Monday, April 30, 2012

We have a winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the No Innocent Affair giveaway, but there can only be one winner!

And that winner is...

     Renee Grandinetti 

Congratulations! Your book will be in the mail shortly.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more exciting posts and giveaways here at Living Hope!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kindle or Print?

How often do you read scripture from a printed Bible?

I've come to realize, that I seldom ever use anything other than digital editions. I guess it all started with using the YouVersion Bible app to read my daily reading plan from my phone. It's the most convenient, accessible method I've found. From there I moved on to reading books through my kindle app. You just can't beat the always available, easy to carry, digital format. Add in the ability to sync reading progress across multiple devices, and it's no wonder so many have moved away from print. I've even used the Olive Tree BibleReader on my Kindle Fire at church. No more flipping pages for me!

As great as this all is, there are still a few concerns. One is study bibles and reference materials. I just bought the Kindle ESV Study Bible, (which is on sale!), and while it's nice having it with me all the time, it isn't as convenient to use as my print edition. Don't get me wrong, the kindle version is hyper-linked to all of the notes and references, and it works well, I'm just used to holding my fingers in two or three places as I flip back and forth studying. It's the same principle in the digital, I just have to get used to it.

I may consider investing in some additional resources for the Olive Tree BibleReader app, but they are a bit pricey. I had tried Olive Tree on my phone, but the small screen and sluggish performance turned me off. I recently gave it a try on my Fire and it seemed much smoother. The 7" screen is large enough and the dual core processor gives it the needed speed boost. The split screen view should work well for a study bible.

Another concern is that digital books just don't seem as real. There is a wow factor involved with standing in front of a well stocked bookshelf. Files in a computer folder, just don't have that same effect. In times past, one of the most valuable things that could be passed down through generations was the family library. Time and money were invested in growing a collection. They represented knowledge and wisdom.

How does this work with the kindle?

Can you leave your books to someone, like you would any other inheritance? Everything is tied to an individual email address. Is there any way to disconnect them to give them to another's collection? One problem I foresee are families with multiple devices and accounts. If a wife wants a book that her husband has, do they have to switch devices? I'm sure there are answers to many of these and that I just haven't looked hard enough, but they are concerns none the less.

Other than these few issues, I am really enjoying eBooks. There are so many good deals that you seldom have to pay full price. Gospel eBooks is a wonderful site that posts free and discounted Christian books. I subscribe to their RSS feed in Google Reader and to their Facebook page. If they list something as free I'll get it, even if it's not something I'm going to read anytime soon. Free stuff ROCKS!

So how bout it? Kindle or print, what's your preference?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kindle Deals on ESV Study Bibles!

Here are two great Kindle Deals. The ESV Study Bible is only $8.54 and the ESV MacArthur Study Bible is only $9.49. Two great resources for under ten bucks each. Can't beat that. Hurry, I don't know how long this deal will last!

And if your as financially challenged as myself, here is the free version without the study notes.The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kindle Fire, CM7, and Swiftkey!

Well, it didn't take long. I rooted and installed a custom ROM on my Kindle Fire not long after I got it. I liked some of the stock Amazon software, but definitely needed the Android Market Play Store and the rest of my Google apps. To start things off, I went with a stockish ROM with just those things added, which you can read about here. But now I was ready to go a little farther. The Amazon launcher was getting annoying as well as the inability to easily use other keyboards. So I went looking for something more.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Book Giveaway - No Innocent Affair

Great news! Edward Mrkvicka has graciously provided an autographed copy of his book, No Innocent Affair, to be awarded to one lucky blessed reader here at Living Hope! To enter, just use the punch tab form embedded below and the winner will be announced Monday, April 30. Hurry up and enter, contest closes Saturday, April 28 at 11:00pm EST.

You can learn more about No Innocent Affair by reading my review and more about the Edward Mrkvicka here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Interview with Author Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr.

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr.'s book, No Innocent Affair: Making Right the Wrong of Adultery. As an added bonus, I was able to ask him a few questions about his book and the motivation behind it.

First, some background info. Edward has led a full life. After retiring from the Air Force, he started a financial consulting firm and began authoring books on the world of finance. Though he experienced success in that realm, he was eventually led to turn his writing skills towards his true passion, his Savior Jesus Christ. He has since finished three books on the topics of salvation, prayer, and adultery.

QWhat led you to write on this difficult subject of adultery?
I started my lay ministry in the mid 1960s while I was serving in the military. For whatever reason, other soldiers sought me out for spiritual advice, and then my counseling spread by word-of-mouth. After being discharged, notwithstanding my banking career, more and more people came to me because they heard I was a man who refuses to compromise the word of God. Strangely, as more people came forward, I started to see a very bright trend; i.e., most of the problems people were experiencing were marriage problems, often revolving around adultery. I have almost always been able to help because I came to know that the answer lies in getting right with God first before you try and fix the marriage. Secular counselors, who have a dismal track record, fail because they don’t understand this truth. The bottom-line is - I didn’t chose the subject, the subject chose me.

Q.  In your opinion what is the best way we can help to curb the epidemic of divorce in our culture?
By talking about it openly, so we all understand, hopefully before-the-fact, that adultery, as the Bible says, kills our very soul and helps destroy the physical lives of those we say we love, especially our innocent children. We’ve got to understand that the “it’s no big deal” attitude is a lie. It is a big deal, and I can tell you from counseling experience, once you commit adultery nothing will ever be the same. I’m a bottom-line kind of guy, even in spiritual matters. Allow me to share this crucial aspect that I hope helps the understanding of this epidemic. Almost every person I have counseled who has committed adultery has said when all the dust settled, “It just wasn’t worth it.” That is a witness that should be listened to.

Q. What advice would you have for those who are suffering as the result of a spouse's betrayal?
You didn’t fail, your wayward spouse did. So often secular, and even some so-called Christian counselors, will look to the innocent victims of adultery (and the divorce that almost always follows) to see where they “went wrong.” What did they do that caused their husband or wife to violate their wedding vows? What nonsense. As a man of God, I will not listen to such claptrap, because there is no excuse for adultery - none! When someone has been betrayed in a marriage, the normal reaction is to try to get our spouse back, but that’s exactly the action(s) that will ensure matters disintegrate further. The Bible says an adulterer is an enemy of God (James 4:4) and we are to have nothing to do with them until they repent. Being strong in God’s Word produces positive results. It may sound counterintuitive, but you’ll never go wrong listening to the One who can do all things except fail.
You can learn more by visiting Edward Mrkvicka's site and by reading my review of No Innocent Affair.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

No Innocent Affair: Making Right the Wrong of Adultery - Book Review

I would have to say that the topic of this book alone would make it very unpopular. Don't get me wrong, it's not that no one is doing it, or that most even consider it all that wrong, its just that no one likes to call it for what it is. Adultery just sounds so serious, so wrong. Who wants that kind of stigma attached to their actions? It makes love sound so dirty.

Well that is exactly what this book seeks to do, to call adultery by name and reacquaint it with its sinfulness and shame. No Innocent Affair is Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr.'s sobering look at the differences between God's view and society's view of adultery and the danger it poses to those who would follow its path.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Meet the Skeptic by Bill Foster

In Meet the Skeptic: A Field Guide to Faith Conversations, Bill Foster introduces us to four skeptics and their corresponding worldviews.

But first, why do we need to know more about these people who cast doubt upon, and scorn our faith? By knowing how they think and view the world, we can better understand how to engage them with compassion and wisdom when attempting to reach them with the Gospel. Today's skeptics may be outspoken and angry, but they are also in need of a Savior.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Kindle Fire

My wife and kids along with my mom and mother-in-law,(Thank You) bought me a Kindle Fire. I've got to say it is pretty sweet.

E-books are the future, well actually the present, so I have been thinking of getting a reader for awhile. I had been using the kindle app on my phone, but having only a four inch screen  it can be a bit cramped. The Fire with its seven inch screen is much nicer. The display is beautiful with the only drawback being, the amount of glare in bright light. No problem, I've ordered an anti-glare screen protector which should remedy the situation.

The tablet is surprisingly heavy. Not unbearable, just more than I expected. On the plus side it does have a very solid feel to it.

Response is quick with only minimal lag. Overall it performs very well.

Amazon built the Fire to tie into all of its products and services. They wanted to make it as easy as possible to direct your money back to them. This isn't a bad thing. I would buy most of my books and apps through them anyway. But this leaves us a lack of Google services, such as the market, gmail, reader, calendar, docs, and other apps that have come to be indispensable to Android fans.

Thankfully, since the Fire is based off of Gingerbread Android, rooting and hacking is to be expected. I honestly like the way the stock Fire performs, so rather than going for a full out ICS ROM, I went with a stock base simply rooted and equipped with all of the Google goodness.

One feature missing from the kindle fire that I hadn't thought I had grown so accustomed to, is the haptic feedback. Having a vibration when you touch the screen helps a lot when typing on a touchscreen keyboard. It works great on my Samsung Captivate. Amazon should consider adding it into the next generation of Fire.

If you're looking for a nice tablet for reading and surfing, the Kindle Fire may be what you need. At $199 it is less than an ipad and at seven inches it's definitely more portable.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"But God..."

All too often our theological convictions and our way of life just don't seem to mesh. We say and believe one thing and yet live another. With God all things are possible, yet we panic and stress trying to find a logical, safe solution to everything. Miracles are real, just not in our situation.

This describes many of us. We have lost our belief not in God's ability, but his willingness to intervene in the affairs of his people in this world. In the midst of our trials and struggles we forget the words, "but God."

Casey Lute explores these two powerful, reality changing words in his book, "But God...": The Two Words at the Heart of the Gospel. He examines instances in scripture where the truth of "But God" can be powerfully seen. Those times when all human strength and ingenuity fail and the only hope left is Divine intervention. We need to be reminded of these great and mighty acts of God. So often we forget and struggle without hope.

The book itself is a quick, easy read, full of hope and encouragement, revealing how our God loves us and has time again stepped into our trials and done the impossible. Simply put, it will result in a renewed faith and a heart of praise.

"May I put it quite simply? If you understand these two words-'but God'- they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely."
-James Montgomery Boice