The Final Conflict – A Tale of the Two Witnesses by Kenneth Zeigler – A Book Review

The Final ConflictFinal Conflict – A Tale of Two Witnesses
By Kenneth Ziegler
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
978-0768403329, $ 14.99, 2013, 398 pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake
Supernatural Technology, Prophetic Events, the Darkness of Evil that Lead to the Great Tribulation

“The Final Conflict – A Tale of Two Witnesses” the fifth and final book in the “Tears of Heaven series is an action packed, adrenaline pumping drama of the darkness of evil and the truth that God’s ultimate purposes will not be thwarted.

Kenneth Ziegler skillfully brings together fictional characters, factual events of Biblical prophecy, futuristic technology, insights from science, elements from science fiction, and fantasy to creatively explain one of many interpretations of prophetic end-time revelation.

“Final Conflict” is a cutting edge, non-preachy, presentation of the Gospel Message. Ziegler’s characters reveal a respect for individual seekers by carefully listening to their questions and opinions out of sincere concern; this approach opens an opportunity to share how their needs can be met through Jesus the promised Savior.

Readers may come from one of various interpretations of end-time prophecies described in the Bible. Whichever this may be “The Final Conflict” and Ziegler’s “unconventional” but Biblically based interpretation “may spark criticism and healthy debate.” However, the book is a refreshing reminder that salvation is based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “The Final Conflict” is entertaining, thought provoking, and an example of good story telling from a broad context of universal appeal.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Smith Wigglesworth On Manifesting the Divine Nature: Abiding Power Every Day of the Year by Smith Wigglesworth – A Book Review

Smith WighglesworthSmith Wigglesworth: On Manifesting the Divine Nature, Abiding in Power Every Day of the Year
By Smith Wigglesworth
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
978-0768403343, $ 16.99, 2013, 374 pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Year of Devotional Readings Gleaned from the Sermons and Writings of Smith Wigglesworth

“Smith Wigglesworth: On Manifesting the Divine Nature” is a treasure trove of carefully selected readings from sermon material and the writings of Smith Wigglesworth. These daily devotional readings contain over 360 “nuggets of truth” which encourage the reader to be quickened by the Holy Spirit’s fullness, to be permeated with righteousness, and empowered for a life of service and ministry.

Wigglesworth draws lessons from the Old Testament Writings of Moses, Job, David, Solomon, and Joshua as well as the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Joel. He also introduces truths from the writings of the Gospel writers, the Apostle Paul, Peter, and James. These passages contain important foundational truths that will build your faith in the supernatural power of God, and open your understanding of signs, wonders, and Kingdom authority.

Smith Wigglesworth is recognized for his example of living out the supernatural Christian faith of which he spoke. His life demonstrated such a powerful example that he became an important pioneer in the Pentecostal movement that influenced the Charismatic renewal. “Smith Wigglesworth: On Manifesting the Divine Nature” is worthy of the attention of Christians everywhere desirous of experiencing a more meaningful daily walk and ministry.
Smith Wighglesworth
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Invading Babylon by Vance Wallnau and Bill Johnson – A Book Review

Invading BabylonInvading Babylon: The 7 Mountain Mandate
By: Lance Wallnau and Bill Johnson
Destiny Image Publishers, Inc.
P. O. Box 310 Shippensburg, PA 17257
978-0768403350, $ 14.99, 2013, 160 Pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Taking the Gospel to the Marketplace with Authority, Power, and Promise

Selected Writings from Lance Wallnau, Bill Johnson, Alan Vincent, C. Peter Wagner, Che’ Ahn, and Patricia King, capture the foremost elements needed to shape and influence culture in “Invading Babylon: The 7 Mountain Mandate.”

Bill Johnson asserts that “You must first understand that you are called and equipped…” Lance Wallnau carefully lays a foundation and for invading and transforming a culture through reaching the influencers in business, education, the church, the family, in arts and entertainment, science and medicine, the media, and in government. He also presents a strategy to transform the city, region, and nation and ultimately the world with the Gospel of Christ.

By following Jesus’ example of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom we are equipped and empowered to turn the world upside down to see dramatic cultural transformation. Wallnau shows how important it is to include the Church, the Gospel, and Culture to fulfill the Kingdom mission. Alan Vincent and Che’ Ahn introduces the importance of prayer and spiritual warfare in an allegory for occupying the gates of the heavenly city and the 7 mountain mandate. C. Peter Wagoner emphasizes that “Once the spiritual gates have opened to us, we need great wisdom to steward and distribute the resources God funnels our way.” King warns of the danger of the media and the unhealthy influence filling the airwaves.

“Invading Babylon: The 7 Mountain Mandate” is a relevant and timely collection of important truths for influencing our culture is these turbulent times. Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.


The Biggest and Brightest Light: The Magic of Helping Others by Marilyn and Amanda Perlyn – A Book Review

The Biggest and Brightest LightThe Biggest and Brightest Light: The Magic of Helping Others
By: Marilyn Perlyn Illustrated by Amanda Perlyn
Robert D. Reed Publishers, P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411
978-1934759752, $ 17.95, 2013, 48 pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

Reaching Out to Make Your World a Better Place

Muhammad Ali captures the essence of the message of “The Biggest and Brightest Light: The Magic of Helping Others” in his foreword to the book. Ali compares the light of the Olympic flame to acts of caring and kindness as “kindling a light in another to reach out and make a difference in someone’s life.”

Marilyn Perlyn writes the true story of her of six year old daughter Amada’s experience in reaching out to her first grade teacher, Dr. Malko. Amanda’s spirit and acts of compassion inspired others to join her in extending care and concern as well.

When Dr. Malko told of her daughter Elena’s illness and the costly medical expenses Amada unselfishly considered what she might do to help. Since this happened in the month of December Amanda made and sold holiday ornaments to help meet the need.

Dr. Malko’s words of appreciation, “…when children do such special deeds, they are like angels, thank you my little angel” gave Amanda a contagious inner feeling of joy and satisfaction that quickly was passed on to her family and the boys and girls of classroom and the community; demonstrating the impact a child can have in making a difference in the lives of others through acts of kindness and loving compassion. Amanda’s own colorful illustrations will capture the imagination of young children ages four through eight and add to the enjoyment of the story.

“The Biggest and Brightest Light” is a unique resource for instilling this same spirit of concerned care and kindness to children in homes and classrooms around the world.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Lead Your Family Like Jesus by By: Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, and Tricia Goyer – A Book Review

Lead Your Family Like JesusLead Your Family Like Jesus
By: Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, and Tricia Goyer
Tyndale House Publishing, Inc.
351 Executive Drive, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188
978-1589977204, $ 19.99, 2013, 192 Pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

Family Leadership – Principles for Parenting

New York Times bestselling author Ken Blanchard collaborates with Phil Hodges, Cofounder of the organization “Lead Like Jesus, and bestselling author Tricia Goyer in the book “Lead Your Family Like Jesus.” The authors begin by showing the relationship of leadership to the role of parenting. They stress the importance of following Jesus’ example of servant leadership.

Meaningful practical personal examples and real life testimonies of parents illustrate the concepts discussed in each of the four parts of the book, which focus on: The heart, the head, the hands, and the habits of parenting. Each part covers three of the twelve Biblically based principles of parenting discussed throughout the narrative.

The reader friendly format suggests thoughtful probing questions designed for taking time to pause, reflect, and offers specific ways for implementation. Another unique feature is the “Points to Ponder” review of key elements included within the chapters. These are found at the end of each of the four divisions. Several clearly presented powerful teaching diagrams provide a visual means of assimilating the material, for review, application, and a deeper study.

“Lead Your Family Like Jesus” is ideal for classes on parenting, for couples, for men’s accountability groups, or women Bible study classes. It is a book for parents, grandparents, family counselors and pastors. Highly recommended.

Touch One by Chris Schimel – A Book Review

Touch OneTouch One
By Chris Schimel
Creation House, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, Florida 32746
978-1599791814, $ 12.99, 2007, 158 pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Look at the Beauty Beyond Our Circumstances and Imperfections of Our Lives

In his book “Touch One” Pastor Chris Schimel provides the reader with insight, understanding, and encouragement. He ministers healing for the hurting, guidance for the seeking, and counsel for the confused. The story focuses on a troubled police detective who insists on anonymity who is desperately seeking direction.

I appreciate Chris’ willingness to be vulnerable as he candidly shares from his new perspectives in church growth, ministry, motivation, and personal spiritual growth.

Schimel has a unique writing style that ministers to the sincere seeker, challenges Christ’s followers, and to those who may be discouraged in their calling. His use of the elements of the story in his writing quickly engages the reader and motivates a positive response.

“Touch One” draws from real life, is authentic and Inspiring. A good read.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purpose. The opinions expressed are my own.

Ragged Hope: Survving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices by Cynthia Ruchti – A Book Review

Ragged HopeRagged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices
By Cynthia Ruchti
Abingdon Press
Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202
978-1426751172, 2013, $ 15.99, 200 pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake
Starting Over – Inspiring Hope in the Aftermath of Heartache, Disillusionment, or Despair

Cynthia Ruchti offers the reader hope and inspiration in her book “Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices.” Each of the twenty-six chapters relates a dramatic story of lives that have been forever changed as a result of another person’s choices.

Whatever your own circumstances you will find lessons, application, and encouragement from these heart breaking stories of abandonment, divorce, unfulfilled dreams, or financial sacrifice.

Ruchti’s writing elicits empathy through her use of word pictures as she describes “a toxic relationship ending in an amputated family,” or the feelings of a son’s suicide as “Hints of inexplicable peace lapping against the inexplicable pain.” She speaks of “tenacious joy” and of being “reverently responsive.”

In addition to the thought provoking reflective questions at the end of each chapter Ruchti has included a unique feature which gives the reader helpful suggestions for consideration to reach out to family, friends, and acquaintances who may be going through a traumatic experience similar to the one described within the previous chapter.

“Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices” is a book for survivors seeking answers to the question of how to find peace and purpose and the strength to rebuild and move on. It should also be read by Christian Counselors andPastors and made available to individuals and families in crisis.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Get Back Up by Sheryl Giesbrecht – A Book Review

Get Back UpGet Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks you Down
By: Sheryl Giesbrecht
Wheatmark, 1760 East River road, Suite 145,Tucson, Arizona 85718
978-1604948547, $ 12.95, 2013, 176 pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Journey of Spiritual Discovery – Finding Personal Identify in Christ

“Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks you Down” combines the story of Sheryl Giesbrecht’s spiritual journey, her rebellion as a teenager, her conversion experience and the life transformation that follows. Her writing is permeated with positive re-enforcement, hope, Biblical truth, practical application, and heartwarming illustrations from real life stories of overcoming courage, endurance, and perseverance.

The material is well organized, formatted with the reader in mind, and rich in its focus on life changing principles. The chapter summaries are a helpful tool for previewing the material of the 10 chapters packed with practical pointers for assimilation, application, and action.

The study questions at the end of each chapter add to the value of the book as a study guide for personal or group use. These questions are thought provoking, accentuating the Biblical illustrations and life lessons for meaningful and rewarding contemporary Christian living.

Sheryl understands the reality and hurt of rejection and the feelings of loneliness that led her to discover the transforming freedom found through forgiveness and the rejuvenating power of prayer. Her writing resonates with the sense of her quality relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Although “Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks you Down” is written with women in mind, the principles introduced are applicable for anyone, man or woman, and are life changing.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Murder in the Church by Chris Schimel – A Book Review

Murder in the Church
By Chris Schimel
Crossbooks Publishing, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
978-1462714216, $ 13.99, 2012, 188 Pages
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Murder in the ChurchThe Consequences of Bad Choices and the Message of Forgiveness

“Murder in the Church” tells the soul searching story of the tragedy of one man’s poor choices and how this impacted, his future, his family, and his church. Pastor Chris Schimel finds himself deeply intertwined in the lives of the family of one of his parishioners which involves a life threatening spiritual battle. The book is based on a true story of the events that lead to nine days of confusion, fear, and heartbreak.

Each of the nine chapters of the book relates the time line of the incidents as they happened on each of the nine days leading to the dramatic conclusion on day nine. Back story gives the reader insight into the lives the key individuals involved. Life changing lessons are summarized in a final chapter highlighting ways that will help the reader escape the hardships and consequences that accompany wrong decisions.

Schimel is a gifted story teller. In his writing he engages his reader with strong character and plot development. He uses engaging dialog and the elements of conflict and resolution to build a sense of urgency and suspense. Chris evidences an understanding of ministry, a genuine compassion for his church family, the impact of evil, and the grace of a loving, merciful God.

In “Murder in the Church” Chris Schimel captures the essence of bond of love that results in healing and forgiveness in the body of believers.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Elevating Excellence: A Leadership Training Curriculum by Curtis Wallace

Elevating LeadershipElevating Excellence: Secrets to Closing the Leadership Gap
A Leadership Training Curriculum
By: Curtis Wallace

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

A Training Resource for Pastors and Ministries Leaders

“Elevating Excellence: Secrets to Closing the Leadership Gap” is designed to help church leaders:

• Build a Ministry Team – Identify and Fill the Gaps
• Evaluate Present Weaknesses
• Provide Tools for Communication and Interaction among the Ministry Team
• Establish Ministry Goals
• Develop Visionary Leaders

The Leadership kit includes a leader’s guide, a participant workbook, the DVD video sessions, and Curtis Wallace’s book “The Leadership Gap.” Each training session is organized into three modules which follow a natural progression. (1) Speaks to the pastor, or leader, (2) Speaks to the Staff, (3) Speaks to everyone, or the corporate body or organization.

I found the “Bridge the Gap” questions in the participant’s workbook pertinent and probing and the exercises to be practical and stimulating, especially in areas of establishing priority and developing relationships.

Curtis Wallace addresses these issues from a broad base of actual experience, not theory. The material is relevant for every level of management, empowering the team, building confidence, and meeting expectations.

“Elevating Excellence: Secrets to Closing the Leadership Gap” is an important training resource for: Church key leadership, everyone on the ministry team, and as a resource for seminary and Bible school students. The principles can easily be adapted for non-profit organizations or any business enterprise application as well.

A complimentary copy of this material was provided for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Destiny Image Publishers
P. O. Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257
978-0-7684-0384-8, $ 129.99, 2013