Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Simplest Way to Change the World by Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements

How to make disciples using hospitality

Deep down, every Christian wants to make a difference. But for many of us, the years come and go and we never do. The good news is: change can be as simple as opening your front door.

The Simplest Way to Change the World is about biblical hospitality and its power for the gospel. Since people will sooner enter a living room than a church, hospitality is a natural and effective way to build relationships for Christ. You’ll learn:


How the home can be a hub for community
How hospitality leads to joy, purpose, and belonging
How it grows families to love the things of God
How it’s not about being the perfect host
How to be hospitable regardless of your living space
Hospitality is a beautiful legacy of the church, and a great way to make disciples. As you open your life up to others, you share in the very character of God and experience His joy. And you get to witness lives change—including your own.

Includes 20+ creative ideas for hospitality, plus questions for small groups.

My review:

  I thought this sounded like a neat book to review, and I feel it is something we Christians need to do better at as individuals AND as a church.

 The book is very well-written, and the authors write in an easy to understand/interesting style. They have the book split up into two sections: The Potential, and The Plan. The first part explains the need for hospitality and how it can be used to win people to God. The second part puts it into a plan form to show how to put those things into practice.

 I have long felt my church, and many others, need to do a better job in this area. Too many people visit churches and are hardly noticed or made to feel welcome. There are many people who would go to church if they were asked. This is a book that could help with these issues if taken to heart and used.

 At the end of the book is a 6-week study guide so the book can be used for a group or individual study. It also has over 20 ideas for hospitality.

 I enjoyed reading the book. The authors have a lot of great ideas, and it is obvious they are passionate about this subject. I highly recommend it to those interested in using hospitality in their lives and churches to reach the lost.

About the authors:



DUSTIN WILLIS lives in metro Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, Renie, and their two children, Jack and Piper. Dustin serves as the coordinator of the Send Network. Before moving to Atlanta, Dustin planted and pastored Midtown Fellowship in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Find him at @dustinwillis on Twitter.




BRANDON CLEMENTS is pastor at Midtown Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Kristi, for nine years and they have three children: Sully, Jeremiah, and Isla. Brandon currently blogs at www.DearBibleBelt.com and has previously published a novel, Every Bush is Burning.



The Simplest Way to Change the World is available from Moody Publishing.

Thanks to Moody for  the review copy.

How to Overcome Worry by Dr Winfred Neely

Scripture’s cure for the worry epidemic 

Do you struggle with worry or anxious thoughts on a regular basis? Does your mind get fixated on the same concern over and over? Do you know you should stop worrying but repeatedly fail to do so?

How to Overcome Worry presents a biblical and practical strategy for this exact problem. Dr. Winfred Neely, who has experienced his fair share of anxiety-inducing circumstances, walks you through Philippians 4:6–7 to help you:


Understand the difference between concern and worry
Use prayer as a means of grace to overcome worry
Cultivate gratitude and thanksgiving as an antidote to worry
Navigate changing seasons and circumstances without falling into worry
Employ practical strategies for experiencing the peace of God
Worry is one of the top issues in our world today, even among Christians, and this concise and biblical approach will offer real solutions. In His Word, God tells us to stop worrying, pray about everything, and expect His peace. This is a true promise of Scripture, and this book will help you to lay hold of it.

My review:

 I worry. A lot. When I saw this small book available for review, I knew I had to review it. I needed it, and a lot of other people need it.

 It isn't a big book, coming in at 109 pages, and measuring smaller than the average book also.  But don't let that fool you. Worry is a big topic, but the author fit a lot about it in this small book. He starts out the book discussing worry, and then goes into practical and Biblical ways to combat it.

 The book ends with three appendixes: The first is a pattern for prayer, the second contains Scriptures to combat worry, and the third has questions to consider.

 This is an easy to read book that has some very valuable and Biblical help for combating worry. I found it very helpful, as will anyone else will who struggles with worrying.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


WINFRED NEELY (B.A., D.Min. Trinity International University; M.A. Wheaton) is currently working towards an advanced research degree in Old Testament at the University of Bristol, England. He is an ordained minister of the Gospel and a full time professor of hermeneutics, homiletics, and pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining the faculty at Moody, Winfred served churches in the City of Chicago and is currently interim pastor of the Judson Baptist Church in Oak Park, IL. He brings to his ministry a global perspective, having served as a missionary/pastor in Senegal, West Africa for nine years. He is also involved in a global equipping ministry, speaking and conducting workshops and training events at churches and conferences in the US and abroad. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. He takes acting classes from time to time and is an ardent fan of science fiction films such as Star Wars and Star Trek.


How to Overcome Worry is available from Moody Publishing.

Thanks to Moody for the review copy.

Beyond Justice by Cara Putman

Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she's just been handed doesn't destroy her first.


Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It's why she became an attorney and why she's so driven in her career. When she's handed a wrongful death case against the government, she isn't sure if it's the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there. She keeps the case alive through sheer determination and more than a little creativity, but then she's fired by a partner with a vendetta.


Further complicating matters, Hayden keeps finding herself completely distracted by Andrew, her roommate's cousin. But his father is a Congressman and she's currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?


The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to see either the case—or her—die. Should she fight alone for the dead young man by launching her own un-financed firm, or abandon the case in order to save her own life?

My review:

  I don't believe I have read anything by Cara Putman before that I know of. This book was a great book to start with. I have been hearing a lot of good about this book, and had a few of my book-loving friends assure me I would love it. They were correct.

 This was a great read, and I mean great. The plot, the suspense, the drama, the characters...... they all meshed to make a great story that I didn't want to put down. Unfortunately, I was reading it on a few of my lunch breaks, so I had to put it down. Today, I was off and had the luxury of being able to finish it.

 Though the boo is definitely suspense, it could also be classified as a legal thriller, which is a genre' I also like.

 I am all for improving our immigration system, and have little sympathy for those crossing illegally. I could be wrong, but I felt the author was coming from a liberal viewpoint on immigration. Regardless, if the conditions described in this fictional novel do exist for juveniles caught illegally crossing into our country, we do need to work on that.

 There were some surprises, which I like in a book. It isn't too enjoyable if you see everything coming, but you don't have that in Beyond Justice. Putman really took the suspense aspect to the nth degree, and she had me turning pages as fast as I could read to see what was going to happen next.

 I liked the main characters a lot, and was hoping the slowly blossoming romance would happen.... it actually complemented the story very well.

 I was quite happy with the ending of the book, and felt  the few hours I read this novel were well spent. I highly recommend it.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Cara C. Putman lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney and a teacher at her church as well as lecturer at Purdue. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. She loves bringing history and romance to life.

An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska, George Mason University School of Law, and Krannert School of Management, Cara left small town Nebraska and headed to Washington, D.C., to launch her career in public policy.

Cara is an author chasing hard after God as she lives a crazy life. She invites you to join her on that journey. She's currently writing her 25th book with more on the way. Please check out her website to learn more about her books and read first chapters.


Beyond Justice is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gifts from Heaven: True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer by James Stuart Bell

Book description: 

Remarkable True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer

Many people pray, but some don't really believe that God is listening. Answers to prayer can be so small and ordinary that they go unnoticed. But every so often we are powerfully reminded that God does indeed hear and answer prayer. What begins with simple faith and a basic prayer from an average Christian ends with an astounding gift from our loving heavenly Father. 
In this new collection, ordinary people recount miraculous answers to prayer--things that could only happen with God's supernatural intervention, such as unexplainable healings and amazing protection in life-threating situations. This book will inspire you to believe that God can answer even your most seemingly impossible prayers, fulfilling your deepest needs and biggest dreams.

My review:

  I have always enjoyed books that had multiple short stories in. They make for great reading when you are reading in small spurts. And when it is a book like this full of true miraculous stories, that makes it all the better.

  Sometimes it seems none of our prayers are getting answered, and it is easy to overlook the ones that are getting answered. It is good to hear of or read about answers to prayer other people have had as it can be encouraging to oneself.

 This book has a lot of answers to prayer in it. There are around forty stories of answers to prayer in this book. They are by both men and women from all walks of life. Some are big answers to prayer, and others may seem small, but they are all true and miraculous.

 James Stuart Bell did a great job of compiling these stories and telling them in his own words. They are interesting, encouraging, and easy to read. I was encouraged and convicted as I read these stories and realized how easy I give up on praying for some things. Sure, God may not answer in the way I want Him to, but I give up too easily.

 I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to those who feel like their prayers are not getting answered. This may be the boost of encouragement those people need.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


James Stuart Bell is the owner of Whitestone Communications, a literary development agency. He consults with numerous publishers, represents various authors, and provides writing and editing services. He has previously served as executive editor at Moody Press, director of religious publishing at Doubleday, and publisher at Bridge Publishing. He also has more than one hundred books with cover credit. He coauthored the best-selling Complete Idiot's Guide to the Bible (more than 300,000 sold) and numerous other Christian guides in that series for the Penguin Group. He has also contributed numerous Christian volumes to the best-selling Cup of Comfort series by Adams Media.


Gifts from Heaven: True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer is available from Bethany House Publishers.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.




   


Pursued, Nikki Boyd Files #3 by Lisa Harris

Book description:

Nikki Boyd's flight into Nashville was routine--up until the crash landing at the airport. When the dust settles, Nikki discovers that the woman who had been seated next to her on the plane is missing--and no one will admit she was ever there. Erika Hamilton had been flying to Nashville with an air marshal as a key witness in an upcoming grand jury trial. When she flees from the crash, is she running from trouble or straight into it? Before Nikki can even see her family, she and her team are pulled into a missing persons case where the motives are as unclear as the suspects.


My review:

   I have really enjoyed this series, and am hoping there is at least one more. It was not obvious by the way the book ended if the series is over or not.

  This book had far more mystery, suspense, and action than the previous two books. I actually feared the book was going to be slow and boring, and how wrong I was. It took a while for the action and suspense to start, but the book really took off when it did start. I found myself reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next. Bodies were piling up, and I was wondering if anyone was going to be left alive by the end of the book, but there were some.

 The romantic parts of a book like this aren't always of interest to me, it depends on how the author approaches it. I found myself hoping the one in this series would work out, and it came to a satisfying end.

 This book does tend to be more violent than the others, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I made the mistake of starting it on my work lunch break, and had to wait til I got home to finish it. And finish it I did. The author outdid herself on this one, and if this is the end of the series, it is a great one.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:


Lisa Harris is a bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She has sold over thirty novels and novella collections. Along with her husband, she and her three children have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women's group, and runs a nonprofit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice" (Proverbs 31:8).

When she's not working, she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa, visit her website at www.lisaharriswrites.com or her blog at http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com. For more information about The ECHO Project, please visit www.theECHOproject.org.



Pursued is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The 12 Week Journal for Men's Prayer and Devotional Bible Study, by Shalana Frisby with a giveaway

Book description:

Whether you have studied the Bible in-depth before or are new to exploring God's word, the process of learning about the Bible can seem challenging. This simple 12 week journal is a self-guided DIY study to help men dive into the Bible daily. You choose topics that interest you or use it as a note-taking companion to another Bible study. 

This journal includes pages for: 
-Noting your scripture reading log of dates, chapters, and verses  
-Planning Bible study goals for each week 
-Recording what you are thankful for each week 
-Reflecting how your weekly Bible study applies to your life 
-Writing your favorite scriptures and weekly Bible memory verse 
-Brainstorming how to share God's word with others in your life 
-Taking many personal notes about your weekly Bible study topics 

Note: This study journal is not specific to any Bible version and designed to use your preference of Bibles and resources in a self-guided approach. It works well for personal use, church, Sunday school or Bible classes, homeschool, and more.

What you'll need to accompany this self-guided DIY study journal for the most benefit:  a Bible of your choice and some quiet time each day.

My review:

  As the title would suggest, this journal is split up into twelve weeks. It starts out with an introduction, than starts week one. Each week starts out with a place to put the study goals for the week, followed by a reading log. There are places to write prayers and praise, and to draw if one wishes. There are a couple of pages to write thanks, favorite verses and keywords, and a lot more.

 I thought these journals sounded like a neat idea. and I found that to be the case. They are well put together with a lot of room for pretty much anything one wants to write about their Bible reading and prayer throughout the week. This review is for the men's journal, and there are all kinds of neat drawings and illustrations that are geared for men throughout the journal.

 Each week has twelve pages, so there is no lack of space to write and draw. Granted, most men may not be into the drawing part, but it would do us guys good to do the journaling part.

 There are four different journals in this series: this one for men, one for women, one that is geared for book by book study, and one geared for memorizing Bible verses. Each has an attractive cover, and is geared to help study the Bible.





I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.



About the author: 



Shalana Frisby was raised in a southern Missouri county where cows usually outnumbered people. After earning a fine art degree in college, she moved off to the big city and began her career as a graphic designer. Since then she’s been blessed to wear many hats in life working as the craft editor for a major publishing company, instructing college design courses, owning her own business, and creating all sorts of digital and print projects, but her greatest achievement is using her talents to spread the Gospel.

Shalana's professional journey gave her the opportunity to live several places across the United States from Little Rock to Kansas City to Milwaukee. Now, once again, she's living in rural southern Missouri having happily found her way back to friends, family, and roots - oh, and all the cows too of course! These days Shalana is foremost a mommy, wife, and lastly listed, but certainly not least in life, a follower of Jesus. This inspires and requires her to learn more about God’s holy word, the Bible. She hopes you find her journals and other books help you on your own quest to do the same.

Find info about my journals at www.123JournalIt.com
Find my felt crafts and books at www.TheFunkyFelter.com
Find many of my craft projects and free printables at www.IndoorOutdoorSpace.com
Find more about my writing and designing career at www.ShalanaFrisby.com


Giveaway:

 Courtesy of the author, I have a copy of The 12 Week Journal for Book-by-Book Bible Study to give away.

 Using Random.org, I will pick a winner 10 days from now on April 18.

To enter, comment with one of your favorite Bible verses.




   

Jesus Among Secular Gods by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale

Book description:

Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale defend the absolute claims of Christ against modern belief in the "secular gods" of atheism, scientism, relativism, and more. 

The rise of these secular gods presents the most serious challenge to the absolute claims of Christ since the founding of Christianity itself. The Christian worldview has not only been devalued and dismissed by modern culture, but its believers are openly ridiculed as irrelevant. In JESUS AMONG SECULAR GODS, Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale challenge the popular "isms" of the day, skillfully pointing out the fallacies in their claims and presenting compelling evidence for revealed absolute truth as found in Jesus. This book is fresh, insightful, and important, and faces head on today's most urgent challenges to Christian faith. It will help seekers to explore the claims of Christ and will provide Christians with the knowledge to articulate why they believe that Jesus stands tall above all other gods. 

My review:

  I don't think I have ever read a book by Ravi Zacharias, but I have read articles by him and have long been impressed with him. When I saw I could review this book that he co-wrote, I decided it was time to read one of his books.

 There are eight chapters in this book, and instead of the two authors writing together, they alternated writing chapters. They each wrote four of the chapters. Their writing style is very similar, so the reader probably wouldn't know which was which if it was not indicated.

 The gods addressed in this book are: atheism, scientism, pluralism, humanism, relativism, and hedonism. The first chapter is an intro chapter titled "Altars Against God", and the final chapter winds everything up in a chapter titled "Love the Truth.".

 No book like this could cover six different isms completely, but the authors do a great job of hitting the highlights, why they are wrong, and how they differ from Jesus and the Bible. The book is an interesting and informative read, and I found myself learning more about even the ones I was familiar with.

 This book is an excellent resource for new Christians, or even non-Christians confused about what is true and untrue. It is also a great book for the more mature Christian to read to help better understand these religions and philosophies so we are better equipped when we run across them.

 There are other wrong religions and philosophies today, but the authors hit the big ones in this book, and did a great job of covering them.

 I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the authors:


For over thirty-five years Ravi Zacharias has spoken all over the world in great halls and universities, notably Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford. He is listed as a distinguished lecturer with the Staley Foundation and has appeared on CNN and other international broadcasts. The author of several books for adults and children, he powerfully mixes biblical teaching and Christian apologetics. His most recent works include Walking from East to West, a memoir, The Grand Weaver, an exploration of God’s intention and pattern in both the ordinary and the startling elements of life, and The End of Reason, a rebuttal of the claims of the so-called New Atheists. His weekly radio program, Let My People Think, is broadcast over 1,500 stations worldwide, and his weekday program, Just Thinking, is on almost 400. He is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Zacharias and his wife, Margie, have three grown children and reside in Atlanta.


DR. VINCE VITALE is Director of the Zacharias Institute. He was educated at Princeton University and the University of Oxford, and later taught philosophy of religion as a faculty member at both universities. During his undergraduate studies at Princeton, Dr. Vitale took an unexpected journey that led him to God. Later, while at Oxford, he developed a new response the problem of evil. This response--termed the Non-Identity Defense--is discussed in his and Ravi Zacharias's previous book, Why Suffering? He is married to Jo, who also works for RZIM.


  Jesus Among Secular Gods is available from Faith Words Publishing, part of the Hachette Book Group.

Thanks to Hachette for the review copy.