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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kingdom Disciples by Tony Evans

Anything written by Tony Evans is worth reading. "Kingdom Disciples" is not an exception. Dr. Evans states that there is something missing from Christianity today and it is discipleship. Most Christians lack the tools necessary to live fully as heaven's representatives on earth.

This book outlines the foundation of kingdom discipleship, the formation of kingdom discipleship, and the function of kingdom discipleship. Each topic is further discussed and insights into how to encourage leaders in the local church to develop disciples are outlined. There is also a guide at the end of the book to encourage people to take action steps in the areas of discipleship. More resources are available at the Urban Alternative as described in the appendix.

I would highly recommend this book for church leaders and anyone interested in fully living out the Christian faith, in
growing spiritually and serving others in the community.

I received this book from Moody Publishers for this honest review.     

Jesus in the Courtroom by John W. Mauck, JD

Jesus functioned as a lawyer, advocate and judge is the premise that begins this book. The author goes on to say that the ultimate purpose of the law or the Torah is to lead humans to both love God and neighbor. These statements are backed up by Scripture and shows how the lawyers of Jesus's day lost sight of the real purpose of the law. Jesus  acted as a legal reformer to show that God is a God of justice and mercy who loves His world.

The book uses examples from the present day which illustrates this point. There are resources listed for pastors as well as a list of Christian legal organizations which help people in their area of need.

I received this book from Moody Publishers for this honest review.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson

I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is a collection of thoughts on the beautiful outdoors, life and loss. Each chapter is illustrated by a map of the location described in the chapter. The detailed maps  add  a special touch to each chapter. Observations about the meaning of spending time in nature, relationships and the meaning and purpose of life and interwoven throughout. These essays inspire the reader to visit the places described as well as reflect on the spiritual truths contained within the writings.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Heirs by Susan Rieger

Eleanor and Rupert seemingly have a happy marriage amid the upper class of Manhattan. Six months after Rupert dies and leaves behind a grieving widow and five adult sons, a woman unknown to them claims Rupert had another family and had two other sons with her. As they all process this news, family secrets and lies become uncovered. This tangled tale of family dynamics and legacy reveals the inner most thoughts and actions of all of the family members and those caught up in the periphery of their lives. Whether family loyalty is enough to see them all through this difficult time is a question that needs to be answered.

The writing is good but some of the content may be offensive to some readers. I would not consider this literary fiction but more of a popular fiction genre. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

I felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished "Alexander Hamilton." This over 700 page book is a fascinating look at the life of Alexander Hamilton and the basis for the overwhelmingly popular musical, "Hamilton." Not only do you learn a lot about who Alexander Hamilton was, you also get a glimpse into the politics of the day. Not surprising to learn that things have not really changed when it comes to opposing parties lashing out at each other. Hamilton was guilty of that as was John Adams, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson to name a few.

It was a challenging read, but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about not only Alexander Hamilton but also the founding of the country. Too often he is overlooked, but is credited for writings which formed the basis of the constitution as well as the establishment of the Department of the Treasury.  Alexander Hamilton was an imperfect person but a genius in many ways and we in the United States have a lot to thank him for.  

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

This is a delightful summer read that takes place in Mount Rainer National Park in 1927. Margaret Lane, daughter of a prominent senator and amateur naturalist, uses her father's influence to obtain a position at the park. Chief Ranger Ford Brayden is not enthralled with the idea of a female ranger, but Margaret's enthusiasm for the park and its natural beauty wins him over.

Margaret or Margie as she is known to her friends is also escaping a controlling ex-fiancĂ© whose desire to control her and her father leads to the possible commercialization of the park. Ford is still struggling with the climbing death of his father two years prior. Ford struggles with trusting God and Margie struggles with her growing attraction to Ford and his not sharing her faith in God.  The plot thickens as Margie and Ford try to work through their differences when it comes to faith as well as try to thwart the plans to destroy  the beauty of the park.

This is an entertaining read for those who especially enjoy nature and the great beauty of our national parks. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Included in Christ by Heather Holleman

I have read another book by this author which  I thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to see what this study has to offer. I was not disappointed. Her writing style is engaging and there is so much information in the introduction to peak the reader's interest. The book of Ephesians as a document is according to one theologian, "the most influential ever written." That alone got my attention. The study is divided into 8 weeks with homework to do 5 days of the week.

As the reader goes through the study, there are a number of words which create the focus for each week. These include the words chosen, seated, strengthened, renewed, filled and proclaiming. There is also an emphasis on writing your our stories as you work through this study. The two kinds of stories described are the Savior story and the shadow narrative.

I would highly recommend this study for an individual or in a group. I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for this honest review.   

Worn Out By Obedience by Ron Moore

This book title really caught my attention. I understand what spiritual fatigue is and how I am prone to it. This was a very helpful book to aid in identifying the first signs of spiritual fatigue and how also to take steps to prevent it.

The author uses the example of David fleeing Saul and ending up in Ziklag, the enemy territory of the Philistines. The term Ziklag is used throughout the book to describe the stretches of the spiritual journey where a person has become stalled or has strayed off course. We are in danger of entering Ziklag when we are running too hard and/or are worn out by service, expectations, or disappointment. When we run away we are more likely to make poor choices and fall into temptation. There is hope though found in the grace of Christ. The author has many helpful insights to aid the reader in escaping Ziklag.

I would highly recommend this book for any lay person involved in ministry or members of a church staff. So many times we justify our tiredness or even self-righteousness  by thinking we are the only ones who can do a ministry or task. This book helps the reader to see the whole picture and to acknowledge that God is the one in control, not us.

I received this book from Moody Publishers for this honest review.        

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

Product DetailsI am not usually a fan of Amish fiction but this final book in  "The Amish of Summer Grove" series is an exception. Skylar and Ariana were switched at birth after a fire in the home of an Amish midwife. 20 years later, the truth is found out and Skylar is forced to go and live with her Amish birth parents and Ariana is forced from the Old Order Amish home to go and live with her birth mother in the world of the "English."

This final book in the series deals with each of them as they come to terms with who they are and try to determine in what culture do they belong. Skylar and Ariana both search for meaning and purpose and healing in the relationships with family members. The characters are well developed and there are no easy answers for either of them as they struggle in the process of forgiveness and reconciliation.

It would be better to read the first two books before this one, but there is a synopsis of the story in the beginning of the book which is very helpful to understand the story line.     

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.