Book Review: The New Elder’s Handbook

eldersThe New Elder’s Handbook: A Biblical Guide to Developing Faithful Leaders by Greg R. Scharf and Arthur Kok is a great resource for someone looking to cultivate the character and vision needed for the office of elder within the church. The book does a great job of outlining that simply going through the material does not qualify a person for eldership, but instead helps shape a person and helps draw out whether or not a person would be a good potential fit for the office based upon the observation and discernment of the mentors.

The bulk of the book is the actual material created by the author over the course of his years of ministry and working with men in the local church. The questions and resources provided give an excellent structure to someone who is looking for such help, or is in need of a system that is already set up – such as bi-vocational pastors.

The real gems of the book are the first few chapters which lay out a vision of Ezra and the Bible’s view of eldership in a crystalized and principled manner.

Disclosure: I received this book free from BakerBooks 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.

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Book Review: Parenting with Heart

parenting with heartParenting with Heart: How Imperfect Parents Can Raise Resilient, Loving, and Wise-Hearted Kids by Stephen James & Chip Dodd is a great resource that targets the parents’ heart and concepts of raising a child or children. Rather than focus on techniques or some other cookie-cutter approach to parenting, the authors deal with principles – both long-term and short-term – in child-rearing.

The book can be both challenging and inspiring to a parent, so long as they are humble enough to learn and courageous enough to adjust their style and not give up hope due to past struggles. A great example of learning can be found in the last few chapters by reflecting upon the four quadrants and seeing where one has fallen in both strengths and struggles in parenting.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Revell 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: Made for the Journey

made for the journeyMade for the Journey: One Missionary’s First Year in the Jungles of Ecuador by Elisabeth Elliot walks the reader through the harrowing and rugged life of attempting to reach the Colorados for Christ. The author lays out the struggles of the missionary work without any varnish that may seem to glorify the work.

In fact, if you are looking for an uplifting read, do not pick up Made for the Journey. The book lays out an example of the many times frustrating experiences of serving Christ and wondering where the fruit of the labor is after all of the blood, sweat, and tears. Yet, the author doesn’t leave the reader in despair – but rather points the reader to faithfulness to Christ even when things seem to be dark and without a light anywhere to be seen.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Revell 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: Enclave

enclaveEnclave by Thomas Locke takes the reader into a semi-civilized dystopia of the future United States. The tale (don’t worry, no spoilers here) is a weaving together of X-Men and the Western world of Louis L’Amour.

The plot of the book is well written and driven not only by the action but also the development of the characters. The author does a good job of foreshadowing without giving too much away throughout  the novel. The downside is that sometimes when the foreshadowing ends clarity isn’t fully given. Maybe the future books in the series (as it appears this is not a standalone book) will flush out the murky details further.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Revell 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: Who Sang the First Song?

who sangWho Sang the First Song? by Ellie Holcomb and illustrated by Kayla Harren is a beautifully illustrated and poetically written children’s book. The reader can see the words dance across the page as the read or sing them to their child. The artwork is colorful and imaginative and captivating to the eye (both of the adult and the child).

The one and big critique of the book is that while it boldly points to God as having sung the first song in the poetic language in Genesis (hence the title of the book), the author sits there as the concluding thought. Rather than point to us having a song in our hearts to sing as the concluding line, it would have been great if the author took another line or two to illustrate that the song we were made to sing was God’s song (or even more explicitly a Jesus song to sing). This alteration or addition would have taken the book to a higher, fuller, and more complete finish.

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: The Winter War

winter warThe Winter War (A Prince warriors Sequel) by Priscilla Shirer is an excellent follow up to the original trilogy. The author takes the characters and develops them further; deepening the relationships and the complexities of the story. The Winter War takes a look at the winter seasons in the life of Christians – the times of despair, turmoil, tragedy, and hope when all seems dark and seemingly dead.

The book is a worthy addition to the story and worth exploring its nuances not only as a novel but also as an allegory.

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.