Thriving in Babylon – Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture by Larry Osborne – A Book Review


Trhiving in BabylonThriving in Babylon – Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture

By: Larry Osborne

David C. Cook, 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918. 978-1434704214, $ 15.99, 2015, 199 pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

A Contemporary Perspective of the Person, Writing, Culture, and Spiritual Influence of the Man Daniel – the Old Testament Prophet

In his book “Thriving in Babylon,” bestselling author, Larry Osborne introduces a new perspective on the character, writing, and the incredible spiritual influence of the prophet Daniel in the midst of the godless culture and society of ancient Babylon, known for its wickedness, evil, and debauchery. He parallels this with a challenge for Christians today to become a positive influence for change in a culture and society comparable to a modern day Babylon.

Although Osborne alludes to the well-known courage of Daniel, his deliverance from the lion’s den, and the important prophecies found in his writings, his emphasis is on Daniel’s hope, humility, and wisdom in carrying out God’s purpose for his life.

Larry Osborme is senior pastor of the North Coast Church in Oceanside, California and a best-selling author. North Coast Church is among the top 10 most influential churches in America. His writing is clear, credible timely, articulate, and packed with personal application.

“Thriving in Babylon – Why Hope, Humility, and Wisdom Matter in a Godless Culture” contains a message for every Christian today seeking to make a positive impact on our culture by introducing the relevancy of the gospel message in the midst of the spiraling downward trend in Biblical core values in the world today.

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

7 Family Ministry Essentials – A Strategy for Culture Change in Children’s and Student Ministries – A Book Review


7 Family Ministry Essentials – A Strategy for Culture Change in Children’s and Student Ministries

By Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman

David C. Cook, 4050 Lee Vance View, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

978-0781412971, $ 15.99, 2015, 236 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Practical Steps for Energizing Children’s and Student Ministry in Your Church

Dr. Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman introduce guidelines for Family Ministry Leaders in the church in an assessment of their current educational programs in light of lifetime faith transformation, a Biblical foundation in an environment of authentic culture change, through exemplary discipleship. They challenge the reader to consider the essentials presented in their book “7 Family Ministry Essentials – A Strategy for Culture Change in Children’s and Student Ministries.”

The scripture based principles or “ministry essentials” are presented in a logical progression with important ministry assessment exercises provided to help the reader implement theory into live action. They describe the mission of the church as a healing and redemption ministry to the brokenness around us; equipping the community for a ministry of family support.

The authors are knowledgeable, articulate, and unswerving in their passion to implement authentic culture change in children’s and student ministry.

Their work is endorsed by well-known and highly respected Christian leaders.

“7 Family Ministry Essentials” is a book for Christian ministry leaders concerned for and committed to empowering the family as the most important force in the task of spiritual formation of a lifetime faith for a new generation.

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

Bogus Balance – Your Journey to Real Work/Life Bliss by Deirdre Maloney – A Book Review


Bogus Balance – Your Journey to Real Work/Life Bliss

By: Deirdre Maloney

Business Solutions Press,113 West G Street, # 647, San Diego, CA 92101

978-0984027354, $ 16.95, 2015, 240 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Motivation for Moving from Bogus to Balance

I knew I was going to enjoy this reading adventure right from the start. Deirdre Maloney challenges traditional expectations in balancing a career, life partnering, family life, other relationships, and personal fulfillment. Her book “Bogus Balance – Your Journey to Real Work/Life Bliss” is divided into three sections.

Maloney found herself caught up in the frenzied and hectic trap of busyness. She invites the reader to join her in her journey to discover a centered balance and the excitement of wholehearted energizing contentment – Bliss. Specific lessons and stories are the result of pointers taken from interviews with select “Blissfuls” through choices that changed the course of their lives.

In Section One Maloney describes the concept and expectation that exists today – the bogus part. In Section Two she introduces and builds up the excitement of the blissful part. Section Three warns of the battle that ensues and provides “sneaky bliss builders.”

I found the chapters dealing with being true to self, and the process of discovery and taking intentional action steps especially practical and helpful. The “Bliss Builder Exercises” provide suggestions for integrating self-reflective and interactive responses.

“Bogus Balance” is an important book of anyone “super stressed out,” intense, aggressive, and “super miserable” in the rat race of busyness.

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

Straight A’s Are Not Enough – Breakthroughs in Learning for College Students


Straight A’s Are Not Enough – Breakthroughs in Learning for College Students

By: Judy Fishel

Flying Heron Books, 516 SW River Point Drive North, Stuart, FL 34994

978-0990611202, 2015, $ 17.95, 314 Pages

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Strategies to Enable You to Strengthen, Process, and Implement Your Learning Skills

Award winning teacher, Judy Fishel, packs an amazing amount of invaluable content, instruction, and counsel in her book “Straight A’s Are Not Enough – Breakthroughs in Learning for College Students.” In Part One Fishel introduces new research on how we learn. Part Two brings together concepts for strengthening learning skills. Part Three discusses strategies for mental processing, and Part Four talks about important skills essential to building your future.

The format, straightforward presentation, reader friendly format, and Judy Fishel’s authenticity and writing style all combine to motivate and enable the reader to discover or rediscover the enjoyment of learning and challenge them to take charge of their own education. It will also help professional educators to pass on these learning strategies to their students.

“Straight A’s Are Not Enough – Breakthroughs in Learning for College Students” is a book that should be on the reading list of every high school and college counselor. I highly recommend that parents peruse the book; then present a copy to their high school senior on or before their high school graduation so they can take advantage of the summer months to read, assimilate, and begin to apply these principles and strategies

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