Book Review: Your Next 24 Hours

24-hoursYour Next 24 Hours: One Day of Kindness Can Change Everything by Hal Donaldson and Kirk Noonan has one main point that is hammered throughout the book: live intentionally each day with your eyes open and hands ready to get involved in someone else’s life in an area of need. The book is filled with story-after-story of true life stories of people whose acts of service and care impacted people’s (often complete strangers) lives for the better.

If you are looking for a book that advocates compassion and inspiration for acts of love for one’s fellow human being, you have found a great little book.

If you are looking for a book that links the heart of compassion and love to the love of Jesus Christ for people and how these acts could potentially open up doors to let a person know about God’s love for them and to be able to share the good news of the gospel out of an eternal love for the person – this is not your book. The book quotes the book of Proverbs here or there and makes the occasional Bible reference, but on the same level as it quotes and uplifts non-Christian movie stars, Oprah, non-theist CEOs, and other secular sources as the reader’s ultimate source of inspiration and example.  While looking at non-Christian sources for inspiration and example is certainly not a bad thing or something to be avoided, the author’s don’t even link these actions as being an expression of the image of God built into every human being.

As a book for inspiration to do good works, this book is great; as a book to teach how good works can be and ought to be a normal part of walking in the good works of God (or as a way for the gospel to be introduced), this is not the book for you.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: Craving Connection

connectionCraving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement by The (In)courage Community is a great resource for those who are seeking to break out of isolation and into deeper community.  In particular, out of the isolation of a self-sufficient life and into deeper community with God; out of the isolation of surface-level friendships and into deeper community with friends; out of the isolation of a social bubble and into deeper community with the greater-community around you.

The challenges in the book are more than 30 “mini-adventures” but 30 challenges that engage many of the heart reasons that prevent us from forming the meaningful relationships for which God created us. Though the book was written by women for women, the principles of the book – specifically the challenges that address the heart-level issues – cross the “gender lines.”

Disclosure: I received this book free from B& H Publishing Group through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Book Review: First Feelings

first-feelingsFirst Feelings: 12 Stories for Toddlers by Dr. Mary Manz Simon is an excellent book for children and parents regarding identifying and processing a wide range of emotions in an healthy manner. The author does a wonderful job of keeping the feelings simple, accessible, and applicable for young children (the illustrations by Dorothy Stott and Penny Weber are great, too). Yet the author also has a page at the end of each emotion for the parents to understand the feelings in more depth as well as tips to help them with their parenting.

The author does a wonderful job of not demonizing emotions such as “jealous,” “mad,” and “worried.” She shows how to deal with these emotions and express them healthily so as to not be controlled by them. On top of it all, she helps the child and parent bring God into each emotional state in a simple and easy way.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B& H Publishing Group through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Book Review: Moving Forward

moving-forwardMoving Forward: Overcoming the Habits, Hangups, and Mishaps That Hold You Back by John Siebeling is a very hands on book that helps the reader engage the Word of God with the areas of life that can too often be obstacles in running with endurance the Christian race. The author helps show how the truth of God can truly set us free and empower us on our journey.

The book does a good job of helping the reader lift their eyes off of themselves and their struggles and focus on Jesus while also not drifting into a form of spiritual mysticism. The book is a good spiritual-practical blend.

The one qualm I would have with the book is the quote at the heading of a chapter and an endorsement of a book by Joyce Meyer in the Afterward of Moving Forward. Though not everything taught by Meyer is theologically wrong, she does hold to several heterodox teachings and falls into the category of a prosperity gospel preacher. It would be wrong to throw out Moving Forward due to these two allusions to Joyce Meyer (i.e. guilt by association), but I wish the author and editor(s) had chosen a wiser coarse of action in this particular area.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers http://www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: Inductive Bible Study

inductiveInductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application Through the Lenses of History, Literature, and Theology by Richard Fuhr and Andreas Kostenberger makes for a good introductory textbook for someone looking to learn the basics of doing an inductive Bible study.  The authors are thorough, break down the tasks in simple charts, and give excellent starter examples throughout the book.

The reader should be aware that Inductive Bible Study reads like a textbook but has the benefit of not using terminology that is overly academic.

Disclosure: I received this book free from B& H Publishing Group through the B&H/Lifeway Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. 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.

Book Review: The Real God

the-real-godThe Real God: How He Longs for You to See Him by Chip Ingram takes the classic writings of A.W. Tozer and J.I. Packer and expands upon the their great thoughts and adds in modern spiritual applications. The author’s work does not water down the great theological legacy of books on the theology of God and His nature.

The Real God is a wonderful introduction to the attributes of God in a solidly biblical manner that gently leads the reader into considering how high theology intersects with daily life.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers http://www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. 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.