Book Giveaway and Review – George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade

December 22, 2014 1 comment

Title: George Washington’s Secret Six:  The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution
Author: Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
Publisher: Sentinel
Publishing Year: 2014
Pages: 252
My Rating: 4 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Family Christian Stores for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

Ever since I was a child, I have loved history – especially American history.  As someone glued to the conservative political scene, I can’t help but spend time learning more about our Founding Fathers.  With all this in mind, I was quite excited when Family Christian Stores gave the chance to review Brian Kilmeade’s George Washington’s Secret Six:  The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution.

I have been really looking forward to this book, since for the past year or so most of what I have read are textbooks for seminary.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done any pleasure reading.  Let me say, this book did not disappoint.  It’s a history lesson that captives you like a novel.  I enjoyed the chance to sit down and enjoy it.

The book begins with the fledgling American rebels in a difficult situation.  Capturing New York was the key to the British plan for victory and a loss Washington could not afford to lose.  Greatly outnumbered, Washington realized he needed something else, some advantage to capitalize on.  Intelligence gathering would be just the edge he believed would save this young nation from ultimate defeat.

Washington’s first attempts would end in catastrophe with an inexperienced Nathan Hale hung by the British.  Next Washington would turn to Benjamin Tallmadge lead a spy ring that would hand him the info needed to eventually take bake New York.  Tallmadge recruits his crew of unknown, yet Patriotic men and women who go undercover in the midst of the enemy at risk of certain death.

If you are into espionage and cloak-and-dagger type of tales, this is your book.  If you are into history, this is your book.  Even if you just enjoy stories of ordinary citizens stepping up and doing extraordinary feats out of love for their country, go out and buy this book!

Purchase the book here.

Click for your chance to win this book for free!!!  The fine folks at Family Christian are allowing me to give away one copy of this book.  http://is.gd/SeSkbR

Categories: Book Review

A Life of Repentance

December 16, 2014 Leave a comment

The following was a recent chapel message I preached at Rock County Christian School.  This was our third annual Reformation Day Chapel.  In this message I walk through I John 1:9 while exploring the life of Martin Luther along with the first of his 95 Theses.

Categories: Preaching, Sermon, Video

There was No Fear

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. – Luke 2:8-20

There is something extremely interesting that’s not here at the manger scene.  You have Jesus, the parents, the shepherds, the animals, but there’s something that’s not here that you would kind of assume based on this previous set verses that would be here.  No, I’m not talking about the wise men.

There’s no fear.

When the shepherds found themselves in the presence of the glory of God as the angels sang, there was great fear.  When the shepherds were in the presence of the Son of God, there was great excitement and great joy.  I think this helps shed light on Hebrews 4 where we are told to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence.  Contrast this with Isaiah’s experience at throne of God where there is fear.  What makes the difference – the high priest who passed through the heavens, who sympathizes with our weaknesses and was tempted as we are tempted.  The incarnation of Christ is what bridges the divide between God and man.  Jesus changes everything!  The babe in the manger who was very God of very God was still just like us!   Christ is how we stand before the Father, robed in a righteousness that is not our own, but one gained through the perfect life of Christ.  Because of Jesus Romans tells us there is now therefore no condemnation!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17

No wonder there was no fear, there was Jesus!

Categories: Uncategorized

Christ in the Midst of Monotony

December 12, 2014 Leave a comment

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. – Luke 2:8-20

I suppose it was a night like any other. Nothing special. There was no special Christmas spirit filling the air, perhaps even no sense of anticipation. It was night like any and every other. These Shepherds were doing what they do every night and every day – watching their sheep. It’s what they do.  And then, out of no-where, an angel appears – and with this angel we are told the very glory of God shone round about them. What a sight!

But let’s keep these shepherd in proper context.  They were just doing their jobs when the angels came.  They were normal people doing mundane things.   I’d like to say at that point their lives where changed forever.  And to some degree that is a true statement.  But, in reality, what happened?  After this incredible moment of glory and seeing the long awaited for Messiah, they returned to their sheep.  They got back to work.  They returned praising God and rejoicing, but they still returned.  That is exactly what our task is today.  We are marvel at the story of redemption – be completely overtaken with Jesus.  But, we do this in the midst of monotony.  We glory in Christ, in a cubicle.  We are to rejoice in the Lord, while driving a delivery truck.  We are to be constantly overcome with great joy, while standing at the factory producing widgets.  We extol the greatness of God while raising a family, doing yard work and washing the dishes.  This is Christ in everyday life.

Categories: Uncategorized

Jesus Shatters Our Idyllic Lives

December 9, 2014 Leave a comment

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. – Luke 2:4-7

The birth of Christ shatters our perfect image. We often remark that this is not how a king should be born. We know this is not ideal. But let’s not confine that to just this setting. Jesus, as sovereign king, often times shatters what we consider to be idyllic picture of how life ought to be. We want the American dream, the picture-perfect family, the great job and the church where everything is just the way we want it to be. But, that’s not reality. Jesus comes in and shakes everything up.

The American dream is put on hold while you find yourself taking calls from collection agencies as you wait in line signing up for unemployment benefits. The picture-perfect family is marred by kids who don’t behave right and a marriage that is taking far more work that you ever though it would. The church where everything is supposed to be a certain, comfortable way is plagued by music you don’t like and people you can’t always relate with. This is life in a sin-cursed world. That’s why we need a savior to redeem us.

We don’t just need redemption from sin in a general sense, sometimes we need redemption from our wicked ways of thinking. Jesus came to earth to be a servant, Philippians 2 tells us. He left the glory of heaven to inconvenience Himself and to identify and redeem unworthy people. We will never have a perfect life here on earth, its not God’s intention to give us our best life now. The problem is we are far too content to live in this unredeemed world and try to live as comfortably as possible in it. God is looking to redeem this world and give us something better.

Categories: Uncategorized

Legacy and Sovereignty

December 8, 2014 Leave a comment

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. – Luke 2:1-7

I’m sure Caesar had no idea that his simple decree that all the known Roman world should be registered, a type of census that would happen more than once, would still be talked about for thousands of years  to come. I’m pretty sure he would have been upset to know that God would use this decree not to speak of the greatness of a Roman emperor but to point to an even greater King whose power, glory and rule will overshadow every ruler in every kingdom in every time period, and whose reign will be acknowledged by all men both great small, whose kingdom will last forever and ever.

I’m also sure that through this decree Caesar wished to show his authority as a king, but in all reality he was simply a tool God used to bring about the fulfillment of prophecy, that according to Micah 5, the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. God in His sovereign power is moving heaven and earth to accomplish his will and will use even a pagan king to get the job done.

Often times our secular leaders care nothing of their ultimate leader. Their agenda is their own glory and self-exaltation. As we read in Matthew 2, there are times when our political leaders are outright hostile to God’s redemptive plan. But we have no reason to fear. God is still sovereign and even wicked rulers are pawns in God’s will.

Often I get urgent e-mails about America’s imminent demise.  Our political leaders are threatening God’s will and design for his people!  We may get scared and frightened at such news, but God does not.  God is sovereign.  Proverbs 21:1 tells us “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” Psalms 2:1-4 proclaims, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,’Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.”

Are modern rulers threatening God?  Sure, but he laughs.  We fear; God laughs.  Perhaps we too should laugh at such alarmists…

Categories: Uncategorized

This and That – 12-06-14

December 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Meaning of the Song “Days of Elijah” – When we understand the meaning of the song, “Days of Elijah,” we are encouraged as Christians to celebrate. The song shows us that prophecies about Christ and God’s people have been fulfilled across hundreds of years. The Christ — who was born in Bethlehem is coming again – – this time “riding on the clouds at the trumpet’s sound.” Christians above all other groups of people have a reason to celebrate. (1) We live in a fallen world with the consequences of our sin and the sin of others all about us. (2) But if believe in Christ, we are a part of God’s people (see “What Do Christians Mean When They Reference the Gospel or Good News”). (3) Progress is being made: Christ was born in Bethlehem, went to Calvary, rose victoriously and is coming again. – Chris Brauns

Categories: Uncategorized
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