Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: Don't Cheat Yourself from this Book

     Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of Andy Stanley's When Work & Family Collide in exchange for an honest review. Stanley aims to guide the reader to find a better balance in life. Where do our priorities lie? Who and what is getting our attention? No matter who you are, someone in your life is feeling short-changed. There aren't enough hours in the day to do it all and to be it all to everyone and to everything. So, what to do?
     God calls us to put our greater focus on our families and those we love. When you retire, someone will fill your shoes at work, but no one can take your place at home. One of Stanley's greatest pieces of advice, and the major premise of the book, in When Work & Family Collide is to allow yourself to cheat someone or something of your time and give that time back to whom it belongs. If you're expending yourself at the office to the wee hours of the night, realize you may someday have no one to go home to. Everyone, especially your family, needs to not only know of your love, but they need to experience that love.
     When I first saw the title of the book, I was a little hesitant to review it. I don't work. Well, actually I do as a stay-at-home mom. So, I decided to review it and I am glad I did. Not only did it help me personally, it allowed me to get a glimpse into how my husband may feel as he pulls himself between work and family. To my amazement and utter delight, Andy Stanley recognizes the stay-at-home mom in When Work & Family Collide.  I also appreciated the fact that the real-life examples of scenarios we may face include people of many types, even a man that did double-duty as a stay-at-home dad and ran a home business was included.
     This book can be used by anyone that wants to prioritize their lives knowing something is out of whack. Maybe you struggle with exhaustion from the juggling act you perform or are missing your family so much that you dread leaving the house, this short, fun-to-read Stanley book will be just what the doctor would order. He doesn't give you a step-by-step manual to gain balance, but provides a persuasive guide to get you back on track. When Work & Family Collide was previously released as Choosing to Cheat- I prefer the newer title. In the back is a nice, little study guide. I found the questions easy to understand and ponder. The first step I advise is not to cheat yourself of reading another great Andy Stanley book.

Buy from Amazon here!

About the Author: Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries, Inc. Since its inception in 1995, North Point Ministries has grown from one campus to five in the Atlanta area and has helped plant over thirty strategic partner churches globally. Each Sunday, more than twenty-five thousand people attend worship services at one of North Point Ministries’ five campuses. Andy’s books include Enemies of the Heart, The Next Generation Leader, How Good is Good Enough? and many more. He lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, with his wife, Sandra, and their children. (borrowed from Waterbrook Multnomah)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: The Alarm Has Been Sounded

     In exchange for a book review, BookSneeze on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishers provided me with a complimentary review copy of The Coming Revolution: Signs from America's Past that Signal Our Nation's Future. Dr. Richard G. Lee has beautifully and eloquently captured America's problems that plague our nation more than ever.  After he paints of a vivid picture of our nation's current political and social landscape, Lee transports the reader back in time as the first colonists arrived on the nation's uncharted soil. Subsequently, Lee journeys forward to the Founding Fathers' pursuit of liberty and prosperity. It truly is essential for Americans to understand the dire circumstances they triumphed for our country.
     Dr. Lee reminds the reader of the belief in God that our nation was founded upon. Not only did the immigrants come for religious freedom, the Fathers of our nation wanted to ensure that we maintained those inalienable rights as children of God. As our rights as believers have been infringed upon, The Coming Revolution, encourages believers and all citizen's alike for that matter, to stand up to gain those rights back. Our country has become one that upholds the voice of the minority rather than allowing the people to rule. Dr. Lee poignantly affirms that if we don't do something, America is headed toward the socialism that has ended in the demise of the good life for so many European countries.
     It broke my heart to read this book at times. Americans need to be proactive citizens, not observers of society. The statistics presented are sobering. Coming to the realization that patriotism is at an all-time low among the young and not a figment of the imagination is an alarm that needs to keep ringing until we see improvements on the educational front. The good news is as Lee reminds us, as parents we have a lot of sway over the next generation. Where is our work ethic? Where is patriotism? Where is the government that is lead by the people for the people?
     The Coming Revolution is a message of sobriety and hope. We can't close our eyes and be inebriated by the materialism that surrounds us. Lee foresees a well-needed revolution that can't come too soon. The Tea Party is a clear picture that the people are fed up with this humanist socialism that is being shoved down the throats of freedom-loving people. Indoctrinating children with the idea that truth is relative and our country isn't as great as we think. It was great. It is great, but we do need to sound the alarm and fight for it.
      Any patriot of this great nation ought to pick up Dr. Lee's The Coming Revolution. He does a fabulous job of bringing God's light to the situation and provides  reasonable, feasible steps that American citizens can take to begin to bring about the change we need. In a little over 200 pages this book with enlighten you to the culture we live and the values we must return to. God Bless America!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Miraculous Read?

     In exhange for a review, Bethany House Publishes furbished a complimentary copy of Miracles are for Real: What Happens When Heaven Touches Earth.  Authors James L. Garlow and Keith Wall provide a well-rounded, unbiased look at modern-day miracles from small answered prayers to death defying experiences. Within 250 pages and 17 chapters they equip the reader with theological views of miracles, answers to numerous questions skeptics may have and personal accounts of experiences that they have deemed "miraculous." Did miracles end with the apostolic age or does God still speak to individuals today? Are people just hallucinating or experiencing touches of the divine in a temporal body?
     Ambiguity still lingers, but I am somewhat more convinced than I was when I first opened the book. Miracles are for Real is a book that will pique interest and curiosity, but should be read with vigilant skeptism. It's easier to believe when we want to or are desperately seeking a miracle in our own lives. Given the authors did manage to keep the focus upon God, I still wouldn't recommend this book for a new believer in Christ as it might strip away their faith. Let it be know Garlow is a pastor of many years.
     On that note, let me point out that the stories contained in this volume seem to be from reliable sources as far as I, a reader, can tell. The authors, Garlow and Wall, point out that they have tried to research these experiences enough that they stand behind them as current-day miracles. Can God heal? Yes. Can God resuccitate? Yes. Can God perform miracles? Yes. Does He do so now? That is for the reader to decide if they believe or not.
      Overall, Miracles are for Real, is wonderfully engaging, entertaining and thought-provoking. I thoroughly enjoyed hoping in these stories. Maybe if nothing else, as a well-intentioned skeptic, hope is probably the best thing I can garner out of the pages. My hope is always in Jesus and if He still works miracles that manifest themselves through the physical world, well, I will hope in that, too.

Purchase here through Amazon!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review: A Must Read for the Bible Lover

     Recently BookSneeze on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God an English Voice in exchange for a review. The Bible is not only the story of God's people millenia ago, speaking to us today, but in it one can search for the voice of translator, William Tyndale. Author David Teems drew upon many resources for this biography, but drew from the Bible itself. Tyndale translated the New Testament at the cost of his comfort living out his days in exile. He sought refuge in Europe, as his home country of England criticized and found his work a threat to the ruling Catholic church.
     Tyndale never sought fame, but diligently pursued the calling God laid on his heart to translate the New Testament into common language to open the pathway for the everyday commoner to seek out God. The church of the time allowed the Bible only into the hands of ecclesiastical hierarchy. But, wasn't God for all people?
     Teems in Tyndale with the flourish of his own eloquent pen allows the reader to enter this journey to piece together who William Tyndale was at his core. Some of his life was lived in obscurity, trying to hide from persecutors. Teems has looked beyond the translator and sought out Tyndale's passion, gentleness, devotion and work ethic among his other qualities. He enlightens the reader to the literary genius of Tyndale. The English that colors are speech and books today must pay homage to Tyndale. The veracity that drove Tyndale to find the right word fueled him to polish his work continuously. I have a new found appreciation for the nuances of our "common" language and the beauty therein.
     Tyndale is a book that will entice you at the prologue. Before you behold page one Teems will capture your curiosity and imagination. It is a slow page-turner, as I tried to capture the essence of every sentence. So, if you want to dig back in the past with David Teems as your guide to search out the character and man of William Tyndale this book is for you. Enjoy history and appreciate the English Bible as never before!

Take a sneak peek into Tyndale here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Review: Usable Fasting Guide

     A big thanks goes to Tyndale Publishers for sending a complimentary copy of The Daniel Fast: Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit, and Renew Your Body in exchange for an honest review.  Susan Gregory, The Daniel Fast Blogger, has written an amazing guide that will help the reader fast according to the standards that Daniel of the Bible followed. Gregory emphasizes that fasting is not a diet, though physical benefits may abound. Fasting is always a means to draw nearer to our heavenly Father. The participant draws on God's strength and love as they battle their physical nature during the fast, resulting in a greater handle on self-discipline, one of the fruits that eludes many followers.
     In The Daniel Fast I gained a greater appreciation for fasting as an ancient discipline that was once widely practiced in times past for the benefit of one's entire being. From the Old Testament to the New Testament many fasts were mentioned from Esther to Jesus. Daniel requested only pulse (foods from seed) and water while in the king's service. To the amazement of some, Daniel and his friends were healthier than their counterparts ten days later. Gregory not only supplies more information on Daniel and his fast, but supplies over one hundred pages of recipes in the second half of the book. I must say, from reviewing the recipes they look very appetizing. So, for you food-aficionados, lay your fears to rest.
     I was very impressed with the breadth of helpful information to begin a fast, as well as what the process during consists of. Gregory lists 5 Ps to utilize for a successful fast: pray, plan, prepare, participate and praise and process. Fasting can seem intimidating, but when an author has conquered a feared-discipline, it really takes the fear away, opening the door for many hearts to join in the ancient discipline. I am excited to fast. The guesswork and legwork is taken away for the reader, it allows more room for the heart to be prepared and open to His voice. Your experience will only be as deep as you make it to be. If you put your heart and soul into seeking the Lord, you will find Him there. Gregory only is advising what steps can be taken, as a fast will be different for everyone. It's not a prescription for a deeper faith, but it can be used as a means.
     This fast is mapped out to be 21 days long. However, it can be shortened or lengthened dependent to the user's desire and/or the Spirit's. I would advise reading this book twice before setting out on your journey, if you're new to fasting. The Daniel Fast is a user-friendly tool that can be perused and counted as a great helper. In the back, Susan Gregory did the reader an awesome service by including a 21-day devotional to accompany you on your journey. Happy and fruitful fasting!