COULD WE BE GETTING JESUS WRONG? (REVIEW)

Getting-Jesus-Wrong-smCould we be getting Jesus wrong? Author Matt Johnson thinks so, he’s done it. He offers a compelling read simply entitled Getting Jesus Wrong: Giving Up Spiritual Vitamins and Checklist Christianity. Matt offers several ways that Christians in America misunderstand Jesus. The first several chapters cover different ways that we have reimagined Jesus to be something more of a life coach, a visionary, a keeper of the checklist, etc. Through it all Matt is very transparent with his own struggles of how at different times he had different false images of Jesus in his mind. I appreciate this introspective look very much and Matt comes off as very approachable so when he turns his attention to the remedy the reader is willing to hear and weigh what Matt has to say.

This second part of the book from a pastoral perspective is golden because Matt simply comes back to the gospel. He reorients the reader to the simple facts of law, grace, and redemption through Jesus offering a better way forward in following Jesus than some of the false impressions he had tried earlier.

Over all I thought it was a great read. I enthusiastically recommend it as a brief look into the modern church and how if we are not careful we can lead folks astray. I really appreciate Matt and his heart in writing. You can find it on Amazon for a reasonable price, here.

An similar book written from a different pastoral perspective is Made in Our Image  by Steve Lawson.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an electronic copy of this book free from LitFuseGroup.com as part of their Blog Tour Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission from Amazon. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

ONE OF THE FEW

one-of-the-fewI had the opportunity to read One of the Few a few weeks ago. It’s a great read and well worth your time. I highly recommend it as a gift book for those who come into your life who are struggling (or should be struggling) with their world view. It’s a fantastic symphony of biography paired with practical application which makes it an easy and compelling read.

Jason Ladd is an authentic and engaging writer. One of the Few reads as his personal story of life as a Marine pilot and his conversion to Christianity. The window he opens into his life is also an invitation for the reader to examine their own life and evaluate their understanding of the world. Jason’s trasparent and intellectual writing style allow the reader to address real life issues in a thought provoking way.

The last part of the book is a great reference on different issues that confront the Christian worldview. Jason provides great answers as well as great references all throughout the book, but especially in these chapters that address varying lifestyle objections to Christianity. This makes the book especially valuable as a gift book to those who serve in our military who are struggling to discover a worldview that will answer life’s basic questions.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I think its a fantastic read for anyone, but can be especially powerful for men and women serving our armed forces that have real questions about Christianity. The Kindle version is on sale right now, but you will want to get a physical copy or two to give away.

Awakening The Evangelical Mind (Book Review)

AwakeningAwakening the Evangelical Mind is a much needed look into the neo-evangelical lights of last century and their lasting influence today. I was well aware of the conservative resurgence in my own denomination and the split among Presbyterians among liberal and conservative lines, but I was largely ignorant of the cross-denominational movement among evangelicals to raise an academic standard. (A movement that included such notebles as Billy Graham, Harold Ockenga, Carl F. H. Henry, Gleason Archer, etc.)

This book maintains a great balance between the traditional historical division of the man and the times. Author Owen Strachan writes in both a historical and biographical style. He summarizes the life of Harold Ockenga in places and transcribes a brief history of the times among evangelicals in other places. He also spends a bit of time with Carl F. H. Henry.I was impressed to know that at one point several bright scholars and Christian statesmen were interested in developing a Christian research university. (One laments that this evangelical work never came to fruition).

This is a much needed volume and helps bring context to the current movements in evangelicalism. As Strachan notes many of today’s prolific theological writers and pastors have been influenced either directly or indirectly by Ockenga and the neo-evangelicals of Harvard.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The 21 Day Financial Fast (REVIEW)

_225_350_Book.1060.coverWhere does you’re money go? Do you enter a grocery store to spend $5 and walk out having spent over $100? Do you find yourself living paycheck to pay check? Is your spending out of control? Try THE 21 DAY FINANCIAL FAST by Michelle Singletary. She challenges readers to slow down, spend money on only the necessities for 21 days and take an inventory of where your money is going. Each day of the journey she offers hope and encouragement as you look to asses your finances and bring them to order.

She is an amazingly gifted and insightful writer. I initially thought this book would just cover stuff I already knew from other courses like Dave Ramsey’s FINANCIAL PEACE (to be sure there was plenty of overlap), but was pleasantly surprised to find a different type of depth applied to money management and individual personalities. I swear she has met half of my family, or at least their financial alter-egos. When addressing the error of being overly frugal she used the illustration that taking extra condiment packets from fast food places… I was sure she had met my great-grandfather who horded stolen McDonalds catsup like it was gold.

Each day was full of good insight and was helpful at keeping up the “fast.” I applaud Michelle Singletary and her work on this book. It’s a great add to the subject of finances on my bookshelf and it is one that I highly recommend to anyone looking to get a better perspective on their relationship to money. I see it being especially helpful for engaged couples to use and discuss finances before they get married as well as young folks who have disposable income for the first time or are struggling to make ends meet.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher as part of their Reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How High Will You Climb By John Maxwell (A Review)

_225_350_Book.1162.cover Attitude. That’s what How High Will You Climb?: Determine Your Success by Cultivating the Right Attitude is about…attitude. Mostly the focus in on how to have a positive attitude. That’s the real game changer according to Maxwell. The ability to face challenges, short-term defeat and the obstacles in our path with a gutsy determination that everything will be fine. John Maxwell offers two compelling lines of argument through the book. One seems to follow a biblical pattern (at least the scripture verses are fairly quoted). And the other is squarely placed in the self-help camp (He’s done some outside reading).

As with most books I review I put it through the “wait” test. For those unfamiliar, the wait test is simply this. Read the book well, then simply… wait. If what you remember was actually helpful, practical, and perhaps even relevant then it passed the test. What I came away with after reading this book was that a good attitude is better than a bad attitude. I hardly needed a book to tell me that, but this one comes across more like a pep-rally and some folks need that sort of thing.

So here is the deal, if you generally have a good attitude, you don’t need this book. However on the other hand if you are a perpetual grumpy pants you probably could benefit from reading this book (You need the pep-rally). And If you know a grumpy person, you might give them this book as a kind of inside joke, but also as an encouragement to adopt a different perspective on life. John Maxwell is a talented writer. He flirts with a few elements of the sovereignty of God in this book that I wish he would have taken all the way to their conclusions.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher as part of their Reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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How to Be Rich… A Fitting Title to a Very Good Book

how to be rich I don’t hang out with Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or even Donald Trump. I imagine the lawn mower that their yard guys cut grass with cost more than my car… but in the great grand scheme of things, I’m rich. Sometimes we can take the pleasures of life for granted simply because someone else has more stuff or even that we just want more stuff. Andy Stanley does a fantastic job in his book, How to Be Rich: It’s Not What You Have. It’s What You Do With What You Have., in highlighting just how rich most of us are and encouraging us to be good at it.

Stanley is an amazing writer and a gifted communicator. I’ll admit that I left most of his books on the shelves earlier in my ministry because he didn’t come across as a verse by verse expositor. Since then I’ve come to understand and appreciate his talent in bridging the gospel between the text and the culture. He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen and How to Be Rich bares it out as Stanley opens up 1 Timothy 6:6-19 in this book.

I highly recommend How to Be Rich to everyone. This isn’t a book on producing wealth, it’s a book on recognizing the wealth you have and using it in a God honoring way. I dare you to read it. It may just change your life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher as part of their Reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Gospel Deeps (A Review)

ImageGospel Deeps by Jarrod C. Wilson is a book that is intended to take the reader deeper than the modern day surface level appeal of Christianity. The author labors to present pure doctrine and cause his readers to begin/ continue “Reveling in the excellencies of Jesus” (that’s the subtitle anyway). I was hoping for an engaging book and was fully engaged for the first few chapters. Then somewhere around chapter 3 or 4 it became increasingly taxing to read… mostly because of the repetition employed. I put it down and picked it up a few times just to get through it and questioned the whole time if something might be wrong with me (it can be too easy to say that a book is broken when it points to something broken in you).  Finally near the end the writing picked back up and was very encouraging and provoked my heart to worship.

I have of a mixed review on Gospel Deeps. I think it’s a great book and the content at times was completely engaging, thought-provoking and somewhat challenging. Somewhere in the process of reading things began to slow down as the authors style of writing shifted and then picked up again. A commitment to read is the only thing that had me pressing through it.

Overall I thought it was a great book but a little slow near the middle. The content was great and the authors style is mostly engaging.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Crossway as part of their Reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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