Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Review of "Finally Focused"

James Greenblatt's Finally Focused is a great resource for parents and educators who struggle to adapt ADHD students into a gracious and productive childhood.  Greenblatt offers a number of non-pharmacological solutions, and in that way Finally Focused will be extremely useful for parents who are searching for help.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

Friday, May 5, 2017

My Review of "Break Open the Sky"

Stephan Bauman's Break Open the Sky:  Saving Our Faith from a Culture of Fear is a rich manifesto for living out Jesus' radical call for a life of love and faith in a culture of so much fear -- from terrorism to racism.  From the "refuge crisis and the political vitriol that surrounds it.  Americans are good at fear.  In fact, if the nightly news is any indication, that fear is only increasing.

And Bauman knows a thing or two about the world's concerns, and the fear that often surrounds them.  As the former president of World Relief, he has seen all the ways in which that culture of fear slips into our souls and misshapes human life.  Break Open the Sky is nothing short of a manifesto that calls us to shake ourselves out of the shadows and live into the Light of Christ's love.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My Review of "Just Mercy"

Byron Stevenson's Just Mercy:  A Story of Justice and Redemption is a memoir of one's lawyer's struggle against injustice and his work in co-founding the Equal Justice Initiative.

Its narrative backbone is the story of Walter McMillian, whom Stevenson began representing in the late 1980s when he was on death row for killing a young white woman in Monroe­ville, Ala., the hometown of Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird).  And Stevenson is quick to point out connections to Lee's story:  A black man falsely accused of the rape of a white woman.

Stevenson uses McMillian's case to illustrate his commitment both to individual defendants -- he remained closely in touch until McMillian's death last year -- and to endemic problems in American juris­prudence.

The message of this book, hammered home by dramatic examples of one man's refusal to sit quietly and countenance horror, is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made.  Just Mercy will make you upset but it will also make you hopeful.

 Perhaps it's time that Americans join Stevenson in those dual responses to a broken "justice" system.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Review of "Beauty Begins"

Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha's Beauty Begins:  Making Peace with Your Reflection offers biblical wisdom and personal experiences to help transform the minds of women -- many of whom operate from a place of brokenness -- so that they can learn to achieve healthy mindsets about their bodies and their immeasurable worth in the sight of God.  It helps give voice to women who need to learn to articulate beauty for themselves:  "When we begin to believe the truth of who we really are and who God made us to be, we'll be set free to feel beautiful.  Our goal in writing Beauty Begins is to encourage all of us to stop believing the lies and to start living the truth".

Beauty Begins is an easy-to-read book that’s full of Scripture, prayers and reflections that will help you to change the way you treat yourself, see yourself, and live.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

My Review of "As Kingfishers Catch Fire"

Eugene Peterson's As Kingfishers Catch Fire:  A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God is one of those books filled with wisdom and Spirit.  It's the story of one pastor's heart's desire to live as he preached -- in that place of "congruence" between message and act.

It's a story of sermons preached over 29 years of ministry -- sermons that explore the lessons of biblical heroes like Moses, Isaiah, David, Solomon, Peter, Paul, and John of Patmos.  In that way, it's a story of a real man, foibles and failures as well as faith, who strives to let Jesus not only teach him about God, but about being a real man, following in the Way of faith.

This is one of those books that I wish I'd have had in seminary, twenty years ago.  Because whenever Peterson speaks, I've learned to listen.  And what Peterson says in As Kingfishers Catch Fire are words of wisdom about being a true human being, as a pastor, as a man who follows Jesus, in all the complicated trails that following will sometimes entail.

In a simple sentence:  Don't miss this book!  It will make you more of a follower of Jesus.  Which means you'll be a better human being.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Review of "English Lessons"

Andrea Lucado's English Lessons:  The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith is an amazing memoir of the path of one whose walk of faith has both starts and stops.  Lucado -- probably more known for her dad, Max, than for her own writing -- has a life full of messy stories. 

For those looking for neat, tidy answers about faith and doubt, this is not the book for you.

For all the rest, this is not a book to miss!  The book highlights the spiritual path of one who embraces doubt and finds comfort in simply not knowing. 

I relate so deeply to his book, particularly in its descriptions about "Christian culture" and the real people who are part of it.  Lucado's book is for all those who struggle what it means to live a messy life of faith.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My Review of "Open When ..."

Karen Salmansohn's Open Now ... Letters to Lift Your Spirits is a brief, little gift book that literally offers a number of positive messages for those rough, tough moments when our spirits are dark and oppressed.  Salmansohn has written letters with heartfelt wisdom summoning one's soul to reflect, and spirit to lift when -- life hurts.

This a beautiful book to give yourself and your friends.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here.