Book Nearing Completion

I wanted to have it done over a year ago. But alas, it is nearly done. One more chapter and the conclusion, and then off to get it edited. My goal is to have it published by the end of November. It is titled (un)Worthy: How a right view of our unworthiness proves the great worth of Jesus (or something like that).

Here is an excerpt from chapter one:

We read in Matthew 8:5-13 about a Roman military commander who asked Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus said he would go to his house and heal the servant. But the commander responded and said that he is not worthy to have him in his own house. Do you know how Jesus responded? He said, “with no one in Israel have I found such faith.” According to this story, Jesus wants us to consider ourselves to be not worthy of him. He wants us to see how we are unworthy and how he is worthy.

This is not about self-deprecation, or a false humility. This is about forgetting ourselves as we gaze into the glory of Jesus. This is about knowing just how much we need the approval, the blessing, of Jesus. We need to start with this view of ourselves and of Jesus because without it, we cannot follow him. When we think we can do without Jesus, even subconsciously, we follow our own wisdom and we reject Jesus.

Book Review: The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis

The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis (Book Cover)Pope Francis has made his mark as a man of compassion and mercy, spending time with prisoners, outcasts, and those who may have unfortunately been considered enemies of the Christian church. In his short book, The Name of God is Mercy, Pope Francis describes what should be the hallmark of Christian people.

In a clear and concise manner, Pope Francis describes mercy as the primary attribute of God. He sounds a call to all Christians to be “an oasis of mercy,” a people dedicated to acts of love and kindness. It is unfortunate that the Christian church has a history of being judgmental and rigid, turning away those who are searching for mercy and forgiveness in the name of holiness.

If Christians around the world would heed the plea of Pope Francis, we would see a dramatic shift in how those who are hurting, in poverty, homeless, hungry, mourning, grieving are cared for. Even for those who do not claim Jesus as their Lord, no one can deny the high need for mercy in the world today. Read this book and learn how the name of God truly is mercy.

Review of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Elon Musk by Ashlee VanceThere are only a few people throughout recent history that we can honestly say have had a profound and lasting impact on our everyday life. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Howard Hughes are just some of those people, and Elon Musk has become one of them. In the last twenty years, Musk has been instrumental in the development of online commerce (PayPal), private space exploration (SpaceX), and the mass production of sustainable electric power for transportation and household use (Tesla).

In a very entertaining and transparent biography, Ashlee Vance invites readers into the life of Elon Musk, who grew up in harsh conditions at home and school in South Africa, and who would become one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time. The book covers his early childhood right up to the present day insanities of the daily life of a man who’s ultimate goal is to make humanity a multiplanetary species.

Although the life of Musk is not one I wish for, one thing I admire about him is his determination to find alternative ways around problems that most people believe are impossible to solve. Reading this biography has inspired me to not settle for status quo, but to see every problem as an opportunity for a new way of doing things. His vision for humanity is admirable and anyone interested in his perspective will find this biography helpful and challenging.

Book Review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves by Neal StephesonWho can imagine a catastrophic event causing worldwide devastation spanning thousands of years, causing humanity to pursue previously unthinkable survival strategies? In a profoundly complex and unpredictable way, Neal Stephenson does just that, while combining science, technology, drama, psychology, and philosophy in his latest novel, Seveneves.

While the length and scope of the book may deter some readers, those who commit to reading this story through to the end will be rewarded with many surprises and plenty of room for the imagination to explore the written and unwritten details of the dozens of characters and plots developed by Stephenson. You will find yourself wondering how far and how deep the story will go, and how the author intends on solving his self-conceived problems.

I offer two warnings to those considering this book. First, the story has some graphic language, scenes and references that not every reader will be comfortable with. Second, part three of the book requires a special level of dedication on behalf of the reader. Stick with it, and take your time to soak in every detail.

Book Review: A Life with Words by Richard B. Wright

A Life with Words by Richard B. WrightA question that weighs on the minds of many is that of the difference between reading a story and watching a visual presentation of the same story. Anyone who reads a book before watching the movie version of that book will offer their strong opinion about which version was “better.”

In a charmingly transparent manner, Richard B. Wright draws his readers into life as a novelist in his memoir A Life with Words. With great artistic skill, He lays out the challenges and triumphs that come with attempting to make a living with writing. Readers are encouraged to enjoy a story for what it is; to feel a sense of companionship with the ones who sacrificially offer their dreams and visions to the world through the art of writing.

Wright offers his perspective on the importance of literary reading, a pastime that has all but vanished in a society of ever increasing visual stimulation. We are being entertained by countless moving pictures, forced to conclusions about the details of characters and scenes, which are skillfully presented by visual artists and set designers.

However, as is encouraged in this short memoir, literature still offers the subtle invitation to be drawn in by a story. Reading brings ideas to life through the colliding imaginations of author and reader, as we meet in the middle to form pictures in our minds not like any other can envision.

Book Review: The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards

One Page Financial Plan BookHave you ever asked yourself why money is important to you? It seems like such a simple question, but I challenge you to take a couple minutes to think about it. Ultimately, our sincere response to that question will reveal to us how we should set up our financial plan.

This is how Carl Richards would like you to begin when writing your one-page financial plan. Once you know why money is important to you, you will be able to start planning how to use your money.

In this remarkably down-to-earth book, Richards simplifies financial planning by revealing the mysteries of what is often a confusing and exhausting ordeal. His goal is not to get you to make all the so-called correct financial decisions by creating a 50-page plan. Rather, by asking some basic questions, he guides you through the process of creating a simple and flexible plan that is uniquely suited to your values and goals.

The One-Page Financial Plan will be helpful for anyone who struggles with financial anxiety, or those who would simply like some guidance for how to begin to create a financial plan. This book has no magic formula, only an honest professional who wants to see people succeed financially.