Tag: Book Review

Book Review: “I Am Second”

I got this book in the mail this afternoon, and I have already finished it. I couldn’t put it down. The book “I Am Second” is filled with stories of hope, of eventual joy and peace, and of the power of Jesus to change lives dramatically when we put Him first in our lives and make everything else “second”. I was absolutely intrigued from cover to cover.

The stories are well-written and compelling, and they are all so unique not only in their circumstances but in their diversity of characters. Some are famous, some are lesser known. Some are athletes, and some are ministry leaders now because of their life stories. All of the stories point to Jesus and His transformational power that is astounding.

One story in particular that really spoke to me was the story of Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs–a couple who got divorced, found the Lord individually, and eventually remarried. What a powerful example of God’s incredible life-changing power!

By reading these very real, very honest stories, God’s strength, love and power is made so evident; my heart was filled with hope, with love, and with awe at the God of the Universe who loves us so much that He brings us out of our despair in order to bring us freedom. His grace is abundant!

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone…  who is in need of some encouragement, or perhaps needs to see examples of how God works in His children. If you love reading true stories, you will love “I Am Second.”

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.”

Book Review: “December 1941”

Context is key. If I learned anything while earning my minor in American History, it was that statement. You can evaluate an event such as a war, but without studying its context, it is difficult to understand the bigger picture. Context allows you to walk in another person’s shoes. It allows you to understand reactions and actions that might otherwise confuse you or seem ridiculous. 

It is this concept that makes the book “December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World” an excellent resource. Each chapter reflects one day in American history and the author demonstrates his extensive research in every paragraph. His ability to paint a picture of what was going on culturally, politically, and historically in terms of the war is incredible. He read through thousands of newspapers for each day in order to get a sense of what it must have been like to be an American during December 1941. By so doing, you get a greater sense of what World War II looked like to Americans of that day. I loved the headlines and the stories that he would bring up, seemingly unrelated to the war at hand; but it is exactly those items that help you feel as though you are in 1941 and that this is your reality. This book was fascinating from cover to cover, which is not always the case with historical accounts. 

When you look at WWII, it’s often difficult to understand the thoughts and reasons behind the reactions, the actions (i.e. concentration camps in the U.S.) because we are looking back without a context of what it felt like to live as an American during these times. The author does an excellent job of bringing you back in time, helping you to see and feel what Americans must have felt during Pearl Harbor and the events occurring afterward. 

As a student of history, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I learned a great deal about 1941. I highly recommend it!

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.”

Book Review: “The Love and Respect Experience”

Brennan and I have started the book “Love and Respect” and we’ve watched some of the DVDs. It is GREAT material…but, with our schedules, it has been difficult to absorb all of the information that the book provides because it has a TON of great information. That’s why I was very interested in reading “The Love and Respect Experience” which is the information put into short, daily/weekly devotional form!

What I like the most is that the authors provide scripture, personal/real-life examples, and short but meaningful and thought-provoking ideas with each devotional. And, they are quick and to the point which allows us to absorb and process the information much more efficiently!  I work much better with shorter readings and more processing time, so this has been perfect.

We have learned that the principles behind “Love and Respect” are VERY true and very important for any marriage–especially ours, even though we’re still new to marriage. This devotional helps us to connect weekly and to discuss the points that we read about, and it helps to keep the concept of loving and respecting each other fresh in our minds.

I think this is a great read for any couple–dating, engaged, married. It’s hard to argue with the facts that he presents, and every marriage can benefit from these poignant reminders.

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.”

Book Review: “Why Men Hate Going to Church”

I am a student of history. One of my top strengths is “context” (StrengthsFinder by Gallup–WELL WORTH your time). The most important lesson I gained in college from all of my history courses was this: Context is key–you need to know the hows/whys/whats of how we got to where we are so that you can ask “what now” and act wisely.

I am also a church leader. I have been in various leadership roles for the past ten+ years. I have seen churches grow and I’ve seen churches decline. There are many good books that I’ve read on the subject of how church should be done, but I have to say that David Murrow’s book “Why Men Hate Going to Church” has made the top ten list.

Mr. Murrow begins by giving a history of church dynamics and specifically looks at the role that men have played over the past few hundred years. It’s hard to argue with his facts: the church has become highly feminized, and it’s a cycle that will keep going until we make church a more “man friendly” environment.  His fascinating historical overview truly helps us see why we have such a mess today when it comes to the decline of a male presence in the church. He doesn’t discriminate between denominations–he acknowledges that they’ve all seen a decline and discusses why. But he does far more than just offer a commentary on the problem: he offers solutions based on research.

One example: he points out several phrases and terms that are NEVER found in the Bible, but we use them all the time to describe what it means to be a Christian. We’ve made it this almost romantic-sounding relationship (i.e. using words like intimate, personal relationship, etc.), when in reality the Gospel is a mission. We are God’s ambassadors, His agents in this world, and we are called to action. We are here for a purpose. Those are the types of things that get men fired up–not mushy worship/talk. Yet, because the churches are typically filled with more women than men, the messages have conformed to the gender-gap, and this isolates men even further.

For church-planters and pastors especially, chapter 13 alone is worth buying the whole book. As I read this chapter (as with many others), I was struck by the truth of his words in terms of how our Kingdom focus has changed so much with the feminine influence in the church. We’ve become far more focused on making church a “family” than a mission-control for the Kingdom work to which we are called. As such, pastors spend so much time dealing with internal conflicts rather than reaching out to our communities who are in need of the Word.

I know that many of my friends who are feminists will likely disagree with much of what this book says…but I have to agree. Changes need to be made, and we need to follow the biblical example that Jesus gave us during His earthly ministry. He reached out to 12 MEN primarily, because He knew that those men would become leaders that both men and women would follow. We need strong male leadership once again in our churches, and this book offers many suggestions that will change the course of your church forever.

This book is worth your time–and keep an open mind…it just might surprise you. 🙂

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.”

Book Review: “Heaven is for Real”

It is rare that I read a book that I cannot stop reading…but this book made the list. I read this in two sittings…absolutely intrigued by the message inside.

The book “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent is the account of a remarkable journey that Todd’s son, Colton, took to Heaven when he was four years old. With the innocence of a child, he slowly reveals to his parents over a period of a year what it was that he saw in Heaven. Todd, a pastor, knows that what Colton is saying is true because it lines up perfectly with what the Bible says–and Todd also knows that there is no way his four-year old son could possibly know those passages of scripture! Colton also reveals things that he was never told, which astounds his parents and also authenticates his experience.

I have read many books about Heaven, including one other book by a man who went to Heaven for 90 minutes (Don Piper). And each time I read about Heaven, my heart is filled with wonder and with anticipation. I can’t wait to be with Jesus someday! This book filled my heart with such joy, such hope, such excitement for what is to come because of the simplicity of the message and the child-like perspective that is presented.

The authors did an incredible job of portraying true and deep emotion throughout the entire book in such a way that it makes you hurt alongside the family during the trials that come, and it makes you rejoice with them when things get better! Such authentic writing only adds depth to an already incredible adventure.

I highly recommend this book. Period. Everyone should read this book, Christian or not! Heaven is for real, and there’s only one way to get there–by knowing and loving Jesus. I can’t wait to pass this book along!

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.”

Book Review: Your 100 Day Prayer by John I. Snyder

I am not usually a very patient person. Our culture of instant gratification has worn off on me, despite my attempts to not be conformed to the world. So, when it comes to praying diligently for something, I struggle to pray patiently, waiting for God to work even though it doesn’t fit my timeline. I’d much rather take control and do things my way. When I saw the opportunity to read and review John I. Snyder’s book “Your 100 Day Prayer”, I knew that I had to try it. I also knew that I would be challenged and strengthened through the process.  

“Your 100 Day Prayer” not only gives you new ideas/perspectives to consider as you pray through your situation, but it also teaches you the spiritual disciplines of prayer/patience/waiting, which is perhaps more important than the words you might be praying. Each day he presents a passage of scripture to ponder, offers a short devotional, and leaves space for you to journal your thoughts and your progress as you spend 100 days praying for something. It helps you to bring your requests to God in new ways, even in those moments where you aren’t sure what to say…because he offers so many different points throughout the book, you always have a new way to pray about your situation. 

In a culture where everything happens immediately, “when we want it”, it is SO important to be reminded that the God of the universe operates on a different schedule, and that His timing is perfect. And it’s even more important to be reminded that we need to be diligent in our prayers and spend more than five minutes with the sovereign God of the universe.

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.”

Book Review: “Love You More” by Jennifer Grant

I recently discovered a site which will send you free books in exchange for an honest review. I never expected to be so touched by the first book I received!

I read “Love You More” by Jennifer Grant, and absoutely loved it. My dad is adopted, I have cousins who are adopted, and we would like to adopt someday. So, I was excited to dive right in!

From the very first word to the final sentence, author Jennifer Grant draws you into her story of love, hope, and waiting. Her vulnerable and honest tale is written in such a way that you are able to envision the scenes about which she is writing. She leads the reader on a journey of joy and pain as she walks through her family’s adoption story.

Mrs. Grant writes realistically and does not paint the picture of adoption through rose-colored glasses. She acknowledges the reality of adoption (including the problems that can arise) and even discusses the reasons why people adopt (and why they shouldn’t). From honesty about her own emotions and fears to adding spiritual and historical contexts to create a clearer picture for the reader, the entire book is based on fact and is incredibly real.

She explains the journey of natural motherhood in a way that is relatable and enjoyable by women in any stage of life—from being newly-married to having three kids, she discusses each step of the way. Her faith is evident throughout the book and she clearly shows how God orchestrated the entire adoption process.

This book is riveting, and it provokes deep thought about tough issues such as social justice, poverty, and, of course, adoption. Mrs. Grant is a very talented writer and it is hard to put this book down! I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever considered adoption, but also to those who haven’t given it a thought…this book just might change your mind.

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.”

“The Wreck of the Titan or Futility” by Morgan Robertson

Quick update–

I read The Wreck of Titan or Futility by Morgan Robertson last night…for those who are not familiar with this work, it was published in 1898, and it describes almost exactly what would happen to the Titanic in 1912.

I had always heard about this work–so I decided to read it. I was amazed. Seriously–this guy KNEW what was going to happen! An unsinkable ship, the biggest of its day–called “Titan”– hit an iceburg while sailing the Northern line across the Atlantic, and most of the passengers drowned because there were not enough lifeboats. There are more similarities–but I seriously am amazed. If it hadn’t been proven to have been published in 1898, I wouldn’t believe it.

Anyway–you should read it!