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A Year with G.K. Chesterton, ed. by Kevin Belmonte

January 20, 2013 Leave a comment

If you’re a fan of G.K. Chesterton, then you’ll enjoy this book.

Mr. Belmonte has compiled many of Chesterton’s best works and divided them into bit-sized pieces.

This is quite an accomplishment given Chesterton’s dense style.

Every day includes a brief scripture reading, and many days include tidbits about what happened to the Chesterton family on that date.

The material is not new, but it is well-structured and enjoyable.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

The Indispensable Jesus, by Doug Martin

December 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Jesus is indispensable.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about most of this book.

It appears that an extremely intelligent, enthusiastic, and young Christian college professor has compiled a thousand pages of personal, devotional material and compiled it into this book by WestBow Press, a self-publishing subsidiary of Thomas Nelson.

The author means well and is passionate about his material.

Unfortunately, the sheer volume of material prevents a thorough reading.

I do recommend the author’s concluding thoughts on each topic. They are quite meaningful and thought-provoking.

If the author deleted most of his exposition and put out a brief devotional guide in the style of his many chapter conclusions, I would be very interested.

He has a great deal of potential.

This review was made possible because I received a free copy of the book from the publisher.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

The MoneySmart Family System: Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age, By Steve and Annette Economides

November 17, 2012 Leave a comment

I’d never heard of the MoneySmart system before reading this book. In fact, other than teaching our kids to save some money and donate a bit to charity, I hadn’t considered how to prepare them for the adult world of money.

This book provides an excellent foundation for considering these things deeply and practically.

My family is not going to follow this system precisely. It’s far too rigid and prescriptive.

But it has given me plenty of ideas for how to help my children prepare for a lifetime of financial health without breaking the bank.

If you don’t mind picking and choosing elements from a very strict program, then I recommend giving this book a try!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

Mondays With My Old Pastor, by Jose Luis Navajo

November 3, 2012 Leave a comment

This book tries very hard to share tender spiritual lessons, and at times it succeeds.

I enjoyed the parables embedded throughout this story. But the progression of the Old Pastor’s cancer was a distraction to the flow of the book.

Perhaps it made more sense in its original Spanish. It lost some of its power in translation.

Despite my concerns, this is a beautiful book. I found reading it to be a positive and formative experience.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

Called to Controversy by Ruth Rosen

I am a bit too young to remember Moishe Rosen’s founding work with Jews for Jesus.

After reading this book, I feel like I might have been there in the middle of it all.

The author is one of Moishe’s two daughters, and she clearly didn’t hold back. There is insider information and fascinating behind-the-scenes stories in every chapter.

I also enjoyed learning more about his leadership style, the good and the bad. It is interesting to learn more about a great leader’s strengths and faults.

Each chapter begins with a quote, and the text is peppered with many other memorable sayings: “Don’t let yourself become a desk jockey. People spend too much time sitting at their desks.”

“We take God seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

“A shepherd doesn’t let the wolves meet the sheep.”

If you’re at all interested in learning more about one of the most influential Jewish Christian evangelists of all time, then I recommend you pick up this book. I highly recommend it!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit & How You Can Quit by Todd D. Hunter

March 10, 2012 Leave a comment

How many of us have had an experience where we know we need to do one thing, but end up foolishly doing exactly the opposite? Or similarly, not done the right thing at the right time?

This book provides an analysis of why all people behave in this way.

In short, the author claims that disordered desire leads us to poor behavior. If we reorient our desires appropriately, it becomes more natural to do the right thing.

This conclusion is based upon the findings of a comprehensive survey by the Barna Group, well-known for its high-quality surveys on a variety of current topics in the church.

Most surprisingly, about 50% of respondents say that they really don’t know why they sometimes give in to temptation and do the wrong thing.

Although I really enjoyed reading this book and found its conclusions valuable, it did not feel like a coherent whole. The author starts with some relevant passages from the Bible and personal stories, transitions into the details of the Barna study, and then abruptly shifts to his experiences with liturgy as an Anglican bishop.

But other than this one flaw in structure, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about how to respond to our natural tendency to do the wrong thing, even when we know that we ought to do the right thing.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

The Voice New Testament: Revised & Updated

February 15, 2012 1 comment

Bible translation is a full space, with many different translations based on a variety of different philosophies.

Every Bible I’ve read falls somewhere on a continuum, between a word-by-word translation with a focus on literal accuracy and paraphrases that capture the flavor and flow of the Biblical narrative.

The Voice is a completely different Bible-reading experience.

As its name implies, this version is intended to be experienced as a read-aloud. The audio recording of The Voice’s Book of Revelation emphasizes the strengths of this artistic rendering of the gospel message.

However, I would not recommend it for daily study.

The Voice is a unique, artistic experience. Many sections are written in script form, with cues for various readers. Additionally, there are many additions in italics which are intended to add to the flow of the reading, but are distracting in print.

If you would like to experience the New Testament in a completely new and unique way, while reading it aloud, I give this version my highest recommendation.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

George Washington Carver: Christian Encounters Series by John Perry

January 27, 2012 1 comment

I’d heard of George Washington Carver, and I knew that he’d done a lot of work with peanuts.

That was about it.

Now that I’ve read this book, I feel like I know Dr. Carver more deeply than ever before.

Jonh Perry’s book is intensely personal. Aside from occasionally repeating himself, his storytelling is compelling and fascinating.

If you’re interested in the contributions of Dr. Carver to the American experience, then you will enjoy this book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well by Billy Graham

January 8, 2012 Leave a comment

This is not just a book for the elderly.

This is a book for everyone.

I feel like I understand the value of old age, and the wisdom and experience which comes with a long life, better now than before I read this book.

Billy Graham, the famous evangelist, shares nuggets of wisdom about how to finish life well.

But he has plenty of insights for younger people to consider as well.

This is a personal, intimate book, and one which I found inspiring.

I have a better idea of how I’d like to relate with the rest of my family now than I did a couple of days ago when I started reading this book. As we all grow collectively older, it is wise to reflect upon what this means for each generation.

Of course, the book is filled with practical advice from the pages of the Bible. Not surprising from the most famous evangelist of our time.

If you’d like to know what’s on Billy Graham’s heart and mind today, then buy a copy of this book.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze

Jesus Calling Devotional Bible (NKJV) edited by Sarah Young

January 3, 2012 2 comments

Sometimes first impressions are wrong. As I read the introductory material to this Bible, I was a bit concerned. The editor, Ms Young, explained that she had written devotionals from Jesus’ own perspective, and used “I” and “Me” in place of Jesus’ name.

That freaked me out a bit. Does the editor have a god complex or something?

But Ms Young’s devotionals and guided prayers are tasteful and encouraging. Now I understand why her original devotional guide has a 5-star rating.

I found the placement of some of the extra material a bit forced. Given the choice, I would prefer to use the original Jesus Calling book as a supplement instead of this Bible.

But if you need both a great devotional and a copy of the New King James Bible, then this is a worthwhile investment.

This Bible is easy-to-read on my e-reading device, and I recommend this book for devotional use.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

Categories: book review, BookSneeze
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