Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book Review: The Job

In "The Job", Steve Osborne shares some of his best NY city cop stories!

Overview: Steve Osborne has seen a thing or two in his twenty years in the NYPD—some harmless things, some definitely not. In "Stakeout," Steve and his partner mistake a Manhattan dentist for an armed robbery suspect and reduce the man down to a puddle of snot and tears when questioning him. In "Mug Shot," the mother of a suspected criminal makes a strange request and provides a sobering reminder of the humanity at stake in his profession. And in "Home," the image of his family provides the adrenaline he needs to fight for his life when assaulted by two armed and violent crackheads. From his days as a rookie cop to the time spent patrolling in the Anti-Crime Unit—and his visceral, harrowing recollections of working during 9/11—Steve Osborne's stories capture both the absurdity of police work and the bravery of those who do it. His stories will speak to those nostalgic for the New York City of the 1980s and '90s, a bygone era of when the city was a crazier, more dangerous (and possibly more interesting) place.

Dawn's Recommendation: 4 of 5 Stars
(Warning: Book contains Profanity)

What I liked: The real-life stories are interesting and sometimes unbelievable!  Steve Osborne calls police work "the greatest show on earth" and you soon see why. You definitely get a taste for what being a cop in a big city is like. From chasing a perp through a subway tunnel to feeding hotdogs to a junkie, you will be entertained by his style of storytelling. It is refreshing to read, not only about his love for "the job", but about his stupid mistakes that could have cost him his life.

On a side note: Read each chapter like a short story. Otherwise you will feel like the author is sometimes repeating himself.

What I didn't like: The curse words. As a Christian, this is not normally a book I would have picked, but I heard an interview with the author on Fresh Air on NPR and the book sounded great (and it is)...I just had to skim over some. 

If you could share one true story from you job, what would it be?  I'll share mine in comments.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Book Review: Same Kind of Different As Me

"Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore is a true story of redemption, love, and grace.

Overview: A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana…and an East Texas honky-tonk…and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda…an upscale New York gallery…a downtown dumpster…a Texas ranch.
Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

Dawn's Recommendation: 5 of 5 Stars

What I Liked: This reads like a GREAT fiction book, but it is true story! You get so caught up in the story, you forget it is real-life! You can almost hear Denver's southern voice coming off the page. Chapters flip back and forth between Denver and Ron, but it is easy to follow. I read it in only two days. I just couldn't put it down!

The most amazing thing about this story is Deborah Hall, wife of Ron. Because of her love for Christ and her growing faith, she forgave her husband, began working with the homeless, heard from God, and stepped out in faith.  Because of her love and her actions, lives were transformed for Christ.

Not only is this a fantastic story, it inspires me to be like Deborah (Miss Debbie), a woman of faith, prayer, and action!

Who do you know that is like Deborah, who follows Jesus like her? 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Book Review: Unoffendable
Things in "Unoffendable" by Brant Hansen might offend you, but that can be a good thing! Learning to not be offended can bring "new dimensions of rest, grace, and simplicity".

Overview: It’s a radical, provocative idea: We’re not entitled to get offended or stay angry. The idea of our own “righteous anger” is a myth. It is the number one problem in our societies today and, as Dallas Willard says, Christians have not been taught out of it.

As it turns out, giving up our “right” to be offended can be one of the most freeing, healthy, simplifying, relaxing, refreshing, stress-relieving, encouraging things we can do.

In Unoffendable readers will find something of immeasurable value—a concrete, practical way to live life with less stress. They’ll adjust their expectations to fit human nature and replace perpetual anger with refreshing humility and gratitude. The book offers a unique viewpoint, challenging the idea that Christians can ever harbor “righteous anger” or that there even is such a thing for believers.

Few other books exist with such a radical, provocative proposal to consider. We have no right to anger. We are to get rid of it, period. Completely. And it is possible to choose to be “unoffendable.”
Through the author’s winsome, humorous, and conversational style, this book doesn’t add another thing to do on a stressed-out person’s ever-growing list. Better, it actually seeks to lift religious burdens from readers’ backs and allow them to experience the joy of gratitude, perhaps for the first time, every single day of their lives.

Dawn's Recommendation: 4.5 of 5 Stars

First, I like love Brant Hansen's humor. I love listening to his talk show on the radio (Christian radio WordFM). His book reads just like he talks. That might take a little getting used to, but you'll be glad to dig deep into this book! Here's why.

I wanted to read the book b/c I like Brant's show, not because I thought I had a problem with anger and being offended. Here's the kicker. While reading the book, I realized I DO have a problem! Not so much with anger, but with judging and not accepting people who are different than me. I have a problem loving all people. Wow. 

This book was fantastic for me, spiritually. It, like The Bible and like other books I've read like "Jesus Prom", teach me to love like Jesus did/does. This book tells me to stop being offended by people (what they do and say) and just love them. Don't condemn them. Don't throw rules at them. Just love them. (And, life becomes sweeter for you too.)  

You are going to enjoy the stories that Brant shares, his humor, and the message.

I have to share this God Sighting. I was 1/4 of the way through the book and I met an artist at a downtown craft show. She and her photography were raw, but beautiful. She captured the ugly, the unwanted, the broken, and discarded things in life...and made them into art. I connected with her and her work. That night I prayed for her. Hard. She may never know the impact she made on me, but it fit perfectly with "Unoffendable". God takes us, broken and sinful, and makes us beautiful and holy.  

Disclaimer: I got this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest book review.

How would the world change if we stopped being offended and just loved?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Book Review: The Grave Robber

Nothing is impossible for God. The Grave Robber by Mark Batterson takes a look at Jesus' miracles. Do you need a miracle?

Overview: Do we believe that God still does miracles? Do we expect him to move in miraculous ways in our day-in, day-out lives? Maybe we'd like to see miracles, but it's hard to see past our problems. All that is about to change, like water into wine.

"There are miracles all around us all the time," says Mark Batterson, "but you won't see them if you don't know how to look for them."

Now the bestselling author of The Circle Maker reveals the incredible power of the seven miraculous signs of Jesus found in the Gospel of John. Batterson shows how they were not simply something Jesus did in the past, but something he wants to do now, in the present. He shares true stories of people today who are experiencing miracles in their lives. And he brings to light countless miracles, big and small, that we take for granted every day that point us toward the One who healed the sick, calmed the storm, and yes, even raised the dead.

But this is more than a book about miracles. It's a book about the only One who can perform them. Batterson cautions readers, "Don't just seek miracles. Seek Jesus. And if you seek Jesus, miracles will find you."

Dawn's Recommendation: 4.5 of 5 Stars 

What I Liked: I liked reading about Jesus' miracles and miracles that Mark Batterson shares from today. The book is encouraging, sharing testimonies of how God works. God can and will do miracles, but do we have faith? Are we seeking God? Miracles? Do we believe God will do them? How does obedience plays into miracles? This book answers all of these questions. It points people to God. Calls them to lean into the One who has all the power and strength and Who loves us so much, He wants to make impossible things possible.

Note: I had a harder time getting into this book than I did with Mark Batterson's previous books (it didn't have the same page-flipping intensity), but it was still great. We are doing this book & video study in Sunday School and I am enjoying it.

Which one of Jesus' miracles is your favorite? Why?