Review: The Apologetics Study Bible (CSB Version)

The more I read from the CSB translation of the Bible, the more it is becoming my go-to translation. Combine that with my desire to always have an Apologetics Study Bible and this is a no-brainer for me to own. After having spent some time in it, I am grateful for Holman publishing this version.

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If you are getting this Bible expecting a lot of footnotes, you will be let down. Sure, there are some at the bottom of nearly every page, but they are most like a copy or slight update to a previous version. It does not mean that they are bad, but if you are looking for one with a lot of notes, you may want to look elsewhere.

Where the footnotes lack, the “articles” in this Bible are where things shine. This is the strong, selling point of the Bible in my opinion. Each article is impressive. The thoughts are nicely condensed and not over your head. Sure, the thoughts may need time to digest, but is that not the point of reading Scripture?

The page layout is also one of the better ones I have seen. The text columns are a little wider than normal and yet the pages have plenty of blank space for jotting down your own notes. The pages flip quite nicely and it lays flat for my purposes.

All in all, it’s a great Bible for an introduction to apologetics. Those who expect a full seminary equivalence in a condensed Study Bible format will be let down. However, for the bulk of Christ followers, this would be a lovely companion to their other Bibles to have handy for when the time is right.

I received this for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way other than the finished product I received.

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Book Review – The Air I Breathe

Louie Giglio is leaving an impact on modern Christianity far beyond anyone’s greatest imagination. What initially started as a gathering of college students has birthed what is known as what could be best described as a movement. Passion has taken hold in the lives of millions of people across this globe, but enough about the movement. The Air I Breathe has recently been rereleased with a new cover. This is, from what I can tell, the very same book.

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One thing I must mention is that I am glad Giglio included discussion questions in the back after the main portion of the book. This will help lead small groups and individuals to actually ponder the thoughts he poses. Overall the book is a quick, easy to read overview of worship and how it truly is a way of life and not something that happens only when we gather with other Christians.

The main point of the book is that we are worshipping regardless of whether we think we are or not and our focus ought to be directed towards God for what he has done and is doing. This worship is to be lived out and not just spoken. While this is not an in-depth dive into the theology of worship, this is a practical book that reiterates the basic premises. It would be an excellent book for a young Christian wanting to understand a little bit more about worship.

As a side note, I can definitely tell Giglio’s writing style has changed throughout the years since this original publication. I, for one, am alright with that change.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any manner by the author or publisher aside from the manuscript and content of the book.

You’ve Got Dreams

You have dreams. You have goals. I know this because you are reading this. I do not count the robots from Google reading this, but thanks. What we (and I say we because I count myself in this category quite often) lack is the ability to follow through on these. For whatever excuse we use, most of us will not ever complete the task we dream of doing. Michael Hyatt is out to fix that issue.

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Sure, he may not be able to make the effort and work easier, but he can help us hit our goals. In his new book Your Best Year Ever, Hyatt guides us in proven steps to help us accomplish our goals. This book is relatively short and is an easy read, but the contents are worth more than what you pay. You could easily read this in one day if you sat down with your morning cup of coffee, but it should not be read that way. Instead, to grasp the full extent of the content, one must chew on it and digest it. Trust me when I say chew. It will be better that way.

Now is the perfect opportunity to pick this book up and do some planning for the next year. As we are still at the beginning of January, there is a lot of time left in the year to accomplish things. If we not only dream big, but make a smart plan, we can do a lot. Michael’s plan is a great way to fulfill those dreams.

I would recommend this book to people that are serious about tackling their careers, relationships, and taking control of their life. As a business major, I had heard of SMART goals, but Michael expands on this and uses SMARTER goals. That is just one of the things you can expect to read about to put into action to make your life succeed.

As a side note, I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way by the author or publisher outside of the written manuscript.

Book Review: The Satisfied Soul by John Piper

At first glance, The Satisfied Soul by John Piper looks to be a devotional. On the front cover is the notice that there are 120 daily meditations. This is true, but the daily meditations are not actually devotional material. Instead, they are what best could be described as articles.

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That is the best word I know to describe them. It is almost like they were destined for a newspaper or blog site and then got compiled into a book. I suppose when you are Piper, this is your natural way of writing. Regardless, the topics that are covered are quite broad. They range from racism to depression to self-control to pray. Throughout the book, Piper’s goal is to show the supremacy of God in all of life.

After reading the book, I can definitely say that he accomplished his goal. There is no one who has done more for the thought process of the global church in the last few decades than John Piper and this collection is no shortage. While there are other books that take a deeper look at the topics, this brief compilation is a good addition to any library. The writings are long enough to get the point across without boring someone to sleep.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any Christian looking to take a glance at how God rules over everything. If we say we believe something to be true, we should have the ability to back that claim up when confronted. This book simply makes that task easier.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way by the author or publisher outside of the book’s manuscript.

Book Review: I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me by John Ortberg

If there was an award for the longest title of a book that I had read in 2017, this would be it. I admit, I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me took me longer to finish than I would have liked. Ideally, this would have been finished at least six weeks ago; however, this obviously was not the case. Even though I did not finish it as fast as I wanted to, does not mean that it was not a good read. For that matter, it was an excellent read.

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John Ortberg is a well-known author and pastor and has written numerous books. His newest one deals with the intimacy. Truthfully, the title is a little odd for the subject matter. Nonetheless, it is a true statement. I have found myself thinking this quite often over my short time here on earth.

I like the way Ortberg keeps the reader engaged and encourages them to pursue intimacy and closeness without making them feel guilty for needing help. While you could easily argue that we all need help, Ortberg assumes nothing and gives step-by-step advice in dealing with these situations. While the book talks about spousal relationships quite often, one could easily applies these same principles to any sort of relationship. Ortberg’s guiding could be applied by any person alive at this time regardless of their views on Jesus Christ. While I would be quick to argue that this makes the best foundation to base your relationships on, I cannot see tossing the baby out with the proverbial bathwater if you do not believe in Jesus and want to deepen your relationships.

The one downside to this book is I feel like you get the cliche humor that most pastors utilize. It does not mean that it is out of line or that it is not applicable to the point that Ortberg is trying to make, it just does not have the zing that I would like. I feel like a lot of the words are placed in there for no real reason. This same gripe could be made about dozens of other books by Christian authors. That is no flaw on the content, it is simply a personal preference.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to deepen their relationships. As 2017 draws to a close, this book would be an excellent starting point for kicking off 2018. A new year is always an opportunity to reframe the relationships that we have in place and work towards cultivating greater intimacy so they grow stronger.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any manner by the author or publisher outside of the book’s manuscript.

Christ-Centered Exposition – John

The new Christ-Centered Exposition books from B&H are phenomenal. I have a couple in my library now and it up until this point, none have disappointed. To be sure, I knew I had to get my hands on the one dedicated to the Gospel of John.

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This one is thicker than some of the others. Of course, I would expect that compared to Ecclesiastes simply because John takes up more of the Bible and there is more to unpack. I greatly enjoy the fact that each chapter is not only discussed in depth, but there are reflection questions that highlight the teachings. These are great for personal and small group discussions.

I like that the authors are always eager to keep these in very easy to read sentences. You do not have to possess a degree from a seminary to understand these. They are written for the layperson and the doctorate of ministry alike. I can see myself getting a lot of use out of this writing on John as it is one of my favorite New Testament books.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words are my own and have not been edited in any way by the authors or publisher.

Book Review: Exploring The Bible – A Bible Reading Plan for Kids

I am always looking for new things to come along to help get the Word of God engrained in the minds of younger believers. This new book Exploring The Bible by David Murray is one that I can see being helpful for lots of families.

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Murray has laid it out in a way that is not intimidating to children. If anything, it gives them just enough guidance without boxing them into a checklist that must be completed. Each week, the learner is focused on a specific portion of Scripture with a short reading each day. They’re then asked one question and allowed to freely answer it however they choose. On Sunday there is a little synopsis, Scripture reference, and some questions to consider and a space to take their own sermon notes from their own church.

I like this approach as it helps to keep children engaged throughout the entire week and allows space for their parents to talk about things on Sunday with them that they may have heard from their pastor or children’s pastor. I imagine the best audience for this is a second through fourth grader. A girl is probably going to like the looks of this more as it is more pale blue and red than anything, but that does not mean that a boy cannot use it.

If you are looking for a way to get your young believer into the word, this would be a good first step. It takes a look at a lot of different Scripture passages without sticking solely to the New Testament.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been altered in any way by the author or publisher.