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Book Review: Lay it Down

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51NWfit7RiL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Lay it Down: Living in the Freedom of the Gospel

Author: Bill Tell

Paperback: 224 Pages

Publisher: NavPress (August 1, 2015)

Blurb:

There’s Good News for the Weary

Call it burnout, a spiritual breakdown, or a personal crisis, the toll of Bill Tell’s decades of successful ministry finally caught up with him. Incapacitated and depressed, he found that the road to recovery began at the cross. To his delight, healing opened new freedoms as he embraced the gospel in new ways.

Lay It Down: Living in the Freedom of the Gospel is a bold declaration of the overwhelming grace of God. More than merely saving us in our sin, by grace God delivers us from it, making us new creations and treating us accordingly―no matter what. For a generation of Christians who have learned a gospel of performance and striving, Lay It Down offers the good news of the grace that is already ours in Christ.

91ga4hXrx1L__UX250_Meet the Author:

Bill Tell

I am a National Staff Development Specialist with The Navigators. This means I specifically focus on developing our young leaders. In my forty three years on staff with The Navigators, this is the best job I have had since starting out as a new staff and leading The Nav collegiate ministry at the University of Illinois at Urbana from 1972 – 1981. I love it!!

From 1982 – 1988 I served as the Navigator State Director for IL and was involved in the student ministry at Bradley University. In 1988 we moved the family to Sacramento, CA where I directed the Nav ministry in California and the Pacific Northwest. I assumed the role of Associate U.S. Collegiate Director in 1991, then joined that National Leadership Team in 1998 serving as the U.S. Student Ministry Director.

I then served as a Vice President of The Navigators for 13 years before sensing God’s call back to direct field ministry and helping people live in the reality of gospel freedom. Sue and I have been married for 43 years. We first met as students at Hope College in Holland, MI. Sue was an elementary education major and I was a chemistry major. After graduation Sue taught school for a couple of years and I attended seminary. Sue and I co-authored Well-Versed Kids. We have two grown sons, two awesome daughter-in-laws and five fantastic grandchildren. A golden retriever is also a part of the mix. It was while I was serving as Vice President that I took a years sick leave to deal with severe burn-out and a deep and dark time of depression.

I tell the story of this time in my book “Lay it Down -Living in the Freedom of the Gospel.” It was during these days that I began to take new footsteps through the gospel and discovered a new gospel-freedom I never knew could be mine. I had been trapped in people pleasing and held captive by my shame. Discovering and experiencing this incredible good news of the gospel proved to be a major turning point in both my life and ministry and it is this good news that shapes this book.

Visit his site!

My Review:

I do not recommend you even considering laying down this book despite it’s title. Bill Tell not only uses research and scripture, but he also uses his own experiences as he take us through his book Lay it Down. He takes us on a journey through his life and spiritual life, giving us the insight into how his misunderstanding of God’s grace developed and how it led to his crisis of faith.

Bill Tell splits this book into three sections:

  1. God views me differently
  2. God makes me different
  3. God relates to me differently

These three sections are so important for us to live by in our faith and within our churches today. This book focuses on the freedom that God’s grace and love gives to us. Bill Tell’s writing style is very easy to read, understand and of course it flows well. I recommend you giving this book a go because you may just discover treasure within.

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

 

 

Book Review: Reframe

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31XtDxin0jL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Reframe

Author: Brian Hardin

Paperback: 192 Pages

Publisher: NavPress (September 17, 2015)

Blurb:

Consuming facts and data about someone does not equal a relationship with that person. Imagine being married and your relationship consisting only of data about your husband or wife. You may have carefully reviewed boxes of personality profiles, stories, and videos, but does that qualify as a relationship?
What about your relationship with God? Reframe challenges you to reframe yourself, God and the relationship that connects you–and, from there, to embrace irreversible spiritual change. You are created in God’s image; you have His DNA embedded into your very core. The world and your life are engineered so that they will not work without Him. Come and be ruined for anything else but a life-giving collaborative adventure with the Almighty God.

BH_pr_photoMeet the Author:

He may be best known for founding Daily Audio Bible, the revolutionary Scripture podcast, downloaded nearly 40 million times, but Brian Hardin is truly a man of many hats.

With his trademark soul patch of whiskers and wisps of hair framing his face, the Nashville creative rose to recognition throughout the Christian music industry producing for the legendary likes of Larry Norman to modern radio regulars like Jill Parr and Manic Drive, earning hundreds of album credits and a healthy collection of Grammy and Dove Award nominations.

Along the way, he branched out into photography, landing everything from music industry publicity shots to portraits and corporate portfolios, alongside an eye for graphic design that found his work featured in Time, CCM, Christian Retailing and Gaither Homecoming (to name a mere handful).

It was from within these extraordinary accomplishments that an unexpected professional blow set Hardin on a path toward restored faith, and eventually, vocational ministry.

Visit his site!

My Review:

This book, Reframe, will reshape the relationship you thought you have with God. You’ll go from performing and jumping through hoops real relationship where you don’t put on an act for God. You’ll want a healthier relationship with God, which is what He wants from us! I suggest that you take your time with this book and not devour it in one day. This isn’t a novel to be read and possibly tossed aside once you’re finished. This book holds so much truth and so many life-changing and thought-provoking ideas. This book will not disappoint so give it a chance.

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

Life Is______ Forty Day Experience: A Devotional Journey Through God’s Illogical Love

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51CAFjdULGL__SX340_BO1,204,203,200_Life Is______ Forty Day Experience: A Devotional Journey Through God’s Illogical Love

Author: Judah Smith

Paperback: 240 Pages

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 10, 2015)

Blurb:

What is life? What are we here for? What will bring us true satisfaction and lasting happiness? In this companion to his highly-anticipated new book, Life Is ___New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Judah Smith takes readers on a forty-day devotional journey through Scripture to find the answers to these and others of our deepest questions. In forty daily readings, Judah helps readers understand that the meaning of life is found in loving and being loved, in enjoying God to the fullest, in trusting Him in every moment, and remaining at peace with God, others, and ourselves. This thought-provoking and inspiring collection of meditations is sure to reveal new and illuminating truths about what God intends for every person’s life.

 Meet the Author:

Judah Smith is the lead pastor of the City of Church in Seattle, Washington. The City Church is a thriving multisite church noted for its cultural relevance, commitment to biblical integrity and faith, and love for Jesus. Judah is known around the United States and the world for his preaching ministry. His fresh, practical, humorous messages demystify the Bible and make Christianity real. Judah is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book Jesus Is _____.

Visit His Website!

My Review:

I have read both books in this series and found them to be both enjoyable and uplifting to me. I can definitely recommend this 40 day devotional to anyone who needs a bit of spiritual uplifting. This is a short devotional but, it has a strong message. Each day there is a bible verse, a short story and some questions for you to ponder as you go throughout your day. Judah Smith uses his own life experiences and adds humor to them to tell us all about how God loves us. This book is divided into four sections but I’m not going to tell you what they are. You’re just going to have to read this book to find out!

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Booklook bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Grand Paradox

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The Grand Paradox

Author: Ken Wytsma

Foreword: Eugene Cho                           

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 3, 2015)

Blurb:

If we were made for relationship with God, why do we often feel lost and distant from Him?

The life of Christian faith is and always has been a beautifully awkward reality. Following Jesus is done—can only be done—in the messiness of this world into which we were all born. Yet many Christians expect the walk of faith to be easier, neater, and relatively devoid of hassles.

So perhaps it’s time for a frank conversation about the true nature of Christian faith. Maybe there are many desperately in need of a clear dialogue about how—despite living in a turbulent, chaotic world—our greatest joy is found in our pursuit of God.

In The Grand Paradox, Ken Wytsma seeks to help readers understand that although God can be mysterious, He is in no way absent.

  • God’s ways are contradictory and counter to the way the world tells us to pursue happiness.
  • Doubt is okay, it will accompany in the life of faith.
  • What looks like struggle can actually be the most important and meaningful season of our lives.

This book is an exploration of the art of living by faith. It is a book for all those wrestling with the paradoxes that confront those who seek to walk with Christ. It’s an honest look at how faith works, here and now, in our culture, our time—and how to put down real roots and flourish in the midst of our messy lives.

Meet the Author:

Ken Wytsma is a leader, innovator, and social entrepreneur. He is the president of Kilns College, where he teaches courses on philosophy and justice. He is the founder of The Justice Conference–a yearly international conference that exposes men and women to a wide range of organizations and conversations relating to justice and the biblical call to give our lives away. Ken is also a church planter and the lead pastor at Antioch Church. He and his wife, Tamara, have four daughters and live in Bend, Oregon.

Connect with him

My Review:

I was surprise by this book! I really wasn’t expecting much from reading this one. I really enjoyed reading this book because of all the personal stories and tough questions explained in simple words. Ken Wytsma is very honest in his writing and doesn’t water down the truth. This book may also address many questions that may have plagued you for a long time, such as doubt and the desire to have all of your questions answered. This book might be hard for some people to read but, only if you want this book to be a self-help book. However, if your actually seeking answers then this book is for you,

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Book look  bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Happy Christian

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The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World

Author: David Murray

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 24, 2015)

Blurb:

A unique combination of biblical teaching, scientific research, and personal biography shows those who follow Jesus how to live joyful, purposeful lives.

Hopelessness has invaded much of our culture, even reaching deep into the church. But while the world is awash in negativity, Christians have resources to live differently.

In The Happy Christian, professor and pastor David Murray blends the best of modern science and psychology with the timeless truths of Scripture to create a solid, credible guide to positivity. The author of the acclaimed Christians Get Depressed Too, Murray exposes modern negativity’s insidious roots and presents ten perspective-changing ways to remain optimistic in a world that keeps trying to drag us down.

The Happy Christian invites readers to shed negativity and become countercultural missionaries by demonstrating the positive power of the gospel in their lives.

What others are saying:

“Happy is a cheap word nowadays, hardly strong enough to describe the realistic, joyful, triumphant Christian life into which David Murray labors to lead us. His book overflows with earthy, deep-rooted biblical wisdom that many miss but all of us need.” – Dr. J. I. Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College

“If anyone else had written a book with this title I wouldn’t have picked it up. The fact that it was written by Dr. David Murray made me not only pick it up but study it in depth. This is not a ‘feel good’ book but a book about the genuine joy and happiness that we can know as beloved followers of Christ in a broken world.”- Sheila Walsh, author of Loved Back to Life

The Happy Christian is a timely reminder to all believers that the sorrows of this world are no match for the supreme joy of knowing Christ. Christians everywhere will be encouraged by this work for years to come.”
 – Ed Stetzer, President of Lifeway Research Division, contributing editor for Christianity Today

“A timely corrective to both the excesses of the ‘prosperity gospel’ and the gloomy spirit that overcomes so many Christians. Biblically compelling and pastorally encouraging, this easy-to-read book makes an important point that Christians need to hear. Read The Happy Christian and remember that through the love of Christ you are blessed by God!”- Dr. Richard Phillips, minister and author of Jesus the Evangelist

“A robust and welcome defense of how the gospel acts in the lives of those who have been transformed by it. A great read–transforming and uplifting.”- Derek Thomas, Professor of Systematic & Historical  Theology. RTS.

Meet the Author:

Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and Pastor of the Free Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. He was ordained to the ministry in 1995 and pastored two churches in Scotland for 12 years. He is the author of Christians Get Depressed Too, How Sermons Work, and Jesus on Every Page, and regularly speaks at conferences in North America and beyond. David and his wife Shona have five children and they love camping, fishing, boating, and skiing in the Lake Michigan area.

Connect with him

My Review:

There are many Christian-themed books about happiness. Some of them are too shallow and the others are too theological. However, this book is not one of the typical “happiness” books.  David Murray’s book aims higher than basing happiness in either ignorance or guilting the reader out of their sadness. His work is based on what the Christian Scripture says of why we should be happy. This is a very easy book to read. David Murray is well-educated but, he’s not trying to show off with vocabulary. This book will enrich you in ways that you need and help you to refine your way of thinking to lead you to a joyful life.

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Book look  bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: hand in Hand

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hand in Hand

Author: Randy Alcorn

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: Multnomah Books (October 14, 2014)

Blurb:

If God is sovereign, how can I be free to choose?

Is it possible to reconcile God’s sovereignty with human choice? This is one of the most perplexing theological questions. It’s also one of the most personal.

In hand in Hand, Randy Alcorn says that the traditional approach to this debate has often diminished our trust in God and his purposes. Instead of making a one-sided argument from select verses, Alcorn examines the question in light of all Scripture. By exploring what the whole Bible says about divine sovereignty and human choice, hand in Hand helps us…

· Carefully and honestly examine the different views on this issue
· Gain a deeper understanding of God
· Appreciate God’s design in providing us the freedom of meaningful choice
· See the value in better understanding what we cannot fully understand
· Learn how to communicate about the issue in clear and compassionate ways
· More fully experience the unity Christ intends for his Church

A careful guide through Scripture, hand in Hand shows us why God’s sovereignty and meaningful human choice work together in a beautiful way.

Includes small-group discussion questions.

Meet the Author:

RARandy Alcorn is an author and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. His ministry focus is communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that count for eternity. He accomplishes this by analyzing, teaching, and applying the biblical truth.

Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He has an MA degree in Biblical Studies from Multnomah University and an Honorary Doctorate from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and has taught on the adjunct faculties of both.

A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written more than forty books, including Courageous, Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the Gold Medallion winner Safely Home. His books in print exceed seven million and have been translated into over fifty languages. Randy has written for many magazines including EPM’s issues-oriented magazine Eternal Perspectives. He is active daily on Facebook and Twitter, has been a guest on more than 700 radio, television and online programs including Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Revive Our Hearts, The Bible Answer Man, and The Resurgence.

Randy resides in Gresham, Oregon, with his wife, Nanci. They have two married daughters and are the proud grandparents of five grandsons. Randy enjoys hanging out with his family, biking, tennis, research, and reading.

Connect with Randy!

My Review:

The beauty of God’s sovereignty and meaningful human choice; the argument between man’s free will and God’s sovereignty has been going on for a long time. Randy Alcorn does a great job explaining the terminology he and others use. If you want to be a little more educated on the subject, pick this book up and read it. hand in Hand clearly demonstrates that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not our ways. Randy Alcorn encourages readers to study the Scriptures, open our minds, and let God teach us His truths. This book would be a great resource for anyone interested in the Calvinism and Arminianism debate or for someone who is interested in how much God influences our lives.

Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the blogging for books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Happy Reading!

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