Monday, January 27, 2020

Portrait of a Christian Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book:  The Portrait of A Christian
Author: Raymond Sopp
Genre: Non-fiction, Theology
Release Date: November, 2019

The apostle Paul, with great knowledge of Scripture, said in Philippians 3:7–8: “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.” (NASB)

It takes a courageous person to take a second look—to lay down their life—just as the apostle Paul. Are you willing to take a second look, to lay down your life? The Portrait of a Christian was written to help you do so.

For more than thirty-eight years, Minister Raymond D. Sopp studied the Scriptures, not to parrot God’s Word through memorization but just to know God’s heart as He communicated through His Word. To know anyone’s heart, you must listen to their words.Christian principles

Raymond wrote The Portrait of a Christian to challenge and provoke thought to those who desire a closer relationship with Christ. He wanted to paint a portrait of God’s heart through thirty-one separate commentaries—starting with the importance God placed on His Gospel and ending with a Lost Love. All of us must earnestly contend for the faith!

Click here to get your copy.  

My Review 

This is a hard hitting book and is one every Christian would benefit from reading. Sopp is concerned about the shallowness in today's church. He believes God has placed him in a position to see the spiritual danger coming and sound the warning. He uncovers the spiritual blindness that seems to affect many. I can tell he has done a great deal of research into what the Bible says about being a true Christian.

There are many thought provoking essays in this book. Sopp helps us understand important Christian principles and behaviors, such as the difference between regret and repentance and works and fruit. All of the essays combine to show the character and lifestyle of a true Christian. I really appreciated his reasonable explanation for the perplexing verse, 1 Cor. 15:29.

Sopp's writing style is one this senior citizen likes. It may be a little difficult for young people to appreciate his lengthy quotations of Scripture and accompanying comments. Nonetheless, it is a book every person identifying as a Christian would do well to read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author


Minister Raymond D. Sopp has been a born-again Christian for more than thirty-eight years and ordained for more than eighteen years. He is not affiliated with any organization, nor a denomination. This has given him a unique opportunity to view the entire realm of Christianity from an objective point of view. His heart broke when he saw so many inconsistencies within the Church at-large. He inherently knew in his heart that the best way to point out error is to expose the truth in a way to provoke thought and challenge the Christian reader, while at the same time reach out to the nonbelieiver.
 Concerned by the teachings that he heard, or better yet, what he did not hear, he started a ministry on May 1, 1996 solely focused on reaching the world. (Sopp Ministries became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization on January 1, 1999.) The only purpose this ministry has is salvation both within and outside the Church at-large. Being somewhat overwhelmed, he knew he needed to stay focused on delivering a narrow message—a message that will cause all to examine themselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) to see if they’re literally born-again—to a true and biblical salvation—a simple message that has both temporal and eternal implications.
 

More from Raymond


Do you believe we’re approaching the Last Days? Are you seeing the season change—beginning to see leaves fall to the ground? Yes! Then, The Portrait of a Christian, is a must read for you. There are several warnings given to the professing Christian in God’s Word; to me, the most terrifying warning to the professing Christian for this time we’re living in is what Jesus said in Matthew 7:15–23: “‘Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.’ Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (NASB) The book I wrote, The Portrait of a Christian, is to help the professing Christian not to be one of those who just say “Lord, Lord.” Are you willing to take a second look at your Christianity? If so, then The Portrait of a Christian was written for you.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, January 28
Artistic Nobody, January 30 (Author Interview)
deb's Book Review, February 1
janicesbookreviews, February 2
Discipling4Life, February 3
Blossoms and Blessings, February 4 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, February 4
Through the Fire Blogs, February 7 (Author Interview)
Godly Book Reviews, February 9

Giveaway


To celebrate his tour, Raymond is giving away the grand prize of a $50 amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Running Against the Devil by Rick Wilson

Wilson doesn't like Trump, at all. The strong language he uses surprised me. I didn't know a publisher would allow some of the words to be in print. Nonetheless, I was interested in this book because Wilson had been active in Republican presidential campaigns. He is dismayed the Republican party has now become a party of Trump. And let me say again, Wilson has nothing, and I mean nothing, nice to say about Trump. Wilson has not become a Democrat but he does have a great deal of advice for Democrat presidential candidates. He has been a strategist on Republican candidate trails so he knows the techniques, those to watch out for on the Republican side and those to implement on the Democrat side.

I think I understand better what is at stake in the 2020 presidential election. I also understand what Republicans will push and what Democrats need to do counteract it and ultimately win the presidency. I understand the solid red and blue states are to be pretty much left alone. Money and effort will probably not change the voters' minds. The swing states are where the action needs to be. It is all about the electoral college and developing a strategy based on it.

This book was also very insightful as to how Trump has used Christians. “Trump has transformed the evangelical movement into a more cruel and worldly political tool, validating and verifying their two most powerful desires. (272) First, Wilson says, Trump has allowed evangelicals to live in an intolerant society. Trump has also provided evangelicals with a golden calf, one they can worship. Evangelicals have been “swept up in the delights of political power on this mortal plane and, with Trump as their prophet, have transformed into something unrecognizable.” (273)

I recommend this book but with a warning to rather conservative readers like me. Be prepared for strong feelings and strong language. But also be prepared to understand a bit more the political situation we are in and the prospects for the future.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Rick Wilson is a renowned Republican political strategist, writer, speaker, commentator, and ad-maker. He has an award-winning column in The Daily Beast and writes for several other publications. He regularly shares his insights on CNN and MSNBC and NPR. He and his wife life in Florida and have two grown children.

Crown Forum, 352 pages.

I've Never Been This Old Before by Stan Toler

Toler gives readers a good dose of humor, spiritual teaching, and practical suggestions for a better life, all centered on aging. The humor was interesting. I think one might need to be a southerner to understand and appreciate some of it. I laughed aloud sometimes and groaned others. I appreciate the teaching Toler included on topics like contentment. He has insights into Christian living that might only come through long life and experience. He shares some of those experiences with illustrative stories from his own life.

This is an entertaining book for those entering the second half or perhaps last third of life. You'll be encouraged to not worry about your sagging skin or lack of technical expertise. You'll receive some very practical ideas to help flourish in life. You'll also be inspired to know that God has exciting plans for your days ahead.

Food for thought: “No matter where we are on our journey, we're just visiting. Let's make the most of every moment, say the best of every person, and see the positive in every situation.” (Loc 880/994)

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Stan Toler has written over 100 books with sales over 3 million copies. He served as vice president and instructor for John C Maxwell's INJOY Leadership Institute, training leaders and speaking in over 90 countries. You can find out more at www.stantoler.com.

Harvest House, 144 pages. This book releases February 4.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Saints by Addison D Bevere

Bevere shares his musings about what it means to be a saint. The book includes a number of essays on topics of importance to Christians. He relates stories from the Bible, investigates passages from the epistles, and relates his own experiences.

I appreciate Bevere sharing the wonder and adventure of being a saint. He tries to mine the depths of what we Christians often miss, such as the awe of being in relationship with God. This is the kind of book where you could read a chapter and then spend some time thinking about Bevere's insights.

There are no thought provoking questions included nor is there any practical strategy provided to incorporate Bevere's insights into life. This is a book to read and think about. You are on your own to incorporate the information contained into a life changing experience.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Addison D Bevere is the son of John and Lisa Bevere. He is the COO of Messenger International, an organization of discipleship impact. He is also the cofounder of SonsAndDaughters.tv and author of the RISE covenant. He is married, the father of four and spends most of his time in Colordo Springs, Colorado. Photo Credit: Joel Yanke

Revell, 240 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Win Your War by Mark and Grace Driscoll

Many Christians ignore the reality of unseen spiritual beings. The Driscolls remind Christians angels and demons are real and spiritual warfare is a reality. They explore angles, what they are like and what they do. They also look at the existence of evil, the reality of spiritual warfare and the Christian's authority. They give biblical insight on a number of topics like pride, sickness and healing, forgiveness and specific spiritual battles, such as lies and coveting.

While I respect most of the Driscolls' teaching, there is one area where I feel they are entirely wrong: the critique of the trend to Reformed theology. Driscoll writes the trend toward Reformed theology is “in large part the world I would call the 'immature, hurt, and father wounded.' The trend toward Reformed theology is driven in large part by a generational father wound ...” (151) I feel this kind of rhetoric is uncalled for. Being a Reformed charismatic, I treasure the biblical nature of Reformed theology, as do many serious charismatic scholars, such as Sam Storms. Driscoll says this “father wound” leads to bitterness and the idea that the son can lead better than the father. (153) He says it may take the form of “a team member overtaking a leader in an organization.” (154) This makes me wonder if Driscoll's comments are from the wounds he suffered during his final time at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, when he was asked to resign.

Driscoll also says this father wound leads to a “prevalence of Son theology over Father theology... These sons with father wounds don't talk as much about God the Father as they do Jesus the Son.” (151) Imagine my surprise when I went to Driscolls' Scottsdale church web site and saw the bold slogan: “IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS!” Later in his book, Driscoll writes, “Good doctrine stars with Jesus as your compass and cornerstone. ...once you get Jesus right, the rest falls into place.” (189)

I also found it interesting Driscoll says the “father wound” causes people to want to plant their own churches, rather than having older mentors in their midst. (159) It's interesting because that is what Driscoll has done, twice.

There is a great deal of good teaching in this book, especially for new Christians or Christians who have ignored the reality of spiritual warfare. The Driscolls generally teach from the Bible, adding their own experiences to illustrate the biblical principles. I advise to just skip the chapter on the father wound.

You can watch the book trailer here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Mark and Grace Driscoll have been married and doing ministry together for over twenty-five years. They recently planted the Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was previously the pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. He has a bachelor's degree in speech communication from the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University as well as a master's degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. You can find out more at https://markdriscoll.org/

Charisma, 272 pages.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Elevate by Robert Glazer

Glazer encourages us to build our capacity. He means not just doing more but doing more of the right things. He divides life into four areas and gives training and practical suggestions for growth in each of them

Spiritual capacity is about understanding who we are and knowing what we want most in life. He helps reveal core values and our core purpose, leading to the standards by which we live.

Intellectual capacity is about our ability to think, learn, plan, and execute. He writes about having a growth mindset, crafting goals, establishing routines and habits, and about reflective journaling.

Physical capacity is about our health and well-being. He writes about physical performance, sleep, and creating a healthy life.

Emotional capacity is about how we react to challenges, the state of our emotional mindset, and our relationships. He writes about how we manage the voice in our head, overcoming self-limiting beliefs, and having a positive attitude.

I liked this personal development book. There was nothing in it amazingly new, but I've read lots of books like this one. It is a good general reminder of the principles of personal growth. The strength of the book may well be the practical action steps and links to further encouraging material. Glazer reminds us the road to capacity building is a bumpy one. He has been working on it many years and has made mistakes along the way. I appreciate that we can learn from his experience.

My rating: 4.5 stars.

Robert Glazer is the founder and CEO of global performance marketing agency Acceleration Partners. A serial entrepreneur, Glazer has a passion for helping individuals and organizations build their capacity to elevate. A regular columnist for Forbes and Entrepreneur, his writing reaches over five million people each year. He shares his insights and ideas via Friday Forward, a weekly inspirational newsletter. You can find out more at https://www.robertglazer.com/

Simple Truths, 168 pages.

Within Plain Sight by Bruce Robert Coffin

I liked this detective mystery novel. It has a good balance of character development and police procedure. The investigation into the murder is complex but John Byron, lead detective, methodically pursues the murderer. Coffin crafts Byron and his team members in a way so they come across as real people with real issues, like a pregnant wife who keeps having false labor. Coffin also creates a realistic police department with internal politics and strife.

The murder investigation is a difficult one. As Byron pursues leads, a number of suspects surface. Coffin added a few red herrings to keep us guessing. A strong part of the novel is Byron himself. We get into his head, such as his battle staying sober. Coffin provides just enough internal thinking before going back to intense action.

The setting, characters, and plot are all good. I do hope Coffin continues the series as I have come to enjoy the interplay of Byron and his team as they work diligently to solve the mystery.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Bruce Robert Coffin is a retired police detective sergeant and bestselling author of the Detective Byron Mysteries. He lives and writes in Maine. Photo: Amanda Huebner Photography

Witness Impulse, 432 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Dying to Meet Jesus by Randy Kay

Yes, Randy Kay died and met Jesus. But that experience is not the focus of the book. Rather, Kay's message is more about suffering and what believers are to make of it. This book, Kay writes, is about “finding joy through sadness by grasping trials instead of avoiding them. (45) How we respond to suffering in important. Suffering can be a bridge to spiritual awareness. It can provide a pathway to intimacy with God. He says, “...embrace your sadness as a vehicle to strip away the flesh, and make yourself empty, so you can be filled with God's presence.” (68)

Kay shares many of his experiences. Some experiences are glorious while others include tragedy. He encourages us to have deep fellowship with God, to be totally immersed in God's presence. He tells stories of how God used him in healing others, the visions he and others have had, and much more.

Yes, Kay does talk about his time with Jesus. It is in the context of adoration beyond words, feeling deeply loved, his excitement and awe. Yes, there were radiant, light emitting stones and glowing hills. Yes, there was life giving water, translucent rocks, and ten feet tall spirit beings. (167) Nonetheless, the emphasis of Kay's account is on the worship and praise and joy.

Kay notes that he was skeptical of such experiences until he had his own. There is so much more to this book than just his experience with Jesus. I really appreciate the emphasis on being in intimate relationship with God, with being rather than doing. (169) Whether you are skeptical of near death experiences or not, this book is well worth reading.

You can read an excerpt here.

Food for thought: “Regardless of any suffering, the profoundest truth I have learned is that nothing compares to being in the presence of Jesus. Absolutely nothing.” (171)

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Randy Kay is CEO of PACEsetters and chairmen and CEO of TenorCorp. He has written for Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. His breakthrough research on thriving in life spans several decades, as he has uncovered practical ways to overcome trials. He lives in Carlsbad, California.

Chosen, 176 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.