Saturday, November 29, 2014

Finishing Well, Finishing Strong by Jim Grassi

*I received this complimentary copy from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

I am an advocate for mentoring, particularly older men mentoring younger men (think men in their 50's mentoring men in their 30's). So much has been lost with the idea that a man needs to stand alone.

Enter several guides by Jim Grassi of which this title is one. In Finishing Well, Finishing Strong, Grassi challenges the mentor and mentee to live their lives with the endgame in mind.

Using Biblical and non-Biblical examples, Grassi shows how men living wisely and living with God's principles in mind, finish well and strong.

This guide starts with an example, presents a summary, and then has an action item at the end of each section that a mentor and mentee should go through together.

I would suggest that those who use this book also consider other guides by Jim Grassi for further growth.

The Uncommon Marriage Adventure by Tony & Lauren Dungy

*I received this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

This is another title in the "Uncommon" series by Tony Dungy. However, this is different in that it is more a devotional book. Instead of chapters there are days and weeks (example day 1: week two).

The intent is that couples read each day and then apply what they learn. In this sense it is as if the Dungys are mentoring a couple.

This is done by personal life stories, anecdotes, and challenges. I really found the personal element very effective. No marriage is perfect and to hear of those who stayed dedicated during the imperfect times is a great encouragement.

Thus, another great book by the Dungys and one that inspires couples that a great marriage can be obtained.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Longing for More by Timothy Willard

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. 

This devotional was a different read than I was expecting. This was due in part to its layout. Some days were thoughts, some days were prayers, and some days were a combination. 

Yet through it all the book remained true to its intent: finding God. Life has a way of interfering in our relationship with God. Busyness, stuggles, hardships, and more seek to draw our attention away from God. 

What Timothy Willard has done is take those interfering situations and present them in such a way to draw the reader to find God in them. Sometimes this is done with a simple questions. Other times by a prayer or thought. The method isn't important; finding God is. And that is where this devotional succeeds.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Are We Together by Dr. R. C. Sproul

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

When I was told that I would be allowed to review this book I was delighted. I have always wondered the differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics.

I could make out some differences just by watching a mass or two on TV. I also read a little on the subject but struggled with how much different the two beliefs were.

Are We Together? goes to the very heart of what Protestants and Roman Catholics believe. By giving both sides of doctrinal issues Dr. Sproul proves that the two systems are not the same.

This was best shown in the chapter regarding sole fide: justification by faith alone.

The differences in the teaching of sole fide is perhaps the greatest cause that puts Roman Catholicism and Protestants against each other in their beliefs. Dr. Sproul does a masterful work in showing just how different, and the ramifications of this difference, each side is from the other.

Not only that, Dr. Sproul then shows how this theological understanding weaves itself into other teaching of Roman Catholicism and Protestants. Items such as beliefs on Mary, the Church, the Pope, and even how interpretation of Scripture comes into play.

With all this foundation laid Dr. Sproul proves that we are NOT together in our beliefs and that Catholicism places undue powers on places that should be only reserved for Christ, and Christ alone.

That said, this book is a great resources for those that struggle with the differences between the two beliefs and those that are wanting to reach their Roman Catholics friends with the Gospel.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Uncommon Manhood by Tony Dungy

This little book is filled with some great wisdom and advice from Tony Dungy to men. It highlights matters such as: character, courage, how to treat women, faith, money, career, and more.

Each section is not long but packed with insight and a mentor-like feel that makes this book an easy read but dynamite impression.

Don't wait until Father's Day to get this book. Get it now and give it to the men in your life. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp

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

Most devotionals that I have come across could be called Spirit-Lifters. They are designed to encourage, strengthen, challenge, and remind the reader of this amazing life God has given us and to enjoy it, good or bad.

Not so this devotional.

This devotional causes the reader to realize the immensity of what God has done for him/her because of his/her sin. Each day is focused on making sure that we forget not God and what He has done for us.

It also places the blame on where it should be: our sin. Our sin is what divides our relationship with God. Yet God renews His mercy each morning so that we are not consumed.  This devotional drives home this truth.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

John by Dr. R.C. Sproul

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

“The Word became flesh—and then through theologians it became words again.” ~Karl Barth

This quote sums up what many feel when they hear the word theologian. They have this idea that it is about men debating, arguing, dare I say fighting, over various doctrinal beliefs. Through it all one thing seems to emerge: Christianity is about being the right theological camp.

Get in the right camp and you are all set.

Commentaries, studies, lectures, and sermons all drive home this idea that the right camp is what is needed to be a good Christian. I agree that there needs to be some foundational understanding of Scripture, but sometimes the doctrinal issues take control over what really is the heart of Christianity: Christ.

Dr. Sproul in his commentary on John has reversed what Karl Barth said. This commentary is revealing who Jesus Christ is. It is not trying to prove a theological bent, though the reformed view is emphasized. Rather it seeks to show Christ for who He is: God incarnate.

Dr. Sproul does a masterful job of taking the book of John, showing who Christ is (John’s intent in his Gospel), and then bring the reader to a point of decision: who is Christ to me?

Over and over the commentary reveals various aspects of Christ’s ministry and then presents the reader with a thought.

For example, near the end of the commentary, Dr. Sproul focuses on John 21:15-25. In verse 25 Peter asks about John. Paraphrasing Jesus tells Peter that it is not Peter’s concern what happens to John; just follow Me (Christ). Sproul then writes
The Lord has jobs for each of us to do, and what others do is ultimately
none of our business. Each of us must do what God has given him or her to
do, and fulfill the mandate of Christ. (pg 408)

What a great challenge! I am not responsible for others; I am responsible to God. That is what is so great about this commentary. It is a commentary with a devotional mindset. For that reason, it is a commentary worth having.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Be the Message by Kerry & Chris Shook

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

"You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" is something that I heard a lot of growing up. It is so easy to say the right words at the right time. However, that is all that it is: words.

In Be the Message, the Shooks challenged the reader to go beyond words, beyond thoughts, beyond comfort zones to a life of action.

No longer should a Christian be satisfied with a life of pew-warming. No longer should a Christian be content with lip service. No longer should a Christian be okay with being okay.

Instead the life of Christianity is in the Message: Jesus Christ. It is the message of His life what we are to proclaim and that comes by doing what He did.

Jesus did not talk to people and then let them be. No, He took action. He healed, He fed; He loved. That is what it means to Be the Message. That is what this book drives home so very well.