Marilyn Meberg titles her lastest work “Constantly Craving: How to Make Sense of Always Wanting More.” While the premise is good, especially for the American culture in this day and age,unfortunately the title comes a little too prophetic to describe the reader’s reaction to any given chapter. However, one advantage of the book is that she is able to overcome her age (for some reason, readers seem more reluctant toread something by a 72 year old woman than a 72 year old man) and write something that crosses generations, and even has a cover that appeals to multiple generations.
However, anyone seeking many answers in this book will find themselves mainly disappointed. She spends approximately half of the book describing things that most humans crave that, while not destructive in and of themselves, will also not lead to fulfillment or salvation. Every chapter seems to just kind of leave things hanging, without a concise wrap up, and God is barely brought in to those chapters. She then switches gears and goes to the more spiritual chapters, which while the contentis good, she never truly bridges the gap between earthly and heavenly desires in the way other Christian psychologist authors such as Cloud and Townsend have been able to do. While this book was not a terrible read, I do not honestly see myself recommending it to anyone.
I received this book from ThomasNelson’s Booksneeze promotion in exchange for a fair and honest review
Do not be dismayed by the storm clouds on the cover—this book is no sensationalist type reading that has become relatively prevalent in the evangelical shelves. Instead this book is just what it advertises in the subtitle—“Signs from America’s past that signal our nation’s future.” I would greatly recommend this for both a homeschool curriculum for the American Revolution or for anyone who wants a quick refresher on the topic.
While the book does not go too deep into any subject (it is, after all, just over 200 pages of relatively large print!), it provides a great overview of both the colonial period and the early days of revolution. Not surprisingly, the author gives a great amount of focus to the Great Awakening, however, it also clarifies the meaning and implications of the Great Awakening much more than high school history courses did (despite my wonderful US history teacher). Lee shows how the Great Awakening both unified the states and created a religious culture that became a more permanent fixture in the United States than in Europe.
While this book contains a few scriptural references, it is much more a historical and cultural reference. I would greatly recommend this to anyone wanting to understand America’s heritage as a Christian nation.
I received this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my fair and honest review.
A discussion in an adolescent and adult development course I took a few years ago came up with the following conclusion: physical, mental, and emotional capabilities all tend to fade in late adulthood, but in many cases, the spiritual still shines as home approaches. While Billy Graham exemplifies the latter part of that statement, he proves that he has not buried his talent as a teacher when many his age would be glad to hang up their hats. This book would be a wonderful tool for many groups: seniors groups, Christian support groups for those caring for aging parents, adult development courses in Christian colleges , and honestly anyone who could use exposure to Graham’s clear proclamation of the gospel.
In every chapter, Graham ties together the life experiences of himself and others he has ministered to with the timeless truth of God’s word. One thing that I greatly appreciated is that he does not sugarcoat the ageing process. This book made me both appreciate the experiences of my dear grandmothers and aspire for faith like that which is clearly central in both of their lives. As a 20-something, I also appreciated his call to the elders to influence the young, and felt an indirect call to allow myself to be influenced by the wisdom of the aged rather than segregating myself into college and singles’ ministries.
I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.
What a great time for “The Lucado Inspirational Reader” to be released! Just in time for Christmas, this book will make great gifts both to those who are fans of Rev. Lucado’s books and to those who are less familiar with his writing. The style of this book is a compilation of different anecdotes, chapters, and sometimes just a paragraph here and there from Lucado’s books, organized by topic. While not as large as a general coffee table book, I can definitely see it serving those purposes.
While I have read some Lucado, I have certainly not read the majority of his work, and I enjoyed both remembering some old anecdotes as well as reading those that were “new-to-me”. My particular favorites included the chapter on the church and church unity, a subject that speaks directly to many of my concerns, the “gallery” anecdote in the encouragement chapter, and the chapter on hope. I also greatly enjoyed the courtroom illustration in the chapter on miracles, walking through the miracles recorded in the book of John as a defense for Jesus as Messiah.
While I would definitely recommend this book and believe that everything Lucado says in here is in line with the scriptures, I would caution against using it as a devotional, as there are only scripture references in about a third of his anecdotes. However, I believe it would make a great gift this Christmas season.
I received a free copy of this book through Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review, and was under no means obliged to write a positive review.
From the moment I picked it up, I couldn’t put down Why Men Hate Going to Church unless I absolutely had to. While this book is certainly not politically correct, it is incredibly frank, and touches on issues that aren’t necessarily touchy, but something that individual churches really could change in order to attract more men. While this is towards the back of the book, the introductory paragraph to Chapter 23 really hits home why men may feel uncomfortable in church, with the example of taking away all the things in church where women serve disproportionately and replacing them with more male oriented activities. While Murrow uses hypotheticals to make points, his chapters are filled with citations to recent studies on the church which he uses as evidence.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone, both lay people and church leadership. I could even possibly suggest this book to a man you know who is Christian but, as the title suggests, hates going to church. If you are looking for a men’s devotional type reading, this is not it—though the author may be able to make some decent suggestions for you. However, I would call this a must-read before starting any kind of men’s outreach, and definitely a thought provoking book. You will notice so much in your own church after you read it.
I received a free review copy of this book through the BookSneeze program but was under no obligation to write a positive review.
Max Lucado is one of my mother’s favorite authors, (as well as the author of a children’s book that makes me cry to this day), so I was looking forward to trying out When God Whispers Your Name. However, this book was not what I expected. It was filled with Lucado’s signature simple, short sentences, as well as short, easy to read chapters. However, I personally did not find a great connection between what the cover makes me expect and what is inside the book. I expected more references to New Testament passages about being a child of God, bought with the blood of Christ. While this did happen, I found the book talked much more about the Old Testament heroes, who after a closer look did not always live so heroically.
Once you look at the discussion guide, the life application, as well at the Christ-centeredness, is more obvious. However, not everyone will do this and may then miss out on the book. I also feel that going through this book in a small group would lead to an entirely different understanding than reading it as an individual. I can’t think of any specific group that would benefit more from this book than others, however, it may not be the perfect book for teenagers trying to know that God cares for them.
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review but was under no obligation to provide a positive review.
This was my first experience reading Wilkinson, and due to the mixed reputation of The Prayer of Jabez, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My experience with The God Pocket was also mixed. On one hand, this could be the start of a great movement within individual churches as well as the Church at large, one where Christians reach out to touch the lives of people who may not be obviously needy, but who need to know that God is thinking about them. On the other hand, there are parts of the book that could give Christians unrealistic expectations.
Mind you, I am not doubting God’s ability to work through even one Christian who would implement the God pocket principles. Also, in most of the book, Wilkinson tries to make it clear that the return on giving is not always financial—though he does give examples of stories where it was. However, there is one sentence that seems to potentially undo most of that hard work, on page 99, when he is emphasizing that the God pocket should not replace regular tithing, he also states that most God pocket participants become more enthusiastic in giving to their local church and “have more funds to give”. While this could be a way of saying that participating in the God pocket makes people realize that everything they have belongs to the Lord, it could also sound to some like the God pocket would lead to a raise in their salary or a decrease in the electric bill. Another concern was the mention of a website where you can order your own “God pocket” which may imply a desire of the authors to make a profit through this movement.
Overall, I think this book could be useful when read discerningly. It could be a great thing to try for a small group or even an entire church—particularly in a season without any obvious outreach program. I would just say to be very cautious in your reading of it.
I received a free copy of this book through Waterbrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.
When I first received Be the People by Dr. Carol Swain, I did not really expect anything special. Sure, I expected to agree with most of what she said, but as for anything new and groundbreaking, I figured it had all been said before, which was exactly what I got for approximately the first half of the book.
However, starting with chapter five, the book is PHENOMENAL. Chapters three and four, dealing respectively with abortion and the family structure as a whole, also provide nuanced arguments with scriptural authority and scientific support, however I am so accustomed to these arguments that I wasn’t particularly informed by them. One thing Dr. Swain does not hesitate to say is that there were times in her life when she did not make the right decisions, and she is repentant for those. Chapters 5-7 address the topics that we don’t talk about often in the evangelical church—immigration and race. While some will obviously disagree with her, Dr. Swain describes reasons that Bible believing Christians, yes, including those who want to be “Christian” before “American,” can support enhanced border security, even addressing the “alien among you” laws that are often cited by evangelicals who take the opposite position on border security.
I would definitely recommend this book to Christians who are just starting to become interested in politics. It gives a great overview of many different topics, and with the extensive bibliography she includes, it makes a great leaping off point for any of the topics addressed.
I received a review copy courtesy of Booksneeze, but was not obligated to provide a positive review.
When I first started reading “As Silver Refined”, I really wasn’t sure about it. The examples on the back seem to relate most specifically to older, married women, and occasionally her tone is slightly difficult to take. However, please do not judge the book on its cover as I may have done were it not for this program. This book is full of beautiful scriptural insights which apply to anyone, as Christ clearly says “in this world you may have troubles.” Mrs. Arthur expounds upon the peace which He gives to help us not only survive but thrive through our troubles.
Mrs. Arthur takes the reader through multiple stages of dealing with disappointment, and gives Biblical examples for all of them, drawn largely from Psalms, but from the New Testament as well. Her constant way of bringing everything back to the cross differentiates this book from the myriad of books that merely attempt to add the Holy Spirit to the prevailing pop psychology of the day. Her writing is both in-depth but accessible, and both new believers and veterans of the faith will benefit from Mrs. Arthurs God-given, refined wisdom.
One strength of the book is her use of anecdotes that come from her readers, and thus a variety of experience. Similar books have used anecdotes that majorly come from the author’s life, effectively alienating readers who may be in a different life stage or gender than the author, but this wide use helps to emphasize the fact that God’s wisdom, written in the scriptures and compiled by Mrs. Arthur cuts across gender, generational, and even cultural lines.
A final note—do not be intimidated by the length of the book. While it is technically over 350 pages, the final 70 pages are a Bible study guide, which would be great for use in individual or small group study, but also not something that the reader would need to read to get the full experience of the book.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Waterbrook Multnomah) in exchange for writing a review, however I was under no obligation to write a positive review.
More Lost Than Found: Finding a Way Back to Faith by Jared Herd
This book seeks in a small part to understand the problem–why teenagers and young adults are leaving the church, but spends the majority of space looking for a solution—helping this same age group fit their Christianity into the things in life that seem more real to them. It seeks to show young people that Jesus is the most real thing of all, and wants to shift the paradigm from culture war to a Pauline method of engaging the culture.
Normally, those last three words would make me nervous, as many young authors today who want to engage the culture do so by watering down the powerful message of the gospel. Herd does not, and one of his strongest chapters, “Having Faith in Faith,” gives a clear presentation of the gospel, which puts emphasis on the utter desperation of a world without Christ and reemphasizes the intensity of the crucifixion. The weakest area of the book may be his examples—when he alludes to U2 and A Walk to Remember, he is not addressing parts of the culture that are most vehemently opposed by the Christian culture, and does not give a good example about how to reach people that are more interested in, as one example, the hip hop culture, but this book is definitely a good start. I would recommend it to high school and college ministers as well as to those who are in that age group—it would be great for a small group!
I received a promotional copy of this book from the publisher through a promotion called BookSneeze.