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Jonathan Esterman "Jonathan Esterman" RSS Feed (Oregon, USA)

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Froz Ice Ball Maker - Novelty Food-Grade Silicone Ice Mold Tray With 4 X 4.5cm Ball Capacity
Froz Ice Ball Maker - Novelty Food-Grade Silicone Ice Mold Tray With 4 X 4.5cm Ball Capacity
Offered by Housewares Solutions
Price: $8.99
2 used & new from $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, March 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
They make great ice balls for a glass of whiskey or amaretto. They do not take long to freeze, and do the job well, but sometimes the balls come with slight "nipples" at the end that can look rather awkward. That is no big deal, however. Just remember to peel the silicone away quickly, as the cold temperatures can freeze a hand rather fast. These are all part of the cost of an ice ball, though. The silicone seems to be quite sturdy, and I have been using it regularly for two months without any issues. These are a fair size, but not as large as I had hoped. I would rate them "medium" sized for most glasses. For my drinking tumblers, I could fit a larger size, but these work well, and melt slowly.


A Year of Living Prayerfully: How A Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life
A Year of Living Prayerfully: How A Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life
by Jared Brock
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.83
60 used & new from $9.95

4.0 out of 5 stars This book is definitely one to take a look at, March 20, 2015
Most times, I review books out of publisher agreements. In the case of this book, I received a copy per the personal invitation of Jared. Jared even put together a <a href="http://youtu.be/i2GyycjheLg">book trailer</a> to give potential readers a feel for his style of writing. The premise of the book is quite enticing, and piqued my personal interest as well. I spent most of the reading time in two chunks, with an overnight reading session to see what Jared had to say about prayer.

Jared tells of his experience travelling the world in an effort to improve his personal prayer life. In this journey, he met with Jewish, Orthodox, and Pentecostal leaders. Jared is definitely skilled at writing, and has quite the resume (including HuffPo and Esquire) to back it up. His experiences are honest, even to a brutal degree. During his travels, and his interactions with different groups, he learns useful and applicable prayer practices to integrate in his own prayer life, and at the same time, provides these for readers to learn more about.

While accomplishing this, however, Jared reveals his inadequate knowledge of culture, history, and theology of any group that differs from his own personal beliefs. I nearly put the book down while what he had to say about the Jewish people. My wife gently reminding me that it was most likely sarcasm and a plea to humor, but with recent worldwide events, religious and cultural groups have grown very sensitive to how they are portrayed.

Apart from the minor indiscretions of sarcasm, Jared shares his travels with amazing detail, and even imparted useful prayer techniques for me to implement in my own prayer life. This book is definitely one to take a look at.

Disclosure: I was contracted to write an honest review in exchange for a reviewer copy of the product. The opinions stated in this review are solely my own.


The Making of a Leader, Second Edition: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development
The Making of a Leader, Second Edition: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development
by J. Robert Clinton
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.04
70 used & new from $9.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Clinton could have easily titled this book "The Making of a Christian" instead, March 5, 2015
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In my opinion, it is difficult, if not impossible, to improve this book. Why do I say this? First off, Clinton has regularly been updating this book to be relevant to the current leadership team, taking and cultural differences and integrating them into timeless leadership truths. This book has material that is highly applicable for all leaders in all organizations, even though it is written in such a manner the only Christian leaders would consider reading it (due to its high level of spiritual content). Perhaps my most critical comments on about the book is how spiritual it is, in that it limits those who need the lessons most from learning about them.
The point is valid, that the lessons must be taught with a spiritual component, as the leadership concepts and principles taught in this book are based off of Y'shua's leadership in Scripture and G-d's overall intent for our lives. My only other criticism is that this book is highly applicable in nature, which requires the reader to evaluate themselves and implement the changes immediately, instead of reading and a theoretical capacity. Then again, this is also a benefit and that it requires maturity and growth instead of informing about it, but leaving the reader without taking action.
Full of anecdotes and examples, Clinton does indeed write a singular title. The applications in this book are not limited to leaders, as what Clinton describes are everyday life processes. In this capacity, I believe that Clinton could have easily titled this book "The Making of a Christian" instead.


The Bondage Breaker®
The Bondage Breaker®
Price: $7.99

2.0 out of 5 stars The supernatural content goes from a logical basis, and even a biblical basis, to jumping the shark, March 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
** spoiler alert ** In reviewing Anderson's content, I find his materials to be fairly charismatic in nature and focused more heavily on the struggles and bondages with the demons than the victory in Christ. This is beneficial insomuch that he gives what feels like a compendium of information regarding demonic bondage, but is detrimental in that readers will be quickly overwhelmed with the burden of spiritual warfare and may altogether miss Anderson's comments about freedom in Christ. I personally appreciated his intimate approach with the reader, as well as giving clear steps and processes that the reader may follow to be delivered from bondage in their own lives. His content is fairly wordy, which makes it a less interesting of a read, and as a result readers could easily skim through duller pages and missed the nuggets hidden in between.

While reading through his material, I do have concerns about some of his "faulty" beliefs regarding demons. I do agree that demonic activity can still occur today, and have personally witnessed demonic possessions. However, when Anderson states that all demonic activity found in the Bible could not be related to mental illnesses at all, there is an undermining of modern science that was not available at that time. To me, the author of the book of the Bible in which illnesses could have been demonic possessions could only have explained it in such a fashion because they were not aware of those types of maladies in the age. This, however, also has a direct correlation to whether believers literally interpret the book of Revelation as fantastical beasts, or interpreted to mean modern technologies, such as a helicopter, that did not exist back in time. In that regard, I suppose it is up to reader interpretation. Anderson's comment about how Christians cannot be affected by demons is on par, as Christians could be influenced to make decisions of the flesh. I also appreciate how Anderson admits the daemonic influence to happen with even mild or unsuspecting sins. Overall, Anderson, although charismatic, does a decent job presenting the tough realities of spiritual bondage and demonic oppression.

On another note, Anderson has a detailed checklist for individuals to complete two "experience freedom.” While this may be beneficial for nonbelievers coming into the faith, it is intense and requires individuals to announce specific history, when the message of the cross is about deliverance, not dredging up the past. Anderson does point out that when someone comes into the faith, there is no erase pattern for habits prior to coming to Christ. This is problematic, however, as Scripture indicates that when one becomes a new creation, the old is gone. This is particularly challenging in regards to Anderson's detailed freedom steps. He encourages individuals to complete a non-Christian spiritual checklist, which includes several items regarding cults and the occult. He then challenges individuals to complete a spiritual questionnaire about their prior experience with the supernatural. My only experience with these things has been with extremely charismatic groups that tend to veer outside of biblical basis and create their own guidelines. Additionally, the author has a section on pronouncing wrong priorities. This list includes sports, fun, television, games, spousal interactions, and being a parent. This is extremely offensive in the area that Anderson suggests that one can be too focused on being a husband/wife or being a parent. In my personal experience, and my knowledge of the Bible, such is not a situation. Paul even pointed out that when one becomes a husband/wife or parent, they have no choice but to devote less to HaShem, as they must fulfill their obligation to their significant other and/or children. In this regard, Anderson's material is informative yet questionable at best.

Overall, I have to ask myself: is this a book that I would recommend others to read? The answer is a wholehearted no. While Anderson can provide some beneficial information for consideration, most of his content, I feel, goes to the extreme and charismatic belief and has no biblical basis. If a book for believers lacks a firm foundation in the Bible, it can cause more harm than good and should not be read except for scholastic purposes. This book fits that bill, without exception. The supernatural content goes from a logical basis, and even a biblical basis, to jumping the shark.


Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders
Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders
by Reggie McNeal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.89
80 used & new from $10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive read on leadership the gives practical steps to take today, March 1, 2015
Reggie McNeal writes this brief definitive book on extraordinary spiritual leaders with the belief that great leaders are direly needed. A great leader has certain characteristics that make them unique from mediocre leadership: humility, effectiveness, and the willingness to serve. A problem is that these traits are often missing in leaders today. This book is the answer: in these pages are seven specific disciplines needed to foster great leadership.

The first discipline covered the self-awareness. McNeil provides examples of biblical leaders demonstrated self-awareness, specifically David, Paul, and Y'shua. Evaluating the reader's personal history, addictions, and compulsions, McNeil looks at the boundaries to help the reader be more self-aware. The second discipline is self-management. Self-management includes: managing feelings (these include depression, anger, hostility, grief, fear, and bitterness), managing expectations (those the reader places on themselves and those others have on the reader), managing money, and staying healthy (physically, mentally, and spiritual). The third discipline is self-development. This includes the lifelong learning and the unlearning curve, as well as establishing best practices for learning and networking appropriately. In this process, the reader can become aware of their strengths and develop a culture that supports their strengths, as well as avoiding burnout. The fourth discipline is mission. This section helps the reader understand their mission/call, by evaluating their passions, talents, and personality. A mission must have meaning and significance, focus on excellence, improve energy, and be intentional.

The fifth discipline is decision-making. Leaders must have the elements of good decision-making, which include: asking the right questions, getting enough of the right kind of information, considering timing, involving the right people, operating with the right motives, understanding intended outcomes, making accurate decisions from debriefing sessions, and learning from mistakes. The sixth discipline is belonging. The leader must have appropriate belonging within their family, which includes: being at peace with family of origin, working toward intimacy in marriage, and blessing their children. A leader must also appropriate belonging within a friendship network, ensuring friends have beneficial qualities and knocks detrimental qualities to the friendship. A leader should have appropriate belonging to coworkers, investing in their team. The leader must also have a mentor to help with life coaching, professional matters, and spiritual life. This can be accomplished out of peer mentorship if needed. Leaders must also have belonging to their followers. The seventh, and last, discipline is the discipline of aloneness. A reality of life is a leadership is often times lonely. This includes the wilderness experience – which can often be a life-changing experience for leaders. During alone times, leaders should observe the Sabbath, have extended prayer times, fast, and journal. Having alone time is needed, and can often be violated by mismanagement of time, inappropriate boundaries, and unnecessary distractions.

By the end of the book, readers have become leaders, but not just that – leaders practicing greatness.


The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith
The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith
Offered by HarperCollins Christian Publishing
Price: $1.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ken addresses how we try to make sense of a G-d that is mysterious, March 1, 2015
I hail from Bend, Oregon and have had the opportunity to work with Ken in a mutual project involving apologetics and reaching the youth in Central Oregon in the past. When this title became available for me to review, I selected it because of my knowledge of Ken's prior work. Little did I know how relevant his content is, nor what to expect from his writing style.

In his book, Ken addresses how we try to make sense of a G-d that is mysterious, and the conflict that arises. It's an excellent topic to address in the post-modern era that Christians are faced with today, and I feel that Ken gave it a good shot. Ken's writing style is at times complex, but he drives the point home. Repeatedly. With many words. That is the largest issue with his book. While his content is an important consideration for Christians today, Ken's writing style seems a bit more like notes for a sermon in church, not so much a fluid reading experience. I found it difficult to keep traction with him for long, and was quickly drawn to other books to read.

Those looking for a more detailed and laborous approach to the subject will be quite fond of Ken's work. Much like Ken's work with apologetics, a great deal of effort was put into this book and will benefit many…just not me.

Disclosure: I was contracted to write an honest review in exchange for a reviewer copy of the product. The opinions stated in this review are solely my own. 


Spiritual Warfare
Spiritual Warfare
Price: $7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Rankin correctly portrays the enemy and his goals, as well as the purpose of our existence, in his book., March 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Spiritual Warfare (Kindle Edition)
Rankin's content is a very interesting read. He presents several fascinating viewpoints regarding spiritual warfare. Reviewing his information, I do like that he addresses the reality of spiritual warfare. He shares several tales of his experiences to help validate, in a way, the content he is sharing. I do feel, however, that he does over share in some instances, unnecessarily lengthening the book. The information may, no doubt, be needed by those who are struggling with the concept of spiritual warfare, but my personal view is that it makes the book less interesting by being too long. The content he shares could easily be covered in a single church sermon, which would be the length of a blog post or short essay – not a full length book. His definition of spiritual warfare, as addressed previously in this critique, is excellent. It is open enough for many denominations to receive and approve the definition, yet succinct enough to adequately address spiritual warfare without watering it down.
I appreciate his consistent use of Scripture throughout the book to help support his assertions and claims about spiritual warfare. Scripture is not over quoted, either, which lends support that Rankin does not feel he needs to persuade an audience to believe his theory, but rather that he fully believes what he is writing about and earnestly believes that his audience agrees with them. In this regard, his book is more or less a short primer on the world of spiritual warfare. He addresses all the topics that are needed, and maintains a healthy viewpoint of the enemy: not underestimating him, but not giving him too much power either. Rankin fully relies on the power of Christ to overcome Satan. He is not charismatic in his approach, yet also shares experiences that would invalidate the standard "the spirit realm is dead" viewpoint of many Christians and the modern West.
Rankin correctly portrays the enemy and his goals, as well as the purpose of our existence, in his book. Other than the length of his chapters outweighing the applicable content in the chapters, Rankin fully addressed the topic at hand and provides a definitive read on spiritual warfare for the believer today.


Unbound (The Omega Trilogy Book 1)
Unbound (The Omega Trilogy Book 1)
Price: $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Simmons presents an enticing and enthralling introduction to his new series, February 26, 2015
In this book has promise to be as realistic as possible, if the copyright page specifically indicates "this is fiction, not prophecy." As book one of a trilogy, the reader meets Elijah Goldsmith, a rich kid from Manhattan that has seen spiritual revelations in his dreams. But since this is a work of fiction, I would hate to give away any spoilers, and therefore can only further comment on the quality of the author's work, leaving the remaining content for you, the reader, to discover.

Simmons writes in a fashion that is accurately representative of the character's point of view: chaotic and imaginative. Where most authors narrate in a manner that illustrates the protagonist's thought processes yet remain detached, Simmons does the opposite. His writing is immersed into Elijah's life. The readers follow everything – his dreams, thoughts, and daily life – as if they are trapped in his mind, and limited to his linguistic abilities to communicate, almost as if it was a live-action diary.

A high quality work, Simmons presents an enticing and enthralling introduction to his new series. Those that enjoy post–apocalyptic works, as well as supernatural thrillers, will find this book a natural next read. The only problem? The world ends in 2068, not 2066…

Disclosure: I was contracted to write an honest review in exchange for a reviewer copy of the product. The opinions stated in this review are solely my own.


GoPro Pole and Floaty Bundle by CamKix - Includes 1 Adjustable Telescopic Pole with 14" - 40" Extension / 2 Adjustable Straps to Attach Wifi Remote (remote not included) / 1 Float for GoPro Backdoor / Waterproof Velcro and Adhesive Attachments / Compatible with GoPro Hero 1, 2, 3, 3+, 4 (1 meter)
GoPro Pole and Floaty Bundle by CamKix - Includes 1 Adjustable Telescopic Pole with 14" - 40" Extension / 2 Adjustable Straps to Attach Wifi Remote (remote not included) / 1 Float for GoPro Backdoor / Waterproof Velcro and Adhesive Attachments / Compatible with GoPro Hero 1, 2, 3, 3+, 4 (1 meter)
Offered by ECO-FUSED
Price: $22.99
2 used & new from $20.94

4.0 out of 5 stars This pole fits in my messenger bag and is easy to carry with me, February 17, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love how small and portable the pole is. Works great for GoPro and with additional attachment, an excellent selfie stick. There are only three issues: (i) the stick does not seem to be very durable for heavy-action filming, (ii) twisting to extend can give you a burn if you're not careful, and (iii) the attachment for the remote would be better as a clip on than the buckle. Otherwise, much cheaper and more versatile than the name-brand pole. This pole fits in my messenger bag and is easy to carry with me.

** REVISED 2/26/15**

After speaking with customer service, I was sent to the replacement pole to test out. Having tested it out, I do believe that the issues I mentioned regarding the pole are issues with the quality of the build. I increase the review one star, as I believe that the pole hold up to most filming situations. In cases of extreme sports, the pole will hold up just as good as alternatives. However, in regards to the twisting that can cause a burn, this is unfortunately an issue due to how the pole is built. The strip attachment for the remote is not the most ideal solution, but it is an economical one. Overall, I am satisfied with this purchase, and despite the minor setbacks the pole presents, I would recommend this option.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2015 8:37 PM PST


The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local
The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Each page is decorated with special touches from Fred and Carrie, and brings the television show to life., February 12, 2015
Do you cook like a local? Do you use organic free-range homegrown chicken? No? Why, then, you are either missing out on a delicacy or avoiding a chicken-based cult located on the West Coast.

Based off the popular television show, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, with the help of Jonathan Krisel, bring you the official companion to Portlandia. That’s right, folks – it’s The Portlandia Cookbook. Not only is the chicken in the recipes woodland-raised, heritage breed that has been feed a diet of sheep’s milk, soy, and hazelnuts, but the recipes themselves are inspired by the show and altogether make for an excellent cookbook (assuming you are a fan of the show, that is).

There are five categories that you can find your selection: small plates, main courses, desserts, drinks, and brunch. That’s right…brunch. Each page is decorated with special touches from Fred and Carrie, and brings the television show to life. Being a Portlander myself, I can attest that not only is the show an accurate portrayal of the city, but the recipes are precisely what could be found at a locally owned and operated joint. Bon appetite!

Disclosure: I was contracted to write an honest review in exchange for a reviewer copy of the product. The opinions stated in this review are solely my own.


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