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Archive for the ‘book review’ Category

I remember the first time I saw Kerry Shook teaching. I was flipping through the channels and he was preaching on his TV program. It was interesting as he was talking about the recipe of life as he was making and cooking a pizza on stage. It wasn’t overly deep or new in content but it was interesting, different, and good if you were looking at the topic for the first time.

From that, I bought his book “One Month to Live” and wanted to do a sermon series based off the concept. Again, I didn’t find it to deep or new information but creatively done and a good concept for something more basic for someone on a surface level.

 

This book falls into the same flow. It is well done but nothing all that new. If you and your spouse are looking for something to dig into together, to spur on some conversation, and to remind yourself were your commitment levels may be struggling, this is a good book. If you are one who has been doing deeper study on the topic, this is not the deeper book you are looking for as much as a compilation of you might find to be common sense in the mix of your study.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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OK, I admit that I’m a tad behind (well, maybe more than a tad behind) in my book reviews so I’m going to try to catch up tonight and get back on track =)

Conversations with God is an interesting book that asks some basics questions such as “What is Heaven like?”, “If God loves us, why is there suffering?” and the like. Good basic questions that most everyone wonders at one point or another in their Christian walk. The answers are done in the form of being answered in a conversational form by God and others in heaven.

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There has been a lot of buzz on the topic of Hell ever since Rob Bell came out the book “Love Wins”. Many (including myself) were concerned with some of his writings on the topic. While he brought up several good points about life, it ended up being what I call a “rubber band” book. A “rubber band” book tries to make a needed point but goes so far that it ends up snapping back on them. Bell finds it important to remind the church to worry more about hell on earth. However, it is lost in his careless yet poetic way of talking about the true hell to come.

As Chan puts it “But just because some have swung the pendulum so far in the direction of wrath and judgment, let’s not swing it back too far the other direction and do away with what the Scripture emphasizes. God is compassionate and just, loving and holy, wrathful and forgiving. We can’t sideline His more difficult attributes to make room for the palatable ones.” page 101

(Hence the balance of Truth and Love. You can’t have one and not the other…..)

Then enter several response sermons, talks, and books. This could fall under that heading but at the same time, it addresses more than Rob Bell’s teachings. Hell has been around a lot longer than this debate and there is much to be learned on the topic that impacts real souls.

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OK, I am doing two book reviews today. The last one wasn’t very flattering so I am pleased to stay this one has a very different tone! I loved it!

Now to be honest, I did thumb through the book “Radical” and it didn’t grab me. I liked the principles of it but something about the writing style just didn’t grab me. However, when I saw this book was coming out, I nabbed it. Why? Because I love talking about Christian community! I love everything about it! The highs and the lows….. the good and the bad…… when we are talking about true, Biblical Christian community, I always love being in the conversation.

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Um, how to start this review. Well, um, “Finding our way again” is the wrong way. How’s that to cover the jist of it?

I admit, I am not a Brian Mclaren fan but I have some people I respect that like him so I wanted to give him another look. Also, I have tried a couple of the books in the “The Ancient Practices” series and have found them to be…. well….um…. lacking. However, why not give it another look? This book was my answer to this question.

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Overall, I thought this book was a decent read. The research was in depth and the deductions were of interest. There were several quotables throughout the text that made me stop and think and others that I shared to spark conversations with others.

I don’t know if I share all of the authors views of the deductions he landed at but it did stretch me to look at some new ways of thinking. I agree that the landscape (not the content) of the church is changing…. I would say this book does a good job of pondering those changes but isn’t dead on on the definition of the new landscape all the way around.

Read it…. see what you think. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

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I have to make a confession up front, I love the concept of devotionals but generaly find them lacking. Why must I admit this? It will effect my review of this book.

For instance, as a book in and of itself, I don’t know if I would recommend it. However, compared to other devotionals, this is one of the better ones.

Divided into different subjects, the author stays on target of the scope of the title by presenting Biblical based thoughts from God. I do not always agree with some of the presummed angles he takes of the characters in the writings but over all it’s well done.

If you are looking for a new devotional and just getting started, this one wouldn’t be bad. However, if you want something a little deeper, maybe look to the classics like “God Calling”.

I got a copy of this book for free from www.booksneeze.com in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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When I do book reviews (which I have been doing more of than blogging lately… sorry about that =), I am usually doing so for books for Thomas Nelson publishers. I am also started to review books for Multnomah Publishers as well. However, this book is not from a big publishing house. A matter of fact, it was handed to me by the author and her husband as an encouragement when I  filled the pulpit at their church in the Smokies not too long back. It was a small book but in the midst of all the ones to review or for study, I did not read it immediately.

Today, I picked it up as I headed to lunch and thought I would enjoy it over some Mexican food and enjoy it I did!

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If you go to the store to buy this book to read, might as well get a box of tissues while you’re out and about. You’ll need it! However, don’t let that stop you, the testimony in this book will be very encouraging to you.

The story is about a young boy who goes through a medical emergency and almost dies (the first half of the book). He claims that he went to heaven and has observations to the effect afterwards (the second half of the book). For this reason, I wasn’t too convinced I was going to like the book.  I hate reading about kids in life and death situations. It’s one of my worst fears and have no interest in going down that road. Then to here a kid talk about “heaven”, well, I wasn’t convinced it was going to be legit let alone impactful.

I was proven wrong! While painful to travel the road with the parents through the pain of the medical emergency, it was worth it to see what God was doing in th situation and the impact of the testimony on the back-end. The things this kid says to his folks over the next couple years about heaven are matter of fact, impactful, and full of confirmation. I was so pumped about heaven and the life we have after this one that I was encouraged in some areas of perseverance I am in now.

Another quick point, for a guy who does a bunch of reviews like this, I am not a reader. However, this book sucks you right in and I had it done in one sitting. This book is worth it and the testimony is powerful.

I got this book for free from the publisher for an honest review….

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”Amie Streater….delivers a powerful message of common sense and Biblical wisdom that today’s Churchgoers desperately need.” Dave Ramsey

As a financial guru, Dave Ramsey would know and after checking out this book, I would have to agree. Amie Streater speaks as someone who has authority to speak on the topic and for good reason. First, she is speaking as a minister of Jesus Christ but she is also talking from the perspective of one who has been there before.

As a pastor, I do get to meet many people who are struggling in the area of financial stewardship. That is not just having empty pockets which may or may not be within the control of the individual but not managing what they have already been entrusted with by God. This leads to bondage which is not what God has called us to subject ourselves to. He freed us for the sake of freedom.

As the author puts it “Our God is the Author and Creator of order and peace. It is not God’s will for any of His children to live in chaos, frustration, lack and debt…. If we get our heads and hearts right, we can line ourselves up with what He is doing, and our lives will mirror what God wants for us, in us, and through us.”

This is a great read with a great deal of instruction (some you have heard before, some you have not) but you should take a look. Then you should actually do something with it, it’s about time….

I got a copy of this book for free from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.

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