Book Reviews From 2022

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I love reading, and I love sharing my love of good books with others! Here is a list of the books I read and reviewed in 2022. Click on a title to be taken to that review.

Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge

Cary Grant

Contending For Our All

Father Sergius

Hank Greenberg: The Story Of My Life

Living In A Gray World

Out Of The Depths

Roots Of Endurance

Simple Truths Of Leadership

Spurgeon And The Psalms

Susanna Wesley

The Holy War

The Legacy Of Sovereign Joy

The Poetry Of Prayer

The Self-Aware Leader

Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?

Who’s Pushing Your Buttons?

Here are my book reviews for 2011.

Here are my book reviews for 2012.

Here are my book reviews for 2013.

Here are my book reviews for 2014.

Here are my book reviews for 2015.

Here are my book reviews for 2016.

Here are my book reviews for 2017.

Here are my book reviews for 2018.

       Here are my book reviews for 2019.

Here are my book reviews for 2020.

Here are my book reviews for 2021.

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Contending For Our All (book review)

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As someone who thoroughly enjoys studying history and leadership, “The swans are not silent” series of books by John Piper is right up my alley! The fourth book in this excellent series is Contending For Our All. 

As with all of the other books in this series, Contending For Our All explores the lives of three notable men of history around a common theme. This book focuses on the theme of dealing with controversies in the church through the lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen. 

None of these men sought to be controversial, but neither did they shy away from addressing the unbiblical teachings of their day. Even though it cost them prestige, advancement, personal comfort, and even a few friends, these strong men knew that standing for biblical truth was their supreme privilege. Athanasius confronted the heresy of Arianism, Owen was one of the most influential voices for the Puritans, and Machen warned the evangelic church of its drift away from orthodoxy. 

These men counted the joy of serving Jesus even in the face of controversy as the greatest honor they could obtain. They served well and lovingly and earned the highest praise in the voice of their Master saying, “Well done, good and faithful servants.” Their lives are a timely reminder for all Christians living in today’s post-truth culture. 

As with all of the other books in this series, Pastor John does a remarkable job in sharing these biographies in a compelling and memorable manner, and in a way that makes the case for all Christians to stand strong as they too contend for truth. 

If you would like to read the other book reviews I’ve reviewed in this series, check them out here: 

►► My Patreon supporters will have exclusive access to all of the quotes and notes I compiled while reading this book. Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Links & Quotes

Premier athletes know the value of flexibility for keeping them in the game. I think we would be wise to practice flexibility in our relationships too—this is definitely a game-changing move! Check out my weekly Monday Motivation videos on my YouTube channel

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger like, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” —Thucydides

This week we remember Columbus Day. You probably remember the rhyme: In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Many people have thought Columbus set out to prove the world was round, but the History Channel has a mini-biography that debunks this claim.

One of my YouVersion friends (Nikki) commented a great reminder: “God can do way more with my surrender than with my striving.”

Thomas Zimmerman was an influential leader in the early days of the Assembly of God fellowship’s history. “Over a 50-year period, Thomas F. Zimmerman (1912-1991) served the Assemblies of God as pastor, district official, department leader, assistant general superintendent, and general superintendent. His leadership greatly increased the influence of the Pentecostal movement in the evangelical world, as well as in the broader American religious landscape.”

I post quality content nearly every day. If you don’t have time to read all that I share, please let me read it for you. The Craig T. Owens Audio Blog is just like this blog, except you get to hear me read my blog posts. Check it out my podcast on Spotify, Apple, and even Audible.

“The word ‘hell’ is used in the New Testament fourteen times, twelve times by Jesus Himself. It is not a myth created by dismal and angry preachers. It is a solemn warning from the Son of God who died to deliver sinners from its curse. We ignore it at great risk.” —John Piper

Christian apologist and cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace wrote, “the battleground on the abortion issue is beginning to shift, and this shift is going to cause us to rethink our approach to the debate.” Pro-life advocates need to check out Wallace’s post Justifying Homicide: The Future Battleground In The Abortion Debate.

Responsibility isn’t supposed to be fatal! Exceptional leaders accept and promote appropriate responsibility, while weak leaders play the blame game. But accepting responsibility doesn’t mean “falling on your sword”! You can check out the rest of this conversation I had with my podcast partner Greg Heeres on The Craig And Greg Show leadership podcast.

Links & Quotes

“Don’t quit until every base is uphill. I played just a little too long.” —Babe Ruth’s advice to Hank Greenberg, when Hank was considering retirement

As a part of my ongoing Monday Motivation series, I shared a thought of how we can see more miracles—

The Assemblies of God have always been a missions-centric fellowship. Check out this mini-biography of Alice Luce as a prime example.

The Bible isn’t a “once upon a time” collection of stories, but the accounts contained in Scripture are historically verifiable. I love this archaeological biography of Israel’s King Pekah. And be sure to check out my side-by-side chart of the kings and prophets of the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

There is a psychological term called “projection” where we see in others what is really in ourselves. This is something Christians MUST guard against doing. Instead of going to the other person first, let’s go to our knees in prayer first. This is a short clip from a full-length teaching video I provided exclusively for my Patreon supporters.

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and can take without forgetting.” —Elizabeth Bibesco

Links & Quotes

Ken Blanchard shared a blog post based on one of the chapters in his book Simple Truths Of Leadership (which I highly recommend to leaders!). He wrote, “When you catch yourself doing things right, everything in your life will improve—especially your relationships. Why? Because it’s fun to be around people who like themselves. After all, if you’re not your own best friend, who will be? And as my dad used to say, ‘If you don’t toot your own horn, others might use it as a spittoon!’”

For all Christians, but especially for those in leadership positions, Jon Bloom shares How to Watch for Wolves: Three Signs of False Teachers.

Fight The New Drug shares the research behind 15 Basic Facts About Human Sex Trafficking.

This is a great lesson from church history on the power of importunate prayer: The Hundred-Year Prayer Meeting.

Mary Slessor set a high bar for missionaries. John Stonestreet reminds us of this amazing woman.

Crucifixion Events

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The death of Jesus may be the most attested execution in all of history. It’s certainly the most meaningful execution, as the death of Jesus brought a fulfillment to prophecy that was made in the immediate aftermath of humanity’s first sin. 

I have frequently written about the historicity of the Bible. The crucifixion of Jesus is not a “once upon a time” or “in the make-believe land of Israel” story, but an actual event, which involved actual people, at an actual moment in history. Even the way the four Gospel writers record the crucifixion of Jesus attests to the historicity of this event.

Check out this chart of the events that show how Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record this historical moment. 

When did this moment in history occur? Consider this scholarly insight from The Archeological Study Bible

“In what year was Jesus born, and when was He crucified? These are long-standing historical questions. The seemingly obvious answer to the first—that He was born in A.D. 1 (there is no year 0)—is incorrect, however, since the calculations on which our modern calendar is based were faulty. …

“The chronology of Jesus’ life, though clear in outline, cannot be fixed with absolute precision. Matthew and Luke both inform us that Jesus was born before the death of Herod (4 B.C.), though it would appear that His birth occurred toward the final years of Herod’s reign, suggesting an approximate date of 6-4 B.C. The next chronological marker comes from Luke 3:1, where we learn that John the Baptist’s ministry began during the fifteenth year of the reign of the emperor Tiberius. Since A.D. 14 is the generally accepted date for Tiberius’ accession to the throne, John’s ministry would have commenced between August A.D. 28 and December of 29. Jesus began His own ministry shortly after John had embarked on his, at some point in A.D. 28 or 29, making Jesus about 32 or 33 years old at the time. This fits well with Luke’s statement that Jesus was ‘about 30 years old’ (Luke 3:23).

“The duration of Jesus’ public ministry was approximately three years. While the exact chronology of this period is difficult to ascertain, the final phase of His ministry allows for closer scrutiny. It is clear that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, who governed Judea from A.D. 26-36. …

“Taking Friday, Nisan 14, as the day of the crucifixion, astronomical data informs us that the only years from A.D. 29-36 that could have seen Nisan 14 on a Friday are A.D. 30, 33 and 36. A.D. 36 is easily dismissed as too late, while A.D. 30 seems too early (although some who begin Jesus’ ministry in A.D. 28 and shorten His public ministry find it acceptable). This leaves A.D. 33 as the most likely date for the year of Jesus’ death and resurrection.” 

As you celebrate the victory over sin and death that Jesus won by His sacrificial death on the Cross, rejoice also that this is an actual historical event that bought your freedom from your sin. It is indeed miraculous, but it is also historic. Let’s never lose sight of either of those facets. 

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10 Quotes From “The Roots Of Endurance”

John Piper’s intertwining of the biographies of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce in The Roots Of Endurance was masterfully done! Especially because, unlink the previous books in Pastor John’s “The swans are not silent series,” all three of these men knew each other and interacted with each other. Check out my full book review by clicking here. 

“Simeon with us—his heart glowing with love of Christ. How full he is of love, and of desire to promote the spiritual benefit of others. Oh! that I might copy him as he Christ.” —William Wilberforce, writing in his journal about Charles Simeon 

“It is hoped and believed that the Lord has raised you up for the good of His church and for the good of the nation.” —John Newton, in a letter to William Wilberforce 

“Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of man and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you.” —John Wesley, at 87 years of age, in a letter to William Wilberforce 

“Frustration is normal, disappointment is normal, sickness is normal. Conflict, persecution, danger, stress—they are all normal. The mind-set that moves away from these will move away from reality and away from Christ. —John Piper 

The remaining six quotes are exclusive content for my Patreon supporters. In addition to book quotes, there are videos and behind-the-scenes views that only these supporters have access to. I would love it if you would prayerfully consider supporting my ministry for just $5 per month.

Susanna Wesley (book review)

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I think most people are familiar with the saying, “Behind every good man there is a good woman.” In the case of Samuel and Susanna Wesley almost the opposite is true: Susanna excelled as a godly mother despite the obstinacy and shortcomings of her husband Samuel. Arnold A. Dallimore delivers a fair overview of their lives in his biography of Susanna Wesley. 

Rev. Dallimore does an admirable job of telling Susanna’s story through the first person accounts of almost all of the Wesley family members. He has culled through the historical records, reading the letters of Samuel, Susanna, their children, and their relatives to give us a fairly unbiased look at this notable family. The subtitle of the book is, “The mother of John and Charles Wesley,” which is no small gift to the world! The preaching and song-writing ministries of these two brothers has had a huge impact on both the secular and church worlds, which is still being felt today. 

Samuel Wesley at times was distant from his family, to the extent of even abandoning them for a period of time, and was a very poor provider for his family. They were constantly in debt and struggling for the basic necessities. But despite these obstacles, Susanna created her own curriculum to instruct her children, and continued to correspond with them into their adulthood to give them her motherly wisdom. 

What a debt of gratitude we owe to this godly woman for not only persevering but thriving in the face of challenges that would have thwarted most people. And we also should be grateful to Arnold Dallimore for his well-researched biography of this amazing woman. 

(I previously reviewed Rev. Dallimore’s biography of George Whitefield.) 

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Out Of The Depths (book review)

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I’ve heard it reported (and I quite believe it) that “Amazing Grace” is the best-known song in the world. This song of God’s unfathomable grace was written by a pastor who was once a slave trader. Out Of The Depths is the autobiography of slave-trader-turned-pastor John Newton. 

This story is told largely through the re-printing of letters that John Newton wrote to a friend over a lengthy correspondence. The original letters were not preserved, so as Mr. Newton wrote them again, he said that he added details that he hadn’t included in the first writing. Then the book closes with some remembrances of a dear friend, and a compilation of some short maxims that Pastor Newton used in his sermons and in conversations with friends. 

One of the real benefits of Newton writing these letters so long after the actual events is his ability to look back at the lessons he learned through his various trials. Granted, many of his trials were brought on by his own stubbornness, but still the beginning of the message of grace from his memorable hymn is heard in the recounting of these stories. 

Another key aspect of his story is his relationship with his wife. She and her family were much more committed Christians than Newton was at the time he began to show an interest in his bride-to-be, but neither she nor her family allowed the courtship to proceed until Newton had entirely surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. Their marriage was a source of great strength and encouragement to Pastor Newton. 

I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy learning about the key figures of church history. 

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Links & Quotes

One of the last pictures I took with my Mom ♥

“Love of the Word appears preeminently in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He read it publicly. He quoted it continually. He expounded it frequently. He advised the Jews to search it. He used it as His weapon to resist the devil. He repeatedly said, ‘The Scripture must be fulfilled.’ Almost the last thing He did was to ‘open their minds so they could understand the Scriptures’ (Luke 24:45). I am afraid that man cannot be a true servant of Christ, who has not something of his Master’s mind and feeling towards the Bible.” —J.C. Ryle, Bible Reading 

“The character of our praying will determine the character of our preaching. Light praying will make light preaching. …The preacher must be preeminently a man of prayer. His heart must graduate in the school of prayer. In the school of prayer only can the heart learn to preach.” —E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer 

I have blogged several thoughts about the historicity of the Bible. Here’s a post on Breakpoint about yet another archeological discovery that once again vindicates the Bible’s trustworthiness.

“Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. They do not pray; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture. … The call is: watch, study, attend to reading. In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well. … The devil … the world … and our flesh are raging and raving against us. Therefore, dear sirs and brothers, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent.” —Martin Luther

Looking at God’s awesomeness brings a peace that nothing else can.

A very thought-provoking Q&A with Sean McDowell and Dr. Stephen Meyer: Does Science Point to God?

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