Book Review: Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in John

johnChrist-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in John by Matt Carter and Josh Wredberg is a solid commentary that walks the reader through a rich book of the Bible in a down-to-earth and easy to apply manner.

The readability of the commentary with an overall fidelity to the text of the Scripture is a major strength. Another key asset to the book is its Christ-centered view – keeping Jesus as the main focus of the texts (rather than getting distracted by secondary and tertiary points).

The downside of the commentary is that the authors tend to smuggle in their theological bent in a way that sometimes stretches the exegesis of the text in order to fit the theological bent rather than the other way around.

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.

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Book Review: Talking With Your Kids About God

talking with your kids about godTalking with Your Kids about God: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have by Natasha Crain is a fabulous resource for parents, pastors, youth pastors, and Christians in general. The book takes on thirty key topics that are sure to come up in some form or another in the life of a child (or adult) and gives key points to consider to breakdown the topics with critical thinking.

One of the beautiful elements of the book is that the critical thinking is done in such a way that one does not need a background in apologetics to comprehend the topics and use the topics to talk with kids. Each chapter has key points, sample questions and conversation starts, and ways to consider talking about the topics with kids of various ages.

The book makes a great resource for family discussions as well as church programs that work with kids (or even adult classes on apologetics) – though of course the best and most effective way to use the book is as a parent with your own child(ren) rather than relying on others to educate and disciple your kids.

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: Bounce

BounceBounce: Learning to Thrive through Los, Tragedy, and Heartache by Aaron Fruh takes an honest look at the everyday and extraordinary pains of life and offers principles and tools to not be knocked-out when knocked-down but instead how to bounce back up and continue moving forward in a healthy way.

Fruh does a good job of avoiding simple platitudes – those found both in the Christian and secular cultures – as he addresses the issues and skills needed to thrive through suffering situations. By the honest and relatively platitude-and-cliche-free writing the book is worth reading for all those who work with those going through pain in life.

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: Fusion

fusionFusion: Turing First-Time Guests into Fully Engaged Members of Your Church (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Nelson Searcy gives the practical insight into developing healthy first-time impressions (no matter your church setting) and strategic follow-up systems that are not overly cumbersome. The practical elements of Searcy’s book can help a church look for holes in its operations that may be allowing first-time guests to fall through the cracks.

Unfortunately, the revised and expanded edition of the book does not seem to be very much revised or expanded from the original book that I read when it Searcy first released Fusion. Given the passage of time I was hoping for fresh content, insights, follow-up ideas, and/or troubleshooting tips when a church thinks it has Searcy’s systems in place yet something still doesn’t seem to be clicking on full efficiency.

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: Favor

favorFavor: Finding Life at the Center of God’s Affection by Greg Gilbert does a wonderful job of helping pull a person out of a performance-mode mentality – in the overt and subtle ways that we go there – in order to be favored by God.

The author helps the reader understand that God’s favor is absolutely necessary for us to have and to be assured of being maintained and then strips away all of the false ways that we humans attempt to gain and maintain that favor.

The real gem of the book is the chapter on our union with Christ – how this is the key to having God’s favor, keeping God’s favor, and enjoying God’s favor – and how this is all about our position from God through salvation.

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.