Friday, July 22, 2016

In Union in Christ

In his book, Closer Than Close: Awakening to the Freedom of Your Union with Christ, Dave Hickman has written a very personal book.  I have preached on the premise of Hickman's book and wished I had it when I did my series. 

His premise is that we are not just to be in relationship with God, we are to go beyond that and be in union with God.  Hickman explained ~
To be "in" someone and have that someone "in" us isn't just close, it's closer than close --- it's to be in "union" or "Oneness" with that person.
 That's what Hickman is writing about.  It's about how we, the Christ-follower can move beyond the term and feeling of being in relationship with Christ, to being IN union with Christ.  To have Christ in me and me in Christ.

As I read he used terms I greatly appreciated.  I liked his use of the word perichoresis, which I've used many times before.  His chapter on the church was excellent, as well.

Overall, this is a challenging book.  But it was well worth the challenge.  I would recommend this book for those who want to go deeper in their "union" with Christ!

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

A Devotion with Meat

I have appreciated the writings of Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg, so I was looking forward to receiving this devotional book entitled, Today's Moment of Truth: Devotions to Deepen Your Faith in Christ.  I really liked the cover, it would look great on a coffee table, as it has a soft somewhat cushiony cover, with a nice picture on it.

Knowing Lee Strobel is into apologetics, I was looking forward to this because I wanted a devotional which had a little bit more meat on it.  He didn’t disappoint me.  There is a mix of theology and story which helps the theology come alive.  There were 360 devotionals, none are dated, so you can pick it up at any point and start reading. 

Each devotion is 2 pages in length and starts with a scripture and ends with a section called Truth for Today.  I would recommend this book for anyone wanting a devotion which has a little more theology in it, yet, easily understood.

I received a complimentary copy of this book though in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 09, 2016


In her book, Grieving the Loss of a Loved One, Kathe Wunnenberg has written an outstanding devotional on loss.  This book captured my attention from the beginning and she never let up.  The stories and illustrations are powerful.  They are practical, relevant and true to life.

She shares scripture and life experiences which will certainly help the person who is grieving to find comfort through his/her faith.

This is the type of book to be given to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.  There are 12 sections in the book, which are listed below.  Within each section are about 4-6 chapters which are all short in nature.  Overall, there are 52 chapters in the book, which totals about 225 pages.  Below are the Section Headings ~
  1. Denying
  2. Venting
  3. Questioning
  4. Bargaining
  5. Crying
  6. Surrendering
  7. Accepting
  8. Praising
  9. Being
  10. Celebrating
  11. Relating
  12. Living
I highly recommend this book to read individually, then to be passed along as a gift.

Thanks to for the opportunity to read this book - - - in exchange for my honest opinion. 

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Not A Must Read: Silly at Times! But . . .

I thought I would like to read a totally different type of book for a change, so I chose this book through the site.  The authors, Anna Drezen and Todd Dakotah Briscoe wrote How May We Hate You? 

They began to work as traveling concierge's in New York City.  I can only imagine the stories, well, they shared many of their stories.  Some were downright hilarious, others left me yawning.  I am certain there are so many amazing and funny stories, but the book is really all negative.  That's the point of it!  Make fun of the many people who have no respect for others. 

So, they accomplished their task, but I was left wanting a few nice stores along the way.  They came up with a few, but not enough for me to say this is a must read. 

If you like books which are filled with negative stories, crazy demands and questions from people, then this is for you.  On the plus side, it is a fast moving book.  It's easy to skim and would make for a great bathroom book.  Something where you read a short anecdote, then move on.

Overall, I'm not really recommending this to most people who read my blog!  I do appreciate the opportunity to read it, and know the hospitality industry is filled with great people who have ridiculous demands which must be met.

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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Good Fictional Book

Submerged was an adventurous and fun book to read.  Dani Pettrey has written a fun fictional book. It's a suspense drama with a little romance. 

As the book progressed the suspense increased and there were twists and turns and at times the unexpected. 

I felt the plot line was good and the characters were well developed.  She also did a great job in helping the reader to identify the town in which the story takes place.

Overall, I found this to be a very good fictional book.

This is a book from Bethany House Publishers.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Very Good Teen Study Bible

I really like this new NKJV TEEN STUDY BIBLE.  It has a number of unique features - -
  • We Believe: Unpacks the Apostles Creed to reveal the biblical foundation of faith
  • Panorama: Keeps the big picture of each book of the Bible in view
  • Key Indexes: Help with in-depth Bible study
  • To the Point: Reveals what the Bible says about pressing issues
  • Dear Jordan: Offers biblical advice for teens
  • Instant Access: Tells what God says to you personally
  • Q&A: Tests your knowledge of Bible trivia
  • Bible Promises: Highlights Bible verses worth remembering
  • Book Introductions: Provides an overview for each book of the Bible
I prefer the NKJV or the ESV as the best literal translations to read.  Especially for teens, these versions are very easy to understand and the original meanings are not compromised.

I also liked the size of the Bible.  It is thick, but it is a manageable size, meaning it is not too wide to handle for the youth.

If there was one additional item I would want from this Bible, it would be study notes on the bottom of the pages.  I think this would help the teens when they have questions when reading the Bible.  

Overall, this was a very good Bible and I would recommend this for teens. 

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

Spiritual Balance in a Digital World

In her book, The Wired Soul:Finding Spiritual Balance in a Hyperconnected Age, Tricia McCray Rhodes has written an interesting book.  Her point is that we are so engaged in technology that we have difficult finding balance and centeredness. 

The fact that I am on the computer a great deal of the time led me to request this book.  Initially I was drawn into the book, then I became frustrated as I moved along.  I think it was partly the fact that the book was written more from a Lectio Divina perspective.

By this I mean, there were 4 main sections ~

Lectio - meaning to read
Meditatio - meaning to meditate
Oratio - meaning to pray
Contemplatio - meaning to contemplate.

What was really nice in the book was the effort taken to give practical examples, and about 3-4 pages at the end of each chapter giving a game plan to attempt to put these practices into daily use.  This is a book I may return to in a different season of life, and my hope is that it will speak to me more at that time, then it is now. 

Overall, though, this is a very good book, informative, easy to read, and practical.

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

Know People!!!

In his newest book, The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills that Will Get you Everything You want, Dave Kerpen has written a very practical book, filled with a great deal of common sense wisdom which most people do not follow.

The book is broken out into 11 sections with about 4-5 short chapters in each section.  Chapters are only 3-5 pages.  They are easy to read and filled with plain language and illustrations.  At the end of each chapter is a section called FAST - First Action Steps to Take.  They are simple steps to remind the reader of what they need to do in order to put that chapter's lesson into action.

In the end there is an Appendix which includes a lengthy Enneagram, which the reader can score themselves.  After that is another section of inspirational quotes on a variety of topics which is a nice resource to have as well.

Overall, this an an excellent book, and a good one especially for all people who are interacting with others.

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

Blog? Want free books? Let's chat.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Excellent College Prep Book

My first child is getting ready to head off to college.  So, when I saw this book, I knew I had to get it so we could both read it.  In College Rules, How to Study, Survive and Succeed in College, 4th Edition, by Sherrie Nist-Olejnik and Jodi Patrick Holschuh, I found so much information, I felt I was in a class and being overloaded with notes.  I like the fact that both authors are professors, and have a good handle on college life.

This is an excellent book to prep your soon to be college student.  Even though I have been to college, way too many years ago, this book if filled with tons of information.  Lots of basic information and stuff I never would have thought about.

They have not left anything untouched.  I like the sections on the syllabus, on technology, how to study for different types of exams, and so much more.  The book is written in an easy to read, straight forward manner.  There are some anecdotes about mistakes other college students have made, so that you won’t make the same mistake.  The authors end each chapter by listing the top ideas from that chapter.

This is an easy to read book, but it is over 300 pages, 314 to be exact, with 25 chapters.  So, it’s thicker than you might think, but it’s worth the read.  This would make for a great graduation present or an extra Christmas present for the student who is a Junior in High School.

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

Blog? Want free books? Let's chat.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Becoming a VIP

I was very interested to read this book by O.S. Hawkins, entitled, VIP: How to Influence with Vision, Integrity, and Purpose.

This book really intrigued me because I believe the 3 areas Hawkins talks about are vital to effective leadership.  If a leader, or anyone wishes to influence others they must exhibit vision, integrity and show purpose.

Hawkins has been a pastor and is presently the leader / President of GuideStone Financial Resources.

Mr. Hawkins is guided by his faith as a follower of Christ, and he uses his faith as a guide and shares that with the reader.  He also refers to scripture to help prove and demonstrate his points about influencing others. 

In order to help the reader understand his points, Mr. Hawkins uses stories from the Bible, along with personal stories and illustrations to help the reader better move forward in the challenge of leading and influencing others.  

While the book is only 116 pages, it is not necessarily a quick read.  It is meant for the reader to consider and muse on the various points Mr. Hawkins has made.

Overall, I found this to be a helpful book as I move forward in leadership.  It would also make a nice Father's Day present, since that holiday is fast approaching.

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

Monday, May 09, 2016

A Golden Story!

I have had this book on my shelf for a long time and finally finished the book.  Don’t let the title, Bug Swamps Gold, fool you, this is a wonderful book retelling the story of a young girl growing up during the depression years in the 1930s and 1940s.  The story takes place in South Carolina and contains so many stories, funny, tragic and everything inbetween in the life of Billie Wilson.

She writes about her time in Bug Swamps.  It was a difficult time which was made bearable by a family which was based on love.  If you enjoy reading about the depression era through the eyes of a young girl as she is growing up, surrounded by extreme conditions in life, yet, comes out the victor . . . all because of a family’s love, then this is a great book to read. 

I received this book from in exchange for this review.

Let God Qualify You!!

I have always enjoyed / benefited reading Steven Furtick’s books.  I know he is a polarizing figure among church leaders.  I have listened to his sermons and really cannot find where he is putting down God, or playing off of people.  Yes, he is a little outrageous, but, I believe he has a message we need to hear.  In his newest book, (Un)Qualified: How God Uses Broken People to Do Big Things, Furtick hopes to help the reader come to the belief they are qualified to do the work God has called them to do.

The book title came from an interview with John MacArthur.  During that interview, MacArthur used the word "unqualified" to describe Furtick.  As a result of that statement, Furtick used the words from McArthur to write this book and sermon series associated with it. 

Furtick explains how we view ourselves greatly determines whether we see ourselves as unqualified or as qualified.  Often times we look at our negatives and hold onto those as opposed to seeing the good within us.  The call in the book, which is just over 200 pages, is to reclaim our identity in the sight of God. 

He starts the book with a section entitled “The Third Word.”  This is because we often fill in the blank of the statement “I am ____” with a negative word or phrase.  Once again, the hope is that we will see ourselves in a new light and see ourselves in a positive light.  The goal is to let God fill in the 3rd word, which will be encouraging.

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

Blog? Want free books? Let's chat.

Interactive and Fun Pre-K Bible!

My First Hands-On Bible is a wonderful Bible for young children and their parents.  This Bible is a fun, engaging and interactive Bible for parents to use with their young children.  The Bible is designed for children between ages 3-6.  There are other Hands On Bibles for older children as well.  Understand that this is NOT the entire Bible.  It is selected stories, 85 of them, from the Bible.  They are considered lessons. 

Each lesson focuses on a specific point of a Bible story.  What is really great is the fact that it’s not just a story and move on.  Along with the stories are activities, illustrations, prayers and a Jesus Connection.  There are stories, but the Hands-On Bible also uses scripture to reinforce the story.  This is what makes the Bible hands on.  It is a great way to engage children to be excited about learning from the Bible and be able to apply the stories into their lives.  It is also a great way for parents or grandparents to connect with their children / grandchildren.

The scripture passages are from the New Living Translation.  Not my preferred choice, but that is not the point of this Bible.  Overall, I would highly recommend this Bible for young parents.  It would be a great gift.

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

God's Story and Yours!

I appreciated reading Michael Horton’s new book, Core Christianity: Finding Yourself In God's Story.  The purpose of the book is the fact that many times we really do not know the reason for the faith we have.  Horton is hoping we can better understand our story in the midst of God’s Story.  Until we do, Horton believes, we will be stymied in our spiritual growth and we will never have the intimate relationship with God we were called to have.

According to Horton, the book has 4 main themes - -
1.  Doctrine leads to biblical drama.
2.  The drama yields specific doctrine
3.  The doctrine leads to praise or doxology
4.  Finally, doxology leads to good works or discipleship.

He weaves these themes throughout the 10 chapters ~

Getting Started: God’s Story and Ours, or Why Doctrine Matters
1. Jesus is God
2. God is Three Persons
3. God is Great and Good
4. God Speaks
5. God Made the World but We’ve Made a Mess of It
6. God Made a Promise
7. Joy to the World!
8. Jesus is Lord
9. What Are We Waiting For?
10. In the Meantime: Callings
Afterword: Tying It All Together

Horton continues to speak more about God and His nature, as opposed to humanity and our role.  He wants the reader to have a better understanding of who God is, then after determining who God is, we are to find ourselves in this drama, which ultimately leads to praise and discipleship.

Overall, this is a very good book.  It is short, less than 200 pages, and is easily read.  If you are wanting a very basic view of God, and willing to read into where you fit into the story, this would be a great book to read.

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