Book Reviews From 2017

Brady Vs. Manning (book review)

brady-vs-manningTom Brady and Peyton Manning are two quarterbacks who have raised the standard for how NFL quarterbacks are to be measured. Any football fan has undoubtedly seen them play, but Gary Myers shares what went into making these men the phenomenal players they are. Brady vs. Manning—The untold story of the rivalry that transformed the NFL is a fascinating read!

Everyone loves to cheer for their home team’s quarterback, but even “homers” will admit (sometimes reluctantly) that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning stand apart from the crowd. Their accomplishments on the field are well-known, but it’s what took place behind the scenes and out of sight from the cameras that contributed to making these two fierce rivals the extraordinary players they are.

A debate often rages whether a leader in a particular field was born to greatness, or whether he made himself great. The answer is not either-or but both-and. As Gary Myers digs into Brady and Manning’s past we see several factors converging: genes, family environment, talent, a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of hard work and perseverance.

Many times Myers’ story shows how the lives of Brady and Manning intersected—sometimes they knew it, and sometimes they didn’t. But many of the chapters zoom in on the individual quarterbacks in various aspects of their development. We get to see the support from their families, the impact of their decision on where to go to college, how the NFL draft could have played out differently for both of them, the advantages and disadvantages of various coaches and teammates, and (of course) their fierce head-to-head rivalry.

One of the cool things for me was the respect and friendship these two highly competitive athletes have for each other. There were also several other moments that made me realize how special these two men have been for the NFL, and what a privilege it’s been for me to watch them compete on such a high level. After reading this book, I have even great respect for these two premier quarterbacks.

Any sports fan will thoroughly enjoy Brady vs. Manning!

I am a Three Rivers Press book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

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“We find the deepest meaning in life when our hearts freely go out to admire God’s power, rather than turning inward to boast in our own—or even think about our own. We discover something overwhelming: It is profoundly satisfying not to be God, but to give up all thoughts or desires to be God.” —John Piper

“Of course, what these people mean when they say that God is love is often something quite different: they really mean ‘Love is God.’ They really mean that our feelings of love, however and wherever they arise, and whatever results they produce, are to be treated with great respect. Perhaps they are: but that is something quite different from what Christians mean by the statement ‘God is love.’ They believe that the living, dynamic activity of love has been going on in God forever and has created everything else.” —C.S. Lewis

“Holiness is the architectural plan upon which God builds up His living temple. … I pray you who profess to be followers of Christ, set a high value upon purity of life and godliness of conversation.” —Charles Spurgeon

This is a great inside-the-huddle conversation with Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels on the final two touchdown drives of Super Bowl XLIX.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“This is the wisdom of God: Purchase the day! Purchase the hour! Purchase the moment! Spend whatever it takes to buy each hour and harness it in the chariot of your highest, eternal goal—the glory of God.” —John Piper

“Yet let the love of righteousness suppress this thirst for ambitiousness…. For this is a great enemy to our faith, if the desire of glory have more room in our hearts than he fear or love of our God….” —Augustine

“No, there is no merit in late hour prayers, but it requires a serious mind and a determined heart to pray past the ordinary into the unusual.” —A.W. Tozer

Frank Viola has funny cartoon asking what if 21st-century Americans lived in Christ’s day?

Detroit Tigers fans, this is a great story about how George Kell won the batting title on the last day of the season.

Scary, scary stuff: China is building up their military specifically to confront the USA.

An interesting look into the minds of voters in the millennial generation.

Good news: the abortion rate in the US is declining. Bad news: our abortion rate continues to rank near the highest quartile among Western nations.

Nearly 500 NFL players were cut this past week, as the NFL teams got down to their 53-man roster. The media, however, is obsessed with just one player: Michael Sam. Can you say, “agenda”?

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“The upright man must never think of depriving another of anything, nor must he ever wish to increase his own advantage to the disadvantage of another. This rule the Apostle gives thee, saying: ‘All things are lawful, all things are not expedient; all things are lawful, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but each another’s.’ That is: Let no man seek his own advantage, but another’s; let no man seek his own honor, but another’s.” —Ambrose

Frank Viola has a challenging word to Christians in the quote he shares from A.W. Tozer: Recovering The Departed Glory.

Claiming Jesus is not what many think it is, says Chilly Chilton in his post: Name It, Claim It, Proclaim It!

When we don’t know that life is a war and satan is the enemy, or forget when we need to know it most, we can’t make sense of our struggles, suffering, and strife.” Read more of Mark Driscoll’s post Spiritual Warfare: Who, What & Why.

The Overview Bible Project always uncovers some cool things in Scripture. Like this post about what Beelzebul really means.

Why is it organizations are not allowed to hire a Christian, but at that same time are encouraged (forced?) to hire homosexuals? The story of David Tyree is a case-in-point.

The fact is, that the same moment which brings the consciousness of sin ought to bring also the confession and the consciousness of forgiveness.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

9 Quotes From “Sidelined”

SidelinedSidelined was a book I could hardly put down: such a compelling story of love, and family, and overcoming adversity! You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some quotes I highlighted in this book, unless otherwise noted all of the quotes are from Coach Pagano.

“We can! We will! We must! By any means necessary—we have no choice—we will win.”

“We were determined to create a culture where guys couldn’t wait to come to work. We wanted people who would be excited about getting up in the morning and being here. … We wanted a workplace where people are honest and forthright with each other. We wanted open communication to be practiced daily. We wanted every person in the building to be treated with the dignity that every human being deserves. Sure, we’re tough guys, and we like to joke and trash talk sometimes as part of our fun. But there has to be a limit to that kind of behavior, and we wanted everyone to respect each other more than anything else. A joke’s only funny if we all share in it together at no person’s expense. And when we make mistakes or do something wrong, we don’t deny it. We want a place that if we are going to eat crow, we are going to eat it while it’s hot!”

“…My condition will not determine my position. I understand the condition, but choose to focus on my position. That is to stay positive and serve….” (part of a letter to his team before the Green Bay Packers game)

“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” —William Barclay

“You brought the spiritual plane. That’s why your leadership goes beyond coaching. You set an example as a spiritual leader, and that’s what inspires people.” —Kevin Elko

“Coaching is a profession of love. You can’t coach people unless you love them.” —Eddie Robinson

“People sometimes ask me what we look for in a player—how we know he’ll be a good fit for our program. It’s a hard question to answer because there are so many variables. … We also go beyond all the facts and stats and determine if these are what we like to call ‘horseshoe guys.’ The horseshoe emblem of the Colts shows seven nails or studs. Each one represents a quality we want in a player/leader for our team—smart, tough, dynamic, physical, character, integrity, and respect. … Players who want to be a part of something bigger. Something great.”

“Part of the reason I couldn’t remain disappointed after our lost to the Ravens [in the playoffs] was that I knew we had built our foundation on solid rock. We had established something that wasn’t going to dry up and blow away in a matter of weeks or months. Our team was committed to building a program for sustained success. We called it ‘building the monster.’ We wanted to take our building blocks of athleticism, talent, and skill and bring them to life with our commitment, character, and determination.”

“Cancer can take away a lot—your hair, your appetite, your energy, and, yes, sometimes your very life. But cancer cannot take away the love that passes between you and the special people in your life. It can’t take away the support and encouragement, the creativity and beauty, the connections and relationships to others who are fighting alongside you. No matter how hard it tries, cancer can never contain the human spirit or diminish the power of faith.”

Sidelined (book review)

SidelinedEvery once in awhile I come across a book that is hard to put down. Sidelined by Chuck Pagano, the head coach of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, is just such a book.

Before I lose anyone who says, “Football? Not interested,” let me assure you that this is not a football book. This is a great story of near-tragedy and triumph that happens to have a football coach as its main character. This is a book about family, and faith, and teamwork, and pulling together, and overcoming. It’s a love story with a happy ending. It’s a great book!

In a nutshell, Chuck Pagano is hired as the head coach of the Colts, the first time in his career he has gotten a shot at being a head coach. Just a couple of games into his very first season, he is diagnosed with leukemia and sees his coaching responsibilities immediately halted. He enters into a life-and-death struggle with cancer, and ultimately beats it. But the real triumph of the story is the way his diagnosis pulled together a whole city, and even other NFL cities, to raise awareness of this dreaded disease.

Sidelined doesn’t really have an ending, because Coach Pagano’s career is still ongoing, and so is the fight against leukemia. After reading this book, I’m not only cheering for Coach, but I’m also cheering on those in the fight of their lives against cancer as well as those searching for a cure for this disease.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

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