Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review: Worth Living: How God’s Wild Live for You Makes You Worthy by Mary DeMuth

Review: Worth Living: How God’s Wild Live for You Makes You Worthy
Mary DeMuth
Baker Books

Product DetailsThis book works on many levels and fails on only a few.  The few for me is the repeated references to a poor childhood life, and I don’t mean poverty.  The author reminds the reader about it more than necessary in the early portions of her book.  Yes, it lends credibility and demonstrates openness, but is it not possible to write this book without it?  OK.  There’s my nit of this book right off the top.  I nearly put it down because of that one repeated reference, though.  She speaks to this issue toward the end of the book.  “If I am telling you my issues for the sake of gaining your empathy, it’s an empty pursuit.  My fulfillment must come not from your sweet empathy but from being Jesus’s beloved daughter…. Slay the drama queen.” (191)  So, if that sort of thing bothers you too, persevere, she knows how we feel on this point.  This book is worth reading.  She hits her stride and goes with it well afterward the opening few pages.

DeMuth touches most of the sore spots in life.  Security, image, purpose, money, image.  What she leads the reader to discover isn’t some new gimmicky approach, but simply taking up what God has said about Himself and those He created in His likeness and believing it.  We choose to act on what we believe whether it’s true or false.  That defines who we are.  Do circumstances shape us?  Yep, but define us—no.  Tough stuff to learn, but it is worth the effort according to DeMuth.

Each chapter ends with some questions for discussion or thought and a Worth Prayer.  One such prayer in particular sticks with me---the one on page 95.  Not flowery, just some plain talking requests.  Check that one out when you’re thumbing through this book deciding whether to buy it.  
I do recommend this book.  

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume by Jason Wachob

Review: Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume
Jason Wachob
Harmony Books

OK, I’ll admit it.  I was so wrong about this book.  I totally expected to hate it and ended up finding it full of good stuff.  To me it’s more about learning to live and discovering what really matters than it is a self-help sort of book.  This one covers a holistic approach to personal wellbeing; an approach won mostly the hard way.  The same way most of us learn, I suspect.  
Product Details 
Thirteen chapters introduce topics ranging from diet to spirituality.  The author simply lays out some information and experience that he has found most helpful in his own life, but also adds in some of the other areas related to each topic that others have practiced successfully. He tells his story with an  openness that I fond winsome.  He doesn’t deny or gloss over some of the really dumb stuff most of us try along the way like the party scene in college or the serial hookup relationships of the young professional years.  The 20/20 hindsight discussion is truly hopeful for those that have been there.  

I found Wachob’s ability and willingness to learn and grow inspirational.  His writing style is engaging, and as one of the endorsements called it “folksy”.   This book isn’t out to get the reader to buy his seminars, products or anything else, in my opinion.  He does mention his mindbodygreen.com site and its corollary sites a few times, but not like I expected at all.  It felt more like a like-minded community site sharing with whoever, but there are things you can purchase too.

So much to my surprise I do recommend this book.  In fact, I enjoyed reading this book.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin Lutzer

Review: Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation
Erwin Lutzer
Baker Books

Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the ReformationThis is a brief history of the Reformation and primarily the history of the part Martin Luther played.  I can hear those yawns now, but wait a minute.  This book is one that you will not want to put down once you start it.  Lutzer freely admits the book was not his idea, but one that he was encouraged to adopt.  I now understand why this other individual chose to engage him for this project.  Lutzer’s writing style is easy to read and his ability to condense the history of the Reformation period totally amazing.  I had to endure European history in school and maybe you did, too.  This is such a departure from what we remember of that course.  OK, so I like his narrative.  The book also has some illustrations from the period that give it more flavor.  Overall, it’s a good read.  Mostly.
The other reformers you might have heard of---Wycliffe, Hus, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox, Manz, or Bolt get some mention too.  Enough to get the idea.  Probably more than that would have produced what some call a tome.  So OK, I’ll live with that concession to brevity.  Then comes the last chapter which I wish had been left for another book at another time.  Is the Reformation Over? Is the chapter title.  “Brothers and sisters, Luther’s protest is over.  Is yours?” opens the chapter. (187).  

What was an otherwise good read then turns to encourage the reader to identify the threats of ecumenism, particularly ecumenism between the Protestantism and Catholicism.  Yes, there are major issues that still divide the groups.  And probably will for quite a while yet.  “We have to rescue it [the Gospel] from false religions that compete for the allegiance of men and women.” (200).  

Can I recommend this book? A reserved yes for the majority of the work.  Just be aware that the last chapter is coming.  

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