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.