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A Hit and a Miss

I have developed a new hobby, reviewing books. I love to read. I didn’t always love to read. There was a time when just the thought of reading would bring me to tears. Then I was introduced to arguably the most influential writer of the last century. His writing has inspired and motivated, enlightened and challenged readers to think not only for themselves but to consider possibilities for our society and world that stretch the imagination. I think for me it all began with “Hop On Pop”. Dr. Theodore Gisele, better known as Dr. Seuss, encouraged me and gave me a love of reading that developed into a love of writing and now combines them in book reviews. So here are my next two reviews.
There have been few books that I eagerly anticipated like Donald Miller’s “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years”. Partially because of the incredible buzz it was getting on Twitter and partially because I have read several of his previous books, I tried every avenue to get my hands on this book early. I devoured it the same day I received it from Thomas Nelson publishers. I will be re-reading it for years to come. Not for the story but for the wisdom and the perspective it offers. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read that when I’m finished I am unchanged in my thinking or my beliefs. This is not one of those books. After reading this book I am challenged and motivated. While discussing the formulas for good story and movie writing Miller doesn’t translate those formulas into “how to” steps for life but lives out the formulas by re-writing his life one step at a time. Getting up and getting moving in his own life he takes the reader along for his journey and by example challenges the reader to consider the story of their life. I’m really glad he didn’t include questions for small groups in the back. The questions this book brings up are going to be just as unique and personal as the questions Miller found himself answering in his own life. Trying to write the questions for others to answer denies them the process of finding the questions their heart needs to ask and answer. Miller takes something very complex and simplifies it.
On the other hand Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs book “Love and Respect” takes a single sentence and stretches it into 303 pages. I wish I could say this one held my attention and was a real page turner but the truth is it took me 8 sittings to push through it. Dr. Eggerichs has done a lot of work in the field of respect and love and it shows. He has more ways of saying the same thing than I can count. The synopsis on the back of the book sums it up perfectly. “A wife has one driving need – to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need – to feel respected. When that need is met, he is happy. When either of these needs isn’t met, things get crazy. Love and respect reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, easily and biblically.” Honestly, this is beyond the basics of relationships. Be nice to each other, speak kindly, appreciate what the other has to offer and to paraphrase a great writer consider one another with esteem is pretty much the advice offered. I can see the value of teaching love and respect. I’m just concerned that these values aren’t being taught to children long before they are in a marital relationship and in counseling. I’d have to say this is too basic for those who are in real trouble and not necessary for those who are in good relationships.

And now I am off to re-read Green Eggs and Ham. Sometimes you just have to stick with the classics.

Fearless by Max Lucado

“Imagine Your Life Without Fear

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.
They’re talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn’t it be great to walk out?
Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.
Can you imagine your life without fear?”

There are very few books I read at a single sitting but Max Lucado’s new book Fearless was one I couldn’t put down. I was actually disappointed when I got to the final chapter. Stating the amazingly obvious in such a clear direct way Lucado not only addresses the prevalence of fear dominating our lives individually but corporately as well by reminding us that the recurring message Jesus left us was “Fear Not”.
Lucado doesn’t pull any punches when describing our fears, the root of our insecurities and the source of relief. Moving from significance to safety to worry to dread to hope and ultimately to trust the progression is familiar yet with new perspective the truth replaces the doubts.
This is not only a must read book but one to re-read, to have handy to give someone at the Spirit’s prompting, to keep on the end table or night stand instead of on the bookcase. This is a “In Case of Emergency Read This” book. In case of fear in the dark of night, in case of the phone call at 3 am, in case of “the boss wants to see you” , in case of life….
(Christmas spoiler…many of you will be getting a copy of this from me this year)

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