Category Archives: Book Reviews

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Scrabble : triple word score

It’s easy to give up. It’s even easier to mope – especially when a seemingly debilitating and career-ending injury makes it look like you’ve reached the end of your dream.

Drew Brees didn’t give up or mope for too long. I’m taking notes from him.

This NFL player incurred a shoulder injury that almost ended his career. He had to re-learn how to throw a football. In his book, “Coming Back Stronger,” Brees shares about his injury and how he came back from it.

The book is also about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The book chronicles the NFL and city’s comeback from devastating circumstances.

It’s a good lesson in perspective for me.

Sometimes it’s easy as a writer to take one defeat – a poorly written story, or multiple poorly-written stories – as signifying the end of a career.

This story is a great reminder to continue in what you’re called to do. Where it gets tricky is allowing God control and not taking control for yourself. When you work with words, it’s hard let the Lord lead you and not keep typing your own words.

It’s like playing Scrabble. Sure, you can put together words, but are they going to be a triple-word score or a five-point concession?

If I let Him guide me in Scrabble, I’ll be dancing in triple-word scores.

It’s the difference in one letter sometimes – coping and moping. Coping means accepting the tiles you’ve drawn and making something of it, moping means pouting and resigning yourself to your fate. The difference is between the “c” and the “m.”

I don’t have to know the next play in the Scrabble game either. You see what letters you have to work with after you commit to a play and are able to draw two new letters. In life, committing to a “word” or “play” that the Lord has revealed will lead to the next wordplay.

Sometimes there will be low-scoring word plays. Not every one will be a whopper. But, we’re promised peace that passes all understanding and direction better than we could supply.

So, like Drew Brees, don’t let the shoulder injury keep you from pursuing God’s calling on your life.

Tyndale Media Center provided me with a copy of “Coming Back Stronger.” My thoughts and opinions are my own.


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52 books in 52 weeks

I’m a little behind, but I have been reading!

So far, I’ve read:

“Between the Assassinations,” by Aravind Adiga


“Freckles,” by Gene-Stratton Porter

“The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture,” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove


“Under the Overpass,” by Mike Yankoski


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If we are the body

“A church is just a building if there’s no one in it.”

I think, many times, in the West we associate church with the building and not the people.

The church is the body of Christ- not the building they meet in. The church is the men, women and children sitting crossed-legged on cold tile in a living room, singing worship songs loudly and with total abandon.

Mike Yankoski’s book, “Under the Overpass,” is a wonderful reminder of who the body of Christ is.

Yankoski spent several months as a homeless man on the streets of six different cities. Why? He felt God leading him to walk into the shoes of the homeless.

I have great respect for what Yankoski did. I’ve seen the homeless in Asia and it breaks my heart every time. I loved that Yankoski took the time to do as Jesus did, walk in the people’s shoes.

It reminds me of the Casting Crowns song, “If We Are the Body.” If we are the body, why aren’t our arms moving and reaching the homeless?

The book confirmed in me the desire to help the homeless here in Asia, through buying them food or stopping to acknowledge them.

I’d encourage you to do the same.

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last year, in books

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy,” Edward P. Morgan

Here are the books I’ve read in the past year that I remember. They are in no particular order:

“A Thousand Miles in a Millions Years,” Donald Miller
“Searching for God Knows What,” Donald Miller
“The Grace of God,” Andy Stanley
“Radical,” David Platt
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” J.K. Rowling
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” J.K. Rowling
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” J.K. Rowling
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” J.K. Rowling
“Three Cups of Tea,” Greg Mortenson
“Water for Elephants,” Jacob Jankowski
“The History of Love,” Nicole Krauss
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” Rick Riordan
“Percy Jackson and the Lightning Theif,” Rick Riordan
“Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters,” Rick Riordan
“Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse,” Rick Riordan
“Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth,” Rick Riordan
“Three Weeks with My Brother,” Nicholas Sparks
“1984,” George Orwell
“Chasing Fireflies,” Charles Martin
“White Tiger,” Aravind Adiga
“The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” Amy Tan
“Run to Overcome,” Meb Keflezighi
“Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half With America’s Cheapest Family,”Steve and Annette Economides
“Transforming Church in Rural America,” Shannon O’Dell
“The Voice,” editors include Chris Seay, Lauren Winner, Brian McLaren, Greg Garrett, David B. Capes
“Uncle Sam’s Plantation,” Star Parker
“Immanuel’s Veins,” Ted Dekker
“Outlive Your Life,” Max Lucado
‘The Butterfly Effect,” Andy Andrews
“The Boy Who Changed the World,” Andy Andrews
“Cast of Characters,” Max Lucado
“Istanbul,” Orhan Pamuk
“Snow,” Orhan Pamuk
“Life of Luther,” Barnas Sears, D.D.
“Mornings and Evenings,” Charles Spurgeon
“Outliers,” Malcom Gladwell
“The Mysterious Benedict Society,” Trenton Lee Stewart
“And Then There Were None,” Agatha Christie
“Windows of the Soul,” Ken Gire
“Humility,” Andrew Murray
“The Best American Travel Writing, 2008,” Anthony Bourdain
“The Sacred Romance,” John Eldredge
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,” Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows

Have you read any of these? Any recommendations?

I’ll leave you with two more book quotes:

“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book,” Author Unknown

“A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it,” William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958


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52 books in 52 weeks

My friend Holly and I are taking on this challenge: read 52 books in 52 weeks. That’s a book a week this next year.

I’ll be posting what books I’m reading here on my blog and you can check out what’s on my reading list by clicking on the “What I’m Reading” tab.

Check out the global challenge:

What I’ve read this year so far: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” by J.K. Rowling

What I’m reading this week: “The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture,” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Kathleen Norris.


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Life of Luther

“Blood alone moves the wheels of history,” Martin Luther said.

It’s true, too.

In the Old Testament, blood was required for the remission of sins. Jesus had to spill His blood to atone for our sins once and for all.

Barnas Sears, D.D.’s book, “Life of Luther,” is a biography of Martin Luther, the influential leader of the Protestant Reformation.

I was excited about the book, because I’m a little bit of a history nerd. I’ve got to be honest, I found it a little difficult to get through the book.

Sears knows his stuff. He is an expert in his field and he gives a very detailed account of Luther’s life. He meticulously lays out the backdrop and history and includes many details. His book is great for reference, but perhaps not for pleasure reading.

I’d encourage you to read up on Luther, he is solid and grounded in the Lord.

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times,” Luther said.

New Leaf Publishing Group provided me with a copy of this book. My thoughts are my own.

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Mornings and Evenings

I don’t know how you spend your mornings and evenings, but I’m adding Charles Spurgeon to my daily Bible reading and Oswald Chambers morsel.

David Platt’s book, “Radical,” gives several challenges at the end. One of those challenges is to read the Bible through in the coming year. While I have read the Bible through several times, I loved the idea of reading it through this year with the expectancy that God will reveal new things.

I recently received Charles Spurgeon’s devotional book, “Mornings and Evenings with Spurgeon.” The book has daily Bible readings that correspond to the daily devotional. When I decided to read through the Bible this year I hadn’t decided what method to use. I’ve decided to use Spurgeon’s daily Bible readings.

Today’s devotional and Scripture reading reminded me of the importance of being a cheerful giver.

I’m looking forward to the divine adventure in the upcoming year.


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