My Journey to Heaven: What I Saw and How It Changed My Life by Marvin J. Besteman (Revell)
While similar to other accounts of “trips to heaven” that have appeared in print recently, several characteristics mark this book as unique, including its interesting description of angels and discussion of their role. The book also quotes some biblical stories of heaven. An extended conversation with the Apostle Peter at the gate of heaven is revealing and down-to-earth. Marked by honesty and some humor, Peter insists—after discussing the matter with God—the reason the author’s name was not found in the Book of Life is he had not finished his earthly task.
While other accounts have dealt to some extent with music in heaven, this book emphasizes lights and colors in heavenly places. Besteman discusses music in only three places. The descriptions of the heavenly “cradle roll”—as well as the excellent health of every person in heaven—certainly are encouraging and biblical. Besteman’s writing about six people he saw in heaven is inspiring. Besteman concludes he was not allowed to stay in heaven because his work is unfinished on earth, and he assumes this book was part of God’s plan for him.
Ed Spann, retired dean
College of Fine Arts
Dallas Baptist University
Telling the Gospel Through Story by Christine Dillon (IVP)
Christine Dillon, a church planter in Taiwan with Overseas Missionary Fellowship, pens a basic but exhaustive primer on Bible storytelling.
Dillon opens by addressing the notion that storytelling is just for children. That misconception equates storytelling with fairy tales, leaving the idea a story may be untrue or at least suspect.
Dillon cities examples of stories told in both the Old Testament and New Testament, and she reminds us Jesus used parables. She quotes Masterlife author Avery Willis, who said, “God wired us for stories.”
Dillon addresses fear, being an introvert and the “why” of storying. Above all, she emphasizes, prayer is essential. Within the context of training others in storying, she also discusses learning from biblical models using a biblical text. Storytelling with other cultures and evangelistic storytelling also are discussed. The book includes four important appendices.
This is a must-read for the beginner, as well as those already involved in storytelling as way of sharing the gospel. I highly recommend it.
Skip Holman, minister of discipleship
Northeast Baptist Church
Frequency: Discovering Your Unique Connection to God by Eric Parks and Casey Bankord (Worthy Publishing)
Eric Parks and Casey Bankord combine talents to bring an interesting view of how we have been uniquely created by God and thus have a unique connection to our Creator that allows us to experience spiritual growth to its fullest. The authors expound on ways we connect to God such as an activist, contemplative, relational, serving or worship pathway. There are sins that get in the way and block the connection we have with God.
Parks and Bankord see this connection with God as our personal frequency. They have come up with a spiritual growth assessment tool called “Monvee.” Each book includes a unique computer password allowing you to connect with Monvee and take a test to find your “frequency” or personality style. You many find your personality as a Joseph, Abraham, Jacob, Luke, Timothy or other. Each biblical personality is illustrated by a person who took the Monvee survey, explaining what that person discovered about his or her unique connection to God.
Frequency has been well researched. It is a well-written easy read and can be a very helpful way to find your unique connection to God. It also will help you to see how others relate differently to God. Enjoy the discovery.
Leo Smith, retired executive director
Texas Baptist Men