Tag Archives: Tate Publishing

My Neighbor’s House by Marja Meijers

My Neighbor's HouseMeijers, Marja. My Neighbor’s House: The Ten Commandments Series. Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2012. 102 pp. $9.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.

Note: I recently found a box that has been unopened since before I moved to take a pastorate in Mexico, MO back in March 2013. Inside that box was a few books I was in the process of reading for the purpose of review. This is one of those books.

Introduction

I have reviewed another of Marja’s books, Grace of Giving. She and her husband are both active in prayer groups and Teen Challenge-a ministry dedicated to helping young adults overcome addictive behaviors.  You can read more from Marja at her website, Sacred Sabbath.

Summary

Continuing her series looking at the Ten Commandments, Marja tackles the 10th in this particular book. Over the course of nine chapters, she looks at what a full life really entails while questioning who is really in charge of “my” life. She then offers a change of direction which involves the Spirit of God.

In the end, she argues that combating covetousness can only be done effectively through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Review

As before, I appreciate her perspective on this commandment. She takes what is often viewed as a negative – after all, God said, “You shall not…” – and shows how it is meant to be more of a positive command in the life of God’s children.

She draws on a rich heritage of Spirit-empowered living that involves complete submission to the Lord because you, as a believer, have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is not sheer obedience that will satisfy. Rather, it is knowing that you have been redeemed by Jesus and having been redeemed, you can, for the first time ever, actually obey the Lord’s commands.

What is more, she shows how obedience is a paradigm shift in the Christian’s thinking.

Recommendation

My Neighbor’s House is a fresh take on the 10th commandment. Not fresh in that it is new, but fresh in that we don’t often think of the positive aspect of the “thou shalt not’s.” I recommend this book to all Christians seriously considering how the 10 Commandments still apply to us today (and they do!).

Mesquite by Camilla Hunt Cole

MesquiteCole, Camilla Hunt.  Mesquite.  Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2012.  284 pp.  $21.99.  Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Camilla has been an English instructor to English speaking students as well as ESL students at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.  She has also been a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Group Therapist who taught coping skills to those who suffered with chronic pain.

Summary

From the back of the book:

I pick up my album again, a favorite among many. This one shows the motley assortment of primates in my family tree, which would be a mesquite: a little scraggly, but Texas tough.

After twenty-five years of marriage, Molly and Jim have little in common other than facing bankruptcy together. Unsure of her next move and with her prayers only hitting the ceiling, Molly travels back home to do a roots tour with her sisters. As the three women follow the trail of their ancestors through the small towns of Texas, they share family love stories from America’s most romantic eras: westward expansion, the Roaring Twenties, and the rockin’ fifties. These trips, spaced out over the years, become a source of inspiration and bonding for the women. As Molly continues to wrestle with the circumstances of life, she draws from these trips and the love stories that lasted a lifetime, but will it be enough to give her the strength of Mesquite?

Review

Part love story, part biography, part fiction, Camilla has written an enjoyable story that will resonate with many.  While Texans will love to brag about their state as they read (c’mon, we know that Texas is the only state with a city named Humble!), the allure of Mesquite is the central role of the family.  Whether mainstream society wants to believe it or not, the family unit, a solid and biblical family unit, will always resonate with the reader or viewer.

Camilla tells a fun story that is believable because it is partly true.  The reader, probably a female, will be able to identify with so many of the stories and characters as well as recognize other family members from their own family on the pages.  With

Recommendation

As I stated, this book will probably resonate most well with a female reader.  It is a wholesome, Christian story that will be enjoyed by most every reader.  I can recommend this book to everyone.

Heart of Courage by Carmen Peone

Heart of CouragePeone, Carmen.  Heart of Courage.  Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2012.  216 pp. $13.99.  Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Carmen is back with a continuation of the the story of Spupaleena.  You can read the review of her first book in the series entitled Change of Heart here.

Summary

From the back of the book:

Spupaleena was not about to back down.  Knowing she encompassed the skills to race against young men, Spupaleena would begin her intense training.  However, Rainbow, her trusted middle-aged mare, would only carry her so far.  She would need to find a new horse, but where? She was tired of her fellow racer’s cruel insults, one boy’s in particular.  She was determined to not only race him, but to win.  She drew her strength from God and exhibited a Heart of Courage.  But at times, wondered if that was enough.  Spupaleena’s father was against her.   Would she have the spirit to compete and win? If so, would her father ever learn to accept her dreams of training and racing horses?

Watch the trailer for the book here:

Review

Once again, Carmen is back with a fun, empowering story for women.  She again interweaves the language of the Colville Indians throughout the book and shows how one’s faith in God will enable them to persevere through the tough times and challenges in life.  One can just hear Paul saying, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” as Spupaleena triumphs and falters in her quest to train and race horses.

Peone shows much promise in her writing as she continues to tell a believable story about faith in real  life.  I still would have liked to read about Christ who is the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2) rather than the general Creator God.  This is what set a book apart as being Christian versus being religious.  To mention a Creator God is to appeal to wider audience and, in all honesty, give credibility to their beliefs and creeds regardless of agreement with Scripture.  To specify that it is faith in Christ is to make the book Christian and to promote the Kingdom of God.  After all, even the demons believe in God, and they shudder (James 2:19).

Recommendation

I can recommend this book as a story – a work of fiction.  Even though I do not believe it to be Christian, I did find it to be heart warming and a joy to read.  Furthermore, this will be a book you would be willing to give to your younger children knowing they will enjoy it as well.

Change of Heart by Carmen Peone

Change of HeartPeone, Carmen.  Change of Heart.  Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2011.  140 pp.  $11.99.  Purchase for less at Amazon.

Introduction

Carmen Peone and her husband, Joe, lives in Northeast Washington, on the Colville Indian Reservation for the past twenty-two years.  She spent three years studying with an Arrow Lakes Elder and loves working with children in many different church activities as well as a substitute teacher at the local Inchelium School.  You can read more about Carmen in an interview posted here.

Summary

From the back of the book:

After fighting with her sister, thirteen-year-old Spupaleena bolted from their Arrow Lakes pit home into the dead of winter. Spupaleena didn’t know where she was going but knew she could no longer live at home. Haunted by the deaths of her mother and baby brother, Spupaleena ran until she’d run too far. Upon discovering Spupaleena’s body, Philip Gardner, a trapper, brings her home to his cabin. His wife, Elizabeth, does her best to help heal Spupaleena, although with a broken heart and a mangled body, she is not likely to survive. But when Phillip doesn’t return from a trip into town, a pregnant Elizabeth and a weak Spupaleena are forced to find strength not only in each other but in God as well. In this story of hardship, grief, and eventual hope, Spupaleena learns all she needed was a Change of Heart.

Check out the trailer for the book:

Review

Carmen has written a wonderful story that will captivate your imagination and leave reading late into the night.  At only 140 pages, she packs a large story in a relatively small space.  Perhaps more than the story, I enjoyed learning the language of the Colvin Indian tribe known as Sinyekst.  Throughout the pages of the novel, she interweaves their language with our definition so that we can gain a deeper understanding.

While there is much conversation in the way of a Creator God, I would have liked to have read more about Jesus Christ who alone is the “mediator between God and men.”  Typically, an author will discuss God, but rarely will they discuss Christ.  For me, this is of the utmost importance.  Regardless, as a work of fiction, Change of Heart is well written and is an enjoyable story.

Recommendation

Again, while I wish more was said in the way of Christ, I can still recommend this book to all as the story is very family friendly and enjoyable.  Much will be learned, and, perhaps, one’s curiosity may be piqued as to the ways of the Colvin Indians.

Seeing God in the Simple Things by Katherine Weaver

Seeing God in the Simple ThingsWeaver, Katherine.  Seeing God in the Simple Things.  Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2012.  164 pp.  $10.99.  Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction/Summary

Katherine serves as the administrative assistant to a lead pastor in a local church. Her heart is to magnify the Lord in everyday life and that comes out in this book.

Written more like a devotional with each chapter being no more than two pages, Katherine writes short, simple bite-size thoughts to keep the Christian meditating on the things of God.  From the back of the book, “Katherine’s book will show you a different way of looking at the situations we all find ourselves in – a way of finding God in the everyday things.  This book takes you on a journey through a series of challenging events in the author’s life.”

Review

I found this work to be insightful and Christ-centered. Her words carry weight as one who has been through that herself.  Each devotional is full of practical application and soul-searching questions.  She points the reader to Christ over and over.  It is not until the end, however, that she shares an explicit gospel message.  While I disagree with the verbage of “To begin this relationship with Jesus, please join me in this prayer….[prayer]….Welcome to the family of God!” I shy away from these because so many put their hope in a half-hearted prayer and then when that fades they lose hope.  Rather, our hope is in Christ and Him crucified!

Regardless, Katherine is getting the gospel out to others and is pointing everyone to Christ.  That alone is a worthy effort and one I pray the Lord blesses through this little book.

Recommendation

While there are many devotionals out there, Katherine Weaver’s offers many practical suggestions for redeeming your daily walk and life by seeking the Lord in the small things.  I can recommend this work to those who are looking for a devotional that will guide them to do just that.

 

The Battle for One Elect by Dr. Simon Hezekiah Kohein

Kohein, Dr. Simon Hezekiah.  The Battle for One Elect.  Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2010.  212 pp.  $13.99.  Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction/Summary

Dr. Kohein has published what amounts to a journal of sorts that he wrote after his wife died at an early age.  He was left to raise a very young family by himself.  This journal is more than just a memoir.  It is rather a compilation of letters that he wrote to his wife after she passed away.  He pours his heart and soul into each letter as will be noted in the book.

Divided into twelve chapters, each chapter is one letter.  There is no chronological flow necessarily to the letters.  Instead, we read the reflections on what amounts to a difficult life lived by one Dr. Kohein to the glory of God.  In these letters, the reader will see how the past has influenced the present and will eventually influence the future in the life of one family.  Moreover, we see how the Lord uses it all for the good of His saints.

Review

This is a difficult work to review simply because it is very much autobiographical in nature.  It is not as if one can say I disagree with X when in reality X is something that happened in the life of the author or was the way he responded to a situation right or wrong.  I will say that Dr. Kohein pulls no punches with his letters.  We are treated to raw emotion and reaction to various circumstances.  For that, this work rings of genuine truth telling.

You will find yourself crying with him on one page and laughing the next.  There will be times where you will disagree with his approach to parenting and applauding him in another instance.  Ultimately, what you will learn is that life is a roller coaster…for all people.

There is, however, one are I do take issue with theologically and feel I should address it here.  Dr. Kohein talks quite often of “having faith in God’s Word.”  While not inherently a bad thing, this can also lead to idolatry.  Our faith is not to be in the Bible as if it has salvific qualities.  Rather, our faith is in Christ alone though we are to turn to the Bible to learn about Him.  It is also in the Word of God where we find how one is saved as well as how one who has believed in Christ is to live.  Sadly, many have placed their faith in the Bible and not the Christ of the Bible to their eternal detriment.

Recommendation

For those who are struggling with the difficult hand dealt to you in this life, I would recommend reading The Battle for One Elect.  You will find reassurance that you are not in this battle alone.  Furthermore, you may find that your situation is not so bad.

 

 

No Innocent Affair by Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr.

Mrkvicka Jr., Edward and Kelly Helen Mrkvicka.  No Innocent Affair: Making Right the Wrong of Adultery.  Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2011.  200 pp. $15.99.  Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Ed lives in rural Illinois and has written a couple other books that hit at the heart and soul of modern day evangelicalism.  The first is Be Not Deceiveda book discussing the need to better understand grace in light of the Law and the reality that we ought to still obey the framework of the Law as set forth in the Old Testament.  The second is The Prayer Promise of Christ, offers a reasoned argument that there is a way we were taught to pray if we are to be heard.

Note: I have not read these books and am not endorsing them. I share them here to let you know that this author has written more than just the book being reviewed.

Summary

Divided into six chapters, Mrkvicka takes the reader on a journey through the tough conversation of adultery (not divorce) beginning with the Word of God and ending with the reality of true forgiveness.  In the first chapter, God’s View, Ed simply lets the Bible to do the speaking on God’s view of adultery and other subjects that are peripheral to adultery (like marriage, children, holiness, etc.).

The second chapter offers a synopsis of the world’s view of adultery (hint: “just do it” comes to mind).  The final four chapters show the harsh realities of an act of adultery from destroying the soul to killing the family.  The last two chapters look at how readily we (generally speaking) are willing to commit adultery and how we have been “deceived” into thinking we are forgiven.

Review

At the very outset of the book, Ed states that he is a fundamentalist.  This already causes the reader (and me) to go on high alert for legalism.  Still, Mrkvicka does a decent job of walking a tightrope between legalism and licentiousness.  He does come dangerously close to pronouncing adultery as the unpardonable sin but never really walks over the edge.  He does make a point that even one act of adultery has farther reaching effects than one can imagine.

Ultimately, his case seems to be more against the habitual adulterer as his chapter on forgiveness seems to imply.  His take on forgiveness is that repentance must necessarily precede forgiveness.  This to some is splitting hairs, but, in my understanding of forgiveness, is in complete accordance with the Word of God.  If we are to be children of God, we must have visual evidence of this claim.  This is found in our works (see the Book of James!) though our works certainly do not save us.  Mrkvicka suggests that the “believer” who is a habitual adulterer is not a child of God.  I would actually agree with him though I believe my language would not be nearly as pointed and divisive as his.

Recommendation

While I would recommend this book to anyone looking to counsel in the area of adultery, I would not offer it to someone dealing with it in their personal life.  It comes off as a bit too harsh in dealing with some sensitive topics. It is one thing to bring the thunder of the Word of God to shed a bright light on one’s sinful behavior.  It is another thing to do so in a manner that will close the ears of the offender (though the argument can be made that a sinner will always close their ears).

I say this based upon how Christ treated sinners in Scripture.  His harshest words were for the religious leaders (Mt. 12, John 2).  His kinder and more gentler dealings were with the men and women he dealt with every day in need of counsel.  The fact is, both people groups were sinners and Jesus chose to deal more harshly with one group than the other.  I believe this is appropriate here as well.

Crimilia by Meredith Leigh Burton

Burton, Meredith Leigh.  Crimilia.  Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2011.  196 pp.  $12.99.  Purchase at Amazon for $11.04 or less.

Introduction

Meredith is a graduate from the Tennessee School for the Blind as well as having earned her Bachelors in English and Theatre from Middle Tennessee State University.  Crimilia is her first work.  Also, she is a frequent commenter here at the website.  🙂  You can read more about the book from its own website, Crimilia.
Check out this promotional video for the book:

Summary

As with most works of fiction, I have found it easiest to take the summary from the website or the back of the book so as not to give too much away of the story.

Hannah Wilkins is bitter. In addition to being teased at school about her weight, she has now been struck blind in a terrible accident, causing her to lose all sense of normalcy, and her tight-knit family. She struggles through every day, each of which only seems to get worse than the last, until one fateful morning when her bus hits a deer and the resulting jolt sends her flying into another universe.

Brandon Pringle struggles every day to fit in and function like the rest of the children at his school. Afflicted by a debilitating limp, he doesn’t seem to be useful to anyone. But when he is thrown from the school bus and lands on an unfamiliar riverbank, everything he knows about himself is completely overturned.

Tossed together in the unfamiliar and turbulent land of Crimilia, Hannah and Brandon must fight their way through the unfamiliar landscapes of jealousy, greed, temptation, and hate in order to help restore peace to a land run by a tyrant. With the help of a few friends and through the goodness of a kindly baker named Jamal, they might just succeed in freeing the citizens of Crimilia from the ruthless Queen Salak. Join author Meredith Burton for an unforgettable tale of friendship, faith, and perseverance in the land of Crimilia.

Review

I greatly enjoyed this work of fantasy though I did struggle at times to stay in the world of Crimilia.  The concept of bringing two children, one with a crippled leg, the other blind, into a battle (think Narnia) where they are fulfilling prophecy may not be new but it does offer a twist to the common books of fantasy.  Most of us reading these works are healthy (or healthy enough that we can envision ourselves as being a part of the story).  This is not always the case for those with various disabilities.

Meredith, with first hand knowledge of having a disability (she is blind in case you didn’t figure that out from above) offers keen insight into the frustrations as well as the way in which one does live with a body that does not work as it should.  The characters are believable and enjoyable.  I am pretty confident that anyone reading Crimilia will be able to identify with one or more of the characters.

Perhaps the greatest critique of the novel was allusion to man’s freedom incapacitating God in some manner in a couple remarks by Jamal.  In other words, man’s choice keeps God from working His will.  This is a very common misconception and one that has gained even more traction in recent history thanks to democracy.

As I said above, I did struggle to remain within the world of the book.  Meredith drew heavily from Scripture (applause!) but so much so that I found myself critiquing her use of various passages.  It was also obvious she was greatly influenced by Lewis’ Narnia series to which she states on her author page.  Again, that was me reading as a critic.  Regardless, I found the work to be enjoyable.

Recommendation

I would recommend getting a copy of this book, reading it (I did so in one night), and giving it to someone else to read – preferably an unbeliever.  Crimilia will open avenues of conversation that you might not have ever had.  I can definitely see this being a resource to give to young teens as there is a social lesson to be learned as well.

The Everlasting Season by Daniel J. Brommer

Brommer, Daniel J.  The Everlasting Season.  Mustang: Tate Publishing, 2010.  300 pp.  $21.99.  Purchase at Amazon for much less.

Introduction

Author Daniel Brommer is currently studying sports management.  He is also a believer passionate to share his faith.  The Everlasting Season is his first novel.

Summary

The best summary for a work of fiction is always found on the back of the book.  So, here it is….

What if you could make a deal with God in order to be the very best at the one thing you truly loved? That’s exactly what Darren ‘Cam’ Cameron does. Darren loves football and always dreamed of being something special, being someone nobody would ever forget. He wanted to be known as the best player to play the game, even after he was gone. So he made a deal with God to be the best. But there was a catch: he had to live his life perfectly.

While Darren gets everything he could possibly dream for in his high school football careersetting football records and gaining a full ride to his dream school, Florida Statehe still struggles with the temptations that come along with high school and upholding his end of the deal. Things become even harder when he tries to muster the courage to tell his longtime friend he’s in love with her and when the team loses one of their best players. Darren must step up and lead his friends and teammates to the state championship game.

But as Darren’s senior season comes to a close and he is recognized as the best football player in the country, he finds himself questioning whether it was right or wrong to make this deal with God. His face and story is in every major sports magazine, but he wonders if the cost of making this deal is too much for him to bear and how much longer he can continue living in secrecy.

Review

I found the story to be enjoyable and even somewhat believable insofar as high school superstar athletes are concerned.  The characters were believable and the situations they found themselves throughout their senior year were as well.    There were a number of times that I found myself not able to put the book down as I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

There were, however, some concerns with the story line as there are with many works of Christian fiction.  For example, some of the language that is put into God’s mouth when Cam is speaking to Him makes it sound as though God needs Cam because the Devil “got in the way” of His original plans.  It is almost as if God is up there ringing His hands hoping that Cam will work things out for Him.

I do not have a problem with Cam having made the deal he did with God.  That is part of the story line and what drives this work of fiction.  I do have a problem that Cam comes off as a Messianic figure of sorts.  That being said, I am confident Brommer is not intending for this teen-aged kid to be the Messiah, but it is something with which we must be aware while reading.

Not all is lost, though.  This is a fine work of fiction that does offer a good and somewhat plausible story.  It must be read with discernment and everything must be checked with the Bible before it is to be believed as a dogma of the Christian faith.  Nonetheless, it is an enjoyable read.

Recommendation

I do recommend The Everlasting Season with the qualification that one must keep in mind that this is work of fiction and that there are some area of concern that should at least cause us to pause and think about what is biblical and what is not.  That being said, if you are a football fan, then you will most definitely enjoy this novel.

Generational Impact by Dr. Jeffrey A. Klick

Klick, Dr. Jeffrey A.  Generational Impact –  A Vision for the Family.  Mustang: Tate Publishing and Enterprises, 2010.  184 pp.  $13.99.  Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Dr. Klick is pastor at Hope Family Fellowship in Kansas City, Mo, a church he planted in 1993.  He has also written a book entitled Courage to Flee which has been reviewed on this site.  Pertinent to this particular book is his marriage to his wife, Leslie, for 35+ years, his three grown children, and his nine grandchildren.

Summary

Over the course of eighteen chapters, 184 pages, Dr. and Pastor Jeff Klick offers a biblically based apologetic for considering your family above all others (except God!).  He builds on the foundation of a divine blueprint  and moves into a biblical understanding of authority.  After describing generational warfare, he discusses the importance of marriage and spouses being together in the process of training their children.

He spends a few chapters on the importance and use of discipline as the children grow from infants to toddlers to teens to married.  He concludes with a look at the importance of attending church and doing things together as a family as opposed to separate as a family.  In other words, do not delegate your children’s spiritual and social upbringing to others!

Each chapter concludes with a few questions to pray about that will help the reader to assess where his or her family is in all of this.  The very end of the book offers a few choice works for family read aloud as well as some suggested reading on the subject of family life in and out of the church.

Review

It is a joy to read a resource by an author that is simply a pastor.  He has not become a rock star in a denomination, he has not written any NY Times best sellers (though I wish this book was one!), he just goes about shepherding the flock that God has entrusted to him.  Dr. Klick offers a complete theology from years of pastoral (and parenting) experiences.

Perhaps you will not agree with everything he writes, but he doesn’t want you to, either.  Rather, Dr. Klick wants you to seriously consider what you are doing with your family to impact them for years to come.  To that end, he accomplishes his goal.  It is important to note that this is not a step-by-step manual for you to take back to your church or home and implement over time.  Instead, it is one of those resources you read and by the end realize you either have many changes to make or, by the grace of God, you’ve actually been doing something right.

I found Generational Impact to be well-written, seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6), and a great comfort to my soul.

Recommendation

There is a great movement in the church today (I prefer the term Family-Equipping Ministry Model) for the family to take back the impetus of the spiritual, physical, and emotional training of children.  Add to that ever growing list of resources this one by Dr. Jeffrey A. Klick.  It is one that you will read once, hand off to another, and then wish you had back so you could read it again only to realize that you are glad you handed it off to someone else!  In other words, purchase a couple copies so you can give some away while keeping your own marked up copy in your library.