Saturday, July 11, 2009

Laugh and Live Longer – Paul W. Powell

©2008 Paul W. Powell, Tyler, TX

Just for fun, here’s a short review of a short book. Paul Powell was 17 years pastor of Tyler’s Green Acres Baptist Church. He then moved on to be president of the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for 13 years. After retiring he joined the administrative faculty of George Truett Seminary at Baylor. His years of faithful service in the pastorate have been the impetus of most (if not all) of his 45 books. It was with some enthusiasm last week after hearing him speak that I contributed $5 to a worthy cause and received an autographed copy of this little jewel.

This, rather than his typical collection of sermons on a topic, is a collection of what I endearingly call “preacher stories.” They are those amusing tales of dubious background and limited humor that preachers like to throw into their sermons to see if anyone was listening. At any rate they are funny and they are clean. They won’t be paying the bills of any up-and-coming standup comedian anytime soon, but they will keep you entertained for a few hours’ reading.

I suspect, like me, you will find many to be old stand-bys that are well-worn. Also, you will find that the version you remember is slightly different, but still will bring a chuckle to your belly and a smile to your face.

Don’t worry over the veracity of the stories, just sit back and enjoy. Four happy reading glasses.

Benjamin Potter, July 11, 2009

Finding Grace – Donna VanLiere

© 2009, St. Martin’s Press, New York

You may remember the name Donna VanLiere. She brought to life the group NewSong’s The Christmas Shoes (book published by St. Martin’s Press, 2001), the syrupy song about a boy who wanted to buy his mother beautiful shoes for her last Christmas. She also penned sequels as well as The Angels of Morgan Hill.

In Finding Grace VanLiere ta
kes us on an autobiographical journey. Taking us through the tragedy of childhood abuse, and hidden guilt we struggle with Donna and her husband as they learn they are unable to have children and their subsequent blessing in adoption.

The double meaning of the title is not lost on the reader as we discover the VanLieres’ journey to their first daughter Grace (adopted from China) and Donna’s own struggle to find God’s grace in her life.

VanLiere shows her acumen for the written word in stories that make you laugh with joy and cry with sympathy. This book is a must read for those who face inability to have children and consider adoption as “plan B” or for those who are in the process of adopting children.

Four and one-half reading glasses out of five.

Benjamin Potter, July 11, 2009

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