Archives For book review

Unoffendable
How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
By Brant Hansen

I have no right to be angry?
There is no such thing as a human’s righteous anger?
Offense is wrong and vengeance is the Lords?

That is pretty much what I read as the description of this book when I got it in the mail to review. I thought to myself. “Ok.. I will try this out because I know that offense and bitterness can kill my soul, but righteous anger is wrong?”

So I dove into it already offended by a few situations in my life, family and work. Now I am on chapter 2 and quite frankly offended by the book.

I am an artist… a Thinker and feeler. I have read many books on the use of anger and pain as the force that precedes GREAT actions. I completely understood that fact in my journey and have attempted to leverage it as much as possible. It always seemed the safest way to release offense and anger.

Brant says that instead we should make LOVE the best foundation for GREAT action.

“Choosing to be unoffendable, or relinquishing my right to anger, does not mean accepting injustice. It means actively seeking justice, and loving mercy, while walking humbly with God. And that means remembering I’m not Him. What a relief.”

Forgiveness and love are such tough things to embrace as a person of faith. As much as we strive to readily receive both we work much less at the act of giving them. Yet we are most like God when we do both.

Jesus had a right to be offended and a right to be angry. Quite frankly he was the only one who truly had that right and He chose to sacrifice that right on the cross so we could be forgiven and marked by grace.

I found myself by the end of the book not only not healed, but also still a sinner. However after taking an inventory of my heart and soul I realized that while I wasn’t easily offended or sensitive, but I had been deceived that I had a right to be angry over justice and truth.

Brant says we should “forfeit our right to be offended”… I’m realizing that when I don’t.. Joy does not come in the morning.

This was a great book. I highly recommend it. Reading it, but more so ingesting it has helped me release things to God that I was holding on to and given me a new peace in some areas I didn’t have.
I am still a daily work in progress… As we all are.

 

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. 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.”

Divided: When the Head and Heart Don’t Agree by Bill Delvaux Review

This book consists of three parts:

#1.  Viewing the Divide: How it Began and What it Destroys.

#2.  Tackling the Divide:  Three Terrains to Navigate.

#3.  Closing the Divide:  What the Journey Feels Like.

It is very simplistic in nature in the way it wants to tackle the divide between the heart and the heat. I can’t say that this has been a particular issue for me in my walk. As much as I have always been a thinker and love theology I have also learned the importance of aligning my heart with God’s. It is a nice place to start your journey I would say delving into thoughts and concepts like this.

With that said meditating on the word versus just reading the word is less about trying to break down that divide. I think far too often we spend a ton of time focused on ourselves and how to synch all that up. I am convinced that the mind can lie because it tries to know everything or justify everything. And our hearts can lie because they are focussed on feelings and not always rooted in truth.
For me bridging that divide requires the church, the eucharist, and prayer that is rooted in aligning your heart to the fathers.

Again.. a pretty good book and maybe a good starting point for new believers.

Disclosure of Material Connection:

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. 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.”

Transcending Mysteries
Who Is God, and What Does He Want from Us?
By Ginny Owens & Andrew Greer

“We fell in love with Jesus. Then we had to decide what to do with God.” In Transcending Mysteries: Who Is God, and What Does He Want from Us? Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens take readers on a journey to answer the question: is the God of the Old Testament the same God we relate to and worship today?

I read and LOVED “how to pick up a stripper and other acts of kindness” last year and it was the first book in this “refraction” book series. I had huge hopes for this one and was excited to read it. The idea of trying to reconcile a God who judges in the OT with the loving sacrifical God of the new testament is a hotly debated topic. I was intrigued by what it would be like to read a book that tackled this but with two authors going back and forth.

Sadly, I think this one fell short. Both Ginny and Andrew are great artists and they for sure have a testimony to tell, but I think the concept was to big for their stories. What I mean is, you can read this book and find hope from their stories, but The theology portion was lacking. This would have been better as a story book that showed the faithfulness of God in their lives and through the dark moments. This disconnect created a read that was a bit of a chore because it never really theologically did what the title promised to do: connect the dots of OT and NT.

If this read like a back and forth blog post with different authors I may have enjoyed it, but instead it was two authors weaving completely separate stories to some how create a succinct thought. I don’t believe it work.

Again… Read this for the life stories because they are pretty great, but reading for anything else you will be disappointed.

1 out of 5 Stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from booklookbloggers 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.”

Frederick: A Story of Boundless Hope
By Frederick Ndabaramiye, with Amy Parker
“My God won’t let me do that.”

These seven words of boundless hope would irreversibly change the life of the teenage boy who spoke them.

On April 7, 1994 the life of Frederick Ndabaramiye and his family changed forever as the Rwandan genocide erupted in their homeland. This is his story of Hope and faith in a God that can make all things possible. Frederick writes about how his family had to flee the tyranny and how eventually he was captured and tied to a board as vigilantes cut his hands off. His journey of learning after that is what most of the story is about. We see him learn how to deal with the pain, anger and feeling of uselessness as God intervenes ands orchestrates his future.

Eventually Frederick learns that he has the gift of painting. As he paints God begins to heal him from the inside out. I don’t want to share too much of the story because the book is very short and is an important read. Most of us in America never have to experience persecution beyond somebody making fun of us. To watch this man experience the things he did and then to see the joy that exudes form his is mind-blowing. You will learn and appreciate forgiveness, but even more importantly you will walk away knowing that God takes what is broken and He makes all things new.

I think this is a well written book. It is more than a feel good story. It is a story that challenges you to have Joy in your life and evaluate your own priorities.

5 out of 5 Stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from booklookbloggers 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.”

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.

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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.”