Posts Tagged With: Christian

Life Issues by Wendy Virgo

Synopsis:

In this book, Wendy the wife of Newfrontiers founder Terry, has taken the words of Paul in Titus 2v2-5 as inspiration for a series of practical discussions for women on Biblical principles about building healthy marriages, homes and families. The book is ideal for personal study and also as a tool for use in small groups of older and younger women sharing together.

A short review for a short book I think all is needed. In this book Wendy hones in on a couple of verses in Titus to give women advice on how to be all we can be. She looks at a whole range of areas of life – from work to marriage to motherhood. Wendy is very wise and Godly and this shows through in this short book. So many issues are addressed in a coherent, sensible and un-patronising way. At the end of every chapter and section there are questions to ponder or Bible verses to look up. This interaction is helpful and helps on connect with the book and with what Wendy is saying. I read this is a day and it will be a book that I go back to again and again. It was helpful, short and easy to read. As a Christian woman I found this very useful.

4/5

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The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Waterstone’s Synopsis:

The most loved of all the Chronicles, this wonderful tale can be enjoyed again and again. Lucy steps into the Professor’s wardrobe but steps out again into a snowy forest. She’s stumbled upon the magical world of Narnia, land of unicorns, centaurs, fauns! and the wicked White Witch, who terrorises all. Lucy soon realises that Narnia, and in particular Aslan, the great Lion, needs her help if the country’s creatures are ever going to be free again.

This is the second book in the Narnia series, and my personal favourite. This is the first time the children: Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy enter Narnia. Awaiting them are many adventures, including running through the countryside with the Beavers, and fighting alongside Aslan.

I loved this book. It is a children’s book but fully enjoyable for an adult. Lewis is a wonderful writer. He pulled me in and made me want to follow the story. It did not matter that I already knew this story, it was fun to read it again. Lewis is descriptive and writes wonderful adventures and amazing characters.

It is hard to pick a favourite character. I think the Beavers probably win. I found it highly amusing that Mrs. Beaver wanted to take things like a portable oven with her as she fled from the White Witch. On the other side, I really didn’t like the White Witch. She was rude, short-tempered and deceptive. I loved that Lewis wrote her so well that I had such strong feelings towards her.

It is clear that this book is based on Christianity and the Resurrection of Christ, but this did not spoil the book for me and I thought that Aslan was a great character.

Even for adults, this is an amazing story. For children, I think they will love it.

5/5

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The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll

radical reformission

Synopsis from Amazon:

Reformation is the continual reforming of the mission of the church to enhance God’s command to reach out to others in a way that acknowledges the unique times and locations of daily life. This engaging book blends the integrity of respected theoreticians with the witty and practical insights of a pastor. It calls for a movement of missionaries to seek the lost across the street as well as across the globe. This basic primer on the interface between gospel and culture highlights the contrast between presentation evangelism and participation evangelism. It helps Christians navigate between the twin pitfalls of syncretism (being so culturally irrelevant that you lose your message) and sectarianism (being so culturally irrelevant that you lose your mission). Included are interviews with those who have crossed cultural barriers, such as a television producer, exotic dancer, tattoo studio owner, and band manager. The appendix represents eight portals into the future: population, family, health/medicine, creating, learning, sexuality, and religion. Mark Driscoll was recently featured on the ABC special The Changing of Worship.

This book looks at how to evangelise without getting sucked into worldly cultures. Driscoll makes many comparisons between how people interpret the Bible, the traps they fall into when preaching the Gospel and he explores how to reach out without being a hypocrite and a fool.

This was not a particularly easy read  – as my Dad would say, Driscoll is a preacher not a writer, but what he has put down is worth reading if you are interested in evangelism or are a Christian. It is not a self-help book, instead he focusses on the Bible and what it says about God and the dangers one can slip into – such as legalism.  I found this a useful book and will try and put what I read into practice. There were humorous stories and comments in the book to lighten up the theology. Overall, I liked this book even if it did take me a while to read and I will read more of his books in the future as I like his teaching.

7/10

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The Pilgrim’s Process by John Bunyan

Synopsis:

‘I had a dream last night… large enough to fill the rest of my life.’ This retelling of John Bunyan’s classic story is filled with drama, excitement and adventure. On his journey of a life-time to the City of Gold, Christian meets an extraordinary cast of characters, such as the terrible Giant Despair and the monster Apollyon. Together with Hopeful, his steadfast companion, he survives the snipers and mantraps, the Great Bog, Vanity Fair, Lucre Hill and Castle Doubting. But will he find the courage to cross the final river to the City of Gold and his salvation?

I struggled with this book. Several times I considered stopping. I found it boring. I was not engaged with the story and no character stood out to me.

The story is split into two parts. The first follows Christian on his pilgrimage, and the second part follows his wife Christina on her pilgrimage. I found the second half of the book very similar to the first part as she is going along the same route as that which Christian walked. They met all sorts of people – very cleverly named, such as Hopeful, Faithful, Talkative etc. and some which attempted to prevent the pilgrims and some which enabled their mission. They face all sorts of struggles in their bid to get to the river. Giants and hobgoblins needed to be fought.

The book contains the Gospel story and is full of Bible verses. If you don’t like “being preached too” through books, this is not for you.

I just didn’t enjoy this book.

4/10

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Heaven is Real by Don Piper

heaven-is-real

Synopsis
The author draws on his own near-death experience to describe the reality of heaven and to explain how it is possible, by relying on God’s love, to transform life challenges into blessings.

This is the follow up to the book: 90 Minutes in Heaven. Don Piper was killed in a car accident; an 18-wheel truck crushed the car he was in. He was pronounced dead at the scene – and the meds said he was dead for 90 minutes. He tells of how he went to heaven – well the gates, where he met his dead loved ones. He is adamant it was not a near-death experience – there was no white light; he says he instantly went to the gates of heaven.

This book talks of how to appreciate life on earth, but looking forward to heaven. There is the Gospel message in the book, and he teaches how to live in God’s grace, through suffering. The stories he use are extreme – of people who have attempted suicide, or people who have lost loved ones through illness, accidents or drugs. They are powerful stories, and it is moving to see how they have overcome their situation, worked through the pain and adjusted to the “new normal”.

Although the book is full of these stories, I did find myself getting annoyed with Piper. Firstly, he did not seem to grasp the idea of depression that occurs when nothing has happened – the chemical imbalance that causes the depression. He seemed to imply that it was our own fault, how we aren’t walking with God correctly, and that bugged me. Secondly, a lot of the book was about how his previous book and experience has helped other. He makes sure he states he is not boasting, but it does come across like that. And thirdly, he claims to be like Saint Paul. Now this really bugs me, because if he was, he would not state it.

Overall, this is a book with helpful stories for people who have suffered and are Christians who know they are going to heaven, however I missed a lot of the teaching because the way he wrote annoyed me.

5/10

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Ten by J. John

This book, Ten by J. John looks at the Ten Commandments in a modern way and makes them relevant to us today. It is 300 pages of God, love, common sense and the Bible. The book explains the Ten Commandments, why they were made and how we can keep them in this day and age. A lot of it very helpful and practical. For non-Christians, this religion is not stuffed down the throat; the book gives sensible and practical ways of living a good moral life. There are also some very funny parts, to lighten the load.

There is a lot of information in these pages however, and I don’t think I took all of it on board. It was a bit of a slow read too.

Overall, this is a great way of looking at the Ten Commandments and a new way of living.

8/10

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Nice Girls Don’t Change the World by Lynne Hybels

This is a small, easy to read book by Lynne Hybels, a lady who is involved in Christian ministry alongside her husband Bill. This is the first Lynne Hybels book I have read, and I found it helpful and interesting.

Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” My version of that quote is: “Never doubt that a community of thoughtful, committed women, filled with the power and love of God, using gifts they have identified and developed, and pursuing passions planted in them by God – never doubt that these women can change the world.” – Lynne Hybels. Nice Girls are taught early that serving God means earning God’s love and sacrificing oneself to meet the needs of others. Unfortunately, after living a life she thought was what God demanded, her husband wanted, her kids needed, and her church expected, Lynne Hybels felt utterly lost – both to herself and to God. In this wise and tender book, Hybels tells of her struggle to stop living someone else’s life and to reclaim the unique gifts, strengths, and passions God gave her. And she reveals how turning away from her false view of God as a harsh and demanding taskmaster enabled her to rest at last in God’s sustaining love. As she explains, it’s never too late to discover that who you really are is exactly what delights God and what the world needs.

This book is only 96 pages long and has many pictures in it, however this was not a distract, it just added to the pleasantness of the book. Hybels is honest about her life, her old image of God and her depression. This was very refreshing. She is someone who is involved in a big world-wide ministry yet she has experienced horrible emotions just like me. It was nice to know I’m not alone, even women God uses all over the world can suffer too. It was inspiring to read about how she pulled herself out of her depression and how God is now using her.

Hybels teaches about how we have a loving God, not one who is grumpy and looking for perfection. We have a God who loves us as we are and looks after us if we let Him. When God broke through Lynne’s barriers I had a tear in my eye and hope in my heart. She teaches how we must conquer fear, take a step out and be all we can be. We are unique, loved by God and can be dangerous, strong, world changing women.

I found this book easy to read, with a positive message and feel affected by her writing. I now want to go out and be all I can be. Look out world, here I come, full of God’s love, glory and grace.

10/10

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Thank God it’s Monday by Mark Greene

This is a Christian book about work. Greene raises issues for both the employer and the employee. It is not a long book, only 159 pages and is fast-paced. It did not take me long to read it. Greene talks about how we are around colleagues and our boss. He explains how power and authority is God-given, but the choices made are not from God. He made me think how I relate to the people I work with, how much I know about them and care about them, and how well I work. Employment is something we all have to experience, and this is a good little book which will help me be more positive and shine in the workplace. If you are struggling at work it may be worth reading this gem as it will refocus your thinking and maybe help with your grievances.

8/10

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Leading With Billy Graham by Jay Dennis

I have never come across the author Jay Dennis before but we are often being encouraged to read biographies of leading and influential Christian’s, so when I saw Leading With Billy Graham, T.W. Wilson’s biography, I thought I would give it a go, and on the whole it is a good, useful book.

Amazon synopsis:

Now available in trade paper, “Leading with Billy Graham” will help readers discover a new way to lead – from the background. Many Christians who want to impact the world mistakenly assume that influence belongs only to the front-man. But the life of T. W. Wilson proves otherwise. As Billy Graham’s closest friend and longtime personal assistant, T. W. Wilson turned his own valuable leadership skills to the task of supporting Billy and ended up influencing thousands of lives both directly and indirectly. His life is an inspiring testimony to the power of “next-level” servanthood to maximize the power of the church for the twenty-first century. Filled with interviews and stories from many of Billy Graham’s associates and eight pages of photographs, this book offers a fascinating look inside the most successful evangelistic ministry of modern times as well as an inspiring blueprint for purposeful servant-leadership.

Overall, this is a good book. Dennis retraces Wilson’s life as he serves God and helps Billy Graham in his ministry. Dennis teaches how to be a next-level influencer – someone who is there helping people and doing God’s work, but without recognition. I found a lot of this teaching helpful and have already put some into practice, such as daily Bible reading and sorting out being accountable to someone.

Dennis explores Wilson’s life well through interviews and extracts, however, I sometimes got lost and didn’t understand where the story fitted in with what Dennis was saying.

It is not a long book, 200 pages, but there were times when I felt the book dragged a bit and Dennis seemed to repeat himself a little.

7/10 – it was a helpful and interesting book, but not the easiest to read

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I’m Not Supposed To Feel Like This by Chris Williams

I’m Not Supposed To Feel Like This by Chris Williams was recommended to me by my counsellor and I have found it incredibly useful.

Here is the blurb from Amazon:

Depression is so common that it has been described as ‘the common cold of psychiatry’. It is particularly difficult for Christians – there is often a feeling that Christians ’shouldn’t’ get depressed, and that it and anxiety are the result of a poor or damaged relationship with God. I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL LIKE THIS is an empowering and practical response to such common feelings. In the style of a workbook, with constant reference to the Bible, and the example of Jesus, it helps the reader to understand why they feel the way they do, and to draw on God’s love and grace to find a path through depression and anxiety. The authors are all Christians, and experienced counsellors and psychiatrists.

This is a self-help book with a difference. It is interactive and Christian. The authors go into great detail explaining symptoms and causes, where you have the chance to make notes in the book that are relevant to you. The latter part of the book is about overcoming the problems and help for church leaders. The book contains realistic examples, uses the CBT technique to help combat the problem, has worksheets are the back to help work through the therapy as well as encouraging and relevant Bible verses and prayers.

As someone who suffers with anxiety I found this book incredibly helpful as the explanations were clear and concise. They explained everything from the initial start of the anxiety to what different types of medical help I can receive. Although a book written by Christians, it had realistic advice and uses techniques used by most psychiatrists.

I found this book so useful I am lending my copy to my boyfriend to read so he knows how to help me. It is accessible to all and the sections are easy to dip in and out of.

8/10

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