Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Review of "Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child"

Some time ago, I read Nick Vujicic's Love Without Limits: A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All.  It's an amazing book in its own right, and part of Nick's account there is the love of his parents and its strength in his life.

I was over-joyed, then, to discover his dad's account of that love in Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child:  Facing Challenges with Strength, Courage and Hope.  It's another amazing book that develops a deeply faithful and joyfully hopeful account of parenting for those whose children present "challenges" (such as our culture would call them).  The clear message of the book?  Become an advocate for your child, because it's in that advocacy that love is revived and thrives.

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

Friday, January 8, 2016

My Review of "God Dreams"

Will Mancini's God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates for Finding and Focusing Your Church's Future is both a roadmap and a toolbox, but even more:  It rejects that one size fits all approach that's so common in church growth studies.  God Dreams is not even a many sizes fit most approach, but rather a "find your size and fit it" approach that is surprisingly refreshing.

With all of the tools, resources, charts, graphs, templates, etc, that Mancini has provided to flesh out all of the ideas with your leadership team, pastors will actually feel like you're stealing.  I know the usual model -- say some stuff in the book, but sell your $5,000 coaching program on every page.  Mancini, though, rejects that approach.  Instead, in the best coaching for church leadership that I've read in a long, long time, Mancini offers particular ways forward for churches who long to find and focus on the dream God has for their particular community.

I can't praise God Dreams too highly.  If you read no other church leadership book for 2016, make Mancini's God Dreams that book.

I received a free copy of this book from B&H Publishing in exchange for my honest review here.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

My Review of "Rain"

Cynthia Barnett's Rain:  A Natural and Cultural History is a real treat!  It's a book that kept me reading precisely because this was a book about something I'd never read elsewhere, something so simply as everyday life:  Rain.

Rain is a masterwork of creative nonfiction, an epic built entirely around the humble, parachute-shaped raindrop.  You read that right.  Raindrops fall from the sky fat end up, tapered end pointing toward the ground.  Never heard that one before?  Me either.  Like I said, this book is amazing precisely because of the things it continually brings to your attention in new and exciting ways.

Barnett fills her history of rain with such rarely seen, rarely mentioned observations.  Over and over, she focuses on the uncommon details of natural phenomena and historical events most of us never think twice about because we think we already know them.  According to Barnett, a lack of rain has helped bring down civilizations from Mesopotamia to the Americas.  Fourteenth-century witch hunts in Europe were fueled by the continuous rains and freak storms of the Little Ice Age.  An English amateur meteorologist came up with the cloud classification system that gave us the term "cloud nine".

Those sorts of details are the kinds that makes this book a real treasure -- the new ideas fall like a refreshing rain.

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