Friday, May 30, 2014

Living Life Undaunted by Christine Caine

Power in simplicity. That is how I would describe this book. The readings and reflections are short, but vibrate. Brief, but deep.

Each section begins with a scripture reading, followed by a devotional thought, then ending with action-inspiriting questions. In this way, it causes the reader to reflect on a few potent points and not get lost in a sea of length.

One thing to note, the paperback is quite light but may be susceptible to breakdown. I have not heard if a hardback or leather-like edition is to be printed but if it is I would suggest spending the extra money to purchase a more sturdy binding.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Everyone's a Theologian by Dr. R. C. Sproul

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

What is a theologian? For some, it garners men arguing over the number of angels that can stand on the head of pin. For others, it brings memories of men using advanced phrases like: hyperstatic-union, transubstantiation, and apocalyptic literature.

In his book Everyone's a Theologian, Dr. R.C. Sproul has taken the complex study of theology and made it simple; very simple. His intent is to lay the foundation of theology, with its various sub-studies, so that the average layperson can have a working knowledge upon which to build their belief.

The book is divided into eight parts with each part discussing an aspect of theology. From theology proper all the way to eschatology, each part has been distilled so as to build upon the sections previous to it. Having studied theology myself, I found this very helpful and was able to follow without getting lost in jargon.

An addition benefit is that each section is not long which is unlike some theology books of the past. This allows for absorption of content which ideally leads to meditation on what was just read. That is one element that some theology books do not have and have left many readers frustrated and discouraged. Dr. Sproul has done well to avoid this potential problem which, as stated, is an excellent benefit.

Thus, a very well assembled primer on theology has been produced and would do well to be on the bookshelves of many laymen. The simplistic undertaking has produced powerful results; results which many should procure to themselves.

The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible (Jack W. Hayford, General Editor)

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from Thomas Nelson (via Booklook Bloggers). My review is my own and I was not influenced to write a positive or negative review.

When I saw that this Bible was available I was very curious about it. I have an older edition of this Bible and wanted to compare it to this current edition.

The most obvious change is using the NIV translation where the old one I have used the NKJV. An additional change are all the notes that were not in the first. I found the Kingdom Dynamic notes and the Word Wealth notes to be very helpful and well placed.

That said, I wanted to vew the newer NIV translation (2011) and see how it read. I typically use KJV, ESV, NKJV, and the 1599 Geneva Bible as my translations of choice. Thus, my review.

I found this Bible to be in a good typeface and easy to read. The notes were not small and were well placed and the Word Wealth notes were well placed and I feel they are a great addition.

The Bible is a bit heavy weighing almost three pounds. I found that it did not bother me too much but it was noticeable at times. However, even with the heaviness, the Bible is well bound and feels very sturdy and durable.

All this said, while I really enjoyed the Bible, my personal preference would be to get the NKJV edition of this Bible.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages by Shaunti Feldhahn

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

Having a happy marriage is the thing of Hollywood, right? Such things only exist in the imaginations of men and women and will never materialize. It is the carrot before the mule. This is what we are led to believe. Yet, this need not be. Great, happy marriages are possible and Shaunti Feldhahn has some surprising secrets of how it may be done.

In her book, Feldhahn tells stories and gives research that points to secrets that build the foundation leading to a highly, happy marriage. From attitude and perception, to physical and emotional closeness, Feldhahn gives ample evidence that the best marriage can be obtained by all if couples take to heart the secrets discussed.

I really appreciate that the book is not long. There is no psychological language but rather simply, easy-to-understand dialogue. In this way, just about anyone can read the information and see how he/she can apply it to his/her situation.

Once again, Shaunti Feldhahn has written a fabulous book that deserves to be in your library. If you don't have it yet, plan on getting it. It will be worth your time and money.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Deeper Life by Daniel Henderson

*I received this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review from Bethany House Publishers.

A theme that has gone throughout recent history is this: am I making a difference? Many struggle over whether or not they can answer the affirmative to that very question. In his recent book, Daniel Henderson addresses this question by giving eight vital longings of your soul and how to satisfy them.  These longings are:

-Who is God?
-Who am I?
-Why am I here?
-What Really Matters?
-What shall I do?
-How shall I do it?
-When shall I do it?
-How will I finish?

Henderson's book addresses these questions and then has exercises in the back of the book for the reader to perform. By doing, the questions began to be answered as the reader develops their beliefs and passions. For example, to answer "Who is God?" the reader is asked to write out what they believe about God. Do I see Him as merciful, judgmental, distant, intimate?

By developing a theological statement, the reader begins to develop their worldview. This in turns begins to lay the foundation for how a person will live. Henderson's goal is that a person will be transformed by knowing God more fully which then translates to purpose: how I will live my life.

Passion by Louie Giglio (and contributions from others)

*I received this complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

Passion: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. That is how Websters define passion and it is the heart of Passion Conference. This book is a series of sermons given throughout the Passion Conference history with the intent of this: inspiring a generation to know Jesus and live for His glory.

Various speakers and authors lend their passionate pleas to the reader to make Christ known in their life and to chase His glory with a lifelong devotion. Each chapter, while intent on drawing the reader to know Christ, does so in various aspects of life.

From joy, love of Scripture, a mind bent on Christ, and being fearless, this book pleads with the reader to go after what is worth pursuing: the glory of God.

I really, really enjoyed the passionate calling of this book and would highly, highly recommend that it be given to all graduating person, both high school and college. This world needs passionate people serving God. Perhaps this book is the flame that lights of the fire of the next generation.

Friday, May 2, 2014

How High Will You Climb? by John C. Maxwell

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

Your attitude determines much in life. How you see circumstances is greatly impacted by your attitude. Attitude is also what determines altitude; how high you climb in life. 

John Maxwell in his book How High Will Your Climb? gives excellent advice and encouragement on what your attitude does and how to cultivate a positive one. Armed with this information, Maxwell's goal is for the reader to achieve growth. He does this by first discussing the importance of attitude, how your attitude is constructed, stripping down a bad attitude, and finally cultivating a positive, growth-oriented attitude. 

He then summarizes his book by giving channels by which the reader can use daily to stay on target. One of the channels is by being around positive people or those who are working on being a positive person. The study guide in the back is a great way for attitude-improvement people to join together to strengthen, and encourage, attitude development. 

I would recommend this book for those graduating as much is taught about grades and hard work but very little is mentioned about the attitude required for success.