Draw the Circle

draw tge circleI was pretty excited when I saw that Draw the Circle was an available book in the BookSneeze list. I’ve read all of Mark Batterson’s previous books and appreciate his writing style. Several months ago I was able to purchase multiple copies of The Circle Maker to make available to some of our leaders here. Draw the Circle is a continuation of that book.

In this offering, Batterson builds on the principles of The Circle Maker, but also includes stories and testimonies he has received from people who have read his book. He designed this book to be a 40 day devotional and it came at a good time for me as I was just finishing up a Bible reading plan.

I have found Batterson to be quite quotable and my Kindle version of the book has a list of highlights from various chapters. While Batterson is a proponent of believers spending time in prayer, he doesn’t see prayer (or drawing prayer circles) as a way to get God to do what we want Him to do. In one chapter of the book, Batterson writes: “Sometimes the purpose of prayer is to get us out of circumstances, but more often than not, the purpose of prayer is to get us through them.”

Just a few pages later, Batterson makes this statement: “If we’re being completely honest, most of our prayers have as their chief objective our own personal comfort rather than God’s glory.”

Draw the Circle is a good resource for those looking to grow in the discipline of prayer. I found both Batterson’s words and the stories he shared to be both helpful and challenging.

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Hunger Games Trilogy

hunger gamesI mentioned in a previous post that I finally got around to read the Hunger Games – the first of the trilogy. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had some time to read and finished the trilogy. I thought Collins put together a good series of books that kept me curious as to what might happen next.

Since several people I know read them, I had heard that the first one was the best, the second was pretty good and the third wasn’t as good. While the third was different from the first two, it built well on the story line presented in the first two and had a few twists and turns I wasn’t expecting.

As I mentioned in my post of the first book, the premise of the book is somewhat disturbing when you realize that kids are playing a game that requires them to kill each other. As you read the books and understand the backdrop, it makes sense and paints a picture of a very sinister government trying to control its people through fear and domination.

It was a good series, very well-written and now I can say I’ve read The Hunger Games.

The Racketeer, a Good Read

the racketeer One of the Christmas gifts I received from my kids this year was a gift card to get some ebooks. I immediately snagged John Grisham’s new book, The Racketeer, and Andy Stanley’s latest, Deep & Wide. I finished Grisham’s book and have started Stanley’s.

I always enjoy John Grisham’s books and enjoyed The Racketeer.  He has a way of weaving together a story that draws you in and keeps you wondering what is happening next.

The backdrop of this book is a lawyer, Malcolm Bannister, who ends up in jail because he became associated with the wrong people and the murder of a federal judge.  Bannister claims to have information on who murdered the judge and why he did it.  The FBI has no leads and begin a conversation with Bannister that leads to a series of twists and turns.

If you are interested in seeing how it all pans out, grab a copy of The Racketeer.  Grisham keeps you guessing until the end wondering who is guilty and who really knows the truth.  He shows why he is one of today’s popular authors.

The Traveler’s Gift

Several months ago, I read Andy Andrews’ book The Final Summitwhich is a follow-up to The Traveler’s Gift.  I enjoyed reading The Final Summit and had great intentions of reading The Traveler’s Gift, but just had not taken the time to do it.  My daughter recently read it and just went on and on about how much she liked it.  Knowing she had a copy of the book made it easy for me to finally read through it myself.  I’m glad I finally did.

The Traveler’s Gift tells the story of David Ponder and a crisis he comes to in his life.  As he struggles to find answers to his problems, he is given the opportunity to meet several historical figures and learn various principles from them.

***For those who may be reading this and haven’t read the book, I don’t want to give away much of what happens in the book, including the individuals that Ponder meets and the principles these people share.  It is worth reading on your own without knowing what is coming.***

I will say that The Traveler’s Gift very quickly draws the reader into the story.  It is roughly 200 pages long and I completed it in a 48 hour period. Once you start reading, you want to see what happens in the coming chapters.

The principles shared in the book are excellent.  One of the things I enjoyed about it was hearing my daughter’s reaction to some of the things in the book and how it applies to her life as a high school student.  I could make application to my life as well . . . as a person a few years (or so) removed from high school.

It would be worth your time to read The Traveler’s Gift.

Summer Vacation Reading

While on vacation, I got a chance to catch up on reading some books that have been sitting on the shelf for a while.  Some people like to be on the go when on vacation, visiting different places and seeing the sites.  My wife and I enjoyed sitting on the beach, reading and then, occasionally, changing scenery by moving to the pool.

The first book I read was The Hobbit by Tolkien.  I have to admit I’ve only read the first two books of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (but I’ve seen all the movies!).  I knew a movie based on The Hobbit was coming out soon so that gave some motivation to get it read.  I enjoyed it, but was a little taken back by how much trouble one hobbit could get in.

I’m still amazed at Tolkien’s writing and the creativity he employed to create such a story line with so many different characters.
 


The next two books were from John Grisham’s Theodore Boone series.  I had read the first one several months ago, but hadn’t opened the two books that followed.  While they are geared more for teen readers, they fit very well into Grisham’s style of writing.  They were an easy read and were both great stories.  Kind of reminded me of the Encyclopedia Brown books from back in the day.  I am a big Grisham fan so pretty much read about anything he produces.  The second book is Theodore Boone: The Abduction and the third book in the series (so far) is Theodore Boone:  The Accused.  The third book picks up the storyline from the first book, but then kind of goes in a different direction from what you initially think.



The final book I started, but didn’t get finished on the beach, was Michael Connelly’s The Brass Verdict.  He writes in a style similar to Grisham. I’ve only read two previous Connelly books, but enjoyed them.  This one followed up the book that was made into a movie, The Lincoln Lawyer.  I was able to finish up the book once I got home and now want to continue in the series.  I like his writing.