Not Just the Love Boat

I have a confession to make.  Back in the late 70's and early 80's, I was a Love Boat junkie. Don't ask me why but that show was one of my guilty pleasures.  So I was very excited when I saw this new autobiography by Gavin MacLeod, This is Your Captain Speaking.  To my wife's amusement (embarrassment maybe), I continued to hum and sing the Love Boat theme while reading this book.

As for the book itself, it is just what you would expect from an actors autobiography.  Gavin MacLeod drops a lot of names in this book.  You read about his numerous encounters with the rich and famous and how his acting has opened many doors for him in life.  The book is pure nostalgia for fans of his work on the Mary Tyler Moore and the Love Boat.

Gavin also talks about his bad choices, from alcoholism to divorce.  He speaks about his ego and how he tried to be the "Captain" of his own life.  The book then moves to a new level when Gavin talks about how he came to faith in Christ.  Not only that, but God restored his marriage, which had ended in divorce a couple years before.

Gavin continued to act, but with a new focus.  He worked with his wife Patti as hosts of a 17 year marriage program on TBN.  He also became a spokesman for Princess cruise lines.  He also talks about what he feels is his best work now, The Secret of Jonathan Sperry.  This move has been used to lead many to Christ over the last 5+ years.

I enjoyed this book and any fan of MacLeod's work as an actor will find this book a nice cruise through his life.  His journey of faith is interesting and encouraging.  You can't ask for much more than that.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


The Man At The Counter

The man standing at the counter was pouring his heart out.

"I may not make it through the winter.  If I die, will you remember my name?"

We could see his pain and began praying for him.  He doffed his cap, and bowed his head.  As we continued praying, tears rolled down his cheek.  After we finished praying, he began to cry out to the Lord.

He mentioned his struggles, his addictions and the fact that he felt his life was near it's end.  Yet he also began to pray for us.  He prayed that God would bless the work we do, that God would watch over us and help us to help others like him.

Some would write this off as the rambling of an intoxicated man. 

Yet that line, "would you remember my name", resonates with me.  I assured him that we knew him, would never forget him and more importantly that Jesus would never forget him. 

How often do we forget though?  How often do we forget that each person we meet has a story.  We can write off whole segments of society, or write a check for others to do the work...but we are all called to be ministers of grace, ministers of hope. 

How often do we listen for the stories of those around us?  We often ask people how they are but do we want to hear the truth?  Do we take the time to actually listen?

Jesus did, He still does.

Lord help us to have listening ears, listening hearts and to be your hands of grace to everyone we meet.


Real - A Book Review

Real by Jamie Snyder encourages readers to become a 24/7 follower of Jesus.

The book is divided into 3 parts: The Real Question, the Real Life and the Real Answer.  All three sections left me feeling different things about the book.  Part one really seemed to be to narrowly focused on the question "If Sunday didn't exist, would people know we were Christians."  Snyder spent way to long looking at variations of that question. I kept waiting for him to move on to the ways we could become the 24/7 follower of Jesus.

Once getting through part one however, the book began to pick up steam and seemed to hit the marks that Snyder promised at the beginning of the book.

I loved how he ended each chapter with discussion questions and a prayer.  I also found the 7 areas he focused on in part 2 to be encouraging, challenging and motivating.  I particularly liked his section on Mad Love.

The book also wrapped up well.  If not for the first section, I would say this was a great book.  I would still recommend this book though for anyone wanting more out of their relationship with God!

I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program.


Glimpses of Hope

Wars, floods, hurricanes, famine, tornadoes, poverty, sickness and pain.

You can't follow the news without seeing a daily does of all of the above.

I have heard for years that in reference to the news: If it bleeds, It leads.

What we don't often hear though are the stories of hope.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29 :11

It may be hard to have hope in the midst of hardship, yet if you look for it, you will find the stories of those who are looking to a future beyond the suffering of the present.

At times during my teen years, hope was the only thing I had.

By the early 80's we were a middle class family.  My Dad had his own business, we owned our own home and though we had other problems, poverty wasn't one of them.

My folks moved to Tennessee when I was 14 and we all gave our lives to Christ within a few months.   Within a couple years, the bottom fell out of our middle class life. 

My Dad's business wasn't doing well, then we lost our home.  We moved and moved again.  Then we got behind on the rent, and our electricity, and before long we were in a deep, deep hole.

The church we were attending wondered out loud what "sin" we had committed to go through this suffering. 

As for me, I found it a struggle to have joy.  I tried to remain upbeat but the continuous blow after blow began to take it's toll on my faith.  Where was God?  Why did we suffer like this?  Was there any way our circumstances could change?  Well change they did, as we had to leave our most recent home and were driving around in our van, homeless.  We found a one room cabin for a month and then it was on the road again looking for another home...and another.

At the lowest point, all I had left was the little glimpses of hope God provided in the midst of the struggle. 

Like the lady who offered to pay for me to go to Bible College.  (I didn't at the time.)
Like the fact that we always had a place to lay our head.  Even if that place wasn't our home.
Like the time God provided for me to go for a week to California to volunteer at a missions base.

In the midst of all this, I saw God provide, one day at a time, day after day. 


Now, looking back on my life, I see how God was always there.  He never left me, even in the darkest hours.

He is a God of Hope!