Hanzelik has captured the extraordinary examples of how God reaches us and compiled them in what promises to be a breakout novel, The Letters. Why would I make such a profound statement about this book? Because The Letters’ most important gift is not the story, but the messages it delivers.

This book makes such a huge impact because it describes how there are no ‘random events’ in our lives. God works in mysterious ways and He is always working. Even in the midst of our struggles and pains, Jesus is there. He so desperately wants us to turn our lives over to him rather than take on the world’s circumstances on our own; however, it is always up to us to make that decision.

When reading The Letters, you will feel each and every character. You will identify with their successes and what seem to be their failures. You WILL feel their pains. Most of all, however, you will feel their redemptions and you will realize how Christ is always standing ready to enter into our lives. We are always within the reach of His outstretched arms. Life’s tests and trials come as opportunities to make us stronger, not to destroy us. As one of Hanzelik’s characters, Odessa Greene states, “Wherever God puts you is a blessing.”

The Letters is an extraordinary novel about extremely ordinary people. There are several champions for Christ in this book however the only hero is the “Love of God”. There are no enemies or evil foes represented between the pages, only the people who keep the characters from Jesus’ love…themselves.

Sean Hanzelik has created a story worthy of the bestseller lists. I hope you will take the time to read The Letters and share it with anyone who can benefit from its message and I believe that anyone is everyone.

The God's Honest Truth - Darin Hufford

This book had a profound effect upon me. You may ask, “Why this one more than other books?” It was so profound to me because this book was about me.

No, I did not write this book. It was written by Darin Hufford, the founder and director of Married to the Master Ministries (www.phoenixnightlight.com) based in Phoenix, Arizona. The book resonated with me so much because like myself, Darin had to lose his religion before his spiritual connection with GOD was taken to another level. The most magnificent aspect of Darin’s epiphany is when GOD revealed it to him. It was not when he was lost and confused in worldly means. It was while he watched an auditorium fill with Christians coming to hear the word of GOD. What Darin realized was that the majority of the people entering the conference were in spiritual pain. In Darin’s words, “The people were basically disappointed with their religion. It was if they had been sold something by a con artist and once they got it home, it didn’t work.”

Wow! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve experienced this in my life. When I was in rebellion and away from the church, I cannot tell you how many times I watched Christians who had found Jesus that continued carrying their own burdens. Christians have no idea how much they deter people who want to find GOD from coming to church. When those that are lost see the ‘churchgoers’ still burdened with spiritual pain, they don’t see a benefit. Why trade pain for another pain? So rather than embrace Christians—they flee! Darin’s message on this subject is, “There is a power in GOD’s kindness that can literally carry you to freedom!”

Please realize that the focus in this message is not on the church but on the perception of religion. “The purpose of this book is not to expose the faults of the Church, but to declare the truth and beauty of GOD.” And what a beauty Darin Hufford shares in The God’s Honest Truth. Hufford has delivered a message that strikes at the heart of the old as well as nourishes the roots of the young in Christ.

As I moved from chapter to chapter, I felt as if Darin Hufford was ministering directly to me. He gave me The God’s Honest Truth; addressing aspects of my own life, GOD’s love and what GOD has in store for us all. As he expresses the Divine message GOD asked him to deliver, Hufford constantly reminds you that, “Truth ceases to be the truth if it is spoken in any other tone than love.”
This is one of the most relevant and most powerful Christian books I have read for ‘spiritual’ seekers. Look for Hufford to be compared to Rick Warren and Joel Osteen. The God’s Honest Truth, in my opinion, is one of GOD’s best sellers.

The Spirit - Jean Emile Charon

Why are we here? What is our purpose in this existence?

If you are a believer in Creationism, you know GOD created the universe, the Earth and mankind. HE gave Adam dominion over the Earth, however, HE never explained why. If you are a firm believer in evolution, then these too have been questions that have plagued humankind since it formed a conscience. No matter which belief you subscribe to, world-renowned physicist, Jean Emile Charon has the answer; and the answer is “The Spirit”.

Jean Emile Charon, nuclear physicist, decided to include the phenomena of metaphysics in his work in 1959. Dr. Charon has written more than 25 books on the subjects of physics, scientific philosophy and computer science (visit www.jeanemilecharon.com to see his extraordinary curriculum vitae). His goal was to bridge GOD and science—and he succeeded. Most would classify this as a new age subject; however, Dr. Charon first published this book as “L’Esprit cet inconnu” in 1977.

In realizing this, it is amazing how enlightened Jean Emile Charon was during a time that it wasn’t so popular. Dr. Charon provides his foundation in history, explaining how almost every successful physicist (specifically Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein) wrote passionately about metaphysics. He also explains how succeeding scientists ignored and suppressed this information (reminiscent of Constantine’s ploy to decide approve and reject different books of The Bible) because they believed that since experiments could not be done and controlled, it was “out of our reach.” Dr. Charon believed that the very thing that physicists could not explain should be the very thing they sought to explain.

Jean Emile Charon, in this magnificent and controversial work, has done what other physicists were afraid to do. He has offered hard evidence that we are immortal. He has connected the ‘explainable’ to the ‘unexplainable’. Charon states, “Kicking a hole in a wall to get a view may be a bit radical, but as long as the wall stays intact, no one sees anything!” I can profess that the wall was adequately removed, almost 30 years ago, when Jean Emile Charon published this book.

If you are a seeker, like myself; if you thrive for answers to life’s unexplained situations, this book helps to fill in the gaps. This is not light reading however it is truly enlightened reading. Much appreciation goes to translator, Philip “Phil” Gagnon, Sr. for bringing this work into the American market. I recommend this book to each and everyone.

The Great Pretender - Millenia Black

What happens when a 6+year, pseudo-bigamist decides to ‘grow a conscience’? Only one word comes to mind…disaster!

Reginald Brooks is a tall, attractive, charismatic and extremely successful businessman. Reginald has it all: power, influence, money, women and love…his problem? Where he wants love, he has abused and lost it. Where there is more love than life, Reginald ignores it. His biggest dilemma? He is playing this ‘give and take’ love game with five (count them) five women.

“Hell hath no fury to that of a woman scorned!”

Juggling a wife and two, practically adult, daughters in Miami and a fiancĂ©’ and a six year old daughter in Orlando, Reginald makes it a difficult task for the women to continue loving him with their all. Nevertheless, Reginald plays Atlas, carrying the world on his shoulders, maintaining his masquerade by telling lies and securing alibis. All is manageable until Reginald decides he can no longer handle the pressure. In actuality, he does not ‘grow a conscience’. In fact, he attempts to shift the responsibilities of his selfishly choreographed indulgence steadily upon the backs of the women he supposedly ‘loves’.

Reginald discovers, unbeknownst to him, that all of these intelligent women have lives of their own; all having their own explicit secrets. As all the lies began to come to light, Reginald finds out that he has never had the control he believed he held. Reginald is merely a great pretender. The truth hurts, but not always the person in which it is expected to hurt. The truth has a life of its own as well.

In the literary arena, there are great stories and there are great storytellers. Most often, one does not automatically accompany the other…but in this case it does. Millenia Black is a great storyteller and she tells a great story. “The Great Pretender” is realistic; its characters are fully complex and their dialogue is authentic. With the use of small, inconsequential interruptions in complex situations, Millenia Black paints a scene that is so genuine, if flows like true life.

While reading this book, I was reminded of the days I grew up watching “Dallas” and “Dynasty”. I would not dare compare Millenia Black’s work to the soap opera’s of today because Millenia’s work is so realistic.
Someone call HBO! The Great Pretender could easily be “The Sopranos” of South Florida. I believe The Great Pretender will be a big hit in the bookstores and I have no doubt that it will not be last time hearing from Ms. Millenia Black. You’ll be asking, “Janet Evan-a-who?”

The Tribe - Gregory Townes

What goes around comes around. We’ve heard this all of our lives, but what happens when situations truly come full circle? David Peters has found out the hard way and what he has discovered could mean death to him and his entire family.

In the midst of a heat wave, David and his daughter Star, go out to purchase her some new sneakers. Suffering from the constant heat, the couple cannot seem to find a cool place. They soon find themselves bombarded by strange characters that seem to repeat the same thing.

“The Dead Know What the Living Are Doing”

Not realizing what it means, they fight to make it back home in one piece. This proves not to be an easy task. Once they finally make it home, however, unbeknownst to them, a wheel has been set into motion. What was sent around hundreds of years ago is beginning to come around, and life as they once knew it is forever lost. They find themselves in a whirlwind of violence, death and evil. An evil so powerful that if not stopped, it will destroy the world. Only one person can stop this evil…an innocent pawn possessing more power than both life and death.

The Tribe is an excellent book that perfectly balances the sins of the past with the worlds’ problems of today. Author Gregory Townes has created a magnificent collage of human emotion, deception, greed and redemption. In his collage, Townes blends the history of slavery, African folklore and culture and its unfortunate circle of human iniquities.

A psychological thriller full of twists and turns, Townes will have you guessing through each page. Take a journey through hell with David Peters as he battles his demons, doubts, insecurities, anger and inabilities. His only goal is to catch a shining star. If that star fails, the world will most certainly follow down into the depths of the evil in which has inhabited it since its very existence.