Sunday, July 20, 2014

Purple Fish by Mark O Wilson


Purple Fish by Mark O. Wilson is by far the best book about evangelism I have ever read. Instead of proposing formulas, scripts, or memorizing Bible verses to hurl at unsuspecting victims, Mark encourages the reader towards a more "real" method of meeting people where they are, sharing our personal stories of what God has done in our own lives, and allowing the Holy Spirit to do the heavy lifting.

I sincerely appreciated the not so subtle reminder that my job is not to be the judge, jury or chief prosecutor of my fellow man, but to be the witness of Christ that I have the honor of being. As I read this book from start to finish (I couldn't make myself stop reading), I felt God using many of the points and stories to remind me of things I can do right now to share more of His love with others. 

Purple Fish is a great reminder that lost people are not projects or even objects to be caught, but friends, family and loved ones that are broken people in need of the same grace and healing we have already experienced. It is not our job to "evangelize", but our honor and privilege to share the wonderful love of Jesus Christ that has been so recklessly lavished upon us!

For more information about Purple Fish and author Mark O. Wilson, check out Wesleyan Publishing House online.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

NIV Read Easy Bible

I am the first person to admit that I am a Bible hoarder. This is not something I am necessarily proud of, but seeing as how my current station of life finds me in the role of a pastor, I can almost justifiably have thirty plus Bibles laying around my office and home, much to the chagrin of my wonderful wife. Since I have such a penchant for the Bible, I thought it only fitting to check out one of the newer editions of the NIV from Zondervan, the Read Easy Bible.

I have never been a fan of what retailers normally pass off as “large print” Bibles, unless I was looking for something that also doubles as a booster seat, flotation device or an impromptu shield. While the print in the Read Easy Bible is every bit the size comparable to most large print editions, what surprised me the most was the overall footprint and size of the Bible itself. I prefer the personal and compact sized Bibles, and this one has the same length and width as my personal Bible, the only difference being about an extra 3/8 of an inch! 
NIV Thinline Bible on top;
NIV Read Easy Bible on bottom

If you are looking for a “normal” sized Bible that is also large print and will be easy to use and carry around, I would definitely recommend the NIV Read Easy Bible. In fact, I may even consider using this one myself. Besides, my eye sight isn’t getting any better!

For more information about the NIV Read Easy Bible, check out http://www.zondervan.com/niv-readeasy-bible-3.html.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLookBloggers®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Man's Best Hero by Ace Collins

“Man’s Best Hero” is a collection of real life stories of bravery and courage, featuring well known (and not so well known) dogs of all breeds and sizes. Several of the stories feature canines in the field of battle in World Wars One and Two, alerting soldiers of incoming gas attacks and preventing ambushes. Other stories of heroism show dogs against the odds and elements of nature, protecting their masters or even finding ways to bring them to safety. 

Each story is encapsulated in it’s own chapter, and the stories are well written and engaging. As a dog lover, I found myself getting immersed in each tale, breathing a sigh of relief when the dog saved the day or completed the mission. I especially enjoyed the stories of dogs on the battlefield, since these are not stories we often hear about otherwise. It was amazing to read just how important these beloved animals were in some of the most stressful and dangerous theaters of war in history. 


If you enjoy reading stories about animals that beat the odds, then these tales of heroism by man’s best friend will certainly tickle your fancy. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of “Man’s Best Hero”!

For more information, check out http://www.abingdonpress.com/product/9781426776618#.U5O1uxZSodt.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Net Galley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, June 6, 2014

Know The Heretics by Justin S. Holcomb

“Know The Heretics” by Justin S. Holcomb follows in a similar vein to his other work on the creeds and councils of the Christian faith.  Holcomb provides a good summary and overview of a handful of “heretics” from Church history, explores their theological views, and provides the reader with the Orthodox view that contrasts against. Since the work deals more specifically with individuals and their theology, it is a tad bit more “academic” than “Know The Creeds and Councils”, but it is still a very accessible and readable volume.

The chapters are long enough to be informative, and the subheadings keep one from reading pages and pages without a visual break. Like the other volume, the book is written with the small group in mind, and provided discussion questions fall at the end of each chapter. I enjoyed reading his volume on the creeds and councils first, as this volume gives more information on some of the specific people behind the process of forming those same creeds and councils in Church history.

In the long run, it is important for the Church to have a grasp on her history and those that have played a part, so that we might avoid the mistakes and heresies that have already occurred.  For more information, check out http://www.zondervan.com/know-the-heretics.html.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLookBloggers®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Know the Creeds and Councils by Justin S. Holcomb

“Know The Creeds and Councils” by Justin Holcomb provides the reader with an easily accessible primer on the major creeds and councils of the Christian faith. The book is by no means exhaustive, but the author does a great job of giving an accurate picture of each topic covered. The chapters were not too long for the average reader, and each was broken up by helpful headings and concluded with discussion questions and references for further study. 
 
As a seminary student, I found the book to be a very useful resource to add to my collection, even though it was written more for the “average reader”. The list of references at the end of each chapter and the end of the book are a great resource on their own, although I doubt the average reader will wish to dig too deeply into some of the more archaic sources. 
 
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great starting point in Christian and Church history, as reviewing the creeds and councils provides a great overview of where Christian thought has come from in the many centuries since it’s inception. A very well written book that every Christian will take something away from!

For more information about this book, check out http://www.zondervan.com/know-the-creeds-and-councils.html.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Seminary summer reading

Seminary summer reading (and no it's not for a class)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Not the "in" thing to post on your timeline...

We can have some really cool moments with God through other people and through all of our technology and machines, but the old-school method is tried and true. You, your Bible and your soul ready to be transparent. That's what knowing God boils down to. It's not the "cool" thing and it's not the "in" thing to post on your timeline, but it's spending time with the One who is the center of all life, the giver of all peace. The One who is love and hope. The only One who always keeps his promises, whose motives are never questionable, who thought us worthy enough to send his Son to give his life. That's no cliche. That is worth living and dying for, worth giving your time for.
Amena Brown, "Breaking Old Rhythms", p. 97