Archives For Books/Magazines

Framing Faith
From Camera to Pen, An Award-Winning Photojournalist Captures God in a Hurried World
By Matthew Knisely

I have the privilege of following Matt on the social media platforms and being his “friend” on facebook. This was actually how I first heard about this book. It has been interesting looking through that lens (no pun intended) as I read through these pages.

Matt is a photojournalist and a storyteller. The main reason why I grabbed this book to review is because of my fascination with photography, the arts, speaking and storytelling as well. I loved the clarity that was in this book in regards to intentionality of capturing “worthwhile” moments and encountering God in the midst of the chaos of life.

Over the years I have also had these epiphanies around “carpe diem” or the recognition that each moment matters. I really liked this book and his phrasing. I would have loved to have seen more of his “art” in the book because I think it FRAMES clearly as a visual example his text.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from booklookbloggers to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

Foundations in Comic Book Art: SCAD Creative Essentials (Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists)
by John Paul Lowe

I have the privilege of reviewing this from a semi-professional view in that I used to work in the comic book business. Recently I have craved to get back into comics and illustration so when I saw this book come up in a list of books for me to review, I grabbed it.

Lowe is really good at communicating and visually the book is of higher grade than most books of it’s kind that are out there. Materials and techniques are covered and what is nice is that while it has an emphasis on comics it also covers the gamut of visual art.

It covers so many topics and techniques and is rich with content. It is not a how to draw book which is also nice. So while it is basic to intermediate in nature it also has value for people who have been drawing for years.

Being a guy who went from classic pen and ink to pretty much all digital, I was glad the topics covered software and techniques that could be used traditionally or with a computer.

I would recommend this book for anybody interested in visual art but especially for those who love sequential art. This is one of the better books on this topic that I have read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from bloggingforbooks to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

stripper

How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness: Serving People Just as They Are
By Todd Stevens and Erin Stevens

I was looking through the available books to review and came across the genius marketing title of this book. I know about strip church and organizations like “hookers for jesus” so I decided to dig in a bit more. It was then that the covers’ small print came into view. “and Other Acts of Kindness: Serving People Just as They Are”.

It was that line that compelled me to grab this book and quite frankly I was not prepared for the roller coaster it had me on. As a PK I have been doing ministry my whole life. The last 18 years have been spent doing ministry alongside my wife. Not even a year ago I co-founded Ember Church and have spent many hours praying with my co-pastors about the unique vision God has given our church. We have done a few “outreach/missional” events that were just for the sake of loving our community and were floored at the difference in response compared to a “need based” event. We knew we were onto something about what God wanted us to do. It was just difficult to really flesh out what this all meant.

I started reading this book and God just hit me. This is it! These guys figured it out. It is so simple, but such a challenging and lofty God sized vision. Friendship Community Church calls it “servant evangelism”. It doesn’t sound revolutionary and honestly it is more ancient than it is modern. It is Jesus’ way. It is all about love.

Here is why I love this book. It doesn’t just give the biblical way of loving and serving. We preach that every week. They went practical too. The Steven’s lay out what worked, what didn’t, success and failure in a way that truly challenged my view of outreach. They lay out one section on intentionally loving your enemy and going a step further than praying for them.

I am still wrapping my head around this book because I think I have stumbled onto the voice of God in regards to a mindset we want to cultivate in our church. Love others and be ready at all times. It is much more than that and I know that sounds like just a simple and basic statement, but it’s often the simple things that we forget. It is the simple things that we stop because we have been paralyzed with apathy and self.

This book took me to a place I haven’t been to in a long time. I ordered 4 more copies for our staff and I am looking forward to reviewing and praying through the implications of their journey on our church.

This is a 5 star book and a must read for any church leader.

——–

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from booklook bloggers to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

dadisfat

Dad is Fat: by Jim Gaffigan

“In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald’s, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children”

I am a HUGE gaffigan fan. I love his standup comedy and his outlook on life. The dude straight up cracks me up. I remember the first time I heard his “Hot Pockets” sketch a few years ago and I am pretty sure Jim still owes me a new pair of pants.

Needless to say I was so excited to get this book, and after rave reviews from friends I could not wait to dig in.

So I jumped into reading it through the lens of a chunky dad with 4 kids. I found myself smirking and thinking “yeah thats kinda true… I would agree with that”. I got about 3 quarters of the way through and one of the quotes on the back came back to me.

The quote said the book was “laugh out-loud funny”. Here I was almost done with the book struggling with the realization that not only was I not laughing out-loud, but I was pretty sure I didn’t laugh inside either.

In the end it was a nice read with some good humor about what it is like to be a dad with a ton of kids and married to an amazing wife…But thats not what I signed up for. I wanted an excuse to buy new pants and I didn’t get it.

I regret to say this, but I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from Blogging For Books to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”

50

The 50 shades of Grey trailer released at 8AM on the today show yesterday barraging mens minds with the permission to control and lust after women as well as giving women the permission to live in a fantasy land and escape their marriage in visual adultery.

There is so much crap flying at our faces these days and quite frankly to keep our minds pure is a battle.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I have seen too many broken families in the last few years that have bought into the lie that fantasy is reality, that reading a book is equal to making love to your spouse, and that watching a “harmless” film doesn’t affect your marriage.

It is a lie from the enemy! It is not grey. It is black and white.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.- Matthew 5:28

I don’t care if the movie/book is good or not good. Arguing over it’s literary quality or cinematography is worthless. It is a twisted view of sex and relationships. Most importantly it is a perversion of LOVE.

God created sex and it is great! God is love and He is perfect. Don’t let your mind and heart be cluttered and jammed full of the garbage of this world. The Bible says to FLEE from temptation and sexual perversion. I know it is tough.  It says flee because God knows that it is tough and He wants us to run away and run towards truth. I get bombarded with these temptations…I am human too, but friends it is a battle worth fighting!

This is not art.
This is not a romantic chick flick.

IT is warped, twisted, photoshopped and scripted.

Real love… real sex… real commitment is messy, flawed and part of Gods design to bring a man and woman together and make them not only ONE, but also to teach them to love selflessly and unconditionally.

Men: Pursue your wife today.. make sure they know how amazing they are. If you haven’t told your wife she is beautiful lately, GO NOW! The bible says to treat your wife like Christ treats the church. We are to be willing to give up everything for her. Not treat them as a slave for OUR selfish needs. Love her. Cherish her. Be intimate with her. Pray for her. Protect her.
If you are not married: Guard your mind and your body. God has a plan for you and it does not include selfish Love. It is a sex-saturated society… Like David and Bathsheba, Stop looking out at woman bathing on rooftops! RUN!

Women: Submission doesn’t equal slavery and pain. You are worth more than a cheap popcorn smelling fantasy. You are a jewel and a daughter of God. You are created in His image and are beautiful. Keep your eyes pure. Pursue your husband. Let him know how great he looks and how much you love him. Love him. Cherish him. Be intimate with him. Pray for him. Protect him. Like David and Bathsheba, The only man who you should invite to bath with you on your rooftop physically or in your mind is your husband!
If you are not married: You are worth so much. Your past doesn’t define you. How you choose to live in Christ NOW does. God has a plan for you. You are holy and pure because HE IS! Song of Solomon 4:1 Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!

If you were considering seeing the movie, Your marriage is worth more than $9.25! DON’T
If you are considering reading the book, regardless of how innocent it may seem… IT is not the LOVE that God has taught us about. DON’T

Married or not, DON’T sacrifice LOVE for a cheap thrill that WILL harm you, compromise you and steer you away from the things of God.

REAL LOVE – 1 Cor 13 
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.