Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Review: Picturing Heaven: 40 Hope-filled Devotions with Coloring Pages by Randy Alcorn, Illustrated by Lizzie Preston



Review: Picturing Heaven: 40 Hope-filled Devotions with Coloring Pages
Randy Alcorn, Illustrated by Lizzie Preston
Tyndale House Publishers
2017


Product DetailsAlcorn writes in the introduction that the value of this book is perhaps that “Coloring the imagery---the trees, lakes, animals, and people enjoying a redeemed creation---will help you develop a vital view of the magnificent New Earth God is preparing for us!  As you ponder these pictures and participate in the art, you’ll more fully appreciate Christ’s promise---not of a ghostly existence, but of resurrected bodies and minds in a fantastically beautiful resurrected universe ruled by Jesus, the King of Kings, our Savior and Lord.” (9)  Indeed, the time spent thinking on all that will not be a wasted time.  

Short devotional readings drawn from several of Alcorn’s previous works are accompanied on the facing page by the illustrations by Lizzie Preston.  They are printed on a good quality paper that accepts colored pencils or pens readily without smearing or bleeding.  This book does not lay totally flat making the center edges difficult to reach.  All the illustrations have been printed with a gold tone color that I found less than attractive, but that does blend well after the surrounding areas are colored.  But, the intent of the book is not lost in either of the objections I have mentioned. 

I have used coloring books before and find the time well spent.  Slowing down, relaxing into the text enabled me to engage more fully with the Scripture and its Author.  You might find this one just what you need about now.

I received this book from the publishers in exchange for a review.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life John Piper




Review: The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
John Piper
Multnomah
2017


Seems like there’s been several of the more mature leaders of the Christian faith who have assembled some of their work into volumes like this one.  Not a bad thing.  For those who don’t know them already it’s a great introduction to what the author has spent his life teaching.  For those that are acquainted, these works are like paging through a scrapbook. Either way, they continue to speak. 

The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of LifeThis book draws together a wide range of meditations or teaching points.  I have sampled several throughout the book and find them to be more instruction than meditation.  The meditation happens after the reader finishes the reading.  A quick look at the table of contents gives the reader a sense of the variety of areas Piper has included.  There’s also a subject, a scripture, and a person index included for the reader’s 
convenience. 

This could a welcome addition to anyone’s library.  

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review: How to Listen So People Will Talk: Build Stronger Communication and Deeper Connections Becky Harling



Review: How to Listen So People Will Talk: Build Stronger Communication and Deeper Connections
Becky Harling
Bethany House
2017

How to Listen So People Will Talk: Build Stronger Communication and Deeper ConnectionsNew author to me, but I went ahead and picked this book.  Certainly not for the cover design or the title, though.  The publishers did her no favors with either of their choices.  But, the content is worth reading, particularly if you want to improve communication with just about anyone.  

Harling covers the bases well in this easy to read book.  Listening with the intent of engagement with the other person is the point.  Each chapter has a set of short activities, exercises to practice, which start with listening to God, then move to listening to your own heart, and finally listening to others.  She identifies plenty of ways to improve and some of the most common pitfalls of real communication.  

There’s nothing here that’s really new.  You know this stuff from experience or maybe a seminar you attended years ago.  What she has done in her book calls attention to the things that are most likely to impede genuine communication or conversation.  Things like inattention to the speaker, lack of empathy, or interrupting with your own stories from the negative side and on the more positive side she suggests ways to encourage the other person with questions, time, and genuine interest.  There’s a little psychology along the way, but nothing that again you don’t already know.  Like why you jump in to fix whatever the other person has mentioned is troubling her.  

Overall, I found the book to be a good review of some very basic communication skills that most of us know but just have totally forgotten to use.  

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.