The Shack Revisited by Dr. C. Baxter Kruger

b912b00b73575d53b7e29f044dccf2f2One of the greatest pieces of fiction that has come in the last 20 years is the book The Shack written by William Paul Young. This book has introduced God in a way that has many people thinking. While there is some theological discrepancies I have with this novel I will admit that it has definitely caused conversation and I believe that is a good thing.

Because of this, C Baxter Kruger has written a book The Shack Revisited. This particular book deals with some of the issues raised in the shack in relation between God and man. One thing to note is that he doesn’t actually extract pieces of the novel to use or rather use as a novel as a springboard to go deeper into certain topics that the shack has brought about.

I was a little disheartened by this because I was hoping he would go into some of the issues raised in The Shack rather than using the book as a means to discuss certain theological teachings.

One such area was the idea that God seems less judgmental of people. God is holy and righteous and this causes Him to judge people based on His holiness and glory. Kruger did not address this and was bothered that he did not.

Thus, I would exhort my readers to look at written works by the following men to help understand what  God, through the Bible, has told us about Himself and His ways:

  • Dr. John MacArthur
  • Dr. R.C. Sproul
  • Dr. Ravi Zacharias
  • John Calvin
  • John Wesley
  • Stephen Charnock
  • Robert Murrary M’Cheyne
  • A.W. Tozer

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Play the Man by Mark Batterson

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What makes a man? Many people have tried to give an understanding of what it is to be a man. Some have pointed to ancient cultures of warriors, politicians, and leaders. Others point to modern man and the ability to climb the corporate ladder and be successful in business. Still others point to athletics or the military to prove their masculinity.

In his book, Play The Man, Mark Batterson gives seven virtues that make a man. He does this by drawing references from scripture and pointing to how God designed men to be and how this fulfills the purpose for which they were created.

The area that really stuck out to me was that a man should not shirk his responsibilities to others. He is responsible to God, to his wife, and to his family. He is not to abdicate in anyway these responsibilities to the government, to others, or to no one at all.

 

This challenge is really beneficial to me because I am a father of three and want to be active in the development of my children. Sometimes it is easy to just watch sports and remove myself from their world. But having these challenges in my life to remind me that they are much more important than a sports game is something that I need consistently.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and exchange for my honest review.

Know Who You Are by Tim Tebow

TebowHow does somebody discover their true identity? There is a lot of information on the subject and sadly some of it has a poor foundation. Because of this, Tim Tebow has written a book Know Who You Are. It is an interactive guide to discovering your true identity with a special emphasis directed at homeschoolers. However anybody can benefit from the information in this book whether they are home-schooled or not.

The book is divided into four parts with each part being building on each other. The first section, dealing with who you, are goes into who an individual is. Why they have value and worth. Recognizing that worth comes from God because God created each person with unique talents, gifts, and abilities. Because of this each person has worth far beyond what they can possibly understand. Tebow relates that he is not valued because of his athletic ability. Rather he is valued because he is a child of God.

Part 2 is realizing that God is in control and allowing Him to control your life. By relying on God a person does not have to fear the unknown but must simply put their faith in God for guidance. Also, relying on God for strength to live for Him allows a person to live for more than just today.

Part 3 is interaction with fellows human. By recognizing everybody has value, because they’re God’s creation, individuals begin to treat people differently. They treat them with respect, and ideally love, because they see people as valuable; not as tools for personal gain.

With that in mind the last section deals with living bigger and that has to do with not living for yourself but rather living for others with the intent of showing God to them.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and exchange for my honest review.

CSB Big Picture Interactive Bible, Hardcover

CSB Big PictureWhile most Bibles that I review are targeted to adults I was curious about this Bible that is targeted to children. The Big Picture Bible contains the complete text of the CSB (Christian Standard Bible) and is accompanied by photos that are designed to draw the attention of children. Most of the major stories have these images and I was impressed by how vivid the pictures are.

Another feature is that an app can be downloaded that we tell the story of selected images. Simply use the app to scan a QR code or image and a narrator reads the story of the select image. I thought this would be a great idea for my young children (I have three all under three years of age).

However, the device used has to remain scanning or else the narration stops. This became quiet annoying and I have not used the app since. As such, we are not using this Bible for family devotion or Bible story time.

Because of the app I would rate this Bible as a 2.5 star. I would have rated it higher had the app been better, such as downloading the entire story versus having to leave the app scanning the entire time, or having no app at all.

*I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation by Robert J. Morgan

240_360_book-2208-coverMeditation in the United States, has, unfortunately been relegated to an eastern, religious act to draw oneself closer to illumination. By the emptying of one’s mind with rhythmic breathing, the spirit of an individual can contact the source of illumination. This influence may become a barrier when a person reads the Bible and notes verses about meditation on the Word of God.

In his book, Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation, Robert J. Morgan seeks to correct this misunderstanding and introduce the reader to Biblical meditation for spiritual growth and wisdom. Morgan has seen the benefit of meditation, done Biblically, and wants fellow Christian to benefit as well.

Morgan starts off with explaining meditation from a Biblical understanding and then gives ways to use meditation spiritual development. Such development can aid in areas such as: caming of the spirit, insight into God’s Will, and the wonder of God to name a few. By meditating, a Christian can focus on God and His wisdom thus growing deeper in faith and understanding of Scripture.

Morgan also has a download of guided meditations. These guided meditations are set to music with Morgan reading passages of Scripture in a metre format. This should be a good start for those wanting to embrace Biblical meditation and develop habits of proper meditational tactics.

I found this book to helpful in its explanation of meditation. Its short length acts as a decent primer on meditation and can be read in a short time span. This makes it ideal for developing good habits of meditation but not so lengthy as to lose the reader who wants to start as soon as possible.

There is also a meditation guide in the back for the reading of Scripture. Passages are given then brief instructions on how to meditate on those passages. Again, a nice tool to have to encourage the development of meditational tactics.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen

nothing-to-prove-book-3dMany Christian try so hard to be the ideal Christian. They look at certain way, talk a certain, and believe that opening up their faults shows that God is powerless in their lives. This performance-based Christianity has caused some to feel like a failure and believe that they are not good enough to be used by God.

Jennie Allen understand this for she has, and is still, battling the pressure to be the idea Christian. In her book, Nothing to Prove, Allen writes of the struggles she has faced trying to act as if she has it all-together. Yet, inside she feels that she is drowning in deluge of believing she is a failure, no one will accept her, and God cannot use such a person as her.

Part personal recollections, part guidance, and part inspirational, Nothing to Prove gives insight for those who struggle with trying to prove their worth to others and God. Allen petitions her readers to let go of such thoughts and embrace the grace of God. God is not concerned about your performance; He loves you. He wants you to find your worth from Him; not the expectations of others.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon

book“Positive leaders drive positive cultures.” (The Power of Positive Leadership, pg 15)

In his book, The Power of Positive Leadership, Jon Gordon gives information on how and why positive leaders transforms teams and organizations. By doing, this positive leaders change the world.

As I began to read this book, I was quick to be introduced to the idea that positive leadership is not optimistic leadership. The difference between the two is that positive leadership understands that there will be struggles, trials, and hardships. It does ignore problem or treat them as if they are minor.Rather, Positive Leadership sees trials and struggles as necessary steps towards an end.

Gordon begins by first laying out what real positive leadership looks like. From there he begins to go into the various aspects of positive leadership and why it is beneficial to have a positive attitude while being a leader. It is not that Gordon is trying to put together a euphoric experience. Rather he is seeing the value that positive leadership can bring and lays for some guidelines so that positive leaders can be successful while working hard to get there.

One area that I found especially helpful is chapter 11. In this chapter Gordon lays out that positive leaders have to have determination semicolon what he calls. It gets into the knowing why you do what you do knowing, what you want to do, knowing that you love it, recognizes that at some point you will fail, but keep doing the right things and ignore the critics.

It is perhaps this last section on ignoring the critics that is really helpful because there are going to be critics and a positive leader has to know that they’re going to come. However, he will not allow their negativity to affect him and bring him down. Rather he will see their criticism, use it if valuable, and if it is not, disregard it and continue to move forward towards the goal.

This book should be read by those entering college and continue to be read throughout their college experience. Much of the information in this book needs to be taught to this demographic but is often not taught by leaders around them.As a result they struggle with figuring out what they need to do, how to go about doing it, and where to find guidance. I believe this book is a part of that guidance factor.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.