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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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: 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: 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.

Book Review: People of the Second Chance

I could not wait to get my hands on this book. When the release was first announced, I was excited to see it happen. I have kept up with the movement known as People of the Second Chance (hereafter referred to as POTSC) for years now. I have backed their Christmas project. I keep up with what Mike Foster, the founder, is doing to further the mission. I believe that we are all in need of a second chance, or a third chance, or a tenth chance. We should never think we are beyond hope and have messed things up to the point that there is no return and probability of a rescue.

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I am thankful that instead of telling stories of people who have embraced the message of POTSC, Foster takes time to tell us why it is important to embrace the mission. One of the big takeaways from the book is that we should celebrate the unloved. Rather than seeing the downsides of our experience, we are told to let the journey drive us to the arms of Christ. We know that we have experienced failure, no matter what demographic you want to place on us. Rather than letting it define us, we must find our place in Christ and allow him to mold us into becoming a different person.

If you have follow the POTSC movement from the fringe, now would be a great time for you to move into the arena of being a champion for the movement. There is only freedom and warm hugs in the movement. No matter where you are in life right now or where you were five years ago, the movement says welcome. I encourage you to get this book, read it, and then give it away. It is that important that we get this message to those around us. The more we recognize our value in Christ despite our flawed past, the better of a community we will become.

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