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Jesus Eats with Sinners

Eats with Sinners: Loving Like Jesus by Arron Chambers

Realizing that Jesus ate with sinners, emulating and acting out his lifestyle among the sinners of our society is another thing altogether.  Yet, as Pastor Arron Chambers notes, "We must believe people can change" In his new book, Eats with Sinners, Arron outlines the ministry of Jesus as a paradigm for the way Christians should share the the good news with others. Thinking outside the box is Arron's way, and in many times he challenges the status quo of the church with a focus on people coming into the kingdom.  This is a real insightful book with many challenging stories and ideas.

After stating many reasons why both church buildings and clothing can be a obstruction for people coming into the church and hearing the gospel, Arron shares a story that captures the heart of Jesus.  He writes, "One of the most bonding things you can do for your own children is to care about their friends.  Through these dinners we…
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Change Hurts

Learning Change by Jim Herrington and Trisha Taylor







This is a unique book in that it explores change within the church setting through personal renewal of its pastors and members.  The idea of the book was set forth through an initiative by Western Seminary, RCA, and CRCNA congregations.  The leaders sought to develop a program that would help transformational learning to take place on a large scale in each congregations.  With the help of Jim and Trisha, this initiative became the Ridder Church Renewal process which 126 leaders completed the program of which 128 began the process.  The goal was to combine teaching, multi-day retreats and guidance that would help leaders navigate change in their respective churches (10-12).

Brain Stone opens the book in chapter 1 by reflecting on the dreams we have in our life, from childhood to today.  One of the significant points in this chapter is Brian's development of mission in life of Jesus and God's calling on our life.  He writes, &q…

Bible Sleuth: New Testament

Bible Sleuth: New Testament Illustrated by Jose Perez Montero

A million different red and white striped Waldo's cover the page and you are supposed to find the one with a ski cap and green glasses?  The series of books devoted to finding Waldo were both fun and darn near frustrating at the same time.  The same idea holds here for the new book, Bible Sleuth: New Testament illustrated by Jose Perez Montero.  The book looks at particularly significant themes int he NT such as the birth of Jesus and the Beatitudes and also includes a synopsis of what's going on in the story.  The illustrations and the characters that you are supposed to find are very large and that is good, because you don't want to hunt for hours for Mary.

The illustrations in the book were both fascinating and humorous.  On the section where The Apostles Heals many, you have Roman guards looking sternly at the people while a man in the past confined to a wheelchair is pushing his chair down the way careenin…

Women in the Reformation

Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity's Rebirth by Rebecca VanDoodewaard

The luminary figures of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Cranmer, and Melancthon are just a few of the men who shaped the Reformation of religion and society in the 15-16th centuries.  Left in the dustbin of history are often those people who are at home raising families and praying for husbands, leading others to change through writing, and keeping safe those who would continue the Reformation.  In her new book, Reformation Women, Rebecca VanDoodewaard focuses in those women who particularly impacted the continuance of the Reformation started by the likes of Luther and others.

Rebecca begins her book looking at the life of Anna Reinhard, the  wife of Zwingli.  She cared for her husband in a most beautiful manner and was a woman of humility and virtue. Rebecca writes, "Anna welcomed large numbers of her husband's friends and entertained guests..The upper chancellor of Silesia …

How Music Works by David Byrne

Music makes people dance and this is one reason why I have always loved listening and playing music from a young child until now.  Yet, there is many truths and ideas about how music happens both in history and in record making that I don't understand.  David Byrne, in his new book, How Music Works, takes us on a journey inside both the background of music from long ago to present but also gives us the lowdown on how the music industry works, both behind the scenes and in promotion and advertising.  Collaborating with the Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and others, David has experienced the highs and lows of music in all its forms, from jazz to rock, soul to publishing.

One of the most astonishing features early on in the book was Byrne's understanding of symphonic and classical music went from an all-inclusive event with much response from the audience to a more peaceful and immobile activity from the audience.  He writes,"With classical music, not only did the venues change…

As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson

The regular printing of sermons is something that was commonplace in Civil War days and in the early 20th century, but rarely do we now find sermons in printed form that are deep with wisdom and interesting also.One notable exception to this truth is the new book of sermons entitled As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Eugene Peterson, author of the Message.While much is praised about Peterson’s work on ministry and spiritual theology, these edited sermons bring the best of his deep knowledge of Scripture and love of God to the foreground.In fact, after reading the book one can imagine Eugene as a scholar and a poet, who fuses the loftiness of scholarship with the real needs of the people.
In writing about the relationship between Balaam and Balak in the OT, Peterson brings us to the fountain of humor.He writes, “Hilarity is integral to Christian pilgrimage.There is no question that being a Christian involves us in many sorrows, many struggles, sober hours of repentance and meditation.But ther…

The Ecumenism of Beauty Edited by Timothy Verdon

The Ecumenism of Beauty


How do we make sense of visual arts in the church and in the history of the Christian church?  There has been a bit of rediscovery of this question and answers to the issue by both Catholics and Protestants, Orthodox and Anglican.  This new book, The Ecumenism of Beauty, edited by Timothy Verdon captures the essence of seeing the beauty of art in the church as a vehicle to understand God's character and man's genius.  The various contributors to this volume write with a vigor and wisdom that is rarely seen, commenting on aesthetics in Calvin, the artist as contemplative, and the way in which the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, Massachusetts bears together both the simplicity and brilliance of art in a house of worship.  Although the book is short, it is rich with pictures of art past and present, and the writing points our gaze toward the heavens as we contemplate both God and beauty.  With a learned introduction by Monsignor Timothy Verdon,…