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Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear

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“Fear, it seems, has taken a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop.” In Max Lucado’s latest release Fearless he reveals the undercurrent of fear that is pervasive in our society. However, this isn’t a book of gloom and doom. Rather it is an encouragement of what it means to replace fear with faith. The tag line for the book is “Imagine Your Life Without Fear”. The picture Lucado paints is an appealing one.Step by step Lucado addresses our fears. Insecurity, fear of God, concern for our kids, being overwhelmed, violence, death and doubt are all addressed. With moving illustrations from contemporary life and Scripture Lucado shines a light on the beacon of hope that serves to liberate us from fear.You may feel as though you are free from fear, and that may be largely true – but give this book a read. It will be an encouragement to you as we are reminded to live life through the lens of faith rather than the distorted lens of fear.Don’t be imprisoned by fear: "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free . . . So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed'" (John 8:31-32, 36).
This Is Your Brain on Joy: A Revolutionary Program for Balancing Mood, Restoring Brain Health, and Nurturing Spiritual Growth

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This Is Your Brain on Joy: A Revolutionary Program for Balancing Mood, Restoring Brain Health, and Nurturing Spiritual Growth. By Dr. Earl Henslin. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 243 pp.Dr. Earl Henslin is a licensed counselor who has an obvious passion for restoring joy in the lives of his patients and his readers. He has partnered with Dr. Daniel G. Amen, MD to learn more about how we can combine the science behind the SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography) and a therapeutic understanding of the brain from a counselor’s perspective.I have long been a fan of Dr. Amen and his ground-breaking research into understanding why our brains work the way they do. His works on ADD entitled Healing ADD and Change Your Brain, Change Your Life had a profound impact on me and my wife. As a result, when Thomas Nelson asked me to read and review Dr. Henslin’s latest book, I jumped at the opportunity!Dr. Henslin has divided his book into three primary sections. The first five chapters deal primarily with some background on why the book was written as well as some very technical information on how the brain works, and what areas of the brain impact different areas of our emotional and psychological well being. Herein lies one of the many strengths of this book. Dr. Henslin has written this book in such a way that the very complex information he is relating is done in a very understandable way. I am confident that my 10 year old daughter would have no problem reading this section, and explaining to me what each of the different issues are. Dr. Henslin closes this first section with a discussion on “joy-boosters”. Everything from pharmacology to movies, food to prayer is discussed. It is amazing what a change in diet can do for our emotional well being!In second section of the book the author explains in detail the different sections of the brain he explored in chapter three. In a very clear, entertaining style he talks about very specific things we can do to improve our brain health for each of these brain centers. I particularly enjoyed the discussion about the prefrontal cortex (wrestling with ADD) and the deep limbic system (dealing with depression). It is so refreshing to see a well researched medical book written from a biblical, Christian perspective!Finally, Dr. Henslin concludes his book with a chapter entitled, “An Apostle on Joy: The Real Secret.” In this chapter he does a study in joy in the book of Philippians, uncovering 6 “Secrets to Joy”. A great study, and an excellent capstone to this book.I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wrestles with finding joy and contentment. Dr. Earl Henslin demonstrates the wisdom in an integrated approach between Psychology and Spirituality. I look forward to sharing this book with my wife, and making some changes as we seek to live life the way God intended – filled with the Spirit, possessing peace and finding joy.Soli Deo Gloria
Salvation

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Dr. Earl Radmacher’s book on salvation is a well written, convincingly presented andScripturally grounded discussion on the subject. Covering a diverse range of topics, Dr.Radmacher handles controversial issues with firmness and grace.The book appears daunting at first, with seventeen chapters and two appendixes. Theauthor broke up the chapters into six manageable sections. Although it seems strange tocomment on the organization of the book, the way this book has been presented ensures that it will remain on my shelf as a reference for many years to come.He opens the book with a discussion on God’s provision of salvation. Early on, hebreaks salvation down into three essential categories: justification, sanctification andglorification. Once he is done with basic definitions, he distills God’s purpose in salvation down to the truth that ultimately, God’s greatest motivation in redeeming sinners is that His glory might be praised through all eternity.Also in this first section Dr. Radmacher discusses the nature of Christ, and how Hewas a fit substitute for us. And not only our sin-bearer, but also our faithful high-priest! He then moves on to a discussion of God’s plan for salvation from “eternity to eternity”. It is amazing how Dr. Radmacher is able to take complex issues such as predestination, foreknowledge and the eternal state and address them all very clearly in a single chapter!The next three sections were the most on topic for this class. In sections 2 through 4,Radmacher talks about God’s accomplishments in salvation, the invitation, and the act ofregeneration. This section of the book challenged me. The majority of the book I was able to read, and walk away encouraged and convicted by the Scriptural truths presented. However, in the section where Dr. Radmacher addresses repentance and justification, my personal understanding of the ordo salutus was challenged. Dr. Radmacher makes the observation that repentance is not necessary for salvation, and in fact, many may be saved who have never repented.Although I understand most of his argumentation on this issue, this is an area overwhich I will need to do more prayerful study.The final two sections of the book have to do with an explanation of salvation in theform of sanctification, and also with the security of the believer. Again, Dr. Radmacherimpressed me with his ability to address such difficult issues in a way that is so easilyunderstood. Because of Dr. Radmacher’s “pedigree”, I anticipated this to be a rather dry,scholarly book. Instead, I found a book that challenges and convicts, teaches and encourages and actually creates a devotional atmosphere at times.I strongly recommend this book for anyone looking for good illustrations on how tomake the complex simple. When it comes to evangelization, how can we deliver a message confidently if we do not first wrestle with our understanding of what this salvation is? This book would be a powerful tool in the arsenal of anyone who obeys the call to go and make disciples.
Christianity In Crisis: The 21st Century: The 21st Century

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Wow.Hank Hanegraaff has brought his book up to date. 20 years have gone by since he first wrote Christianity in Crisis, and the crisis has only intensified!“The tragedy is that too often we look for God in all the wrong places. The real experience is found not in counterfeit formulas but in Christian fundamentals.”Although I have come to disagree with Hank on many theological issues, this book doesn’t go into what I might consider questionable areas of his theology. As such, I feel comfortable recommending it to others.If you are familiar with the original book, you are probably wondering what is new, and if it is worth purchasing. Let me assure you it is worth it! There are many new faces on the scene, and those who distort the gospel by preaching a false “health and wealth” gospel are only gaining momentum.One of the key additions to the book is the “Cast of Characters” section. Hanegraff takes an in-depth look at each of the major players in the Word of Faith movement, and analyzes where they distort the message of the Bible for their own gain, and to the detriment of others.One of the great strengths of this book is the endnotes. You aren’t reading Hanegraff’s opinion about these men and women - he has detailed notes with references of what book, magazine or television program they said these things. This is a solid, well researched critique of this false teaching. In addition to the “name it and claim it” heresies, we see the atonement under attack by people like Benny Hinn, the sovereignty of God under attack by Joel Osteen and the Trinity under attack by Bishop T.D. Jakes.The one weakness of the book is in his synthesis of all the different beliefs of these individuals into a kind of fairy-tale. He includes this as an introduction to Part One. By including this, he creates a view that none of these men and women would ascribe to, and I feel weakens his overall argument. That said, after he delivers this fairy-tale, he then goes into detailed specifics of what each individual believes, and redeems the book as credible.Through Christianity in Crisis, Hank Hanegraff does a thorough job of exposing the truth behind the lies, and pointing us back to what God’s Word has to say.In the first several parts of the book, the author lays out what this movement teaches, and then goes into deep detail into the errors behind their teaching. Ranging from the idea that we are all gods to the horrible twisting of the doctrine of the atonement, Hanegraff explores them all in depth.He closes the book by bringing us back to the basics. What does the Bible say? What do we know is true? How do their arguments stand up to the tested, timeless truths of God’s Word?I strongly recommend this book. Excellent research, and delivered at a time when Christianity is truly in Crisis.There are wolves among us. It is time we see them for who they are.
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