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Showing posts from December, 2017

The Action Storybook BIble

The Action Storybook Bible

This graphic illustrated Bible (done by Sergio Cariello) with text from the NIV and Catherine DeVries, gives the reader a real sense of the narrative of the Bible and the characters involved in the various stories.  The book highlights fifteen key stories or episodes in the Bible and provides beautiful illustrations that highlight the facial expressions, activity, and geography of the biblical passages that the authors are engaging.  Overall, the book has an alarming effect of drawing the reader into the story, calling readers to read the stories in the Bible in their entirety and learning the message of God's redemption in Christ.

In the message of Jonah, the authors and illustrator give us a picture of what it meant for God to call Jonah to Nineveh and his response.  The comment, "When God talks to a person and tells him to do something, don't you think he would go ahead and do it?  Not Jonah!"  The grimace on Jonah's face is telling…

Sacred Dying Journal: Reflections on Embracing the End of Life

Sacred Dying Journal by Megory Anderson and The Sacred Dying Foundation

This journal deals with a very important theme in life, the end of life.  Megory, a scholar, educator, and end of life writer has been down the road of understanding death and its coming to every person on this earth well.  The journal is designed for those nearing the end of their life or those who want to get a better grasp on thinking through the questions surrounding end of life issues and journaling about them. The purpose is to get people to think through difficult moments, not feeling constrained to answer every question in order but to wrestle with issues such as ways to heal, belief in afterlife, the kinds of activities you want people to engage in while your dying such as reading, music, talking.  
One of the most significant things about the journal was not just its engaging the big philosophical and religious issues surrounding death like the afterlife, God, and our eternal home, but also more practica…

The Last Girl by Nadia Murad

The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, And my Fight Against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad

Western readers don't really know and many don't care to know what goes on inside those who claim the name of the Islamic State.  In this gripping account of captivity, fighting, and release, Nadia Murad recounts her story as a member of the Yazidi's and her plight that ran toe to toe with these militants.  Rather than rehash the historical record of the uprising of the Islamic State, Nadia tells her story of living in Iraq, growing up in a large family, and seeking to toil for a living in the dry and hot climate of Kocho in northern Iraq.

What was striking to me was the way Nadia described her people, the Yazidis.  Nadia tells the story by stating, "Yazidis believe that before God made man, he created seven divine beings, often called angels,  who were manifestations of himself.  After forming the universe from the pieces of a broken pearl-like sphere, God sent his chief Angel…

This Child of Faith: Raising a Spiritual Child in a Secular World

This Child of Faith by Sophfronia Scott & Tain Gregory

This new book by novelist and writer Sophfronia Scott and her son Tain Gregory bring together their experiences of faith amidst certain grief and joy, through the connection of relationships and family.  The book is wonderful in that it captures the voice of Sophfronia with the actual words of Tain sprinkled throughout the pages.  You get the feeling also that Tain is being real honest in the book about his time at church, his mom and dad, but also some real tough experiences. 

Sophfronia's father stopped going to church at one point and this left, possibly over money issues.  Her experience of faith was more attuned to the movies, such giants as The Ten Commandments and Jesus of Nazareth.  She writes of her prayer life in high school with insight saying, "It seemed to me this is what you went to God for - the big things, not basketball games.  I don't recall praying for my college applications...Only in areas of…

Mark Through Old Testament Eyes

Mark Through Old Testament Eyes by Andrew T. Le Peau

This new series by Kregel Academic called Through Old Testament Eyes is a quite unique commentary design.  This volume by Andrew T. Le Peau, former longtime associate publisher for InterVarsity Press, on Mark's Gospel is a welcome addition to the many good commentaries on Mark.  The contribution that Andrew's commentary makes to many valuable resources is his running commentary on how the individual verses and larger units of Mark cohere with the story of Israel in the Old Testament Scriptures.  Not just outlining the historical and geographical markers that coincide with the ministry of Jesus, but how the OT shapes Mark's entire narrative.

In the interaction with Jesus and Jairus' daughter in Mark 5, we Jesus responding to the ruler of the synagogue saying, "Do nor fear, only believe."  Le Peau writes, "The exhortation to not be afraid is often associated with the them of the Divine Warrior, that God wi…

Almost Entirely

Almost Entirely: Poems by Jennifer Wallace
This is a wonderful time of year for poetry.  The frigid air outside beckoning you indoors to snuggle up with a good work, these new poems by Jennifer Wallace entitled Almost Entirely hit the spot for me.  Funny, amusing, deep, and yet penetrating the emotions, these poems give you a real sense of what it means to live in this rancorous world.
I’m constantly drawn to poetry that sheds light on anger and pet peeves.  One poem, I Don’t Like People; Animals, Too, Are an Imposition brings out the rage of certain situations. Jennifer writes,
“My neighbor is mean as a chainsaw.  Last week he routed the run-off from his yard to mine.  He doesn’t give a damn about his dog, who craps in everyone’s garden but his own.”
Chainsaws are annoying and hearing one just makes you downright irritated.  Jennifer brings out the sense in her words that there is a big circle around this neighbor and he doesn’t care who is on the outside of his domain.  She tries to do…

Grace, All of Grace

Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges Few people have done a mighty work of shaping my view of Christian faith and theology like the late Jerry Bridges.This book originally was written in 1981 and it still packs a strong punch of sound biblical teaching on grace alongside a healthy view of progressive sanctification.Jerry Bridges is most known for his book, The Pursuit of Holiness, but this book, Transforming Grace is a work of great value as well.The whole crux of the book is an answer to the question; now that we are saved by grace, how do we live the Christian life?Countering the view that somehow grace is not needed or unnecessary for the daily Christian’s life, Jerry points us back to grace as fundamental to our life on Earth. In fleshing out what it means for the law of God to remain in effect for the Christian today, Jerry does an excellent job at explaining the difference between legalism and grace.He writes, “Under a sense of legalism, obedience is done with a view to meriting …