Lee Child avoids the political diatribes of his previous books to create a spellbinding book sans personal sermons. The book begins and ends with a countdown; every few paragraphs you are reminded of how much time remains to the cataclysmic finale. You cannot help but think to yourself, "This had better be BIG" and Child doesn't disappoint; the big event truly is worthy of Jack Reacher, Child's enigmatic loner cum judge, jury and executioner.
The story starts with a simple bus accident followed by an unrelated murder that has the entire police force baffled. Soon enough, Reacher, who is asleep on the bus at the beginning of the story, is thrust into the middle of fray only to discover a draconian agreement between the police department and the penitentiary the town so earnestly sought after. Also involved is a drug-selling biker gang who have taken over a mysterious abandoned air base. And at the very heart is a fiery old lady who was witness to an event that may hold the key to the whole mystery.
Strap on your seat belt; this is an E-ticket ride that ends with a very loud BANG!
This book came highly recommended so I started into it with high expectations. I had been led to believe that there were some real pearls of wisdom to be had here. I went through several chapters without anything that looked like a pearl and was tempted to abandon my search. Nevertheless, I got caught up in the story and continued on as the protagonist makes his vain search for the truth he has been promised and so desperately seeks. This book bears some similarities to Og Mandino's Rishest Man in Babylon, but is not a chapter by chapter list of aphorisms. Rather, the author is trying to make just one point, and he makes it with great skill; to the point that I wanted to go out and challenge the world when I had finished reading it. Think of it like an onion, with layer after layer that has to be peeled back until at last the truth is laid bare and you find the exercise well worth the effort. Fun read, and I highly recommend it.
When Ayn Rand wrote this book few people had more than a eighth grade education. At the time the message was timely and helped pave the way for the tremendous growth and development of the mid-nineteenth century. I understand this is Alan Greenspans favorite book and he reads it repeatedly.
But that was a different day and the message is antiquated though fiercely held to by many of today's leaders. The message was that the masses needed strong leaders that would guide us in the right direction. Without them, things could easily fall apart. Remember, the vast majority of people were not well educated, so a few well educated leaders made since in that scenario. Today, far more people have advanced degrees so developing consensus is a far more productive strategy.
For that reason I cannot recommend this book to anyone but those who view it as an interesting side note to history. As someone before me has said, you should read this like you eat a popover; "swallow only what is nutritious...and blow out the hot air."
A riveting account of life inside the world's best intelligence agency and the requirements for employment there. With headlines from the Middle East every day, this book gives you a great peek into the world behind the curtains and how things are being played out in a deadly game.
The authors work the premise well; the idea that, like dogs, some Christians live to serve their masters, and, like cats, some live to serve themselves. They find illustrations of this everywhere, including the seat next to yours. A well written, if not particularly deep, book that will leave you feeling convicted in more than one place.
I have to agree with the author that there is too much emphasis on closing alone. Real closing begins at "Hello" and comes to a very natural end when you ask for the order. Schiffman is a selling master and his insights are cogent and easily applied.
I know that this book was a huge hit and a blockbuster movie, and I know that writers sometimes have to take liberties when writing historical novels, but this book was awful. Let me explain. I have a degree in Art History and much of the background for this book is rooted in art and church history. Brown takes one excessive liberty after another to make his book work, to the point where it is insulting. It is especially insulting to Christians, but even those with a passing knowledge of art history will find plenty to complain about. Is it an exciting story as it moves from venue to venue and from action to action? Certainly, but I think those who write historical fiction bear some responsibility to stay true to the facts as we know them as much as is possible, rather than completely reinventing it to sell more books.
Nearly all great Christians describe a time when they feel that God has pulled away from them and His presence is not near as they have grown accustomed. John of the Cross describes in detail this experience and explains that this is simply a kind of spiritual surgery. God is not absent, in fact he is closer than ever doing necessary work on our souls in this apparent absence. This is bitter medicine for shallow Christians, but great comfort for those who have walked this path and wondered what God was doing. The time will come, John assures us, when we will see this "dark night" as one of the sweetest in our lives.
What a great resource! From the Scriptures Towns develops 9 different fasts to help create breakthroughs in different areas of our spiritual lives. From the "Disciples Fast" to the "Esther Fast" Towns develops techniques to bring new depth and meaning to our prayer lives and gain new boldness for our requests. Some of the fasts are private to help us overcome problematic "besetting" sins; others are corporate in nature, calling for revival or a cessation of oppression. This is a great resource for anyone who wishes to make fasting a meaningful part of their spiritual walk.
G. K. Chesterton is perhaps better known for his books on theology but several attemtps have also been made to reproduce the Father Brown series. If you look on YouTube you can find an old movie with a very young Alec Guinness playing the titular role, and more recently Tom Bosley played the unassuming priest. Father Brown is the precursor to a popular genre of detectives; particularly in the mode of "Columbo" and it is easy for us to forget that this was a novel idea at the time. What makes this book still work is Chesterton's competence as a writer. I couldn't help but wonder if I could borrow a bit of his style; probably not, but it was a pleasant wish.
When Mao removed the more than 10,000 protestant missionaries out of China in the late 40s, most feared that would be the end of Christianity there; but such was not the case. In spite of continued persecution, the church has grown at a staggering rate and it is now estimated that as many as 130 million may have converted. 'Heavenly Man' is about one pastor, Brother Yun, who endured unspeakable hardships for his faith, while seeing God work in remarkable, often miraculous ways. His story is but one of many of those who suffered greatly under this totalitarian regime and the amazing strength that endures today in the "back to Jerusalem" movement. One missionary called it "required reading" for anyone wishing to go to the mission field, because time has shown that greatest growth often comes out of great suffering.
Martin and Gracia Burnham were held captive by Islamic terrorist in the Philippine jungles. Their patience and faith stand out has hallmarks of this ordeal along with the remarkable ignorance of their captors. Gracia tells the story of receiving a letter from home somehow during this time. In it was a picture of their daughter along with several of her friends who had recently been on a trip to go snow skiing. When she showed it to her captors there were amazed at what they saw: everyone was wearing shoes! Apparently a novelty among these poor and backward people. This snapshot is troubling, much like the rest of the story, because it reveals the profound ignorance of those holding the guns. I could wish this was unique in terrorism but I am afraid it is the norm. Much of terrorism is the work of misguided wealthy people getting the poor and ignorant to do their bidding.
The story does not end as one would hope (I won't tell in case you don't know the ending) but it remains a tale of patience and deep faith in what must be among the most terrifying of circumstances.
In this classic of Christian literature, Teresa begins by apologizing for her weakness and lack of insight, then continues by laying down one of the most remarkable treatises on prayer ever written. In page after page she describes the progression as the Christian moves away from the entanglements of the world and dives deeper and deeper into quiet communion with God. Patiently she describes where you are in your prayer life and what it will take to reach the deeper levels. Few books will rival this one for those who wish to add meaning and power to their prayer lives.
We always here these stories about how, in the midst of great persecution, some people seem to transcend their surroundings and remind us of what matters most. Immaculee Ilibagiza is just such a person, telling the background of the events leading up to the genocide in Rwanda, how she survived for months with several other girls in a tiny bathroom with nothing to eat, to being betrayed yet spared to tell her amazing story to the world. She is a precious and amazing woman whose story needs to be told to all those who say, "It could never happen here!"
Be sure to have a box of hankies close by when you read this book- you're going to need them. This is the story of Todd Beamer, one of the passengers on the ill fated flight 93 on September 11, 2001. As is often the case, the story is in the telling and Lisa Beamer, Todd's devoted wife, weaves a compelling yarn about a young upwardly-mobile couple who were living there faith "below the radar," as Todd liked to say. As has been said, "Fate seldom calls on us at a time of our choosing" and such was the case for Flight 93 and the brave men and women who prevented that day from being much, much worse. I suspect that when many congressmen and women stood on the steps of congress to sing "God Bless America" more than a few were saying a silent prayer of thanks for the brave heroes who prevented flight 93 from reaching them. Lisa's courage matches that of her husband as she allows us into her life and heart as she bears the news and tells her children of the unthinkable. Among the best and most heart-rending books I have ever read.
Yann Martel understands animals almost as well as he understands people. In his tale a young man is strand at sea after a ship carrying zoo animals sinks. He is eventually alone on his tiny dingy except for a ravenous tiger that may choose to make a meal of him...if he doesn't cause his own demise. This is a powerful story with plenty of obtuse turns to keep even the most jaded reader on the edge of their seat. Be prepared, the tales takes some very unexpected turns.
Howard Hendricks is a legendary professor at Dallas Seminary and his charm, wit and wisdom are apparent of every page of this old classic.Did it help as promised? Absolutely! I have been reading my Bible for years and feeling like it was getting old and dry. The Hendricks' do a great job of introducing new tools and techniques to make the scriptures come to life. I highly recommend it.
I am a big Jack Reacher fan and looked forward to reading this book. Like the others in this series, I am interested in reading about a colorful character, a real man's man, who follows his own personal principles rather than one handed down by his government or some other organized entity. However, Child takes this opportunity to make some personal political statements that are wholly inappropriate for an escapist novel.
When Barbara Streisand started waxing on about politics in one of her concerts a brave audience member shouted, "Just shut up and sing, Barbara!" I wanted to shout something similar to Mr. Child when I finished reading this book.
The "Imitation of Christ" has been a classic for more than 500 years and shows no signs of losing relevance. Every chapter, and they are all very short, is infused with scripture, written by a reverent soul who had spent much time in solitude and prayer. The result is a masterpiece of devotion that calls us to ever higher levels of love and service in humility and quiet devotion.
One of the classics of Christian literature and a book that should be required reading for every new Christian. Brother Lawrence didn't write this book, he just lived a life so full of devotion that his friends compiled the book from letters he had written to friends that explained the secret of his remarkable life. The secret is in the title, to live as if everything we do is in the immediate presence of God, for indeed it is. Simple as this may sound, few Christians master this concept as well as Brother Lawrence and his profound example is inspirational.