New Web Site for Free and Inexpensive E-Books

web siteA little over two years ago, I received my first Kindle as a Christmas gift from my wife. I had no idea at the time how much I would enjoy that little device. I have found myself reading more in the past couple of years than at any other point in my life. I also found myself mining Amazon and other websites for freebies or inexpensive e-books. It’s been a fun process. Searching for these books has introduced me to a host of great authors, whose books I probably would not have read had I not been introduced to them with a free e-book.

I’ve been posting links to free e-books on my Facebook and Twitter pages for a couple years now. Over those years, people have continually told me that I should start a webpage for people looking for free or inexpensive e-books. So today, I took the plunge. I’m excited to introduce you to www.superebookdeals.com. Here you’ll find free and inexpensive e-books on a daily basis. Share the news with your reading friends, and happy reading!

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Some Reads for the Weekend

Looking for something good to read this weekend?

Here are a few suggestions.

Randy-headshotFirst, take a few minutes to read this article about my friend, Randy Mortensen, who runs World Wide Village, the organization that I recently traveled to Haiti with. Randy was a corporate executive, whose search for meaning eventually led him to a relationship with Jesus Christ and a new calling in Haiti. This is a great story.

 

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - ArrivalsLouie Giglio has had a busy couple of weeks. Just ten days or so ago he was leading 65,000 college students in a four day conference, in Atlanta, called Passion 2013. The Passion conference was a major success, where major strides were made to free people from modern day slavery. President Obama took notice and Giglio was asked to deliver the inaugural prayer. Giglio was dis-invited when his belief that homosexuality is a sin was discovered by a watchdog group that alerted the President’s inaugural committee. You can read a great piece about the entire debacle here. Giglio wrote an incredibly gracious reply to his church here.

i am notI’ve been blessed by Louie’s ministry for several years and found some of his writing to be some of the most encouraging in my Christian life. One of my all time favorite books is I am not but I know I AM. If you are looking for a quick read this weekend you can download it here. The book is a reminder that we are only here for a little while. History is God’s story. We need to live our lives for His glory and His renown. What part are you playing in God’s story?

Indescribable-Giglio-Louie-5099967949991

Another great Giglio book is Indescribable: Encountering the Beauty of God in the Beauty of the Universe. The book is the result of Louie’s famous sermon in which he encourages us to consider the vastness of outer space and the depth of the soul, and the God who created it all. Giglio’s sermon Indescribable was the inspiration behind the worship song Indescribable that he wrote with Matt Redman. You can download the book here.

You can download the song, as preformed by Chris Tomlin, here.

the-air-i-breatheOne final Giglio book that I highly recommend is The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life. Almost every worship pastor that I have met has used this book with a worship team at some point in time over the past three years. Giglio is passionate about worship. It’s one of the reasons that he founded the Passion Conferences. He writes as a man in love with Jesus, calling us to not miss out on living our lives as an act of worship to the God of the universe. You can download the book here.

IDENTITY_ebook_cover_MCLooking for something fiction? New York Times best-selling author, Ted Dekker has released the first three of four novellas in his new Eyes Wide Open series of books. The final novella will be release this coming Tuesday. You can download book one in the series, Identity, for free by clicking here.

Here is a brief description of the series from Amazon –

Who am I?
My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die.I’m buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I’m lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won’t stop shaking.

Some will say that I m not really here. Some will say I’m delusional. Some will say that I don t even exist. But who are they? I’m the one buried in a grave.

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen. I’m about to die.

So who are you? 

In a return to the kind of storytelling that made BlackShowdown and Three unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker drags that question into the light with this modern day parable about how we see ourselves.

Humming with intensity and blindsided twists, Eyes Wide Open is raw adrenaline from the first page to the last pure escapism packed with inescapable truth. Not all is as it seems. Or is it? Strap yourself in for the ride of your life. Literally.

Books two and three are available for just $2.99 each.
dekker-mirrorsBook two is called Mirrors and can be downloaded here.
dekker-unseenBook three is called Unseen and can be downloaded here.
Happy Reading!
******* ADDITION
SeerBook four came out early! Here is the link to purchase Seer.

Learning New Things About Christmas

The First ChristmasI’ve been a follower of Jesus for a long time now. My journey of faith began as a child, and it was as a four-year-old boy that I prayed and asked Jesus to be my Savior. I grew up in a church-going family. So, from the time I was an infant, I was in church. That means that in my 43 years of life I have heard (and in recent years, I have preached) a number of sermons about Christmas.

When people ask me about the toughest sermons to preach, I almost always respond that  Christmas and Easter sermons are the most difficult to prepare. These two holidays come  every year and it can sometimes be tough to come up with fresh ideas and insights into the familiar and wonderful stories of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.

I have to say that I am energized about preaching on Christmas this year. One of the reasons is that I’m learning so many new things about Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I’ll be preaching a dramatic monologue sermon. My sermon will come from the perspective of Bethlehem’s innkeeper. In preparation I’ve been reading an old book that I found at a used bookstore several years ago. It’s a book entitled, The First Christmas, by Rev. Denis O’Shea. It was published in 1952 by The Bruce Publishing Company in Milwaukee.

I’m enjoying the book for several reasons.

1) It was written by a Catholic priest. I’m Protestant. That means that my views on who Mary is are very different than O’Shea’s. So, I’m forced to read this book critically. Seeing things from a perspective radically different than mine is a sharpening process.

2) It was written in 1952. This was shortly after Israel was resettled by the Jewish people. The historical context of this book is fascinating. The illustrations that are used about what the Holy Land was like in the 1950’s make me wish I could have seen it then. I’m reading a section about the Samaritan people, and at the time only 260 were living in Palestine. O’Shea had visited with the present High Priest of the Samaritans and the information written about that encounter is fascinating.

3) Like William Barclay, one of my favorite New Testament commentators, O’Shea writes from the perspective of a historian. (If you want to read great stuff on the times of the Bible read any of Barclay’s commentaries.) The quoting of ancient historians, the visuals that he paints about what houses, inns, roads, landscape, food, clothes, animals, etc. were like in the days surrounding Christ’s birth are fascinating. He also does a great job painting a picture of the geo-political culture of the day. Understanding how Herod achieved his position, the world of Caesar Augustus, what a census involved, and why the Jewish people were required to go to the land of their ancestors to register is fascinating. I felt that I could picture the abodes of the first century world, and the inns that Mary and Joseph would have stopped at on their route from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

There is so much more that I could say. Again, there is a lot that I would disagree with in this book, particularly O’Shea’s insistence that Mary was a perpetual virgin. But, all-in-all this book has opened my eyes and my mind to see things I’ve never seen before about Christmas. I can’t wait to share them in the form of a drama on Christmas Eve.

If you are in town, I’d love to have you join us for Christmas Eve services at Woodbury Community Church at 5 or 7 PM. I hope the sermon will be something that you’ll be talking about for a long time.

What is something new that you’ve learned about Christmas this year?

Fantastic Free Resource for Advent

Good NewsHow are you and your family moving through Advent this year? A friend of mine clued me in to this free resource from Desiring God ministries. We are taking time to read the Advent devotional at our dinner table. It’s caused some deep conversations with our sons.

Good News of Great Joy is a series of 21 Advent readings by John Piper to challenge the reader to look for ways to adore Christ this Christmas season. It’s easy to move through this season without taking the time to, or even understanding what it means to adore Christ.

This is a free e-book available for all e-readers by clicking here.

It’s not too late to jump into these readings. They will take you less than 5 minutes to get through each reading, but your discussion may take you longer. That is a good thing!

One other note on this book. I think the preface to this book, written by David Mathis, the Executive Editor of Desiring God Ministries was the best description of why we do Advent that I’ve ever read.

New E-book on Zechariah

ZechariahI recently published a little e-book entitled, “I’m Speechless” Zechariah’s Story.  It’s the manuscript of a one act play that I did a couple years ago for the congregation of Woodbury Community Church. The play is a creative look at the life of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, who I think is one of the most intriguing characters in the Bible. The old man dreamed of the day that he would be chosen to go into the temple of the Lord to burn incense. When his turn finally came, he got way more than he bargained for. This one act play seeks to make the story of Zechariah come alive. It is best performed in a church during the Advent season or would also be a wonderful addition to any family’s Advent readings. The drama seeks to help people, who become very busy during the Christmas season, slow down enough to hear the voice of God. Sometimes we need to be speechless in order to hear God’s voice.

You can see a video of me performing the drama here. You can order an e-book for any e-reading format here. If you have a Kindle, or use Kindle software on your computer, iPad, iPod or mobile device you will want to order the book in the .mobi format. Nooks, iPads, and Kobo devices use the .epub format. You can read it on any computer by downloading the .pdf file. If you’d rather download directly from Barnes and Noble for Nook you can go here. To order directly from Kobo for a Kobo device go here. For a preview of the book from Google, click here.

Book Review – The Last Man by Vince Flynn

The Last ManThe Last Man: A Novel
The Last Man – Kindle EditionVince Flynn has done it again! The Last Man is an adrenaline packed thrill ride that has more twists and turns than the world’s great roller coasters. The book finds American assassin Mitch Rapp knee deep in a in conspiracy and mystery in post-Bin Laden Afghanistan.

When Joe Rickman, the CIA’s top head of clandestine operations in Afghanistan is kidnapped, a tsunami of epic proportions is set off in the various branches of governments and intelligence agencies around the region and in the United States.

Who was behind this coordinated attack and how to recover Rickman becomes the CIA’s top priority, for in the head of Rickman lies secrets that could cripple the clandestine operations of America and her allies.

What begins as a simple mission gets more and more complicated as Rapp and his team get further into the operation.

What makes this and every other Vince Flynn novel so good is the detail and realism that Flynn brings to the project. There have been many in the government, military and clandestine organizations over the years who have questioned where Flynn gets his information, because it is startlingly accurate.

Flynn’s novel shows some of the serious pitfalls in the U.S. government’s current policy of reintegration in post-Bin Laden Afghanistan. While reading my pre-release copy of The Last Man, from Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster,  the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya was brutally attacked. Flynn’s novel helps readers understand some of the current tensions in the Middle East, with a look at the Taliban, Iranians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Russians, Swiss banks, and the United States.

The Last Man is a welcome reunion of Mitch Rapp and our current day. Flynn’s last two novels, American Assassin, and Kill Shot, were essentially prequels to the story of Rapp, and a very welcome addition to the narrative. Fans of Mitch Rapp will enjoy seeing what the assassin has been up to and enjoy catching up with a number of favorite characters along the way.

The Last Man isn’t Flynn’s best novel, but it certainly a great read and a wonderful addition to the Mitch Rapp library.

As in all of Flynn’s novels the language is a bit rough with plenty of military bravado and assassin angst thrown in. The detailed descriptions of torture and assassinations may make some readers squeamish. All in all, The Last Man, is a great read that opens the eyes of readers into the complexities of the continuing war on terror.

I received a complimentary e-book of The Last Man, from Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster for purposes of this review.

Book Review: Why Church Matters

why churchWhy Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God
Why Church Matters: Discovering Your Place in the Family of God – Kindle Edition Joshua Harris clearly loves the church, warts and all. His excellent book, Why Church Matters, was previously published as Stop Dating the Church. In it you get a clear picture of why commitment matters to God and why membership in the body of Christ is a good thing.

In a generation that devalues membership in a local church body, Harris has given us a gift. His book offers compelling arguments from personal experience as well as Scripture about why making a commitment to a fellowship of believers matters.As a pastor, this is a book that I will use often with new church members and in membership classes. Far from boring,  Why Church Matters is a book that will inspire, bless and challenge the members of your church! A+ book!I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.