Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Ancient Path by John Michael Talbot

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

I have often wondered if Christianity has lost its way from its roots. Has it become distanced for those who first spread the Good News?

In his book, John Michael Talbot tells of how his faith became cold and then rekindled it with his love of the church fathers.

While coming from a Roman Catholic perspective, he mentions how the church fathers were instrumental in his return to his faith.

What he discusses is how the church fathers had a wisdom about them that is rarely seen today. I agree. There is power in the depths of those that have gone before.

While I do hold to the Roman Catholic understanding of Christianity, I do agree that great people of the faith that have gone before should be consulted for growth and maturity. I myself am being drawn to those who spent their all pursuing God. What this book did was challenge me to continue my pursuit of God and to read about those who have done the same.

The Happy Christian by Dr. David Murray

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

Joy. Its a word I heard a lot growing up in church. "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where!? Down in my heart. Where!? Down in my heart." Those are the lyrics to a song I would sing a child in Sunday School.

As I get older I find that I have less joy and, where is it? Not down in my heart it woudl seem. Thus, when I saw this book I was curious.

First, I have heard of Dr. Murray and have a few books of his. Second, I had to ask myself: do I consider myself to be a happy Christian? Some days I can say yes, others would be a no. Why is that? It is because I do not have the complete mind of Christ.

Dr. Murray lays out ten ways to take on the mind of Christ to have joy in life. I will not go into all ten but highlight the one that stood out to me the most: giving.

Most think money when giving is mentioned in church and that does play a part. However, Dr. Murray mentioned an area of giving that I had not considered as giving: leadership.

There are qualified people who attend church who do not give of their leadership talents. Whether that is teaching, mentoring, prayer group, hospitality, singing, or leading in a non-church building related function (I would submit that this is sorely lacking), Dr. Murray pointed out that is a a way of giving.

Giving can lead to joy. It focuses on another and helping others may make one feel good. Leadership is giving to others with the intent of making them better. Who would not want a leader like that? It is a double-joy; joy for the receiver and joy for the giver.

That nugget of wisdom alone causes me to recommend this book. Christians need joy in this gloomy environment. This book can help them get there.

The Proclamation Bible (NIV)

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

When I saw that Timothy Keller recommended this Bible my ears perked up. I respect Mr. Keller and his opinion and thought I would give this Bible a chance.

At first I was a bit disappointed. For a "study" Bible there are no footnotes for interpretation, basic center-column references and brief book introductions. Had it been just that I would have discounted Mr. Keller recommendation.

The reason this Bible stands out are the theological helps at the beginning of this Bible. Scholars wrote some very helpful articles on Biblical interpretation, why we can trust the Bible, how to apply Scripture, and more.

In a sense it is a Bible that prepares you to study as opposed to doing it for you. In this respect I understand why it was recommended and I agree.

This Bible does what other study Bibles do not: let the reader do the digging to find the gems. Sadly, not many Bible readers do this which is why this Bible is a stand-out.

As to the Bible itself, a good typeface and good binding are present. Also there are two bookmarks which is nice for cross-referencing. It weights in at about three pounds which does not make it ideal for devotions/study on the go but good for desk study The lay-flat binding is a great add so one does not have to hold down pages while reading.

I give this Bible five stars for the theological articles and solid build. If you need to replace a study Bible give this one a hard look.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Slaying the Debt Dragon by Cherie Lowe

I really enjoyed this book and it was also very helpful for where I am right now. Trying to pay off some credit card debt is one reason that this book appealed to me.

Having said that I found this book an easy read with a lot of good advice. Most of what is in this book is common sense like setting a budget, saving for rainy days, etc.

However, some discussion has to be brought to light about tithing and paying off debt. Does one continue to tithe or pay off debt first and then tithe? I feel that Ms. Lowe did a great job in answering that question and brought some light in a way I had not expected.

For more info about this book, head over to Queen of Free. It will be well worth your time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More Than Just the Talk: Becoming Your Kids' Go-To Person About Sex by Jonathan McKee

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

The Talk. It has caused many parents to become dumb in their speech. What do I say? How do I say it? Are our kids even ready for this type of talk? In his book, More That Just the Talk, Jonathan McKee gives some practical, and wise advice on how to have "the talk." 

What I liked about this book is that it is simple. Parents should be able to have conversations like this with their children but not get medical. However, that first requires openness on the part of the parents.

McKee suggests to not avoid the talk or shroud it but rather answer questions that your children might have. Also, he gives resources to give solid, Biblical answers because the world will also give "answers" that sound so close to the truth that the lie is hard to detect. 

 However, when answered Biblically, and in love, children are more likely to see the truth and avoid the lies. In that aspect, the book presents itself well and lives up to its intent

Friday, March 13, 2015

It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who You Are by Pat Williams

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

This book is filled with short stories of men and women who exemplify what it means to win in life. In the areas of success, leadership, motivation, personal growth, and more Pat Williams tells the stories of those who lived their lives in such a way so as to lead, by example, those who followed them.

This is a great book for anyone wanting to read a quick story to inspire, push, confirm, and even challenge the reader to be more than what they presently are. It would also be a great book for anyone wanting to give a gift to a graduate.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Voices from the Past edited by Richard Rushing

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

Voices From the Past is a book that should be in everyone's library. The devotional readings from past Puritan men of God is so rich, so deep, and so powerful that to not have this book is a grave mistake.

I was challenged with each reading to fall deeper into my faith as these voices declared their love for God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.

The passion that is felt throughout each page cannot be ignored and puts life into words and pages.

Get this book.