Book Reviews From 2015

3 Quotes From Rick Warren On Christmas

On This Holy NightI have been sharing quotes from On This Holy Night all week. It’s an excellent book from six insightful authors—John Maxwell, Bill Hybels, Max Lucado, Rick Warren, David Jeremiah, and Jack Hayford—that will open your eyes to the beauty of the Advent. Here are some quotes from Rick Warren’s chapter entitled “What Will You Find At Christmas?”

“What are you going to find this Christmas? I’ll tell you what you’re going to find: you’ll find what you’re looking for. … And there’s no better time than Christmas to become the kind of seekers the wise men embodied. Wise people still seek Christ.”

“Real peace is knowing that no matter what I do, God will never stop loving me. Real peace is knowing that no matter what happens, God will never leave me alone. He’ll always be with me. Real peace means that no matter what happens in the New Year, or in the years to come, I know that God is going to give me the strength to handle it. Real peace is living by God’s Word, the Bible, so I can avoid a lot of the needless hang-ups and hurts and habits that mess up my life.”

“Religion is just man’s attempt to get to God. Relationship is when you get to know Jesus Christ in a personal way and He becomes a Friend.”

You can also read other quotes I’ve shared from On This Holy Night:

And be sure to check out my review of On This Holy Night here.

2 Quotes From Jack Hayford On God’s Favor

On This Holy NightI really enjoyed On This Holy Night! The unique perspective from six talented authors gives a freshness to the Christmas story. Jack Hayford wrote a very intriguing chapter called “I Wish You A ‘Mary’ Christmas,” and I have shared two of his quotes for you.

“We tend to think of virginity only in terms of innocence and purity. Of course those terms are appropriate, but Mary’s virginity did not provide an earned holiness to which God might respond with a miracle. If we think the Mary Miracle can only work in us if we are innocent, pure, and untouched, then most of us will give up and go home. I’m not talking about whether you have been tarnished or sullied in the sexual dimension. That’s not the point. All of us have been marred in numerous ways by our sin and weakness. Mary’s virginity is telling us this today: we don’t have to be pure, innocent, or untarnished to receive the miracle. Mary’s virginity represents the impossibility, humanly speaking, of life coming forth. We need to see her virginity as a picture of the hopelessness of the situation.”

“I discovered that the verb translated ‘highly favored’ [Luke 1:28] is only used two times in the whole New Testament. It’s used for Mary: ‘You are highly favored.’ … But it’s also in Ephesians 1:6, which says you are ‘accepted in the Beloved.’ … The same thing that was said of Mary is also said of us. And that brings with it the same possibilities and the same miracle presence, because the same degree of favor is present. You and I are highly favored!”

You can also read other quotes I’ve shared from On This Holy Night from John Maxwell, Bill Hybels, Max Lucado, and David Jeremiah, and you can read my book review here.

On This Holy Night (book review)

On This Holy NightHere’s a great book to get you ready to celebrate Christmas: On This Holy Night. Just when you thought you had heard the Christmas story from every angle, six brilliantly insightful authors open our eyes to a fresh look at the First Advent.

John Maxwell, Bill Hybels, Max Lucado, David Jeremiah, Rick Warren and Jack Hayford are no strangers to millions of book readers around the globe. Their books have been so well received because of the unique insights they bring to everything they write.

In On This Holy Night, we are given a fresh look at the stable, the wise men, Joseph, Mary, and, of course the Messiah Jesus. I would encourage you to read a chapter each day during the countdown to your Christmas celebration, to help you really see the true meaning of Christ’s birth at Bethlehem.

I am a Thomas Nelson reviewer.

Over the next five days, I will be sharing some quotes from this book from Maxwell, Hybels, Lucado, Jeremiah, Warren and Hayford, so be sure to check back each afternoon this week.

Book Reviews From 2013

National Sin And Repentance

The Secrets of Intercessory Prayer“It is a sad thing when a nation’s sins accumulate to the point that God says, ‘Here, if you want that, you can have all of it and the hideous things that come with it. You have removed yourself from My mercy and its preventative grace.’ Preventative grace is a term we use to describe the merciful actions of God—essentially unseen in their execution and, by many, seldom honored because God’s kindness is presumed to be our right (if indeed He does exist, as unbelievers say). …America, for instance, has invited God out of its life, His Word out of its educational system and His moral values out of its laws. The plagues of venereal disease, gang warfare, teen suicide, divorce (the list could go on) are the direct outflow of the darkness to which our land has surrendered. However, our nation has not yet been swamped to the point of complete ruin—and therein is our call. As people who know our God, prayer for our land can bring healing. The passage is a virtual signal flag, summoning us with the assurance that it is not too late yet. God’s mercy promises that with our intercession, ‘Help is on the way!’ (see 2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 Timothy 2:1-5).” —Jack Hayford, The Secrets Of Intercessory Prayer (emphasis added)

What a powerful promise in Scripture:

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Pastor, God’s blessings can return to our nation IF our people will humble themselves and pray. But our people will not do this unless we go first, and model the way for them!

Look how Nehemiah identified with the sin of Israel, and went first in his prayer of confession and repentance—

Let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer Your servant is praying before you day and night for Your servants, the people of Israel. I CONFESS THE SINS WE ISRAELITES, INCLUDING MYSELF and my father’s family, have committed against You…. (Nehemiah 1:6)

Lead the way, pastor, before it is too late for us.

11 Quotes From “The Secrets Of Intercessory Prayer”

The Secrets of Intercessory PrayerJack Hayford’s latest book is reenergizing the way I pray for my family members. If you want to know why prayer for your family is so powerful, if you’re feeling a bit discouraged in the seemingly unanswered prayers for your family, or if you just want to “take it up a notch” as you pray, The Secrets Of Intercessory Prayer is for you (you can read my full book review by clicking here). These are a few quotes that especially caught my eye from this book…

“Prayer in all regards takes a new frame of reference when we understand the war between God’s Kingdom and satan’s dark hordes. This battle, insofar as it involves earth, is one in which God has called us to engage, enlisting us as ‘knee-soldiers’ whose prayer-call for the ‘incoming’ of God’s Kingdom will welcome a barrage of God’s power to break through the darkness and bring deliverance to people we know.”

“Let this truth grip you with hope: If the promise of God concerning His coming Messiah, His own Son, was interrupted by the failure of humanity (in this case, the later generations of David’s offspring) and God bridged and reconnected that ‘cut-off,’ then He wants us to understand this as a power-principle for prayer. Just as God navigated that failure and brought the tender plant out of the stump that had been cut off, so He is inviting you to pray and believe that He will do the same in your relationships.”

“Let the Holy Spirit shine a searchlight in your own heart and cleanse anything that restricts the power and liberty of your intercessory role in the family. I know that I am neutralized for effective prayer to the degree that negativity characterizes my attitude toward anyone for whom I pray.”

“We refuse to sustain that spirit of death and separation through any kind of ‘labeling.’ …Without such integrity of heart before God we may unwittingly be preventing our families and friends from receiving the flow of God’s life and love.”

“Praying for those we love is not a substitute for their need to hear God’s Word of truth—the Gospel. But many of those we find resisting already know it, and for them the ‘pushiness’ of a relative deepens resistance. On the other hand—as you abide in continual prayer—the truth that they may most need at the present is a sense of your acceptance of them, even as they understand that acceptance is not approval of sinful behavior. While it is painful to see a loved one persist in sin, especially if it is self-destructive, God’s Spirit has spoken or is speaking to them about their need to turn to Him. Our prayer for them is pivotal in this regard. But it is also our job to leave God’s part for Him to achieve, as only He can.

“The greatest tool of evangelism when it comes to loved ones is to be genuinely loving and friendly to them without the taint of manipulation. …Winning people to Christ is not conquering them or verifying yourself. It is about showing so much of Jesus that they cannot resist Him.”

“The deeper we move into the last days, the greater the need for our young people to have the shelter and the shield, the presence and the power, the wisdom and the discernment of the Holy Spirit! …The literal word for perilous used in the Greek text of 2 Timothy 3:1 describes the last days as ‘evil, ferocious, lion-like and demon-filled.’”

“Here is a key point for us to embrace as we persevere in prayer for our loved ones: Jesus wants to minister through us.”

“We are capable of compromising our discipleship under Jesus’ Lordship, not by the values we hold but by the spirit in which we respond to those whose values offend Him. …If I am unwilling to pray with a heart of passion for sinners who indulge in the perverse, the shameful and the corrupt and who do it with glee, will my passion be driven by my anger or by my sense of God’s broken heart for such warping of one of His own creation, for such satanic bondage in a being He longs to know the beauty of His original purpose?”

“Instead of yielding to fatalism, hear the call: ‘Keep praying, even when tough stuff happens,’ and do this by invading the difficult with thanksgiving, because the truth larger than the problem is that God’s power can transform any mess when He is invited into it.”

“That is what the will of God is for us: to lift up praise to Him with gratitude for His nature, which does not plan the evil, the injurious or the painful, but who—in these things—is the only One able to address them in love, resolve them in wisdom, provide for them in grace and transform then by His power. Give thanks in song for that!

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