Thursday, June 26, 2014

Real Men Don't Text by Ruthie & Michael Dean

 Take a good look at the title. Yes, you read that right. Now, I have an idea what you may be thinking, "What? Men don't all." Before assumptions are made let me assure you that the authors are not forbidding men from texting.

What they are saying is that a real man should conduct most of his romantic relationship in person. If a man is texting a woman as the majority means of communication the authors hate to break it to you but "he's not interested in you."

Throughout the book, the authors give anecdotal, and personal, information on why a man should step up and call a woman to arrange a date.

Michael & Ruthie Dean
For example, a man who calls a woman to ask her out is showing that she is worth his time. Why? Because, unlike text messages, he is will to hear and be heard by the woman he is seeking. Text messages are quick and impersonal. Ladies, do you want an impersonal man? Say no to a text invite and inform him to call, i.e. MAN UP!

I found this book to be funny and insightful. I have told my young men's Sunday School class to ask a woman out properly and to see a book with a similar mindset is very encouraging. Thus, those of us in the technologically-connected world would do well to take a page from the old school mentality: call on the phone.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Questions God Asks by Israel Wayne

*I received this book that is published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Check out the book trailer

Have you ever noticed that God asked questions in the Bible? Do you think it might be important to see what questions He asked? Israel Wayne thinks so and has written a book on the matter.

Wayne has taken 18 questions that God asked in Scripture and has explored the significance of these questions. He probes into questions like: Where were you? (Job), Who told you? (Adam), Who made your mouth? (Moses), and more.

I really enjoyed the thought provoking nature of the chapters in this book. They were short but had impact which is exactly what I like. This allows for deep penetration without excessive reading. In addition, it makes for a great study tool for small groups or personal devotions. That is an ideal way to use this book.

Thus, God has asked questions of men in the past but still asks them of us today. How will you answer?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NIV ReadEasy Bible

The ReadEasy Bible from Zondervan is just that: easy to read. The typeface is larger than a normal Bible making it easy on the eyes and there are no references in the center column which may distract some readers.

The Italian Duo-Tone has a nice feel and durability to the Bible which will make it great for placing in a bag for carrying. Another feature is the lay flat binding which is quite nice. However, it will take some breaking in of the binding to get the Bible to lay flat on a consistent basis.

All in all, a nice Bible for just plain reading.

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wrestling with the Devil by Lex Luger

While growing up in the Midwest, I would often catch big time wrestling. I was engrossed with the likes of Macho Man, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and others. Thus, I was very curious when I saw this book by Lex Luger.

What a fascinating read. Reading of all that Larry Pfohl (his real name) went through was inspiring and provoking. From being athletic and wanting to play football, to his introduction into entertainment wrestling, Luger rose to astounding heights but like the Prodigal Son, was brought low.

It started with a desire to be a college football star. Being recruited by some top schools, caused Luger to get a big head but this all changed when he made some stupid decisions. However, the stupid decisions did not end there.

Luger played Canadian football and was then brought into the NFL. However, during this time, he was introduced to wrestling as a means to make some money in the off-season. It was then that Luger became the wrestler he was known for.

He trained hard and proved himself which led to making it to the big time. Sadly, a life of drugs and alcohol was not far behind. Living the "good life" as a celebrity and athlete was more than Luger dreamed it would be but more than he bargained for. In time, his life would fall apart, and he a convicted felon. However, God was not done with him.

I found this to be a great book and an easy read. Seeing how God uses the broken is something all should learn and this book is but one story of such brokenness.

Life Journey Bible by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.

I am a big fan of Drs. Cloud and Townsend. I have heard both speak and am presently listening to Boundaries on audiobook.

When I saw this Bible, I was very intrigued. I wanted to see how they would incorporate their teachings into study notes within a Bible. They did an excellent job.

Their "insights" notes were very practical and easy to understand. Plus they would link their notes with a particular passage of Scripture. Not only did this add a application element but it also shows how Scripture is still relevant in the area of personal relationships and growth.

The next thing I noticed was that the Bible was not that heavy. This makes it an excellent option for devotionals and meditation.

The one thing I did notice was that the introduction to each book was brief. I was hoping for more of "look here for personal applications sections" but none was to be found. To be fair the index was very helpful but it would still be nice to have some direction at the introduction for each book.

That all said, this Bible is an excellent resource that the graduating class of 2014 would do well to have. Practical and resourceful, this Bible would aid many  in life's journey.

Monday, June 9, 2014

What Did Jesus Really Mean When He Said Follow Me? by David Platt

Has the modern, American Christian lost the meaning of what it means to follow Jesus? Has "deciding to follow Jesus" been reduced to a list of do's and dont's? David Platt, in his small booklet, discusses these questions and knows that there is so much more.

Platt exhorts Christians to really understand what it means to be Christ follower and what it would look like if Christians live out sacrificial love for God and others. He explains that were the American church embrace its calling from God the world would take notice and things would look much different. It would cause many to follow those who follow Christ; disciples would be made.

That is what following Christ should do: make disciples.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Redefining Leadership by Joseph Stowell

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.

Many books have been written about leadership and management. They discuss techniques, goal setting, strategies, and the like. This book...does not do that.

Instead, it deals with the heart of leadership: the leader's character. Above all else, Mr. Stowell's book address this key issue: a leader cannot lead until he/she has first led himself/herself.

Stowell uses the vanguard of leadership examples, Jesus Christ, to show that He was respected and loved because He led with character.Christ did use his position for personal gain, to belittle others so as to prop Himself up. Rather, He did what was right, leading with character, and exemplified values that were grounded in truth.

Stowell discusses how Jesus did this by dividing his book into three sections: A Redefined Priority, A Redefined Identity, and A Redefined Leader.

In A Redefined Priority, Stowell addresses areas in a leader's life that set the stage for prioritizing what is important in leading others. He examines items like: choices being made, defining success, and the importance of character in decision making. He also focuses on myths to which leaders may fall prey.

These myths are usually encompassed by an outcome-based mentality. If things are going well, profits are up, costs are down, then I am a good leader. Another myth is that the growing size of a company is the sign of excellent leadership. This may not be the case as Stowell points out that a company may grow by cheating, lying, or other unethical practices. Instead, A Redefined Priority puts the attention where it should be: character development. This segues into A Redefined Identity.

The section of A Redefined Identity deals with how should be identified. Characteristics like: follower of Jesus, moral, learner, and shepherd. Stowell makes his case that leader who lead by following Christ are the best leaders because they have a goal of imitating the one they follow; Jesus. This produces a heart of love. Love for Jesus and by extension, love for the followers. When love is present then the topic of the third section, A Redefined Leader, comes forth.

A Redefined Leader expounds on section one in that it deals with the character traits that a leader should have and continue to develop. Traits such as reliance, meek, and merciful are examined to show how a leader displays these traits. They may be displayed both internal to the company and external to the company. The way in which a leader addresses the competition will show if the leader has adopted his/her redefined way of life.

The book then culminates with the redefined expectation and that being: the magnification of Jesus with her/his life. To this I say "amen!" No leader will truly fail with this as the leadership motto.