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Showing posts from November, 2013

The Wayfinding Bible (NLT)

The Wayfinding Bible from Tyndale House Publishers
This new Bible put out by Tyndale House Publishers is a unique contribution to the Bibles that you fin on the market.   There are three basic routes that you can take in reading this Bible: flyover, the direct and scenic routes.  The flyover route is 54 readings in the Scriptures that give the reader a chronological understanding of the Bible.  The direct route comprises 215 readings that give a more robust selection of readings to grasp the meaning of the entire Bible within a year’s time.  The last route, the scenic route, is 386 readings in God’s Word that traces the known and not well known passages of the Scriptures to give the reader a fuller and deeper understanding of both chronology and meaning of the text.  In my reading, I chose to take the flyover route to see how different types of passages fit together both chronologically and thematically.  What you will find in this Bible is a wealth of material that is helpful in obse…

God's Great Plan

God’s Great Plan Written by Melissa Cutrera and Illustrated by Matthew Sample II
This new children’s picture book, God’s Great Plan by Melissa Cutrera and Matthew Sample, II is a wonderful retelling of the story of redemption in the Bible starting from the creation and moving to redemption.  The illustrations by Matthew Sample II are beautifully rendered and capture the emotional weight of the story from the glory of creation, to the darkness of the Fall, to the majesty of redemption.  Melissa artfully tells the biblical narrative through two line rhymes that coincide with the stunning illustrations.  I read this book to my daughter at least two times and she really enjoyed the interaction between the story and the illustrations, how they seamlessly fit together.  Overall, this book was a real gem to read and to discuss with my family because it pushed us to talk about the story and its truth.
The Real Author of the Story I know thi…

Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching

Preaching? Simply Teaching on Simply Preaching by Alec Motyer
When a very able and competent Old Testament scholar puts his hand at the plough of preaching, my attention stands up.  Alec Motyer, former principal of Trinity College, Bristol, is known for his careful words on the book of Isaiah and also the Bible Speaks Today series, Old Testament portion.  His new book, Preaching?, is a trove of wisdom on the art, development, and application of sermons.  In the beginning of the book, Alec notes that preaching is much like the window dressings you see at a local store, with the items the storekeeper most wants to sell right out front for you eye.  He writes,” Bible in hand, we have a stockroom full of the most amazing collection of goods to offer – real bargains too!...Everything must lead to that central truth” (12).  Our goo…

Painting the Stars DVD

Painting the Stars: Science, Religion and An Evolving Faith Home Edition
This new DVD entitled Painting the Stars put out by Living the Questions is a collection of 20 minute sessions devoted to the connection between science and religion, specifically Christianity and an evolving spirituality.  The contributors range from Philip Clayton, Michael Dowd, to Rachel Held Evans and John  Shelby Spong.  The premise of the sessions is the main point that in order to heal the rift between science and Christianity we must embrace an evolutionary Christian spirituality, one that embraces the cosmos with the ancient Christian practices of meditation, prayer, community, and reading.  To progressive believers, these sessions will strengthen your faith and vision of a spiritual life that is inclusive and includes an acceptance of an evolutionary paradigm that describes each stage of life.  As an evangelical believer, I found these sessions to …

Clear Winter Nights

Clear Winter Nights by Trevin Wax
Clear Winter Nights is a provocative story that drawn together themes of doubt, faith, the truthfulness of Christianity and family relationships.  Seen through the lens of Chris Walker’s, the book’s main protagonist, the story develops through the characters including his fiancĂ©e Ashley, his Grampa Gil and a few other characters.  This novel or story is rather unusual in that it carries with it more signs of what it means to struggle with the Christian faith and opposing viewpoints than developing a riveting storyline.  Chris is in the midst of college in which his faith is being tested through the stimulating teaching of a professor who doesn’t seem to inhabit the kind of evangelical Christianity Christ is involved with.  Chris ends up confiding in his grandpa about these struggles and finds not only a sparring partner theologically and spiritually, but a man who has weathered the st…

You'll Get Through This

You’ll get through this: Hope and Help for your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado
I didn’t expect to find so much profound truth in this book until I started reading.  Max’s new book, entitled You’ll Get Through This, is a real look at the narrative of Joseph’s life with an eye towards the brokenness and messed up stuff that happens in the lives of ordinary people.  The book is 15 chapters that range from topics like scandals and scoundrels to evil and revenge.  All the elements of a popular drama movie here yet captured through the eyes of Joseph and our situation.  Max seemingly holds together the newspaper and the Bible together in one hand throughout this book, only stepping to add bits of personal stories along the way.  Yet, I think the real power of this book is razor sharp ability of Max to ask the right questions (everyone is thinking), but offer solid, biblically faithful answers.  Rather than focus overall on t…

Occupy Spirituality

Occupy Spirituality by Matthew Fox and Adam Bucko
The Occupy movement as this book indicates is an intergenerational movement of activists that advocate for peace and justice in the local and global arena.  Adam Bucko, a man who ‘has devoted his life to helping homeless teenagers and cofounded Reciprocity Foundation’ partners with writer and theologian, Matthew Fox in their new book, Occupy Spirituality.  What takes place is a conversation of give and take between a radical theologian and an activist that are both concerned with matters of justice from within a sacred perspective.  As the Introduction reveals, “Ultimately, this book is about spirituality – a Radical Spirituality for a Radical Generation already known for its courage” (xxii). 
Matthew hints at part of the main tenant which holds together the Occupy movement; spiritual democracy.  He writes, “Moving from a hierarchical and top-down dynam…

Great Books for Women

Here is a short list of books for women that engage issues related to spiritual formation, suffering, God's promises and the gospel that are really good:

Elyse is a writer that is saturated in the gospel of God's grace.  From start to beginning, you will be encouraged, challenged, and refreshed by Elyse's passion for Christ and God's Word.  This book is a look into the Book of Romans from a gospel perspective.  She just released a book entitled Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ that is not to be missed either.  Both of these titles are from Crossway

Catherine Campbell is a wonderful author who revels in the promises of God.  Catherine is a former nurse in Belfast who worked with in the Royal Victoria Hospital.  Married to Philip, a minister of a congregationa…

Seasons of the Heart

Seasons of the Heart: A Year of Devotions from One Generation of Women to Another Compiled by Donna Kelderman
I am continually looking for books that enrich the spiritual lives of both men and women.  This new devotional, Seasons of the Heart, compiled by Donna Kelderman is a collection of wisdom from 12 women of the past whose words speak truth and grace.  In the collection we find words from Susannah Spurgeon, Mary Winslow, Anne Steele and many others.  Some were married to famous preachers, Susannah, others were great hymn writers, Frances Ridley Havergal.  The selections focus on particular themes such as confessing sin, God’s Power, Peace, The Widow’s God and other engaging ideas.  After each Scripture passage there is a short devotion from one of these godly women which pierces the soul with its dagger of truth. You don’t want to miss this volume that edifies and exhorts…

Minding the Heart: The Way of Spiritual Transformation

Minding the Heart: The Way of Spiritual Transformation by Robert L. Saucy
Among the myriad of books on spiritual transformation written from a Christian perspective, few focus on the connective relationship between the heart, emotions, and thinking.  Professor Robert Saucy of Biola University, has written a unique and unparalleled book, Minding the Heart, about the way our heart has a significant connection to our thoughts and emotions which shape our practice of the living the Christian life well.  With a scholar’s eye and a pastor’s heart, this book is a real gem in learning to dive deeply inside the heart for wisdom and guidance in loving Christ fully.  The book is divided up into 14 chapters starting with a chapter on the abundant life and moving towards a holistic understanding of the heart, its deviances, and the Christian spiritual practices.  Throughout the book you will find small gray sections in which Dr. Saucy seeks to eluc…

Innovation's Dirty Little Secret

Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret by Larry Osborne

What is it that makes serial innovators be successful?  Why is it that so many people fail in their entrepreneurial efforts?  Pastor Larry Osborne tackles this relevant subject in his new book entitled Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret.  After bearing witness to the crash and burn attempts at innovation in Ch. 1 (18), Larry makes the point that ‘failure is such an integral part of innovation and change’ (19).    Larry powerfully envisions that successful organizations will not mask their failures or cover them up through quick fixes but will learn to gain wisdom from the most trying of situations.  This book is an excellent resource for those in ministry and those in businesses that are trying to find the right balance of innovation and wisdom.
In chapter 6, Larry points out that two of innovation’s most powerful igniters are two questions: What frustrates me most and What’s broken most” (48)?  These an…

Under the Rainbow

Under the Rainbow: A mother’s experiences of the promises of God by Catherine Campbell

This new edition of Under the Rainbow is Catherine Campbell’s experiences of the promises of God during her time raising three children, two of which were born with microcephaly, a debilitating disability.  The two girls born with this disability, Cheryl and Joy, were wonderful children who seemed to bring great joy to the Catherine, Philip, and their brother Paul.  This book is a real shot to the veins because it will make you cry, rejoice, laugh, and praise God all in a few pages.  The heart wrenching ups and downs and seeing Catherine’s young daughters endure so much pain, surgeries, and sickness was enough to leave the reader with overwhelming sadness.  Yet, although there were many times of despair and questions to God about why these things were happening, she faced the Lord with all the brutal hon…

Awakening Faith

Awakening Faith: Daily Devotions from the Early Church by James Stuart Bell with Patrick J. Kelly
This collection of daily devotions based upon the writings of the Early Church is a remarkable guide to the Christian church.  Each entry is numbered with a thematic title based upon the church father’s words and a Scripture to go with it.  For example, one of the most moving entries is John Chrysostom’s letter to a widow (Grief with Everlasting Hope II), in which he writes, “The power of love is such that it embraces, unites, and fastens together not only those who are present with us, but also those who are far away; and the soul’s affection cannot be broken by time, nor space, nor anything else” (116).  The title gives the reader a narrow focus on what the main point of the text is and brings us into a greater understanding of the writer’s goal.  The brevity of these selections is to be commended as we live in a …

Gospel Transformation Bible (ESV)

Gospel Transformation Bible Published by Crossway
Do we really need another Study Bible?  Apparently, Crossway Publishers didn’t get the message.  But, thankfully, they did assemble a great team of editors to work on this new study bible called the Gospel Transformation Bible.  Rather than focus on arcane details, the goal of the Gospel Transformation Bible is twofold: “to enable readers to understand that the whole Bible is a unified message of the gospel of God’s grace culminating in Christ Jesus and (2) to help believers apply that good news to their everyday lives in a heart-transforming way” (Introduction, vii).  The aim of the Bible is to provide a robust biblical theology that is Christ centered all the while maintaining an eye towards on the ground transformation for everyday believers.  How is this done?  For one, Crossway through the editorial leadership of Bryan Chapell and Dane Ortlund chose a dive…

Golden Oldies

The Golden Years: Healthy Aging and the Older Adult by Christopher W. Bogosh
This is the second book I’ve read by Chris on medicine, the first was Compassionate Jesus.  The Golden Years is a deep look into the issues of older adults, aging, and end of life issues. As other reviewers have indicated, the book’s goal is to ‘assist the reader to live the “golden years” with the glory of God in view’ (125).  The matters that are discussed in the book include aging, healthy living, preventive healthcare, management, health problems, and chronic health problems.  Rooting his message in a perceptive understanding of medicine and through Christian convictions, Chris takes a unique approach in speaking about issues surrounding older adults (6-7).
Chris points out an important idea in the chapter on Aging by writing, “The desire to feel se…