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.

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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.

A Peculiar Glory

It is hard to imagine a world where Scripture is not accepted as truth, but we are moving in that direction as a culture. Of course, one could make the argument that we should have always been prepared to make confront these disputes as it does not make sense to believe in Scripture. Why would anyone believe the words of the Bible? It is a strong stretch to believe in them. Thankfully, John Piper has recently released a book to confront this.

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This has been compared as equal with Desiring God as one of his most influential works. I do have to agree. This book took a while to dig through mainly because page after page is rooted in Scripture. There are numerous things that need to be digested in order to grasp the full concept of the words that are written. The whole book is about how Scripture proves its own validity without any outside arguments.

The good news is that Piper does not write to theologians. He writes to the Christian sitting in a church pew. The words are easily read, even if the concept is difficult. You will be challenged, informed, and blessed for reading this book. The things that have been contained here will be a  valuable resource for many generations to come. I am glad to add this one to my growing library.

If you have the chance, I would recommend picking up the print version of this so you can make notes in the margins and highlight the sentences and paragraphs that grapple you. The good thing about most of Piper’s work is that it is accessible to those that do not have the finances to purchase it. You can find a printable version of the book from the Desiring God website, but you really should purchase a print version. It will be better for you that way.

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 publisher or the author.

Book Review: Divine Direction

I have read a lot of Craig Groeschel’s books and when a new one comes along, I always give it a glance. Most of the time I end up wanting to read it and this one is no exception. When I learned of the option of joining the launch team for Divine Direction I knew I had to apply. Thankfully I managed to get in and have had the privilege of already reading the book. While I always enjoy Groeschel’s writing, this one is something else.

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Through my life I have experienced seasons where things do not always add up to what you planned and you appear to be wandering through the wilderness hoping for someone to help you find the right path. While Divine Direction will not be sent to rescue you physically, it may just be the guide you need to help maneuver through your situation. In fact, I would wager that regardless of where you find yourself in life right at this very moment, this book could be useful for you.

Pastor Craig’s book takes you through seven steps that you can take that will allow you to reach the end of your life and reflect with fondness of just how far you have made it. While I could list the titles of the book that ultimately reflect the seven steps, I think it would be better to narrow it down to the main theme. For me, the message of the entire book is that each decision you make ultimately leads you somewhere and therefore you should make wise choices.

To me, each decision I make to start, stop, or go somewhere as well as to serve and get connected to others determines my final destination. While the small choices I make each day may not appear to cause a directional shift in my destination, over time they add up to large turns. When you begin to review your decisions through this lens, every decision is cautiously weighed.

I would highly recommend you get this book, read it, and apply its words to your life. I know that Groeschel believes in every book that he writes and this one is no exception. May we listen to the words God has given him and learn that we can change the direction and fullness of our life.

I was honored to be apart of the launch team for this book and received an advance copy of it to read and review. The words above are my own and have not been influenced by the author and publisher in any way.

Book Review: Kingdom Family Devotional

There are a lot of devotionals on the market today; however, it is difficult to find one that is engaging for the entire family. Being a new dad I had started to search the market to see if I could find any that will work for us in the future. I saw that Tony and Jonathan Evans were releasing a family devotional, I knew this would be a perfect opportunity to look at it. While my daughter is still too young to involve in devotionals as she is only seven months old, I can see this one being used by my family in the future.

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The binding and cover of the book seem tough enough to endure daily use for a couple of years. It would also look nice on a shelf while not in use during the day. The print is easy to read and the daily devotions are not too lengthy to lose interest of young readers. This is important as the whole purpose of a family devotional is for the entire family and not just the parents.

As expected, this devotional covers a variety of topics and ultimately summarizes the daily idea to one question or one suggestion every day. For instance, on one devotion about giving, it encourages each member of the family to choose something from around their home that they can giveaway that day. I appreciate the thoughtfulness to keep the main idea at the forefront of each day and to summarize it in a way that even a young child can understand.

I would imagine that this devotional will work best for children in elementary school as the words could be difficult for a child of three years to comprehend. I suppose a valid response to that would be that is another advantage is it allows the parent to interpret and spend time with their child instead of simply rushing to check a box on their daily routine. To have the Focus on the Family endorsement does not hurt this devotional either.

I recommend this as a devotional to families as it contains a full year of material while not getting too lengthy. It would make an excellent choice for busy families as well because it is fifty-two weeks of five days. There are two free days each week for you to determine which ones those are as they best fit with your calendar.

I received this book for free from the publisher. The words expressed here are my own and have not been influenced in any way by the authors or the publisher.