Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What Is a Healthy Church? by Mark Dever

5 of 5 stars  *****

Mark Dever defines the church, congregation, evangelism, deacons, elders, and the Word of God in the best way for his audience to understand what constitutes a healthy church. He highlights three key principles upon which a healthy church exists: expositional preaching, biblical theology, and a right understanding of the gospel. Beyond those three essential attributes of a healthy church, Dever asserts that a biblical view of Conversion, Evangelism, Membership, Discipline, Discipleship, and Leadership are important parts of the body of Christ, the living Word, Himself.

There is one passage that is particularly compelling to this reader. It is about Evangelism:

Evangelism, in other words, is not about doing everything we can to get a person to make a decision for Jesus, much less about imposing our views. Attempting to force a spiritual birth will prove to be as effective as Ezekiel trying to stitch dead, dry bones together to make a person (Ezekiel 37), ...
-Dever, p. 91

The message is that conversion is by the Holy Spirit and not a man, congregation, or church. The duty of the evangelist is to bring the Word of God to others without attachment to the outcome. The healthy church is a body of believers who act as much like Jesus Christ as possible, speak with the Holy Spirit within them, nonjudgmental and humble in their walk and talk that praises our Father in whose image we are all made.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

alice's adventures in wonderland perform by Scarlett Johansson by Lewis Carol

5 out of 5 stars  *****

I listen to this story via Audible, Audio Book. It is interesting to listen to a very talented Scarlett Johansson narrate this book which is one read to me as a child and enjoyed again as a young adult. This time around I notice the archaic terms that are colloquialisms during the time Lewis Carol writes this fantastic adventure. 

Alice's demise in the absurd world of Wonderland makes her homesick for the familiar people whose characteristics she discovers in the animals and insects of her fantasy. Enter a play on words and the story pivots in another direction; for example, Alice states that the world spins on its axis and the Queen of Hearts replies, "Speaking of axes, off with her head." 

I am constantly amused by Carol's style of writing. Johansson's expert use of voice alteration for each character makes this audio book come alive in a most refreshing way. I have a renewed respect for Scarlett as a performer and a deeper appreciation for Lewis Carol's classic masterpiece, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Joyland by Stephen King (Goodreads Author), Michael Kelly (Narrator)

4 of 5 stars  ****

The superb writing style of Stephen King and the excellent presentation by Michael Kelly as narrator make Joyland a thrill to experience. The story unfolds through the eyes of a young man, Devin, who comes of age while working at a carnival amusement park known as Joyland. Devin copes with personal forlorn love issues while proving his loyalty and moral integrity to his employer and peers. He learns of a mysterious death that haunts one of the rides at Joyland and this piques his interest. He meets an older single mom of an invalid child with a terminal prognosis and his life changes in every dimension of this book's story line. The macabre element exists in this story via the dastardly death of the young girl whose spirit haunts the Joyland ride and her murderer who is revealed in another life and death situation at the end. The prolific writings of Stephen King never fail to entertain his readers. He churns out his amazing stories, like Joyland, with the same ease it takes to read or listen to them.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Healing Powers Of Vinegar by Cal Orey

5 of 5 stars  *****

I am so glad that I am an owner of this educational and entertaining book about the world's oldest remedy potion, The Healing Powers of Vinegar, by Cal Orey. Cal writes the history in an easy to understand style and presents the scientific data with self-explanatory charts and simple language. I, now, drink six full glasses of water  on ice daily, three of which have two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar. The boost in energy and temperate mood I experience since drinking this simple, inexpensive concoction may be anecdotal but only I, the consumer, can judge such a difference.

The book talks about the array of uses, internally and externally, for the variety of vinegar that exists in the world today. Applications that will settle stomachs for some and clear mirrors and glasses for all are just a couple of examples. One fascinating story in vinegar's history takes place during the days of The Plague, which wiped out so many throughout Europe. Four robbers stole valuables off of the dead bodies without contracting the extremely contagious disease. The robbers doused themselves with vinegar before they daringly confiscated their booty. Even the ancient Greeks looked at vinegar as an antibiotic.

The end of the book, which is worthy of shelving near the kitchen, is full of tasty, healthful recipes. I use a particular vinegar with extra virgin olive oil and garlic in place of butter and salt when I cook vegetables, now. I find them palatable but I may reduce the amounts of these enhancements to taste the natural flavors of the fresh vegetables. I recommend this book to anyone for the sheer multitude of uses that vinegar offers.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Game of Thrones, Book Two, A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

5 of 5 stars  *****

Book Two, A Clash of Kings, is rich in character development and societal intrigue in a world clashing for power while forces stronger than men mount in the North, in more southerly dark religions, and in ancient offspring of a fantastic bloodline who claim the right to rule all the kingdoms. George Martin takes his audience deep into the psyche of all the fabulous characters who portray the gamut of human attributes in the Game of Thrones. It is easy to attach oneself to favorite players in the multifaceted story lines which unfold during these chapters of the saga which never fail to surprise and thrill. It is easy to see why this Sci-Fi Adventure is so widely acclaimed.