Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Review: Blueprint for life

The Blueprint for Life;  How to align your passions, gifts, and calling with eternity in mind by Michael Kendrick is a book to help the reader exam their lives and find the passions and talents in the lives and them apply them to their daily lives and ministry.

So many people assume the use of their talents in ministry is limited to pastors, choir directors, and other people who work for the church.  How could a businessman, a scientist, a garbage man use their job as a ministry?  The author does an amazing job walking the reader through the book, searching their lives to find out what they are passionate for and then applying that passion for Christ. 

Michael Kendrick is a successful businessman who loves stock markets, number crunching, and making a deal.  After retiring at an early age and getting bored really fast he realized that God had made him unique with these passions and talents and they he could apply them to his Christian walk.  He went back to business and started applying these gifts to helping people and showing Jesus in everything that they do.

I think before reading this book I was on the cusp of this idea.  I am a scientist and I love showing people how amazing God is for creating science.  I see my husband use is passion and gift of carpentry to help out so many people in our community and abroad.  But these are special occasional things.  How do we apply it to our every day?  And that is where this book comes in.

I really enjoyed this book.  I found it hard to put down and every easy to read.  I am excited to reread this book and pass it on to my friends and family.  I hope that they all apply his applications to their lives as I am starting to do the same in mine.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Giant Killers

Giant Killers; Overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunity by Steve Lawson uses the story of David and Goliath to guide the reader through a discussion on how we should look at, evaluate, and handle obstacles in our lives.  By using the different involved (David, Saul, Israelites, Goliath, etc.) he can show the different ways of handling a situation and their outcome, both good and bad.

I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t expecting such a well written and throughout book.  The author did an amazing job leading the reader through the story with the eyes of the different characters.  From those characters strengths and/or flaws we saw how they handled the situation and made decisions.  Ultimately the book leads the reader to understand how faith and conviction helped David be able to tackle the most formidable foe.

I am excited to have this book in my library.  I plan on reading it again as well as giving it to friends and family.  I am excited to use this application in my life and future projects.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Book Review: Soul Friends

Soul Friends by Dr. Leslie Parrott discusses the necessity of close, honest, real, God-given relationships in our lives. 
The publisher sums it up well with
Dr. Leslie Parrott is speaking the heart-language of women in her new book that shares how friendships are essential for spiritual formation - for women of all ages.
In Soul Friends, Dr. Leslie Parrott brings you into an intimate and vulnerable conversation about the life-changing value of deep-spirited friendships and soul-altering relationships.
Whether it’s a new friend, a member of a small group, or a friend we’ve had for years, these soul-friends embody the grace that enables us to take a next step in the unfolding journey of our lives. God has great purpose, intention, and fulfillment in the give-and-take of deep-spirited friendships. If we purposely cultivate them, God will bring us soul-friends to help us along our spiritual journey.
Leslie reveals how every woman traverses four stages of growth—quest, calling, crisis, and communion – again and again. And whatever stage you find yourself traveling right now, you need soul friends to help you move forward.
With courageous honesty and heart-felt revelation and reflection, Leslie reminds every woman of the incredibly intimate, intricate, faith-forming work God does in her through the gift of soul friends he places in her life.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I found the messages easy to understand, practical, and relatable.  I also like the setup of the book.  The chapters are fairly small making it easy to pick up and read a chapter or two when I had time.   I hope to pass this book on to some friends in my life and see if we can foster a deeper relationship like she discusses.  It has also challenged me to be more open about my faith and my struggles with those who are already close to me.  If I am not real with them, how can I expect them to ever be real with me?

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Book review: Companion Guide to the Old Testament

Companion to the Old Testament by Ted Leach is exactly as it sounds.  It is the companion guides to help a reader better understand the history, culture, languages of the Old Testament with other religions.  The publisher describes it as “This book helps Christians understand how the Old Testament is “community property” shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims. It is a constructive resource for interfaith discussion, particularly for people of different faiths (or no faith) who are seeking to identify some shared principles of our common humanity.”
I think this book would be great for a religions scholar to have on their shelf but I found most of it too difficult to understand.  Not necessarily the concepts but the way it was written.  I felt like I was in a lecture hall with a professor that knew he was smarter than all of us teaching his pupils how ignorant they were on the subject.  It I don’t think that’s how the author meant it but that’s how I felt.  I felt wrong for having different opinions on subjects he discussed.
All in all I do not think I will be recommending this book to any of my friends and family.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Savor

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are: 365 day devotion by Shauna Niequist is a January through December quick devotion filled with half page thoughts by the author on how to better look at what God has given you that day and where he has placed you.  It’s about living in the present, not looking to the past or future of what could be or should have been.  She tries to help lead the reader through enjoying life and seeing how God provides for us daily.  When we open our eyes to it we will be amazed at all that God does for us in a single day, let alone the entire year.

I enjoyed this devotional.  Each day is a verse and then her telling a story or anecdote with a point.  Each devotion is a page or less.  She also gives a question or thing to do for that day.  Each devotional is insightful.  You can tell each one means a lot to her as we go on this journey with her to stop over analyzing and planning and to thank God for what you have today.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: Undone

Undone; A Memoir, A story of making peace with an unexpected life by Michelle Cushatt is the memoir of Michelle and her battle to balance  controlling her life to normalcy and giving it u to God in all the chaos, crisis, and miracles.  Michelle in less than a year battled cancer, had a full house to empty nest, and had the house filled again with children in need.  As she tried to balance all this she found God’s presence and comfort around every bend.
First, I chose this book solely on the cover.  So whoever designed it good job.  I thought this book was going to fiction after I quickly skimmed the back summary.  Who could even think about throwing all those obstacles together except for an author with a wild imagination?  Then in the first few pages I realized this was a true story told for the author of what she had gone through and I was hook. 
I really enjoyed the author’s story telling ability and her flow of writing. I found this book very easy to read and very hard to put down.  This book is so full of faith and struggle I think any mom, wife, woman could relate with all her struggles, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety over the future and the unknown and how to protect your children, and the feeling of grace and peace when you truly know God is there in your midst comforting you. 

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review by the publisher.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review: Regain Your Spiritual Poise

Regain Your Spiritual Poise by Rob Wingerter is a book outlining the importance of a spiritual retreat to block out any distraction and focus on God and your relationship.  The author takes your through many benefits of it, its outline in the bible, and how historically it was a common practice.

I have to say I really struggled reading this book.  I do not think I was the correct audience.  I think it was made for older pastors who are really looking to dig into the subject.  But as a layperson who love to read, this was not the book for me.

I think the hardest thing about this book is the way it was written.  I felt like I was being lectured by a really boring (albeit very knowledgeable) professor who likes to kind of speak above the audience. 

Sadly I will not be passing on this book or recommending it to other readers.  I think this book was written with the best intentions but fell short for me.  I do with the author and the audience readers the best.  I hope the find the peace and rest they were searching for.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.