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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

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The Blind Side: a DVD review

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A Warner Brothers Film

Since this movie won an Oscar, was rumored to be a Christian based film, also a movie based on a true story, and after hearing a couple of friends say they liked it I decided I had to check this out for myself. I wasn’t sure what to completely expect from The Blind Side considering this was a Hollywood mainstream film touching on something Christian, but after watching it last night I found it to be not bad and I do not regret adding it to my movie collection. I usually don’t watch a lot of sports movies, but I found it decent overall.

The Blind Side is a story about the Touhy family who adopts Michael Oher out of Christian charity. Leigh Anne Touhy, Sean Touhy, and the rest of the family find Michael cold and alone after the end of a basketball game, so they decide to give him a place to stay and eventually after a time they adopt him into their family. While apart of the family, the Touhy’s influence Michael to turn his life around by doing better in school and joining the football team which Michael eventually after a bit of training excels in. I felt this was a great story and a good example of how we ought to be as Christians, to help those in need and not cast them off based on appearances, social status, and color.

I felt Sandra Bullock deserved the Oscar for playing Leigh Ann Touhy. I also felt at times this movie was funny like when Tim McGraw, who played Sean Touhy, says “I never thought we’d meet a democrat” or something like that; I am horrible with quoting people lol. The Blind Side also had some sad, realistic moments which I felt were necessary to reenact like the gang members within Michael’s past and the racism within the audience of Michael’s first football game. I am not a fan of swearing, as the A-word and B-word were used several times in this movie, so use that as a disclaimer if you show this to your kids, but I wouldn’t go as far as rating this a 1 star (like I saw from some) JUST because of that. However, I will take a star away from my review, because they were very light on referring to God and the family’s Christian faith in that Hollywood watered it down to the point where I felt the word “Christian” could have been replaced with most religions and it probably wouldn’t have changed the story much… (which is dangerous…) I felt it would have been nice to hear the gospel mentioned or touch on Michael Oher’s Christian faith (if he is one… I’ll have to read his upcoming book to find out), but I assume because this movie was produced from mainstream Hollywood I didn’t see that and felt it would have been nice considering Christ was a motivator for the Touhy’s doing what they did for Michael.

TCP Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.