Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another Book Review

Two eyes break the surface of the water. Their steely stare is barely visible behind the camouflaged face. They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I felt drawn to read Stealth Attack by Ray Pritchard – just by looking at it.

I have to admit that as a pastor I speak of spiritual warfare all the time. I hardly understand it though. I feel its impact in my life and the lives of my church members. It has been around since Satan first tempted Eve, and continues to this day. Yes, Jesus Christ won the war over Satan, sin and death 2000 years ago but as the enemy retreats to it’s impending doom, skirmishes rise up in my life and yours. We can be victorious in these skirmishes!

Ray Pritchard takes a look at the terrorism that we know today in our physical world and uses it to get our attention of the tactics of the enemy in our spiritual world. He writes about this warfare’s beginning, leader and eventual end. He speaks of how the devil can get footholds in our lives and how we as believers must resist him.

One of the most challenging thoughts in this book was the fact that Satan doesn’t always attack our weaknesses, but sometimes concentrates on our self-perceived strengths. I don’t know about you, but I really guard my weaknesses – things like internet purity, overeating and treating my wife improperly. The areas that I think I am strong in, I tend to let slide…and that is exactly what the devil is looking for. 1 Peter 5 speaks to the devil as being a ‘roaring lion, seeking to destroy’ us. Lions don’t attack fiercely guarded animals – just the ones who think they’re strong enough to stray from protection. You need to read this book!

I am always looking for reading to go along with my Bible reading that challenges me in my daily walk. Stealth Attack not only challenged me, but encouraged me in the battle as well. Mr. Pritchard is very easy to understand and uses many captivating illustrations to make his points in this 150 page book. I highly recommend this book to boost your defenses against the one who is determined to bring you down.

Book Review Time!

I do book reviews for Familyman Ministries - please check out their site. Here is one of the latest reviews for them:

The shrill ringing of the phone broke the sterile silence that had enveloped my office. It was one of the men in my church asking for a suggestion to read for his weekly men’s small group study. Every pastor should jump at those types of questions, shouldn’t he? In my pastoral leap, I landed flat on my face…or so it seemed. I told him I would get back with him, hung up and promptly panicked.

It was a day or two later I received an email concerning a book with its own study guide entitled, Hazards of Being a Man by Jeffery Miller. I ordered it and read it. I immediately was convinced that this book would go on to be a resource I could recommend to men’s study groups and men looking to improve their Christian walks. I expected the same old admonitions of evils of sexual sin and time spent away from family – but was encouraged with so much more! Yes, Miller does address these issues, but stepped outside the ‘norm’ and hit me hard in several other areas. He writes of the hazards of: deflecting responsibility, manipulation, misplaced priorities, individualism, lust, insensitivity, absence, partial obedience, unresolved anger, discontentment, unteachability and unchecked motives.

With each hazard, Jeffery Miller uses a biblical example to illustrate his point, thus tying Scripture to each and every lesson to be learned. At the end of every chapter he suggests how to right the wrongs, provides reflection questions and (my favorite) gives Bible memory work to coincide with the lesson. This book stretched me in uncomfortable ways!

It would be a great study guide to use in a men’s group, as an individual man or even a father / son study. Just under 200 pages, this book is easy to read with short and to the point chapters. If you desire straight-forward advice, this book is for you! I highly recommend it, and will no doubt be re-reading it for myself soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Monday (July 9th) I was working in the garden and came away with some sort of rash. I usually have no problem with these types of things - however, my arms and legs were covered in a 'hives' type rash. No problem, I thought. That is what I thought during the morning hours. By noon, I was getting lethargic and pretty tired. I lay down after lunch for a quick nap and then got up to discover that I was extremely sore in both joints and soft tissue. I thought I had just 'overdone' the weeding / picking of veggies. Throughout the afternoon I just couldn't get going and fell asleep on a lawn chair and the sofa at different times during the day. The stiffness and pain just kept getting worse. I was in bed by 10:30p and woke up this morning...covered with the rash. My entire body was one big rashy mess. I also felt like I had been worked over with a baseball bat. I could hardly get motivated to take a shower. I was really in a lot of pain. I forced myself through it and went to work. All morning long I was again lethargic and sore. Everyone at the church offered their well-intended advice. All were agreed that I 'must' see a doctor. By lunch I was exhausted and really discouraged about not getting much done. I came home, hungry but not willing to eat - so I lay down on the sofa for another 30 minute nap. When I got up I ate half a turkey and tomatoe sandwich and then headed back to work, against my wife's wishes. On the way, I discovered my Ibuprofen in the car. I quickly swallowed a couple and hoped for the best. In about 45 minutes or so I was beginning to feel a little bit better. That's when I got a call from a fellow staff member who was talking with a parishoner about my rash. (You just got to love it when it gets around that you have a rash) They determined I had what is called Fifth disease. Don't ask me what it is - but they suggested I stay away from pregnant women and allow it to take its course. Funny thing was, by time I went home (around 5:30 or so) I was feeling pretty good - and the rash was fading. Even now, the tingling / itching is dying down and the rash is all but gone.
I find it humorous when people attempt to diagnosis what might be 'ailing' you. Sometimes they are right; sometimes wrong. One thing is for sure: spiritually speaking there is only one Authority that is right 100% of the time when it comes to diagnosing the 'ailments' of the heart. That is God's Word. You might ignore the 'rash' on your soul, but friend, I recommend you tend to the words of the Great Physician and allow the Balm of Gilead to soothe your discomfort. When was the last time you filled your prescription in the Word?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

7-07-07 - What a day!

So today's date is pretty cool! I didn't, however, go out and buy a lottery ticket or any participate in any other risky (unless you count working in the garden in 90* heat as being risky).
Latest book review:
Stealth Attack: Protecting yourself against Satan's plan to destroy your life by Ray Pritchard. (Ray Pritchard's blog) I picked this book up while I was in Schroon Lake, New York last week. I and two of my youth leaders took 12 teens up to the Word of Life Island for a week of camp. Mr. Pritchard was one of the speakers for those adults who were staying on the 'mainland'. Regrettably I was only able to listen to one of his sessions as I spent a lot of time with my teens and also completing some work I had to do. When I heard he was giving the sermons that this book was birthed from, I bought it. The book is a great reminder to every Christian about their participation in spiritual warfare. Using modern day terrorism as an example of how Satan might war in our lives, he makes the unseen understandable. Perhaps the greatest concept of the book (and the one session I attended) was the fact that Satan often does not attack our weaknesses, but our self-perceived strengths. We often guard our weaknesses, don't we? However, we grow slack and less diligent in the areas that we perceive as our strengths...and they by default become weak areas. I was challenged greatly by this. Ray Pritchard also speaks to our greatest weapon: prayer. I don't know about you, but I struggle so with prayer! It is my greatest weapon, and yet I don't utilize it nearly enough. It's like going back to flintlock rifles after being given laser-guided missles... it just doesn't make sense.
Well, if you read and are a Christian, you need to get a copy of this book. It is easily understandable and relatively short. There are many illustrations used throughout the book, making it very relevant. Keep the fight brothers and sisters!
It was also my first time to hear Pastor John Bouquet of Bethel Baptist Church, Savannah, OH. He preached through Colossians - which is one of my favorite books in all the New Testament. I was also challenged to Exalt God Only in the area of prayer during these amazing sessions with him. He is a bold man of God and if you ever have the chance, please plan on sitting under his teaching!