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Archive for the ‘biography’ Category

If you love Church history and/or if you are familiar with Crossway’s Series of books on Theologians on the Christian Life you might be delighted to know that there was a conference in 2017 that covered some of the Theologians in the series.

Personally I have only read only one of the volume in this series which I have reviewed: Review: Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality by William Edgar.  I do plan to read more from this series.

Here are the videos:

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Dont Give Up, Don't Give In Lessons from an Extraordinary Life by Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini.  Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life.  New York, NY: Dey Street Book, November 18th, 2014.  238 pp.

I had mixed feeling about the book.  There’s no question that Louis Zamperini lived an extraordinary life.  Louis Zamperini is an Olympian, war hero, celebrity and famous convert of Billy Graham’s ministry.  Here in this book Zamperini talks about his life in his own words.

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Sometimes I need to take a break from theology and read historical non-fictions or account of law enforcement.  Here’s one such book with a Christian reflection below.No Angel Jay Dobyns

Jay Dobyns. No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels.  New York, NY: Crown Publishers, February 10th, 2009. 328 pp.

The story of an undercover ATF federal agent who worked to infiltrate the Hells Angels Motorbike gang in Arizona.  It is a spellbinding account of Jay Dobyns’ work and how it affected him as a result of this undercover operation.  The background story that the book provides of Dobyns life is just as interesting as Operation Black Biscuit (the operation against the Hells Angels).  Dobyns was a college football star turned federal agent.  On his first day with the ATF he was shot in the chest while pursuing a fugitve and while most people’s brush with death would make them think twice of their career for Dobyns the adrenaline rush of surviving death made him want to stay around for more.  Not only did he stay with the ATF but Dobyns also decided to go undercover.  He was quite an experienced undercover agent when he went on assignment with the Hells Angels case.  It’s quite a read especially for the general readers since it provide a window into the world of outlaw motor bicycle gangs.   Equally interesting was the window the book provides to the world of undercover cops and how they tried to enter into the bikers scene.  These guys are incredibly smart and quick witted.

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Fearless

 Eric Blehm.  Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown. Chrstianaudio.com, 2012.  10 hours and 19 minutes.

There have been a myriad of books under the category of biographies.  Biographies are great.  They are educational.  You get educated about the life of the person.  Disclosing their life requires that one enters into an excursion.  I remember Charles Spurgeon mentioning from his book, Lectures to My Students, in the section: “To Workers with Slender Apparatus,” that you can learn much by reading from others; especially experienced saints.  Spurgeon’s wisdom rings true.  This book grabs your heart. Unlike most war biographies on Navy Seals, whereby BUD/S is one of the main scenes in the early stages of the book, this book does not do that; rather the pendulum swings the other direction by taking you into a panoramic picture of Adam Brown.

This biographical work documents Brown who is from Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Hot Springs, Arkansas is where Brown spent most of his life.  A life that spans his successes and failures as a young boy and man.  A life that portrays his descent into drugs and his remarkable climb into not only the Navy SEALs, but the most elite of the SEALs: DEVGRU (aka SEAL Team 6).  Joining the SEALs was not a childhood dream for Brown, but it would be a crucible that would forge him into a better man.  He was sick and tired of his drug addiction.  He needed a challenge that would help him purge out the dirt in his life.  And joining the SEALs would be one instrument in this journey.

This biographical work documents the grace of God in Brown’s life.  Fearless reveals the importance of God in His life.  God conquered his heart.  Brown had this void in His life.  As a result, he turned to drugs.  But want he really needed was a supernatural power that would quench his thirst.  He needed the Living Water.  Christ was important to him.  Christ patched his life together.  He made him a whole person because He found forgiveness in Christ.  In Christ, and via His grace, Brown became a better husband, father, and SEAL. As a man devoted to Christ, He lived the Gospel both in word and in deed.  That is verified by those around him.  His life impacted many.

This biographical work reveals the fearless characteristics in many ways.  You see it with his fight against drug addiction and his climb to being in the most elite fighting force in the world.  You see it will his physical protection of his family and SEAL brothers. Brown’s last fearlessness was seen in Komar Province of Afghanistan in March 17, 2010.  In that foreign land, he faced evil by going into the heart of it.  He placed himself in the line of fire in order to protect other members of his unit so they can live. Tragically, Brown lost his life.  He died a hero.  He showed the warrior spirit.  He laid down his life for others.  Even though he injured his dominant hand and suffered a injury to one of his eyes that caused blindness he still made it through SEAL sniper school and became one of the most elite operators

This biographical work reveals how one’s sanctification is tested.  Although Brown was no longer enslaved to cocaine as demonstrated in the past, there were a few times where he relapsed.  It took the help of others like his wife and friends and the power of God to wake him up from his dismal fall into relapse.  He made war against sin.  He revealed his identification in Christ by taking sanctification seriously.  Brown wanted others to see not only the bright side of his life, but also his dark side.  His life is like a sparkling diamond that is placed in the middle upon a black velvet.  His life shines brightly when seen against the backdrop of his sin.  It is where you see the hand of God, the grace of God, moving in his life for His glory.

I encourage you to check out this biography because Fearless is sobering, emotional, inspirational, and honest concerning this Christian, husband, father, and Navy SEAL Chief.

This audiobook also has a bonus interview section.

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George

Pastor Steve Lawson provided a biographical sketch about one of the most treasured figures in church history that often goes neglected.  That figure is George Whitefield.  He was treasured by men like Charles Spurgeon, J.C. Ryle, Martyn Lloyd Jones, etc.

Pastor Lawson gave 7 qualities about Whitefield that made him such a prolific preaching figure.  For more information about Whitefield, please see Pastor Lawson’s new book called, “The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield.”

  1. Uncommon piety
  2. Uncompromising Gospel
  3. Preached with unquenchable fire
  4. Unrivaled theology (seen in his calvinism).
  5. Unrelenting evangelism
  6. Unconquerable drive
  7. Unleashed power

 

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I wanted to apply Christian principles of reading a non-Christian, non-theological book in light of a biblical worldview as it’s been expounded in this series.

first family adams

I like the direction that the author Joseph Ellis has taken in this book by focusing on John Adams and his relationship with his wife Abigail. Many biographies can easily focus too narrowly on the individual while neglecting the family life or see it as a side-line to the story even though family life might not be (or should not be) as peripheral in that individual’s actual day to day life. As a Christian, I find biographical sketches that discusses an individual’s family life helpful in that it reveal more about a man or woman’s character and who they really were versus their public persona; while this also serves as a helpful tool to “demythologize” our heroes whom our hearts (an idolatrous factory indeed) are prone to make into a idealized figure rather than the historical person with flaws, idiosyncrasies, etc. This makes Ellis’ book all the more interesting since it explore the relationship of John Adams and his wife! The author does this largely by studying John’s and Abigail’s written correspondences over the span of several decades. Those decades cover some of the most important moments during the founding of America by an influential figure involved in charting the new nation’s direction. The author makes it clear that the archive of the Adams’ correspondence is rather unique—in terms of the volume of letters that survived and how much the two wrote to one another compared to their contemporaries. These correspondences were also unique in that Abigail was quite informed and involved in John Adams’ political career than most wives were during the era. She freely shared her opinions about political matters in her discourse. This does not mean that Abigail fit the modern notion of a feminists; Quite the contrary her letters demonstrated that she was incredibly submissive to her husband’s decisions that was difficult for her especially those concerning long separation for the sake of John’s legal and then eventually political career. It gave me a deeper appreciation of the risks and sacrifices that the founding father took in the war of independence. For the sake of personal curiosity, I was keeping my eye out in the book for any information on John and Abigail’s spiritual life and I wished the author could have explored that more.

Purchase: Amazon

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Have you ever wondered what it was like for the first Christian missionary to go reach out to the Muslims?  Who was that first missionary anyways?

You can read about this first missionary name Raymund Lull online for free if you click HERE.

The author himself, Samuel M. Zwemer, was also a missionary to the Muslim people.

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