Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit by Jim Cymbala

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By Jim Cymbala

Looking for a book to read one day, on Christianbook.com, I happened to see Spirit Rising was on special. I thought: “Oh neat, a book on the Holy Spirit. I’ve always wanted to learn more about that.” (since in most Christian circles the talk is usually about Jesus or God, but not on the Holy Spirit.) I ordered it, because I wanted to learn more on a subject I admit I’m not as experienced in as I probably should be. When I received this book, I thought an endorsement from Francis Chan was especially interesting so I began reading Jim Cymbala’s book.

Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit is a book, which as you probably are able to imagine it is, about the Holy Spirit. Jim opens the book on expressing a thought which I expressed earlier in this review: various Christian circles neither understand nor talk enough about the role of The Holy Spirit and that needs to change. The meat of the focus for Mr. Cymbala’s book is The Holy Spirit, his church in Brooklyn, and testimonies from a few of his own parishioners. Does Jim speak of The Holy Spirit in a heretical way? And how insightful is Mr. Cymbala’s book concerning The Holy Spirit? Spirit Rising does a good job getting started on helping a Christian become more in tune with The Holy Spirit, but it is a light dusting of the surface readers are craving.

I am glad Mr. Cymbala did not promote anything heretical within his book, because the very phrase: “Tapping into the power of The Holy Spirit” is a risky phrase some might misinterpret as a piece of lingo from the heretical Immergant Church movement. I also appreciate the testimonies his parishioners gave for Spirit Rising, because some are very inspiring to read. My favorite testimony to read was concerning the woman immigrant from Latin America; though at times sad the ending is encouraging. Though these things are good, I also felt there could have been more to this book, because there were some unanswered questions… The book seems primarily focused more on trying to convince you into agreeing The Holy Spirit is a neglected teaching and ought to be further pursued through the example of his church in New York, rather THAN actually teaching you things about The Holy Spirit itself… Though I learned some things while reading Mr. Cymbala’s book, I was a little disappointed that time was more spent on talking about Brooklyn Tabernacle than The Holy Spirit itself…

Book Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Battles Men Face: Strategies to Win the War Within By Dr. Gregory Jantz

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By Dr. Gregory Jantz

Fear is an emotion I’ve dealt with much of my life. The fears and struggles have changed throughout time, but the overall feelings resulted by each fear and struggle has remained with the exact same effect. I am not afraid to admit I am an imperfect person, in fact this is one of the reasons why┬áI love Jesus as I do, but I also have recognized as of late it is something which has held me back in life. Not too long after a conversation with my wife, I ran into Dr. Gregory Jantz’s book: Battles Men Face, which I hoped would give some clarity to what I’ve felt for a long time…

Battles Men Face: Strategies to Win the War Within is a self-help book, targeted for men, which guides the reader with both Christian theology and clinical psychology. Dr. Jantz examines The What, The Why, and The How of various issues Men face. He also guides men with patient testimonies, scriptural passages, and even personal experiences in order for readers to understand and relate to what’s going on within their hearts. Battles Men Face is a book which reveals many thoughts readers might have never thought about as specifically as they might think, and it is also a book which asks the reader some tough yet essential questions…

Though not every man has every problem Dr. Jantz describes, he writes about the inner struggle exactly how it is; at least within my heart. Partially thanks to Dr. Jantz’s book, I realize I have even more growing up to do but what I learned from his book is a good start on my journey. It was eye-opening for me to see a glimpse of why I struggle with the issues I do, and how I should respond to those issues from now on… Based on my personal experience reading Battles Men Face, I’m confident not only was this a very good book for me as a man, but also for any man who wants to be honest enough with themselves. The only complaint I have about Dr. Jantz’ book is every time, I remember, he sources scripture he uses The Message translation; I feel there are better translations out there than the MSG. Otherwise I did not see anything promoted by Dr. Jantz which is contrary to what scripture says. It’s great to see there is a Christian out there who isn’t just trying to help people with their issues, but is also trying to lead them to Jesus Christ; the most important thing a man and woman can do to respond to their inner struggles. I recommend this book highly, and I am encouraged to check out some of his other books as well.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Loving the Bad Man: A DVD Review

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An East Lake Film

Before Christmas arrived, in addition to wanting to watch something with the wife, I also wanted watch a Christian based title. While at Family Video, I saw there were a few Christian titles made available recently, which I can’t help but think is really cool by the way, and one title which I couldn’t resist renting was Loving the Bad Man. I saw an ad for this on Christian Cinema not too long ago, and I also remembered that Stephen Baldwin was on the cover so I was like “hmmmm wonder what’ll be about…?”

Loving the Bad man, concerns two different people. One is a upstanding, Christian girl who tries to be good to everyone and loves the Lord even more. Another is a not-so-wholesome man with a criminal history, that isn’t happy with where he is currently situated in life. The unwholesome character runs into the Christian girl, because she is in need of some help with her flat tire. However in a drunken rage, he rapes her after completing the job…. The dude is thrown into prison while the Christian is struggling with the fact she is now pregnant. Will this prisoner realize the evil he has committed, and how will this Christian girl respond to this very difficult life circumstance?

This is a very controversial film for both Christians and unbelievers a like. I definitely feel this is a film which should be viewed primarily by Christians, simply because there are some ideas within this film which unbelievers are not going to understand or appreciate. However, what is addressed is something which some Christians might also struggle with as well like how Julie responds to her rapist. At times I almost feel the movie is unrealistic, to an extent, in certain scenes where both Julie and her rapist make some diffcult decisions way too quickly; no I am not referring to Julie’s decision to keep the baby. Overall it’s a decent film, it could have been better at times, but it could have been a lot worse too…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.