Monday, August 31, 2015

So you want to be a "Street God"?

Good kids, from good parents, who go to good schools grow up to be good parents with good kids, right? Maybe not so much so. Dimas Salaberrios, whose mother and father were respectively a school Principal and a Corrections officer (ex-Air Force at that) had everything going for him, or so it seemed. There was one thing lacking in his young life. He wanted fame and fortune, he wanted to be a Street God.  This book, Street God: the Explosive True Story of a Former Drug Boss on the Run from the Hood – and the Courageous Mission that Drove Him Back (Tyndale Momentum, 2015) is the story of how Salaberrios got what he thought he wanted, and what it cost him.  But it doesn’t stop there, because at some point in his broken life, Jesus got hold of Dimas and changed his life.
                First of all the ‘negative’: I didn’t care much for the writing style, but that’s personal preference. This is not the kind of book I typically read, but something about the title, and the jacket blurb caught my attention, so I requested a review copy from the publisher. The style may not be to my liking, but the story itself is compelling and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it.
And the rest is positive:
                This is an autobiography and Salaberrios offers the disclaimer that the story is as he best remembers, with some identifying details blurred for the obvious reasons of not violating someone else’s privacy.
The story starts with 11 year old Dimas entering the drug business, and follows his path upwards in that dark world. He recounts how he came to control his own territory, the turf wars that he engaged in, and various encounters with the law.  Along the way he spent time in jail, made several geographic changes, and more than once broke his momma’s heart
Several times, though, people planted seeds in the young man’s heart. Seeds of the love of Jesus, and over time, (sometimes despite his best efforts) the seeds grew. And the story of the “wanna- be”, self-styled Street God takes on a new direction.  Jesus loved Dimas into His kingdom, nurtured him and watched him grow. Today Dimas is a pastor, a speaker, and living proof that God can take the some of the roughest raw material and turn it into something beautiful.
In today’s culture where we tend to label people and then put them into boxes from which they can’t escape, this is a refreshing story. In a culture where the prevailing attitude is ‘what’s in it for me?’, we need to hear how some people make that change from self-serving to  serving God and serving others. This is a story of redemption and a story of hope.
None of us are exempt from the lure of sin and pride can bring down the strongest of the strong. If anyone else tried to tell Dimas' story, it would probably come across quite differently, and wouldn't make anywhere near as powerful an impact. 
Dimas  tells his emotionally charged story without the offensive language and graphic details that we have almost come to expect. Surprisingly enough, his story is just as effective without the profanity or gore. I highly recommend "Street God"  because this story comes from the heart…it's not another 'reality TV' type of story. 
You may think that younger children shouldn't hear this kind of story…remember Dimas Salaberrios was 11 when he started selling drugs.  When should your kids hear what drugs can lead to? Our culture is already telling them that there's nothing wrong with using drugs.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for writing a review expressing my honest opinion. There was no requirement to write a positive review.  


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Immigrant Is not a Dirty Word!

Immigrant Is NOT a Dirty Word
Conflicted. It's hard sometimes to change  your point of view, but that's where I've found myself heading over the past few years. I used to hear the word immigrant, and like many others immediately thought of those undocumented people from just south of our border who came into the country illegally to have  anchor babies (what an offensive term, then took our jobs, forced hospital ERs to close, and reaped billions in benefits that they weren't paying for -- and I was.  A lot of people also think gangs and high crime rates; and yeah, I guess if I'm honest I used to be subject to irrational and ungrounded fears concerning anyone who didn't look like me.
Where I grew up in New York, 'those people' worked the muck farms, topping onions, picking lettuce digging potatoes, and other poorly paying jobs that nobody really wanted to do because of the long hours in the hot sun doing back-breaking work. In other places there are jobs that no one really wants because of the same reasons, but people who come here looking to make a better life for themselves are willing to do these jobs because it allows them to support their family, to meet their immediate needs and send something home for parents, spouse, children.
But since my I've grown up a little, I've also come to understand that I really didn't have a clue. Some really nice people, from south of the border, and north of the border, and across both oceans  have come to this county as immigrants. A lot of them, like many of my ancestors (and yours too probably) came here to stay, back in the day when there really weren't a lot of laws in place and if you got to Ellis Island they probably let you in.  Many of our undocumented friends and neighbors actually came here legally -- as a tourist, a student, or on some other of temporary visa, and just overstayed the effective dates .  And yes there are some who are so desperate to find a better life for themselves and their families that they are willing to do whatever it takes to come to the 'land of opportunity', even if it means risking everything to get here.
And of course they are those who came here legally, under the auspices of the United Nations, as refugees from a number of places where they were being persecuted for their religious or political beliefs.
And while they are here, some of them have babies; babies who are, according to the U.S. Constitution, citizens of this country. Do some people have babies to game the system? Of course they do. And some undocumented women also have babies just so they can stay here. But a lot of people  aren't intending to scam anybody, they fall in love, get married, and start families.  Sometimes the rules don't work in favor of people who have really good reasons for being here: things like a spouse and children.
Does something need to be done with the issue of people here in this country without the proper documentation? Yes, to level the playing field and make life fair for everyone who lives in this country. Yes, to make it possible  for people to sleep at night without worrying about deportation.  Yes, to make it possible for children to go to college, to make it possible for them to join the military or get a career, to make it possible for them to collect social security or other benefits that they may have paid into for many years, even though they know that they will likely never see any of those benefits.

Immigrant is not a dirty word, and as a nation we need to realize that and stop  acting like anyone who wants to come here is a second or third class person.  Yes the discussion needs to happen, but the narrative has to change.  We need to learn to embrace diversity - it's what has made this nation great. We need a path to citizenship, should we reward people for breaking our laws? No, but a humane way exists for undocumented immigrants to atone for their past 'crime' and Washington D.C. needs to find that way and implement it now!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Which Jesus do you follow?

I just read Daniel Darling’s The Original Jesus: Trading the Myths We Create for the Savior Who Is (Baker Books, 2015) and have to say that I like the original Jesus better than anything I could ever dream up.
Darling takes a sometime tongue -in-cheek approach to the various Jesus figures that people have created for themselves over time, often going back decades and centuries,  and comparing those creations to Jesus the Christ as discovered in Scripture.  Meet Guru Jesus, Dr Phil Jesus, along with Braveheart, REdletter, BFF and one of my favorites, Legalist Jesus (they forgot to tell me in Seminary that one of my pastoral duties would be to hand out a list of music and movie ratings that 'good Christians' would enjoy.  And of course we understand that 'legalist' is the term that Christians so freely apply to anyone who doesn't agree with you.
I actually liked this book quite a bit, and would have liked it more if I didn't know way too many people who expect me as a pastor to preach from the pulpit the Jesus that they have created for themselves (and expect others to embrace).  Some of the chapters seemed to be the 'lite version' of what he wanted to or should have said about the Jesus of the Gospels.  This is also an idea which has been used before, although with a different approach and different examples. 
As a disclaimer, I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. There was no requirement to write a positive review, only that it be my own thoughts.


Monday, August 24, 2015

thoughts on THIS MEANS WAR

I requested a review copy of Stephen and Alex Kendrick’s “THIS MEANS WAR” (B&H Publishing Group, 2015) for two reasons. First I have a teenager and second I think we are in a war where the only effective weapon is the one we use while on our knees: prayer.
This book is part of a set of books inspired by the soon to be released movie “War Room”, and is the one especially directed towards teens.  There is also a book for adults, along with two directed at younger children and preteens.  All of them focus on prayer, and a strategy for an effective prayer life.
Most of the 50 chapters in the book provide a short devotional, and ask a question based on that reading. Space is provided for the teen to write his or her answer. Reading the section titles, it’s safe to assume that the books starts at a very basic level (“Welcome to War” and “Boot Camp”) and  systematically progresses to the prayer of a mature Christian, (“ Advanced Training”, “Sniper School”)
There are some good questions in each chapter, but as I was looking through the book, I couldn’t help but feel that whoever put this book in the ‘teen’ category had underestimated today’s youth. (DISCLAIMER: My son graduated from high school a few months ago. In the process, he completed the first two years of college through early college, concurrent enrollment and AP classes.) I asked that son to read the book and give me his opinion…he works with the youth group at a local church, and thought it might be appropriate for the 7th and 8th graders.  That jibed with my initial impression that the target group should be about 10-14.
A positive thing about this book is that it encourages journaling, but rather than free-flowing, “what should I write about today?” there are specific things addressed each day. The concept of war/battle/soldiers will probably appeal to many boys, and despite the current state of the military, I’m not sure that younger girls will be
Unless one is careful it’s easy to assume that the authors are careless and contradict themselves, but actually they are doing quite an adept job of addressing questions in different ways that meet the needs of prayer warriors at different stages of their journey.
In all fairness, I liked “The Battle Plan for Prayer” (the adult version) much better than this book (teen version)


 I received a copy of this book from Icon Media Group in exchange for a review.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are you willing to lose to gain?

              Granted, it's counter-intuitive , but no one ever said that following Jesus would be the easiest thing in the world. Sometimes what the church is called to do, what Christ-followers are called to do, doesn't make sense from a human perspective, but that doesn't mean that God doesn't have a plan.
            And J.D. Greear talks about that counter-intuitive plan in Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send ( Zondervan, 2015). He covers a lot more than just saying it's a good idea for churches to send, but it all boils down to complying with mandate of the Great Commission.  The premise of gaining by losing is simply this, when a church is willing to let go of some of their assets (people, money, leaders, team members) and send them to plant other churches, or as missionaries, the local church may see a decrease in numbers, but the kingdom church grows.  And quite often because the church is willing to send, whatever it was that they lost (members, tithers, workers) are replaced by people new to the church. Not always, but often enough.
            There are a lot of ways that this happens, as members grow and develop as leaders and are sent to plant churches here and abroad.  Lots of ways, but it starts at the level of the local church.  Granted a church of 50-100 members cannot expect to regularly send several teams of 40 people each to plant new churches, but there are ways those smaller churches can get involved. Some of the basics are the same whether your average attendance is 50 or 10,000. When the core values of the organization emphasize a missional attitude, when the church is intentional about being a sending church and is willing to take risks in order to grow Jesus' kingdom, then the church learns to support the idea of sending of losing in order to gain.
This book is not going to please everyone. Greear pulls no punches in suggesting that discipleship and 'sending' should be primary foci of every church. He doesn't have a problem with changing things - especially music. People just don't like to be told what they should be doing - even when they know it's the right thing to do. 
                   The size of JD's church is another factor that makes this book impractical for many people.  "Sure if my church had 8,000 members we could afford to lose 40 or 50". But there is practical advice that fits any context too. (don't say I need 15 people, say I need 5 dentists, 5 doctors,and 5 nurse practitioners. P207)
            Part I is the story of how JD's church got to where they are, Part II is the Plumb Lines (values) that keeps them focused and a couple of helpful appendices deal with strategies for missions and church planting. Throughout the book are anecdotal references to what's working and why at the church where Greear serves as Pastor.
            Pastors, potential church planters, mission team members and leaders should read this book. So should the people who sit in the pews and think "there's no way I could help with any of that. Reading Gaining by Losing may convince you otherwise. There is a lot here that I didn't like reading, probably because I need to hear, and apply it in my life and in my ministry.

I received this book from Zondervan through Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials to Advertising."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Thoughts on "The Battle Plan for Prayer" by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

Don’t be confused, the cover blurb does not say ‘based on’, it says ‘inspired by’ the feature film War Room.  As I write this the movie hasn’t been release yet, so I haven’t seen it, but the book is about prayer, and the War Room is apparently about prayer, so there you go.
As a pastor I’m always looking for ways to encourage people to pray, and from time to time I also need to be reminded myself of just how important prayer really is. With The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies, (B&H Publishing, 2015) Stephen and Alex Kendrick have written a book which fills both of those needs.
                The 35 chapters of this book cover a wide spectrum of prayer topics: what prayer is – and isn’t. the why, what and how of prayer, even how to develop a prayer life, and even a section called ‘Targets’ that lists people to pray for, and some ideas on how to pray for them.
                The suggestion is to use this book as a type of devotional, reading one chapter a day, and spending several weeks to go through it. Each chapter is short, and should only take a few minutes to read. There is also a prayer at the end of each chapter, focusing on the topic for the day. The several appendices cover a variety of topics, and there are even discussion questions to help you go a little deeper or at least prompt the reader to think through the passage carefully.
                This is an easy read, and provides a lot of useful information on prayer, but at times I felt the authors should have gone a little deeper into the topic of the day. If the intended audience is the group of people who will become interested in prayer after seeing or hearing about the movie, then this may be all that is needed, but if the readers of this book are already praying and interested in further developing their prayer life, there are other books which will do more than give them ideas.
                I received a copy of this book from Icon Media Group in exchange for a review.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

plastic water bottles - GRRRR

I walked into Wally World today to get some cinnamon. (It's good for the heart, and flavors my oatmeal.) On the way out there was a big bin of bottled water, not cases - individual bottles, and not even cold. The sign indicated that they were inexpensive, but they were still 50Ȼ each. When you buy a case of 24 for  $3.00 that's about 12 Ȼ apiece. 
But the real cost isn't the 12 Ȼ or 50 Ȼ or $1.50 that you might pay for a bottle  - the real cost comes at the expense of the environment.  Finish the bottle and throw it away - wherever you happen to be, and if there's no recycle bin it goes in the trash or on the ground.  Recycling costs money, but not recycling costs space. Those plastic bottles don't magically disappear overnight, they're not biodegradable, and we can't even begin to know what kind of toxins they might release during the 450 years (450! And some sources estimate up to 1000 years)  We can't begin to know because even the earliest of these bottles haven't finished decomposing yet.

Yes they're convenient, but maybe there's a better way to get the fluid we need each day than to throw bottle after bottle into the landfill. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

comments on "Irresistible Community"

Life together is certainly something modeled by Jesus, and is highly recommended within the Christian community, so I jumped at the chance to review The Irresistible Community: An Invitation to Life Together by Bill Donahue (Baker Books, 2015). 
The book has an interesting format: 12 chapters, each introduced by a ‘monologue’ by one of the 12 Disciples. The chapters are broken into 3 sections:  “Join the Fellowship of the Table”, “Practice the Ministry of the Towel” and the “Live in the Circle of Truth”.  Community, service, and how to live with the truth of God's words. .
We were created to be in community, in relationship with God and with others. And that’s what the table is all about. Fellowship, getting along with one another. But then Jesus got up from the table, wrapped a towel around his waist and went to work washing the disciples’ feet. As Christ followers we learn to serve; we grow from serving, and many times serving does more for us than it does for those we serve. And then we have to deal with the facts of truth: it hurts and it heals, it’s dangerous.
So far so good, but for me this was not an easy book to read –it just doesn’t flow.  The monologues at the beginning of each chapter were entertaining, and I would like to see a novel about the Twelve written in this style. There were some interesting facts throughout, and even some things to ponder (an illustration about a robber or a surgeon (p 212) really caught my attention.
There is just too much going on here, and it doesn’t all fit together.

3/5  I received a copy of this book from the publisher  in exchange for the review

Monday, August 10, 2015

review of "Spent Matches" by Roy Moran

In the preface to Spent Matches: Igniting the Spiritual Fire for the Spiritually Dissatisfied  (Thomas Nelson, 2015) the author, Roy Moran, suggests “this book may feel as if it is written by someone affected with attention deficit disorder”. He is right, especially if you try to read this book in a typical linear fashion.  And then you return to the preface, to read ‘bouncing back and forth is by design’, and it starts to make a little more sense.
Because my ADD and Moran’s ADD don’t mix very well, I had trouble getting through the first part of the book. , but shortly after starting Part II “The Solution” it was easier to stay focused. I’m not sure if the writing style had changed that much, if I was adjusting to the style, or (and I think this is the reason) I was so drawn into what he was saying that I didn’t have to focus on how he said it.
The concept of the journey and discovery groups is just different enough from what I’m used to that it makes me want to try them. I just spend 20 minutes (before getting started on the review) checking out the web resources listed in the back of the book.
 But beyond the fact that I can’t focus (squirrel!) Moran points out some interesting stats. And suddenly we have to take notice.  There are a lot of people who aren’t interested in church, they’re not interested in being preached at or being told what to think, but they do have problems, and the Bible might have solutions.  There are a lot of people who don’t know Jesus, and some of them are our neighbors, friends, or co-workers.  (Hard to believe for those who don’t have any friends who aren’t already Christians). There are a lot of people who aren’t looking for religion, but if you can be Christian without coming across as one of “those People”, they just might listen, especially if you put it in the form of ‘several of us are going to look at this together and see what the Bible really says, not just what some preacher or scholar says that it says.’

And one thing that makes sense about the groups, is that there is a facilitator, not a leader, not a teacher, just ‘one of us’ learning right along with everybody else.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, there was no requirement to post a positive review.


Review of "To the Edge" by J.D. Payne

To The Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation (2015) by J.D. Payne is, as the title suggests, a series of reflections on three different topics. Some can be read as reflections, others are almost suitable for a morning’s devotional reading.
In the digital age in which we currently exist, these reflections would each be suited for a stand-alone blog post, but somehow there is also a sense of connectedness that you might not get from reading a series of posts, one each day over a period of time.
Since I read Payne’s Strangers Next Door a few years ago, I’ve been a fan of his writing, and his heart for the kingdom. I was expecting something different when I offered to read and review this book, so when I started reading, it was a little disappointing – not with the content, just the format (amazing how we try to pigeonhole people). But as I continued reading I found myself caught up in the ponderings of one of the prominent voices in the fields of missions of the 21st century.
Each of the three sections has its own nuggets, there for the gleaning. Try “the Conference No One Hosts” on page 12 – a stark reminder of the all the mistakes, failures, financial outlay, and trial and error that go into finding what does work…. But wouldn’t it be great if someone would tell us what ­doesn’t work before we spend the same amount of money and make the same mistakes.
And then we get to the reflections on mission, and again and again I was reminded of things that I’ve probably heard before, but have obviously forgotten: Ask for the story (p 52), the West is a mission field, (p 53), 8 tracks in an i-pod world (78); and don’t miss “That Deer-In-Headlights Look” on page 85.  A reminder that we need to look into the fields and stop looking into the headlights. 
And then just when you think you’ve adjusted to the possibilities that there are opportunities, and that maybe we are more prepared than we think, we get hit with the reflections on “INNOVATION” and realize that the way we’ve always done it, may work, but then again it might not, and just because we’ve never done it that way before doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to work. Payne provides some great new ideas about trying new ideas.
I started out thinking, OK, and ended up really liking this book.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Into the Fray Review The Book of Acts for the 21st century

The Book of Acts is one of my favorite parts of the Bible, I love reading about how Christianity Spread in the early years of the Church.  And now, with Into the Fray: How Jesus’ Followers Turned the World Upside down. (OR: The Story of Acts Retold for Today) (Baker Books, 2015) Matt Mikalatos has used his extraordinary writing skills to bring the book of Acts from the 1st century to the 21st.  Here’s my disclaimer. I had fun reading Night of the Living Dead Christian; since reading Imaginary Jesus, I’ve used several of those stereotypes as Sermon illustrations. A couple of sermons were based on parts of The First Time We Saw Him, and now this.
To paraphrase myself in a tweet after reading the 1st three chapters, , how can any one person write so well in so many different genres and styles?
Meet Dr. Lucas. He is writing letters to his friend Theo, to explain a lot of stuff that happened to a bunch of guys. Dr Lucas has a dilemma, he wants to start at the beginning, but recognizes that the story itself is so big that it’s hard to decide which beginning. And so he decides to tell The story by telling the stories of people, people who were there, who walked and talked with “the Teacher”
So Dr Lucas wanders around with a handheld recorder and interviews people, and then he writes their stories and sends them to his friend Theo. And there is a caveat to these stories that Dr. Lucas sends Theo’s way: “You know their stories because their stories are ours, just as our stories are theirs. They are the tales and happenings and accounts and reports of the good news about Jesus and about his life and death and teachings and coronation and return”. And then comes the question that each of us must answer: “Where does your story of the teacher become our story of the good news?
And so Dr Lucas sets out, recorder in hand, and collects stories.  If you’re familiar with the book of Acts you’ll recognize the Pentecost event. Names like Pete and Esteban and Felipe will soon be as familiar as Peter, Stephen and Phillip.
The 21st century rewrite of a familiar story could be expanded and would stand on its own as a fun book to read, and a great teaching tool, but there’s a lot more to this book. Mikalatos has also done a great job of explaining the sacred text. With exegesis, expository teaching, and lessons on how to apply the text to our own lives, Matt invites us to make this story our own, to identify the beginning of our story with Jesus, and turn it into a story of the good news that can be shared with others.
But don’t despair, it’s not all theoretical, for those who like some practical advice on how to put the lesson into practice, turn to chapter 14 for some ideas on how to write and tell your own part of our story.  One of the core values at our church is that we are all a part of God's story, and we need to learn to tell that story and invite others into it.  I haven’t decided yet if Chapter 14 is recommended or required reading for the leadership team.
And in Dr Lucas’ last letter to his friend Theo, he reminds him that we can’t change the world without being changed ourselves. We are a part of God's creation, a creation which is being transformed by the Holy Spirit. As it changes, so do we.
On a scale of 1 to 5, can you give more than five stars?  Highly recommended to those who have heard the stories from Acts all of those lives and to those whose journey is just beginning.

FTC disclaimer, I received a copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for a review. There was no requirement to write anything but an honest review…

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Love in the midst of a mess REVIEW of Messy Grace

In Messy Grace: How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others without Sacrificing Conviction Kaltenbach shares his experiences of growing up attending Lesbian parties, Gay Pride parades, and watching a friend from one of his mother’s parties die from AIDS. With two parents who were antagonistic towards Christianity, the story of how the author came to Christ and eventually became a pastor is an incredible lesson in why we should learn to love like Jesus did and to share the good news with others even when it seems that it might be a waste of time. Kaltenbach is fairly candid about the fact that he went to that first bible study, not because of any real desire to learn about Jesus, but, as so often seems to happen, to prove that Christianity was not in his future.
                Along the way something happened that changed his mind and his heart, and in the process he learned several lessons, some of which he shares in this book.
                Particularly heart-breaking are the accounts of how he and his mother and her partner were treated by Christians. Love was certainly not a factor in some of those interactions. When he told the story of how after his mother visited the church where he was pastoring and the following Sunday he was met by the elders with the admonition that he was never to bring “that kind of people” to the church again, I wanted to cry. 
This is Kaltenbach’s story of growing up immersed in the LGBT community, and it’s the story of his conversion, but it’s also a text book of how the church should be responding to the cultural shift over the past 60 years, and especially in light of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Same Sex Marriage as opposed to the Biblical definition of marriage as something that happens between a man and a woman.
                Nor is this a suggestion that we just open our arms to everyone and love them without sharing biblical principles. Kaltenbach offers several suggestions grounded in scripture for why we should love sinners (and we’re all sinners, regardless of which community we belong to) but like Jesus we should encourage them to repent and leave the life of sin behind. He presents some of the justifications that he has heard concerning the relationship between the Bible and LGBT activity, and shares how he has responded.
                It must have been cathartic for the author to write this book detailing his personal journey, but it is also a wake-up call for the church. Christians need to respond in love to changing cultural values rather than react in hate, disgust and loathing. Kaltenbach offers a way to reach out in love (after all, that member of the LGBT community is still a member of your family, a friend, someone you love) without compromising biblical standards.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for the review. 

I highly recommend it. 5/5

Jesus answered questions with another question.

People who read scripture regularly have probably noticed that Jesus doesn’t always answer questions directly.  In fact quite frequently instead of answering them directly, He answers them with a question of his own. In Questions Jesus Asks: Where Divinity Meets Humanity (New Leaf Press, 2014) Israel Wayne takes 20 of these questions and turns them into a (very) abbreviated form of a systematic theology.
                The point that he makes, one that many others have made before, is that Jesus is not asking these question because He didn’t know the answers, but for his audience’s benefit. Through school I was always told that I shouldn’t answer a question with a question, but for Jesus, it works. With a combination of scriptural references, cultural background and personal experiences, Wayne explains the reason for Jesus’ questions.
                He doesn’t do it often, but there are a couple of times that Wayne uses words that I’m sure I heard in Seminary, but I don’t remember what they mean, and since I haven’t heard them since seminary I didn’t even bother to look them up.  When you throw around words like “infralapsarianism” or “supralapsarianism” (page 113), you ought to do a friend a solid and explain with they mean.  Granted these were words that Wayne used as an example of how easy it is to confuse people, especially new Christians with ‘christianese’.
                There is some good information presented here for the person who is looking for a basic introduction to many of the topics that Wayne introduces, and the occasional bit of humor adds to the presentation.
                 I received a copy of this book from Cross Focus Review in exchange for this review.