Book Review: Overcome

overcomeOvercome: Replacing the Lies That Hold Us Down with the Truths That Set Us Free by Clayton King tackles distorted beliefs about God that shackle us to pain and attempt to prevent us from coming to the One whose Truth will set us free. The author does a good job of breaking down some rather complex issues and packaging them in easy to understand ways.

The approach to the book comes across as a form of pastoral counseling with skills, reframed thoughts, and action steps that are a form of scriptural solution-focused brief therapy. The style is both very helpful – because a person can have a firm takeaway and action steps – but could also be a struggle – because some issues require ongoing spiritual, emotional, and mental care on top of the action steps in the book.

The biggest issue in the book is that hyperbole related to Jonathan Edwards and his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Rather than focus on how this helped launch a Great Awakening that jarred multitudes of people out of a cultural and nominal Christian faith and into a living faith, the author took the historical revisionist perspective and stated that the sermon set in motion a damaging view of God as an “angry God.” While there is some truth to the view in the book, the position is overgeneralized and unfair to historical facts.

Despite the unfortunate exaggerations regarding historical events, the book could be a good tool for people struggling with lies about God and themselves.

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: Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out

jesus evangelismSharing Jesus Without Freaking Out: Evangelism the Way You Were Born to Do It by Alvin L. Reid is a superb book designed by a professor of evangelism to help everyday people share Jesus in everyday simple ways.

The book is not focused so much on techniques – though there are techniques described throughout the book – but more on the principles of evangelism governed by the “why” of evangelism. As the author writes,

Sharing Christ starts with understanding God’s grand story, centering of Christ, and includes his creation of you to know him and to bring him glory. That’s the big why...your why has to be as big ans God…You live your why  practically as you develop habits that fit you, your personality, and your lifestyle, to help you live out the gospel as God wired you to do. That’s the how…

If you don’t come to understand the depth of God’s love for you, the amazing grace in the redemption you have in Christ, ans the wonder that God has wired you for his purposes – the big why – no technique in witnessing will change you. But if you get all this, you still need practical habits that fit you and create a lifestyle where showing and sharing Christ becomes as much a part of you as the diet you eat and the clothing style you wear (pp 58-59.

Throughout the book the author gives examples of how he and others have shared the gospel, examples people have used in the past, and resources to try to learn from in the future. Through it all, the author avoids selling a particular way of doing things, but rather encourages the reader to use his 8 Principles and cultivate a lifestyle of the gospel for the glory of God based on how God wired them.

Overall, the book is well worth a read and even taking up the 8 week challenge at the end of the book (after the endnotes)…which I have yet to do but am going to give a try.

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: Revitalize

revitalizeRevitalize: Biblical Keys to Helping Your Church Come Alive Again by Andrew M. Davis is a book keyed to helping people entering into the hard and long labor of helping a spiritually flat and/or sick church come alive and vibrant again in Christ. The author brings you into his multi-year journey with a local church in Durham, North Carolina and his helping turn a Laodicean church into a living church again.

Davis does a good job of helping the church leader turn from being events or techniques-focused to spiritual condition-focused; namely the spiritual condition of the church leader himself. The shift in thinking helps with ensuring that the one seeking to revitalize a congregation is vital himself, lest the spiritually unhealthy attempts the lead the spiritually unhealthy and end up in a wreck.

The downside to the book is that at times the author uses techniques as a foil to his thesis resulting in the potential takeaway of so long as the leader is spiritually healthy the church will be revitalized. Though it does not appear that this is the intention of the author – as he does give practical advice – the book does have some spots that are a bit unbalanced in this regard.

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: The Dew Dad’s Playbook

new dadThe New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up for the Biggest Game of Your Life by Benjamin Watson is set up as the What to Expect When You’re Expecting for men. Using his experience as a football player and as a husband and father, the author walks men through the elements of preparing to become a father (along with a strong word to man-up and marry the mother of your child if you haven’t done so already) through the transition points for weeks after the baby has come home.

In addition to the practical advice and insight into the changing dynamics within the mother and your relationship with the mother and your relationship with your baby, the author does a wonderful job of exhorting new fathers to set aside their selfishness and instead become servant-leaders from the heart.

If you don’t like football, this book’s heavy gridiron language may be a distraction to you, but the content is still very worth digesting – even if you dislike the sports analogies.

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: The Tech-Wise Family

tech wise familyThe Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch is a fabulous resource for any family or individual looking to discover tools and principles for rearranging their lives from being dominated by technology to lives that wisely utilize technology.

Part of the charm of the book is that the author doesn’t demonize technology nor does the author talk about his family’s strategies as though they are “the standard.” Rather, the author talks about the use of technology, the troubles it can bring when it is not in its proper place, and his family’s attempts – and struggles – with keeping tech in its proper place.

The one downside to the book is the Barna statistical charts. I understand the purpose of the charts as a form of apologetics for the way that technology reigns over people and their lives (and thus the need for the book), but I found the charts to be a bit distracting from the overall flow of the book itself.

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: 100+ Little Bible Words

bible words100+ Little Bible Words by B&H Kids is a great book that combines colorful graphics, educational words, and Bible stories from Genesis to the Resurrection. The book takes a key verse from the story of the Bible and then grabs some key figures, people, and themes and places from that story for the words.

The book is great for parents who know the Bible as it gives them the opportunity to tell the Bible’s story in their own words for the age of their child. For parents who don’t know the Bible all that well, the book can be a great help in getting the parents into the Word so that they can learn the Scriptures themselves enough to tell it to their child or children.

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: Murder is No Accident

murderMurder is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart is a part of the Hidden Springs Murder Mystery Series, a series about the life and crimes in a small town full of big characters. The book doesn’t hold back as it launches the reader into the world of a “whodunit” murder mystery that gets the investigation juices flowing.

As the narrative unfolds the reader is introduced to a town full of suspects and potential heroes. Along the way, the author takes time to develop the life and struggles of the protagonist and his somewhat meddlesome family and friends. Though the book seems to sidetrack at times on the love life (or lack thereof) of the protagonist almost to the point of distraction at times, the overall plot of the books moves swiftly but not overly predictably.

The book is  a good read if you want to relax or stay up later than you expected due to feeling a need to read “just one more chapter.”

Disclosure: I received this book free from Revell Books 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 225.