Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Quote of the Day

"Far from our personalities being like eye color (something you are born with and can't do anything about), our personalities are something that God gave us so that we would have something to put on the alter and offer to Him…We are naturally full of instincts and desires that are contrary to what God wants us doing.  That means that those things are something to obey with, not something to obey around."

Rachel Jankovic
From her book: You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal With It.

See more quotes on my quote collection blog: https://snickerdoodlesquotes.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 18, 2019

Sick of Me - by Whitney Capps

I think it was the cover of this book that really caught my attention.  It shows a girl with her face scribbled out. Sick of Me: From Transparency to Transformation by Whitney Capps attacks the current fad, in American Christianity, of presenting ourselves to each other in all our weakness. Of course, Capps doesn't think that admitting our faults is a bad thing, the problem is that we don't want to change. We are happy in staying in our unchanged, broken state, and ironically, using it as a springboard for glorying in ourselves rather than in Jesus Christ.  As the author states, "The Christian life is never meant to make people think more or better of me.  The goal is for me to look more like Christ, and, should people happen to notice me in the process, for them to think more of Jesus.  "

But that of course, is not biblical and it is not godly.  This book addresses that quite well.  If we are truly convicted about something, we won't feel comfortable not doing anything, besides confessing, about our flaw.   "Conviction never leaves us stuck in sin, but always moves us toward change."   And she explains that with our salvation comes our transformation.  We don't want to be people just concerned about "holy dying", as she terms it, and not concerned about "holy living".

But there were things that I didn't feel comfortable with. For instance, Capps uses some romantic illustrations to picture our work along with the Lord in sanctification: "When I look back on my spiritual journey - the dance I have with the Lord…..Sometimes I would break dance when the Lord was trying to lead me to waltz.  I resisted the gentle pull of His arms, pushing Him away so I could do my own thing." And then again, "You guys, we weren't made to dance alone, and we weren't made to simply observe.  We were made to dance with Jesus.  That's the process.  Will we step on  His toes from time to time? Sure…" Sanctification is not a romance between us and the Lord.  Yes, the Church is to be kept pure, as a bride for her husband, for Christ, but it's not pictured in the Bible as Christ romantically pursuing individual Christians.  And sanctification is more like warfare (aren't we told to put on the armor of God?), not a romance where we stumble in the dance and resist the lover's lead.

And then another thing I felt uncomfortable were statements like this, "Yes, the dance of sanctification is God's to lead.  It's His process.  But even the strongest partner can't lead if His partner won't follow."  That doesn’t make sense to me. The much stronger partner (to use the analogy)can't drag the other along? Or just pick them up? What about the discipline of the Lord? That doesn't involve any kind of force? God never makes His children do something against their will for their own good? I'm hoping that this not what Capps means, but it's how it can be taken.

Anyway, it was things like those that made me not like the book as much as I thought I would.  There is still quite a bit of good stuff in it, it's just that there were various things in it that kept bugging me.

I'll end with a couple of quotes I really liked:

"More than any person in history, Moses was equipped for God's assignment.  But God used forty years of wilderness wandering to strip Moses of his self-confidence.  He didn't need Moses' qualifications, and He doesn't need ours. ….Friend, when God wants to use us, He rarely affirms us; He always affirms Himself."

"Look at the lie the devil is selling.  Don't let the gospel do its work. Don't show them that this thing really works.  Don't live like Jesus can actually change your life for the better.  And for sure don't give evidence or testimony to the fact!"

Many thanks to the folks at B&H Academic for sending me a free review copy of this book.  My review did not have to be favorable

My Rating 3 out of 5 Stars

This book may be purchased at Christianbook.com and Amazon.com

Quote of the Day

"We don't want to be like Jesus because we like plain old us better.  We value what we see as our uniqueness apart from Him.  On some level, we are all tempted to believe that we ourselves, even in our sin, are more interesting than we would be in Christ……On one hand, this is what reveals our darkest bit of idolatry- our desire to cling to Me, no matter what.  Rather me in in sin than Him in me.  This is ultimately hell; being left to ourselves and our desires, and being given free reign."  

Rachel Jankovic
From her book: You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal With It.

See more quotes on my quote collection blog: https://snickerdoodlesquotes.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Moon Mission - Sigmund Brouwer

Want a book about mankind's challenging journey to the Moon that will interest kids? Moon Mission: The Epic 400 -Year Journey to Apollo 11 by Sigmund Brouwer is a very interesting book.  I read it with a couple of my sisters and we were all very interested in it. 

The book is divided into eleven "Episodes" ( they're basically Chapters), Episode One: Countdown, Episode Two: Liftoff, Episode Three: Escaping Earth…etc.  Each Episode has three sections, or "Stages". 

The First Stage of each episode puts you on Apollo 11 as one of the astronauts.  It addresses you as an astronaut, explaining what you are experiencing in each stage of your journey, and what you know and do.  "The three of you are in bulky space suits in the CSM, still strapped into position, flying upside down.  Except now there is no up or down…." 

Stage Two introduces you to various historical people that made it possible for 'you' to travel to the moon.  Isaac Newton's three laws of motion, Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, and several other discoveries. Stage Three gives you more information about various space travel related topics, with titles like, "Gravity- The Force Is With You (And Against You)", "Columbia's Primitive On-Board Computer", "The Moon is not a Giant Ball", and so on. 

There are also small boxes on pages in each "Episode" entitled "Solve the Science Mystery".  They give a short synopsis of a problem faced in the past, for instance, the problem of not being able to determine  longitude very accurately, "The British government passes the Longitude Act and offers, in today's currency, nearly $4 million U.S. to anyone who can invent a device to accurately measure global position going east to west or west to east.  The future of human exploration - including the epic journey to the moon - depends on your solution to the problem.  Who are you, and what was your solution?" The answer to the various mysteries are given in other small boxes at the end of each chapter where they reveal the name of the person.  "Congratulations, Margaret Hamilton!" They give a summary of what the person invented or discovered presenting it as if the reader was that person. …"You won the NASA exceptional Space Act Award for this work…" It seemed a little weird to write these sections in the Second Person…but okay. 

All of the sections were written very well, and included gross stuff and humor that teenagers and kids will appreciate.  "A Moose, A Golden Nose and a Burst Bladder" is the title of one of the stage two sections, guaranteed to intrigue pretty much any curious kid (at least if they're like my brothers and sisters).  

Many of my blog readers will want to know that the book assumes that the "Big Bang" and evolution theories are true.  But we were able to overlook and/or critique those parts. It was fascinating to find though that our landing on the moon did not help solve the 'mystery' of how the moon was formed.  It actually debunked most of the evolutionary/big bang theories of how the moon was formed, and the books notes that ,in a one way, landing on the moon led people to realize that they knew less about the formation of the moon than they did before landing.  That provided some interesting discussion amongst myself and my sisters.

Also, parents may want to know that the book details how Astronauts 'used the bathroom' in space.  It wasn't anatomically descriptive at all…just kind of gross and awkwardly weird to be reading aloud about.  It probably is a question that many would have though: how WOULD one use the bathroom in zero gravity?

Also, there was a part that seemed to contradict what we had read in another book about Apollo 11, about the timing of when the astronauts noticed the broken switch needed to ignite the engine, and when they had the idea to fix it, to return to the Columbia from the Moon's surface.  Just be aware that this book may take some liberties with history (mainly in the Stage One parts where 'you' are the astronaut) in order to make it more dramatic.

But all in all, this was a very interesting book. I really like it and I'm pretty positive kids and teenagers will as well.  There are many pictures and photographs throughout. At first, I was rather disappointed  that they're all in black and white, but as I started reading, I realized that it didn't matter, because the excellent writing style added 'color' to them, as it were.  All in all though, it is a very entertaining and informative book.  It is crammed full of information, but written in such a way that you don't realize all of the knowledge you are imbibing.    

Many thanks to the folks at Kids Can Press for sending me a free advanced review copy of this book! (Because this is an and advanced copy, some of the content and layout may be different in the final publication). My review did not have to be favorable.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

This book may be preordered at Amazon.com

Friday, March 1, 2019

Shoot For the Moon - by James Donovan

Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11 by James Donovan is a truly riveting book. I read it out loud to one of my sisters and we were both pretty glued to it. We read it over the space (no pun intended) of about three or four days.  We have never really read a book about the race to space and this book was a good introduction to it all.

As the title implies, it details the space race between the Russians and Americans to get someone into space, and on the moon, first and thus doing it as fast as possible.

The timeline is a little mixed up, but it works.  Generally speaking, the account is heading toward the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. But first, you are going to learn how this all got started.  You learn how NASA came into being and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, and details about the efforts of both the Russians and the Americans just to get out of our planet's atmosphere. It is quite intense at times.  The author writes very well, and, as I already mentioned, he really pulled my sister and I into the history.

Even the little details and challenges faced were fascinating to learn. I'll give several of them here: For instance, part of the problem faced by the designers of the first space crafts to exit our atmosphere was how to return them to earth safely without them burning up in the descent.  Part of what helped them was noticing what type of meteors made it all the way through the earth's atmosphere to the earth, "So when two of Faget's colleagues, Harvey Allen and Alfred Eggers, pointed out that meteors with rounded noses were aerodynamically stable and survived the searing heat of the plunge - they had been studying the concept for years…"  And another one: I'd never really considered that they had to use military/battlefield rockets to get into space.  It makes sense of course now.  And because the astronauts, upon reentry might end up landing anywhere on earth, they had to have survival training in a variety of environments.   I'll give one last interesting detail, while on their way to the moon they would put their spaceship into a rotation, essentially, spinning their way to the moon.  Why? Because the side facing the sun was too hot and could cause damage to the craft, but the side facing away from the sun was too cold and could also be a hazard, so in order to even it out they would put it into a spin. 

Along the way, you are introduced to various people who took part in this grand mission to get a man on the moon. Donovan vividly portrays this large mix of individuals with, sometimes vastly, different backgrounds (one of the important men involved was a former SS officer who ended up on some Disney television presentations!), all using their various skills to work together to achieve one goal.

All in all, I really liked this book.  It really keeps the attention and interest all of the way through.* It really did almost seem as though we'd travelled back in time, as it were, to these historic events. 

One more note.  It is fascinating for me to mull over the thought that, though God stopped people thousands of years ago from building the Tower of Babel, yet in the past hundred years, He has allowed us to go to the Moon.  When you learn that the Apollo 8 astronauts were the first to leave earth's orbit and go around the moon, it almost gives me chills to think that, when they looked out of the window and saw the earth looking so small, they were the first humans God allowed to see it from that perspective. 

Many thanks to the folks at Little Brown and Company for sending me a free advanced review copy of this book.  My review did not have to be favorable. - Because I received an advanced copy of the book, some of the content may be different in the final publication

*You may want to know that there is some vulgar language and topics, also some swearing) in the book. Most of it was in actual quotations of the people in question.  Also there were some awkward historical details.  This was all stuff that I didn't care to know of so I just scribbled it out and didn't read those parts out loud.  And, I want to note that my liking this book does not mean that I agree with all of the author's political, moral, or scientific perspectives.

My Rating 5 out of 5 Stars 

This book will be released on March 12th.  You may pre-order it at Amazon.com