Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Too bad Jesus isn’t over everything in this book

REVIEW: Jesus Over Everything by Clayton Jennings

I had heard good things about this author, so I hoped to like this book, but unfortunately didn’t.

No doubt God has used author Clayton Jennings, as God can use any of us, but this book came across more like a “look-what-I-have-done” book. I know Jennings speaks to large crowds all over the world, but as another reviewer stated, the author kept mentioning how many people he has talked to, where he has been, and all his personal accomplishments. While the author may not have intended for that to happen, it was too much. It felt prideful and just totally turned me off from what he was trying to accomplish.

So unfortunately in this book I don’t see Jesus over everything, but instead I see Clayton Jennings over everything.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this unbiased review.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Any church looking to up its discipleship game should consider this

REVIEW: Guardrail: Six Principles for a Multiplying Church by Alan Briggs

The charge of every church and every Christian is to make disciples. The problem is that Christians and churches are not very good at it. So in this book, author Alan Briggs seeks to help churches establish a “guardrail,” a framework and adaptable a ministry model in how to make disciples.

Briggs believes that making disciples is the foundation for healthy Christian leadership. He says making disciples should form the basis of our small groups, missionary endeavors, neighborhood ministry, church planting, and pastoring. If a church has no process for making disciples, then the rest of it’s ministry is pretty much wasted and will never fully mature, Briggs says, because all of our Christian activity doesn’t matter if we are not shaping our lives after how Jesus lived. Amen!

The “guardrail” framework and adaptable ministry model that Briggs proposes includes:
  1. Discipleship must be SIMPLE
  2. Discipleship must be HOLISTIC
  3. Discipleship must be ADAPTABLE
  4. Discipleship must be REGULAR
  5. Discipleship must be REPRODUCIBLE
  6. Discipleship must be POSITIVE

You can also check out this video of Briggs talking about the book by clicking here.

I would definitely recommend this resource to any church looking to up its discipleship game!

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A total "Girl Power!" book

REVIEW: Rad Women Worldwide by author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl

Women, be empowered!
That is the feeling behind the new book Rad Women Worldwide.

By highlighting 40 extraordinary women throughout history—some in which you may have heard, but many probably not—this book seeks to rouse and provoke inspiration that women can be world changers.

Take for example, Qiu Jin, the Chinese "Joan of Arc” who is considered a national heroine in China and fought for freedom and abolishment of the practice of foot binding; or Hatshepsut, the first and only female king of Egypt; or Bastardilla, a female Colombian who is one of the best street artists in the world.
Rad Women Worldwide, authored by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl, is a beautiful hardback book that takes readers on a journey across the world and through time. Each female figure receives her own 1-page biography summary and hip illustration.

As a female, I found this book uplifting, empowering, and inspiring. It is a great book for any woman who needs a pick-me-up or just a reminder of how fearless, powerful, and daring women can be despite what others in the world might say.

You can read more here.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this unbiased review.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Uplifting book that you will want to seize

REVIEW: Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You, It's Too Small by Mark Batterson

I must start out by saying that Mark Batterson is one of my favorite authors, so I was super excited to read this new book. And as with most of my Batterson books, this one ended up highlighted and underlined throughout.

This book is about having a dream that is bigger than yourself. It is about having the guts to go after those 500-pound lions in your life (those God-sized dreams!)

Throughout the book, Batterson intersperses the Scriptural story of Benaiah (found in 2 Samuel) with real life dream chasers. This book seeks to inspire and remind readers that if they are waiting for the perfect conditions to pursue their dreams, it might never happen. So to pursue and seize their 500-pound lion dreams today!

You can also download a free cool Lion Manifesto here.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this unbiased review.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

This book will challenge you

REVIEW: Befriend: Create Belonging in an age of judgment, isolation, and fear by Scott Sauls

Author Scott Sauls in his new book Befriend reminds us that as Christians we are called to move toward the people we might be most tempted to avoid in life. You know, the people who are best equipped to challenge our perspectives, push our buttons, and require us to put on love. So in essence, this book was created to challenge you to move beyond your comfort zone in order to reach new people with Jesus’ love. But if you are someone who refuses to move beyond your comfort zone, then don’t pick up this book. It will be a waste of money and the message will be lost on you. But if you want to be challenged to be more Christ-like, this book will accommodate.

The book contains 20 short chapters on those people Sauls says you need to work to befriend, including:
  • Prodigals and Pharisees
  • Wrecked and the Restless
  • Shamed and Ashamed
  • Those Grieving and Dying
  • The Other Race
  • Strangers and Refugees

While I read this book alone, Saul’s recommends the best option of using this book is in community with others in order to have deep conversation surrounding each chapter. Having read this in solitary, I agree with Saul’s suggestion. The best way to use this book would be in a small discipleship group in order for you all to grow beyond your comfort zones together.

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Connecting with God through creativity

REVIEW: Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal from the Living Expressions Collection

If you are thinking ahead for Christmas, this book is a perfect little gift book for a friend or yourself!

Each 2-page devotional layout features a place to journal, color, and/or doodle all the while focusing on a prayer and most importantly the Word of God. The book is small and mobile, making it easy to take with you on the go or to ponder over while waiting in the doctor’s office or in your kid’s carpool pickup line. It is a sturdy hardback with nice thick paper pages, and features enough devotions to do one a week for the whole year. Themes include relationships, health, overcoming stress, and of course gratitude.

If you, or someone you know, struggles to sit down and get into the Word of God regularly, and are more of a “right brain” creative, this could be the perfect solution.

The Living Expressions Collection has other aesthetically pleasing options at From their website, I think their “Inspire Bible” looks amazing, too.

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Great little read for new or non-Christians

4 stars
Can I really Know Jesus? 101 questions and answers about Jesus, salvation, and prayer by Carolyn Larsen and Amylee Weeks

This is an excellent little read for new and even non-Christians as it explores often asked about questions Jesus, salvation, and prayer.

I could also see this book being used as a devotion, in a new believer Bible study, in a confirmation class, and more.

The book does a nice job of answering each question in a succinct 1-page answer supported by Scripture.

Questions and answers about Jesus include:
--Why is Jesus called Christ?
--Why was Jesus baptized?
--Why did Jesus spend so much time with sinners?

Questions and answers about salvation include:
--What does it mean to be saved?
--Isn't it enough just to be a good person?
--Will I stop having problems after I'm saved?

Questions and answers about prayer include:
--Can God hear everyone's prayers at the same time?
--Is formal language necessary when praying?
--What do I do if there doesn't seem to be an answer to my prayers?

As the book points out, questions are helpful because they express a desire in us to learn and understand. However, it's important to search for answers to questions from the reliable source of Scripture.

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.