Posts filed under: Books

The 4th of July is a day of celebration. We celebrate the freedom that we enjoy as citizens of the United States. If there is anything that is worth celebrating, few things are greater than freedom. 

It is why on this day of freedom celebration that I am choosing to share about a book that I recently read. The book is The Money Challenge: 30 Days of Discovering God’s Design for You and Your Money by Art Rainer. 

There are few things that shackle people in bondage – even in the land of the free – more than money and poor financial choices. Art Rainer has given us a straightforward and practical book that will help any person that takes the time to read this little book. 

I really like how Rainer has illustrated the main points of this book with a continuing story of a young lady who is struggling g to get out of the grip of financial woe. The story makes the points a little more “personal” and not just a checklist of things to work through. 

Many of the things that are shared by Rainer in the 30 “money challenges” are successful tools that have been compiled by Rainer from other sources. Rainer has gathered some very helpful resources and tools and built them together to help the reader find victory in their finances. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking to take control of their finances. You may not be in “trouble” yet, but this book and its steps will help put/keep you on the right track. Even if you are in “trouble,” this book will point you in the right direction to finding freedom. 

As we celebrate our country’s independence from tyranny today, may many more find the financial freedom that is available in doing finances God’s way. The Money Challenge by Art Rainer is a great tool to help with that. 

Recently, I received a copy of Swipe Right: The Life and Death Power of Sex and Romance by Levi Lusko. I was asked to give an honest review of it, so here we go…

The issue of sex/romance is a powerful one in our world today. Contrary to some popular thoughts, this has been an important issue for the human race for some time. Surprisingly, the modern church has shied away from this topic with many thinking that it is not proper to talk about such things. I couldn’t disagree more.

Levi Lusko has put together a good work that approaches the topics of romance, sex, and relationships from a perspective that speaks to various people well in Swipe Right.

In Swipe Right, Lusko shares various personal stories and truths from the Bible to help point the reader to God’s design for these areas. I think that the personal stories that Lusko shares help build a bridge to the reader and move them to examine the truths from the Bible more than if it they were just shared.

There were times when I was confused at who the audience was.  It would seem to bounce back and forth from adults to teenagers and then back to adults.  Some of the illustrations would show this bounce and had me scratching my head at times.  I did walk away from this “confusion” at times with the thought that youth and adults are struggling with some of the same stuff.  The adults that did not have a chance to hear these truths while they were youth are seeing themselves play the same game that many teenagers are.

Recommendation

I would recommend Swipe Right to any person.  As I stated earlier, these issues need to be addressed by the church.  They are not going away… more and more people who do not hear the truth from God’s word about these topics are going to continue to make mistakes and suffer consequences.

Ministry for the Christ-follower is an important role in his or her life. Many times when we hear the term “ministry,” we think about preachers, ministers, and missionaries. Those are important roles, but I believe that there is another often overlooked ministry that is getting more attention. That ministry is the ministry of the family. 

Sadly, many people do not see the family as a place of ministry. If one looks through the Bible though, he or she sees easily that the family was to be one of the primary places where ministry was done and taught. 

Terence Chatmon shares insights and experiences from his journey as a husband, father, and businessman to help other parents become more successful at building a spiritual legacy in Do Your Children Believe?

I found Chatmon’s book to be a good resource in trying to lead my family in the manner that God desires. I don’t know if it is because I am in the middle of it or what, but I have noticed an emphasis on families becoming more intentional with their discipleship plans. Too many times families just go through the motions and hope that when we get to the end that it all works out.  It doesn’t take long to realize that if you do not pursue something intentionally (especially pertaining to family) then it will not happen. 

One of the things that I really like about Do Your Children Believe? is that Chatmon gives you steps and points you in a direction, but never gives you something to just copy and paste. While we may like the simple task of copy and pasting something, it does not work in family life. Each family is unique. In this book, Chatmon gives some really good principles along with a push to apply them to your unique family. 

Recommendation

After taking time to read Do Your Children Believe?, I would definitely recommend this book to all those who are looking to lead their families well in the Christian faith. I believe that it would help with getting an intentional plan together and moving forward. 

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. 

I enjoy reading books. This has not always been the case. In middle and high school, you would hardly ever see me reading anything. In college, something began to change. Maybe it was one of my professors that I admired sharing one of his little rhymes – “you must read to succeed!”

I have found myself devouring books both physical and electronic since I got out of school. You will see authors of various kinds on the bookshelves in my home and office at the church. You will see men who see things very similar to what I do. You will also see men that I differ in viewpoints on. I believe it was Rick Warren who said something along the lines of “if you cannot learn from those you disagree with, then you are in trouble.”

I have enjoyed being a blogger reviewer for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. I have read some really great books through their program. I began to notice one troubling pattern developing: the authors I was reading were all men. As a man, I appreciate having other men speak into my life. I need that. But I also believe that God is using some women to speak into the life of the Church, and they deserve an audience. This is one reason that I signed up to review Rebekah Lyons‘ book, You Are Free and give my honest opinion. 

The Book Itself

You Are Free is a book about experiencing the freedom that Christ died to provide each and every person that puts their trust in Him. Lyons shares a story of how she came to experience freedom in various areas of her life. She reminds readers often throughout the book, “Christ doesn’t say you can be or may be or will be free. He says you are free.” You Are Free contains fifteen chapters, each devoted to a specific area of freedom to experience. 

My Personal Thoughts

I did not know much about Rebekah Lyons other than what my wife had talked to me about. I had read some of her husband’s work (Gabe Lyons), and was a big fan. With Ann Voskamp writing the forward, I thought that this would be worth the read. I was not wrong. 

You Are Free is a great little read for those who are looking for a personal story of what freedom looks like in a person’s life. Lyons uses this entire book to walk the reader down the path of her life with each chapter setting up the next well. I really liked the personalness of this book.  It was much more than just a “how to” book or an information dump… this was a woman sharing her story of what God had done in her life. The vulnerability that Lyons shows is refreshing to see/read. 

Lyons makes sure to use Scripture well throughout this book. Most of the references are footnoted and gives the reader the opportunity to check what God’s word has to say on the various subjects discussed. 

My Recommendation 

I would say that if you are looking for a “how to” book, then you will probably be frustrated with You Are Free. It is just not that (and I’m so thankful that it is not). If you are more interested in hearing/reading the story of a woman’s journey to finding freedom in various areas of her life with some helpful tips along the way, then this book is for you. 

I thought that You Are Free was a refreshing break from my normal reading. It was good to get the perspective from a God-loving female author. It is encouraging to know that God is still gifting and using ladies for His work to speak to and edify the Church. I look forward to many more in the near future.

Spiritual gifts is a topic that has intrigued many throughout the ages. There are various thoughts on how they work, are they still around, when a Christian gets them, and more. As the jacket of the books states, “pastor and author Sam Storms offers practical steps to understanding and exercising spiritual gifts in a way that remains grounded in the Word and centered in the gospel.”

I was interested in seeing what stance this book was going to take on the subject of spiritual gifts. In my experience, spiritual gifts is one of those topics that is very polarizing.  The forward written by Matt Chandler (whom I respect greatly) made me want to see what this book was about. 

The topic of spiritual gifts has interested me for some time. I have heard the arguments about how some spiritual gifts are no longer needed or in use today (cessationist view). I have also heard of those who believe that the gifts are all still in use today among the church (continuationist view). 

Sam Storms is one who holds the continuationist view, but presents his convictions with a strong use of Scripture.  He writes in the conclusion, “The foundation for the experience of spiritual gifts is and always must be inerrant truths articulated in the Bible. Any attempt to move forward apart from the parameters set for us in the [New Testament] will likely lead to experiential excess, theological error, and an unbridled fanaticism that will serve only to bring disgrace on the name of Christ and do damage to those very people you are trying to serve and help” (237).

The manner at which Storms takes the Word of God and uses it as the starting platform and guardrails makes this book and great and reliable tool.  The words and thoughts that are presented in this book are ones that are backed up with Scripture. 

One of the only issues that I had was that there was not equal attention given to the gifts mentioned in the book. I know that to write a full work on each gift would be too much for one book. I even get why Storms chose the gifts that he did in this book. I just didn’t get why three chapters were devoted to “prophecy” and one to the others. 

Recommendation

As for a recommendation, I would highly recommend Practicing the Power by Sam Storms to the Christian that is looking for answers to the question of whether some particular spiritual gifts are still at work today. I believe Storms gives some great insight and uses Scripture to show that you do not have to check solid, grounded in the Word theology at the door to believe that the Holy Spirit is still distributing the gifts that some think are long gone.