Book Reviews

"Taming the Tiger" - by Tony Anthony (Reviewed by Nia Hendry)

posted 28 Nov 2010, 04:07 by Mark Ware

 I first heard about this book when I was away with the church at Gorsely Festival about two years ago, as people were commenting on Tony Anthony’s (the author) testimony. The book “Taming the Tiger” is a very striking read as; Anthony gives very detailed scenes of the abusive upbringing by his grandfather, which turned a four year old child, into a three times Kung-Fu World champion and later on in life, a hardened, professional killer.


As I read the book, some of the experiences were shocking and some could move you to tears, but others made you see some joy in his life and they make you laugh out loud.


 One part in the book, Tony Anthony explains that as he was fulfilled by God, he had the Aroma of Christ, which makes me believe that it is something that is sensed by those who come in contact with us, Paul wrote, ‘For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and perishing’. This influences me throughout the book as, we are to serve Jesus and do it with no care of what others think of you, which covers you in the aroma of Christ, in the same way Anthony was involved so much in Kung-Fu, that it became his way of life.


Tony Anthony was a free man in prison, which relates to the caption on the front cover of the book ‘From the Depths of Hell to the Heights of Glory’ which really does describe his situation. This book kept my interest from beginning to end, looking into his life at the beginning, with all the hate and anger and to look at it now, with God in his life and see the huge change in him.

         Nia Hendry

‘Left Behind’ By ‘Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins’ - Reviewed by Mark Thomas

posted 10 Nov 2010, 08:20 by Mark Ware

I understand this book is the first in a ‘Left behind’ series and this one is advertised as ‘A novel of the earth’s last days.’  I one cataclysmic moment, millions around the globe disappear………….

Now I’m not one for reading novels, in fact I suspect you could count on one hand all the novels I’ve ever read, it must be me because I know many people thoroughly enjoy a good novel. I am more of a one for facts, history, geography-ish and summaries of who did what and when etc. ………… yes I know, boring!

Anyway I picked this one  as it was a novel based on Biblical teaching about the ’last days’, and whilst I knew in my head what the Bible speaks about I’ve never got emotionally drawn into it, strange me thinks!


 A quick whistle-stop tour of the book is as follows:  There’s a pilot (Rayford Steele) whose wife is a Christian, then there’s an unmarried journalist (Buck Williams) who is an up and coming star of the newspaper columns.  The journalist had many contacts across the world that helped him get ‘the’ story before anyone else, and yes you guessed it, he was on the plane that Rayford Steel was flying when people went missing (bodies disappeared but the clothes still left behind) The book is split into these two main characters tracing their stories each character referred to in a few paragraphs at a time.


First, Rayford Steele, he had two daughters and one of them along with his wife disappeared, leaving him and his other daughter behind. After a great deal of sorrow and searching Rayford and the daughter that was left behind discovered that God and Jesus was indeed real and they set out in urgency to tell people about the reality of God. Then there’s Buck Williams who was into everything to get a story, he even started rubbing shoulders with top politicians in order to get ‘that’ story. These two characters eventually get together through a series of mutual friends where power and lies, weakness and truth all played a part. Buck eventually saw the reality of Jesus and was empowered to urgently tell people of his experience. Throughout the story there’s this increasingly powerful new politician (Nicolae Carpathia) who has absolute influence over everyone other than those who were now looking to Jesus for the answer, however, there were many, even after the disappearances, still looking to someone who promised them things of this world for their peace and future rather than to Jesus.


What I have keenly picked up throughout this novel, is that as a Christian I should have a far greater urgency about me to ensure as many people as is possible get to hear the Gospel (good news), after all the message of Jesus is literally ‘life saving’ for all who believe.


A quote from the book about Rayford Steel’s thoughts on his daughter who was also left behind:

‘I cannot loose her, he thought, and he believed he would trade his own salvation for hers if that was what it took. With that commitment, he sensed God speaking to him, impressing on him that that was precisely the burden required for winning people, for leading them to Christ. That was the attitude of Jesus himself, being willing to take on himself the punishment of men and women so they could live’.

 A powerful challenge for us!  

The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom) - reviewed by Rhiannon Ware

posted 14 Jul 2010, 08:32 by Mark Ware   [ updated 17 Dec 2010, 01:30 ]

For Christmas I’d asked for and received a copy of Corrie
Ten Boom’s ‘The Hiding Place’. Many will be familiar with
her testimony, but for those who are not I will endeavour to
summarise her story.

Corrie Ten Boom and her family were living in Haarlem, Holland
at the outbreak of World War II. Her family, not wealthy but
devoutly Christian, risked their lives by offering their home to
Jews as a ‘Hiding Place’ from the occupying Nazis. The story
goes on to recount the experiences of Corrie and Betsie (her sister)
after their arrest and subsequent detention in various concentration
I love reading a good adventure book and this is truly of this
genre. However, it is also a deeply challenging book as the reader
remembers that this is not a novel, but a real account of the Ten
Boom family and Corrie’s testimony of God’s hand on their life
through adversity. She writes honestly, contrasting her practical,
often forceful self with the more sedate, spiritual Betsie and the
highly respected, profoundly wise Father.
I couldn’t put this book down (and equally couldn’t believe I
hadn’t read her story before!) The Hiding Place presents so many
spiritual jewels, it gives evidence that our God is still providing
miracles where there is need and offers a challenge to our comfy,
Christian existence of today.

Rhiannon Ware

Point Man (Steve Farar) - reviewed by Michael Freeman

posted 6 Mar 2010, 02:01 by Mark Ware   [ updated 24 Mar 2010, 04:06 ]

I first must make my apologies to the ladies of the church (bet that’s grabbed you attention!) This book is aimed at men, and predominantly fathers, but I must confess that after reading it, for the first time, it is the type of book that all men (and women) should read if they care about their family and how they, as the head of the house, should be leading.

The title comes from a military term used predominantly in Vietnam when a soldier was given the responsibility of leading a small group of soldiers on patrol in enemy territory. This man had sole responsibility for the men in his care, it is his leadership qualities that will determine whether these men live or die! This man is the Point Man. This analogy is then used to describe the man of the house. The father as the leader of the family unit, has a huge responsibility to lead his family into the ‘war zone’ that is modern living.

The book is really a guide to modern living, a roadmap if you like, to help, guide, correct and even rebuke the parental unit as it negotiates this world we live in. and Steve does this in a very open and clear way. Using humour quite often, relating to real people and real events and even using personal illustrations to try and get the message across. He is a very open and honest writer and you can feel his passion about the subject matter in every word he writes.

And some of the subjects that he does cover are quite difficult issues indeed. For example the second chapter is entitled save the boys. This deals with how men in general have become obsolete in their roles as the father figure and as a consequence there children have no real role models to look to for guidance, and sadly turn to many of the wrong things of this world to compensate.

Another chapter which is called Telling your children what you don’t want to tell them deals with the subject matter of sex education. A hot potato if ever there was one! What he says on the subject is that there are many people out there who are quite willing to teach our children on the subject, schools, professionals, organisations, but the real lessons need to be taught at home, by the parents, it is their responsibility. If you want your child to know what it’s all about then its up to you to tell them.

I suppose at this point I should say that there are probably hundreds if not thousands of books available on the subject of parenthood, Christian and secular. A few are probably very good, I would suspect the majority are terrible, but what makes Steve’s book stand out is that really the focus is not on the father or even the mother, the focus is not even on the child, the focus is on God. And ultimately God as our heavenly father is who we need to give us guidance and help.

I appreciate that some people would not find this book relevant to there own personal circumstances which is fine, but I am sure there are people who you know would find this book a great read. One other thing that is quite helpful is at the back is a discussion /study guide aimed at men’s groups. I have not gone through this myself but glancing through it, it looks very good.

Just a footnote on the author, Steve Farrar is the founder of Men’s Leadership Ministries based in Frisco, Texas. He is the author of Finishing strong, Standing tall, Getting there & Tempered steel. He is a graduate of Western seminary with an earned doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is married with three grown children.

Mike Freeman

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