Friday, October 26, 2012

Experiencing the Cross – Henry Blackaby

Experiencing the Cross: Your Greatest Opportunity for Victory over Sin
©2005 Multnomah Publishers, Sisters, OR

Henry Blackaby has been a favorite of mine ever since I first went through the material he helped develop called Experiencing God. Not only is he an influential leader in Baptist life, but he is also a very personable man when in speaking situations. A couple of years ago, I had opportunity to meet and visit with him for a few minutes as he spoke at a pastors’ retreat I was attending. While I am not always overwhelmed by Henry’s writing (often finding in it a re-packaging of Experiencing God), I am always ready to hear what he has to say or read something he has written.

This little book is yet another testimony to the readability of his writing. And the content is very challenging and helpful. In Experiencing the Cross, Blackaby draws the reader’s attention back to the focus of the cross—why it happened, why it had to happen, and what happened because it happened.

Using Scripture (a hallmark of the author), Blackaby leads us to see God’s plan in the event of the Cross. He then teaches us what that means for believers and non-believers in Christ alike. Finally, the author leads the disciple into a deeper discipleship about what is meant when the Scripture says that in order to follow Jesus one must “take up his cross” and follow Him.

This volume is filled with challenging and encouraging teachings that will help Christians to better understand and appreciate the cost of the Cross as well as the life to which the Cross calls all who would dare to follow Jesus. I recommend this book highly to anyone who desires his faith to be more vibrant, more active and more genuine. Five out of five reading glasses.

—Benjamin  Potter, October 26, 2012

The Indian in the Cupboard – Lynn Reid Banks

The Indian in the Cupboard
© 1980 Doubleday, New York

In 1995, film-makers at Scholastic introduced movie audiences to the story that is The Indianin the Cupboard, a wonderful example of juvenile fiction from yet another talented British author. As with most movies, there are a number of departures from the original book on which it is based. But the good news is that this story got a wider exposure and children who had not yet read Banks got a chance to find this magical story.

This book is the first of five that were published over a nearly twenty-year period. I will be attempting to read others in the series over the next months when time permits.

Here is the story of a young boy (Omri) who receives a magical medicine cabinet (cupboard in British) for his birthday. Whether the magic is in the cupboard or in the key that Omri’s mother gives to him or in the combination of the two is not revealed in the story, but when used together plastic men come to life—only in miniature.

During the course of a few weeks, Omri learns that it is not really fun to have a “little man” to play with, but more of a responsibility. He learns how fragile people can be in relation to the world in which they live. He learns what it is to care for and be responsible for a human who is at once demanding and spectacular.

Banks is masterful in combining the culture of a British school-boy with real-life historical people such as an Iroquois from the French and Indian War era of the United States and a cowboy from the late nineteenth century western US. As he learns from his miniature friends, Omri and his best friend Patrick learn that the western movies that they have watched don’t depict the life of Cowboys and Indians as accurately as they thought. All Indians do not ride horses and live in teepees. Not all cowboys are as rough and tumble as the films have taught them.

This book was lauded by the New York Times and the movie does a pretty good job in retelling the story. As in most instances, there is much more to be enjoyed in the book, but the film is a good companion and even introduction. I recommend both to young readers and families who like magical adventure.

Five out of five reading glasses.

—Benjamin Potter, October 26, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Worthy Cause

Many of you know that the Blushing Bride and I have entered into the arduous process called International Adoption. Each step brings us closer to bringing home a terrific special needs child who wants and needs a forever family to love him. One of the things we are discovering while we wade through the mountains of paperwork involved, is that money flows out of the pockets with every turn. So we're asking for support. Here's how you can help:
  1. Put our family (including the new one we will be able to introduce later) at the top of your prayer list--pray for patience, sanity, and wisdom as we continue down this road.
  2. Check out (and follow) our journey blog--posting is intermittent at best, but will take you through the steps with us.
  3. Jump over to our GoFundMe page and click the "Donate" button--it's easy and painless.
  4. Join us for garage sales if your in the Mulberry Grove area.
  5. Buy some of my books that are up for sale. Many of the books will be collectors' items which I've accumulated over the years. Some are signed by the author. Most will be from the mystery/suspense section of your favorite bookstore. I'm listing the first installment below. If you like mysteries, or know someone who does, contact me, we can work out almost any deal--just remember this is a fundraising effort, not a give-away.
First up is the eclectic but effervescent Kinky Friedman:

Greenwich Killing Time (1986, 1st) - $20.00
A Case of Lone Star (1987, signed 1st) - $50.00
When the Cat's Away (1988, signed 1st) - $50.00
Frequent Flyer (1989, signed 1st) - $50.00
Musical Chairs (1991, 1st) - $40.00
Elvis, Jesus, & Coca-Cola (1993, 1st) - $20.00
Armadillos & Old Lace (1994, 1st) - $20.00
God Bless John Wayne (1995, 1st) - $15.00
The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover (1996, signed 1st - remainder mark on foot) - $25.00
Road Kill (1997, signed and inscribed) - $20.00
Blast from the Past (1998, signed and inscribed, 1st) - $25.00
Spanking Watson (1999, signed 1st) - $30.00

(I will pay shipping for you if you wish to take advantage of this fundraising effort, just leave a comment so we can get details worked out.)

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