Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Tempted, Tested, True: A Proven Path to Overcoming Soul-Robbing Choices by Arnie Cole and Michael Ross

Review: Tempted, Tested, True: A Proven Path to Overcoming Soul-Robbing Choices
Arnie Cole and Michael Ross
Bethany House Publishers

This book is a straight forward look at some common poor choices most of us make in life at some time or another that continue to plagues us long after the original decisions were made.  Divided into topical chapters the authors address addictions to worry. 

As the authors state early on, this book is a guide and a workbook combined into a single volume, one that can be used in group settings or as a personal tool.  The whole point is freedom from whatever it is that has you bound.  It starts off with some necessary steps that take aim on all the excuses we offer for continuing whatever is our major weak point.  You know the one thing that’s “not as bad as all that.”  And once that start point is established the authors delve into some specific areas of weakness that they found more common from survey results.  

Good effort from these men.  Good organization of workbook material, one that allows the reader to work where they see their need after completing the start point information.  The problem I found was that it felt dated and probably will not appeal to a younger generation.  If their target was the older conservative, it might work.  The prose sections were overwritten for my tastes and I found myself skipping over them.  

So overall I think that someone truly wanting to be set free could find it with this, but there are better written works out there.  

This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in return for this review.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: Reclaiming Love: Radical Relationships in a Complex World by Ajith Fernando

Review: Reclaiming Love: Radical Relationships in a Complex World
Ajith Fernando

This book is a gem among all the Christian literature available, and one of the few that I’ve read that lives up to the endorsements found in the front matter.  It truly is worth the read.  Each chapter opens the idea of love more fully and encourages the reader to look at his own life and to compare where he is now with where he could be.  Nice part---the text that follows will show the reader how to change if change is needed.  

Yes, love is a big deal and the love described in this book is so far removed from most of my experience, and I suspect that of others, it seems a dream.  Fernando shows that this love is more than a dream, but a living reality for those who choose to walk that path.  

The book is an exploration of the “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians.  Yes, the one used at many weddings.  When I began this book for review I nearly yawned at that point, but was so surprised by what followed that I cannot stop thinking about it now.  It is challenging, encouraging, and as one of the endorsements said, empowering.

Each chapter looks full on into patience, kindness, envy, endurance and hope, to list about half of all that is examined.  He gives the reader a full discussion of each and examples from recent and previous generations of how they were able to live the love described in those few verses.  It’s not just pious words, but an actual way to live.  The author does not stop with encouragement, but also includes some of the pitfalls, heartaches, and mistakes that line the trail along this way of life.
If you have ever wondered if there isn’t more to Christianity than what you have seen, get this book and see what key component is missing.  I daresay that you will never be the same after reading this book.  Over the top recommendation?  No, this book is that good.  Let me know if you don’t agree.  After you have read it.

What didn’t I like about this book?  As far as the material presented I can find no faults.  Endnotes give the reader his references.  The only thing I found less than wonderful was that the binding seems to want the first few and last few pages to disappear in the near future as they have broken loose already.  Maybe the next printing will address that issue.  We can hope.

This book was provided by Zondervan via BookSneeze in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Revealing Jesus: A 365 Day Devotional Darlene Zschech

Review: Revealing Jesus: A 365 Day Devotional
Darlene Zschech
Bethany House Publishers

What struck me first was the clarity and depth of these devotional readings and, yes, I was surprised by that.  I severely underestimated her ability and maturity in this area.  So for those who don't like her brand of music, give this author a chance.  It really is that good and I genuinely look forward to the time I read these devotionals.  Each day's reading is concise, thoughtful, thought provoking, and the entrance to a real time of worship and prayer.  This will become the new standard for devotional writers of today.  At least, I hope so.

The readings are divided into monthly themes.  Faithful, Solid Rock, Holy One are a few examples of the themes. They are introduced with lyrics from hymns, and the graphics used to highlight them added to the appeal of this book.  Most of the devotionals have been written by the author, but you will find some that are classics from other authors too, like Bounds, a Kempis, Newton, Crosby, Wesley, and Watts. 

Any nits against this?   None.  The presentation is well done, easy to read which is important to the progressive lens generation, and attractive.  The work is reverent, relevant, and stays focused toward the title.  I do recommend this book without any reservation to anyone.

There are some other products (music and video) associated with this book available that I have not seen.  Please see the reviews for them on the web. 

This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in return for this review.