“The Last Con” by Zachary Bartels

Posted August 23, 2015 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

Page. Turner.

It has been a long time since I’ve read a book like “The Last Con,” by Zachary Bartels.

This adventure reminds me of “The DaVinci Code” and “The Sting” rolled into one, only better.

The story begins with a guy (Fletcher) who has been released from prison after serving seven years for trying to steal a historic religious relic going on a mission trip with his wife and daughter in an effort to get closer to them and show he really did have a life changing encounter with Christ while locked up.

I’m not going to ruin any of the story for you, but I found myself disliking him at times, cheering for him at times, in fear for him most of the time.

I kept thinking, “Well, I didn’t see that coming!”

This was a great read and I intend to read more by this author – I hope his other works are this good because he has set the standard pretty high for himself with this one.

HIGHLY recommend this book!

Thomas Nelson provides a free copy of these books for review through their “Booklook Blogger” Program www.booklookbloggers.com ; however, I am not required to give a positive review of the book.

FO-CUS!

Posted August 6, 2015 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2

Several folks from our church are conducting a basketball/missions camp in Western Pennsylvania this week.

On Monday a little girl about 5 showed up. She is as cute as a button and always has a big smile on her face. As she watched the older kids, she decided, she too, wanted to make some of these basketball shots.

She took the ball and, smiling at her sister, threw the ball into the air, completely missing the backboard, rim, and anything else of solid matter. She got the ball again, looked at her brother with a big grin, and launched the ball into space, where it remained until gravity pulled it back to the ground.

I am no basketball expert, but I called her to me and pointed to the front of the rim, I told her watch right there when shooting the ball. And, lo and behold, the next shot hit the rim!

We then fine-tuned our focus point, and we have watched this little girl make shot after shot this week, even beating a few older kids in a game of “HORSE.”

She just needed to focus on the right thing.

This is true in our lives as well. The verse above tells us we are not to look to others for their approval, we are not to look at the things of the world, but we are to focus on Christ, the One who began a work in us and will see it through to the finish.

My prayer for us this week is that we will indeed keep our eyes on the One who died for us, that we might live for Him.

“Unoffendable” by Brant Hansen

Posted June 13, 2015 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

Ouch.

“Unoffendable” by Brant Hansen, published by W Publishing Group, is a very challenging read.

Hansen challenges the idea that we, as Christians, have a right to be angry. I really enjoyed his laid back writing style – even though the content was particularly challenging for me.

The chapter titles won’t give much away, “Six Billion Rings,” “The World’s Worst Bedtime Story,” “Atheists, Socialists and Toast,” for example. But, the content is extremely valuable.

He makes the case that Christ was forgiving and open and winsome and welcoming and when we hang on to to our supposed entitled anger, we are none of those things.

As one who is often guilty of being offended, his admonition that this is a product of an enlarged ego hurt. But, it’s true. I would encourage everyone to read this book – especially those who are easily offended, and those who think they don’t need it.

Thomas Nelson provides a free copy of these books for review through their “Booklook Blogger” Program www.booklookbloggers.com ; however, I am not required to give a positive review of the book.

“Giant Killers” by Steve Lawson

Posted June 1, 2015 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

Giant Killers by Steve Lawson, published by West Bow Press is a pretty good little read.

Lawson uses the account of David vs. Goliath to bring out some useful leadership qualities for today. The book, according to the introduction, is intended to assist pastors in small churches with some of the challenges we face.. However, the information is quite useful – either a s initial instruction or a refresher – for many areas of life.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by many circumstances and this book is intended as a guide through some of those challenges and a reminder that God is greater, yet our faith is often weak.

The chapters are fairly short (and would make for a good beach book) and divided into the following sections – Identity, Discipline, Graciousness, Action, and Hope.

While I wouldn’t call this a “page turner” or a life altering read, I would recommend it to anyone who might be looking for some help and assurance in a difficult setting. I would rate it a 4 out of 5 stars and say it should be worth the time it takes you to read.

Thomas Nelson provides a free copy of these books for review through their “Booklook Blogger” Program www.booklookbloggers.com ; however, I am not required to give a positive review of the book.

“Just a Little Bird”

Posted May 28, 2015 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[a] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:29-31

I was blessed to be able to run the Special Olympics Torch Run today. Better still, I got to run it with friends.

As we ran along, I noticed along the side of the road a dead bird. It was indeed a sparrow, and I could not help but think of this verse. I saw another later on which appeared to be a small pterodactyl, but that was after quite a few miles in the heat – and I know of no verses dealing with those, so we will stick with the sparrow – so back to the verse.

According to God’s Word, when that little bird fell to the ground – God took note. Now, that may not mean much in and of itself, but the real message in the passage above is not to the sparrows, but to us.

God doesn’t just notice when we die, or are born, but EVERY aspect of our lives. Are you going through a difficult time? God knows. God cares. Are you experiencing a joyous time in life? God knows. God cares. Facing some huge life decision? God knows. God cares.

He loves you that much. We all just need to be reminded of that truth from time to time.

My prayer for us this week is that we will all be ever more aware of the fact God loves us and cares about us – and EVERY aspect of our lives.

 

Praying for Law Enforcement Officers

Posted May 8, 2015 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“… for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.” –
Romans 13:4   

This is Law Enforcement Memorial Week. The Statewide Memorial Service was held Tuesday in New Bern where officers lost in the past year were honored and all were remembered. Last year we lost three in North Carolina. Jason Crisp of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office and US Forestry Service, Alexander Thalmann of New Bern Police Department, and Jeff Greene of the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Jeff was a former student and great friend.

This very week, a Wildlife Officer from Henderson County was brutally and severely beaten while checking fishing licenses. An officer in Cornelius was shot by a 16 year old who was wearing a bullet proof vest and sang “I shot the sheriff” after attempting to murder the officer. An officer in New York was shot and killed in an ambush, an Idaho officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop, and a Pennsylvania officer was killed in a head on collision by a driver going the wrong way on the highway.

Each of these guys have families and co-workers whose lives are forever changed.

In addition, the media is packed full of stories of allegations (most later proven false) of wrongdoing by officers. Those officers who are involved in criminal activity or abuse of their office should be, and most often are, prosecuted to the fullest allowed by law. (While some in the media would have us think that is a common occurrence, it is a tiny, tiny percentage.)

I’d like to take this time week to ask you to lift up ALL law enforcement officers in prayer.

Please pray for the families (blood family and “Blue” family) of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice as “God’s servants.”
Please pray for those assaulted and wounded, that their bodies would heal, and their health be restored, quickly and completely.
Please pray for each officer, deputy, trooper, agent (whatever title they may have). You see, they have the same issues you do. (I know many of you reading this are NOT law enforcement officers). They have marital problems, sick children, aging parents, financial issues, health issues of their own, and the other myriad of problems this life brings.
Please pray that amidst all the abuse at the hands of uninformed politicians (most looking for someone to blame besides their own failed policies), ignorant media, deviant glory hounds (I had to think a while to clean that one up), and an often unappreciative community the good officers will remember why they are doing the job in the first place.

In addition to all the recent events, there are things law enforcement officers see every day no one should ever see.
These officers are the ones who respond to that call where the father kills his infant child.
They are the ones who tell the parents their child, just days from graduating high school, was killed in a traffic crash.
They are the ones who are first at the scene of the teenager who, fearing disappointing her parents, takes her own life.
They are the ones whose heart hurts every time a parent says to their child, “See that policeman? He will take you to jail if you don’t behave.” Yes, it may seem original and funny to some, but every officer knows that is another brick in the wall of mistrust and fear in the life of that little one.
They are, indeed, the “thin blue line” between unimaginable evil and you.

Pray for them. Pray for us.

Next time you see one, say “thank you” and say a prayer for that officer and the agency.

My prayer this week (and every day) is for my Brothers and Sisters in blue.

“The Leadership Handbook” by John C. Maxwell

Posted April 28, 2015 by rebrev
Categories: Uncategorized

“The Leadership Handbook” is classic John Maxwell. Written in his typical conversational style, it is a condensed version of many of his thoughts shared in other books by this author.  Each chapter is a nugget of leadership thought with illustrations and application included. There is a section for reflection and self-evaluation as well as a mentoring guide to help others apply these same principles in their own leadership style.

Chapter titles include “If It’s Lonely at the Top, You’re Not Doing Something Right,” “The Hardest Person to Lead is Yourself,” “Never Work a Day in Your Life,” “The Best Leaders are Listeners,” and “Don’t Send Your Ducks to Eagle School.”

There are twenty six chapters in all – each of them loaded with truths to learn, apply, and share.

I would recommend this book to anyone in a leadership role, as well as anyone who aspires to be.

I’ve read quite a few of John Maxwell’s books, tried to apply the principles in my own leadership responsibilities, and taught them to others. This book is a great guide and fairly to quick read as an introduction or refresher.

Thomas Nelson provides a free copy of these books for review through their “Booksneeze” Program www.booksneeze.com ; however, I am not required to give a positive review of the book.


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