Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Power-filled Words

Stu Garrard's book, Words from the Hill: an invitation to the unexpected, is a very powerful, easy to read, down to earth book about the Beatitudes Jesus spoke in Matthew 5-7.  Garrard shares story after story to bring home the points Jesus was making in the Beatitudes.

Jesus was giving us life lessons . . . ways to live our lives in a manner which brings glory to God and demonstrates love for others.  Garrard seeks to do the same for us.

In each of the 8 chapters, he tells stories about the different beatitudes and ways they have been realized in the lives of so many people.

Garrard is a former guitarist in the groups Delirious?, one of my favorite Christian rock bands.  He brings a unique perspective to this book.

It is well worth reading.  It can be used as a devotional book to read through the Beatitudes, then to read a chapter of this book.  The chapters are about 20-30 pages longs, but the reading is quick and moving.

It's a reminder to each person to live our lives in a manner which seeks to experience the power and presence of Christ.  It's a reminder we are all broken, some more than others, and we need to drink in from the well of the Beatitudes and the well which God offers us.

While it's an easy and quick read, it's also a profound read, which has the opportunity to change your heart!!

I received this book from Tyndale Press in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Chiefs of Staff!

I was excited to receive the book, The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency, by Chris Whipple.  This book gives a great deal of information about how each president used, didn't use, got along with, etc. along with the power at the disposal of a very misunderstood position, the Chief of Staff. 

I did not realize the White House Chief of Staff is the highest-ranking White House employee.  I never really paid that much attention to that role, other than hearing the names of previous chiefs of staff.  Most only last 2-2.5 years.

The book reviews a number of Chiefs of Staff, which was a position made by President Eisenhower.  It starts with the Nixon administration and continues through the Obama administration.  The book is extremely fast paced and at times it is easy to get lost in all of the names and characters, yet, I do not think I would have read a book which detailed an entire administration. 


It seems that the Chief of Staff was instrumental in helping the president succeed or fail during their term.  That's how important this role is.  The author, Chris Whipple, attempts to make that point that many presidencies were less successful because they were unorganized and the role of chief organizer often fell to the chief of staff.  They are the ones who manage the schedule of the president and ultimately act like a "GATEKEEPER" for them.

if you enjoy reading history of the United States in the past 50 years with a snapshot of the Presidencies, this would be a great book to read.  I felt he was not biased in his assessments either.



I received this book in exchange for an honest review from bloggingforbooks.



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Great Reminders to ... ZIP IT!

I was not familiar with this author, Karen Ehman, nor her prior book, called Keep It Shut!  Her new book, aptly named ZIP IT! The KEEP IT SHUT 40 Day Challenge is definitely a winner.

This is a short devotional broken into 40 - 4 page readings.  It was great for Lent, but works for any time of year in which you want yourself to be challenged about the way you listen and talk to others.

Each chapter includes scripture, lessons, applications and a prayer.  It is an easy to read, easy to follow devotional which, while being easy to read, is not always as easy to follow the application and wisdom in the book.

There is humor and stories which helps make the book easy to read, yet poignant.  If you are looking for an easy to follow devotional, this would be high on my list to get.  I'll have to check out her other book, Keep it Shut!

I received this book from booklookbloggers in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Fascinating Book!

The Moth Presents - All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown was a fascinating book to read.  This book is a compilation of personal stories which will cause you to think, laugh, cry, be perplexed, along with a wide range of other emotions.

I had not heard of The Moth before now, but am intrigued.  This book is broken into 7 Sections, each with a different focus.  They are as follows ~
  • The Eternal Music of the Spheres
  • Things I've Seen
  • Keeping the Lid On
  • Grace Rushes In
  • Like a Man Does
  • To Face the Fear
  • By Every Claim of Love

There are 45 short stories written by 45 different authors.  These are stories which recount some portion of their life which was a life changing or led to a life changing experience.  The authors share stories about times when they had to risk, have courage, forgive, and more.  There is a great deal of power in many of these stories.

I would recommend this book.  Most chapters are only 6-8 pages in length and are easy reads, yet profound.


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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A MUST READ on PRAYER!

In his book, Talking With God: What To Say When You Don't Know How To Pray, by Adam Weber, is a must read.  This is not your typical book of how to's or what prayer is, yet it is exactly that!  This is what makes this book so good.

It's an easy read, it's written in a style which is personal and relational, there are tons of spaces between paragraphs, which helps the book to flow even better.

Weber breaks the book down into 4 sections ~
  1. The God we Talk With
  2. The Way We Pray
  3. How To Pray When . . . 
  4. Only The Beginning
Weber shares personal stories, stories from the past, and helps the reader to understand what he is proposing prayer is.  As he says in the beginning, prayer is . . . Talking With God.  Hence, the title of the book.  He goes on to say, as he looks at his family, prayer is silly, it's random, it can have a sense of comedy and unsteadiness, yet it is honest, it can be short, it's simple.

There are many nuggets in this book which can be underlined to help the reader move forward in their prayer life.

I would highly recommend this book!

I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review!

Blogging for Books - Free Books in Exchange for an Honest Review

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Short Devotional

In his short book, The 100 Most Encouraging Bible Verses, Troy Schmidt has written a book which is designed to give the readers a shot of hope and encouragement along their journey.

The book contains as the title states, 100 verses, which according to Schmidt are the most encouraging passages in the Bible.  Each verse is listed at the top of the page and a one page short devotion follows after that.  

The book works as a quick devotional or when you need a dose or extra dose of encouragement, it's a quick and easy read.





Schmidt uses a variety of translations, which I found a bit unsettling, since I like to stick with one version, however, that does not take away from the theme or message of the devotional.



It's always interesting to read someone else's top 100 encouraging verses, because there are always verses which are left out which I thought should be included.  Overall, this is an easy to read and quick read devotional.  It seems patterned to be somewhat similar to the Our Daily Bread devotional.


In the end, this is a good book to read on those rainy days.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fun Children's Book

When God Made You, by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow, was a fun and interesting children's book to read.  The book is filled with great imagination and lots of rhyming throughout the book.  The book has a great statement to make which cannot be impressed enough from the start - - God created you, each person, with a very specific purpose in mind.  The message of our uniqueness is woven throughout the book.

The book is possibly a little long for a child, or to be read for a child, but the message is excellent.  The illustrations are powerful and bold, which add to the story.

This book is filled with encouragement and hope.  It will be one a child will want read to them over and over.  What better message to hear, than you were specifically chosen by God to be uniquely you.

I recommend this book.

I received this book from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Learning about the Flood (Children's Book)

A Patch on the Peak of Ararat, by Gary Bower is part of the Children's Books in the A Faith that God Built Series.  It is wonderfully illustrated by Barbara Chottiner.  I found the book entertaining as one to read to younger children.  There are rhymes on every page which makes it a little more fun.

As in any children's book, there will be ad-libbing to fill in the blanks in the story.  At times it seemed that some of the words were a little advanced for younger children, and some explanation may need to occur, but overall, this is a fun book, which any child will enjoy, especially looking at the great pictures and gaining a small understanding of the story of the flood. 

I didn't expect this to be a complete theology or explanation of the flood, simply a story that opens the eyes of a child to what happened in one story in the Bible. 

I received this book from Tyndale Press in exchange for an honest review.

Living the Great Life

Jason Mitchell’s book, No Easy Jesus: How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life, was a very easy to read and very good book.  He begins by asking some very simple rhetorical questions.  The same questions apply to you and I.  Do we believe in eating right and exercising?  Most of us would say yes.  The same holds true for the question - - about our belief in Jesus.  We know faith is more than simply believing with head knowledge.  We are called to follow Jesus.

Mitchell has broken the book down into 10 chapters - which are calls in our lives to let go of the “good life” and follow Jesus, so we can experience the “great life.”  At times this book hit home because we have all bought into the idea of living the comfortable life.  But Mitchell wants us to move beyond the comfortable . . . and those become the very difficult life choices which create life change.  Living the easy life, the so-called satisfied life is not necessarily the best life.  In fact, it usually is not the best life.

Jesus has promised us we can live the abundant life, but we choose the life of less than, and we become depressed and disappointed life has not turned out better for us.  He uses personal examples and stories to help the reader better identify with him.  He uses additional illustrations and stories to help make his points.

Overall, this is an easy to read book which may help someone move off their comfortable chair, and become invested in life.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Experiencing the Spirit

What do we do when we want and hope to experience the power of the Holy Spirit, yet, find ourselves and churches void of the Spirit of God?  That’s part of the purpose of this book by Sam Storms, Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in your Life.  I was taken back by the book because I was expecting it to be about all of the Spiritual Gifts, not a focus on the charismatic gifts alone.

Yet, I was not disappointed in the book.  Storms admits the book is geared to those who are theologically sophisticated, yet are yearning and hungry to experience the power of the Holy Spirit.  The book focuses on healing and prophecy more than most other charismatic gifts.  There is a theological and philosophical side to the book, yet, there is practical help for the reader. 

Many people want to experience the power of the Spirit more for their glory, than the glory of Christ, and Storms touches on that in the book, as he explains, sometimes God tells us to be grateful for the gifts you do have, and stop asking for what you do not have.  It is implicit throughout the book that Storms believes it is still possible to receive these spiritual gifts.

He explains the greatest way to experience these gifts is through prayer and fasting, yet again, the reminder if you are not receiving what you have prayed and fasted for, then God has given you an answer and humbly be thankful for the gifts you have received.

Overall, this is a very good book for those who are interested in learning more about the charismatic spiritual gifts.

I received this book from booklookbloggers in exchange for an honest review.