Write a Review and Win

Bible pic

It’s contest time and the prize is the beautiful new thin line NIV Bible in the picture above.

You may have expected that a vacation in the Caribbean, or perhaps a trip to Hawaii, or even a week-long stay in beautiful North Liberty, Iowa would go to the winner. However, this prize is more in keeping with an author’s income.

How do I enter the contest? You enter by simply writing a review of my first book, Shipwrecked! Learning From The Bible Bad Guys, on Amazon.com. If you have already placed such a review on Amazon don’t worry, you are already entered to win the grand prize.

How do I win? After 25 reviews of my book appear on Amazon, I will determine the winner by drawing one number between one and twenty-five. The lucky reviewer whose review matches the number will win.


1) All family members, friends, fellow bloggers, bad guys, and pirates are eligible to participate. If you can write, you are eligible for the big prize.

2) A positive review of my book is not necessary, but helpful of course. The judges are considering a consolation prize for the most favorable review, but have not yet reached a decision out of concern that it might put undue pressure on reviewers of Shipwrecked!

3) You will need to put your name on your review if you want to win (or tell me in some other way, such as by e-mail, which review belongs to you).

4) The decision of the judges in regard to the drawing will be final.

You already have a nice Bible, you say? Well, then enter for the joy of winning and give away the Bible to someone else.

So, go to Amazon.com and write your review. It’s as simple as that! 🙂



Ruthie B Pic Forwarned
Picture and article by Ruth Brentner

Everyone loves good guys. Who isn’t inspired by the life of Daniel, Joseph, Jonathan or the beloved apostle John? While their good examples show us better, higher paths, sometimes a bad example is just as revealing as a good one.

Enter the Bible bad guys.

Here’s why I love them:

1. Bad guys serve as warning signs.

Life is complex and difficult to navigate, that’s for sure. It demands warning signs simply because there are pitfalls everywhere. No one plans to shipwreck their faith, fracture their family, or wound their own soul, but sometimes these things overtake us without the advantage of an honest-to-goodness negative example. I say bring on the bad guys. They’ve left behind treasures for us in their flotsam and jetsam.

2. Bad guys expose and unmask the bad guy I deal with every day, my flesh.

That bully is an imposter and a master of deception. He relentlessly tries to get me to think that he’s my true identity instead of who I am in Christ. He knows how to make himself look good and sound good (he’s religious). He’s a justifier, a compromiser, and a manipulator. I like knowing exactly what I’m dealing with so I can, well…deal with it.

3. Bad guys help me understand that a shipwrecked life is never the result of a single bad decision but a process.

The dramas played out in these characters reveal telltale patterns like:

    • Results oriented thinking
    • Running ahead of the Lord
    • Counterfeit piety
    • Wrong priorities and focus
    • Trusting our own devotion
    • Obsessive thinking
    • Pretenses of devotion
    • Taking matters into our own hands
    • The mishandling of our wounds
    • Living for the moment
    • Religious behavior

I need strong bad examples as well as the good ones to finish well.

Like many I suppose, I learned an awful lot the hard way, but thank God, it isn’t always meant to be that way. There are times I learn well from a really bad example. As I examine the lives of Bible bad guys through the lens of the Gospel, the finished work of Christ, I become better equipped to avoid pitfalls and to safely navigate the storms of life.

To all you Bible bad guys, thank you. You give me hope.


Get your copy of Shipwrecked! Learning From The Bible Bad Guys at: Amazon.com


Shipwrecked! – Book Review by Terry James

Shipwrecked front cover final

Shipwrecked! Learning from the Bible Bad Guys: A Book Review written by Terry James

Have you ever thought, If I could just do that over again? Or thought, Wish I had made a different decision way back then…

I have done so many times over my many decades of life. It’s a common human trait to lament some of the mistakes we’ve made. But, of course, wishing makes no difference. It changes nothing. If is for children, as the lyrics to Roger Whittaker’s song goes.

To avoid having to constantly look back at our lives and say, “If only…” the avoidance must be accomplished through preventative action. We must prepare in some fashion so that we make wise decisions as they come in order to avoid looking back and having to say “If only…”.

Jonathan Brentner has given us a book that offers such wisdom—how to avoid the pitfalls of life that cause us to look back and have to say “If only…”.

The author has pulled the points of wisdom from the greatest of all works authored by the Greatest of all Authors. I’m referring, of course, to the Holy Bible, dictated to human writers by the Lord, Himself. One simply cannot go wrong under such direction.

Thus, Jonathan’s is a book that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

But I also think it is one of the truly unique concepts I’ve come across for helping us avoid the pitfalls of life as described above.

Shipwrecked!: Learning from the Bible Bad Guys is a title perfectly describing that unique concept. The author uses the mistakes made by some of biblical history’s most notorious rebels against God’s prescription for living.

He expertly weaves the narrative to present us with a colorful tapestry of how we shouldn’t conduct our lives. The reverse way of life to that conducted by the Bible’s “bad guys”—the correct way—as we proceed through our given years, thus is almost supernaturally, I think, etched into the reader’s realization.

As I say, Jonathan Brentner, a former pastor, has composed a unique and effective volume for how to avoid many pitfalls into which we are prone to plunge and, of course, later regret.

The emphasis is different in each case the author presents. A key theme of the book, however, always involves encouraging the reader to learn from the mistakes of the characters. Exhortation is geared toward encouraging us to apply Bible precepts rather than give into negative emotions and sinful desires.

A few examples of Brentner’s Bible “bad guys” and their choosing the wrong way are demonstrated in the following.   

  • With Saul, we learn the importance of trusting God rather than religious behavior. In the second chapter, the author contrasts Saul’s behavior with that of Saul’s son Jonathan to show differing results that come from seeking to glorify God rather than self.
  • Absalom was truly a ticking time bomb. His anger and bitterness toward his dad after Amnon raped Absalon’s sister, Tamar, festered inside him for many years. With Absalom, Brentner stresses the importance of dealing with anger quickly before it turns into a root of bitterness and affects those around us.
  • With King Asa, Brentner explores the danger of forgetfulness in the matter of the importance of remembering all that God has done for us. As Christians who have been believers from an early age, it’s so easy to forget the wonder of the cross and all the answered prayers over the years.
  • Cain shows us how one can be close to the Lord and not really know Him. In this chapter, Jonathan Brentner emphasizes the Gospel. Cain was not an atheist; he could never deny God’s existence. He even had arguments with him. But still, he never came to truly know the Lord or trust Him.
  • John Mark shows us that failure does not have to be the final chapter in our lives. The author says he loved writing this chapter because of how it illustrates that God gives us chances after our failures. Despite the young man’s initial failure that led Paul to reject him, John Mark later became someone useful to the apostle and was used mightily by the Lord later in life.

These and many, many more illustrations make this a book that will enhance anyone’s life who applies these Bible truths to his or her spiritual heart.

The author says his desire in the book is to draw people away from merely relying upon worldly principles and religious behavior. He wishes to, instead, point them toward a true and vital walk with the Lord.

Jonathan writes, “Although I was truly a believer at the time, as a young pastor I treated God as though He was a vending machine. If I behaved a certain way, the Lord, I thought, would respond accordingly. Such was a recipe for disaster when my life went far off the tracks.”

He writes further, “My hope is that my book will help believers deal with emotions and desires when their lives turn out differently than how they imagined. Rather than give in to the negative emotions and desires, I prayerfully hope to draw them to the Gospel, God’s love for them, and their hope for eternity.”

In summary, he writes,” I also pray that many will come to know the Lord as their Savior as a result of reading Shipwrecked!”

Shipwrecked! Learning from the Bible Bad Guys

Author: Jonathan C. Brentner

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

ISBN: 0978946708-20-5

To order: Go to Amazon.com


Why the Bible Bad Guys?

Saul and Samuel
King Saul explains his disobedience to the prophet Samuel.

Several years ago, I discovered I could learn a lot from some of the shadier characters of the Bible. It was not that their examples were so stellar, most failed miserably. However, I have gleaned much from their bad examples over the years.

You may be wondering what in the world we can learn from such misfits and failures. How can they possibly help us in our walk with the Lord?

I’m glad you asked. To help you answer this question, I have picked a few of the characters as examples of what we might possibly learn.

1. King Saul – I learned the most from King Saul. His reasoning (AKA excuses) in 1 Samuel 13 for disobeying God gives us several clues as to where his thinking went awry. After looking at several of his excuses we see that in the end he trusted the sacrifice rather than God Himself.

How do we avoid the trap of elevating our religious behavior above our trust in God? It’s not easy especially when God makes us wait and wait and wait. Yes, I have certainly been there! King Saul helps us formulate a strategy for waiting, especially when we find ourselves in tough spots.

2. Esau – Esau sold his most prized possession for a bowl of soup. What was he thinking? Trading in a birthright for stew likely seems quite foreign to most of us, however, it’s easy to copy Esau’s approach to life in other ways. How do we avoid Esau’s egregious shortsightedness? Is there a way to avoid the urgency of the moment?

What about eternity?

3. Absalom – This guy must have been extraordinarily handsome for the Bible to make such a big deal of his appearance. Unfortunately, his anger left him hanging in the end, so to speak.

What caused the intense resentment that led to Absalom’s downfall? How does the Gospel help us deal with such growing bitterness, the type that eventually destroyed Absalom?

4. Joab – Joab is the most celebrated military general in the Old Testament. Yet, he possessed a character flaw: he was a cold-blooded killer. Okay, you are right, it was much more serious than a flaw in his personality.

I doubt anyone reading my book is likely to stick a sword into someone’s belly, but at times we all feel the frustration of dealing with someone who gets in the way of something we very much desire. A careful look at Joab helps us apply the message of James 4:1-4 to our lives. We do not have to kill someone to follow the errant path of Joab. We can cause serious harm to those around us in other ways.

That is why the lessons we learn from Joab are so important!

5. John Mark – This guy shows us failure does not have to be the last chapter in our lives (although it is the last chapter in my book). How does the story of John Mark encourage us to persevere even when we think we have blown it, failed, run our life into the ditch? Okay, I think you get the point. John Mark shows the mercy of God in giving us multiple second chances.

If you are willing to travel down some of the back roads of Scripture and dive into the lives of some of its more shady characters, my book Shipwrecked! Learning From The Bible Bad Guys is available on Amazon.com.