Tag Archives: WinePress Publishing

Far From Good by Stephen Van Zant

Far From GoodVan Zant, Stephen. Far From Good: The Trial of Sam Cray.  Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2011.  263 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.


Stephen Van Zant is “not a real writer.”  He set out to tell a story in the imaginary Kidron County in Kentucky.  He graduated from University of Kentucky with a degree in American Literature and then from the University of Louisville with a law degree.


From the back of the book:

A town divided by racial prejudice . . .
When his school year draws to a close, Sam Cray looks forward to a carefree summer with his friends. However, now that his parents are divorced, it’s up to him to help his mom and tend to their rundown house. To make matters worse, their new neighbor is Coach Ray Bedford, a control freak known for his harsh manner on the football field and occasional racist remarks.

When angry words between Sam’s friend, Dewayne, and Coach Bedford turn to blows, Sam is called to testify in a sensational trial that threatens to divide a small Kentucky town. Sam’s difficult choices and the trial’s aftermath set events in motion that put his life in danger. When a summer ending canoe trip with friends turns deadly, will Sam return alive?


Van Zant offers a realistic look at growing up in the 70’s.  In reality, he offers a realistic look at growing up in general. He tackles tough topics like divorce and racial prejudices in a manner that will provoke thought and conversation.

Missing is a Christ-centered approach to the problems and issues at hand, but again, this novel is meant to depict life as it is now how I personally hope it to be.  Regardless, I would have liked to have read of a Christian conscience throughout the story.

In the end, Far From Good is a page turner that will keep you reading late into the night and have you questioning your own attitudes.


I can recommend this book to teens and young adults as it will open their eyes to the reality that all choices have consequences.

Islam: the Cloak of Antichrist by Jack Smith

Islam - the cloak of antichristSmith, Jack. Islam: The Cloak of Antichrist. Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2011.  364 pp.  $26.99.  Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.


Jack Smith has studied and taught Bible prophecy for many years.  He holds a Master of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In this work, Jack “introduces the reader to his unique method of deciphering biblical prophecy.”


Divided into 14 chapters, Jack offers his perspective on historical events, his interpretation of Biblical prophecy, and his conclusion as to the future coming of the Antichrist.  Each chapter offers a “summary of key points.”  As any good investigator does, Jack searches for evidence everywhere he can find it and, in my estimation, I believe that is where this book fails.

Let me say here, that I actually agree with the author that Islam will figure into the end times and the Second Coming, but I do so for many different reasons that I will not delve into in this review.  From the outset of the book, one gets the feeling that Smith has had his mind made up for some time and, without any other prefatory remarks, he simply moves from point A (Bible prophecy) to point B (Islam is the Antichrist) without much more than a comparison statement. He jumps from Satan waging war in Genesis 3 to Islam not being a religion of peace.  He offers some modern cultural evidence to substantiate his claim, but nothing more.

Second, though it is the foundation for the book, the author claims to have a “unique method of deciphering biblical prophecy.” This concerns me as Ecclesiastes says, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  What makes this particular interpretation of Biblical prophecy unique? Some may see his view of Ezekiel 38-39 as literal unique, but it is not.  He also states, “The only way we can properly identify the leader and his kingdom is to solve each metaphor, one by one, using the prior metaphors as confirmation of the next.”  In other words, we begin at the beginning and isolate the first metaphor. We then use that metaphor to substantiate the next and so on and so on.  He uses the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle without a box as a reference.  He argues that his own preconceived ideas (as well as ours) serve as roadblocks to understanding what is really being said int he various prophecies.

I struggle with the over emphasis on the end times prophecy watch.  I am not saying it is worth delving into, but I am concerned about pinpointing specifics.  We see in Mt. 2:1-18 that knowing specifics will typically have negative results…especially for the people of God!  In other words, yes, we should watch for the signs of the times, but, also, we must never be dogmatic about our interpretations of these signs.  Ultimately, I believe if we put as much emphasis on studying Christ as much as we do studying the news for fulfilled prophecy, we would not need to worry so much.


Oddly enough, I can completely recommend this resource as it will certainly open your eyes to another understanding of end times prophecy.  Whereas the Reformers and the Puritans saw the Roman Catholic Church as the antichrist, it seems to me that Islam is now taking its turn with this dubious claim to fame.  All of this to say I enjoyed the book, and actually agree with many of the conclusions. I simply am concerned about the over emphasis and the supposed unique interpretations.


From the Cauldron to the Cross by Shari Hadley

From the Cauldron to the CrossHadley, Shari.  From the Cauldron to the Cross: My Journey from Wiccan to Christian.  Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2012.  204 pp.  $17.99.  Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.


From the back of the book:

Shari Y.S. Hadley, MSW, LCSW was raised in the beautiful Ozarks Mountain Country of Southwest Missouri. She earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Southwest Baptist University and a Master of Social Work from Missouri State University. She is a licensed clinical social worker and works as a hospice social worker and as the bereavement coordinator for Citizens Memorial Healthcare Hospice. Shari also teaches at Bolivar Technical College and is an accomplished public speaker. Shari is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling (ADEC), National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and National Association of Christian Social Workers (NACSW). She is working toward her Fellow in Thanatology.

You can find out more at her website.


In Cauldron to the Cross, Shari shares her own story of how the Lord led her out of the occult into His loving arms of genuine redemption.  Along the way, she shares the often painful details of what she endured as she sought to fill the emptiness inside.  While she still wrestles with  many questions, she now has found fulfillment in Christ.  She did not have a “Damascus Road Experience” so to speak where she at once renounced her former way of life and was born again there on the spot.  Rather, her coming to faith was more a process than an experience.  In the end, she learned to trust Christ for her everything.


This autobiography is riveting.  Shari holds nothing back as she shares her story.  I do question her influences (not that I question whether she was influenced by) as being biblically substantiated in their respective ministries.  Dr. Neil T. Anderson, the founder of Freedom in Christ Ministries has come under fire for his teachings on sin and bondage to sin.  Joyce Meyer, another “recommended author” is a well-known prosperity teacher espousing what is commonly called the health and wealth gospel wherein God wants supposedly wants you to be both healthy and rich in this life.

While Shari’s biography is subjective by its vary nature, I would be cautious with the finer details of her theology and breaking the bonds of sin.  Yes, she talks of Christ and the Cross, but she also gives much credit to those teachers whose teachings are questionable at best.  Regardless, in this fallen world, we must be able to accept that even with bad theology, the Lord will save men and women from their sin.


If you know someone in the occult, specifically, Wicca, then this may be a good read for you.  Regardless, as you read, you must be discerning to understand that not everything Shari now espouses is rooted in sound application of Scriptural truths.

Changing Churches by Dottie Parrish

Changing ChurchesParrish, Dottie.  Changing Churches: A View from the Pew.  Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2012.  194 pp.  $16.99.  Purchase at Amazon and for Kindle for less.


Dottie is a graduate of Bucknell University and holds a Master of Social Work degree from Ohio State.  She has spent her life serving the community in a variety of counseling functions both public and private.  She also wrote a weekly advice column entitled “Family Counselor.”  This, to my knowledge, is her first published book.


Divided into two parts, Dottie offers her analysis to help the one who changes churches whether as a habitual church hopper or one who leaves for more legitimate reasons.  The first part looks her own journey in three churches. The second part looks at how churches have already changed as well as how they are currently changing.  She writes from one who has been down this road herself but also as a counselor and ties it to her counseling of others during any other change in life.  This second part also includes solutions to return the church to a spirit of unity; specifically, for those churches who are constantly fighting.


This resource, while definitely not written from a pastor’s perspective, finds its value in just that…it is not written by a pastor.  The subtitle, a view from the pew, is extremely helpful for the reader to understand that these problems are real even if ill-perceived.  Donna writes with a heart to help and, while her social work degree is not rooted in Scripture (to my knowledge), she offers keen biblical insight into how church leaders and church attenders should seek to respond to conflict in churches.

Her “interlude” section offers legitimate reasons why one ought to change churches and also how one might best handle the change.  Ultimately, Dottie argues that changing churches is hard on everyone involved. Often it is like ripping a family apart at the seems.  Still, other times, it is for the better for all parties involved.  What is more, many pastors would do well to take a hard look at themselves….especially if the church where they are ministering is experiencing high turnover.


While you may disagree with some of Dottie’s findings and reasonings, she still writes candidly about a genuine situation found in many churches today.  At the very least, Changing Churches would be an excellent resource to begin the dialogue on what usually becomes the elephant in the room of a church where membership is in constant turnover.  I recommend this resource to Christians wanting to know how to handle the issue of changing churches.

Mindful of Him by Hollis Hughes

Mindful of HimHughes, Hollis.  Mindful of Him: a Novel.  Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2011.  276 pp.  $18.99.  Purchase for Amazon Kindle for much less.


Hollis Hughes served for 38 years as a high school teacher and counselor.  He was born the year before the Great Depression which proved to be a molding influence on his life.  This particular novel is a bit autobiographical in that Hughes wrote it while caring for his late wife, Janett who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.


As with most works of fiction, I have found it best to provide the summary from the back of the book so as to not give away too much in the review:

Mindful of Him is a tale of heartbreak and triumph set in the 1950s. Separated from his young wife, and with both of his parents recently deceased, Rob McLain sets off on an adventure for which he has longed since childhood.

Travel with Rob as his journey not only takes him to beautiful places, but also crosses his path with influential men who help him through his loneliness. Five months into the trip, Rob has a moonlight encounter that changes his life forever and overwhelmingly convinces this young skeptic that God is indeed mindful of him!

Through it all, he receives answers to life’s deepest questions. What does he learn? What happens to his wife? Do they get back together? Does he make it back safely?

Find the answers to these questions and others dealing with faith, creation, nature, and more in Mindful of Him, which will keep you reading long after you had planned to turn out the lights.


Rob McClain is a believable character dealing with some seriously tough issues in life.  He seems to move from one crisis to another in life and struggles with dealing with them all at the same time.  As he encounters various men through visions and reality, he discovers that there really is One out there who both cares and is in control of Rob’s life even if he feels as though his life spinning out of control.

While not always a spiritual book, McClain’s life is very much symbolic of the life so many of us live.  It seems as though we move from crisis to crisis.  Often, we crumble under the pressure, but as Hollis shows us through his character, Rob McClain, we learn that their is Someone who will hold us up and carry us through the tough times of life.  In the end, we believe the promise found in Romans 8:28 that all things happen for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.  Written from a guys perspective, this book might resonate with men better than women.


For anyone looking for a heart-felt work of fiction that speaks to real life situations, I recommend Hollis Hughes’ Mindful of Him.

The TIME Approach to Grief Support by Edmund Ng

The Time Approach to Grief SupportNg, Edmund.  The TIME Approach to Grief Support: An Easy Technique for Every Christian.  Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2011.  154 pp.  $18.99.  Purchase at Amazon for less.


Edmund Ng is a USA Certified Thanatalogist grief therapist and is the co-founder of Grace to Grieving Persons Outreach.  This ministry exists to help people deal with the death of loved ones.


Divided into 8 chapters, the author offers a text book of sorts on how to help Christians grieve.  The first chapter lays the foundation of a biblical perspective on grief support beginning in the Old Testament, moving to the New Testament and ending with the culture of the modern church.  Chapter two introduces the acrostic TIME which is what the the book is centered around in seeking to help others grieve the death of a loved one.  Chapters 3-6 explain the acrostic and gives reasons as to how and why this will work.  The chapters are as follows:  Talking the Loss, Issues are Resolved, Meaning is Sought, Ending and Referral.  The final two chapters map out a ministry model of using the TIME approach to grief counseling and a conclusion which includes a challenge to all Christians.


I appreciated greatly Edmund Ng’s biblical approach to grief counseling.  The play on the word “time” as both an acrostic and a reality, is beneficial to both the counselor and, more importantly, the counsellee.  As one who holds to a nouthetic counseling paradigm, I did find just enough “other” foundations outside of Scripture to be a bit concerned, but, I am also aware that this is a debate that rages at a higher plane than this website goes.  That being said, if a person finds himself dealing with the loss of a loved one or is counselling a widow or widower, the biblical support for Ng’s work is prevalent to the point that reading this work will equip the reader to support and guide another or, in the case of the one who is grieving, will equip them to wrestle with Scripture regarding what is happening throughout the grieving process.

Ng’s approach is simple, effective, and contains a depth and reality that I have found lacking in many books on this subject.  He offers many practical exercises and examples to help clarify what is happening and what needs to happen in the grieving process.  At the end of the book, he includes an appendix that lists numerous helpful Scripture references to direct one’s grieving and to redeem it back to the cross of Christ.


While I do fall in the nouthetic camp (Bible alone) of counseling, I did find The TIME Approach to Grief Support to be a quality resource worth having in your library.  In it you will be pointed to a sovereign God who is able.  Often times, that is exactly what the one grieving needs to hear.  In the end, that is the truth we all need to hear and know.  I can safely recommend this resource to all Christians.

Love has Come by Kevin Orr

Orr, Kevin. Love has Come: A Twenty-Eight Day Journey Through the Gospel of Matthew. Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2010. 132 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon for $11.69.


Kevin Orr currently serves bi-vocationally as the Orchestra Director for Meadowood Baptist Church in Midwest City, OK. He has served in music ministry in one capacity or another for 11+ years. He and his wife since 2000, Dawn, live in Oklahoma City, OK and have two children.

This work, Love has Come is rooted in the author’s own struggles during a crisis in his life where the Lord graciously showed him his need to look away from the trial and look toward Christ. As he writes, ‘[This book] was conceived in the early morning hours during my quiet time. With a Bible, a pen, a notebook, and a hungry spirit…”


As can be concluded by the title, Love has Come is a book of devotionals taking one chapter a day in the Gospel of Matthew. Each day looks at one verse from that day’s correlating chapter in Matthew. Mixed with personal and general reflections, you will join the apostle Matthew as he writes of Jesus birth, ministry, death and resurrection and Kevin as he discusses one or two practical points or thoughts that will help the reader on his or her own journey. At the end of each chapter is one question and a lined page to write your own personal reflections.


The personal nature of this devotional is a two-edged sword. I respect Kevin’s willingness to open up and share about his own personal struggles and life through the pages of Love has Come. I fear, however, that this personal approach will limit the devotional.

Nonetheless, it is my belief that this personal touch will still speak to many people today where our culture tells us how personal we are with our social media and smart phones. Yet, and let’s be honest, have we really become more personal or have we become more distant from the things and the people that matter most? Kevin’s work can be an aid to get you back on track reading the Word. It will also help you to deal more intimately with what God is saying to you.


While I do remain concerned about the personal nature—times do change and the specifics in Kevin’s life may not apply to all—I still found Love has Come If you are married, this will be a good opportunity to read Matthew together and go through Love has Come. Who knows, it may stimulate some intimate sharing of your own with your spouse. to be a nice devotional. It is rooted in the Word and that in itself is timeless.

Choose a devotional carefully and do not allow it to replace your Scripture reading. Love has Come will enable you to reconnect with the Lover of your Soul—God and, if married, the lover He has granted you in your spouse.

How Shall We Feed Them? by Marty Girardier

Girardier, Marty.  How Shall We Feed Them? A Practical Guide for Organizing a Food Pantry.  Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2010.  68 pp. $11.99.  Purchase at Amazon for $10.19 or less.


Marty founded the Cupboards for Christ ministry at her church.  Her prayer was to be able to revitalize the food pantry.  Her prayers were answered as the ministry tripled in size over the three years.  This book is an outworking of her experience.

Check out the video below for a better introduction:


How Shall We Feed Them? is comprised of seven chapters and a concluding section consisting of eight tools needed to run a successful food pantry.  She begins with the importance of where every ministry begins–is God calling you to this ministry? From there, Marty looks at the practical aspect of building a godly team and how to organize and stock your pantry.  She then looks at how you are to serve those in need and finally at how to multiply your ministry.

The “tools” section offers suggestions for your action plan and your check off list for both families and singles.  Many examples are included regarding contribution sign-up sheets and postcards to those you have ministered to in the past as well as those in need who have never been ministered too.


I was amazed by the practical advice offered in How Shall We Feed Them? Marty offers suggestions that I do not think I would have considered.  Her insight garnered from revitalizing her own church’s food pantry comes out clearly and succinctly in each chapter.

The book is full of pictures to offer ideas as to how Marty’s church operates.  These pictures are definitely helpful as they enable the reader to legitimately visualize the concepts being shared.  Also, at the end of each chapter is an encouraging “Storehouse Blessing” that shows a local food pantry in action.

Perhaps what was most appreciated is that the entire book is squarely founded on Scripture.  Granted, there are passages used that do not speak directly to your food pantry, but the principle is there and can be extrapolated to meet this particular need.

It is important to note that there are particular situations that will require special changes to what Marty says depending on your ministry context.  That being said, the general principles outlined in this book are worth familiarizing oneself with.

This short and insightful book would be an excellent resource for anyone seeking to begin a food pantry ministry or revitalize an existing one.


More Precious than Silver by Lynn DeShazo

DeShazo, Lynn. More Precious than Silver: The God Stories Behind the Songs of Lynn DeShazo. Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2010. 100 pp. $16.99. Purchase at Amazon for $15.29 or less.


Lynn DeShazo is a singer/song writer who has been featured on recordings by Integrity Music. Lynn has been involved in the local church through worship ministry for over 25 years–this shows in her lyrics and stories. The title of this book, More Precious than Silver comes from her 2007 release of the same name: More Precious than Silver – The Songs of Lynn DeShazo. You can check out and purchase her CD’s at Amazon.


The book is divided into thirteen chapters with each featuring a different song. Each chapter is like a historical devotional. The reader is able to peer into the heart, mind, and life of a song writer to see what led to the writing of each. While reading through the pages of More Precious than Silver, you will be introduced to a woman of great faith and talent who has remained humble and amazed at the grace and mercy of God during her career as a song writer.


I can testify to the truthfulness of the first sentence of the book, “When you see my name, Lynn DeShazo, bells probably won’t go off.” I had honestly never heard the name before. For the most part, the music wasn’t ringing any bells, either. After perusing my CD library; however, I did find that I recognized quite a few of her titles as being used of God to minister to me throughout my Christian walk.

Her stories behind the music were uplifting and very God-centered. What is more, they were saturated with Scripture. Something that is quite uncommon in “Christian music” today where many artists write about life and add God to appeal to a different audience while attempting to have a “cross-over” popularity. Yes, I probably opened a can there, but it is true.

Not being much of a musician (I cannot carry the bucket that some people can’t carry the tune in!), I was not really looking forward to this particular book. Once I started reading, it was a different story. It was amazing to actually see not only how these songs came together but how they ministered to the writer as well. I had never thought of that before though I do understand it as a preacher and a writer.

If you are a musician, you will love this book. If you have a collection of Integrity Music! CD’s go check them out. You will be surprised by how many Lynn DeShazo songs you recognize. After you see her music, you will want to pick up a copy of More Precious than Silver.

The Revelation of King Arthur by Robert Bruce Fruehling

Fruehling, Robert Bruce.  The Revelation of King Arthur: Deceit, Intrigue, and the Guards’ Account.  Enumclaw:  WinePress Publishing, 2009.  180 pp.  $19.95.  Purchase at Amazon for $15.56 or less.

NOTE: For those who are arriving to this review via Mr. Ortiz’s website, grailcode.net., please be aware that his allegations of Mr. Fruehling’s book as being stolen research is an unfounded claim at best and a reckless charge that could very well lead to defamation of character charges.  This is simply a review of a book.  I, the reviewer, have no dog in this fight and have refused Mr. Ortiz from commenting on this website due to his vitriolic rhetoric and non-Christlike attitude.  In response to all the concern about the anti-christ, I would simply remind everyone that John 10:27 reminds us that we will know the voice of Christ and therefore will not be duped by the powers of the Devil.  Look to Christ!


Robert Fruehling, an ordained pastor, currently ministers through aviv Ministries though I cannot find out much about this ministry.  What I do know is that he received and undergrad degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University and his M.Div from Ashland Theological Seminary all based in the state of Ohio.


The summary of this book is short and sweet and to the point:  every heresy that has ever been told regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ is rooted in Matthew 28:11-15 where the guards of the tomb were paid by the religious leaders to lie about what happened. He spends the first few chapters showing how easily deceived we are as a human race.  He does so in a convincing fashion (and know I was not duped!).  Fruehling then argues that every “story” (from the swoon theory to the Christ’s actual death) of Jesus’ resurrection (or so-called resurrection as the case may be in these heresies) is based upon this passage.

However one understands the importance of Matthew 28:11-15, Fruehling takes it a step further in showing how it actually is the seed bed for one of the greatest legends of all time in King Arthur and his “side-kick,” Merlin.  He believes that there are markers all over the literary landscape that point to this conclusion.  He writes on page 134, “When secular writers mirror what is written in Scripture, perhaps we should give more than just a passing look.”  He does just that in The Revelation of King Arthur.

Basically, the lineage of King Arthur is purported to lead back to Jesus Christ which means, ultimately, that Jesus did not die.  Rather, Jesus ran off to France or Spain or somewhere in western Europe with Mary Magdalen and had children.  If that is too fantastic for someone to believe (because the tomb was, in fact, empty), then people can readily assume Jesus had impregnated Mary Magdalen before his crucifixion.  You get the picture.

Next, he shows how the King Arthur lineage (if there is one, but remember we can be easily tricked into believing just about anything) will, in his estimation, play a major role in the revealing of the anti-Christ.  Admittedly, this begins to sound a bit far-fetched, but he does substantiate his claims with historical analysis of the legend and its role in past monarchies.

The book concludes with an apologetic (defense) as to why we should not look to anything or anyone other than the Christ Jesus of the Holy Bible.  He alone crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected can give us any hope in this world and in the world to come life.


Ok, I am not going to tee off on this book or the author.  While some would chalk Fruehling up to being a “quack” (and believe me, many who I talked to while reading this book did), I think he actually may be on to something.  I honestly had never really thought of Matthew 28: 11-15 as the genesis for all of the resurrection heresies.  Too be honest, I always wrote it off as people playing games with themselves to do anything so that they do not have to believe the obvious evidence before them.

I do not know much about the legend of King Arthur–outside of a round table and Lancelot and Guinevere.  Fruehling aids the readers understanding of the legend while also showing how the legend has been argued to be based on an actual person.  This “person,” it is said, is a distant child of Jesus Christ.  Thus, the importance of being able to prove the existence of King Arthur and one’s own claim to his family tree would easily set this person up as a world leader of “divine” proportions.

The one area I completely disagree with Fruehling on is his attack on The Inklings–a group of four men who met regularly to discuss their writings.  These four men were Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.  In essence, he calls these four men occultists or at the very least, as having occultic leanings.  He then calls out those who have argued against J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series while at the same time holding to the genius of both Lewis and Tolkien.  It is his estimation that Lewis and Tolkien have done more harm to Christianity than good.

His argument, while making sense, gives more of a feel that he has an ax to grind rather than a point to make.  Furthermore, I did not see clearly how these four authors (five if you count Rowling) have anything to do with King Arthur let alone the end times argument he is making.


The chapter on Lewis, Tolkien, and company, not withstanding, I actually enjoyed reading The Revelation of King Arthur.  It helped me to think a little outside the box and even helped me to understand the importance of Matthew 28:11-15.  While some would argue otherwise, I think his book is worth reading.  If anything, you will have a deeper appreciation of the legend of King Arthur than you had before.

Your certainly not going to agree with everything (I didn’t) but he will get you thinking a bit harder and a lot more different than you have in the past.  Any book that can do that while pointing the reader to faith in Christ is a worthwhile book in my estimation.