“Chazown” By Craig Groeschel (a Review)

I like the book Chazown by Craig Groeschel.  In my estimation the book is written primarily for Christians who are hoping to develop self-discipline in their lives.  Groeschel has an engaging style that is reminiscent of Andy Stanley.  The premise of Chazown is similar to that of Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven® Life, though Chazown by nature comes off as more of a Christian insider book.  There are also a few places in the book where the author takes on a voice similar to Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God and asks the reader to see where God has been working.

Though I am a fan, I do have a major reservation about the book.  The message of self-discipline is one that is deeply needed, especially in our culture and it is biblical.  However, I’m afraid that an emphasis on self-discipline apart from an adequate portrait of Christ can lead to a works based righteousness view of sanctification.   I don’t think that was the author’s intent.  Again, I sense that the book was written for Christian “insiders” and so a lot was perhaps taken for granted.

Overall I thought the book was great.  The website that accompanies the book is great and the book is one of the best I have ever read on how to practically develop self-discipline in crucial areas of your life.  I highly recommend this book for believers who are looking to develop godly habits in their lives. The retail price of Chazown is $14.99 (Paperback), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $10.19. I gave it four stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books 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.”

Hands Down the Best Fiction Book I have read in a long time… Instant Classic!

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers is by far the best fiction book I have read in a long time!  The book is about a the exploits of a young orphan named Grady and his charlatan father figure Floyd.   The story is told through Grady’s eyes as he travels the Cornwald frontier wandering from village to village with Floyd playing hoaxes and tricking people out of their money.

Grady is ugly, there is no doubt about it.  Floyd puts Grady’s ugliness to work for them as they travel the country side having Grady perform as a real live wild feechie, the world’s ugliest boy, and the assistant to a phrenologist.  Grady is filled with inner turmoil as he wonders about who he really is and where he came from.  He also struggles with the lies and scams that have come to define his life and set him apart from regular village folks who work hard to earn an honest days wage.  Then just as Grady’s thoughts are colliding Floyd sets about on a new scheme to revive the Great Feechie Scare.

I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag on this one, because it is a well written book and you deserve a chance to read it on your own.  In my opinion it has all the markings of a classic.  It is definitely the best fiction book I have read in a long time and the best fiction book I have ever read by a living author.  If you enjoy a good story every now and then, you will love this book.  The retail price of The Charlatan’s Boy: A Novel is $13.99 (Paperback), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $11.19. I gave it five stars and would give it more if I could.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books 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.”

The Greatest Stories of the Bible, published by Thomas Nelson

The Greatest Stories of the Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishing is a remarkable book.  It is a well crafted and organized compilation of 250 of the classic stories told in the Bible.  The Bible stories are shared in the New King James Version and scripture references are provided for further study.  Each story fills about one to three pages. Though it is not a full Bible it does contain the biblical text and provides an excellent resource for families.

The Greatest Stories of the Bible is an attractive book and is decorative enough in nature that it can be left out on the coffee table for regular use. It’s greatest value is its devotional appeal.  The stories are compact enough to be read in families with young children and larger stories are spread over two or three readings.    We will most likely use this as a guide for family devotions over the course of 2010.  The only thing missing for families with really young children are the pictures.

This book makes an excellent resource for family devotional time. If you are looking to share the classic stories of the Bible with your family The Greatest Stories of the Bible is a great resource. The retail price is $29.99 (Hardcover), and is available at places like Amazon for $21.59.

Disclaimer: As a blogger I received a free review copy from the Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program  (http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ ).  There was no requirement to give it a positive review, just for the reviewer to call it like they see it.