Saturday, November 03, 2007

Matt's been reading...

An Hour Before Daylight, by Jimmy Carter (former U.S. President)
I'm still reading this book and it's quite fascinating to think that a president of the United States grew up dirt poor, learning the value of hard work, and the ability to judge people on their merits and not by the color of their skin. I didn't know a whole lot about the man, Jimmy Carter, but now have so much respect for him. I wish every politician had to learn to make due with less before coming to office. Their big ideas might be based in a bit more reality and their promises might ring a bit more true.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralston
A remarkable story of an average guy doing what he loves and getting caught in a crazy situation where he has to decide to die or cut his arm to survive. I might be fooling myself but I see a lot of myself in this guy. True, he didn't do some things he should have to better insure his safety but what guys hasn't made dumb decisions when out on an adventure. The saddest part of this book was not the loss of his arm but the apparent lack of any faith in God. If it were I whose arm was caught under a boulder I'd be sending up a whole lot of prayers after I figured out I was stuck. So typical eh?
The Secret Message of Jesus, by Brian D. McLaren
This book presents an interesting premise I had never before considered, that Jesus intentionally hid the full meaning of His words in scripture for various reasons but chiefly to draw in the person that was intrigued but not the simpleton. I don't know that I have fully bought into this idea but I am warming up to it. He goes into Jewish culture and history and context and his idea seems to make sense. Interesting stuff!

Total Abandon, by Gary Witherall
WOW! That's all I can say! Amazing is this man's devotion and reliance on Christ during the toughest days of his young life and even younger marriage. Imagine living a world away in a totally confounding and intense culture trying to share the love of Christ with people that you can't understand or speak to and having your wife taken from you in an instant at the hands of a terrorist. I have so much respect for Gary Witherall and actually got to listen to a missionary mentioned in the book, Cheryl Phenicie, who thought the bullet was meant for her. I would highly recommend this book to anyone needing to pull themselves out of their humdrum lives or a pity party they have found themselves in.

The Way of the Wild Heart, by John Eldredge
In a lot of ways this book just expands on Wild At Heart but it goes much deeper into some of the concepts and I did enjoy it. It talks a lot about the stage every man could/should go through in life—Beloved Son, Cowboy, Lover, Warrior, King, Sage—and points out how few of ever get through all the stages or at least not smoothly. It made me do a lot of soul-searching and trying to identify if I had adequately moved through all the appropriate stages at this point in my life. Many ways I still feel like a Cowboy and Warrior but can't wait to be King.

Bringing Up Boys, by Dr. James Dobson
I'm slowly working through this book with Katie when we find time. Dobson has a way of going real deep and "clinical" real fast so we read this in small doses and then reflect on it for a while. I pray it will yield even more insights for us as to how to raise our little man Sam!

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
Hands down—THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK I HAVE READ IN THE LAST 5 YEARS! (and probably top 3 of all time) I don't know where to start. I was so inspired while reading this that I can't tell you how many times I got goose bumps seeing how God worked in a situation. Talk about trusting God! I feel wholly inadequate after hearing what these people put on the line to follow God's prompting at this crazy time in our history. This is definitely a page-turner that I couldn't put down. I know what you're thinking. Something like this, "I know this is a famous book and everybody and their brother has read it and I'll get around to reading it someday." Get a copy TODAY! It's just that good! The funny thing is I got this book for Katie for Christmas last year and I kept waiting for her to read it and she didn't (still hasn't) so I finally read it and am so glad I did.

A Thousand Shall Fall, by Susi Hasel Mundy

I just finished this book on Thursday night, Nov.1, and was so encouraged and inspired by it. It reminded me quite a bit of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. It tells of a family living in Nazi Germany during World War II and how they struggle to hold on to their faith during this time. The husband, Franz Hasel, is drafted at age 40 into Hitler's bridge building Pioneers 669 company and had to leave 4 kids and a wife at home to fend for themselves. They encountered extreme persecution for their beliefs as Seventh Day Adventists mainly for their strong insistence on keeping the Sabbath during war time. He encountered many death threats for not saluting "Heil Hitler" and for calling him as scheister. He even chucked his ruger for a painted wooden one so he wouldn't be tempted to kill anyone during the war.

God's mighty hand of provision is shown so many times it's silly! Miracle after miracle. If you need some inspiration in your life and especially encouragement in your faith, give this book a read. I thoroughly recommend it.

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