Review: Education of a Wandering Man

Education of a Wandering ManEducation of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fascinating read. This is L’Amour’s autobiographical memoir of his life. He focuses on his wandering travels and the books he read all along the way. I have never read anything by L’Amour, nor did I know much about him. If you’re a reader or a writer, you will enjoy and learn from this book. You will probably like it also if you are a fan of L’Amour’s novels.

By many ways of measuring, he had a full life. He would argue that his life was richer still for the books he read and the people he met that told of him people, places, and events he could never know otherwise. Some books he names only. Some books he comments on. He also scattered nuggets about living life, reading, writing, and learning throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and picked up some good recommendations.

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Review: On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction

On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing NonfictionOn Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everybody recommends some books because everybody recommends them. Being heard or read recommending them lends cachet in certain circles. Recommendations for those books are easy to find, but finding someone who actually read the book and can tell you what is good or useful about it is not easy. Zinsser’s book is not one of those books. Everybody recommends this book because it is excellent and worth reading.

This isn’t a technical grammar manual, but a book on writing clearly. Zinsser uses numerous examples to illustrate his points. If you read nothing else, read the chapter on clutter.

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Argument

First of all, argument here does not refer to the equivalent of a verbal fistfight. Rather, argument refers to reasoning and rhetoric. It is generally persuasive in style, or at least should be, and should reasonably follow standards of logic or critical thinking. Argument is defining, expounding, and defending a proposition or premise. It may also be the reverse if it is aimed at deconstructing an erroneous conclusion.

Therefore, argument is of extreme importance to preachers. It is the preacher’s vocation to be defining, expounding, and defending the propositions of Holy Scripture. For that matter, every Christian is to conscientiously defend and contend for the faith and should be concerned about good argument evaluation and construction.

In this vein, I recommend A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston. This is a rulebook as the title suggests, but it is concise and readable. The book should be read through one time and then referred to often when analyzing or building arguments. Its brevity is one aspect of its value. You can refer to a section and quickly refresh your memory about some concept. The author does also give some sources for larger works if the reader is interested.

This book is geared toward argumentative writing but it is not really a rulebook for writing specifically. For this I would recommend Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Elements is likewise concise and readable. Both books are valuable resource to have for preachers even if you do not plan on publishing any of your own materials. A judicious use of both books will aid the preacher in the preparation of sermons.

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47513: God is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself God is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself
By John Piper / Crossway Books & BiblesWhen you ponder what it means to be loved by God, are your thoughts God-centered or self-centered? Best-selling author and pastor Piper reveals that the most loving thing about God is not his making much of us, but his enabling us to make much of him. Paradigm-challenging reflections on the gospel message! 160 pages, hardcover from Crossway Books.
39491: The Gospel According to Jesus, Revised and Expanded The Gospel According to Jesus, Revised and Expanded
By John MacArthur, Jr. / ZondervanWhat did Jesus mean when he said, “Follow me”? In this revised and expanded classic, MacArthur warns against the “easy-believism” proclaimed by many today, explains his understanding of biblical faith and works, emphasizes the high cost of discipleship, and reinforces his conviction that there is no eternal life without surrender to the Lordship of Christ. 302 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
11124: The Existence and Attributes of God The Existence and Attributes of God
By Stephen Charnock / BakerStephen Charnock was a Puritan theologian, whose hours of daily Bible study contributed to a vast and intimate knowledge of the Scriptures. Though this book was written in the seventeenth century, Charnock’s keen grasp of biblical theology ensures its relevance in all eras, particularly today. His exhaustive discussions on the existence and attributes of God form one of the best general theology books available.

His reflections on the Bible clarify for all readers the full implications of understanding God as he was revealed in both the Old and New Testaments. Ever the pragmatist, Charnock focuses his reflections on sustainable, practical application, offering Christians at all times the knowledge that leads to greater obedience and more invigorating worship.

The discourses in this book cover such important theological themes as: the existence of God; the failure of practical atheism; the spiritual nature of God; spiritual worship; God’s eternality; God’s immutability; God’s omnipresence; God’s knowledge (omniscience); God’s wisdom; God’s power; God’s holiness; God’s goodness; God’s dominion; God’s patience. Each discourse combines with all others to produce a truly broad, multifaceted look at God and God’s qualities, giving all readers an inspirational, devotional, and scholarly look at Christian theology.

Let this seventeenth century classic bring your twenty-first century faith to a whole new level. As you learn more about God, you will begin to reflect more of His character and nature to the world.