Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur

The Message: “[The eleven faithful disciples] are fitting heroes and role models for us, despite their shortcomings. To study their lives is to get to know the men who were closest to Christ during His earthly life. To realize they were ordinary people just like us is a great blessing. May the Spirit of Christ who taught them transform us the way He transformed them, into precious vessels fit for the Master’s use. And may we learn from their example what it means to be disciples indeed.” ~ John MacArthur

My Thoughts: As men chosen by Jesus to found the church, the twelve disciples are well worth studying, and this book is a great place to start. Its straightforward style is easy to read, and the way it explores how eleven of the disciples can inspire us in our walk with God, while the tragic life of the twelfth offers a sobering warning to us, is far more exciting than you might expect. The eleven faithful men of God have much to teach us, and this book seeks to make sure we don’t miss any of it.

As with The Jesus You Can’t Ignore, which I reviewed previously, one of the best parts of this John MacArthur work is seeing historical details from the Bible brought together like puzzle pieces to form a powerful, enriching picture. While he sometimes seems to get a bit carried away with making assumptions based on scanty details, most of his observations are very insightful, revealing how much subtle facts from the New Testament can tell us about what each of the disciples were like. I highly recommend this book.

Content Overview: Safe for all readers.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Movie Review: The Terror

The Story: A lost French soldier runs into a beautiful and mysterious woman, only to have her disappear. As he investigates who she is and what happened to her, he meets a variety of strange people who may resort to murder to hide the truth, including a mad baron and an evil witch.

My Thoughts: While this film is a bit hokey and the story is a bit muddled, it’s great fun to see legendary actors such as Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson knowingly ham their way through all sorts of spooky settings and eerie scenes. The filmmakers seem to be enjoying themselves, and anyone who would seek out a movie of this sort is likely to enjoy watching.

The story gets even more muddled toward the end, and while that would have been easy enough to overlook for anyone who makes it that far, one major flaw squelches the fun. A heartlessly grim twist appears at the end, apparently a lame attempt at shocking viewers. If the film had ended in the same hokey yet endearing way it started, it could have been a decent horror movie. Due to the dreary conclusion, however, most people will probably be better off skipping the film.

Content Overview: While most of the film relies on scares rather than gore, two gruesome scenes take place: A man’s eyes are pecked out by a hawk, and a woman melts, her skin coming off in bloody streams. There are some references to adultery.

Monday, December 1, 2014

I Won National Novel Writing Month 2014!

For the third year in a row, I completed National Novel Writing Month's requirement of 50,000 words! I ended up writing around 52,000 words in November, and I'd estimate that my novel, Ghost Reign, has around 30,000 words left. When I finish the first draft of the novel, I'll post another update. So far, Ghost Reign has given me more surprises than usual, which is theoretically a good thing.

Did you do National Novel Writing Month this year? If so, how did it go?