Randy Alcorn

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:

The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

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by Randy Alcorn

I decided to read The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn, partially because of his Goodness of God book I read back in March. Of course my other reason for reading The Treasure Principle is due to the subject concerning money. I wanted to read his perspective on money, considering it is a subject which effects everyone. I liked some of what he presented, but I wasn’t pleased to read a certain idea in particular…

The Treasure Principle is a short book about money, joy, and giving; he is also a Christian Hedonist. The idea of promoting generous giving sounds good right? I mean he does condemn the whole Health and Wealth Gospel. I want to like what he says, because I don’t want to be focused negatively on my problems and he certainly does present some very good ideas like his six keys. However I have an issue with how he responds to someone who says “I can’t afford to give more financially.”

He says on page 66 and I quote: “When people tell me they can’t afford to tithe, I ask them ‘If your income was reduced by 10 percent would you die?’ They say ‘no.’ And I say, ‘ then you’ve admitted that you can afford to tithe. It’s just that you don’t want to…” I find that to be a very unfair statement. He is not talking to a Christian like me who has many bills to pay (sometimes paying them late), lives from paycheck to paycheck, and doesn’t make much money per year. He is talking to the Christian who is able to pay their bills on time always, who is mid-middle class or higher, and is doing pretty well financially where they have plenty of extra money leftover for savings and spending. In the latter group I understand those people should be giving because as he said we take some of what we have for granted, however for my group it’s unfair because it forces a person into a legalistic standard and scriptural conflict; after all we are not to be thieves and pay for our bills.

The Bible says “The Lord loves a cheerful giver” and the idea of trying to guilt trip someone into tithing is not good. Not to mention, Jesus Christ does not commend the old widow for what percentage she gave, but the fact she had the warmth to give as generously as she did in the first place, meaning she was giving more of her HEART. A person can give generously without it having anything to do with money. For an example I can give my time in serving the local church as well as giving a homeless person supplies to help them physically and spiritually (you know like some food, blankets, jacket, clean clothes, and a Bible, etc.) Again I liked some of what he had to say and we can’t be afraid to give to people, but how we should be giving shouldn’t be focused simply on the $$$. This subject of money, giving, and joy also should have been talked about for much longer than 95 pages.

Book Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah Press, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Waterbrook Multnomah Press 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 255http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Surprised by Suffering by Dr. R.C. Sproul

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Prior to reading this I wanted to learn more about suffering, be able to explain to others the concept of and  purpose for it, and to understand how to handle that suffering when facing it head on. I had a desire to grow and learn spiritually, so I chose to read two books concerning this subject and one of those books was Surprised by Suffering. I enjoyed reading another book by Dr. Sproul earlier this year. I have also enjoyed listening to his podcast on occasion too. From those experiences, I figured Dr. R.C. Sproul would provide some valuable insight… Although I certainly learned from this read, I feel this book should have been renamed Surprised by Death or Enduring Death and its Trials of Suffering instead.

Dr. Sproul dives into death’s devastating effects on humanity, animals, the planet, friends, families, and especially the dying person themselves. He also speaks of what those who are in Christ can look forward to after death. I found interesting the brief discussion of the Biblical and Philosophical aspects of the after life. And I really liked reading his Questions and Answers section too; very informative. Surprised by Suffering is a certainly a book which speaks about suffering, however I found its primary focus was towards the suffering unleashed by death. Although I feel the title is slightly misleading and some of the philosophical talk was a little dry, what this book teaches is applicable towards other forms of suffering too.

Book Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Reformation Trust Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Reformation Trust 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 Goodness of God by Randy Alcorn

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by Randy Alcorn

A friend of mine, who I learned is an Atheist, once argued with me about suffering; more specifically viruses. I didn’t have the best explanation on everything he desired to talk to me about at the time, but then again only God will know the answer to every question out there. Thinking about that complicated conversation and being a bit depressed recently, I felt the whole idea of Good VS Evil and the concept of suffering itself were things I ought to brush up better apologetically. Because of my desire to learn more about those common occurrences, I picked up a copy of The Goodness of God by Randy Alcorn. Although this book is only 117 pages, I feel it was a very good read and inspires me to read even more books concerning the common complaint “Why does God allow suffering?”

The Goodness of God, is quite philosophical and thought-provoking. Randy Alcorn examines various topics like Sin, alternative world views, free will, justice, global depravity, love, natural disasters, natural selection, death, etc through logical argumentation. While discussing the big picture which is morality (you know the idea of Good and Evil), he also plentifully provides many passages of scripture in support of a Good and loving God despite all of the suffering within our world. Obviously, this book won’t answer every thought or question a person may conceive, although even if this book were over 1000 pages it still wouldn’t… This is a great book nevertheless, because it will slice into a person’s mindset and will also inspire additional research/Biblical discussion. Surprisingly, I feel this book would be good for both Christians and Agnostics/Atheists alike.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah Press, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Waterbrook Multinomah Press 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.”