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The Resolution by Stephen, Alex Kendrick, and Randy Alcorn.

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by Stephen, Alex Kendrick, and Randy Alcorn.

Becoming a real man and practicing Biblical manhood are topics which I’ve blogged about and have read multiple book titles concerning within recent times. If you have been paying attention to my previous work, yes this will be the third book I’ve read which addresses the question “what makes a man, a real man?”. However, I originally started reading this due to my appreciation for the movie Courageous, and me being curious about what they actually had to say about manhood came later. Then I also realized that one of the authors for The Resolution was Randy Alcorn; yup this is also my third Randy Alcorn book too!

The Resolution is as I previewed, a book about being a man in a Biblical sense. This goes over a variety of topics like how to treat a lady, how to treat your children, the importance of teaching your children about Jesus Christ, the great need for you to be a prayer warrior, why it’s important to work hard, the importance of integrity, and other topics. This book goes over various verses and parables which are designed to inspire the reader to pursue Biblical manhood and to flee from what the popular, unsaved, cultural idea is for being a man. But the big question one must ask is… are the ideas which each author present throughout the book correct and let alone are they even possible? The Resolution, prior to actually reading the book itself, sounded pretty cool; keep in mind this was after watching Courageous.

I thought it was so cool that I actually bought the plaque from my local Christian bookstore and had my Pastor along with a Bible Study buddy co-sign it. After completing the book, I am glad I signed the Resolution because this is an extraordinary book which ought to be beneficial for all men; at least the ones who take it seriously. Are there some ideas which in extreme application equate to legalism? Yes, but frankly all theological books have that danger for the reader thanks to our sinful flesh. Even though the other two books on manhood I read earlier were good, there was something about The Resolution which was an even stronger eye opener. The way the authors presented this book was full of scriptural references, deep descriptive language for readers to imagine, ideas and questions which most men can relate to, and the lack of a need to heavily rely upon personal anecdotes or gimmick scenes from the movie. Certain chapters really hit me hard, and actually have inspired me to look at life differently. I am glad to have read this and if you’re a guy (whether young or old) reading this review right now I strongly advise you to read this too. I now take Joshua 24:15 much more seriously now, and for my need to become the man God wants me to be.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

P.S. Here is a picture of my signed Resolution Plaque which currently hangs in my study:

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Run On: A DVD Review

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filmed by Pure Flix

I’m very familiar with David A.R. White’s various roles, I remember Brad Stine due to his role in Christmas With a Capital C, and I was also sort of familiar with Tommy Blaze for his role in Marriage Retreat. I love a good laugh, and I’m a Christian so when I saw this on Netflix I was ready to see a piece of the Christian comedy world since the only other person I really heard was Tim Hawkins; I’ll have to review the dvd I got another day.

Run On is three different men performing in front of a live audience sharing a personal story about themselves. Each person tells their true life story through a comedic, yet also inspirational way. Each of them is letting the audience know not only how crazy life can be, but at the same time how awesome God is and how mysterious he can be sometimes…

Now you might be wondering: “Are these stories interesting?” or “Are any of these three funny?” I would answer each of those questions with yes. In regard to the thought: “who is the funniest?” in my opinion that was Tommy Blaze, partially because of the way he emphasized things lol. “Whose story is most interesting?” I would say David A.R. White’s simply because when I listened to him I kind of picked up on the idea that maybe the movie Holyman Undercover was a partial parody of his own life. “Who was the most unique?” without hesitation that was definitely Brad Stine, because I had no idea he could do tricks like swallowing a sai. As for “whose story was saddest?” despite being the funniest, Tommy Blaze’s story about his impending divorce was definitely the most sad especially with how he ends it… Each of the three men through their true life tales not only entertained me, but at the same time made me think more about how we desperately need God through our bad times in addition to our good times. We also see that God has things happen for reasons we don’t understand at the time, but later when we see how it resulted it makes much more sense. This is clean comedy with a purpose and I hope other aspects of the Christian comedy world are like this, because I’m tired of hearing my friends talk about comedy which involves F-bombs and crude subjects… I really liked this and recommend this to anyone.

TCP Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Desiring God by Dr. John Piper

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by Dr. John Piper

I love books like this, as well as Dr. Jerry Bridges’ The Practice of Godliness, because it is the kind of book where it isn’t just focused on one specific subject; although those kinds of books can be helpful too like Randy Alcorn’s The Goodness of God.)  The beauty of Desiring God is it talks about various topics, but it doesn’t spread itself too far out and those topics are linked to a complimentary theme of: Christian Hedonism. Without a doubt this book is essential  for a Christian’s library.

Desiring God tells Christians in its introduction “The Chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever”. He says he changed ‘and’ for the word ‘by’, because the Bible says God wants us to be pleased while serving him and the two qualities are not supposed to be separable. After all, a wife would prefer a husband to love her while doing what a husband is supposed to do over “I bought you these flowers because it is my duty” or simply say “I love you” but never do anything else lol. Piper adds that the idea of Christian Hedonism is not something he made up as there have been others like Jonathan Edwards who have also promoted similar ideals.

Throughout Desiring God Dr. John Piper talks about various subjects like happiness, worship, missions, love, money, suffering, etc. This is the kind of book where if you like to read you’ll love it, but you might think it’s a bit long if you’re either a newly converted Christian or if reading isn’t one of your strongest qualities; I like reading so I loved it. My Bible Study Group and I found this to be very beneficial in group discussion and through gaining inspirational wisdom. I highly recommend this book!

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

It’s important to note this is the 1996 edition, which is the 10 year anniversary copy. The original 1986 edition does not have the suffering chapter. There is a new 25 year anniversary edition out there as of 2011. From what I could tell from skimming, the 1996 and the 2011 editions are very similar so either edition you read it’ll convey the same basic message Dr. Piper wanted you to read.

From the Library of A.W. Tozer compiled by James Stuart Bell

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compiled by James Stuart Bell

I have yet to read from Aiden Wilson Tozer himself, but I have heard his book: The Pursuit of God. (which is a book I ought to read and add to my library soon.) I found this book by James Stuart Bell was very interesting, because this isn’t a book which examines Aiden Wilson Tozer in a biographical sense. From the Library of A.W. Tozer is a book which simply focuses on a selection of pages from books within A.W. Tozer’s personal library. None of the pages within this tomb regard any of Tozer’s own writings, but rather some of his influences of the past.

James Stuart Bell’s book From the Library of A.W. Tozer, is a 411 page compilation of writings from various writers and figures throughout Christian and Catholic history. Some of these literary figures include Francis of Assisi, Nicholas of Cusa, D.L Moody, John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, Martin Luther, William Booth, Augustine of Hippo, Jonathan Edwards and Teresa of Avila, etc. In fact, each writing from those various historical figures are arranged in the following eight topic chapters:

  1. Worship
  2. Prayer
  3. Exhortations and Prophetic Words
  4. The Holy Spirit
  5. Jesus Christ
  6.  The Presence of God
  7.  Christian Doctrine
  8.  Living the Christian Life

Truthfully in a good and bad way, the only thing Mr. James Bell can rightfully say he wrote in this book is the introduction. The good about that is it gives readers like me an appreciation and curiosity for those writers. Yet it is bad if you’re someone who doesn’t have a strong craving for reading deep and poetic, theological discussion. Not to mention, a reader who is new to Aiden Tozer won’t be able to tell if those particular pages complied were accurate representations of his favorites since he may have had other pages in mind while still living… Nevertheless, although I can’t say I agree completely with all of the writings supplied, it is a really good book for someone who has an appreciation for deep and poetic, theological discussion.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Bethany House Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus.  This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry: A DVD Review

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A Rich Christiano film

So I recently signed up for a Netflix subscription and this was the first Christian based movie I saw on it; I thought it was cool Netflix even had Christian based films on there. When watching, I recognized right away The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry was directed and produced by Rich Christiano, the same person who directed the movie Time Changer. I also saw this movie had Gavin MacLeod starring as Jonathan Sperry himself, who was a supporting actor in Time Changer; very good Christian actor by the way. I did not see the trailer prior to watching this so I honestly didn’t know what to expect. For some reason I imagined when first looking at the cover picture that this was going to be a film about Jon’s entire life from him being a kid to an old man. Although that might not be a bad idea for a prequel, this story is a bit different so never judge a movie simply by its cover lol.

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry is about three boys who are growing up in the year 1970. At the beginning, Dustin and his friends are heading to a diner, but Dustin’s reluctant to enter because of a girl he has a crush on and a bully who picks on him constantly. One day Dustin is mowing a neighbor’s lawn when Jonathan Sperry approaches him and requests Dustin to mow his lawn too. After finishing up, Dustin sees Mr. Sperry’s a very nice, generous man who pays him more than the suggested price and makes freshly squeezed lemonade too; the best Dustin ever had. The next day, Dustin brags about the tasty lemonade to his two friends and they meet at Mr. Sperry’s house. As the boys meet with Mr. Sperry, they grow to love and respect this kind old man who inspires and entertains them. Mr. Sperry inspires them to read their Bibles in order to learn what they need to know in life especially when in the face of adversity, sometimes through interactive parables like the game they play to find the chocolate cake.  What these boys learn changes their lives and the lives of others around them including their grumpy neighbor Mr. Barnes.

I would have loved to have met a man like Mr. Sperry when I was a kid, and I’m not just saying this because of the chocolate cake lol, Mr. Sperry is a great example of how every Christian ought to be. I was convicted/inspired by this in that as an adult I should be living not just like Mr. Sperry, but as more of an imitator of Christ. I found Mr. Sperry’s theology was dead on, especially when he said things like “Don’t think of this as a rulebook of do and don’t’s”. I felt all the characters were realistic and the acting was good. I laughed during certain parts like most of the conversations between Dustin and Mr. Barnes (Robert Guillaume, who played Rafiki in The Lion King), and also the boys’ conversations regarding Dustin’s crush.The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry was a very good story and I wish this was actually based on a true story, but nevertheless I can’t wait to add this to my movie collection and show this to others.

TCP Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.