Book Reviews From 2021

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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 2021. Click on a title to be taken to that review.

24

AC/DC

Churchill’s Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare

Faithlife Illustrated Study Bible

George Whitefield

Hal Moore On Leadership

His Last Bow

Holy Sexuality And The Gospel

How Christianity Changed The World

How I Got This Way

How To Bring Men To Christ

Jesus On Trial

John Adams

Miracles Out Of Somewhere

My Lucky Life

Out Of The Silent Planet

Perelandra

Pilgrim’s Progress

Prayer

Prophet With A Pen

QB

Reading The Bible With The Founding Fathers

Secrets Of Dynamic Communication

Seeing Beauty And Saying Beautifully

Shepherd Leadership

Star Struck

Talking To GOATs

That Hideous Strength

The Art Of Writing And The Gift Of Writers

The Hidden Smile Of God

The Hiding Place

Thompson Chain-Reference Bible

To The Work!

Voice Of A Prophet

Washington’s Immortals

Word-For-Word Bible Comic: Jonah

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.

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My Lucky Life (book review)

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Dick Van Dyke has always been one of my favorite on-screen personalities. Of course, what goes on off-screen to allow someone to get on screen is often a long journey. Mr. Van Dyke recounts his journey in his memoir My Lucky Life In And Out Of Show Business. 

I actually listened to the audiobook for this one, and it was nice to hear Dick read his own remembrances of his small-town upbringing, the way he developed his comedy routines, the people who opened doors for him, his perseverance through some thin times, and—as the title suggests—the breaks that came his way. 

It was also a lot of fun hearing about things that didn’t end up in movies like “Mary Poppins” or in TV shows like “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Getting to go behind the scenes to hear what goes into making a hit show that lasts through the generations was very eye-opening. 

The only sad note from this memoir is one I have, unfortunately, noticed in the lives of many who have been so devoted to their show business careers: the toll on their family and personal lives. This reminds me of Solomon’s haunting conclusion in the book of Ecclesiastes that things “under the sun” turn out to be meaningless, but only what lasts for eternity has any value. 

Despite the few minor keys, My Lucky Life is an informative read, especially for those who grew up watching the TV shows and movies that featured Dick Van Dyke.  

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How I Got This Way (book review)

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Who doesn’t love Regis Philbin? Even if a morning talk show wasn’t your thing, the personality and professionalism that Regis demonstrated for over 50 years put him in a category all by himself. How did he get this way? He tells us in his entertaining memoir How I Got This Way. 

I purchased the audiobook for this one because I love hearing Regis speaking so passionately about those things that fire him up. Although he was mostly subdued in his recording, there were moments that his Irish was up! 

This book is presented in a very interesting format, with each chapter being named after a person who had a huge impact on fashioning Regis into the television icon that he became. Some names are readily recognizable, while others would be names known to only a handful of people. Since Regis would stick with this person through all of the years that he knew them, as the book progresses you will begin to see these strands intersecting with other people and forming a comprehensive picture. 

This was a delightful book! If you want a behind-the-scenes look at the television industry almost from its very beginning stages, this memoir will more than fit that bill. 

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Links & Quotes

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Some good reading for today…

What you do with television in your home will help determine whether you and your family will be dumbed down. Let me suggest that you not watch (or let your kids watch) shows that play to the lowest common denominator in humanity… shows that are written and produced for, yes, I’ll say it…dumb people.  You might think they’re harmless and amusing, but are they really the best use of your time and, more importantly, your brain?” Read more from Mark Atteberry in his post The Dumbing Down Of America.

A great question: Where is the outrage over the bombardment of civilians in Israel?

David Wilkerson reminds us of the loving heart of Jesus our Shepherd.

A really cool story about the Cadbury family (who founded the Cadbury Chocolate company).

Tim Elmore shares the good news and bad news in his post Teen Trends.

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading I found today.

“The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart—it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that benefits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice—it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.” —Rich Mullins

As I have said before, tolerance is only afforded to those who say “anything goes.” Anyone who says there is a right/wrong, truth/lie is labeled intolerant, as illustrated in this story of the Benham brothers losing their TV show deal

…and to further prove the point, Yahoo Joins Google In Banning Pro-Life Ads.

It’s pretty obvious… that the Judeo-Christian concept of God held the key to the rise of the West, and that is the belief in a rational Creator God, because that had the implication, then, that the creation was itself rational—that is to say, it obeys rules” (Rodney Stark). Read more in How Christianity Created Science (And Why Atheism Wouldn’t Have).

Detroit Tiger fans (like me!) will enjoy this: A Numerical Guide To The History Of The Detroit Tigers.

“Has the enemy tried to tell you that God has bypassed you? Have you been tempted to conclude that the Lord isn’t with you? Have you almost given up your faith? Put your hope in the Lord’s Word to you: ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5). ‘The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know Your name will put their trust in You: for You, Lord, have not forsaken them that seek You’ (Psalm 9:9-10).” —David Wilkerson

… this inscription from Jerusalem may signal widespread—if elementary—literacy during the time of David and Solomon.” Read more about this archeological discovery in Jerusalem.

“Let us meditate on the Lord’s holy name that we may trust Him the better and rejoice the more readily.” —Charles Spurgeon

Spring (time) Cleaning

This is a reprint of an article I wrote for this week’s Cedar Springs Post.

Cedar Springs PostNow that it appears that—let’s cross our fingers—Spring has finally sprung, many people will be throwing open the windows, airing out the house, and cleaning up some things that have accumulated over the long, icy winter. Ah, yes, the annual rites of spring cleaning!

One place that lots of things accumulate is our schedule. Between sports schedules, church activities, music lessons, grocery store trips, making meals, parent-teacher conferences, birthday parties, and so many other things, our schedules are packed chockfull.

In our relationships love is typically spelled “t-i-m-e.” So if you don’t have enough t-i-m-e to express your love, perhaps some spring cleaning is needed.

A few things to remember:

(1) Time is finite. You cannot call a time-out, you cannot bank up some time for another day, you cannot slow down the clock. Once you commit to something, that time is gone forever.

(2) It’s okay to say “No.” A friend of mine recently shared this thought: Whenever you say “Yes” to anything, there is less of you and your time for something else. So make sure your “Yes” is worth the “less.” If the “less” is t-i-m-e with your loved ones, please say a guilt-free “No, thank you.”

(3) Make your “Yes” mean yes. If you do decide to commit to something, then honor your commitment. Jesus said, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37). And wise King Solomon warned, “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it” (Ecclesiastes 5:5).

(4) Time is your servant, not the other way around. Make your time work for you; don’t be a slave to the clock. A good indication that you’re the slave and not the master is that feeling like you are always running late for everything. Cut out some non-essentials like TV time or countless Facebook hours so you can make t-i-m-e for what’s really important.

Happy Spring (time) Cleaning!

Links & Quotes

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Some links to some interesting reading and quotes I found today.

An April Fools joke that’s not funny at all! The Joke’s On Us!

Great thoughts about church music from 97-year-old Bible professor Stanley Horton: What About Church Music?

I’m normally a University of Michigan fan, but this grotesque support of abortion is just over-the-top: University Goes Out Of Its Way To Support Abortion.

Love this from Ken Davis: This House Guest May Be Stealing Your Life.

“Unutterable mercy! There is no sinner out of hell so black but that God can wash him white. There is not out of the pit one so guilty that God is not able and willing to forgive him; for He declares the wondrous fact—‘I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions.’” —Charles Spurgeon 

6 Things God Will Never Do To You (it will help if you sing Rick Astley while you read this!).

Tim Elmore shares Five Qualities Google Looks For In Hiring Employees.

“The Holy Spirit is the missing factor in our personality, and without Him we cannot be altogether as God wants us to be. An abiding gift makes an abiding change in the person to whom the gift is made.” —Thomas Selby

“Continually revise your relationship to God until the only certainty you have is not that you are faithful, but that He is.” —Oswald Chambers

Plugged-In Parenting (book review)

Media saturates our lives. But it’s even more of a factor for the lives of our children. For years I’ve trusted the insights and movie/TV reviews from Focus On The Family’s Bob Waliszewski. Now in Plugged-In Parenting we get to go behind the reviews to learn the whys of the reviews.

In today’s world, we look at our presidents, our prime ministers, our princes and our potentates and we describe them as our leaders, but they’re not. They’re merely our rulers. The leaders are the people who change the minds and stimulate the imaginations of the public, whether children or adults. That means the movie makers, the people who make TV shows, the entertainment people in the business. —Douglas Gresham

Bob lays out some practical, biblically-sound principles that will help parents develop a framework for making sound decisions about media consumption. His approach is not a top-down, because-I-said-so approach, but one that involves even the kids in understanding why these decisions need to be made.

One of the more thought-provoking chapters is about developing a family constitution which gives the guidelines for what types of media are acceptable or unacceptable for your family.

I would recommend this book for every household who wants to ensure that only the highest quality media is being viewed in their homes. In addition, I appreciate the Plugged-In reviews both on their website and on the handy iPhone app.

I am a Tyndale book reviewer.

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