Tuesday, December 22, 2015

God & Chruchill by Jonathan Sandys & Wallace Henley

Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler.

These two men shall have their lives and destinies entwined. One wishing to stop the advancement of Nazism and the maniacal dreams of a madman; the other wishing to control all of Europe and usher in the dawn of the preferred, Aryan race. 

This book was a fasnicating read on how Sir Winston Churchill's life was seen through the eyes of the Prime Minister and how he sought to use these sense of destiny in the time for which he believed he was called.

I cannot recommend this book high enough and encourage all who read this quick review to get a copy.

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible & Christianity by Clinton E. Arnold & Jeff Arnold

Questions about the Bible, God, Christianity, and life have been asked for many years. Some answers are simple to answer while others are not so simple. In their book, Short Answers to Big Questions about God, the Bible & Christianity, Clinton and Jeff Arnold have written answers to many of the questions posed by people throughout time.

I was surprised at the type of questions answered as I was expecting something more practical and less theological. However, this book does well to educated the reader on each question so that the reader can better understand the nature of the question and the answer given.

Those that witness to others would do well to have this book as a resource to give answers to questions that may arise by those wanting answers or those trying to disprove the Bible.

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The New Pastor's Hand Book by Jason Helopoulos

Pastors do not have an easy job sometimes. As a pastor's son I have experienced first hand the demand that can be placed on a pastor.

My father would have benefited from such material located in this book. Having a guide to alert him to pitfalls and encourage him to seek God and wisdom from others would have been a great resource for him.

I also appreciated that the Mr. Helopoulos made sure that young pastors seek God regularly. Many lean on their skills or talents and can burn out quickly. Relying on God for strength is how a pastor survives.

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

The Westminster Confession of Faith

This little book has the complete Confession of Faith as penned by the assembly at Westminster Abbey in 1643. For those who want a solid, Biblical foundation for what the Bible teaches and what men have believed for several hundred years, this is the book for that. The richness and depth of the content is so potent that I am taken aback by the effect such a work has. I cannot encourage people enough to get a copy of this book.

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

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Dude's Guide to Marriage by Darrin and Amie Patrick

"Husbands love your wives."

That snippet from the Bible is not a suggestion. Sadly, many men consider it an impossibility because their wives are so hard to understand. While men and women do communicate differently it does not give license to give up on each other.

In his book, The Dude's Guide to Marriage, Darrin Patrick and his wife Amie, list 10 skills that a man must develop in order to love his wife. While the list is not exhaustive it is a great foundation for any man to build. I found myself nodding in agreement several times while reading this book as I viewed each chapter.

New husbands, seasoned husbands, or those wanting to be husbands would do well to reach this book more than once for the betterment of their marriage and life. I give this book five stars all the way.

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

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sacred Intent by Dr. Brent Crowe

It is not uncommon nowadays to hear often that there are a lot of books, self help books particular, relating to the maximization of one's life. Here's a thought: what if your life was a week long?

Brent Crowe, in new book Sacred Intent, has written a book with that in mind. What Dr. Crowe has done is divide the chapters as if they were days of the week. The seven items, or days of the week, have a subject that Dr. Crowe  focuses on to get the reader to see how valuable each topic is. The topics are: influence, time, calling, engagement, relationships, motivations, and dreaming.

What I appreciate about this is at the book can be read like a devotional but doesn't necessarily have a devotional feel to it. By focusing on the seven items that can define someone's life and make every moment valuable, Dr. Crowe has put together a wonderful book. I highly recommend that anybody who is getting ready to graduate either high school or college really take a look at this book. What it will do is hone one’s questions to what is really important in life.

I’ll also add that he has some very excellent quotes and prayers at the end in the appendices and is  something I highly recommend that the reader not overlook.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Worthy Publishing Group in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Four Secrets to a Forever Marriage by Michael Letney awith Karen Hardin

Are there secrets to a great marriage?

In his book for secrets to a forever marriage Michael Letney details how he is not the perfect husband but with the four secrets that he has learned he has helped his marriage remain solid through life's difficult times.

The four secrets that he mentions are: transparency, truth, trust, and unity. While there are probably more things that could be used in a marriage what I appreciate about the Four Secrets is that when they are combined and understood they form a great foundation upon which to build a solid marriage.

I will not go into all of the secrets. However, I will focus on thhe one that stood out to me the most; transparency. I have seen a lot of things happen in this world that could have been avoided because of transparency. We are afraid to let people see our faults, especially with loved ones such as a spouse, and as a result we do a great detriment. Marriage needs to be built on trust and one of the ingredients in trust is transparency. If anything ruins the trust then there will be no trust.

As a result, transparency is vital and when I appreciated about the transparency section of this book is its simplicity Letney brings forth why it is so key and I understand why he put it first. One of the areas in which Letney really points out how transparency is critical is in the area of intimacy.

Intimacy is something that is needed in a marriage and it has to be there between a husband and spouse. The perfect way to get that done is through transparency. To be open and to be organic with each other, hiding nothing, and willing to be seen for what someone truly is and not how they want to be perceived. Transparency is not easy which is why many do not engage in it. However, those that do will begin the journey of a lasting marriage.

There are many marriage books out there. Is this one of those marriage books that will be the go to book for every marriage? Probably not.  However it is definitely a book that should be in the arsenal of tools used to make sure that a marriage remain strong and is intimate.

* I receive a complimentary copy of this book from Worthy Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on God by Dr. Wayne Stiles

Waiting on God.

Waiting is not easy. Often it pushes us to points we never thought we would reach.

Waiting for the traffic light to change. Waiting for our food at a "fast" food restaurant. Waiting for the proverbial "ship to come in."

Waiting on God, however, is quite a different experience. God has the power to do whatever He wants. He can desire a certain act and then make that act occur. Since this is the case, why does God make us wait?

In his book, Waiting on God, Dr. Stiles uses the life of Joseph to show how waiting, while difficult, allows God's plan to unfold so that He gets the most glory. While not our preference, waiting on God allows us to grow so that when the time is right, we are prepared.

Waiting can be difficult. God has patience for His timing; do we have such patience?

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

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Columbus Code by Mike Evans

What if you found out that you were related to Christoper Columbus? What if you found out that part of his history has not been taught in history books?

Mike Evans has written a fictional thriller that explores the history of Christopher Columbus and brings to light some fascinating facts about him. One of these facts: Columbus was Jewish.

Follow the story and you may be surprised about the Christopher Columbus you thought you knew.

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America's Faith and Values by Joseph Castleberry

Illegal immigration is something that is really popular right now. In his book,  The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America's Faith and Values, Castlelberry gives stories of how immigrants are bringing with them their heritage their culture and also their faith.

One thing that Castleberry pointed out that I found really interesting is the mindset of immigrants who are coming across the borders into United States. What they believe is that America needs them and some have even see it as a new Israel leaving the old Egyptian world and coming into the new promised land.

Castleberry also points out how immigrants view education recognizing that it is a bridge between what once was in the old world and what can be in the New America. I must also admit that I found it a little difficult at first but the more I read it the more recognized a understanding of what American history and heritage is and how sadly many Americans have forgotten what the Americans of the past have given for them and their freedoms.

One thing to that I was really surprised about his how Castleberry sees the Hispanic immigrants, more specifically, as being a particular catalyst that might bring about a renewal in the United States. Demand this book for individuals, specifically individuals who are interested in a Hispanic mindset or a Hispanic understanding of what America is. 

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Redeeming Pleasure by Jeremy Jernigan

Preview for redeeming pleasure by Jeremy Jernigan.

In his book redeeming pleasure Jernigan has set out to show how the pursuit of pleasure mirrors are hunger for God. What he does is he takes a lot of the areas in which people seek pleasure and show how when properly understood they point us to a desire to know God more.

For example, the first chapter that he has is the pursuit how human beings pursue pleasure perhaps more than anything else. Pleasure, when properly understood, should bring someone closer to God.

God has given pleasure to humans for a variety of reasons and Jernigan brings about these different reasons in various areas to show how much seeking pleasure does not necessarily mean neglect of God.

One chapter that I found particularly interesting was the chapter on media particularly the area of movies and entertainment.Movies and entertainment are okay when used properly and in fact can be used successfully to not only encourage but also spur people on to take action against injustice is, evil, or to spur them on to do great things.

Another area that I really found interesting in the book had to do with the area of sex how that sex was given by God for pleasure but there's so much more to it and when sex is only used for pleasure it loses all of the wondrous benefit that God has given sex to accomplish.

Overall, I found this book to be an interesting read with some content I am still analyzing into my worldview. If nothing else, this books makes the reader think about pleasure in a different way.

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

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Message 100 by Eugene Peterson

The Message 100 is a unique Bible in that it takes the story of the Bible (redemption, grace, and salvation) and breaks the major themes into 100 daily readings.

By doing this the reader sees the story unfold in an easy to follow story-line. Instead of read accounts of various people, this Bible weaves the narrative to tell one story: the story of God and His love for his creation.

While this is not ideal for studying a particular book of the Bible, it is very effective in giving survey of the Bible for personal growth.

No study notes, no reference column, no concordance.

Just the Bible laid out as if someone was telling it to you.

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

I also received this free from www.tyndalerewards.com. If you are not familiar with Tyndale Rewards I recommend taking a look.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Seven Women And the Secret of Their Greatness By Eric Metaxas

In a follow up book to his book - Men and the Secret of Their Greatness, Eric Metaxas has written Seven Women and the Secret of Their Greatness. In this book Metaxas lists seven women who have inspired many many people because of their hardship they faced, what they believed in, and the resiliency to never quit. Of the seven I really had a good time reading about Rosa Parks, Saint Maria of Paris, and Susanna Wesley.

One thing I noticed of the three women that I've mentioned,  all of them had to face some sort of hardship and as a result had a strong courage to stand up for what they believed in and to maintain their faith no matter what.

Overall book was about how greatness is not something that is given at birth but rather is achieved by continually working hard, staying true to what one believes, and pursuing God with all that they are.

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

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Through a Man's Eyes by Shaunti Feldhahn & Craig Gross

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

I am going to start off with a fact: most men are visual creatures. I think I just heard a "duh" from my audience. While most would agree with that many women do not have an understanding of what that means.

In her book Through a Man's Eyes, Shaunti Feldhahn's goal (with help from Craig Gross) is to help women understand what that means and by doing so, deepen the relationship with her spouse and any male children she may have.

While this book is written for women, I found myself internally proclaiming, "Finally, a woman is trying to explain how God created us."

God made men visual for a reason and Feldhahn explains to her female audience that the men in her life are not weird or pigs; they are men. They struggle with temptations and thoughts and must bring those temptations to God and pray for strength to fight them off.

This yet another book of Feldhahn's that I HIGHLY recommend for any woman, married or single, as a guide on how to love men as visual beings and encourage them to fight the temptation to turn God's design into disaster. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

America the Strong by Bill Bennett

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

America the Strong is a book about what the next generation of Americans must consider for America to remain a strong nation. By using the acronym F.L.I.N.T. which stands for:

-Free Enterprise
-Limited Government
-Individual Liberty
-National Defense
-Traditional Values

Each section discusses various subject within the five major topics. I found each topic to very engaging and intellectually stimulating. The arguments were well presented and easy to understand. What was also present was a logical extension of some bad ideas taken to their conclusion.

I highly recommend this book for anyone entering the political science and would encourage all others to read this if you must take a general education course on government or something akin to it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Foundation Study Bible (NKJV)

I enjoy using study Bibles. There is something about reading Scripture and having learned men explain difficult passages that really deepens my desire to read God's Word.

The NKJV Foundation Study Bible is a nice study Bible for personal study. It is not too heavy and the typeface makes for an easy read. Also the study helps are located nicely at the bottom for less distracting reading of the main text.

While this Bible is not a robust study Bible, it does a nice job of delivering a Bible for study that is easier to carry and still maintains a lot of the helps of heavier study Bibles.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

God Speaks by Dr. Craig Evans

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

God Speaks.

If God were to speak to you in an audible voice, what would He say?

While audible communication is something that God has done, He also speaks to us through His Holy Word: The Bible.

In his book, God Speaks, Dr. Craig Evans gives an overview of the Bible, its major elements, and also gives instruction on how to make sure one is reading The Bible properly.

What I also appreciated were the sections on questions about the Bible. Dr. Evans gives evidences for why we can trust the Bible. He also gives aid on how to make sure that the reader of the Bible knows what he/she is reading. By doing both of these things, Dr. Evans lays the foundation for trusting the Bible and studying it properly.

This is a nice resource to have. It is a little light on theology but has some great helps for deepening a person's theology to know and love the God of whom they read.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Stronger by Clayton King

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

How does God make someone stronger? By using weakness.

II Corinthians 12:9a reads, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (ESV)

Clayton King tells of how God used some very difficult times in his life to show forth His power. In moments of weakness and humility God moved in his life and gave him strength when King needed it the most.

This book explores what it is to suffer and be brought low and how God intervenes in such moments. This is not a feel-good book but rather draws the reader to focus on God and call out to Him when you are at your least.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Doing Good Better by Dr. William MacAskill

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

Doing good for others.

There is a sense of joy when we help others. Seeing someone who needs aid and then coming to their aid is one of the things that make us human.

We should not enjoy seeing others suffer so there is part of us that would like to alleviate that suffering. In Doing Good Better, Dr. MacAskill points to this altruistic sensation as a way to make a difference.

Yet, some go about attempting to make a difference but do so poorly. They may give to a charity that spends much more on overhead and compensation than it does for the cause it promotes. Other charities are effective at using their funds but promote a cause that is very ineffective at solving the observed problem.

Dr. MacAskill goes into some detail on how to accurately determine which causes are effective and which causes are not. He shows that often times people will select a charity based on a "watchdog" rating but fail to seek further information on the charity. A rating is not bad but it only rates on certain criteria, most often financial distribution.

For example, let us say that a charity might give 90% of its charitable donations to help dental problems in a third-world country and not to compensation for management. That is a very financially proper means of operating. However, what if 90% of the donations are going to dental problems that arise due to poor water conditions? If the water condition improved, the dental problems would lessen.

If the example given, Dr. MacAskill's analysis would not give that charity a great rating because they could have a greater impact were the charity to look deeper; the effectiveness is not as powerful as it could be. While my example is quite simple, hopefully the point is made.

Thus, this book really challenges the reader to seek means of making a difference that effectively makes a difference. Some of the text may be hard to read in terms of its message but it is a message worth reading.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The One: Experience Jesus by Carlos Darby & Friends

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

This is a visual devotional and though-provoking book. Instead of Bible passages and thought, this book combines thought with sight. By having a thought with a picture, the message that is intended to be conveyed takes on a more deep and powerful impact.

I found the images to add a layer of reality to them that a typed story lacks. I also found that the images brought about an effect that is relational. I could empathize with the stories, feel their thoughts; hear their agony.

From these stories, the book gets personal and ask questions of the reader. There is nothing theological but rather simple questions are asked to allow the images and text to take root in someone's life.

The goal is to experience Jesus. The images hint at Him; the words tell of Him. The choice, however, is yours to make: do you want to know Him?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

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

"Marriage is to make us more holy than happy."

While that sounds rather religious and Puritan in sound, Gary Thomas' book Sacred Marriage shows how marriage can make us more like God.

Marriage teaches us to love sacrificially, to humble ourselves, to extend forgiveness, to strive towards a mutual goal (teamwork building), and build character to new a few benefits.

Many go into marriage thinking it will make them happy on some level. Thomas wants couples to enter marriage thinking of how God can use their marriage to honor Him. With that mindset, seeking to serve my spouse is mirroring what Jesus did for us: served us by dying sacrificially.

Would that more marriage partners serve each other by sacrificing. Were that so, divorce may not have gained the ground that it has.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Boundless by Bryan Bishop

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

When I think of Jesus I tend to think of worshiping him as an American. I sing to Him with an American style of song, I pray to Him with an American style of prayer, and I read my Bible through the eyes of an American.

Yet, all across the globe people are worshiping and finding Jesus in a non-American way. Some even continue to practice some of the traditions that their heritage has passed down to them.

Is this Biblical?

In his book, Boundless, Bryan Bishop explores how other cultures have found Jesus, worship Him in their own way, and then ponders where or not such an expression of faith is proper.

Muslims fasting for Ramadan, Hindus chanting and burning incense, and Buddhists meditating are a few of the examples that Bishop gives of those who found Jesus but still maintain some of their religious heritage.

A paraphrase of what one person said is that they see the truth in other religions, how it was twisted, and how they found Jesus by straightening out the twists. Some pointed to Paul quoting a poem about Zeus to introduce the true God to the Greeks at Mars Hill. If Paul used the present culture to point to God, why can't we?

I must admit that I was not sure how to handle this book at first but after completing my read I see the value. One takeaway is that I should research other religions so that I may connect with other faiths. By this connection, Jesus may be introduced. That is what truly matters and how sinners become "boundless" to sin.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

At Any Cost by Mike & Hayley Jones

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

Mike & Hayley Jones were a typical American family. A family of four they were asked by God to adopt children from Sierre Leone; eight of them.

Read about the struggles of adopting eight children, adapting their lives in the United States, and their passion for seeing their family thrive.

I really appreciated the honesty and candor of this book. It was inspiring as the Jones struggled to bring all eight children home, answered objections to their passion, and how they sought God through it all.

Skinny Life by Crystal Dwyer Hansen

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

Weight loss.

For some that evokes the seemingly insurmountable task of trying to get in shape.

Cutting calories, hitting the gym, weighing in daily. No sweets, no fun; no life. Who wants to live like that?

Crystal Dwyer Hansen understands and has written a book about such matters.

Skinny Life gets to the heart of the weight issues so many people face: your mind and its accompanying thoughts. Hansen teaches that you must first change your mind before the body begins to change. She does this by ending each chapter with an affirmation. Each affirmation puts positive thoughts into the mind with the intent that the body will follow. 

This does not mean that her readers can eat whatever they want. On the contrary, Hansen gives some examples of food that aids the mind and helps create mental optimization. From there the body begins to do what it was created to do: efficiently use food.

I am on a "get in better shape" phase of my life right now. This book really puts things into perspective and challenged me to live my life rather than endure it. That is what Skinny Life hopes to convey and Hansen has done it well.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Printer and the Preacher by Randy Petersen

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

Benjamin Franklin and George Whitfield. One a preacher, the other was considered a Deist. Two men who seemed to be drawn into different directions becoming friends as America was becoming her own nation.

This book gives account of the lives of these two men and how they became friends for three decades. The influence they had on each other is made clear in this book and serves to show how much friends can add value to a person's life.

The book also gives some back-story to each man's life. The reader understands the upbringing and the hardships each man faced and how it impacted how each man saw the world. Each man struggled and each man was shaped by these struggles. This gives the reader a better understanding of decisions made later in life by these two men.

What I appreciated most about this book is that it is not biographical but rather symbiotic in nature. The book shows how each man benefited from the other: his background, beliefs, nationality, and more. Friendship can have a powerful effect and this book shows the effect it had on a nation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Art of Work by Jeff Goins

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

I have followed Jeff Goins for some time and am currently going through a mini course of his on writing.  I find his passion and easy-to-follow communication style something that challenges me to be a better communicator and writer.

This book is a bit different than the rest of his books in that he focuses more on finding what someone is meant to do rather than instructing on how to do it.

I found that this book was very easy to follow and that he delivered on his goal: helping the reader discover what they were meant to do.

One area that stuck out was legacy. Recognizing that it is not enough to be passionate about something but to be so passionate that you think about those who come behind and how to benefit their lives.

Many people have the goal to be in it for themselves. Goins challenges that idea and shows that people who live their calling are those who think of others instead of being selfish.

I would recommend this book to those who are getting ready to graduate high school and/or college. Many people wander through life trying to find their calling. Goins is a great guide to help those in need.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Restoring All Things by Smith & Stonestreet

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

This book is about how everyday people of bringing out change, God's way, in everyday situations. By understanding how God wants His creation to live, men and women have sought to combine the needs of people with a Biblical foundation.

What I appreciated about this book was that the examples were not hyped-up or glamorized. Rather it was evidenced that someone saw a need, took action, and made a difference Biblically.

I also valued that there was not a focus on changing the world in one area. Education, hunger, teaching, poverty, community development, and more were discussed thus showing that God's plan for mankind is not subject to church-related activities but is to impact all areas of life.

I recommend that those wanting to know how to merge their Christian faith with helping their world take a look at this book for inspiration and potential guidance. We need more world changers and we need them to do it God's way: the way that works.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mormonism 101 by Bill McKeever & Eric Johnson (Revised and Expanded Edition, 2015)

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

What is Mormonism? Is the Biblical Christianity?

In their book Mormonism 101, McKeever and Johson set out to show the differences in the teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon belief and that of orthodox Christianity.

They do so in various aspects of teachings that each belief teaches its members. Starting with God and ending with revelation, each section shows the differences that are taught.

This is done by using lessons, articles, quotes, and more from the Mormon presidents, contrasted with Biblical teaching, and then shown why Mormonism is not Christian but a lie propagated by its founder Joseph Smith and continued to this day.

This is not an exhaustive resources but its a great foundation builder for those who want a better understanding of Mormonism and its errors.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach

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

Gay rights. Homophobic, Equality for all.

These are terms that are being mentioned daily in the media. Many people are trying to get their viewpoint to be accepted, on both sides of the situation. However, some fail to see the most obvious problem: people need Jesus.

In Messy Grace, Caleb Kaltenbach tells the story of his life growing up with two moms. He tells of marching in gay-pride parades, talking to others about homosexual rights, being mocked, and questioning why others held the stances that they did. He felt confused, angered, hatred, and pity. Then he found Jesus Christ.

Kaltenbach continues his book with the love that Christians should have for LGBT peoples which should point them to Christ. Start with questions and dialogues; debating will not work. Be open and honest but do not try to cram the Bible down someone's throat.

I really appreciated this book and found it easy to read and very relevant. Considering some laws that have been put into affect this book should be read by those wondering how to talk to someone in the LGBT community but from understanding of leading them to Christ.

Welcome to a Reformed Church by Rev. Daniel R. Hyde

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

What is a Reformed Church?

I grew up in church all my life. I am familiar with the beliefs of a few denominations. However, I was ignorant of what a Reformed Church is.

What do they believe? How do they conduct services?

Those questions and more drew me to this book and I was glad that I received a copy. It explained a lot of things that I questioned, laid a great foundation for what a Reformed Church teaches and gives some resources for those that want more information on Reformed Churches.

One thing that stood out was the attention paid to creeds and catechisms of the faith. I really enjoy the creeds of the faith such as the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed. Such documents lay out in simplicity the major tenants of the Bible and what was taught as the Christian faith grew from Israel to the world.

A Reformed Church then looks to these documents as historical and Biblical so that their teaching does not stray away from truth but is confirmed first in Scripture, and then in creeds that are in Christendom's history and heritage. This book is a very nice resource to understand some great points in Christian history and to appreciate what was accomplished as Christianity grew. 

Brave Enough by Nicole Unice

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

What fear prevents you from doing a particular action? If that fear was eliminated, how soon would you get that action done?

In Brave Enough, Nicole Unice wants women to no longer live in fear but to be bold and free in Christ. Unice challenges her readers to get in the game, not back down from a conflict, know their limits, and be brave daily.

While this book was written primarily to women I found the content to be applicable to more than just the intended audience. Every Christian should feel brave because of the strength that is in Christ. We are brave enough because of who we serve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I really enjoy this devotional by one of my favorite leadership mentors: Zig Ziglar. The devotional has a Scripture, devotional thought, and then an application challenge at the end.

Ziglar died in 2012 but this reprint of the 2009 edition is just as relevant and powerful. It is a nice devotional to give you that challenge you need to start your day.

For those of you on Tyndale Rewards this is one of the items you can request if you have enough points. If you are not on Tyndale Rewards you should check it out. I have received some great resources from that site.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Exploring Christian Theology, Volume Two: Creation, Fall, and Salvation by Holsteen & Svigel (General Editors)

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

Having read the third volume of this series, I was looking forward to reading this volume. I was not disappointed. Once again the Exploring Christian Theology series has proven to be a great source to have on your shelf.

This particular volume discuss creation, the fall of man, and salvation. The editors have taken great care to be Biblical, fair, and to represent the teachings of some of the great teachers of the faith.

I appreciated the depth of this volume even those I have seen multi-volume sets on the subjects discussed. What I also appreciate is that the editors have complied a great selection of teachings on each subject so that the reader can study further.

This volume just shows that theology need not be something reserved only for PhD's but something that can be understood and enjoyed by many.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Jesus Outside the Lines by Scott Sauls

Have you ever heard of someone saying that Jesus would agree with his/her viewpoint only to have someone else, who holds an opposing view, say the same thing?

Who is right? Perhaps the better question would be: what does Jesus say about that? I often wonder how much we attribute to Jesus and speak on His behalf.

Scott Sauls sees a trend that places Jesus as the rope in a tug-of-war match. People claim that unless you believe as they do Jesus is not on your side.

He is tired of this division and wants Christians to recognize that we might have differences of opinions but that should not deter us from seeking Christ and spreading His message to all.

I found this book a breath of fresh-air thought. I too have as weary of the bickering between factions and recognize that such actions are divert non-Christians from seeing their need for Jesus.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (Young Reader's Edition)

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

I heard about Corrie ten Boom growing up as a child. I heard the stories of Nazi's prison camps, torture, mocking, and humiliation.

However, I had never read the story of her life until now.

Her life was one of family, fun, and God. In her book, ten Boom recounts stories of her family life as the daughter of a watchmaker, a Dutch citizen, and a sister.

I was drawn in by the love she had for her family and God. I was also drawn in by her resolve to not let World War II and the ensuing imprisonment deter her from her faith.

While this is a Young Reader's Edition, it is still a powerful read of what one women went through at the hands of an evil empire.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Life Under God Devotional by Dr. Tony Evans

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

I really like this devotional for two reasons:

1. It is easy to follow.

There are some devotionals that I have that are difficult to read. They are not heady but the typeface and arrangement of Scripture, challenges, etc., are not very eye-pleasing.

This devotional has a very nice type setting which allows for ease of reading.

2. The content is broad.

Unlike some devotionals that are topic specific, Dr. Evans has placed devotional thoughts on a variety of topics.

I just read a devotional for July 2nd on singleness and how to use it for God. It also challenges married couples to not frown upon singles or be in a state of "matchmaking" around them. Let them be single until it is time for God to bring marriage into his/her life.What a great devotional to read.

However, as I mentioned, earlier in the devotional are thoughts about government, the Holy Spirit, prayer, being a man, being a woman, and more. This devotional really does contain topics for just about all that a Christian would experience as a "life under God".

Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger by John McDougall

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

John McDougall is a chaplain to the U.S. Army Rangers. As a Ranger he has seen bravery, courage, sacrifice, and victory. These experiences are what he uses to parallel the life of Christ with the mission of an Army Ranger.

Throughout the book McDougall compares a part of the Army Ranger mission with what Jesus did for us. An example is that of leaving no fellow ranger to be captured by the enemy.

Jesus died so that no one would fall prey to hell and satan. He gave His life so that mankind can be saved. What an excellent image of sacrifice and bravery.

With examples like this McDougall shows how Jesus was soldier-like in His mission to conquer death and set prisoners free. What a great example to use than that of a soldier.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Christ Set Forth by Thomas Goodwin

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

As I read this book I was taken aback by the sheer weight and depth that was presented. Time and time again, Goodwin would keep pointing to Christ. The message was complete dependence on Jesus as the reason for my justification.

Goodwin would point out that I could trust Jesus because He was human. He suffered as a human suffers. Then Goodwin would direct the reader that Jesus was God and thus is the only one to bring justification to me. 

This is such a marvelous work that all who read this blog should check out the website here. It will be well worth your time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Trip Around the Sun by Mark Batterson

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

This book is a rather unique work in that it is written by two men. Each of them gives a small account of his life, what they learned, and what they hope to pass on to others.

The core of the book is adventure. Living life like the adventure that it is. Each of the authors tell a story from their lives, and then these stories are summarized in a brief challenge at the end of each chapter.

I enjoy this book a lot and really appreciated the honesty and organic nature of each chapter. Life is meant to be lived; live it. That is what this book has for its heart.

Monday, June 29, 2015

From Good to Grace by Christine Hoover

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

Am I a good...(fill in the blank)?

It is a question that many will ask themselves over time. Christine Hoover has and she found out that God is not concerned with how "good" she is but rather how much He loves her and how much she extends His love to others.

In From Good to Grace, Hoover tells the story of her journey of how she let go of "goodness" mentality and embrace the abundant life that God offers.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dead Dog Like Me by Max Davis

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

A life in the spotlight as a pastor, author, speaker, and television guest; Nick Gregory seemed to have the ideal, Christian life.

All that was unraveling as Nick's son was killed and Nick felt the blame personally: very personally.

In a fit of anger and pain, Nick drove his vehicle like a mad man and in the process: ran over his dog, wrecked his car, broke his back, and...ended up in Israel?

Follow Nick's story in this thought-provoking book Dead Dog Like Me by Max Davis. Read how Nick began to identify with a self-described "dead dog" and felt God's love and peace during a dark time.

I really enjoyed this book and how well it moved. I am not much of a fiction reader but enjoy a good story once in a while. This is just that; a well written story. I saw the depth of characters and was challenged with the depth of God's love and mercy.

For the dog-lover in your life this book may be a great gift.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dad's Devotional Bible (NIV)

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

I am usually on the lookout for a good devotional Bible, especially if that Bible is geared towards men/fathers. Being a father is an amazing role, one that I enjoy, even with its challenges.

That said, there are times when you seem like your back is against the wall and you need that encouraging thought to strengthen your resolve.

This devotional Bible is unique in that devotions are inserted in the text so that you can read the Bible or read the section associated with each devotional.

I really like this feature. The devotional Bibles I have had in the past would have a thought or challenge along with the Scriptural passage for that day's reading. This Bible does away with that in favor of using a devotion inside of the text rather than a devotion with the text.

I also enjoy the additional items for fathers like the articles for building your children. They use the Bible to not only challenge me as a father but also as a mentor and leader.

This is a nice Bible for the father in your life and would be a great gift for a new Christian dad. 

Tune into WOW Leadership by Sheri Staak

*I received this complimentary copy from Greenleaf Book Group Press in exchange for my honest review.

Leadership. It is a hot topic these days and for good reason. It seems harder and harder to find good leaders. Sheri Staak knows this and has written about WOW leaders versus DUD leaders.

And to top it off she uses television shows to prove her point. I was a bit skeptical at first but after reading her book I was impressed by the points that were made.

Staak uses shows, both past and current, to show how great leaders have had a draw to us. Be it Star Trek, Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger (my personal favorite), others, society seems to desire a leader who serves others, stands for what is right, and does not compromise on his/her ethics.

I really appreciated this heart as I read Staak's book. Leadership is developed and, like a good television show, when developed correctly creates a following.

We need more leaders today. Maybe we should pay a bit more attention to the television heroes we so eagerly follow. They may have more to teach us than we realize.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Happiness According to Jesus by Bobby Schuller

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

Happiness. It is something that almost all of humanity desires. It is the proverbial carrot that is placed before the donkey that is just out of reach. No matter what we try to do happiness seems to elude us.

Is it because we misunderstand the origin of happiness? In his book, Happiness According to Jesus, Bobby Schuller uses the Sermon on the Mount to show how Jesus defines happiness.

From anger, sex, love, self-righteousness, and others, Schuller uses the Sermon on the Mount to show that Jesus has a different view of happiness.

Rather than finding happiness in things, Jesus tells his followers to find happiness in letting go and letting God provide.

Instead of worrying, Jesus tells us to see how God provides for the animals. Since we are more important than the animals, does not it stand to reason God will provide for us? In the area of pride, instead of defending ourselves when insulted, Jesus says to try and find a way to make that enemy a friend.


Yet that is how Jesus defines happiness. Living for a higher calling; God's calling.

I found this book to be a great challenge and motivator to live for happiness God's way. Letting go of my desire to fight for my share and letting God bless me for being obedient. It is not easy, but then again, the best things in life usually take effort.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kingdom Come by Reggie McNeal

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

I must admit that this book was a challenge for me. I am not quite sure how I feel about the contents. On the one hand I understand I see where McNeal is coming from but on the other hand I have my reservations.

Perhaps that is why McNeal wrote this book. People like me to need to evaluate what we believe and whether or not it is Biblical.

That is where this book enters. In Kingdom Come, McNeal challenges the reader to really look at why many focus on getting "church" right when the focus should be on advancing the Kingdom of God.

Sadly, many people, and I having been one of them, equate the church and the Kingdom of God. This is not so. The church is to promote and advance the Kingdom of God but the Kingdom of God is not the church. Why?

"The Kingdom of God", as McNeal writes, "is life as God intends it to be, His original blueprint for all of creation." When understood, this means that the church plays a role but is not the goal; fulfilling-life with God is.

From this point, McNeal wants church leaders to focus outwards (think missional) and less inward (think church development). It is not to say that the focus should not be on church but that the first focus is going to those that do not know God and His Son Jesus.

McNeal suggests more community involvement with members of that community. Helping in hunger programs, clothing drives, reading initiatives, and such. He also advocates partnering with non-Christian groups for the benefit of the community with the knowledge that God will use such work to advance His Kingdom.

This is where my struggle began. Working with atheists, for example, to feed the hungry in the community. We have differences of theological beliefs, yet putting those aside for the hungry is hard. I struggled with questions of working with theological opposition and whether or not it is wise to do so.

I have not come to an answer but perhaps that is what McNeal wants; to get me to questioning.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Awakening to God by Gerard Long

Are you asleep? I find it interesting you cannot answer that question. If you answer  then you are not asleep.

Many people are spiritually asleep and do not know it. Gerard Long wants people to wake up; not for themselves but for God.

There is so much life that God has for us yet many choose not follow God into an abundant life. Why?

God has a purpose; some revealed and some not revealed. Yet, many will not go even so far as to walk in faith. "I have no idea what God wants from me" is something that might be heard.

Are you listening to Him?

Long points out that God is speaking but we have not have our ears tuned to His music. Suffering, brokenness, opportunities, love, and more are all part of the symphony of God's workings.

Sadly, many do not see God in all that He does. We try to understand it all in our own strength when the All-Powerful is offering His strength to carry us. Gerard Long wants you to experience God's power and discover His purpose for you. Awakening to God is his book to challenge his readers to find God: even in the places we may have forgotten.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Empire's End by Jerry Jenkins

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

I was so excited to read this book. Having read I, Saul I was ready to see where he was going to take Paul in his newest novel.

I was not disappointed.

The characters came to  lie as I read the book. I could feel them think, ache, love, and struggle. What was the most amazing thing is that, while no one knows for sure all of what happened to Paul, I could see how what Jenkins described could have played out.

Not only that but the way in which Jenkins peppers Scripture into this novel was genius. It really added a life to Paul that I had not anticipated. I would be curious to sit next to Paul and asked him how close Jerry Jenkins came to describing him. Would not that be a great conversation to hear?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Launch Your Encore Finding Adventure and Purpose Later in Life by: Hans Finzel, Rick Hicks

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

A lot of our society in the United States is bent towards staying young. We have creams, potions, foods to eat or not eat, exercising, and even having surgeries.

In Launch Your Encore, Finzel and Hicks believe that just because a person ages does not mean that their usefulness diminshes. In fact, they would suggest that a "second career" should take place.

They show that maturity is greatly needed today and that such people should take the initiative to find adventure and to live with purpose in the later stages of life.

What I liked about this book is that getting older is not something to fear but rather be enjoyed and then shared with the next generation. Would more seasoned people take this approach I believe our society would greatly benefit.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Reformation Study Bible: ESV

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

I own an older edition of this study Bible, the NKJV one, and was exited to hear about an update to this Study Bible.

I am amazed at the level of study notes, commentaries, book introductions, and appendices. It is apparent that much thought went into what to include in this Bible.

My favorite has to be some of the creeds of the faith such as The Apostle's Creed and The Nicene Creed. I really enjoy the history that these creeds provide.

While I would like to go into more detail about this Bible, I will instead direct my followers to their website here. Consider purchasing a copy for yourself. If you fancy the NKJV I understand that this translation is set to be released in September of 2015.

How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible by Keith Ferrin

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

Reading my Bible. As the son of a pastor, been in church all my life, taught young-men's Sunday School, and presently teach the College & Career Sunday morning class, I know the value of reading my Bible.

I have read books on Bible reading, heard messages on it, and have purchased Bible study software to help me to better understand the Bible.

Yet, I still have the struggle of reading my Bible just like many other Christians I know.


I know the value of reading. I know that the Bible is my source of wisdom, love, and strength. I know that Jesus died for me and wrote a love letter to me explaining why. However, I keep coming back to this: I do not find reading the Bible enjoyable.

In his new book How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible, Keith Ferrin lays out how he came to enjoy, yes, enjoy reading his Bible. He details his own struggle on Bible reading and what he suggests to do in order to enjoy Bible reading as he does.

There is nothing profound in this book and yet I found it so refreshing to read. By keeping it simple and easy to do, Ferrin has primed the pump for anyone who struggles with Bible reading to begin a life of Bible-reading enjoyment.

GET THIS BOOK!!! Whether you are new to Bible reading or seasoned, go out and buy a copy. I will not give my reasons why; Ferrin has done that very nicely on his own. Read his book and you will see what I mean.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Giveaway: The Action Study Bible

It's giveaway time!

I have a hardback copy of The Action Bible: Study Bible (ESV) version. If you are not familiar with the Action Bible, check it out here.

The giveaway rules are simple. All you have to do is answer this question: does adding anime to the Bible add distractions or bring characters to life? Please comment on this post with your response.

The giveaway will start on May 29, 2015 at 12pm Eastern. It will end on June 4th, 11:59pm Eastern. The answer I like the best will win. One entry per person. Please be honest and don't enter multiple times with various emails.

Got it? Great! Now...enter the giveaway.

Update: This giveaway has ended. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Experiencing the New Birth By Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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

What does it mean to become a Christian? What does it look like? Are the evidences that should be present to validate that one is a Christian?

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in this study on John 3, answers those questions with such depth, detail, and power that I found myself so very grateful he did so.

With candor and grace, Dr. Lloyd-Jones weaves a wonderful message about all that new birth has and all that should be experienced on this earth.

Sadly, many Christians have been brought under the "thou shall" and "thou shalt nots" that they have misdirected from the life that the new birth offers. Dr. Lloyd-Jones, in this book, helps to remove the misdirection and get the Christian focused on what truly matters. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

While My Soldier Serves by Edie Melson

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

This book is a collection of prayers that Edie Melson has written for those who have loved ones in the military. Ranging from asking for guidance, wisdom to make the proper decisions, and also protection for the soldier(s), this book could be a great resource for those who struggle with how to prayer for their loved one(s).

I really enjoyed the honesty and heart of this book. The prayers are segmented into topics which also allow for ease of finding a prayer or finding several prayers for a specific topic. As someone who enjoys prayer books this book is a nice addition with a military bent.