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 (http://booklookbloggers.com/) 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 www.bloggingforbooks.com 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.

Excellent!

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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Unique and Very Good!

To You; Love, God: A Year of Daily Guidance and Inspiration Straight from the Source, by Will Bowen, is a different type of devotional.  It is a 365 day devotional which is like many, however, the main difference is that Bowen has taken the liberty, not saying that’s bad, of writing a love letter from God to us.  So, what if we woke up to a daily love letter from God which encourages us through the difficulties of life.  That’s the premise of this book.

The book is an easy to read book.  It is written in a very poetic manner which should helps bring hope and encouragement to the reader.  The book is written in 12 themes.  Each month has a different theme.   The twelve themes are:

January - Awaken,
February - Love,
March - Release,
April - Believe,
May - Do,
June - Transform,
July - Intend,
August - Transcend,
September - Cultivate,
October - Flow,
November - Appreciate, and
December - Flourish.

The main criticisms are the fact that the subtitle suggests the inspiration is straight from the source.  The source must be God.  I can see how the book inspired the author to write this.  Yes, maybe that’s a little nit-picky, but it bothered me.  The other comment is that the devotion does not include scripture.  I think it’s a great devotion, with great thought, but to add scripture to help the reader see where the encouragement is found in the Bible would have been great.

Nonetheless, this is an excellent devotional.

I received a copy from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Thought Provoking & Entertaining!

I really was not sure what to expect in this book, other than the fact that it intrigued me.  Jared Brock has written a book which has some great deep truths, and is silly and comical at the same time.  In his book, A Year of Living Prayerfully: How A Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life, Brock and his wife Michelle set out on a one year adventure of learning more about prayer in order to revitalize their prayer lives. 

This is not a how to book, rather it is an intimate portrait of two people who have set out on a very intentional journey in order to find God, to develop a closer and more impactful prayer life with God.  They set about this journey by traveling the world and looking at various religions and traditions to learn about prayer. 

This is an easy to read book, which will surprise you with some deep truths about life and prayer.  Jared and Michelle share their journey and the many learnings and surprises along the journey.  Some were silly and irreverant, such as the clothes the wore to meet the Pope, their time at a Jewish Seder meal, and more. 

Jared never lost sight of his quest, repeatedly asking the question, “What is prayer?”  I would recommend this book to all who want to draw closer to God through reading a book which is both entertaining and thought provoking.

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