Alligator Jazz (book review)

Alligator Jazz book

Title: Alligator Jazz
Author: Samuel E. Pittman II
Illustrated by: Sheila Bailey
Print: Gretna, Pelican Publishing Company, 2018

This book is a short children’s book about an alligator that plays a saxophone. His saxophone gets stolen by a weasel. After finding the weasel playing the saxophone, the alligator gets it back and forgives the weasel of doing wrong and they begin to work together.

The story illustrates the goodness of forgiving someone when he asks for forgiveness, instead of fighting back and getting revenge. It also describes the challenges of change and doing what you love to do with the best of your abilities. It shows that when you do something great, not everyone will like it and some will be jealous and try to take it from you.

This book is an excellent book for younger children–28 pages. It is a large size, hard back book with full page pictures in color on each page. Sheila Bailey does an excellent job with the illustrations. They are well detailed, but not overly done. With all of the colors and animals in each picture, they will draw the attention of little children.

The story is written on a level that a 9-10 year old could read on his own. Younger ones will just enjoy the large pictures and great story.

Samuel Pittman is a middle school English teacher and track and field coach. He wrote this book with struggles in mind that people sometimes have to go through.

I highly recommend this book for anyone with children, or grand-children, that love to read or hear stories.

The City At World’s End (book review)

Title: The City At World’s End
Author: Edmond Hamilton
Original Print:

This book is a science fiction book that takes a different type of look at a nuclear war. A small town is directly hit with a nuclear bomb. They are not destroyed, but moved into a future time, several thousand years later. A lot has changed and they must start everything new.

As they meet ‘people’ in the future who come to help them. They begin with distrust and treat them badly, because they are different. This book shows some of the horror of racialism and prejudices that people tend to have against new or different people.

Although this has a great story about overcoming and moving on with life, it has nothing to do with God. Although there are a few references of people who believe in God, there is no overall belief in Him. One of the quotes a person says in the story shows this very well: “Leave us to work out our own salvation.”

This quote is something that the world tries to say all the time. They do not want God or Jesus in their lives and try to work out their own lives. Many believers in God also attempt this. They try to live a good life in order to be on God’s good side, rather than trusting the salvation Jesus provided and His grace and mercy.

The author does a great job at presenting a different outcome of a nuclear bomb, than the standard death. He also does a good job at presenting how people are with unknown or different people, how people can be prejudice and cruel to others. However, there are several curse words used in the book that did not really need to be used thus lowering its overall value to me.

I cannot highly recommend this book, though it is good to read and see the philosophy and thoughts of mankind without God.

Exceedingly Growing Faith

Title: Exceedingly Growing Faith
 Kenneth E. Hagin
Publisher: RHEMA Bible Church
Date: 1983
Pages: 102

Faith is something that every believer knows about and wants. In this short, easy to read book, Kenneth talks about what faith really is.

He points out that often people feel as if they really do not have any faith and need to get some. It states in the Bible that every person is given a measure of faith by God. It is not something that a person needs to seek to find, but has to exercise what he has.

Kenneth uses a variety of examples from the Bible to show how people had faith to receive healing. Many scriptures are quoted throughout the book, instead of just being paraphrased.

Faith in the Bible was not just something believed in the heart. It was something that was spoken out loud and acted upon.

Jesus did not just pray quietly for a person to be healed, He spoke healing into the life of the person. It was the same way when God spoke the earth into existence. Words have a powerful impact in the life of a person, both positively and negatively. This is where faith comes in. Speaking God’s words into your life, as fact, brings about His power.

My favorite quote of this book is: “The God-kind of faith is the kind of faith in which a man: (1) believes in his heart, and (2) says with his mouth what he believes in his heart, and (3) it comes to pass.” (page 96)

I recommend this short book to read. It will help you see what faith really is and how to apply it in your life. I enjoyed the amount of scripture used. There are very few pages that does not have at least one verse quoted. It is short enough to read in just a few days, if you take your time and are a slower reader.

The Risk Factor

Title: The Risk Factor: Crossing The Chicken Line Into Your Supernatural Destiny
Author: Kevin Dedmon & Chad Dedmon
Publisher: Destiny Image Publishers Inc
Date: 2011
Pages: 205

Kevin and Chad are a father and son who work in ministry together. They chose to write this book to encourage people seek out their spiritual destiny. They equate faith with risk. Having faith means that there is a risk involved.

They point out how Jesus had allowed Himself to be led by His Father and would not do anything without His leading. Every believer is to live their lives in the same way that Jesus did.

One of the things that Jesus (and the Father) did was take risks. He went up to the lepers and touched them. He called and trained some men to take over His ministry when He left the earth. Jesus told Lazarus to come out of the tomb after being dead for several days. He allowed Himself to be killed on the cross. God took a big risk at sending Jesus to the earth to do a work. What if Jesus would have backed out and refused to die on the cross? All His work would fall apart.

Each of these things were a risk. What if something did not happen? Or if it backfired and did not work out the way He hoped for?

In the same way believers are live their lives as a risk. The authors described ways in which they felt led by God’s Holy Spirit and took a risk in doing something. In the end there were many times where God showed up and lives were changed.

An example of their risks was going up to a person, in public, on crutches and asked if they could pray for healing for the person. The person was immediately healed. Then many others in the store would hear of it and ask for prayer. Many people were healed and many gave their lives to Christ.

They point out that there is always a level of fear and that they have to push through the fear to see what God can and will do. One of them talked about the fear of extreme downhill skiing. Each time they just have to go over the edge and get going. Once they get going, the thrill of the ski trip becomes a reality, despite the fear.

As believers learn to step out in faith and take a risk for God, they must be given room to make mistakes and learn. Often people do not step out in faith because of fear of being wrong or rejected. God never said that you would do everything perfect, but He does expect you to step out in faith and try.

Very few people try to do anything great for God, yet Jesus said you would do greater things than Him.

In this book, the authors challenge the believer to take a risk for God. Step out and be the light of this world. Be willing to give the message God has for all people. See what God can do through you. Be a world changer.

The chapters are easy to read and short. They use real life stories and ask many of the questions most people would ask in taking a risk.

It will challenge your faith in God. Is your faith alive and active–doing things for God?

Or is it dead, just believing God, but not doing anything for God?

One quote from the book I like: “Whenever the enemy tries to shout at me with the accusations of intimidation and fear, I take courage because I know my destiny in God is getting ready to be revealed.” page 141

I recommend every believer to read this book. Take a serious look at your faith in God and determine if it is alive or dead. Then ask God to help you take the steps of risk to be used by Him in mighty ways.


Living Above The Level Of Mediocrity

Title: Living Above The Level Of Mediocrity: A Commitment To Excellence
Author: Charles R. Swindoll
Publisher: Word Books Publisher
Date: 1978
Pages: 278

Charles Swindoll takes a look at living a life that is above the average life. Throughout this book, from beginning to end, he uses an eagle for his illustration. Most people love to see the eagle flying through the air, majestic and powerful. The reason the eagle looks so great is that it does things above what the normal bird does, it is willing and able to rise above the average to soar high in the skies.

Going throughout scripture, the author starts by looking at various lives of people in the Bible who lived extraordinary lives above the level of mediocrity. He then looks at lives of people who rejected living above the normal. Most people fall into this category.

Here he takes a look at the various things that put pressure on people to live just like everyone else does and refuse to rise above the normal and soar in the heavens with God. The four areas that he points out that keep people in the normal are: greed, traditionalism, apathetic indifference, and joyless selfishness. People are born to be greedy and selfish, and want only comfort and the easy life with fame following the same way that they have always lived.

Living for God will not always bring about the easy life, and will definitely not be the easy path. Most people will put pressure on a person to not rock the boat and be different or to soar as an eagle. Yet, God is calling every believer to rise above the standards of this world. He wants to do great and mighty things through every believer, if allowed to do so.

In this book, the author looks at what can cause a person to stay average, the battle it will take to soar, and how to stay focused on soaring as an eagle for God in this world that wants to walk on the ground. It will challenge you in the way you live your life for God. It is a call to excellence for God.

He uses a lot of scriptures and puts all of the verses in the text, so that you do not have to go look them up in a Bible. The writing is in everyday language, not scholarly big words.

I would encourage every believer to read this book, even though it was written nearly forty years ago and some of the current examples are now old history. It is well worth reading and taking to heart.