Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Couple of Good Reads For The new Year

This latest book from the founder and pastor of Mosaic Community is a challenge to live life to the fullest right until you take your last breath.

The premise is taken from a rather obscure story in the Bible. The prophet Elisha is dying and he gives Jehoash, King of Israel instructions that may seem a bit bizarre. The prophet tells the King to get a bow, some arrows, open the window and fire away. The king does as instructed but only shoots some of the arrows. The prophet is furious because the king stops short and as a result of his actions announces to him that he will ultimately be defeated by Amaziah, King of Judah.

Taking off from this spot McManus urges the reader to fire every arrow in their quiver. Leave nothing for tomorrow and live with no regrets. This isn't always safe and certainly can be uncomfortable; but his contention is that this lifestyle is the one God desires for you. 

Mixing some sound life advice with Scriptural principles McManus offers a plan for moving forward with your life. An interesting twist to the book is that after completing it the author found out that he had cancer. The book could have easily been written by someone who had been given their own expiration date - but it wasn't. Only the Preface was written after the diagnosis.

The Last Arrow is a book of encouragement and challenge. It is worth the read if you are 25 or 75. As long as you have life there are arrows to be fired. 

From the back cover of the book.

Before you die, live the life you were meant to live.

When you come to the end of your days, you will not measure your life based on success and failures. All of those will eventually blur together into a single memory called “life.”

What will give you solace is a life with nothing left undone. One that’s been lived with relentless ambition, a heart on fire, and with no regrets.

On the other hand, what will haunt you until your final breath is who you could have been but never became and what you could have done but never did.

The Last Arrow is your roadmap to a life that defies odds and alters destinies. Discover the attributes of those who break the gravitational pull of mediocrity as cultural pioneer and thought leader Erwin McManus examines the characteristics of individuals who risked everything for a life they could only imagine. Imagine living the life you were convinced was only a dream.

We all begin this life with a quiver full of arrows.

Now the choice is yours. Will you cling to your arrows or risk them all, opting to live until you have nothing left to give?

Time is short. Pick up The Last Arrow and begin the greatest quest of your life.


If you want to read a book that will get you upset, this will fit the bill.
This past fall while on vacation I read several books that "just so happened" to deal with individuals who have made significant changes in our world. It wasn't intentional, but that's how the books piled up.
Just Mercy was different. The other books were fascinating and educational, but this one bothered my soul. In 1983 Bryan Stevenson was a student at Harvard Law working an internship in Georgia with the Southern Prisoners Defense Committee. He met with and worked with prisoners who because of their lack of funds or the color of their skin hadn't gotten a fair shake in our justice system. That summer led to a lifetime that continues to represent the under-served and marginalized in our society.

Throughout the book Stevenson weaves the true story Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a murder he didn't commit, with other stories and discussions of our legal system. It would be easy to look the other way and say that all this happened down south and I live up north, but that would be disingenuous. The truth is that these things are happening in my country in my lifetime. The system isn't always fair and justice isn't always blind.
If you are in the mood to be challenged and bothered, pick up this book. It is well written and gives a compelling argument for changes needed in our justice system.
Just Mercy has won a number of awards including The Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction. Here's a review by someone whose name you'll recognize.
“Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story.”—John Grisham