Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Excellent 101 Collection

I have never read a John Maxwell book on leadership I didn't like.  This book is no different.  The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs to Know, is a compilation of Maxwell's short books from the 101 series.  This book weighs in at just over 600 pages, so it may be intimidating, but the chapters are short and quick reads.

Each page is filled with great, relevant and useful advice.  It's not rocket science, but Maxwell has found a niche in writing about leadership in such a way that it makes sense and seems easier than it really is.  It's mostly common sense.  But, that can be a struggle sometimes!

 There are 8 sections to the book.  Each covers a different phase of leadership, yet are all inter-related . . . 

  1. Attitude
  2. Self Improvement
  3. Leadership 
  4. Relationships
  5. Success
  6. Teamwork
  7. Equipping
  8. Mentoring

John's writing style makes the books easy to read and follow, as he uses stories, life examples and great practical knowledge to help make the books more useful and understandable.  John does not dwell on his Christian faith, which I would have liked to see more.

Overall, this is an excellent book for anyone in leadership or aspiring to positions of leadership.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and BookLook Bloggers.

How to Tie a Tie

I am not one for overbearing suits.  I believe a stylish suit should stand on its own.  But add a stylish tie to that suit and you are now making a statement.  The problem is, too many men have no clue how to tie a good tie.  Thus enters the book, How to TIE A TIE, by Ryan Tristan Jin.  

Early on I learned how to tie a half Windsor and Full Windsor tie, but that was as far as it went.  I know there are many other ways to tie a tie, but have never taken the time to learn.  Now, I can learn new ways to tie a tie.  

This book was good in that Jin started out by showing the different styles of ties, along with a color wheel to help men learn which colors work together and what does not.  

He then discusses and show diagrams about tying classic knots, then moves into a discussion, with diagrams on how to tie knots which are a little bolder.  One struggle I had was following the diagrams on some of the bolder ties.  That could be where a youtube supplement to this book comes out.

He concludes by talking about style and shirt styles, which was interesting, jackets, cuff links and more.  He also talks about how to tie a bow tie, and pocket squares.

Overall, this was the type of book I would give to a graduating college student to help them when they move into the working world.  The book cover also has a nice texture to it.

I received this book from blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Inspiring Book!

I heard of Judah Smith's book Jesus Is ___________ but had not read it, and thought this would be an interesting book to read.  So I was excited to receive this book. 

Judah is an engaging author, telling stories, using humor and tugging at your heart.  This book is broken into 4 sections . . .

Life is . . . to be loved and to love
Life is . . . to trust God in every moment,
Life is . . . to be at peace with God and yourself, and
Life is . . . to enjoy God.

Smith wrote about God's amazing love for us and how illogical it is.  Yet that is the great news.  Smith does a great job showing the reader God is passionately in love with us.  That's the illogical part, but it's the wonderful and powerful point of redemption.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book.  It would make a good book study.

Great Ideas for Personal Evangelism!

Amy Lively attempts to take the reader across the threshold and into the scary land of evangelism.  In her book, How to Love your Neighbor Without Being Weird, Lively shares stories and techniques about how to talk to your neighbor about Christ . . . without being weird.

The book is very practical and filled with humor and very real adventures which helps the reader better identify with the author.  She gives ideas and clues about what to say and has a section at the end of each chapter called “Next Steps” in which she helps you determine what we should do next. 

One great thought she had was to simply invite people to your home instead of inviting them to church where it is more threatening.  She helps the reader understand you don’t need a model super clean home.  Instead you need to practice the gift of hospitality.  Help that person feel welcome in your home and you will be surprised at what happens.

If you are looking for ways to reach your neighbors, then I believe this book has some great ideas in a nonthreatening forum. 

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

Excellent! Say No More!

I really enjoy photography but seem to have little to no time to become a better photographer.  When I saw this book, it really piqued my interest.  This book, Capture the Moment, by Sandra Wilkerson, is filled with extraordinary pictures. 

What I really appreciated was the fact that this book was not filled with diagrams and charts about aperture settings, f stops, etc.  The focus was on pictures and settings and how to tell a story through pictures.  This helped the book to be a 5 star book. 

There are 6 chapters which cover the following ~

Natural Light
Fine Art
Black & White
Low Light

This book is useable for the novice like me, or for the advanced photographer who is looking to gain extra inspiration and ideas for new types and styles of pictures.  There are basic tips and ideas for all levels of photographers.  As each chapter progressed, Wilkerson moved into more advanced thoughts and techniques.

Don’t get me wrong, while each picture includes the information about the picture (Shutter speed, f-stop, camera, lens, etc.) that was not the focus of the book.  Sometimes all of those terms can be daunting.  While necessary to know them and understand them as you grow as a photographer, it can still be intimidating. 

Each chapter ends with “Creativity Exercises” to help you progress as a photographer.  Overall, this is an excellent book and I highly recommend it!

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

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His Kingdom or Our Kingdom?

I have always appreciated the writing of Reggie McNeal.  He seeks to help churches grow to become who God has called them to become.  In his book, Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church - and What We Should Do Instead, Reggie believes church’s are asking the wrong question.

Most churches are asking how they can grow and become the biggest and newest mega church or multi-site church.  But McNeal states the correct question to ask is “how can our church join God in His mission to grow His kingdom?” 

I believe that is a crucial question and a huge difference in the way we think about church. 

McNeal explained the church is part of God’s plan to grow the kingdom, but we cannot grow the Kingdom without following God’s plan.  The modern church attempts to do ministry in a box, and to that degree we try to put His kingdom, with all of its complexities and uniqueness into our small isolated church’s.

This is an interesting book, with an excellent premise.  He also includes a Discussion Guide in the back of the book to help you consider some of the key thoughts from each chapter.  This is an excellent book for those in leadership to read and discuss.

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

Friday, May 01, 2015

Some Insights of Jesus in the Old Testament

In the book, Transcending Mysteries: Who is God and What Does He Want From Us? Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens have written a book in which they attempt to find Jesus’ message from the Old Testament.

In this book they offer more of a dialogue to answer the questions about Jesus in the Old Testament.  It is written more from a personal reflective position as opposed to a deeper theological position.  In that sense it was interesting to see their take on who Christ is in the Old Testament. 

I appreciated their insights, as some made me think more about my view of Jesus and where I see Him as well in the Old Testament.  Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens are Christian musicians.  As such, there were times when they used music to help describe their view of Jesus in the Old Testament.  I found that helpful to better learn where they saw Jesus, and how music fit in with the larger story.

What intrigued me about the book was what was written on the back cover.  It said, Greer and Owens will “take readers on a journey to help Christ-followers reconcile a New Testament Redeemer with an Old Testament Judge.”  I was looking forward to a deeper discussion on that issue, but was left wanting more and wanting a deeper theological discussion.

Overall, the book is a nice collection of reflections and dialogue between the two Christian artists. 

I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers ( program.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Powerful and Impactful

In their book, Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most, by Hendrie Weisinger and J.P. Pawliw-Fry was an outstanding book.  So many people believe that they can just fend off the pressures which are upon them in a simple way, but that is not quite so true.  Techniques and practice needs to occur.  We believe people perform better under pressure, but that is not true either. 

The authors tell many stories which the reader can relate to, which helps us better understand how our body reacts to pressure.  We don’t like it, and we especially don’t like pressure packed surprises. 

When we experience pressure, especially unexpectedly, we need to be prepared to respond.  With this in mind, the authors developed a system to help the person who is experiencing pressure.  They discuss these strategies in the book, calling it the COTE of Armor.  The C.O.T.E. stands for (Confidence; Optimism; Tenacity and Enthusiasm).  The authors provide practical tools to help people perform better under pressure.  The rest is up to us, to practice and use these tools.

The more we practice these techniques, the more we will find they benefit us and help us thrive under pressure.  This will help us in all walks of life. 

Many books like this are all theory.  This book was not.  It is not a super fast read, but the stories and illustrations are great, as are the many practical tips and techniques which we can begin using. 

We all deal with pressure to one degree or another.  I highly recommend this book. 

I received this book free of charge from in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Engaging Journey to Faith

Adventures in Saying YES: A Journey from Fear to Faith, was an excellent book.  Carl Medearis packed up his wife and children and left for the Middle East.  They had hopes of changing the world for Christ.  This is a story about overcoming fear and relying on faith to defeat the demons of fear which Medearis and his family experienced on their wild journey.

This is a very easy to read book, filled with adventures and amazing faith, courage and some craziness from Medearis and his wife.  Carl shared a number of very personal stories, often times wondering why he was doing what he was doing, yet, he was always able to experience God’s presence, even when Muslims are questioning him with AK-47's in hand.  He even called out an Imam during one encounter. 

Medearis always brings the reader back to Jesus as the reason for what he was doing.  He shared some Bible passages and more than anything shared his story about overcoming fear in the name of faith in Christ.

I received this book from Bethany House Blogger Review Program for this honest review.


I really enjoyed reading this book, A. D. The Bible Continues: The Revolution That Changed the World.  Dr. David Jeremiah has written a book which if filled with a great deal of history which helps fill in the gaps about the beginning of the early church.  The first two chapters of the book give details regarding the death and resurrection of Christ.  Jeremiah goes into great detail to paint a vivid picture of what occurred. 

Beginning in chapter 3, Jeremiah tackles the beginnings of the church.  The book is based on the television series of the same name. 

Jeremiah provides the reader with additional facts and information which help to understand the political, cultural and religious situation of what was occurring when the church began.  He provides passages from the Bible to help the reader better understand the Christian perspective as well.

This is an easy to read book and very relevant to our world today, as Jeremiah uses examples we can relate to.  This is a very interesting book, which will help the reader understand the early movement of the church.  Of course, there is no substitute for reading the Bible.

I highly recommend A. D. The Bible Continues: The Revolution That Changed the World!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Thought Provoking!!

As a pastor who is trying to meet the needs of all people, yet understand why we are the way we are, this book was very helpful to me.  In Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church, Rachel Evans has written a book which describes her journey from the church to leaving the church and now back again.  She has changed and the church has changed. 

It's not always for the best.  She still struggles with many issues mainline, conservatives take as fact, but I appreciated the transparency of her struggles.  The first part of the book was very helpful as she wrote about her feelings of disillusionment and questioning the church.  Even though I didn't grow up in the church, I could identify with much of what she was writing. 

As she writes, she discusses the seven sacraments which the Catholic and Orthodox churches follow.   The chapters are short and easy to read.  While I do not agree with some of her theology, I found the book valuable to see where some people in the millenial group are thinking about church and structure.

She concluded that the church is still a place where you can find the good in people, yet we recognize we are all flawed.  She still finds it a place of peace for her.  

I received this book from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for an honest and impartial review.