Posts Tagged ‘book review’

Well it’s two days after Christmas and I am pleased to report that my family blessed me with a total of ten books, eight of which are a boxed set of classic theological books by C.S. Lewis. I was thrilled to dig in.

I have to be honest. When one reads some of C.S. Lewis’ works of fiction, amazing though they are, their clear language and understandability make it easy to forget that he was a professor at one of the top. There is no such difficulty with this book. This is heady stuff, that will no doubt require several more reads over the course of this life. Breaking it down to it’s simplest elements this book is, as the cover blurb states, a defense of universal values. Lewis calls these values the Tao, and he goes to great lengths to show how these values occur almost universally to all cultures, religions, etc. To violate these values is to lose our humanity. I found this book fascinating and I will not doubt read it again.

I love reading the Jesus Bible this year. It’s basically an NIV Study Bible, but what makes it unique is that all the commentary throughout show how the various passages point to Christ. It also contains several long form essays on various spiritual points from people such as Louie Giglio, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias and Randy Alcorn. I’ve always believed that all Scripture points to Christ. This Bible shows us how. I also found the Jesus Bible very helpful in my preaching this year, because whether I was preaching from Old Testament or New, the commentary helped me keep Christ first and foremost. This was a great devotional Bible for this year, and I highly recommend it.

Right here at the beginning, I am supposed to mention that I got this book free from the publisher in hopes that I would give it a review. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Have serious doubts that I am anywhere close to the demographic the author probably imagined as her audience. She’s a 20 something year old single woman a 56 year old happily married grandfather, but I have to tell you, I found this book thoroughly engaging. The book speaks of living in the presence and Kingdom of God. Zaldivar is a wonderful storyteller, who gives just enough of personal anecdotes to illustrate her points, yet often leaves them open-ended enough for the reader to draw his or her own conclusion. The book is powerful, challenging and very biblical.

Zaldivar subtitles her book Finding the Holy in the Here and Now and she delivers quite well on this. This book is about living for Jesus in the here and now with an eye toward eternity. This book is targeted to women, but I will tell you every one can gain something from reading it. This is her first full length book and my prayer is that she writes many more. This is one I fully intend on passing around. Pick it up and read it. You won’t be disappointed.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of me giving a review. I guess they are wanting more than, “Wow, just wow!” but that’s pretty much what I have to say. This book does a careful dance between heart-wrenching and uplifting and it does it flawlessly. You’ve no doubt heard the stories of the “Lost boys” of Sudan, but have you heard about the lost girls? The book is the autobiography of Rebecca Deng, who was one of the first group of unaccompanied refugee children to enter the U.S. after Sudan’s second civil war. The book begins with an almost idyllic description of her very early life in a small village. While they did not have much by western standards, she felt blessed and loved. That all changed when her village came under attack when she was just four years old. Her mother died in that attack. Later she lost more and more family members and ended up in a refugee camp.

Things were unbearably hard there, but it was also there that Rebecca grew in her Christian faith. Her story is a rollercoaster of pain and redemption, but it led to a life of helping others to overcome what she had experienced. This is the story of a real person who went through real tragedy but who came through it all and managed to see God at work. If you have ever wrestled with your faith or doubted whether or not one person can really change the world, this book is a must read. Five stars and I’d give it a sixth if I could.

Another fantastic book by Leonard Ravenhill. It’s strange, I started reading his books in order to find a book to use for a book study on revival for my church. This would be a fine book to use for that, but if can be summed up in one word. PRAY! Now that’s not to say there’s not a lot of useful information here, and in truth it’s one of the most inspirational books I have read, but the basic point is revival is not coming unless we,the church, earnestly commit to real and concerted prayer. This book will be highly beneficial to your prayer life. It is extremely convicting without being hopeless. One of the best books on prayer I have ever read, now I just need to apply it. The only negative I can give on this book is that in the entry for this Kindle version, there are quite a few typos. Nothing that makes it unreadable.

Man, what a book! If you’re looking for a soft, easy, feel-good read, this might not be your book. Ravenhill writes with a power and a passion that is sorely missing and sorely needed in our day. This book holds about a conviction a page, maybe more and will challenge the reader to his or her core. I did not necessarily agree with him on every point, I thought him too harsh on Catholicism for example, but when it comes to the need for prayer, deep passionate prayer, for revival, holiness in the church and especially the clergy, I resonated completely. This is a life changing book, and will no doubt be a book I will return to often. This is a no-nonsense book from a man who desired to see God’s Kingdom come, and His will done. I came away from reading it very convicted and yet extremely inspired. I cannot overstate how important this book is to the church in general. I highly recommend this book.

I got this copy free from the publisher for reviews but I requested it because I was really intrigued by the topic. Johnny McGowan is a pastor at Lakewood Church, on staff with Joel Olsteen and he has written a wonderful book here. The basic premise here is rather than ambitiously chasing after advancement and the world’s glory, we should step up in the positions where we find ourselves and work as if we are working for the Lord, trusting the Lord to advance us. It’s about being a humble servant and glorifying God, “blooming where we’re planted.”

McGowan is a fine example of this, having started out as a volunteer in the audio visual department at Lakewood and in the course of Stepping Up has grown into a pastoral position and basically the “right-hand man to pastor Olsteen. So many of us would be so much happier if we could embrace the teachings of this book. I highly recommend it.