What the Hell Did I Just Read?

9781250040206What the Hell Did I Just Read?” (henceforth known as WTHDIJR) by David Wong is another great adventure from Dave, John and Amy! I am a huge fan of this series and love the supernatural mixed with the dark humor. The series began with “John Dies at the End” and continued with “This Book is Full of Spiders”. The books are highly popular with “John Dies at the End” being made in to a movie that has a solid cult following (myself included). “Spiders” was a New York Times Bestseller. David Wong is the pen name for cracked.com author and senior editor Jason Pargin.

SUMMARY: Dave and John receive a request to consult on a kidnapping case due to the weirdness of it. Apparently, the person who took the little girl is a shape shifting creature and hiding out at an old abandoned mine. The boys, along with Dave’s girlfriend, Amy, investigate and find some pretty weird stuff. However, they are able to get the girl back and return her to her parents. All well and good until they get reports of another child being kidnapped, this time by a flying bat and praying mantis creature – justifiably termed BATMANTIS?!?. And yes, the BATMANTIS?!? must be written that way. You’ll understand once you read the book. Shortly after, more and more kids go missing. As the guys and Amy investigate, they come to realize that some otherworldly stuff is happening and the only way to gain perspective is to indulge in the ever famous “Soy Sauce”; the special drug that gives them their preternatural abilities and gifts. Throw in some shady underground highly classified government agency that may or may not exist, a door that looks like a coffin that leads to other worlds, an ex-military special forces guy with an itch to blow crap up and an evil villain that wears nothing but little girl’s underwear and you have the overall gist of the story.

THOUGHTS: The book is very neat in that it switches back and forth between Dave, John and Amy’s perspectives. It is humorous and eye opening to see how each character views the world around them and how each perspective is needed.

John, of course, is a smart a*%, who thinks the world revolves around his genitals and their place in the world. He is very “go get ’em” in his stance. Amy is very positive and tries to see the best and do the best in every situation. And then there’s Dave. He is pessimistic, a realist and if given the chance lazy (i.e. He’s my spirit animal). 

If you’ve read the other books in the series, you know how off the wall and random these books can be. But, that is what makes them so original and fun. These are just 2 ordinary guys who end up in some extraordinary adventures and manage somehow to save the world and the universe through major bumbling and a “who cares” attitude every single time.

WTHDIJR does end with the set up for another book in the series. I did appreciate that the author put an addendum on the end urging those who hear voices or are experiencing mental distress to seek professional help. He explains that many have contacted him asking for help, assuming he really knows about this stuff. He urges them to seek professional help. Very cool! Rather than writing them off as unstable or weirdos, he tries to help.

It would help to read the series in order, but I don’t think its absolutely necessary. Also, make sure to read the book “John Dies at the End” first before seeing the movie. I think it will really help to understand what happens.

If you are looking for some laugh out loud, fun monstery type stuff than look no further, this book (and series) is just for you. (Below are the other 2 books in the series)

book-is-full-of-spiders

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The Gospel as Center

gospel-as-centerWhat is the center of your life? Is it family, your job, your sports team, money, possessions? There are so many things that vie for our allegiance. And more than that, not only our allegiance, but our ownership. I once heard someone say, “Whatever we own, owns us”. That is true in so many aspects.

A book I received quite a while back has been slowly helping me re-center on what is the core of my whole life. This book is titled, “The Gospel as Center”. It is a collaboration of essays by a great set of minds and thinkers in the evangelical (and overall reformed) world. This book builds a theological foundation on what is essentially the core of all aspects of theology, the Gospel. One thing I enjoyed most about this book was seeing the way the different writers tackled each subject. I love when great minds come together and tackle a project with a mission of proclaiming the Gospel.

This book may be a little technical and academic in some areas. Therefore, its readership may not reach a big audience, but it probably deserve to be read and read slowly by all of us that are constantly battling relativism in ministry and mainstream life.

Readership will most likely be those involved in full time ministry or para-ministry leadership.

The Lost Art of Reading

8518218Obviously I like reading. No wait, love is a better word. Give me a library over a sports game any day of the week. Half Price Bookstores are fatal to my bank account. And my kids usually shout, “We are not going to a bookstore today!” whenever we go out somewhere together.

Reading takes up a lot of my spare time. It is vitally important to me. I will read most anything at anytime anywhere. We recently packed stuff up for a move and I had quite a few big boxes of books, like 10 or 12!

Unfortunately, reading has fallen on hard times. Internet, TV, game systems, etc. have taken away reading’s stronghold in most everyone’s life. That is why I love books like “The Lost Art of Reading by David Ulin.

Ulin shares with the reader why reading is essential. Imagination, cognition and relationship skills are all wrapped up in reading and reading well. One main assertion of this book is that we need to disengage from electronic media and return to the lost art of reading. In fact, Ulin describes reading as a revolutionary act against our culture and its demands.

This is a small book both physically and length wise. It comes in at 150 pages. Ulin is a book critic for the Los Angeles Times. Take some time to read this important work of why reading is so important. You’ll learn that reading is its own reward.

Other thoughts:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R291AEX0Y15PKN/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1570616701

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2RC63ELPB81IV/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1570616701

“The Heavens: Intimate Moments with Your Majestic God”

9781404189997I can still remember my first telescope. It was one of those cheap Wal-mart type ones that you can buy for like $30. Basically, it was a glorified binocular. I’m not sure how much of space I saw but that dinky little telescope changed my life. From the moment I stared into the lens and saw the moon, I was hooked on stargazing.

Space always has something new to reveal. So often we limit space to our little corner of the milky way, but with each new day some new planet or star or celestial object is being uncovered. It reminds me of two things. 1. How infinitely small I am. 2. How infinitely great and glorious God is.

In “The Heavens”, Kevin Hartnett shares a similar mindset. Each day and devotion reveals to the reader something remarkable about outer space. How does this get you closer to God? It reminds you that God is the creator and has everything under control. Beautiful photography along with a great book layout make this a daily devotional you wont want to miss out on.

In our all too busy and hectic lives, it is nice to find something that can give you a moment’s rest and meditation. Buy this book and begin praising our majestic God.

Other resources:

http://www.ccmmagazine.com/article/the-heavens-intimate-moments-with-your-majestic-god/

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3NRNTVFA8FPO3/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1404189998

“The Fight”

UBB-TheFightbyLukeWordleyBoxing intrigues me. To me, fighting has always been something I’ve shied away from. I’m definitely not one of those guys who tries to prove himself by being tough or getting into fights. I am a trained blackbelt but even that has never made me crave fighting. In fact, it taught me just the opposite; the very harshness, danger and consequences of using our bodies as weapons.

With that being said though, boxing is a sport of focus. You must learn your opponent and anticipate his next move and yours at the same time. Split second decision making is not only required, it is imperative. In Luke Wordley’s newest book, “The Fight”, the reader sees the positive impact boxing can have on a life.

Sam Pennington is an angry kid who has lost everything. A dead father, a drunk mother and the harshness of moving into public housing has led Sam to his breaking point. It is at this breaking point that he comes to a crossroads. After a particularly brutal fight, Sam is introduced to Jerry Ambrose, a boxing trainer. Jerry takes Sam under his wing and Sam begins to discover a hidden talent and passion for boxing.

The story is redemptive in nature and deals with the core of what happens to our lives when our emotions rule us. It is also a coming of age story for Sam. This is a longer book at 380 pages but the story keeps your attention and drives home some important messages.

All of us has demons and skeletons that resurface from time to time and we all must learn how to deal with them or we will be ruled by them. We all have a “fight” we must engage in. How will yours turn out?

Other “Fight” thoughts:

http://christianbookshopsblog.org.uk/2012/02/25/a-novel-to-fight-over-introducing-luke-wordley-and-the-fight/

https://jimkane.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/my-review-of-luke-wordleys-the-fight/

To Know and to See

What would you do with a 1000 days if you knew that was all you had left? Would you live for yourself and take care of that bucket list? Would you buy as much insurance for your family as you could? Would you live with no boundaries, both morally and ethically? Hoe would your last 1000 days define you and what legacy would you leave behind?

In his new book, 1000 Days: The Ministry of Christ, pastor and author Jonathan Falwell tackles these questions as he examines the life of Christ. Christ’s ministry was only a three year stint. However, during that time, what He said, did and revealed God to the world. It is those three years that have produced the Gospels. So what makes these years more important than any other? Simply put: Christ lived intentionally and purposefully.

Falwell does a great job of diving into these years and showing us the true depth and meaning. Moreover, he shows why these 3 years are so vitally important to Christianity today. Anyone looking to examine Christ’s life and ministry would do well to read this book. And anyone looking to grow more like Jesus Christ should do the same.

I look forward to reflecting on what I earned for many days to come.