Monday, May 28, 2018

Enjoy the beach, the lake, or the recliner with a good book!

Are you looking for some fun summertime reading?

Would you like some action-packed page-turners that don’t require you to wash the filth out of your brain when you’re done with ‘em? Maybe something with a little more substance than your average pulp fiction? Let me suggest a few ideas. By the way, if you are already ON vacation and forgot to bring a good book, all of these can be ordered on Kindle and enjoyed on your tablet or smart phone using the free Kindle App. You could be reading in ten minutes!

MILITARY/ESPIONAGE THRILLER: The Falcon Trilogy: Falcon DownFalcon RisingFalcon Strike.

Major Jacob “Falcon” Kelly is shot down by the Soviet Union and captured in a hi-tech kidnapping during the Cold War. He is the chief test pilot for a new, super-secret F16 weapons package, and the Soviets intend to interrogate him to learn its secrets. They’ve detained him at a secret GRU facility in Siberia, but whether or not they’ll be able to hold on to him is another matter. He has some skills of which they are unaware.

Of Falcon Down, Kirkus Reviews said:
Cobb has clearly done his research on multiple counts and, like Tom Clancy or Dale Brown, masterly intertwines military technology and behavior into a tightly plotted narrative in which every development follows logically and smoothly from what came before. This deft touch extends to the characters . . . .
An Amazon reader says of Falcon Rising, Book 2 of the Falcon trilogy: If you want a book you can put down, this might not be for you! I loved this book and the first book (Falcon Down) in this series as well! C.H. Cobb transports and entangles you alongside his characters with such vivid detail. I felt like I was one step behind them the whole way through this action-adventure. Can't wait for the next one!

Of Falcon Strike, an Amazon reader says: Cold War Russia in the 80's with all of the intrigue and eavesdropping, plus the US military at its very best. The reader gets a front row seat for the back room discussions of both sides with clear descriptions that provide a vivid mind picture of all the action. Plenty of unexpected twists and turns with several places to hold your breath waiting for the worst to happen.

Another reader comments: The third book in the Falcon series does not disappoint! It was as engaging as its predecessors. I could not put it down. The final battle was epic. Make sure you read all 3.

Henry Marshall is a principled Christian conservative blogger who is convinced that both major parties have abandoned the Constitution. His intention is to be nothing more than a political gadfly, but his friends won’t allow him to stay on the sidelines, and his enemies don’t intend to allow him to live.

Journalist and author TJ Martinell said:
Penned before the 2016 election cycle and the Trump phenomenon, The Candidate is a political thriller that unwittingly earns a place within the alternative history genre for its exploration of how far a man can go armed only with a message – and how far those within the establishment will go to stop him. . . . [M]any of the aspects of the plot seem prophetic, rather than slightly fanciful.
A pastor by trade, Cobb’s writing reflects extensive background knowledge of mainstream media, political strategy, the military, and of course constitutional history; each chapter begins either with a Bible verse or a passage from the Federalist Papers. The technical preciseness gives vital story subplots a sense of authenticity and realism.

The year is 2120, but life in the USA—and around the globe—has been reduced to primitive survival. Eighty years earlier, a biological weapon of mass destruction caused a global smallpox pandemic, leaving only eight million survivors scattered around the entire globe. Jacen Chester, living near the ruins of Philadelphia, PA, decides that there must be more to life than mere survival. He determines to restart civilization and culture. He is aided by a mysterious stranger, and opposed by murderous groups.

One reader remarked about Phoenix: Dystopian fictions are so extremely popular and common right now that I made the mistake of lumping Phoenix in with all of the other ones, before having read it. What this book offers, from the beginning, is what others have a hard time offering. And that is a message of hope. [Amazon reader review]

Outlander Chronices: Pegasus
Book 2 of the Outlander Chronicles series. The Phoenix community has the mistaken notion that upon crossing the Mississippi west into Iowa, their troubles will be over. Little do they know that the worst challenges lie ahead of them.

[Pegasus is due for a June 15 release (print version) and July 10 (Kindle version). It will be available in print and Kindle versions, from Amazon and bookstores everywhere, as well as from my website.]

Psalm 90 is explored paying particular attention to the backdrop of the remarkable life of its author, Moses. Two themes in the psalm create a dramatic tension: divine wrath and grace. Jesus Christ is shown to be the necessary answer to Moses’ prayer. Suitable for groups or individuals.

Chris Cobb’s exegesis of Psalm 90 is solid and sobering. In a world that takes sin lightly, Christianity needs to hear the message of this Psalm which Chris Cobb has brought to life. [Dr. Brent Aucoin, President of Faith Bible Seminary,

Lafayette, Indiana]

All the books above can be purchased in print or Kindle format on Amazon, or can be ordered at your local bookstore (in Greenvlle, OH, at Bread of Life Bookstore). You can order signed print copies from me at or

Sunday, May 20, 2018

That moment when you realize you're an idiot.

Have you ever had one of those “aha!” moments in which an aspect of your own behavior you had thought wise is revealed to be utterly foolish?

Having preached on wisdom this morning from Proverbs 2, this is a particularly embarrassing “aha.” More like an “oops.” Or perhaps a “well, duh!” Maybe even a “you bonehead!”

‘Twill be a bit complicated to unwind this thing, so bear with me. It’s about my books [I write books you’ve never heard of, okay?]. It’s about trusting in the Lord, or rather, misplaced trust. No, I must be honest here: it’s about sheer, fire-engine red, fog-horn-blasting stupidity. On my part.

Maybe I’d better back up and start over. I write books. I like to write. I write great stories [just ask me—I’ll tell you]. But I hate marketing. So I figured to be religious about this marketing business: “If the Lord wants my books to sell, He’ll make it happen.” Sounds very spiritual, doesn’t it? Sounds like real confidence in the Lord, right? It’s super-spiritual, wise serenity, right?

Well, yeah. Of course it is  . . . At least, it sounds that way.

Until we apply that logic elsewhere. Allow me to demonstrate:
“If the Lord wants this field to grow my crops, He’ll plant the seed.”
“If the Lord wants me to pay my bills, He’ll bring in the money whether or not I work.”
“If the Lord wants me to be a marathon runner, He’ll give me the cardio, the leg muscles, and the absolute foolishness [wait, I didn’t actually say that, did I?] to run 26.2 miles. [Don’t forget the point two, otherwise you ain’t crossin’ that finish line, Bubba.]

We pause now for theological identification . . .

The theology in the prior paragraph is known as Keswick theology, and is usually identified by the mantra “let go and let God.” While there is a time and place in which that saying has good credibility (such as, I’m going to let go of my dream of a pain-free life, and let God work through me even in the midst of my suffering), in most cases it winds up meaning, “I’m going to stop sweating it and sit back in my rocker and let God sanctify me.” The problem is that many purveyors of this theology forget to ever get out of the rocker, i.e. they missed the memo that said, “DISCIPLINE thyself to godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).

We now resume our normal programming . . .

So, there I was, letting go and letting God, trusting Him to not only cause the growth but cultivate and plant the ground as well. I have been doing NOTHING at all about marketing these six excellent stories I have written. It finally struck me the other day that though I profess the biblical view of sanctification, when it came to my books I am a functional Keswicker [is that even a word?].

That’s gonna change. I still HATE MARKETING. But I see now that I need to work hard at it, and THEN trust the Lord for the results. So for the near future, there’s gonna be less writing and more marketing. [Sigh. I really, really don’t like marketing . . .]

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review of Thomas Howard's Chance or the Dance

A garden of delight is the little book (136 pages) titled “Chance or the Dance, A Critique of ModernSecularism,” by Thomas Howard. Although the topic is serious, the writing is Lewis-like, almost whimsical, and very enjoyable.

The thesis of the author is that a new myth (“if you can’t measure it, it does not exist”) has replaced the old myth (angels, demons, gods, heaven, hell); and with that changing of myth has come a necessary alteration of significance. Under the old myth, everything means everything: the patterns and rhythms and images of everyday humdrum existence all point to an Ultimate Reality—they all mean something. Conversely, under the new myth nothing means anything: everything is the product of random chance, the fortuitous collocation of molecules and atoms and therefore the very concept of meaning or significance is an impossibility.

The book is not a philosophical tome by any means – the writer eschews jargon and uses garden-variety experiences and objects (wherein is the whimsy) – lunch, acorns, soup cans, dishrags – to assert his argument (lurking behind it all I sense he is drawing allusions to Plato’s forms). But it’s not a book to exhaust the reader with mental gymnastics – his points are simple. He also draws richly from the world of art, literature, movies, poetry, etc, to make his case.

Do not be fooled: this is not a book for skimming. He builds the wall of his argument a brick at a time and if you skim you’ll wind up missing bricks here and there. Pay close attention to the first two chapters where he lays out his ideas of the old/new myths, the notion of form and content, and imaging/imagination. These are matters Howard uses constantly throughout the book, and you’ll want to note well what he means by them.

Like Lewis, Tolkien, and Chesterton, Howard comes from the tradition of Anglo-Catholic philosopher/writers. If there’s a bone I have to pick with this excellent and clear-minded tradition it is the exaltation of reason to an excessive height, often putting God at the wrong end of the microscope and making Him the object upon which we exercise our rationality, rather than seeing God as the author of a rationality to which He himself is not subject. This tradition often overlooks the darkness which sin has imposed on our ability to think rationally. In any case, you’ll enjoy Howard’s exquisitely precise argument that comes wrapped in the clothes of everyday life.

Howard only intimates but does not state the ultimate point of his book. He suggests rather than proclaims. As a reader who knows the Ultimate Reality behind the images, I found this to be a little frustrating, something like listening to a truncated rendition of a glorious piece of music. The conductor, coming to the finale of a bravura performance of a gorgeous symphony, waves the orchestra to silence and neglects the the final page. The music hangs in the air, begging for its crescendo. But that is just the sort of subtlety that defines all the pages of this little volume—Howard leaves the reader to connect the final, obvious dots. Perhaps, in the end, that is part of its appeal.

That resolution does come (in the edition that I read) in the afterword by Tyler Blanski. One might accuse Blanski of stating the obvious, but in four pages he does it well. Many readers of this book might be muddling about in darkness. Connecting the lines to the final dots might be asking too much. Blanski marks the path clearly for those wearing the opaque glasses of secularism.

Five stars to Howard’s Chance or the Dance; it is a relentlessly more powerful apologetic than citing facts, figures, and statistics.