Review: CSB Ultrathin Reference Bible

First off, let me say that I was excited to finally get my hands on a copy of the new CSB translation. I have been using the HCSB for the past few years and I have come to really enjoy the translation. While it is not a true word for word translation, it also does not take many liberties into being a thought for thought paraphrase. I always thought it did a wonderful job of finding the right balance of each for this wanna be scholar.

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The new CSB is not simply a rebranding of the old and dropping the name Holman from its title, but rather it is an update. Scholars from various denominations came together to look at every verse and ask if it truly was the best way to communicate the idea. If there were any edits needed, they made them. Enough about the translation though.

The new Ultrathin Reference Bible I hold in my hands is a wonderful Bible. Besides being a wonderful translation, the font size is nice and readable. I like a fairly small font size so I can keep the size of my Bible small, but I do not find this size hard to read. Also, the pages feel like they are capable of withstanding some minor note-taking and marking without caving, but given the size of the margins, you may want more space.

Overall, this is a wonderful Bible to carry with you and to read from. Sometimes it is nice to be able to read Scripture for what it is without being bombarded with notes. That is exactly what this is good for. It gives you enough references without causing you to chase a trail looking for that elusive nugget.

I received this Bible for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Ruth: Discovering Your Place In God’s Story

Ruth is one of the more underrated books of the Bible. We tend to overlook the truths found in the Old Testament and instead skip right to the New Testament and Jesus’ words. All of Scripture is profitable for a person. I am glad that there is now a way to emphasize the book of Ruth in a new manner.

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This new book from Eugene Peterson is unlike any other of his works that I have seen. This takes us through the story of Ruth, but allows us to see it in a new light by filling in the drawings on the pages. As the pages turn so do the images reflected not only on the paper, but also in my mind. The entire project is relatively short, but so is the book of Ruth.

It is a nice way to help relax after a stressful day while taking in more biblical truth. Overall, the pages are a good thickness and should withstand a fair amount of coloring objects.

I would highly recommend this as a gift or for personal study. I received it for free in exchange for an honest review. These words are my own and have not been influenced by the author or publisher in any way other than the printed book.

Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out

Evangelism is lacking in the church today. I am not one to believe the theory that it is not being done simply because people are ashamed of their faith. I believe the main reason Christians are not sharing Jesus is because they do not know how. They have come to know Christ, but then no one has shown them how to actually share Jesus. Instead, they have seen it more as a step by step process that if you miss one, you damn a person to hell eternally. This is not the case and I am glad the new book from Alvin Reid Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out is now available to help a new generation of Christians learn to share their faith.

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Throughout the book, Reid’s desire is for the reader to see that sharing the Gospel does not have to be a pressuring topic. Instead, Jesus should be something that comes up in our normal conversations of life. If this Gospel has transformed our life and is still working in our lives, we should be talking about it. We should not simply leave evangelism to those who are deemed evangelists. Evangelism is the call of every believer.

If a believer will follow the steps outlined by Reid, they will feel encouraged to share Jesus, but not in a pressured manner. Rather, the believer will see that sharing Jesus is as simple as living life and capitalizing upon the situations that arise on a daily basis. When we spend time talking to our neighbor, we build a bridge for the Gospel to eventually cross. When we speak words of encouragement to a coworker we allow the Gospel to slowly work its way into the person’s life. When we share the Gospel and it transforms the heart of a person we have played an integral role in God’s mission on earth. Whether we find ourselves able to explicitly share the words of Christ, we must trust that God is working in the lives of those around us and in the end it is not our responsibility nor in our ability to save anyone. That role is left to Jesus.

This book is the best one that I have read designated specifically to sharing Jesus. Reid does not condemn those who have not actively been sharing the faith, but he gently encourages them to start sharing. It is an easy to read book that would be a perfect study for a small group or even a church-wide campaign.

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

Review: When God Made You

As time has progressed, I have tried to expand the books I read and review. As I entered fatherhood last July, I found myself reading books written for children almost every evening. As bedtime routine often includes reading a short book, I figured this was just as good of time as any to jump into requesting this genre. My first endeavor is When God Made You from Matthew Paul Turner. It does not disappoint.

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I have read many of Turner’s books before, but this is his first children’s book and I hope it is not his last. I see a little similarity in his older writings, but this one is something special. I loved how the storyline was not difficult as much as it was repetitive. The fact that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us is repeated page after page. I believe it will help engrain this truth into the lives of young children.

The artwork is also of note. It is astonishing the amount of detail that is placed into each page. To me, I found the artwork what actually told the story more than the actual words. Regardless, it is very, very well done.

This is going to be my go to book to give to newly expecting parents from now on for their child’s collection. From end to end the entire thing is a work of art. I suppose you could say that about all books, but this one takes it to the next level.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words written here are my own and have not been influenced in any manner.

Review: ESV Pastor’s Bible

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The ESV Pastor’s Bible is a new release from Crossway that takes the trusted ESV translation and packages it with new notes geared directly toward those in leadership in the local church. Whether you are a worship leader, pastor, or evangelist, there is something in there for you.

It has a nice cloth over board cover and two ribbons to mark different locations. I really like how the blue is offset against the little bit of brown down the spine of the Bible. The colors make it look simple and yet professional. It would be great to display on a pulpit or table as you teach. The pages have a nice feel and seem to be thicker than other Bibles I have experienced. The font is easy to read and sits nicely on the pages.

The one downside is the amount of notes in the back that is the selling point of the entire thing. There are some notes, but not a lot. While it is great to have them here, if it is the selling point of the Bible, I would have expected more. The notes that it does contain are great. There are bulleted lists and such to help guide the leader in their purpose.

Overall, it would be a nice gift for your pastor. The physical aspects of it are great and are highly attractive. If your a pastor or other church leader, I would skip it unless you really like the physical aspects. You can find other Bibles which have more notes that will help you lead.

I received the product for free in exchange for my unbiased review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any way by the publisher.

Review: Seven-Mile Miracle

I admit I have a problem. It seems like I have to read everything that Steven Furtick puts out to the world. It could be because I tend to digest his sermons in mass quantities. It could be that I feel a relative connection to him due to having heard about him many years ago. It could be that we are in the same generation and live relatively close to each other (three hours counts, right?). However, this book is not up to his usual quality. Maybe I am harsh, but I am only speaking my opinion and that is what a review is supposed to do.

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Seven-Mile Miracle is the newest release from Furtick. His other books spoke life into my life and this one did as well, but having followed him for many years, this seems like a cash grab. There is a sermon series that goes along with it (I suppose that’s the appropriate thing to do in a mega-church); however, there was a sermon many years ago for Easter by the same title. It was a visual experience that had footage of the Holy Land and even had Furtick preaching the sermon from Israel.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not setting out to bash him or the church, but this book is not his usual qualities. Sure, the seven topics he covers that pulls from the last sayings of Jesus are highly applicable in 2017. We need to adhere to the words that he writes and the topics he covers.

The one that spoke to me the most was the word of uniting. It may have been the last word, but ultimately that is the final stop on the journey for a Christian. It is the end destination on our trip. We will be reunited with our creator and will spend eternity with him.

This book is alright. If you want to read seven things that can influence your life and give you pointers on living a more complete life then this book will help. If I did not know that Furtick had already used this title before or have read his book then it probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much. It simply seems rushed to me.

I was given this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The words here are my own and have not been influenced by the publisher in any way.

Lacey Sturm: The Mystery

I was excited to read Lacey Sturm’s new book. I believe that she is one powerful, influential woman who is doing great things in this world. She was formerly the lead singer of Flyleaf and is now becoming known for her solo work. Her voice is unique and is definitely stronger than most singers regardless of their gender. Amazingly, her lengthier writing as a book author is just as powerful as her lyrics.

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The Mystery is actually her second book and having read the first, I knew this one would be full of powerful words. What I didn’t expect was just how introspective it would be and how gut-wrenchingly honest. Through the book she shares her past, how she met her husband, and how things have changed course. She holds very little back and you are able to see Lacey in a light that you have never seen her before. She only scratched the surface in her first book, which is why it is important to read this one.

Even if you never find yourself in situations like Lacey, and I pray you do not, you can still be encouraged by the resurrection power of Jesus that has made all the difference in her life. She holds tight to Jesus making the entire difference in her life and allowing his touch and learning to trust him as the reason she is in the place she is today.

If you were a Flyleaf fan or a fan of Lacey’s or just an average reader, you need to get this book. You see the turmoil that is found in the darkest parts of a life away from God, but also see that redemption is waiting for you right where you are.

The words above are my own and have not been influenced in any manner by the publisher or the author outside of the words contained in the book. I received a copy of the book for free in exchange for an unbiased review.