Category Archives: Books

Book Review: Evernote for Dummies

I’ve tried many filing systems and databases over the years, and Evernote is by far the most powerful note-taking software I’ve seen. I use it every day to save newspaper clippings, ministry articles, and sermon illustrations.

Evernote is so simple and intuitive that you really don’t need a manual to use it. But for those who want to get full use out of the program, Evernote for Dummies by David Sarna is the perfect sidekick. The book is divided into seven parts:

I. Starting Evernote (the basics)
II. Increasing Your Reach (integrating other kinds of media)
III. Managing Information (how to search, synchronize, and share)
IV. Just for You: Device-Specific Features (using on computer, tablets, and the web)
V. Expanding Your Skills (using handy hardware and third-party applications)
VI. Adding Professional Power (open scripting and community forums)
VII. The Part of Tens (using Evernote in different contexts)

This last section is a trademark of the Dummies series. In this volume, it is so valuable I would suggest reading these pages first so you get a full idea of the potential of Evernote in your life. It shares ideas for using Evernote in the home (e.g. decorating ideas, voter guide, packing list), at work (brainstorming, productivity), and at school (note-taking, research, shopping). The book concludes with an appendix for developers and an invaluable index.

The basic version of Evernote is free, and the premium version is a very reasonable $45/year. Now we have no excuse for being disorganized!

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Every Prophecy of the Bible

Here’s a great book currently free on NOOK and Kindle: Every Prophecy of the Bible: Clear Explanations for Uncertain Times by John F. Walvoord.

This book is basically a commentary on biblical prophecy. It is particularly helpful because it sets each prophecy in its historical context, harmonizes it with other prophecies, then sets it within a premillennial, pretribulational eschatology.

 For example, here is the explanation of the Valley of Dry Bones prophecy:

“Ezekiel 37:11–14. Having given Ezekiel the vision, the Lord now interpreted it for him. In the interpretation, Ezekiel was informed that the bones represented Israel. Her hopeless, dried condition illustrated her hopelessness of ever being restored. In response to this, God promised to bring her back from death and to the land of Israel. God would put His Holy Spirit in her, and she would be settled in her own land. The Lord said, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it,’ declares the LORD” (vv. 11–14). In biblical interpretation today, many affirm that Israel will never be restored. They share the hopelessness that gripped the Israelites as they were scattered from their land to Assyria and Babylon. Contradicting this hopeless situation, God promised to restore Israel and in the strongest possible terms indicated that He would bring new life to her, and she would be restored as a nation, that she would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and she would settle in her own land in safety. 

“The prediction that she would be brought up from the grave is partly symbolic in that the nation seemed to be dead and will be restored to physical life. But it is also to be considered literally, because according to Daniel 12:1–3, at the close of the great tribulation when Christ returns in His second coming, there will be a resurrection of Old Testament saints. Both figuratively and literally Israel will be restored and given new life. Those who have died and who were saved will be resurrected to share in the millennial kingdom as resurrected saints. The promise that His Holy Spirit would be in Israel goes beyond her experience under the Law, when the Holy Spirit was with her but not necessarily in her (John 14:17). Beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), all genuinely saved people are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a situation that will continue until the rapture of the church. Though there is no clear revelation of what will be true between the rapture and the second coming, this and other Scriptures make clear that the Holy Spirit will indwell the saints in the millennial kingdom (Ezek. 37:14; Jer. 31:33).” 

Description from the publisher: Unprecedented natural disasters, political uprisings, and economic uncertainty: The Bible predicted it all. Now you can understand it—and know what’s coming next. As we watch world events unfold, biblical prophecy becomes a subject of intense interest. Every Prophecy of the Bible brings clear answers to more than 1,000 key prophecies, backed with solid Scriptural evidence. Noted biblical scholar Dr. John F. Walvoord covers each prophecy from Genesis to Revelation, giving detailed insight into the many prophecies that have been fulfilled, as well as those that are still to come. By placing each event into historical context, the author gives insight into how the past, present, and future fit together to form an amazing, divine design. An excellent reference guide for those seeking answers, this comprehensive book reassures readers that God’s master plan is to be trusted and that the Bible is an accurate source of hope for all Christians.



Free Book on Calvinism & the SBC

This book is available for free in ePub or mobi (Kindle) formats through the Founders website. It will be necessary for you to set up an account, but there is no charge, and no credit card info is required. The book was posted just this morning and demonstrates the power of technology in theological dialogue. 
Allow me to give a little background. Less than three weeks ago, a document was released called “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” which took aim against New Calvinism and the doctrines of grace. The document already has over 650 signatures and has been endorsed by many of the SBC’s non-Calvinist leaders. It sent the blogosphere into a frenzy and even prompted our SBC President Bryant Wright this morning to call Calvinism “the elephant in the room.” 
This short e-book began as a series of posts on the blog of Tom Ascol, director of Founders Ministry. It is a quick but reasoned response, seeking to set the record straight on this touchy subject. 
Personally, I use the label “Calvinist” sparingly, but I do believe the Bible teaches the doctrines of grace and I preach them unashamedly. I am happy to cooperate with my non-Calvinist brothers for gospel causes, but I believe that salvation is only best and fully understood when we see it as an act of God’s sovereign grace, all for His glory.

Heaven for Kids

What happens when we die? Do people in heaven remember life on earth? Will animals live in the new heavens and new earth? What will we do in heaven? These are not just questions for adults. Many kids are asking these questions too.
Here’s a free book on Heaven by Randy Alcorn that addresses some of the common questions and misunderstandings about heaven. It’s geared toward a younger audience but it has something we can all learn!
If you’re interested in a fuller treatment of the subject, check out Alcorn’s larger volume on Heaven. I also heartily recommend Paul Enn’s Heaven Revealed and Erwin Lutzer’s One Minute After You Die.
These are far more biblical than the runaway bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper or Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. Why expend a lot of time reading about subjective dreams/experiences/visions when we have “something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Pet. 1:19)?
Paul says a crown of righteousness awaits all who love and anticipate the Lord’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). Do you long for the return of our Lord? This book is sure to get your family excited for our heavenly home.

Coach Wooden

If you like sports and want to see a down-to-earth example of how a dad can influence his son, you may enjoy Coach Wooden by Pat Williams. It’s free on Kindle today only.

At first glance, the book does not look expressly evangelical. It belongs more in the category of wisdom. Like in Proverbs, a father is training up his son, pointing him in the right direction, warning him of danger, and leading by example. The book description says, ‘Through powerful stories and advice, this book shares the wisdom that made Wooden happy and successful, not just in his career but in life.’

Wooden’s seven life principles include:

  1. Be true to yourself
  2. Help others
  3. Make friendship a fine art
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible
  5. Make each day your masterpiece
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live
  7. Give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day

We should be cautious of self-help language like ‘believing in yourself’ and ‘achieving your dreams.’ But we can still rejoice when a good story elevates fatherhood and spiritual disciplines like reading, love, serving, and prayer. John Wooden is one of the most respected coaches in the history of basketball, and there is something we can all learn from his life.