James Hutton enjoys discussing religious matters with others, and studying his Bible. He has other interests, such as listening to classical music and learning from other non-fiction works, but they are far less important than seeking to serve God and please Him.
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How Do I Obey the Gospel?
by James Hutton
This small study book is designed to help the reader learn the plan of salvation, and how to become a Christian. Although it can be difficult to understand at first, the plan of salvation is simple. It can actually be summarized in just a few sentences. Read the book to find out more.
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Smashwords book reviews by James Hutton
- The Birth of Christ As Recorded In the Scriptures
on Dec. 23, 2012
This ebook is pleasantly simple, and does not seek to do anything more than what it sets out to do. As the description states, it presents various scripture verses in succession to tell the story of the birth of Christ. It begins with verses from Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Micah, leading up to the well-known verses from Luke 2 and Matthew 2. I appreciated Mr. Davis placing the verses from Luke 2 prior to those found in Matthew 2; this correctly shows the proper sequence of events that can be lost when reading them in the opposite order.
This collection of verses, and their sequence, gives additional clarity to how the prophecies of Christ's birth in the Old Testament highlight the coming fulfillment later completed in the New Testament. Some of these verses could be easily overlooked so having them all together is helpful.
There are a couple of minor errors with the book, but they are so inconsequential that I would still give the book 5 stars. Thanks for putting it together!
- The Anti Stupidity Book
on Dec. 23, 2012
From looking at this book's cover, and reading the opening paragraph to its prelude, I couldn't help but chuckle at this book. It was clear early on in my reading of this book that Mr. Reltso chose a very tongue-in-cheek method of getting his message across that can be disarming, and generally works well.
As mentioned in the book description, The Anti Stupidity Book discusses six different forms of stupidity, including thinking there are no moral values, denying the existence of God, and establishing pride, vanity, and ego as watchwords to live by. All of these are presented as an ongoing dialog between the author and an imaginary reader that rarely agrees with him. It is pretty humorous how the different topics are presented, but sometimes I thought the author came off as rude and presumptuous to his imaginary reader. This occurs in Mr. Reltso's discussion on addictions as one example.
Despite these few moments, the author is generally successful in presenting his arguments well. Although he does mention the Bible, and references some verses from it, it takes a back seat for the majority of the book. Mr. Reltso mainly uses a logical series of questions and examples to make his points, rather than scripture. This can be helpful if someone is just looking into the Christian faith, but it can also be problematic. He uses he uses very little scripture to back up some of his points that would warrant more. His definition of damnation is one such example.
Of course, in the dialogs, the author regularly convinces his imaginary reader of his major points. I wasn't necessarily convinced by everything I read, but I think Mr. Reltso did a good job of making it so the reader would have reason to consider that which is presented. I think his chapters on pride and valuing things over people were among the best in the book. The connection between forgiveness and pride is one of the best parts of the book as well.
The book has a few shortcoming, but it is still entertaining and makes some good points.
- Five Seconds After You Die
on Dec. 23, 2012
Considering what will happen to us 5 seconds after we die is something that all of us should ponder and take seriously. Our lives could be cut short any day. We do not know when we will draw our last breath. This consideration is the main point of Mr. Connell's book, which was originally a sermon he preached in August of 2011.
This book is a transcript of that lesson, and as such it has a bit of a different flow to it than a normal book. His desire for sharing his concern that accidents happen all the time, and that young adults are not immune from these dangers come off the page regularly. He then relays the stories of various people he had seen in hospitals that were coming near to death's door, and their responses to it. After telling his stories, the events of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke 16:19-31 are brought into his lesson.
These verses are the text for Mr. Connell's sermon, and he does a pretty good job of walking his audience through the text verse by verse. I appreciated the fact that the text was handled pretty directly. He makes very few unnecessary leaps in the verses he uses, and as such much of the work is spent going over each part of the verses. Sometimes this is done excessively to a fault. For example, it is mentioned more than once how poor Lazarus was in comparison to the wealth of the rich man.
The main issue with this approach is that sometimes the message seems too much like just a retelling of what are found in our Bibles anyway. There is not much explanation of the text from other verses in the Bible, and when other verses are mentioned, the chapter and verse references are not mentioned. This is a shame because all teachers of the Bible need to be checked to make sure that what they preach is correct.
This problem of lack of references is compounded by the sermon being a bit too heavy on personal stories where other scripture verses could have been used instead. This reliance on subjective stories and experiences also leads to more opportunities to teach error as well. After reflecting on the sermon and its organization, I think this weakened the message to significantly. It will cause me to remember the stories more, and the truth of God's word less.
Thankfully, the point of the sermon was not lost. We don't like to think about it, but young adults still get in car accidents and have tragic ends to their lives. This fact is indeed important, and something that should be seriously considered.
- He Used A Stone
on Jan. 08, 2013
Mr. Mullek's book, He Used A Stone, uses the fact that God used a simple stone in the hand of a young shepherd boy to show that we can achieve victory in Christ wherever we are. This is an important fact, and something that is brought up throughout the book, often within the context of places that we may overlook. One such place that is discussed in conjunction with this is our behavior when we are at our workplace.
Much of the book's pages discuss David's own workplaces, such as his time working in the fields, playing his harp while watching over his sheep, and then later during his time as king. David's victory over Goliath, and his time evading the threats of Saul are also given significant time in the book as well.
It is clear that the author spent a lot of effort in writing about the many parts of David's life, but sometimes this is a double-edged sword. Mr. Mullek's work is appreciated, and I can tell you that this book has helped me think about things that had not crossed my mind very much before. For instance, I had never spent as much time thinking about David protecting his flock from bears, or his behavior in contrast to his oldest brother Eliab before reading this work. The insights here, and elsewhere are welcome and appreciated. The comments in chapter 12 about Jonathan giving David his robe and tunic were particularly beneficial to me.
On the other hand, it seems that sometimes so much work is spent on writing material for the different topics that the author goes too far in his discussions. This seemed to be the most noticeable in chapters 6 and 8, where the battlefield and the five smooth stones are studied respectively. At times, I had difficulty in seeing why some of the things he mentions in these chapters were brought up at all. They seemed to have come out of left field for me.
Other times, some chapters are so short and light on scripture that they may have benefited from being revamped, or cut altogether. This was mainly seen in part 3 of the book, where a number of short chapters are found. Sadly, this third part is where I discovered that although the book is 24 chapters in length, the table of contents stops at chapter 20. This makes makes chapter 20 appear to be 20 pages in length on my ereader, when it is actually much shorter than that.
This table of contents error was an unfortunate find for me. Generally this book is rather impressive, and more professional than many I have read on Smashwords thus far (as of January 2013). Yet, the table of contents issue, typos, and the weaker chapters bring it down a notch or two. Despite these problems, this book is generally well written, largely professional, and has a great cover as well. Although I am giving it 3 stars, if Smashwords would let me, I would give it 3 1/2. Thanks for writing it!