Thursday, October 15, 2015

Book Review: A Shining Example

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Handlebar.

Author Elizabeth Goudge pens My God and My All: The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi with her own flair giving life within historical context. Saint Francis was a man of great character, but certainly had his share of human flaws. I appreciated Goudge did not try to sugarcoat or whitewash any facet of this man. Fascinated with the life of this saint Goudge draws on her storytelling skills which makes this for an enjoyable read.

Most impressive is the sheer magnitude of color she lends to the life of Saint Francis. The reader steps back in time to the 12th century meandering down the paths of Assisi. Although this is a biographical work it almost reads as fiction. The reader walks beside Saint Francis as he establishes the Franciscan Order. The leaves on the trees dance, the sky is painted and the characters come alive with such clarity and beauty that I was left awestruck and in deep reflection.

I was left with such an indelible impression of this man that lived with tenacious conviction and ardent passion for his God I can only hope I emulate him in a small manner. In today's culture of self-promotion, Goudge has gifted us with a book for all ages of a man whom sacrificed everything for his one love so long ago. We all can learn, whether Catholic or not, another way to live, to live a life which exudes love, a life lived beyond ourselves.

Any reader whom appreciates a lovely read and has a love for God can glean something from this work. My God and My All does have a few passages I found pedantic, but overall is quite a classic in its own right.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Book Review: To Know His Love

Bethany House publishers furnished a complimentary copy of the following book in exchange for an honest review.

God's love is not for the few. It is graciously, freely given to all. Author and pastor, Alex Early, penned The Reckless Love of God with such eloquence, passion, care and love. It is that very love that he has received from God with which he writes. That much is clear from the first few pages.

The chapters are named after the famed Sunday school song "Jesus Loves Me," which I found very whimsical and cute. It is in that same simplicity and eloquence that Early exudes as he encourages the reader not to just know theoretically that God loves them, but to take it to heart, to feel, to know the love of Christ.

Often inside the walls of churches people are told one thing, yet do not necessarily see that demonstrated in and/or outside those very walls. Admittedly I have seen my fair share of hypocrisy and have been hesitant to find a new church. I really wish I had this book a year ago when my faith was wavering and I wondered if some in the church weren't loving was Christ's love really what it claims to be?

The author responds with a resounding, gut-reverberating, "YES!" inviting us back into the fold, extending the grace he received to others. Many biblical examples are given demonstrating the love of God. It can lead to crazy things; a life of reckless love. He is willing to meet us where we are, not where we hope to be one day. Once we accept that love and claim it for ourselves we are His. No questions asked.

I appreciated that Early does not ever try to bonk the reader over the head with theologically verbose language. His humility is beautiful and invites the reader into the book as he navigates through The Reckless Love of God. He's a man whose love is definitely not of this world, but lives within this world.

This book would be perfect for the questioning, the one whom has lost the fire or anyone wanting to come closer to know Christ and feel His love intimately. I really can't say enough about this book to do it justice. Out of all the books I have read I can guarantee this is one of my favorites.

Cover Art

Alex Early (MDiv, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; MA, London School of Theology) is a pastor who has planted a church in a bar, served as a theology professor, created the Acts 29 West Academy, a missional-theological training center, and launched the Acts 29 podcast. Alex lives with his wife and children in Atlanta, Georgia. He spends his downtime cooking with and for friends and family, and is pursuing a Doctor of Intercultural Studies degree at Western Seminary. Learn more at

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