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
Composition
Storytelling
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 (http://booklookbloggers.com/) program.