Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book review: “The Jesus You Can’t Ignore,” by John MacArthur

This book helped me identify the line drawn between the loving God and the disciplinarian. Some people focus too narrowly on the God of love and tolerate just about any behavior under the sun under the true (but misguided) premise that we should be less aggressive, less preachy, and more tolerant. Others focus on the God who harshly calls out people whose behavior is less-than-godly. MacArthur deftly takes us through Scripture to understand the not-so-meek and mild Jesus who candidly declared truth without apology. We learn when it’s wrong to be “nice,”and when we should fight the good and right fight.

MacArthur also makes it clear that not every conversation is an occasion for open combat. He gives us many Bible verses to help us back up our own boldness as we step out and “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3).

Five stars. For sure.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Book review: The Butterfly Effect

This small little book packs power. Using connectedness as proof, in “The Butterfly Effect” author Andy Andrews contends that life’s, indeed the world’s, events happen as a result of a series of connected events. The people in that chain aren’t aware of the impact their actions will have days, years, decades or centuries later. Andrews says that every conversation, every encounter we have, will affect the choices and success of others we may or may never meet.

At first the concept seemed far-fetched, but by the end of the book I felt encouraged, empowered and important. My life has purpose. I may never see it, but it really matters.

The book is small and appropriate for gift-giving. Give it to someone who needs encouragement. Give it to a graduating senior. And each time you give it as a gift, be sure to re-read it first to reinforce your sense of purpose.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Book review: ‘Cast of Characters’

We tend to skim over familiar Bible stories, or see the characters as two-dimensional because the Bible lacks details like we find in novels. We know what they did, but the depth of the anguish that was behind their action or decision is not obvious. We don’t spend the mental effort exploring what these characters might have been thinking.

Max Lucado does that in “Cast of Characters.” He does an exceptional job taking you into the minds of these characters, where you feel their depth of emotion, the anguish, the joy, and the pain. The Biblical principle is the main point of each chapter. In some cases, resetting the story is a tool Lucado uses to make it easier to see and apply the principles to our own lives.

Lucado’s writing style tends to be more reflective and inspirational than the practical “how to” books to which I’m drawn. If you don’t like his writing style or want a historically-accurate perspective on these characters, read something else. But I found three or four chapters that really resonated with my own life, and now I have a model to bring other Biblical characters to life.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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Book Review: ‘After The Hangover’ by R. Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s latest book, “After the Hangover,” is an insightful perspective from a key “player” on the historical and current state of the conservative political movement. Filled with personal anecdotes from the author’s decades in the movement, Tyrrell confronts the discouragement felt by many conservatives today with an optimistic look at the conservative agenda and its resurgence in popularity.

Tyrrell’s status in the movement for many decades is both a blessing and a curse. For those people who just recently jumped into the conservative fight, the significant chunk of space he spends providing a history of the movement is helpful. However, he tosses names around like old friends, but often assumes the reader has some prior knowledge of who those people are.

I found the writing style a bit over the top. Why use a simple, understandable word when one requiring the use of a dictionary will do? He also spends an unnecessarily large amount of space on an extended tribute to one of the conservative movement’s great leaders, William F. Buckley, Jr.  I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion of the conservative agenda for recovery, which included specific plans for financial and health care reforms, key domestic policies such as education, immigration and energy and national defense. Despite the book’s minor shortcomings, I would heartily recommend it for its informative, witty and insightful message that’s full of hope for the future.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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‘Plan B,’ by Pete Wilson

 

What do you do when your life isn’t turning out the way you thought?
What happens when life comes crashing down on you?

Whether a failed relationship, an unmet dream or a tragic circumstance that is no fault of your own, we all find ourselves in a “Plan B” situation at some point in our lives. In “Plan B,” Pete’s intent is not to debate whether God purposely allows tragedy in our lives, or whether God uses our life situations, to bring about true spiritual transformation.

Pete liberally uses stories from the Bible, and from his own and other life stories to help readers see that God truly is with you both when life is going well, and when it’s not. He also does a great job convincing us that our faith must rest on God’s identity, not necessarily his activity. And perhaps the most important point in Pete’s book is that Plan Bs can be instrumental in mak us into the person God had in mind when we were created, if we give God permission.

I loved this book—it was both easy to read, yet tackled deep, complex concepts at the same time. It gives me reassurance that the next time I find myself in the midst of a “Plan B,” that I can emerge on the other side of the pain with a heart that’s been expanded and molded to reflect God’s heart.

However, if you’re in the midst of your own a Plan B, you may be seeking more definitive answers and a specific course of action, neither of which are readily available in this book. Pete admits there is no “bow” to neatly tie up this package; no tidy conclusion where everything wraps up and all your questions are answered.

But that’s okay. For me, this book expanded my understanding of God’s character. So, the next time I find myself in a Plan B (and I certainly will), then I will be more apt to see God’s presence in the midst of the pain. Perhaps I’ll be equipped to navigate that delicate balance between a loving God and the heartbreak and pain.

 *I received an advance, free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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