Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: Extraordinary Read

     NavPress sent me a free copy of Doug Sherman's book, More Than Ordinary, in exchange for an honest review. Mr. Sherman takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of the ups and downs of his spiritual life. As he shows you these milestones the reader is also given insights into improving their own spiritual well-being. More Than Ordinary encourages deeper communion with God rather than leading an ordinary life solely trying to placate the reader's vision of their God. Living with God can be a fresh adventure beckoning you everyday. God never intended life to be "normal," but rather filled with a tapestry of vibrant colors woven into one's experience of living.

      I am excited to share my experience with this book. Over the course of my reading I challenged myself to apply the material to my own life. Rather than getting caught up into my day to day routine, I found a greater awareness of God's presence in my life. Sherman advises to invite God into regular conversations as you do whatever and any activity you  are engaged in. Live life with Him by your side, instead of in obscurity and loneliness. I realized how much I could see the attributes of God in nature surrounding me or in the kindnesses of strangers. The still, small voice of our Lord will grow a little louder as you become attuned to Him.
      Anyone who desires a deeper love of our Heavenly Father and a more intense purpose in life would be well-advised to pick a copy up of More Than Ordinary. Who wants to settle for the mundane when they can have a taste of heaven on earth? God wants to share His abundance with everyone out of His plenteous love and grace. It's when we humbly realize what God is capable of giving that we will graciously begin to allow Him to fill our lives for His purpose. Life truly can be More Than Ordinary- extraordinary.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review 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, July 15, 2011

Book Review: Inspiration at Its Best

      I recently read Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice By Kristen Jane Anderson, that was provided free from WaterbrookMultnomah Publishers in exchange for an honest review. Anderson takes you along her spiritual journey as she seeks to find purpose in life. After a failed suicide attempt, she must answer questions and issues she had been previously ignoring, in the face of new physical challenges and adversity.

      This book is wonderful, heart-warming grace at its best. Anderson walked around numb to the world wanting to find a means to end her internal tempest.  It is amazing, to say the least, how God can be patient and understanding waiting for someone to finally submit their lives to His will. It took this failed attempt to enlighten Kristen of the love that always surrounded her.
      It was a little disconcerting to read about Kristen's attempt. "I clenched my fists, crossed my arms under my head, and braced myself, closing my eyes tight. My head and body lay between the tracks, my legs hung over the rail. I could feel the cold metal against my thighs and the wood and rocks under my stomach. As the train closed in, ...." (pg. 5) Anderson is brave to share her ultimate triumph of finding meaning in life.
      I can only imagine the positive effects Life, In Spite of Me could have on a person dealing with their own personal, volatile trials. This book is great for anyone, particularly young women whom may be searching for themselves and subsequently find their identity in Christ. This book was so intriguing it captivated my attention from the first page. I had seen this cover repeatedly and was excited to read it. It was a pleasure to read and breathed life into my heart. God has certainly made a beautiful, new creation out of a desperate girl wallowing in ashes. May it do the same for more hurting hearts.

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To purchase Life, In Spite of Me here is a link to Barnes & Noble.

Book Review: Gain a Deeper Prayer Life

      Are we praying, as Christians and children of God asking for His will to prevail in our lives? Or are we asking according to our fleshly desires? I often have wondered what prayer can look like. Is there more to it than what I know? Many Christians could stand to find deeper intimacy with Our Lord. T.W. Hunt's book Seeing the Unseen published by NavPress can encourage one to do just that. He gives a vast array of information to assist the reader to gain not only a deeper biblical understanding of prayer, but also practical advice to assist in one's spiritual maturation.

     I often second guess myself and wonder if I am praying "properly". T.W. Hunt makes God seem approachable through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. If a person does not know where to begin, they can initiate a deeper level of prayer by asking for that to occur. We can ask God for spiritual maturation, a godly perspective and the ability to discern the Spirit's promptings.
     Seeing the Unseen reminds us that God already hears and knows every word you utter and/or think. In His omnipotence and omniscience , God understands what we need and what we are going to pray for. Why should we be afraid to approach our Creator in communion and request our heart's desire? (Psalm 37:4) God is just waiting for us to vocalize our desire in humbleness and meekness.
     I discovered Seeing the Unseen is a volume of work that has culminated from Hunt's life-long pursuit if God. It can be a great starting point for new believers to begin their search for God or a timely reminder for seasoned believers to refresh or deepen their prayer lives.In approximately 100 pages, Hunt gives a plethora of knowledge in a compact way that doesn't intimidate the reader. I was impressed by the immense amount of information condensed in an easy-to-read book. Every chapter is approximately ten pages that are easily comprehended, yet can be perused again as a refresher. May Hunt guide you on your quest for a deeper, intimate prayer life with our Lord.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review 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, July 9, 2011

Book Review: A Book to Stay

     Thomas Nelson Publishing courteously enlightened me with a copy of Why God Won't Go Away through BookSneeze, a blog-for-books program. I want to note that my views are solely based on New Atheism and the book read. Please do not read this as a generalization of all atheists. Allister McGrath, theologian, professor and this case author, a former atheist himself, acquaints the reader with the four major voices in the New Atheism movement, highlighting their theses of their beliefs in the non-existence of a deity. Interestingly, McGrath then rebuts their arguments and champions the cause for a deity in a very non-invasive manner.
      As I read it occurred to me the anger that the New Atheism spews at religion is nothing but a farce. Dawkins' and Harris' views are shared without much substantiating evidence. I found myself rather bemused at their stands. Often religion and philosophy are entwined giving credence to one another. What I believe shapes my philosophy in life, and really I could go further stating they are one in the same. Yet, here this movement despise religion claiming it is evil, a mental deficiency and/or an indulgence. Are not their beliefs the religion this movement believes in?
       It was heartbreaking to learn some of the New Atheists are proponents of mass killing of theists. Ironically, religious extremism is one of the so-called problems of religion. If they are against extremism, how can they propagate such hatred?

       Why God Won't Go Away is wonderful theological fodder. McGrath eloquently presents his firm belief in God that is understandable and a pleasure to read. It was surprising how fast the book was read. Apparently, this read is quite the page-turner. Often, such philosophical and theological books can be tedious and well, a bit dry to peruse. Why God Won't Go Away should be on every Christians bookshelf to present a basic understanding of the New Atheism movement. Though the movement gained a stronger following during the middle of the last decade and subsequently has lost some steam, it would still be wise to know what Satan will put out in the world today. Doubt and committed disbelief weren't enough to attack God, he is now using hatred and unrelenting anger to try to stamp out God. Thank you to Mr. McGrath. Praise to be our Lord Jesus Christ!