WHEN BAD CHRISTIANS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE

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The problem with Christianity isn’t Christ [Jesus]. The problem is Christians.

In one form or another, I’ve heard that statement declared from multiple people at various times in regards to why they don’t subscribe to Christianity. And for all intensive purposes, they have a point… yet, completely miss the point. I understand that people that proclaim to be Christians can be jerks. I realize that a goofy looking fish symbol on the window of a business doesn’t mean that you’re going to necessarily receive dependable service from that establishment. I get it that sometimes when you walk into a building with a cross on top of the roof you don’t get a warm welcome, but judgemental glares. I know because I’ve experienced both sides of that coin.

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Jesus: A Theography

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Who is Jesus? Who is He as a person? Who is He as God? Who is He within the confines of time? Who is He outside the realm of time? Is He like that guy “Q” from that Star Trek show???

Well, aside from the Star Trek inspired inquiry, Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola attack those questions with great ferocity in their new collaboration Jesus: A Theography. Instead of speculating on the various claims concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Leo & Frank gather a boatload of historical data from various credible sources. Their focus stems from the Bible, but their scope is vast.

They certainly do their homework & give light to the reader that God is ‘found in the details’. The bible narrative isn’t just a compilation of stories that support the Christian faith & eventually arrive at Jesus’ crib in a manger. On the contrary, Sweet & Viola bring the reader to conclusion that all of Scripture is pointing to Jesus & revealing His narrative as the layers are peeled back verse by verse.

I found the book interesting. I’m confident that I’ll continue to use the book as a reference/resource. I read Sweet’s book Viral a few months back & enjoyed Jesus more that Viral — if that’s of any help to you. 🙂

***Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Conflict Between the Cure and the Curse…

When I was sixteen, my father had a radical encounter with God while he was cooped up in a jail cell. My parents were on the brink of divorce; yet, they were able to reconcile their differences & patch things up in their marriage. Our family was reunited & we began attending church together for the first time ever in my life. It was a magical time…

We all face moments in our life when we feel as though things seem almost too good to be true. In Gerald Rainey’s thrilling novel The Memory Project, that certainly is the case. A mutated virus provides a cure for millions of people plagued by Alzheimer’s disease. Minds are restored. Families find a new sense of unity. People’s lives progress rather than deteriorate. Yet, an eery feeling surrounds the success of this breakthrough that leads the reader through a gut-wrenching whirlwind of emotions & a trek to find hope in the midst of confusion.

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The Memory Project is a follow up to Rainey’s first novel, 19Q. Though this book is technically a sequel, Rainey does an exquisite job of setting the stage for his narrative in a way that this work can easily serve as a stand-alone read. [I still recommend that you pickup a copy of 19Q whenever you get a chance.] This 400+ page story is broken up into snapshots of days spanning a 6 year journey. Rainey’s pace is outstanding. He is thorough in the scientific information explained throughout the story, but it doesn’t slow down the roller coaster ride that the reader is on while the story unfolds around every turn.

The key theme that I took away from this book is that we need to examine our lives & recognize where our faith resides during good times, as well as times of despair. Each of the main characters’ source of hope is exposed and tested in The Memory Project. It forces me to face those important questions regarding my personal faith & trust in the various facets of my life.

Rainey’s book possesses a cinematic feel that is entertaining; yet, also provides a philosophical layer that inspires critical consideration. I think that he has affirmed his voice & stylization with The Memory Project. If you are intrigued by thrilling drama that inspires you to look at situations circumspectly, then you will definitely enjoy The Memory Project.

…much like the thematic elements in Rainey’s book, my family experienced a similar situation. After a few years of progress & success with my parents rekindled marriage, things began to unravel. My folks divorced not too long after I got married. We all found ourselves in a position where we could choose to lean into our faith in Christ & seek wisdom from Him in the midst of loss — or we could choose to detach ourselves from everything we held dear & lose hope in Him. Each of us in our family (my dad, mom, me, and my two younger brothers) dealt with the devastation differently. It has always amazed me to see the way that my mom held onto Jesus so tightly when she was hurting immensely and enduring one of the greatest trials of her life.

So read The Memory Project and trust God. 🙂

What On Earth Am I Here For?

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_240_360_Book.729.cover How many times has that question crossed your mind?

When I was a naive bible college student in 2001, I made the ignorant proclamation that seeker-sensitive churches like Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA would most definitely be the demise of North American evangelical churches…

Like I said, I was a naive 19 year-old bible college student. And I was wrong.

One year later, when I was working at a Christian summer camp, a small group of us guys began going through a brand-new book written by Warren — The Purpose Driven Life. The book would go on to sell over 32 million copies & greatly influence my opinion about Pastor Rick. I no longer looked at him as someone spearheading the death of the american church. The message Warren conveyed in Purpose Driven Life provided clarity to issues that I was struggling to wrap my head around as a young adult.

10 years later, my family & I live 2 miles down the road from Saddleback Church and Pastor Rick is releasing an enhanced edition of his bestseller. Even though my family doesn’t attend Saddleback, my respect for Rick & the impact that his church has upon our community is abundant.

In this new release of The Purpose Driven Life, Warren continues to explain the meaning of your life, simplify & focus your life, increase your motivation, and prepare you for eternity. Essentially, he leads you down a path that arrives at the foot of the cross. The common questions that we all ponder regarding our existence are answered. We begin to identify our place in God’s story.

A few of the added bonuses to this edition include: 2 new chapters, an intro video for each day’s chapter, and a corresponding audio message for each chapter. The wealth of content is such awesome resource for anyone ranging from a complete skeptic of the christian faith, a new believer, or an old saint. This book, broken up into a 42-day journey, has the potential to radically change your life.

If you’ve found yourself at a point in your life where you are searching for resolve or looking to soak in the larger scope of your existence — I would venture to guess that this book could be an invaluable investment. This is the 3rd time I’ve read through PDL, and I know that it won’t be my last. This book is a wonderful asset to revisit from time to time.

***Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”