A Few Good Books

The books in this post have been provided to me from the publisher for the purpose of giving an honest review.  While the books were provided to me free of charge, the thoughts and opinions on these books are my own.

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The Bible is a really big, God sized, story of redemption from creation to revelation.  Among the pages are books, chapters, and verses that reveal this big story through small stories made up of Biblical heroes and tales of miracles.  We see free will, judgement, grace, and forgiveness unfold throughout the pages.  Our eyes are opened to The Gospel and hearts are pressed forward into The Great Commission.  As many times as we can slide our hand across the pages, and our eyes soak in every Word, there is a beautiful opportunity to learn from others who are in this same faith journey.  We go to services on the weekend, participate in small group Bible studies, attend conferences, and even watch sermons and speakers online.

We do this because we desire to understand more, learn more.  I was thrilled by The Good Book by Deron Spoo because it is a resource that I can put into my personal study library and revisit often.   Between the covers, Deron Spoo has explored forty major themes found in the Bible.  Spoo doesn’t just set us down to tell us what he thinks, but begins each theme on the foundations of the Scriptures in full content, not just a random verse or two.  Then he expounds upon the theme from the scripture and encourages personal reflection at the end of the chapter.  This isn’t just a book for reading, but a book for study, sharing, and for future reference.

I’d recommend this book for new believers who are trying to grapple with the entirety of the Bible; as well as seasoned believers who may enjoy a fresh perspective.

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I have had my hands on this book for a little bit, I wanted to do this book justice and held onto it until after the kids were out of school.  Rest is incredibly important, for our body and for our mind.  Also, for our soul.

As I have mentioned in the past on the blog, I have an autoimmune disease.  It can leave me feeling beat down and fatigued… even after a full night of sleep.  Part of getting a hold on my health was making decisions about what I would eat, how I would spend my energy, and the products I use on my body.  I needed to detox my body of all the bad things that could be getting in the way of my health.  This was an important step in healing my body so that I could do all that I wanted to with my life, my time, my energy.

Just like our bodies can be burdened by what we eat and drink, our heart and soul can be burdened by the sin of the world.  There are our own personal sins of days past that may haunt us, the sins of others which create anger and resentment; even the daily news can break our hearts for what is happening all around us.  If I want to improve my physical health, I must be mindful of what I eat and drink, put onto my body, and what I do with my body.  So much I take tender care with my heart and soul.  We can’t take care of the outside of the temple, and let the inside rot away or cave in under the burdens of the world.

Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray walk us through 40 days of detoxing our soul through devotions that remind us of how God sees us (as beloved) and what that means in our choices, our daily lives, our future dreams, and healing from the inside out.  Each day explores the theme for that day, The Word, coupled with prayers and reflections, and calls to action to reclaim our mental, spiritual, and physical selves.

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Remarkable Faith by Shauna Letellier is a fantastic book, truly.  Letellier explores those incidences in Biblical history where the faith of others caused Jesus to take pause.  These were people that remained unnamed and yet we talk about them to day.  We call her the “woman with the blood disorder”, and we call him the Roman Centurion.  There are others too, whom we know just by their affliction, pain, tragedy… and their display of remarkable faith.

I can’t recall reading a book from this perspective, where the focus was on the nameless people who had a faith that was stronger than their affliction; and that is so relevant today.  These are the true stories of people whom we could (and probably do) encounter in our churches every day, on the streets as we pass by, and even in the dynamics of our own families.  I think this would be a fantastic book for a small group, or even potentially a starting point for a sermon series.

I think of so many women, in particular, who feel unseen.  These nine people remind us that even those who names may be lost to history were far from unseen.  They were known by God who created them, known by the Savior who marveled at their faith

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Book Tour! Day 5 – Successful Leaders

Welcome to my 10 Day Book Tour.  I love to read, and I am often given books to read for review.  Over the last year, I determined that I didn’t want to turn my blog into a book review site.  However, I can’t help that I LOVE books.  I truly do.  They add so much value to my life, because I learn from them and glean new perspectives from the authors who put their hearts to the page.  So, I’ve decided that each quarter, I’m going to do a 10 Day Book Tour.  What have I been reading, what do I honestly think about the book, and to whom I would recommend it.  Each day, for ten days, you will get a peak into my bookshelf.

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I received Successful Leaders of the Bible from Faith Words, for the purpose of review.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.

DAY FIVE:  SUCCESSFUL LEADERS OF THE BIBLE by Katara Washington Patton

Yesterday’s post was about building a culture of developing leaders within your church.  Today’s book is a collection of Biblical examples of leaders.  Each chapter of the book is devoted to leader, from the Bible, and the character of their leadership.

This is not the first book by Katara Washington Patton that I have read, and it just fits perfectly within her style.  Short, sweet, and to the point.  Patton examines the leader in relations to their purpose in God’s redemptive plan, highlights their positive attributes as a leader, and then applies these lessons to our every day life.  However Patton also reveals the areas where some of the leaders lost sight or slipped up.  A reminder that even the most Godly leaders we celebrate were still imperfect humans, redeemed by God’s love for them.

I’ve always said that we learn two things from the people we encounter, when it comes to our personal development.  We learn 1) who we want to be and 2) who we do not want to be.  Even from the greatest leaders we can learn just as much (if not more) from their mistakes and we do from their success.

If you truly want to understand more about what Biblical Leadership looks like, from the perspective of the leaders found in scriptures, Patton’s book is a great starting point.  Patton is careful to include scripture references, which can allow you to examine these leaders further.  I’d encourage you to look beyond these nine leaders and keep digging into the scriptures for more examples of good (and bad) leaders that you can glean from.

The Theatre Runs Deep- #Write31Days

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Be still my heart.

I do love to review books, and nine of ten times I pick Christian non-fiction, bible studies, et’al.  When I saw this book on the list of prospective titles… I squealed a bit.

While I did just complete my Bachelors in Divinity, my original degree many years ago was in Theatre Arts.  I’m a theatre nerd, geek… whatever you call us in your neck of the woods.  I once went to London for two weeks.  I saw 21 productions.  One afternoon I bought a last minute ticket to “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged.”  When the show was over, they mentioned another production… “The Complete History of the United States”.    As I walked out of the theatre, got back in cue, and went right back in to catch it.

I’ve been cast in more Shakespeare (and parody) shows than I can count.

So… yes, this book had my name written all over it.   Turns out it isn’t a typical book, but rather a collection of quotes from Shakespeare and the scripture that it references.  Which is great, because it makes a great coffee table/conversation book.  Also, it would be a great gift to someone heading off to college or who just graduated with a theatre degree (be kind, and slip a $50 bill in there too).

It’s a fun book, and I was surprised how much scriptural references I have missed over the years.

Successful Women – #Write31Days

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Quite often, when a woman wants to understand biblical womanhood… she turns to the Proverbs 31 scripture. However, this is not the only woman ever mentioned in the scriptures.  She is among the company of many notable women who fulfilled very specific roles in God’s plan.

Esther.  Deborah. Miriam. Hagar. Mary. Martha. Eunice. Lois, Priscilla. Lydia. Mary Magdalene.

And those are just the ones we have names for.  There is also the woman at the well, the woman who touched the hem of his robe… just as examples.

FaithWords provided the book Successful Women of the Bible to be reviewed, and I think it is a valuable addition to your library.  If you are a fan of Liz Curtis Higgins Bad Girls of the Bible books, you’ll have the same affinity for Successful Women of the Bible.  Washington Patton looks at these influential women in the scriptures, updates their story to a more modern adaptation that readers can relate to.

Each chapter focuses on one woman’s story, allowing you to work through this book as quickly or slowly as you wish.  It would make a great book for a Christian Women’s Book Club, Small Group Study, or broken up into a series of Women’s Ministry event topics.

The ABC’s of Christianity

FaithWords/Hatchette Book Group sent ABC’s of Christianity for the purpose of my honest review.  While this book was gifted to me for this purpose, the review is my honest opinion of the book’s content and not influenced by the author or publisher in anyway.

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I love to read, but I also don’t like to waste my time reading.  What that means is that when a book takes too long to get to the point, I check out.  I don’t always need 100 illustrations to get a point, nor do I need to know every detail of your backstory in discovering a biblical truth, new perspective, etc.  I do feel that some authors take way too long to get to the point vs. spending enough time expounding on that point regarding what it means to the reader.

THIS IS NOT THAT TYPE OF BOOK.  Praise God, for that too.

ABCs of Christianity  by Terdema Ussery is probably going to become one of my favorite quick reference books for my own personal research purposes, and for sharing the scriptures with new believers.    It covers the overarching BIG story of the scripture in a way that is concise, bullet pointed, and to the point.  Each section has a brief overview, supporting bullet points, and scripture references.  The author helps us to take the information from then and apply it to the now in which we are living.

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The book would be a great introduction to the scriptures for a new believer, which would walk them through the over all points of the scriptures and faith.  It can serve as a bridge between the moment one accepts Christ and the moment where they begin their own independent scripture study.  It’s a mixture of doctrine and apologetics, presented in a “these are the facts” way, with simple interpretation and application to today.  Then as a person moves into individual scripture study it becomes the launching point of their interpretation because they have a base knowledge to start with.

For the seasoned believer this can become a quick reference guide in your own study and research, as well as a tool to share with those whom you are discipling or evangelizing to.  This is a book I feel like I could hand over to someone without any biblical knowledge or history, and they could read through it and have a basic understanding of what Christianity is.

Currently the book is available in Kindle and Hardcover… I look forward to seeing paperback versions and hopefully other language translations.  It could be a great mission tool as well.