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With my eyes wide open:
Miracles and Mistakes on My Way Back to KoRn
By Brian “Head” Welch
Published by Thomas Nelson

Woah! calm down there friends.. stick around for this one. I know the title might have thrown you off and you are thinking this is a review of a new “CREED” album, but it’s not. This is the second book from Brian “head” Welch. His first one, went through his testimony talking all about his band, his life, his drugs, his destruction and ultimately his salvation and it was fantastic. So naturally I was excited and anticipating a follow up.

This book takes us in deeper into the nuances of his life, choices, solo career, his personal band, His walk with Jesus and then his decision to rejoin the band KORN. Being a pastor of a church dedicated to the recovery of people addicted to anything but Jesus, I am very drawn to stories like his. Brian went through pretty much everything and almost lost everything. I have seen the ugly side of the christian music world, heck for that matter the church in general. He experiences the hardships that come from being in the body and being reminded that the church is broken too. What is amazing about his story is the testimony of God’s faithfulness and seeing His church truly attempt to love like Jesus did for this man and his family. Eventually another member in Korn found hope and Jesus and I’m sure God isn’t done yet.

One of my favorite segments on brian which aligns with this book, is from the movie Holy Ghost. Watch it below and maybe it will make you consider reading his story.

 

Four Views on Hell
By Preston Sprinkle, general editor

I’m not exactly sure where the breakdown happened that in the scope of the gospel that hell became an even more important topic than the cross, but recently there has been a ton of controversy over it. Every theological side has been thrown into the wind of social media and it seems either long standing tradition or the loudest most popular voice wins.

This book comes from the “counterpoint series” which is almost like reading a parallel bible. So what we have is a book that is broken down by not only by theological concepts but also written by multiple authors. I was impressed by how each section was consistent in how it was written and broke down each concept in detail. Each chapter was grounded in the word and backed up with theology versus conjecture. What I mean is this is not just a bunch of guys opinions and “revisionist” theories. This is years of research done and written out to have a conversation over this difficult topic.

General editor Preston Sprinkle concludes the discussion by evaluating each view, noting significant points of exchange between the essayists.

Again this “conversation in book form” was interesting, but also a bit sterile. It is written a bit too technical and gives off the air of being a seminary book that is really only suited for a person wielding a hi-lighter. What I mean to say is this is NOT for your average reader, but it is worth attempting to tackle.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”

Midnight Jesus
Where Struggle, Faith, And Grace Collide . . .
By Jamie Blaine

“The heart of God can be found in the unlikeliest places, in the unlikeliest people.”

Jamie Blaine is a christian psychiatric crisis interventionist called to “the least of these”. Much like the books slogans we realize through true stories that God is visible in the midst of the marginalized people he works with. Story after story expresses the heart of God and the redemption of Jesus.

I was at a meeting tonight actually where somebody said “God turns our mess into a message” and that is exactly what this book does. This book showcases hope in the midst of the brokenness of people’s lives with light writing that makes the heaviness of the stories more palatable.

I think this speaks well to something that God has been teaching me more and more about… Looking at people through the lens of Jesus. Can we truly love people with no strings attached? When you truly operate in this manner you will find yourself, as Jamie does, Seeing Jesus’s strength in the frailty and weakness of man.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”

Unoffendable
How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
By Brant Hansen

I have no right to be angry?
There is no such thing as a human’s righteous anger?
Offense is wrong and vengeance is the Lords?

That is pretty much what I read as the description of this book when I got it in the mail to review. I thought to myself. “Ok.. I will try this out because I know that offense and bitterness can kill my soul, but righteous anger is wrong?”

So I dove into it already offended by a few situations in my life, family and work. Now I am on chapter 2 and quite frankly offended by the book.

I am an artist… a Thinker and feeler. I have read many books on the use of anger and pain as the force that precedes GREAT actions. I completely understood that fact in my journey and have attempted to leverage it as much as possible. It always seemed the safest way to release offense and anger.

Brant says that instead we should make LOVE the best foundation for GREAT action.

“Choosing to be unoffendable, or relinquishing my right to anger, does not mean accepting injustice. It means actively seeking justice, and loving mercy, while walking humbly with God. And that means remembering I’m not Him. What a relief.”

Forgiveness and love are such tough things to embrace as a person of faith. As much as we strive to readily receive both we work much less at the act of giving them. Yet we are most like God when we do both.

Jesus had a right to be offended and a right to be angry. Quite frankly he was the only one who truly had that right and He chose to sacrifice that right on the cross so we could be forgiven and marked by grace.

I found myself by the end of the book not only not healed, but also still a sinner. However after taking an inventory of my heart and soul I realized that while I wasn’t easily offended or sensitive, but I had been deceived that I had a right to be angry over justice and truth.

Brant says we should “forfeit our right to be offended”… I’m realizing that when I don’t.. Joy does not come in the morning.

This was a great book. I highly recommend it. Reading it, but more so ingesting it has helped me release things to God that I was holding on to and given me a new peace in some areas I didn’t have.
I am still a daily work in progress… As we all are.

 

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”

Divided: When the Head and Heart Don’t Agree by Bill Delvaux Review

This book consists of three parts:

#1.  Viewing the Divide: How it Began and What it Destroys.

#2.  Tackling the Divide:  Three Terrains to Navigate.

#3.  Closing the Divide:  What the Journey Feels Like.

It is very simplistic in nature in the way it wants to tackle the divide between the heart and the heat. I can’t say that this has been a particular issue for me in my walk. As much as I have always been a thinker and love theology I have also learned the importance of aligning my heart with God’s. It is a nice place to start your journey I would say delving into thoughts and concepts like this.

With that said meditating on the word versus just reading the word is less about trying to break down that divide. I think far too often we spend a ton of time focused on ourselves and how to synch all that up. I am convinced that the mind can lie because it tries to know everything or justify everything. And our hearts can lie because they are focussed on feelings and not always rooted in truth.
For me bridging that divide requires the church, the eucharist, and prayer that is rooted in aligning your heart to the fathers.

Again.. a pretty good book and maybe a good starting point for new believers.

Disclosure of Material Connection:

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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.”