Category Archives: Bible

Billy Graham in Quotes

Billy graham in quotes

Billy Graham has delivered the gospel message to more people face to face than anyone in history and has ministered on every continent of the world in more than 185 countries.  This book is a compilation of sermon illustrations of his 60+ years of ministry.   It’s a reference work that can also be read as a devotion since so many of his illustrations are inspirational.  You can literally open it up  pick it up at any place and get something out of it.

I found it extremely easy to navigate through and found myself reading it whenever I had a few minutes between projects.  I didn’t find it too difficult to find something inspirational I could think about throughout the day.  It’s broken into a wide range of subjects from (A) abortion to (Y) young people.  I was disappointed that he couldn’t find any subject matter that began with the letter Z (just kidding).   I didn’t get into every subject area, but the majority of them I found extremely useful.

The ONLY thing I wish the book had was a Scripture Index in which you could match up the illustrations with specific Scripture passages.

I would recommend this book for both pastor and layperson.  I would rate it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest unbiased review of it’s contents.


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“The Fight Of Our Lives”

The Fight Of Our LivesWilliam Bennett and Seth Leibsohn’s book, “The Fight Of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth & Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam” is a book written to wake up America to the dangers of Radical Islam.  The book does a really good job at documenting at how wimpy we’ve become as a nation in really confronting terrorism.  Why are we walking on eggshells?

Bennett & Leibsohn write, “The thought seems to be that if we speak nicely of Islam and ignore the terrorism it can produce, the Islamists will respect us more or lay down their swords.  Such an understanding flies in the face of everything Islamists have told us; they want our defeat, not a refurbished détente that comes from soft language and retreat.  (p.104)

What I found really eye opening is how the current Obama Administration is absolutely petrified of even mentioning the word “Islam,” in conjunction with the subject of terrorism.  Bennett and Leibsohn write, “The term RADICAL ISLAM was employed to distinguish it from mainstream belief.  But the Obama administration displays a shocking level of foolishness or knavery by downgrading and downplaying the connection between Islam and terrorism.”  (p.103)  (The book tries to be fair in laying out some claims against the Bush Administration as well.)

Bennett & Leibsohn quotes Professor Benard Lewis, “It is dangerous to exaggerate and is equally dangerous to ignore and neglect… most Muslims are not fundamentalists, and most fundamentalists are not terrorists… but most present-day terrorist are Muslims and proudly identify themselves as such.”  (p.117)  The facts speak for themselves.  Most of all the power and money in the Islamic Community are in the hands of Radical Muslims.  Just follow the money and it will take you places that you will be shocked!

The book does a tremendous job at substantiated all it’s claims with mountains of footnotes and indexes.  (Tremendous Resource)

The chapter that I got the most out of was Chapter Seven entitled, “False Peace and True Peace,” in which Bennett & Leibsohn quickly disarm the argument that the Bible is more violent than the Koran.  They write, “In the history of Christianity, there certainly are violent episodes where Christian leaders have committed, instigated, and justified bloody war –against others and themselves.  But the New Testament itself is evidence to how such history and examples diverge and contradict the basic doctrines of Christianity.  As Professor David Gelernter has pointed out, the New Testament is nearly a manifesto of pacifism, with emphases so common to our parlance that many people do not even realize their source.   Put plainly… the highest and most revered person in all Christianity was not a warrior; rather, Christ taught his followers to bless their accusers and pray for their abusers.  (p.111)

They go on to say, “Let us not excuse Christian violence in the past or present, but let us underscore the difficulty in justifying acts of violence based on Christian morality as taught in the New Testament,” and raise the question, “Can a reader of these words count on an entire hand the number of Jewish terrorist or criminals who have cited the Bible to justify their actions? Can a reader count on an entire hand the number of Jewish terrorist at all?”  (p.112)

By contrast the Koran instructs, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah… Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them… Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites! Hell shall be their home, an evil fate speak for themselves.  (p.115)

In conclusion Bennett & Leibsohn issue the challenge to all who would call themselves a progressive or reformed Muslim, “A truly reformed Muslim would lament extreme Islam and would denounce the application of Sharia law, prohibit polygamy and underage marriage, and extend social and legal equality to nonbelievers, and would weigh in against terrorism everywhere and always.” (p.125)

The next time a spokesman from a group such as The Council on American Islamic Relations seeks special consideration on behalf of Islam or American Muslims, ask them what he thinks of Hamas.  Ask them if Hamas is a terrorist organization.  Ask them if violence is ever justified against American or Israeli civilians.  Ask them who was responsible for 9/11 and if any of it was justified in any way.   The fight that we are in really is not only a fight of our lives, but a fight for our lives.

I found the book timely and relevant.  This is not a book to sit back and enjoy, but rather a book to be informed about a current crisis in our country. I was expecting the book to be more religious than political. It wasn’t until chapter seven that the book began to touch on some of the major ideological differences between Islam and Judeo/Christianty.  However, I am glad that the authors took the time to research and document the current disturbing trend concerning Radical Islam with a thorough index in the back of the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Booksneeze Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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“Crosstalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet”

Crosstalk“Crosstalk,” by Michael R. Emlet was not what I expected when I picked it up.  I thought it would be a book that would link Bible passages to real live situations in a nice pat way. The book is anything but pat.

What I got from the book was a whole lot more.  To sum it up, Michael R. Emlet’s goal is to, “help you read the Bible and read people in a way that promotes gospel-centered, personally relevant use of Scripture in ministry to others.”

Emlet draws a comparison between DITCH and CANYON passages of Scripture.  “Sometimes use of Scripture in ministry has the feel of stepping across a ditch (easy!) and sometimes it has the feel of stepping across a canyon (impossible!)”  Ditch passages are easy to make the connection whereas Canyon passages require a little more thought.  Emlet points out that if we restrict ourselves to only the DITCH passages we end up “ministering with an embarrassingly thinner but supposedly more relevant Bible.”  (p.16) Restricting ourselves to only DITCH passages also implies that some parts of the Bible are not as relevant as other parts. The challenge of the book is to open ourselves up to the WHOLE counsel of God.

I like the fact that Emlet takes the time to explain exactly what the Bible is and (just as importantly) what it is not.  He talks about how the Bible needs to be read front to back as well as back to front (p.52)  I found that this approach added a whole new meaning to the concept of context.   Emlet points out that to read the Bible in context, it must be read through the lens of Jesus Christ since He is the pivotal point in the whole story.

I also like the way Emlet emphasized the importance of “reading” people wisely in order to accurately convey the power of God’s Word into their lives. (p.65)  He suggests approaching people in the counseling setting in three different roles: Saints, Sufferers, and Sinners.  The big challenge I got from the book is to really try to get the Word of God DEEPLY into people’s lives by addressing theses three roles.

The Book is full of examples and two separate case studies that demonstrate effective Biblical Counseling.  The book also has a detailed Scripture index in the back.  The book is not an easy read since it requires some thought, but it is well worth the effort for those who have a counseling ministry.  I wished I had a book like this when I was taking Biblical Counseling in Seminary.

This book was provided by New Growth Press for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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John MacArthur Study Bible

MacArthur Study BibleLast year I took a summer sabbatical and took the NKJV John MacArthur Study Bible with me.  My goal was to read through the Bible in 8 weeks. This Study Bible made it easy.  The Bible didn’t read itself, but MacArthur’s study notes made it easy to understand the text.  I have used John MacArthur’s commentaries for years and really appreciate the love and care he gives to God’s Word.  This Study Bible exhibits that same type of devotion.

When it comes to Study Bibles there are many different types.  Some Study Bibles lean more on interpretation and some lean more on application.  The MacArthur Study Bible leans more on the interpretation.

The Study Bible is well made.  It includes both Concordance and a Topical Index.  It has useful charts and maps.   It also includes a section on theology, which reflects John MacArthur’s theology.   (It’s a well-known fact that John MacArthur is a Calvinist and a Cessationist)  While I do not consider myself either a Calvinist or a Cessationist, I still found his Study Bible extremely valuable.

One thing I have to mention… the folks at “Grace To You,” have provided me free material for years for nothing in return.  I wasn’t even required to write a review on this Study Bible.  They are really out to get God’s Word out and live up to their motto, “Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time.”

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Christi’s FIRST Birthday!

Today my oldest child is 17 years old today. I can’t believe how time flies! It seems like yesterday we were parents for the first time. It seemed so unreal. I’ll never forget Annie’s eyes getting big and her saying, “Is it ours?” (It’s in the clip and it’s only a minute and half long.)

Nobody remembers when they were physically born into this world, but the good news is that it is possible to remember being spiritually BORN AGAIN. Jesus said, “Unless you become born again you can not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (John 3:3)

Martin Luther once said, “Born Once – Die Twice… Born Twice – Die Once.” You say, “What in the world does that mean?” If your only born ONCE… that is physically, you’ll die not just once, but twice. Once PHYSICALLY and once SPIRITUALLY. That’s what theologians call the “second death,” in which a person becomes eternally separated from God. But here’s the good news… if your BORN TWICE… not just physically, but SPIRITUALLY, you’ll only have to die at most once, PHYSICALLY and you might not even have to die physically if Jesus comes back in our lifetime.

I think it’s important to celebrate our physical birth, but what about CELEBRATING YOUR SPIRITUAL BIRTH. I remember the night I became born again. I was attending Texas Tech University and I was walking across that huge campus late one night. The Lord had been working on me all that year. I had heard the gospel and to a certain extent I believed the it… but I had never really given myself over to the it. Till that night…

I remember kneeling at a bench where I gave what I understood about myself to what I understood about Christ and I’ve never been the same! I was what Paul called, “A NEW CREATION.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) I saw things completely different. It wasn’t that I was perfect. I still had my moments where I would stumble and fall into sin, but since I had a relationship with the Lord… I quickly wanted to ask for forgiveness and make things right with Him. My whole perspective on life changed as well. I no longer did the “right thing” because I “had to,” but now I genuinely wanted to do the right thing. My life became filled with meaning and purpose as well as direction.

“… there I gave what I understood about MYSELF to what I understood about Christ and I’ve never been the same.”

So yes…I’ll continue to celebrate physical birthdays (Happy Birthday, Christi!) but it’s far more significant to celebrate and remember your SECOND BIRTH.


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God’s Love Letter

I met my wife over the summer while I was home from seminary. (I was on a blind date with someone else, when Anna caught my eye.) That summer started a whirlwind romance and by the time I had to return to seminary I was heartbroken over having to leave her.

We nurtured our relationship through phone calls and letters. Everyday I would eagerly go to the Seminary Post Office hoping for a letter from Annie. I remember reading and re-reading those letters over and over analyzing every little word trying to extract every little bit of information. Looking back, those letters brought so much love and joy to our relationship.

I want to encourage you to think of the Bible as God’s Love Letter to you. In it, God tells us of His great love for you. He wants you to read and reread it. He wants you to take in every word. He wants you to hide it in your heart. Most of all, He wants you to know Him! Can you imagine that? God… the Creator of the Universe wants to get to know you!

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The Lucacdo Life Lessons Study Bible (NKJV)

Let me say first of all that I love Max Lucado’s writings. His stories are so relevant and his one liners often pack a big punch. In fact, I find myself Tweeting many of his one liners.

That being said, “The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible – NKJV: Inspirational Applications for Living Your Faith,” was HUGE step up from my previous Lucado’s previous Study Bible, “The Inspirational Study Bible – NCV. ” Yes, many of the previous notes are carried over to the new Study Bible; but more notes are added and the type is bigger and easier to read. The majority of the stories are from his best seller books which left me wanting to go back and read them again. The folks at Thomas Nelson obviously heeded people’s advice on how to improve Lucado’s previous Study Bible.

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“How Great Is Our God”

Series On Romans

“How Great Is Our God” (Including Music at the end)
Romans 8:31-39

Bill Stegemueller
Medina United Methodist Church

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NEW Bible Study

Come join us for a NEW Bible Study on the Book of Acts! The Book of Acts is the first volume of Church History. It covers the birth of the church (Pentecost) all the way through to the imprisonment of it’s great missionary (Paul) in Rome.

The study begins TOMORROW and will be weekly. Wednesdays at 6:00 PM at Bill and Anna’s Home. Were the second house on the LEFT when you turn into Orchard Park Sub Division. If you have any questions you can call (830) 589-7447.

Bring your Bible (preferably a study Bible) and something to write with and an open heart for whatever the Lord has for you. Also please read the first chapter and be ready to ask questions and interact.

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“I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!”

“I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!” by Bill Stegemueller
Medina UMC Podcast

Taken from Romans 7:14-25

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