Category: Book Reviews

Book Review: “Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World”

I really needed to read this book. I didn’t realize it until I was a few pages in, but it didn’t take long for me to realize how much my heart needed to learn from Bob Goff’s life and his wisdom.

Love Does is an incredible book. Bob shares some of his whimsical adventures (I’m sure he could write plenty of books about his life!) while also weaving in the wisdom and the lessons that he learned through each experience. He lives an extraordinary life based on the premise that “love does”–it doesn’t just think about things, or talk about things, it DOES things to change the world.

I especially loved and related to chapter 24, which is titled “Lose the Cape.” Underneath each chapter title, Bob writes a summary sentence of what you’re about to read. This one said, “I used to think I should talk about everything, but now I know it’s better to keep some things a secret.” He goes on to talk about how Jesus–the one who had the right to boast about the miracles He was doing and the lives being changed because of Him–never said a word. In fact, He even told people to keep quiet about what had happened to them after they were healed. Here’s one of my favorite parts:

“Jesus hardly talked to anyone about what He’d done. The Bible never depicts one of those end-of-camp slide-shows where Jesus goes over all He had done with His disciples. Instead, Jesus modeled that we don’t need to talk about everything we’ve done. It’s like He was saying, what if we were just to do awesome, incredible stuff together while we’re here on earth and the fact that only He knew would be enough?”

The entire book made me ponder the way that I live out my faith, and it has given me a boldness to start “doing” instead of just talking or thinking. It’s a book that I will definitely keep, will ask my husband to read, and will keep thinking about as I live my life on this temporary earth. His stories will make you laugh out loud and they will challenge you in many ways. He also put his phone number at the end of the book and encouraged his readers to call him to talk about the book. I just might take him up on that. 🙂

I highly HIGHLY recommend “Love Does” and I am looking forward to seeing people step out in faith to change the world with love. Even buying this book is helping to change the world, as all of the profits are going to Restore International–a non-profit in Uganda. Buy a few and share them with friends!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Book Review: “The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving”

The Treasure PrincipleI just read the book “The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving” by Randy Alcorn and it was a powerful reminder of what the Bible says about giving. Giving is one of the most important parts of the Christian life, and it brings more joy than nearly anything else.

The author discusses various topics on giving, beginning with the fact that God owns it all–we merely manage it. He points out that when we hold tightly to earthly possessions, we lose sight of what lies ahead! The Bible tells us to store up treasures in Heaven, not on earth, because we can’t keep anything we gain here on earth. However, when we give to God by giving to the poor, to missions, to the local church, we are storing up treasures in Heaven that will never be destroyed.

The author uses scripture references throughout the book, and his message is powerful and challenging. He doesn’t hold back–he’s very straight-forward and uses his own life story as a humble example of what God can do when we give.

I loved this quote: “He doesn’t just look at what we give. He also looks at what we keep.” (pg. 64)

Giving brings such joy and it’s something that my husband and I have made a priority from day one of our marriage. This book helped me to remember why we give and how important it is to continue to give away as much as we can. We want to please God with how we manage His resources, and this book gives practical ways to do so that are biblically based.

I definitely recommend this book for every Christian. In our culture, it has become so “normal” to keep far more than we give, and we’ve become great at justifying why. However, that’s not what God requires, and I think it is wise to dive into His Word (and use this book as a guide, as he gives tons of scripture references) to remember what He says about how we use our money.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Book Review: “As One Devil to Another”– and Giveaway!

I had the privilege of receiving a copy of this book to review as well as an extra copy for a lucky reader!

“As One Devil To Another” by Richard Platt is an incredible literary work. Written in the format of C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”, Platt gives an insight into our world and culture today from the fictional perspective of two demons. Throughout the book, Platt gives great commentary on the plots of the devil to steal men and women away from “The Adversary”–who is God. As he details the schemes of the demons to bring their clients to demise, he also weaves in biblical truths as a foundation for his writing. The Bible tells us that the demons know who God is and that they fear Him. They know His Word, they know how He operates, and they use that to their advantage in deceiving you and me. These letters written from a demon who is mentoring another show just how much they know and how wise they are in using this against humans.

There were a few sections in particular that really made me think, one of them being about pain and the other about media influence and how the devil uses those. I don’t want to give too much away, but both sections were a great reminder of God’s Grace and His perfect plan for our lives.

The entire book was eye-opening and caused me to think about spiritual warfare from a new perspective. I recommend this book whether you have read “The Screwtape Letters” or not (I have not yet read them!)…I think it will heighten your awareness of the spiritual warfare happening all around us continually.

If you would like a FREE copy of this book, leave a comment below! Winner will be picked on April 30th!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: “Redemption” by Bryan Clay

 I loved this book. Loved it. I couldn’t put it down! Bryan Clay holds two Olympic medals (silver and gold) in the decathalon and this is his life story. He humbly describes his beginnings–always in trouble in school, definitely on a path to being in serious trouble as an adult–and shows how the love and grace of God changed him forever. He tells his story at a great pace (no pun intended) and keeps the reader intrigued throughout the book.

As he is a decathlete, much of the book discusses track and field and the lessons that he has learned throughout his training. These lessons are spread throughout the book while also including stories about his major life lessons and decisions. Bryan is a remarkable individual who went from being completely undisciplined and careless to being one of the most disciplined and steady individuals I’ve ever met. Most importantly, he is clear about why he has been successful: God. He walks the reader through his spiritual journey and shows how becoming more spiritually disciplined translated into success on the field because he had his priorities in order: God first, family second, track third.

Bryan went to my alma mater (Azusa Pacific University) and he was a senior when I was a freshman. I watched him (on TV) in 2004 when he won the silver medal in Athens and in 2008 when he won the gold in Beijing. Because of this connection, I loved the book even more.

I highly recommend this book! Whether you are an athelete or not, this book has lessons to share that apply to anyone and everyone. Pick it up today! You can find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Rebellious-Praying-Unlikely-ebook/dp/B005ENBBD8

Book Review: “The Jesus We Missed”

It is so easy to get caught up in the divinity of Christ that we can often overlook His humanity. “The Jesus We Missed” by Patrick Henry Reardon provides a biblically-based perspective of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth that is often neglected in today’s Christian world.

The author looks at aspects of Jesus’ life such as prayer, His early years, the “Growing Crisis” of the conflict with the Jewish leaders, and many other topics. He brings out the humanity of Jesus and causes us to consider Jesus in a (somewhat) new light. He uses a great deal of biblical history throughout his work, and it helps to provide context to the topics at hand. There were several times through my reading of this work where I was left thinking, “I never thought of it that way.”

His writing is academic at times, but is overall accessible to any reader. The topics are very relevant in an increasingly academic/theologically focused Christian culture that would seemingly rather break down every verse in the Bible and study it than actively live it out. Jesus lived life and lived what He preached–He didn’t just talk about it. This book will be a help to any Christian who wishes to remain grounded in the example of Jesus and to walk in His steps.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Book Review: “Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America”

I have been feeling increasingly persecuted by my own culture in the past few years. I have felt like I am crazy because of my beliefs, my Christian/biblical morals, my opinions, my worldview. It has made me feel alone at times, observing that slowly our culture is becoming hostile toward the very beliefs I hold most dear and my freedoms are subtly being stripped away. This book came at a perfect time and served as an encouragement to me.

Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America is written by R. Albert Mohler, a man who I respect greatly and to whose blog I have subscribed for years. There are 25 chapters in all, and each deals with important issues that Christians face today and offers solid, wise insights into these issues and our response. The book discusses topics such as “offendedness” (and the perception in society that we all have the right to never be offended), indoctrination in public schools, abortion, secularization of society, and other very relevant and important issues. Each chapter caused me to think and reflect on how I’ve seen each issue in my own life and made me think about how I will respond when I encounter these issues. His use of scripture and Christian principles helps to see these issues through a Christian worldview and to bring us back to a place of seeking to honor God even though our culture seems to run from God.

As I read this book, my strong biblical convictions and worldview were affirmed, and it reminded me that God’s Word never changes. His Word is true, and I will continue to live by His principles and not by what our culture/society deem as “right” or “true”…His way is the only way to live, and this book was an encouragement to my heart as I continue to live in a culture that daily runs further from God.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who feel or have felt as I have–alone and persecuted in my own culture.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this honest review.

Book Review: “My Imaginary Jesus: The Spiritual Adventures of One Man Searching for the Real God”

I had no idea what to expect when I requested this book…but once I started it, I did not want to put it down! I’ve struggled with what to write in this review without giving details away–all I can say is READ IT! It is FANTASTIC!

“My Imaginary Jesus” is an incredibly creative work that looks at all of the different ways that we perceive/imagine Jesus to be as opposed to what the Bible actually says. The author seeks to dispel widespread misconceptions about Jesus while sharing about his own true life struggle to find the real Jesus.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll say this: what makes the book especially awesome is that the author makes each version of Jesus (i.e. “Perpetually Angry Jesus” or “Legalistic Jesus”)  its own character in the book which brings them to life and forced me to look at who I think Jesus is as opposed to who He really is. You can’t deny that the characters he writes about aren’t real in some sense–I have definitely had friends or family members who have viewed Jesus in these ways.

The author presents the information in a very disarming way while leading you down a path to hunger for the REAL Jesus. I was very excited to see that he has another book…I think it will be my next purchase!

I DEFINITELY recommend this book!

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House.

Book Review: “Untamed”

During my flights to and from Nashville this weekend, I read “Untamed” by Lisa Harper. You can read the first chapter for free here. “Untamed” highlights some of the often overlooked characteristics of Jesus and gives practical ideas for how those characteristics can drastically change the way we think about Jesus and deepen our respect for Him.

The words tough, compelling, unconventional, confrontational and wild are not words that generally enter our vocabulary when we talk about Jesus; however, Lisa Harper uses plenty of Scripture passages to back up each chapter, proving that Jesus was indeed all of these adjectives and more. It is so easy to forget that Jesus was 100% human and that He was not always the gentle lamb that is so often portrayed in paintings. Jesus fought against the religious conventions of the day and sought to liberate us. He confronted evil and angered the religious establishment. This book helps us to see Jesus in a new light.

Lisa Harper is a talented writer and her content was well-researched. She presents the material in a captivating fashion and it was thoroughly enjoyable to read! However, for me, it was like a good refresher course as opposed to brand new concepts, with only a few “wow–never thought of that!” moments.  Refresher courses are ALWAYS beneficial, though, and it caused me to remember characteristics of Jesus that I had forgotten. Our Savior should not be put into a box, and we need to be reminded of who He really is!

I recommend this book for new believers and “old” believers alike–everyone can gain something from “Untamed” and it’s worth your time.  

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”

Book Review: “Bad Girls of the Bible And What We Can Learn From Them”

I don’t know how I’ve managed to never read a book by Liz Curtis Higgs. She has had 26 books published, most of which have done very well…and yet this is my FIRST experience! Let me start by saying that it will definitely not be my last!

“Bad Girls of the Bible And What We Can Learn From Them” is an extraordinary, well-written book that examines the famous (or infamous) women in the Bible who did famously bad things. But, more than just a recount of the story, the author provides a walk through Scripture for each character, a modern day piece of fiction to bring life to the story and help you to understand it culturally, and thoughtful questions to allow you to apply the lessons to your own life. There are definitely lessons to be learned from each account, and Liz has a way of writing that brings these women to life.

Liz Curtis Higgs is an excellent writer. Absolutely wonderful. I honestly can’t say that any other author has so captured my attention. I did not want to stop reading because she drew me in with her personality, her wit, and her incredible writing style. Every chapter is well-researched and scripturally-sound. And, most importantly, each chapter brought me to a place of contemplation about my own life and how I can serve God more fully with my life.

You can read chapter 1 by clicking this link.

I highly recommend this book–and I can’t wait to get another one from this series!

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”

Book Review: “Then Sings My Soul: Book 3”

I grew up in a small Southern Baptist church in Northern California, and we sang from the “Baptist Hymnal” each week. It was only on special occasions that we sang anything else–and even then, the “praise songs” were only from the Maranatha “Praise Books” found in the back of the pews. When I saw this book available to review, I immediately requested it, as hymns are a great part of my childhood.

Then Sings My Soul: Book 3 is the final book in a series written by Robert J. Morgan. Each book has highlighted hundreds of hymns–both famous and lesser known–and tells the stories behind the words. In this edition, he also devotes several chapters to highlight the history of hymnody, much of which I had never heard before.

I was surprised at how many hymns I did not recognize as I read this book! I learned a great deal about not only the hymns themselves, but the authors and composers who created these works that are still sung today.

The most compelling story to me was the story behind “Jesus Loves Me”–the story of Susan and Anna Warner, two sisters who lived on an island across from West Point. What an encouraging story, and what a legacy to leave!

Robert J. Morgan is a skilled writer who makes the hymns, and their authors, come to life. I feel a greater appreciation for these works that are often neglected in the church today. While I am not one who feels compelled to include traditional hymns in every worship service, the author makes some valid points in his final chapter about not letting this rich history fade away. Every generation composes their own praises to God, but we shouldn’t forget the praises composed by our ancestors.

All in all, it was an interesting book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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