Book Review: The Will of God IS the Word of God

will of godThe Will of God IS the Word of God by James MacDonald is a good book to get someone who is struggling with the will-of-God analysis paralysis or is fearful that they have somehow sunk their life by choosing an action that forever puts them apart from the “will of God for my life.”

The author does a great job of dismantling several misconceptions about the will of God that plague many God-loving and good hearted people who wish to have a close walk with the Lord in their life decisions. By pointing the readers back to the Word of God, what it says about the will of God, and what it doesn’t say about the will of God, the author helps the reader reprioritize their life focus on the explicits of the Bible. In doing so, the reader is also freed from worrying that the every day little decisions (or even bigger life decisions – like which job offer to take) will somehow result in their being “outside of the will of God.”

The author’s dismantling of misconceptions is a strength of the book, but it is also an area where the author overreaches – especially in the area of the leading of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Believer. The author acknowledges that the Spirit can lead a person – though it seems only back to specific Bible passages that have clear directives – but then severely limits the “how” of the leading. While the author does offer some biblical support of his views, he is silent on the passages that may broaden the “how” of the Spirit’s leading (according to examples in the Bible and in ways that don’t contradict Scripture, of course) when dealing with the gray zones or little things in life.

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 Big Picture Interactive Bible

big bibleThe Big Picture Interactive Bible (Christian Standard Bible) by B&H Kids is chalked full of great interactive information and pictures: from memory verses, to mini-dictionary definitions, to tools to help connect the stories in the Old and New Testaments to Christ, to an app. The Bible is full of color and eye-catching formatting. The app is a cool idea, too, in order to try to connect with the current tech-savvy generation. The Bible is well put together and well suited for older elementary-school and middle school kids; but it may be a bit too advanced for children much younger than pre-teen.

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: How to Break Growth Barriers

growth barriersHow to Break Growth Barriers: Revise Your Role, Release Your People, and Capture Overlooked Opportunities for Your Church by Carl George is designed to help church leaders – pastors in particular – to move from the concept of sole or primary caregiver for the congregation to the model of caregiver coach of the congregation. Through the reexamination of vision and leadership models, the author seeks to help the shepherd of the church develop many shepherds who share the vision of the church. Though the book is insightful and full or great ideas, the book is weak on helping the reader and their team break through the growth barriers once they have the suggested team-approach of caregiving in place.

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: Messy Beautiful Friendship

messy friendshipsMessy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships by Christine Hoover is a breath of fresh air in the often difficult world of adult friendships. The author uses vulnerability and real life examples that are highly empathetic to connect with her readers’ expectations, frustrations, limitations, and hopes for authentic, genuine, biblical friendships.

Right off the bat the author dismantles the common distorted thinking about the topic of friendship itself that is often underneath the struggles we have in establishing soul-connecting relationships. She shines a light and also offers hope.

The next sections of the book take the readers through the sometimes difficult soul-searching needed for real relationships but through it all lays out a realistic roadway for the readers to obtain the messy beautiful friendships described in Scripture.

The book is well worth a read, a re-read, and studying.

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.

40 x 40 List (Updated 05/17/17)

40I have been challenged by my lovely wife to come up with a 40 by 40 list.  It took a few weeks to complete the list as coming up with 25 items wasn’t that difficult but the last 15 were stretching.

I will periodically update the list and my progress.

Hobbies/Crafts

  1. Finish balsa wood biplane
  2. Basement tools organization system
  3. Go sailing
  4. 1500 blog posts [This is post 936]
  5. Get violin tuned and play the violin [Rebecca got it tuned for our 5 year anniversary & I have started to relearn some old tunes]
  6. 3 DIY projects [Basement organization shelving system]
  7. Categorize and create online list of books/ebooks

Spiritual

  1. Lead 3 people to the Lord
  2. Read Charnock’s 2 volume set
  3. Read Schaff’s 8 volume set [Completed 09/07/2016]
  4. Author/co-author 3 books [Finishing touches of book 1 in process]
  5. Read through the OT 6 more times [4 down]
  6. Read through the NT 12 more times [11 down]
  7. Help plant a new church
  8. Take 4 people all the way through the Oasis/GCA Higher Ground discipleship series

Health/Fitness

16. Compete in an aquathalon [Registered today for one]
17. Complete the Advocare 24 day challenge [Completed January 28, 2015]
18. Complete P90X
19. Complete the Recon Ron pull-up workout routine [Busted up elbow when 75% done; on hiatus right now.]

Food

20. Eat at The Pearl
21. Eat 5 new foods [1. Melt’s Winter Chicken, 2. Bananas Foster, 3. Pesto Chicken Crepe, 4. Beignets, 5. Pork Belly Sandwich]
22. Cook 6 new foods [1. Brie on the grill: Yum.; 2. Orange Spice Chicken: Too Dry; 3. Pan-Seared Tilapia with boiled red potatoes and sauteed green beans: Yum; 4. Greek Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Dip – Very Good and Very Easy to Make..I added extra garlic to the recipe, 5. Bananas Foster, 6. Pesto Chicken Crepe, 7. My own home brew beer]
23. Participate in a coffee cupping [09/06/14, Wonderful experience through Columbus Food Adventures]

Finances

24. Cut school debt in half
25. Double my retirement savings
26. Increase income to 2.5 times current level on July 18, 2014 (I work in a field that doesn’t pay much, so this isn’t me aiming to be rich) [Going up but not there yet]

Family

27. Become a father [Our son is due on Christmas Day was born on December 26!]
28. See a set of family members no longer unchurched
29. Upgrade my car
30. Upgrade our housing [Moved to a larger place before our son was born]

Travel/Events

31. Go to the beach as an immediate family [Cape Hatteras in June 2016]
32. See Yellowstone National Park
33. Camp out under the stars
34. Go to the Wilds
35. Go Ziplining
36. Go to the Ohio cave/caverns

Professional

37. Become independently licensed as a counselor [June 20, 2016]
38. Lead a counseling workshop [Anxiety Workshop at Arlington Dental Group]
39. Have at least 20 clients a week for at least 4 weeks straight [April 2017]
40. Counsel 300 clients [Past & Current = 217 clients]

Book Review: Never Give Up

never give upNever Give Up: You’re Stronger Than You Think by John Mason is set up as an inspirational and motivational book to help the reader breakthrough their tough spots and push forward to attaining their dreams and goals. The book has fifty-two “nuggets” (one for each week of the year) helping the reader look inward, outward, and upward on their journey.

If you are looking for a book full of quick antidotes that can inspire you forward, this is a book for you. If you are looking for a book with spiritual meat that has you reaching into and relying on the power of God to change your heart and transform your thinking and utilize the godly community around you then this probably isn’t the book for you.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads 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.