Andrew Smith's Blog

My name is Andrew. Come and have a look inside my life and watch me share what is on my heart.

The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living with Faith in a Hostile World by Owen Strachan Book Review




I’m a member of the Family Christian Bloggers and they provided me with a free copy of “The Colson Way” for this review.

 

In the Colson Way, Owen Strachan explored the life of Charles “Chuck” Wendell Colson and how he became Special Counsel when President Nixon was in office. The book also discussed how Colson faith in God played an active part in his life. Colson grew up in Winthrop, Massachusetts and in his childhood, he worked on the school newspaper as the editor-in-chief and he was able to successfully increase the paper’s advertising revenue. He was also the valedictorian and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed”. He also received two scholarships to Harvard and Brown. He turned down Harvard and attended Brown. He met his wife, Nancy Billings during college and they had three children. He also joined the Corps but he didn’t go into battle. After two years of being a Marine, he was promoted to the Navy’s Junior Management Assistance program and he interned in Washington, D.C. Eventually he was the co-director of the Key Issues Committee for President Nixon and he was appointed to the position of Special Counsel.

 

While working as Special Counsel, he was able to work alongside organized labor and unions and he tried to repair the damage the Vietnam War caused between workers and politicians. President Nixon was reelected as president and then everything began to fall quickly. A former employee leaked classified documents about the secrets of the U.S. role in the Vietnam War. President Nixon ordered Colson to expose the former employee. There was also more documents released and there was also a robbery at the Watergate office. Colson quit his position as Special Counsel. It was later revealed that Nixon was taping conversation and they were voice activated and contained details about Nixon’s corrupted activities. Colson took a lie detector test to prove he had no part in the Watergate scandal. It was at this time that his friend shared the message of Christ with him. Colson accepted him as his Savior and he realized that he was a sinner. He didn’t commit the major crimes in the Watergate scandal but he did struggle with pride and he used tactics to help try and get Nixon reelected. He eventually went to trial and admitted to defamation towards the former employee.

 

I would recommend this amazing book to anyone who loves history and wants to read an excellent book about how God can turn anything around. This is the first time, I have heard about Colson’s life and his role in the Watergate scandal. I liked how Owen Strachan dug deep into the life of Colson and how he made the book flow so well together. I enjoyed how Colson reached out to others and tried to teach them the ways of Christ while he was in prison. I also loved how the book shared the background of the Angel Tree program and how Colson met Mary Kay Beard, who founded this amazing program for other prisoners and their families. He helped the program to get National and international recognition where it could spread everywhere. I thought this program was a really neat idea and it’s truly inspiring how it has helped so many families. I also liked how the book discussed important issues and how critical it is to be a witness for the Kingdom of God.



If you would like to purchase a copy of “The Colson Way”, then check it out on Family Christian:
 

http://www.familychristian.com/catalog/product/view/id/323375/
 



Family Christian has graciously provided me with a copy of The Colson Way to giveaway to a lucky reader! (U.S. Only)
 
 
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Adonai: The Power of Worship from the Land of Israel Album Review




I’m a member of the Family Christian Bloggers and they provided me with a free copy of “Adonai” for this review.

 

Adonai is a Hebrew album about the Holy land of Israel. The album also encloses some English words mix in throughout the diverse songs. It was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. The album begins with the “Aaronic Benediction” and this one states the scripture passages found in Numbers 6:24-26. This scripture is a well-known verse about how God will bless you and His face will shine upon you and give you wonderful perfect peace. All of the songs on the album is related to a scripture passage and is Biblical founded.

 

One of my favorite songs is “Hallelu Et Adonai (Praise the Lord) because this one has the Heavenly feeling to it and it has a great tempo. I can sense the passion the singers had in singing praises to our Lord. This song is based off the scriptures of Psalm 117 which declares every nation must praise the Lord and be thankful for all He has done for us and for His mercy and forgiveness He has shown towards us.

 

I would recommend this amazing album to anyone who is curious about how the music sounds in Israel and they are wanting to know more about their culture. I had trouble understanding all of the words and their meanings because I’m not Hebrew and I haven’t really studied their language. I liked how the album lining booklet contained the words in Hebrews and the lyrics to the side in English where people who can’t read or speak Hebrews can understand the meaning of the songs. I also liked how they included small pictures of the different singers on the tracks. I love how the album contained so many different instruments such as flutes, drums, guitars, cello, shofars, and much more. The album had a simple vibe and all of the tracks sounded peaceful and you could tell they were praising their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

 

If you would like to purchase a copy of “Adonai”, then check it out on Family Christian:

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God What Honesty and Pain Taught Us about Faith, Family, and Forgiveness By Jep and Jessica Robertson, with Susy Flory Book Review




In The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God, Jep and Jessica Robertson open up about their personal life and shared their triumphs and struggles and how God saw them through it all. A little background about Jep, he is the youngest brother of the Robertson family and he has three other brothers. He is also a part of the popular TV show, Duck Dynasty. He works for Duck Commander and his family live in West Monroe, Louisiana.

 

Jep Robertson grew up in household that strongly believed in Christian principles and teachings. Phil Robertson (Jep’s father) would teach others God’s word from his own home and he would baptize them in the river. He witnessed his parents reaching out to others and loving them like Christ would. Jep also shared some stories about how his dad taught him how to hunt ducks, squirrels, deer, and turkey. Jep played basketball in high school and was a pretty good player until his junior year, he broke his ankle and was unable to play again. He lost his identity and got wrapped up in worshiping his girlfriend and he let her become the center of his whole world. He also began to hang out with the wrong crowd and he started drinking and eventually he tried drugs. His family found out and his dad gave him two choices either to turn his life around or to get out and leave and they would pray for him and hope he would one day be set free. His dad and his brother, Alan struggled with alcohol addictions when they were younger so they knew the power it can have over someone. He decided to get the help, he needed and he turned his life around. The book goes into detail about how he did just that.

 

Jessica shared about how she grew up loving sports such as cheerleading, track, softball, basketball, and gymnastics. When she was a freshman in high school, everything changed. She fell for a football player and he ended up cheating on her. She felt rejected and she believed that she wasn’t good enough. She began to withdraw from sports and from her family and friends. She also started counting her calories and being obsessed about her weight. She began to have an eating disorder. At around this time, a youth pastor at her church instigated and pursued her. He told her to keep it a secret between them until she was eighteen and out of high school. He eventually proposed and she agreed to marry him. She struggled with feelings that she was making a mistake but everyone around her told her she was just getting cold feet. They finally did get married and she tries to make the marriage work but ultimately it fails.

 

I only touched on the surface about some of the things discussed in this book. The book also covered how Jep and Jessica met and fell in love. It also shared the struggles they have experienced in marriage and secrets they have told no one and how God help them repair their marriage.

 

I would recommend this life changing book to anyone who is a huge fan of Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander. I have only recently became a fan of the TV show and the Robertson family. Before reading this book, I haven’t heard most of the topics and stories Jep and Jessica presented in this book about their life. I liked how Jep and Jessica switched from each other throughout the different chapters of the book. The book was easy to follow and keep up with. I especially liked how open they was in revealing their personal struggles in life and in their marriage. I appreciated the courage it took for Jep to disclose the childhood sexual abuse he experienced on the school bus by a female. I was completely shocked that no one ever reported the instance to the proper authority figures like the bus driver and no one stood up for him and tried to stop it from occurring again and again. I was bullied by two females in elementary school so I connected with his story. I also liked how they included colorful photos from their childhood and their life. If you’re looking for an excellent book about how God can use your pain and make you whole again and even restore a marriage, then read this book!

 

"I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program."  
 
 
If you would like to purchase a copy of The Good, The Bad, and the Grace of God, check it out on Amazon.com:
 
 

 

Slings and Stones: How God Works in the Mind to Inspire Courage in the Heart by Mike Rakes Book Review


                                                                                      
In Slings and Stones, Mike Rakes explored the Biblical story of David and how he conquered the gigantic giant Goliath. A little background from the story of David. Goliath was a member of the Philistines and he very intimidating and overpowering and the Israelites feared their powerful enemy. Goliath challenged a duel between him and an Israelite and whoever won the losing tribe would become the other tribe’s slaves. King Saul, the leader of the Israelites couldn’t find anyone to face Goliath. They lived in fear for forty days and they just waited around. David was the son of Jesse and he was the youngest of eight brothers. David was a young shepherd boy and he decided to step up to the plate. He had already killed a bear with a sling shot and stones and he eventually used those same weapons on Goliath. He declared that the Lord was with Him and he believed that He would assist him in defeating the giant. God was with Him and the giant was killed and David became a great leader and a king. In this book, Mike Rakes goes into great detail about how we can apply the knowledge from this story to our giant in our own lives.
 

Mike divided the book into three sections: thinking, speaking, and living. He began the book by revealing the importance and the power of our thoughts. The Israelites were tremendously living in fear because they kept rehearsing what the giant was saying and they heard it for forty days straight and they believed he was undefeatable. David on the other hand knew God had the power to defeat the giant and he dwelt on God’s thoughts. Mike Rakes encouraged readers to actively mediate and think about how big God is and how powerful He is.

 
I would recommend this astonishing book to anyone who is struggling and living in fear of their giant and they feel like they will never be free. I liked how Mike Rakes torn apart the whole story of David and Goliath and revealed the content in a fresh way that helped readers to break free from their past and fears and to courageously face and conquer their personal giant. I really liked how he discussed how critical archaeology is and that we must begin digging up all of our incorrect thoughts and hurts and dive into the Word of God and believe what He has declared about us. This book has led me into looking at my own giants in my life. One of my giants is negative comments that people have said about me that I have believed. This book has helped me get set free from what others think and say about me. If you’re dealing with a massive giant in your life, then please read this book!
 

“I received this book for free from The Booketeria/ Charisma House for this review”.  

 

If you would like to purchase a copy of Slings and Stones, then check it out on Family Christian.com or Amazon.com:

 

 

Good Health, Good Life: 12 Keys to Enjoying Physical and Spiritual Wellness by Joyce Meyer Book Review


 
In Good Health, Good Life, Joyce Meyer explored twelve different keys to assist readers in living a better life physically and spiritually. The book covered topics such as, receiving God’s help, loving your body, mastering your metabolism, being mindful about what you’re consuming, drinking lots of water, de-stressing your life, and much more. She encouraged readers to read the whole book first and then to reread the book and pick out one or two things and gradually try and interment them in their daily life. Then continue the process and make it a lifelong commitment. This book contains some material from her book, “Look Great, Feel Great”.

 

One of my favorite chapters was, “Learn to Love Your Body”. This chapter discussed why people hate their bodies and why they reject the way God made them to be. One of the big reasons people don’t like their bodies is because some have received physical abuse from their childhood and others have received negative and degrading comments about their bodies that have caused them to live in constant shame. Another reason is we enticed to look at countless media images of perfect bodies. They are constantly showing celebrities and models that are very fit and well put together. And the media uses the correct lighting and they are masters at using Photoshop. Joyce Meyer shared that people who are living with shame about their bodies must accept God’s love for them and learn to love their bodies where they are at. She also discussed that we need to be more focused on our overall health and not what the scale says.

 

I would recommend this life changing book to anyone is ready to begin the journey towards living a healthy life, physically and spiritually. Joyce Meyer does an excellent job covering the steps to living a healthy life by sharing helpful information about nutrients, metabolism, eating right, and drinking water. But what I really liked most about this book is how she incorporated how important it is to be spiritually healthy and letting God help you in your journey towards being healthy. This book taught me the importance of asking God for help and receiving His divine help and giving Him the burden of what is causing us to overeat. If readers will follow the keys in this book, and develop healthy habits, their entire lives will dramatically change!

 

“I received this book free from Hachette Book Group/Faith Works.”

 

If you would like to purchase a copy of Good Health, Good Life then check it out on Amazon.com:

 

7 Family Ministry Essentials: A Strategy for Culture Change in Children’s and Students Ministries by Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman Book Review


 

My Review:
 
My favorite chapter would be, “The Holy Spirit Teaches” because this one discussed the importance of listening to the Holy Spirit and His ultimate guidance. We receive the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and repent for our sins. The author shared countless passages about who the Holy Spirit is. In Ephesians 14, we learned He is a counselor, comforter, and teacher. In this chapter, they also covered how beneficial worshiping God truly is and the different ways people worship God. Michelle also shared in this chapter that they felt it was time to remove the video games her church allowed the children to play and instead create a worship center filled with a prayer wall. I liked how she revealed how it impacted a small boy and how he was so excited to share how much closer to God he felt. I also liked how the authors included at the end of this chapter ideas on how to create a prayer wall in your home and theses are really creative to encourage your family and church to pray for others.
 
I would recommend this wonderful book to anyone who is seeking a resource to improve and transform their family ministry. I strongly believe if church leaders would apply these seven principles to both their home life and their church we would dramatically reach more people for Christ and they would have a deeper relationship with their Creator. I liked how each chapter included a ministry assignment and had tons of questions to assist readers into comprehending the material. If you’re looking for an excellent book on refining your ministry and growing deeper in your walk with God, then read this book!
 
“I received a review copy of 7 Family Ministry Essentials from Litfuse for this review.”
 
About the book:
7 Family Ministry Essentials: A Strategy for Culture Change in Children's and Student Ministries (David C. Cook, June 2015)

With decades of ministry experience, Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman capture the guiding essentials of life-changing family ministry.

These seven essentials for children and student leaders emphasize:
1. Empowering families to take spiritual leadership in the home 
2. Forming lifetime faith that transcends childhood beliefs 
3. Teaching Scripture as the ultimate authority of truth 
4. Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit to teach and transform 
5. Engaging every generation in the gospel of God's redemptive story 
6. Making God central in every biblical narrative and daily living 
7. Participating in community with like-minded ministry leaders
7 Family Ministry Essentials will energize and equip you with the practical steps, inspirational stories, and biblical foundation you need as you lead those in your ministry.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1KIAw33

About the Authors:  
 

 
DR. MICHELLE ANTHONY is the vice president and publisher of learning resources at David C Cook and a popular speaker in the area of family ministry. She is the author of Spiritual Parenting, The Big God Story, and Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family. Michelle has graduate degrees in Christian education, Bible and theology as well as over twenty-five years of family ministry experience. Michelle and her husband, Michael are the parents of two adult children and live in Colorado.

MEGAN MARSHMAN is the director of student resources and production for David C Cook and has led and challenged thousands of students in their faith at Hume Lake Christian Camps. With a master's degree in organizational leadership from Azusa Pacific University, Megan speaks nationally at churches, conferences, and university chapels. She and her husband, Randy, live in Long Beach, California.

 

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