Praying for America

Praying for America by Dr. Robert Jeffress

Does America need prayer? Many Christians would agree. Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of a megachurch in Dallas, Texas, has turned his answer to this question into Praying for America 40 Inspiring Stories and Prayers for Our Nation. Each story concludes with a prayer of how to ask God to intervene in America’s problems. Jeffress advocates that so many people need prayer. Some of those on his prayer list are not a surprise including our troops, our president and leaders, and first responders.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

However, Jeffress includes some people you might not have thought of. He wants us to pray for the fatherless, those in prison, for fellow Christians who are “completely wrong”, and for Christians to do their jobs as unto the Lord. He makes a case that creating quality art is a godly endeavor, and that it pleases God. Using a legendary celebrity’s story of redemption, he explains that God invented art and that Christians should be committed to creating only the highest quality of art.

I loved all of the examples I read in this book. Jeffress does a good job of acknowledging that people have different views, but that as Christians, we should show love. This book has a great historical perspective; any history buff would probably love this book. I also loved the spirit of unity behind this book; Jeffress really encourages people to think as brothers and sisters of one family and that so many people need prayer.

My Friend, My Hero

My Friend, My Hero by Jerald LeVon Hoover

Young basketball player Bennett Wilson has talent, a college scholarship waiting for him, the love of his family, and the respect of his friends. What could possibly be wrong with his life? My Friend, My Hero by Jerald LeVon Hoover celebrates its 25th anniversary in this edition. Readers get a look inside the world of high school student Bennett Wilson. Adults who are unfamiliar with the struggles of today’s youth may be surprised at the situations Bennett faces. Bennett shows strength of character when tempted with a life-changing situation and the determination to be an overcomer when things are not going in his favor.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Friend, My Hero is highly recommended as a realistic, fun read for young adults. This book wouldn’t exist if Bennett wasn’t a basketball player, so kids who love basketball will probably love this book. My Friend, My Hero is also a great book to teach about the power of choices. It shows that while Bennett Wilson was facing a lot of negative things that were out of his control, he still had the power to make good choices. My Friend, My Hero can teach kids about the power of making good choices; an adult does not even have to say a word.

Leadership by the Good Book

Leadership by the Good Book by David L. Steward with Brandon K. Mann

Can Christianity relate to the business world? If you’re a Christian, how can you work your faith into the workplace? Can a business leader be successful in their role while also living out their faith? David L. Steward is the founder and chairman of World Wide Technology (WWT), a company that generates more than $12 billion in annual revenue. His business partner and friend, Brandon K. Mann, is the CEO of Kingdom Capital. They believe that yes, it is possible for a Christian to live out their faith authentically and to be successful in business, and that being a committed Christian does not have to be in conflict with being a successful business leader.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Leadership by the Good Book is written from the perspective of David L. Steward, who, by his own accounting, came from humble beginnings. As a child, he went door-to-door selling Christmas cards to pay for summer camp. After college graduation, his grades weren’t stellar. Years later, Steward says, when he was job searching, he sent hundreds of resumes, and only landed a few interviews. Steward wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth; his struggles are real, relatable, and relevant. His company WWT is a multi-million dollar company today, but throughout the book, Steward’s voice seems to be that of a humble servant leader that anyone would be lucky to work for.

Leadership by the Good Book provides numerous examples of how a Christian can integrate their faith into their work life. This book is geared toward leaders, and would be good for anyone who wants to start their own business. Steward cites a lot of Scripture, but he is also good at connecting it in a practical way. For example, he cites a Bible verse stating that Christians are to love others. To apply this to the business world, he says that some ways to “show love” are by showing appropriate boundaries in the workplace and by giving employees opportunities to advance in their jobs. He cites a verse in Proverbs that states without vision, people perish. To connect this to work, he advises leaders to have a vision and to share it with their teams. These are just a few of the very practical, realistic suggestions he gives for how Christian leaders can excel in their work, increase in their leadership abilities, gain the respect and confidence of their followers, and, hopefully, gain a “well done” from the One whose opinion matters most.

The Abundance Mind-Set

The Abundance Mind-Set by Joel Osteen

How do your thoughts impact your life? For Joel Osteen, the mind is where success begins and where the idea of abundance should be. This is a short book, taken from material from two of his previously published books. It’s a perfect size to take with you to fill some time if you are waiting during an appointment or if you’re flying and you like to read. To me, it’s a “travel size” book that can be read very quickly.

Osteen does not dig deep into the Bible, and he might not even name a specific Bible verse even once. Instead, he often states “the Scripture” when referring to a Biblical concept. The main concept he seems to want to drive home in this book is that it is not unChristian to want to have nice things or to want more in your life.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Osteen tries to be a cheerleader and tells his readers that you don’t have to be stuck where you are, but that you can have a bigger vision for your life. Comparing his life with his father’s life, he states that his father was a pastor and his father’s church paid him very poorly. Osteen emphasizes that poverty is not a measure of how holy a person is, but that God can bless us in creative ways we would not think of. Overall, this was a very motivational book, and if you are not used to this type of thinking, you can try to keep an open mind and give these kinds of ideas a chance.

Five Questions Answered With Author Jerald L. Hoover

Ever curious about how published authors got their start in writing? Interested in what their creative process looks like? Jerald L. Hoover is the author of The Hero Book series. The 25th anniversary edition of his book My Friend, My Hero, was published in 2017. In this Q&A, he explains his creative process, what he does about writer’s block, and what it was like seeing his first book published.

Jerald L Hoover, author of The Hero Book Series

How did you get started writing?

I actually started writing when I was in the 3rd grade. I wrote (unbeknown at the time) as a means of escape. My mother and father had split and he wasn’t around much and I missed having a father figure in my home like I saw my other friends. I had written a book on a note pad that I titled, “I Was A Said Boy.”

What inspires you?

I am inspired to write now to invoke positive change and positive thinking habits. My books that make up, The Hero Book Series: My Friend, My Hero, He Was My Hero, Too, A Hopeful Hero, and Hoop Hero all have within them a measure of thought provoking elements. 

Tell us about your creative process.

I normally number on at least 4 pages in a notebook the numbers 1 through 250. Then I take or allow myself between 2 to 3 weeks and just brainstorm ideas of what I may want to have within the story. The beauty of that is I make sure that I’m not trying to come up with the ideas in sequential order. Meaning, if I decided to write how I want the story to end, then I write down the elements of how I want my story to end. What I do is trust that as long as I do not lose the notebook then the ideas are safe within the line items between 1 through 250. Do I have to have 250 ideas? No. I can stop anywhere where I feel that I’ve exhausted my creative flow for that time being. From there I come up with how many chapters I’d like to have. Then I start to build the story around what I may want to happen and where. I’m safe with the ideas and thoughts as the more I write down, the less my 250 ideas become. It’s a fun process with me because it allows me to feel accomplished within the entire scope of writing each book. It’s a mind game for me but I’ve been doing it for so many years that I’ve mastered the way of doing it. Besides, to me there’s nothing more authentic than to write down ideas and thoughts by hand as opposed to always using a computer or recording device. 

When you get writer’s block, or when you have an idea but you can’t seem to execute it, how do you solve those problems?

Writer’s block isn’t something that I normally have or get. Why? Because as I go through the creative 1 through 250 ideas process, I have more than enough in the way of ideas. Now, there are times when I will get bumrushed with ideas and I have to get up from my chair or if I’m laying in bed where I have to get up and pace around and talk aloud to me myself. I love that flow, it’s an incredible feeling. 

What was it like seeing your first book published?

It was somewhat scary I would say. My first book, My Friend, My Hero was first published in 1992 after being at it since 1984, yes I was rejected over 40 times during a nine year period from when I first started the novel in 1983. I love telling that story to young people, especially those that think and operate in a microwave world where everything has to be done and completed within 3 minutes. So when the books arrived on a Tuesday in November, I didn’t open my complimentary set of 25 copies of my book until that Thursday. I wasn’t sure if it was really real. Once I summoned the courage to finally open the box of books, I was over joyed. Now heading towards 30 years later, I’m still going strong with it, by the Grace of God.

A Hopeful Hero

What happens to a young man still struggling for answers after his friend dies? When the perpetrator is still at large, how can any resolution be found? This is the story of A Hopeful Hero by Jerald LeVon Hoover. Kirby, the main character, is still struggling, years later after the death of his friend Bennett. Sadly, Bennett’s killer is still at large, due to the crime being unsolved. A Hopeful Hero shows how Kirby is dealing with this loss, many years later.

A Hopeful Hero by Jerald LeVon Hoover

There are a lot of flashback stories in this fiction book. Lots of these scenes are set in Kirby’s high school days, which makes this book appealing to a young adult audience. For kids who don’t want to read, if they love sports, the basketball references might catch their attention. Teachers can use that to their advantage if they need to get their students motivated to read.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The writing in A Hopeful Hero gets boldest at the end. Everything in the book leads up to this point, which is the most powerful part of the story. No spoilers here, but the strongest, bravest writing in the book is at the end. A Hopeful Hero is part of a series, so I’m interested to see what will happen next.

A Mother’s Love

How many moms do you know? How many ladies come to mind when you think of mothering? These ladies have their hands full. You may know the old saying about a woman’s work never being done.

A Mother’s Love doesn’t just celebrate those that have birthed kids. This book celebrates, encourages, and praises those that raise, nurture, care for, love on, cook for, and pray for kids that aren’t their own. This book includes all kinds of moms including bonus moms, step moms, aunts, grandmas, and even “spiritual moms” – meaning those who have no kids of their own but are mentors to younger women in their lives.

A Mother’s Love

I love how encouraging this book is. Each section includes excerpts from the Bible and a story from a mom from today. There’s also space for the reader to write down her own thoughts and feelings. The illustrations are beautiful and they pair well with the writing. The stories from today’s women are honest, real, and supportive. (It’s a judgment free zone, no pretenses!) A Mother’s Love is a great gift idea for the mom (or mom figure) in your life….that is, if she actually has time to read!

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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