GAME OF THE WEEK – Week Four

September 30, 2010

@

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers       

Heinz Field, 1:00 pm

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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the surprising way to a stronger marriage

September 28, 2010

the surprising way to a stronger marriage is a great read for married couples.

authors of the book Michael and Amy Smalley are the executive directors of the Smalley Marriage and Family Center in The Woodlands, close to Houston, Texas. the center provides premarital counselling, marriage crisis consulting, and marriage and parenting seminars.

the thesis of the book is that we can make our marriages stronger by becoming stronger ourselves, individually.

it takes two to tango.

the subtitle of the book speaks to the thesis as well: “how the power of one changes everything.”

there are so many ups and downs in life. there are so many storms that come our way. there are so many moments in the valley as well as on top of the mountain.

these things happen in marriages too.

the surprising way to a stronger marriage is for the downs, and storms, and moments in the valley of that come to our relationships.

i requested this book as a pastor, as another resource for ministry, and as a husband, because there’s always room for improvement in a marriage.

the Smalleys provide wonderful advice and steps to improving ourselves and our marriages. their book is a valuable resource and text for life.

*NOTE: Tyndale Publishing gave me a free copy of the surprising way to a stronger marriage for a review posting on my blog. For more information check out the Tyndale Blog Network.


The One Year Book of Encouragement

September 17, 2010

in his introduction, Harold Myra starts The One Year Book of Encouragement writing: “If you probe beneath the surface of believers today, many of them will admit to anxieties and deep discouragement.”

what causes these anxieties and discouragement? the economy? family issues? problems at work? problems finding work? financial struggles? health concerns? conflicts at church? conflicts anywhere? worry? doubt? fear? loss?

“Especially today,” Myra says, “we need spiritual meat” to help us combat and overcome this discouragement. reading through the daily thoughts/devotions of this book is like an all you can eat event at The Keg.

Myra quotes Christian writers and thinkers and expounds on their thoughts to encourage us, the readers, beautifully.

folks quoted include…

C.S. Lewis – if you’re quoting Christian writers and thinkers Lewis has to be in there. instant credibility/readership.

Billy Graham – classic. relevant. real.

Mother Teresa – challenging.

Brother Lawrence – very cool.

Martin Luther –  the man.

Henri Nouwen – spiritual gold.

Eugene Peterson – one of my favorite writers/thinkers.

Philip Yancey – great stuff.

John Wesley – who doesn’t love John Wesley?

there are other people quoted as well. they’re all worth reading and their stories are worth knowing about.

along with the quote and short essay exploring its meaning and application is a prayer and passage of Scripture. the three elements of the daily reading are excellent together.

The One Year Book of Encouragement is a wonderful collection of 365 daily readings of inspiration, wisdom, and encouragement for your spiritual lives and journeys.

*NOTE: Tyndale Publishing gave me a free copy of The One Year Book of Encouragement for a review posting on my blog. For more information check out the Tyndale Blog Network.


A Leader’s Heart

September 15, 2010

i tend to think “leader” and “leadership” and “lead” are among the most over-used words in the Church and ministry. i also tend to think there are more books written on the subject than anyone needs. the “leadership” sections of bookstores are overflowing with titles and selections from all kinds of authors and leadership experts. one of the most read and respected names we’ll find in these sections and on these shelves is John Maxwell.

A Leader’s Heart is a daily devotional and personal journal. the daily readings are made up of Maxwell’s concepts and principles, along with beautiful meditations on scripture.

A Leader’s Heart is like a greatest hits album. the readings are selections from Maxwell’s best-selling and most beloved books.

each entry is accompanied with space for writing personal thoughts and reflections. this is an extremely practical and helpful element to the book.

the topics covered through the year include stewardship, teamwork, mentoring, success, as well as many others.

A Leader’s Heart is geared as a gift book towards those in leadership positions. however, the readings are wonderful for anyone and everyone on spiritual journeys and involved in a community of faith serving others.

A Leader’s Heart is a great book. the readings are informing and inspirational.

*Full Disclosure: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson through “Book Sneeze.” They give free books to bloggers for honest reviews.*


Christian Encounters: SAINT FRANCIS

September 8, 2010

most of the world knows Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone as Saint Francis of Assisi. he is the patron saint of animals and the environment; Saint Francis was green long before the World Wildlife Federation and Al Gore. Francis of Assisi was also a Catholic Deacon and preacher, and he founded the Order of Friars Minor, better known as the Franciscans.

Robert West is the author of Christian Encounters: SAINT FRANCIS, from a series published my Thomas Nelson. these books are great. this one, does not disappoint.

Saint Francis is a hero of the Christian faith. West weaves his story from Assisi, Italy to Sainthood beautifully.

Francis was born rich. however, chose to live a life of poverty and prayer to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. he took his faith literally and figuratively in all areas of his life after a transforming influence of serious illness.

Francis was an excellent example of a servant of God. he gave all of his possessions to the poor and lived a life devoted to Scripture and God’s purposes.

this is a wonderful book. i highly recommend reading it. in fact, i highly recommend reading any of the texts in this series. they’re well worth it. these books tell the stories of characters and legends in the Christian faith. we can learn and grow from their stories and experiences.

*Full Disclosure: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson through “Book Sneeze.” They give free books to bloggers for honest reviews.*


Are you ready for some (NFL) Football?

September 8, 2010

this thursday, September 9, is the start of the NFL Regular Season.

it’s like Christmas in September; without the incarnation and spiritual significance of the birth of Jesus Christ.

i love the NFL. i love NFL Football. i love the field, the ball, the rules, the four downs. am i unCanadian?

for the last several years i’ve always had a preseason post. i would note a few things i thought would happen and make a Super Bowl pick. this year, i thought i would do that and give some love to my favorite preseason magazines and their Super Bowl picks.

number one is Sports Illustrated. Peter King, their Senior NFL writer, picks the Steelers over the Packers. that would make a sweet Super Bowl. a lot of people are on the Packers bandwagon after last season. Aaron Rodgers(please keep the hair short) is doing great and their D is awesome. solid pick for the NFC.

Athlon Sports picks the Ravens over the Vikings. the Ravens get better and better every day. they just added TJ whos your momma to an already solid O. i don’t need to say anything about the D. Vikings: that would make a nice story. i would like to see Favre win it all. however, it will be tough. these two teams are in the North divisions of their conferences and those eight teams like to hit people. i know, i know. it includes the Lions and Browns but they’ll both be better this year.

The Sporting News has the Jets over the Cowboys. J-E-T-S. Jets. Jets. Jets. like the Jets. Cowboys have the pieces. can they pull it together?

Yahoo Sports and Pro Football Weekly picks the Packers over the Colts. i was going here last year at the end of the season. however, an injury to Rodgers or Manning and these teams will be in tough to make the playoffs. how will the Colts bounce back? what will go down this year between the Packers and the Vikings?

Lindy’s Sports picks the Ravens over the Cowboys.

i’m going to make two picks. one that seems reasonable (Steelers over Vikings) and one that seems off the wall (Bears over Bengals).

things to keep an eye on:

Packers vs. Vikings – two big games that will have Division and Conference implications. two big games with bad blood. the Vikings won both last year. they’ll split this year. both teams will win at home.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers – love ’em. i want to see Big Ben and the Steelers bounce back this year in a big way. their scheldule is not crazy. the toughest games, like every year in the AFC North, are the four against Baltimore and Cincinati.

Bengals – too many issues? too many egos? let’s watch and see.

Cowboys – can they build off last year’s playoff win and be in the Dallas hosted Super Bowl?

Jets vs. Ravens – this is the opening Monday nighter. i cannot wait. big mouths. big hits. it’s gonna be fun!

Saints – can they repeat and keep the WHO DAT nation rockin’? or will they, like a lot of teams lately after winning a Super Bowl, miss the playoffs entirely?

Ravens – a lot of weapons and pieces on both sides of the ball.

Miami – could spoil somones day or season.

Patriots – have they gotten old really fast? Brady, as legendary as he’s been, has never been the same since the knee injury.

49ers – if Alex Smith works out, they should be a Super Bowl pick in the next couple seasons. if he doesn’t and Tom Brady rocks his inner Montana over this next offseason, they’ll be up there with the five or six teams who get picked.

let’s see what happens.

that’s why they play the games. you play to win the game. that’s why you lift all those weights. they are who we thought they were.