Friday, February 22, 2013

Learn to Program for Free

Want a site that is free, fun, and teaches valuable skills?  Go to Codecademy and choose one of their free courses.  I am currently studying javascript and html/css so I can make my blogs, webpages, and commercial writing look better and do more.  I have a programming background (FORTRAN in the eighties), but no previous experience is necessary for these introductory courses.

There are glitches in a few of the lessons on occasion, but nothing insurmountable.  Anyone from young teens through senior adults could enjoy these courses.  Many topics are covered, including Ruby, Python, Javascript and HTML.

Important Questions in Life: Am I Really Saved?

A review of Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by J.D. Greear

When I was asked to review this book, I jumped right on board.  I had seen many teens and young adults struggling with the question of whether they had really been saved.  I had also seen adults living as they pleased, feeling secure in the “fire insurance” they had acquired years earlier.  Pastor Greear addresses both these issues by turning to the Scriptures.

Rather than emphasizing a sinner’s prayer said at a particular point in time, Greear points to the scriptural examples of people asking what they must do to be saved.  Rather than an emphasis on the right words, scripture points to the right posture or attitude, i.e. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Acts 16:31) and Jesus’ admonition to “…repent and believe…” in Mark 1:15.  When Greear struggled with his own assurance, a friend pointed him to John 3:36:
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the son shall not see life…”
There are only two kinds of people: those who believe and those who do not.  Thus the real question is “Do you believe?”  Greear devotes the rest of the book to exploring how to establish that you have repented and believed, trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ and not on works.

You can know you are saved.  Stop struggling and let J.D. Greear show you from the Scriptures how to be saved and know it.

I received a free review copy of this book from B&H Publishing Group.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler

Albert Mohler, youngest president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, presents his insights on successful leadership in this excellent book.  Short chapters each address one key topic, making it easy to find what you are looking for.

Mohler draws from the wisdom of past leaders, including the apostles, Luther, Augustine, and Thomas More.  He also addresses contemporary issues in chapters such as “The Digital Leader” and “The Leader and the Media.”  My favorite chapters, however, were eight and twelve.

In chapter eight, “Leaders are Teachers” Mohler introduced me to Augustine’s thoughts on teaching:  A teacher loves his pupils, loves his subject matter, and teaches because he loves Jesus.  It should be an encouragement to teachers to know that their love will really make a difference as they lead in the school, church, or office.

As a librarian, I must also praise chapter twelve, “Leaders are Readers.”  This title is not a cliché—it is the honest truth.  Mohler suggests a simple reading plan.  Make three lists: must read, should read, and want to read.  Be sure to choose a balanced reading program that includes books from all three lists.

This book is an easy read, is packed with useful information, and would make an excellent gift for anyone who leads.  Since nobody follows all the time, I can’t think of anyone who would not benefit from reading this. 

 I received a free review copy of A Conviction to Lead from the publisher, Bethany House.