May 2012

Bookshelf30 May 2012 11:18 pm

Part of why I like John MacArthur is because he doesn’t pull punches. He stays pretty close to the Bible whenever he expounds topically and always provides practical insights and wisdom. I’m currently enjoying a daily dose of his thoughts with Moments of Truth and I always have at least one of his books in my “to-read” stack. This series (The Truth about…), offers a few thematic quick reads (about 100 pages) that cut to the chase on some popular topics.

The Truth about Forgiveness by John MacArthurFirst on the docket is forgiveness. MacArthur wastes no time before stepping on some toes, implicating modern society for their efforts to remove the need for forgiveness. We already have a built-in defense mechanism, and it’s as old as mankind: passing the blame. Just as Adam passed the blame on to Eve and she passed it on to the serpent, today we blame illness. It’s not “the Devil made me do it” anymore, it’s “the disease made me do it.”

MacArthur cuts through all the excuses to get to the heart of the issue. We all sin and we all need forgiveness. And that’s the essence of our lives. The hope that we have is in knowing that God wants to and has forgiven us. As we become molded more in His likeness, it is our duty (and should be our desire) to forgive others, as well.

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Bookshelf29 May 2012 11:39 pm

Spirit Fighter by Jerel Law

Angels have always been a fascinating topic for me. So, if you offer me a story that oozes with angelic history and legend – including mention of the Nephilim and spiritual warfare – and tell me I can share it with my boys, I’m in. And in I am. With Spirit Fighter, Jerel Law brings to life a tale of heroic pursuits, danger, intrigue, and a search for more than you might expect at first glance.

Brother and sister duo Jonah and Eliza learn that they’re special. Moreso, that they are urgently needed to complete a mission for Elohim. Using talents and skills they’re learning “on the job,” the two head off on a rescue mission and discover themselves, each other, and the importance of faith. Central to their adventures – and offered up for the reader’s benefit – is a lesson on the full armor of God, anchored in faith.

Many people will certainly call this a “Christian version of Percy Jackson,” and, to be fair, there certainly appears to be a bit of overlap. But, I haven’t read the Percy Jackson series, so I’ll just acknowledge the similarities as I understand them and move on to how well this book was recieved by my boys (7 & 9). They were hanging on every word and already can’t wait for book two. Fall can’t come soon enough (though, I might have called it “Autumn” based on the content).

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television23 May 2012 06:13 pm

So it all comes down to this… the final two contestants remain… Phillip Squared vs. Robo-yonce… and finally, the performance show is only one hour… less filler… three songs each – Simon Fuller’s choice, contestant pick (bet Jessica picks Beyonce), and potential lead single… off we go…

One and Lonely by Superchic[k]

Jessica Sanchez starts off with I Have Nothing from the Whitney catalog… right in her wheelhouse… no low notes and lots of moments to belt out a loud drawn-out showstopper… she kind of had an attitude the whole time through it, but it was exactly as expected… no judges comments just yet…

Phillip Phillips is dealt Stand By Me for his first performance… interesting choice, but more interesting is the arrangement… very subtle, low-key performance… you wouldn’t have guessed it based on the original version of the song, but this ended up giving him some time to shine…

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Bookshelf&business&leadership18 May 2012 02:35 pm

Upside-Down Leadership by Taylor Field

I received this book as an uncorrected, unformatted digital proof, so some of what I say here, will probably be reflective of that format, and I’ll assume many of the issues I came across due to grammatical, typographical, and clarity concerns have been resolved. Unfortunately, the nature of publishing these days proves that assumption inaccurate but still, I’ll offer the benefit of the doubt and try to overlook that aspect of the book.

Now, onto the content itself… Upside-Down Leadership attempts to apply the counter-cultural teachings of Jesus to leadership principles. There are a number of quotable points throughout the book that I highlighted in my Kindle and the overarching thesis is hard to argue with from a Christian perspective. The truth of the matter is that Jesus did teach a different method, ultimately a different perspective on life. Success in God’s Kingdom means something entirely different than success in this world.

Field’s principles do read as counterintuitive, especially against the backdrop of most modern leadership guidelines. For instance, “Think inside the box” and “Get off the cutting edge,” two concepts that run full in the face of conventional wisdom. In a world that praises constant motion, continuous grasping for the next rung, and the endless search for the “next big thing,” Field encourages us to stand still, take a deep breathe, and be content with what we have. All of which, I agree with, but these principles only make sense in the context of eternity.

Overall, I largely agree with the book’s thesis, though I will caution, it’s presented more conceptually than practically. And, at least my version took some significant concentration to bridge the gaps where editing was absent (at times, it felt as though I was reading the book upside down), so I imagine some of that remains. It’s still a good book to read and ponder.

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television16 May 2012 10:21 pm

And now we’re down to the wire… the final three… three songs a piece… three rounds… and, if we know anything about the judges, they’ll give one round to each contestant… typically, this week goes off with one song that the producers pick (edit: Jimmy’s picks), one song the judges pick, and one song the contestants pick (if i remember correctly)… should be fun… off we go…

The Heat Is On by Glen Frey

Joshua Ledet… first round songs are picked by the judges and they’ve chosen I’d Rather Be Blind by Etta James… there’s plenty of room for him to lace his new breed of R&B classic into the mix and he takes full advantage… Steven says out of 70,000 there’s only 1 American Idol and he sang like that one tonight… J-Lo says he brought down the house again… Randy says it fit him like a glove…

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Bookshelf10 May 2012 11:52 pm

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers

The cover touts this book as a blend of Mark Twain and CS Lewis. The Mark Twain part is easy to recognize in the colloquial voice that guides readers through the tale. Actually, “guide” may not be the best term – grips may work better. Readers are immediately transported to the life and times of the “Wild Man of Feechiefen Swamp” as the first person narrative unfolds.

The CS Lewis part takes a bit of time to recognize. However, the story is absolutely engaging and insightful, offering depth from the simplest point of view. Readers will feel compassion for the main character and will find the end truly rewarding. Unfortunately, we’re left waiting for the overdue sequel continuing the story. Regardless, this is an enjoyable story for young and old.

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television10 May 2012 07:46 pm

So I didn’t watch last night because I went to take in The Avengers instead. So, now it’s the day after, but I’m still bringing some comments and predictions for last night’s performances. First, to California… off we go…

Hotel California by The Eagles

Phillip Phillips leads off the show with CCR’s Have You Ever Seen the Rain?… what I want to know, is if Phillip understands what he’s singing… the tone of his performance is a total mismatch to the themes covered in the song, which I think someone else did earlier this year, too… Steven says the road to success is under construction… J-Lo says his Joe Cocker vibe was a perfect fit for the song… and Randy says it started off slow, but ended up great…

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americanidol&MUSIC&pop culture&television03 May 2012 06:27 pm

so, due to some ridiculous technical difficulties last night (I’m looking at you Comcast DVR), I wasn’t able to watch American Idol on my normal schedule and thus, couldn’t provide the in-depth commentary that I normally like to offer here on the blog.

Be that as it may, the DVR that wouldn’t play last night DID record the show and I watched earlier today and do, therefore, have some picks for tonight’s results show. Everybody had at least one good performance last night, but the bottom three will be the three who didn’t have a second solid performance: Jessica, Skylar, and Phillip.

Shocker of all shockers, Phillip (who was outed by Ryan for having a girlfriend, not liking blondes, and generally not being available to the scores of little girls voting for him) will on stage at the very end when Skylar gets sent home.

peace… love… bdg…