Tag Archives: God

Book Review: Finding Your Way Back to God by Dave and Jon Ferguson

One of my favorite stories Jesus tells is the Parable of the Waiting Father, better known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Dave and Jon Ferguson take my appreciation for that story to a new level in their book, Finding Your Way Back to God: 5 Awakenings in Your New Life.

For those who miss God or are missing out God, Finding Your Way Back to God is an invitation to discover or re-discover God’s presence at work in your life. The story of the prodigal son and his relationship with his father unfolds the 5 awakenings.

An Awakening to Longing: “There’s got to be more!”

An Awakening to Regret: “I wish I could start over.”

An Awakening to Help: “I can’t do this on my own.”

An Awakening to Love: “God loves me deeply after all.”

An Awakening to Life: “Now this is living!”

Amid the 5 awakenings is an invitation to prayer: God if you are real make yourself real to me.

What follows is not only an appreciation of Jesus’ story but of how people discovered God. Amazing! Inspiring! Encouraging! An incredible invitation to awaken to God’s presence and love for you.

The bedrock principle of the book is: God wants to be found even more than you want to find Him.

In addition to the stories and insights throughout the 16 chapters comes a 30 day wager at the end, for those curious about God and willing to invest time over 30 days to reflect on their life and how God might be present.

I give Finding Your Way Back to God 5 out of 5 stars. The book is a great reminder of God’s incredible searching love for people to be in relationship with Him. For those searching God the book opens a conversation, for those who know God already the book provides inspiration.

My thanks to Blogging for Books for a free copy to review. I wasn’t required to give a positive review, just an honest one.

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Book Review: Praying the Attributes of God by Ann Spangler

Starting with Clement of Alexandria’s words, “I long for God, not the works of God”, Ann Spangler‘s, Praying the Attributes of God grabbed me. Ann throughout the book points her readers to a deeper relationship with God on a day by day basis.

She has the gift to take what could be dry theological concepts and infuse them with life in words that are easily understood. Omniscient has the chapter title: “God is Never Surprised”. God being immutable or unchangeable has the chapter title: “God is not moody.”

Though she looks at 17 various attributes of God, Ann is quick to point out “an attribute is an artificial construct, a helpful way to learn about God. But God cannot be divided into various attributes, nor will he act in ways that contradict himself.”

Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness

The advantage of digging into the attributes of God is seeing God more clearly. We learn to view life  more from his perspective than our own limited one.

The 5 day devotional format of each chapter provides a great way to not only dig into each attribute, but to grow in one’s own prayer life. Learning to pray in light of God’s patience was a valuable lesson for me to learn. As Ann writes, “Waiting on God should also improve our ability to hear his voice, because we have made space in ourselves to actually listen.” 

Making space for God. Actually listening for His voice was the great value of reading this book and why I give Praying the Attributes of God 5 out of 5 stars. This is a great book for individuals, small groups and churches to use who desire to grow deeper in their life with God and with God at work in their life.

My thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for a free copy to review. I wasn’t required to give a positive review just an honest one.

If you want to learn more about Praying the Attributes of God, you can check out the opening pages and chapters by clicking here.

You can also see Ann explain the book by watching this video: 

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Book Review: Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves

Say the word “Trinity” and unfortunately most Christians roll their eyes. When the formula for understanding the Trinity is 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 violates every math principle you ever learned that doesn’t help either. Add to that mix items that theologians have wrestled with over the years that led to the Athanasian Creed (which sounds more like a legal brief than a statement of faith), you begin to see why people check out when Trinity is mentioned.

Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves is an invitation to check back in, and you will be glad you did. Reeves deals with the issue in every day language that leads one to embrace the Trinity as a Community of Love not a dry doctrine of years ago.

He uses the best of writers throughout the ages to delve into the topic, yet he does so with language that does not require a seminary degree. His introduction to the Christian faith is strong on love and strong on the parameters of what Trinity means and doesn’t mean.

Familiar analogies that are often used God is like H2O — ice, water, steam is shown when pushed to its logical conclusion as the heresy of modalism where God simply wears different hats.

There’s St. Patrick and the 3 parts of the 1 shamrock that comes chops God up into pieces instead of persons, and even more leaves him with an impersonal feel.

Best of all Reeves delves into the implications of the three in one community of this Triune God that affirms who God is and gives a glimpse that the mystery of the Trinity reveals. He does all that with a bit of wit, a dash of historical flair, and  a lot of humility.

I give Delighting in the Trinity 5 out of 5 stars. This is a great book for Christians who want to better understand the God they believe in and grow in their relationship with Him. For non-Christians this provides an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the basics of the Christian faith and a look at the Christian God.

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Book Review: gods at war by Kyle Idleman

gods at war by Kyle Idleman has all the traits I love in a good book: Humor, every day stories, practical insights and Biblical truth with daily application. Just one challenge to this read — it turns out Kyle had me looking into a mirror to see the gods at war in my own soul, and the war I too often fight with the God who wins over all.

We tend to think of idolatry as the Old Testament sin or the sin of those that worship in far away countries. But idolatry is alive and well in our day,  in our culture, in our hearts. Kyle points out how this is the number one issue. Idolatry isn’t an issue, it’s the issue.

All of us worship, it’s simply a question of what do you worship? And if anything but the true God fills that worship part of your soul, then you are in the midst of gods at war.

When something that is good that God has given becomes your god, then you have gods at war. Turns out that God’s greatest gifts are his greatest test and Satan’s greatest tool for gods at war.

And of all the gods at war, the god of me is the most relentless idol of them all. The god of me is my worst one, that’s why I was a bit surprised it was the last one.

The first part of the book lays out the concept of gods at war, while parts 2-4 look at the temples of power, pleasure and love. Throughout parts 2 -4 at the end of the chapters, Kyle lays out the Idol Id, a chance to take a closer look to see if this god is at war within me. I especially appreciated the repeated emphasis, “Idols are defeated not by being removed but by being replaced.”

To win gods at warthe true God must have His rightful place in my life. Even then the war continues, for gods at war are always at war. They have not given up. The battle is still for your heart and my heart. Throughout the book are real stories of battles won with gods at war.

I give gods at war 5 out of 5 stars. Well written, loved the * comments throughout the book that added humor, and even more I needed the content to see the battle and to see how to win the battle of gods at war.

My thanks to BookSneeze and Zondervan for a free copy to review. I wasn’t required to give a positive review, just an honest one. I highly recommend gods at war for a good look at your own heart and even more as a path for growth with the God who wins the war through Jesus Christ.

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Book Review: I AM NOT BUT I KNOW I AM: Welcome to the Story of God by Louie Giglio

Yes, the book title is a bit confusing, I AM NOT BUT I KNOW I AM, but it is well worth digging into to clear the confusion and to discover greater clarity into one’s relationship with God. To clarify, here’s what the title means:

I AM = God.

I AM NOT = You/Me/Us.

More than clarifying God is God, and we are not, Louie Giglio brings out how significant it is to see God in a greater light and one’s self in a lesser light. The result he presents is less stress and less meaninglessness in life. Life starts best when we look up to God. He is the I AM. We are the I AM NOT.

I Am Not But I Know I Am

As the observation goes there’s only one God, it’s not you. It’s not me either. And that’s a good thing to celebrate.The result is Louie puts it, “God is always looking for ordinary people to play significant roles in His unfolding Story.”

Besides affirming who is God and who is not, I appreciated the stories Louie told, especially as they pointed to God’s unfolding Story. Often those stories were about Louie’s growing awareness of the presence of I AM, and Louie’s own awareness of “I AM NOT.” For the stories pointed to the Story of the God who loves us, who created us, who died for us, and who gives us life.

The other great gift of this book is Louie’s “One Word Bible Study Method”. The two chapters Became and The Journey go through Louie’s journal of focusing on one word a day from John 1:14. I not only learned a new way of digging deeper into God’s Word in my life, but digging deeper into the incredible miracle of Christmas and the incarnation of Jesus.

A third gift is Louie’s understanding of Sabbath. For Louie Sabbath includes worship and rest, but also so much more. Sabbath is letting go of the controls (of stop being I AM) and embracing I AM NOT. Sabbath invites us to give up the controls to life, the circumstances of life, and follow the path of I AM in the Story that unfolds, the Story where He has a vital role for us each to play.

I give I AM NOT BUT I KNOW I AM: Welcome to the Story of God, 5 out of 5 stars. Louie provided a great invitation to pursue the Story of God. This book is great for those who want to get at look at the gift Jesus brings in knowing I AM and in realizing I AM NOT. Since the tendency of people is to be their own god, Louie reveals the freedom of knowing and coming before the one true God. Check out the first chapter by clicking here.

My thanks to Multnomah book for a free copy to review. I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one. Thank you for such a great reminder of who God is and where my part in His unfolding Story is.

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2 Thumbs for Les Misérables

Though not a big fan of movie musicals, I do love great stories. And Les Miserables is a great story. Victor Hugo said about his novel that it is “progress from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsehood to truth, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from corruption to life; from bestiality to duty, from hell to heaven, from nothingness to God. The starting point: matter, destination: the soul.”

What intrigued me about the movie adaptation is wondering how people respond to the various views of God throughout the movie.

Javert is the legalist. He upholds the cause of justice. God placed him on this earth to uphold the law. That law is clear, and the emphasis for Javert is on the letter of the law, definitely not its spirit. How often do people see God as rule maker and enforcer.

Jean Val Jean is a man with a dark past but experiences a priest filled with grace, and that gift of mercy transforms his life. Val Jean remakes himself into a successful businessman. His life is one of generosity and mercy. He knows when to stand for a good cause, such as Cosette, and to risk sacrifice for a noble one, such as Cosette’s future husband. His story is moving, and yet his experience of grace seems to still be tinged with pain.

The rest of the characters from the movie seem to have an awareness of God, but either to be pleaded for in times of need or pain, but too often forgotten even by the master of the house.

In the end the path of grace and love win the day. About half way through the movie, I leaned over to my wife and whispered, “This is not a happy movie.” My youngest daughter then said, “That’s why it’s called the Miserable!”

Yet there was this thought — life can be changed. The path of Javert led to the greatest despair. The path of mercy,  love and grace led to a life transformed. Can life, even a miserable life change? Yes, by the grace of God and even more exciting when that grace is at work in you and me. Sounds like the dream that God dreams!

What movies feed your understanding of who God is and the transformation He brings?

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Book Review: GOD is more than ENOUGH by Tony Evans

Some books just hit you at the right time. GOD is more than ENOUGH by Tony Evans is one of them. I had a clue it would be a great book because Tony is an incredible communicator of God’s Word. He takes Biblical truth translates into every day life and lifts you up to a higher level when you are done. That’s exactly what he did in this book.

Yet GOD is more than ENOUGH is more than an inspirational read, it is a quick read that feeds one’s soul on the incredible power and beauty of Psalm 23. Walking verse by verse, step by step, Tony lays out a grand view of God at work in our lives.

For Tony Psalm 23 is more than an inspirational read, more than a funeral text, it is a declaration of who God is and what God provides. When I was done reading this quick read I went away saying, God is indeed more than enough!

God Is More Than Enough

In the first line of the book, Tony asserts, “There is not a single need you could possibly have that isn’t addressed by the words of Psalm 23.” The rest of the book he lays out the case for the truth of that statement.

Chapter 1 asks: Just who is Your Shepherd? Settle that one with God, and you are on a great path.

The chapters that follow affirm that God is more than enough to meet your spiritual needs, directional needs, emotional needs, physical needs, and eternal needs.

Yet this psalm is not just gentle words about a shepherd and his sheep, Tony declares, “It’s an attack on our debilitating lack of trust in God and the great trauma of insecurity that’s brought on by such doubts and disbelief.”

Psalm 23 calls me to admit that I can’t take care of myself. I need God. Independent of him I am wandering down the wrong path, down the wrong way of life. With Him and all that He provides as David declares in this psalm, I shall not want. God is indeed more than enough!

I give GOD is more than ENOUGH 5 out of 5 stars. It picked up my spirits, taught me some new lessons along the way, and provided some great restoration of my soul. For those looking for a quick read (the book is under 100 pages), and a reminder of how great God is and what it means to be in a sheep / shepherd relationship I highly recommend this book. Check out the introduction and Chapter 1 by clicking here.

Thank you to to Blogging for Books for a free copy to review.

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