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Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category

This book, written by a successful, international model, examines what the Bible has to say about modesty, fashion, and dress. The book is aimed at teenage girls and is written in a conversational, devotional style. It also includes a more in-depth 45 day Bible study on modesty issues at the back of the book.

There are nine chapters organized around themes like freedom, forgiveness, and faithfulness. Each chapter presents thoughts about modesty from a young man’s viewpoint, thoughts from Rachel, and includes thought questions, memory verses, and prayers. I loved the Christian male viewpoint. That would have been so convincing to me as a teen. I found some of the practical suggestions and ideas about dress to be a bit too prescriptive, but an audience of young girls could perhaps benefit from her approach.

This book gives readers an honest look at the issues and challenges facing Christians in the international modeling industry. Our culture typically glorifies this industry and the female form, so I found Rachel’s honest assessment of the problems inherent in the industry refreshing and convicting. Any young Christian girl, but particularly those with dreams of a career in modeling or fashion, could benefit by struggling with this material.

This book would be most appropriate for older teens and young adults. Since our culture has started marketing so aggressively to girls at younger and younger ages, I’d love to see Rachel write something for an even younger audience. The material is a bit too dense for a tween audience.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A year with God is a collection of 365 devotions focusing on the word of God. The devotions are approximately three paragraphs long and are equally balanced by lengthy passages from Old Testament scripture. All of the devotions in this book are based on readings from the Old Testament, but many different translations are featured — including The Message, the Contemporary English Version, and the New King James Version. Devotions are divided thematically by subjects like hope and fear, love and hate, perseverance and quitting, and faith and doubt.

I’m afraid that Nettelhorst’s comments didn’t add much to the Bible passages for me. And the book doesn’t tell us anything about his credentials; nor does it say why only Old Testament selections are featured. I found the book to be a novel devotional format, but I can’t say it’s one that I will keep in my permanent library. Not recommended.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Good Morning, Lord is a collection of 108 short devotions to encourage you to start your day with God. The devotions are approximately two paragraphs long and include two thought questions with space for journaling, a prayer, and a Bible verse. All of the devotions in this book were adapted from several other books by Shelia Walsh.

This book offers just the motivation I need to commit my days to God. The brief devotions offer me just enough to think about and to “chew on” for the rest of the day. Too often for me, morning quiet time becomes overwhelming because of my perfectionistic nature. This book allows me to do one small thing well.

I also think it is beautifully designed and would make a great gift.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Brad Powell has served as senior pastor at NorthRidge church in Michigan since 1990. In Change Your Church for Good, he offers his experience of leading his church through the transition of dying Baptist parish to exploding megachurch as an example for others seeking “a blueprint for change.”

I admit that this book challenged me in many ways. It got me thinking about questions like ‘What is worship?’, ‘Who is it for?’, “What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth?’, ‘How does the church reach the lost?’ But, unfortunately, I didn’t find any significant treatment of the answers to these questions in this book.

I found it to be a superficial sales model for a method that does not fit any universal experience of what is real, meaningful, and life-changing about worship. I found it equated worship with evangelism, or even entertainment, which ultimately, are completely different things to me. I found it really didn’t leave much room for what I do find meaningful, for what feeds me, and allows me to reach out to and intercede for a lost and hurting world.

Not recommended. Try ‘Spiritual Formation as if the Church Really Mattered’ instead.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com [http://BookSneeze.com] 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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I recently found out that bloggers can get free copies of Thomas Nelson books at BookSneeze in exchange for a review on their blog and one other consumer website. While visiting the site, David Murrow’s The Map : the way of all great men caught my eye, and I decided to review it so I could have a copy for my church library. (If any of you other Souls out there want to jump in, I’d love to have some more free books for the library!) Author’s note on this particular title: I grew up in a family of women, except for my dad; so I must admit, men are a bit of a mystery to me.

This book draws on the structure of the book of Matthew to translate the masculine spiritual life into an actual map. The first half of the book reads as a fictional allegory, and the last half reads more like a traditional self-help title. (I know, all the men are running away now! But wait!...)

Here’s a quote from Murrow himself (p.204):

Do you watch guy movies? If so, you’ve seen the three journeys played out many times on the silver screen. See if this plotline sounds familiar: A cocky young stud decides to confront some evil in his own strength. He’s nearly killed by the bad guys. Suddenly an aged, wrinkled man shows up and gives the villains a whuppin’. The old coot offers to train the immature hothead. The student humbles himself and accepts the training of the master (submission). He develops true physical and mental toughness (strength). Eventually our young hero meets his adversary and, after a back-and-forth battle, defeats him in spectacular fashion, sometimes dying in the process (sacrifice).

I like the way David Murrow tries to do away with the apparent disconnect between traditional masculinity (a la John Wayne and Sylvester Stallone, or even, say, Ralph Macchio) and Christian culture as we know it. I know some men who could stand to read this book; but will the type of man who needs to read it actually pick up a book like this?

I suspect that’s why Murrow opens the book with fictional tale of intrigue and adventure that he later ties together with his theories about the stages of Christian discipleship as they relate to male masculinity. I was not completely comfortable with this vehicle because the librarian in me knew this book was nonfiction, yet I spent the whole first half of the book trying to figure out if any of this was real or not; which for me, was a distraction.

The basic premise of the last half of the book is that the male journey of discipleship takes place in three distinct phases: submission, strength, and sacrifice. And that God requires different things of men during each stage of the journey. I found this comparison quite useful, and I enjoyed thinking about my own journey of faith in this way. Murrow also outlines ways men sometimes go astray in their faith journey and closes by thinking about how men can mentor and be mentored in discipleship.

This book isn’t actually as exciting or sexy as it tries to make itself out to be. It’s a traditional self-help book wrapped in a manly package, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Anything that encourages people towards a growing, authentic faith is OK in my book. My hope is that many men will read this title and become better able to grow closer to God in the process.

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