Books! – By Pastor Rivers

When Shaun first brought up the topic of the staff sharing book recommendations, I loved the idea. And, as I’ve read some of the early blogs, I’m so glad we did this. I typically can be found reading a book most every day in the mornings or evenings and am looking forward to sampling some of our staff’s recommendations.

As a point of full disclosure, my learned colleagues are much more qualified to endorse quality literature than yours truly who spends too much time delving into his favorite sports columnists’ latest ramblings. But bear with me as I offer some interesting books I’ve read the past few months.

The First Phone Call from Heaven, by Mitch Albom

FirstPhoneCallHow unbelievable would it be to receive a loved one’s phone call from Heaven? To know what Heaven is really like? To know what to focus our energies on while here on earth? In his latest fiction novel, Mitch Albom — a long-time sports writer for the Detroit Free Press and a regular contributor to ESPN — explores a gateway to the afterlife that all of us would like to encounter.

One day in the tiny town of Coldwater, Michigan the phones begin to ring. The callers all indicate they are calling from Heaven. The possible miracles become national news and the town is overrun with people hopeful to make contact. Are the calls really miracles or simply a cruel hoax?

Sully Harding, a disgraced pilot and admitted skeptic, digs into the calls hoping to prove them to be a hoax while trying to repair his broken heart at the same time.

Killing Jesus, by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard

KillingJesusBill O’Reilly is nationally recognized through his syndicated column and his top-rated television show – The O’Reilly Factor. For the third time in the past few years (Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln), he teams up with historian Martin Dugard to explore the life and eventual murder of Jesus.

Obviously the details surrounding the life of Jesus are fascinating but what the book does well is fill in some of the blanks about the political environment of the day. The writers also explore the lives of several key figures in the trial and execution of Jesus such as Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus, and Pontius Pilate.

Two thousand years after his death and resurrection, Killing Jesus offers a fascinating look at our Messiah and those intertwined in his life.

Uncommon, by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker

UncommonTony Dungy, former Super Bowl winning coach of the Indianapolis Colts and now a sportscaster for NBC, shares his thoughts on being successful as a man in Uncommon.

Dungy expands on advice given to him as a young football player at the University of Minnesota by Coach Cal Stoll. Stoll once told his team, “Success is uncommon, therefore not to be enjoyed by the common man. I’m looking for uncommon people.”

Dungy gives us sound advice that he has learned from his faith, his parents, his mentors, and his experience in becoming a man of significance. He feels strongly that one of his most important jobs is to build men into being true role models.


Ed Rivers
Director of Operations
Johns Creek Baptist Church

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Marsha Hunter
    January 14, 2014 1:37 pm

    Ed, Great choices – even though you describe yourself as a sports enthusiast, your books are excellent reads. Killing Jesus gives an historical context to Jesus’ life, Albom has such thought provoking scenarios, and Dungy is an outstanding Christian man from the sports world. Having heard Dungy speak, the tenets in his book are truly lived out in the life of the author. Good job!


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