Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to be Rich by Andy Stanley

             There are some subjects that can stir up emotions and cause conflict in a home very quickly. One of those subjects is money. In western cultures, in particular, the pursuit of being rich can easily become a high priority in a person's life. But, as author Andy Stanley points out in the subtitle of his book "How to be Rich", it's not what you have. It's what you do with what you have.
             Andy Stanley is the Pastor at North Point Ministries in Alpharetta, Georgia. He is a seasoned leader and author. As a result, he has had the opportunity to observe the variety of ways people handle and view money in their lives. His book evolved out of a yearly series of messages he began to present in his church on the subject of money. And inside of it's pages, he offers Biblical wisdom regarding the proper attitudes towards the appropriation of wealth.
             He starts the selection with the understanding that we are already rich, based on the statistics of wealth from around the world. Then, following the encouragement of the scriptures, from passages such as 1 Timothy 6:17, he begins to instruct us on the attitudes we need to take toward money. What follows after that includes dealing with our assumptions about consumption, thoughts about gain and a proper understanding that God owns it all, among other truths.
              At first, I wasn't enthralled by the book. But, the longer I read it, the more I enjoyed it. It is very practical, simple and Biblical in it's scope. Although he does not focus on a lot of scripture verses, those that he does choose to insert are simple, practical and clear in their presentation. His illustrations are very vivid and he communicates the message well. I would recommend it as a good Bible study book for groups and it will remind you to keep the basic truths about money at the forefront of your thinking.
             I received this book for free as a part of the book review program for bloggers that is found at www.booklookbloggers.com. The views expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review. No matter how much you make or have, we can all use the Bible's wisdom on how to use it well. And when we do, our wealth can be a tool that God will use to bless others and further the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Would You Do What They Did? by William Dean Hamilton

Would You Do What They Did? - Great Christian Leaders from Our Past
          History holds remarkable lessons for us if we'll dare to explore it's depths. Sometimes the lessons can challenge us, pain us, amuse us or inspire us. But, ultimately, we have to be willing not just to learn from the lessons of the past, but to allow the principles contained in the stories of ages gone to be those we act upon and emulate in our lives. And author William Dean Hamilton addresses that issue directly in the very title and contents of his most recent book, Would You Do What They Did?
           This book is a look at the lives of four great Christian figures, but presented in a rather unique way. Rather than simply list the facts of their lives, Mr. Hamilton tells about each of their lives in the form of a story (similar to fiction novels) that includes the details. Other characters from the leader's life are introduced in each dramatic tale, and it gives the reader more of a personal approach to the story being told. And this allows one to think to them selves "Would I do what they did?".
            The historical figures highlighted in the book include St. Francis of Assisi, Thomas Beckett, John Wesley and Martin Luther. All of them accomplished great things in the name of God. but, more than those accomplishments, they were often criticized, ridiculed, thought to be mad, and even put to death in one case. Their courage in the face of opposition can clearly be seen, but their humanity that we often forget is clearly revealed also.
           I liked the book, but fond some things that I would have preferred to see presented differently. For one, some of the "characters" in the stories and even a few details themselves that are presented did not actually exist. And while I am glad the writer tells us which ones at the end of each chapter, it made it hard to tell fact from fiction. I also would have preferred a little more detail about their lives and what shaped their disposition, though he does address it a little bit.   
           I received this book for free through the book review program for bloggers from www.bookcrash.com and the view expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. You may purchase this book at www.barnesandnoble.com. Should you decide to read this book, I hope that you will learn from history and in this case perhaps not do exactly the things they did, but do your own exploits for God for many of the same reasons that they did them.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

Crash the Chatterbox - Steven Furtick
    I have to admit that when I first saw the title of this book, my initial reaction was 'what is it he is talking about?' "Crash the Chatterbox" was certainly unusual  terminology. But, I knew about the author Steven Furtick, who is the founder and Pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I had reviewed one of his books before, so I decided to delve into the contents. It was a good read, and addresses the all too common subject of dealing with the negative "chatter" that bombards our mind. This is information that applies to all of us and is vital to our spiritual health.
    The book is divided into four basic sections and each one deals with a spiritual truth that will help us to "Crash the Chatterbox'. The chapters in each section revolve around those central themes of "God says I am", "God says He has", "God says He will" and "God says I can". In this manner, the author is able to address the basic tools that we have available to help us win the war that rages in our minds every day. And while he makes it clear that we will never vanquish this enemy as long as we remain alive, we can defeat the negative voices that shout in our minds and replace them with the truth about who we are in Christ.
     The author uses many personal stories and other illustrations to bring his points across clearly, including stories of the problems he had in dealing with the voices in his head while writing this book. He is funny at times, though some might find the material too honest (I didn't). It is a good read and I think you'll grow from the contents, if you apply them. It is a little long, but I think that was needed due to the amount of important information which was required to address the subject. And since it was written by a Pastor who has seen literally thousands make professions of faith in Jesus Christ, I was a little bit surprised that it did not present a clear presentation of the Gospel.
      I received this book free as part of the book review program for bloggers, available at  "Water Brook/Multnomah Publishing Group." It will help you to fully harness your mind to think the thoughts of Christ. There are questions for study included at the end, and a group would most likely benefit from discussing the material. You can read a free preview of chapter one at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SneakPeek_CrashtheChatterbox.pdf.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Dude's Guide to Manhood by Darrin Patrick

      When you think of books to guide you, you may have thoughts about road maps to a destination. When you think of books that describe what you're supposed to look like, the first thought that comes to mind may be in the realm of dress and fashion. But when someone challenges us with what's a man supposed to look like, or how do we arrive at true manhood, we might be a little baffled as to where we can find guidance on this subject. And, although certainly not definitive on the topic or intended to be, Pastor Darrin Patrick's book 'The Dude's Guide to Manhood' offers some insight into the areas that define manhood and what a man should strive to be like in his life.
      Darrin Patrick is the founder and Pastor of 'The Journey' in St Louis, Missouri. He has served as the Chaplain of the St. Louis Cardinals and has written a couple of previous books. His church has been described by some as a place where dudes feel like they can be dudes. His newest book on manhood ties several personal stories from his own life and church into the fabric of his writing. So, he lists not only the principles he believes are important but the illustrations that put the material on a practical level.
      The chapters include discussions on things such as, becoming a disciplined man, becoming a working mam, becoming a family man and others. Collectively it covers the major areas that encompass all of our lives. I must admit, I was a little bit disappointed with this work at first. Darrin is a solid Bible teacher, and the Acts 29 Network, of which he is the Vice President, is a very strong Bible based network, but I didn't find this book as strong on the Bible as I would have liked. He does address the person he feels is the example of a perfect man and role model, Jesus Christ, at the very end. But I felt he could have supported his main subjects a little better.
       Still, this was a good book, which I received free as part of the book review program for bloggers at www.booksneeze.com and the views expressed are my own. I hope that whether you are a man or a woman that you will grow in your understanding of what a man is supposed to be like. And I hope that 'The Dude's Guide to Manhood' aids you in the process.