Monday, October 29, 2012

Safe in the Shepherd's Arms by Max Lucado

book cover
Safe in the Shepherd's Arms
by Max Lucado

ISBN-13: 9780849996436
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Released: May 15, 2002

Source: Bought at a local library book sale for $1.

Book Description from Goodreads:
In today's world it can be difficult to feel safe and secure. That's why in" Safe in the Shepard's Arms" Max Lucado offers a reliable source of safety and security from the twenty-third Psalm. He describes this psalm as "written by a shepherd who became a king-because He wanted us to know about a King who became a shepherd." With Psalm twenty-three as our guide, we can release our burdens, throw off our fears, and rest safely in the Shepherd's arms.

My Review:
Safe in the Shepherd's Arms is an encouragement book built around Psalm 23. It's made up solely of excerpts from some of Max Lucado's other books, but the focus was on what we learn about God from Psalm 23. The version of the book that I have took each verse (overlaying a picture of sheep) and then had two to six pages with larger-type, widely spaced text relating to that verse.

There were some nice insights (usually related to shepherding), but probably this book would feel repetitive to someone who has already read the books that the excerpts came from: "Traveling Light," "He Still Moves Stones," "The Applause of Heaven," "In the Eye of the Storm," "When God Whispers Your Name," "A Gentle Thunder," "In the Grip of Grace," "In the House of God," and "He Chose the Nails."

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What's Darwin Got to Do With It? by Robert C. Newman

book cover
What's Darwin Got to Do With It?
by Robert C. Newman

ISBN-13: 9780830822492
Trade Paperback: 152 pages
Publisher: IVP Books
Released: January 14, 2000

Source: Personal library.

Book Description, my take:
This easy-to-read, cartoon-format book is an introduction to the problems with the commonly used "proofs" of evolution. Two professors carry on a conversation about the origins of life. One believes in (macro)evolution and the other in intelligent design. Both logic and science are used to explore which best explains the evidence: chance and time or some sort of intelligent designer.

My Review:
What's Darwin Got to Do With It? is an apologetic about scientific and logic problems with some of the commonly used "proofs" for macroevolution. The book is a quick read due to the cartoon-format (drawings with dialogue bubbles). It's appropriate for high school level on up, though probably middle schoolers could also understand it. The book covered topics like natural selection (moths and bird beaks), missing links (lack of transitional fossils, the Cambrian Explosion), common skeleton features between animals, information found in DNA, and irreducible complexity.

The book didn't deal with the question of the age of the Earth or universe. In one frame, the intelligent design gal mentioned millions of years in a way that sounded like she didn't contest that (rather than saying it in a way that sounded like she meant "even by your own standards of time..."). I believe in a young universe.

Still, I like to use this book as a way to introduce people to these problems with marcoevolution because it's a quick, fun read while still clearly explaining the points. It is an introduction level, though, so it's not really for people who feel they are experts on the issues. I'd recommend this book to people unfamiliar with the issues and who don't want to spend much time learning about them.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Escaping the Cauldron by Kristine McGuire

book cover
Escaping the Cauldron
by Kristine McGuire

ISBN-13: 9781616386979
Trade Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Charisma Media
Released: September 4, 2012

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Though Kristine McGuire was raised in a Christian home, at an early age she became fascinated by the occult. At sleepovers she and her friends told fortunes and held séances. As a teenager she was convicted and put all games of mysticism aside. She went to a Christian college and married a Christian man. But despite her decision to follow God, a longing for the occult persisted, leading her to leave her church and husband and to embrace witchcraft.

Escaping the Cauldron takes you deep inside Kristine’s eight-year journey as a witch, medium, and ghost hunter. Part Bible study, part memoir, it exposes the subtle occult influences that affect us as it reveals how God mercifully delivered her out of the occult altogether and restored her faith and life in Christ

My Review:
Escaping the Cauldron is a memoir with a focus on the times when the author was involved in the occult. We learn why she was interested in the occult, how she got into it, what types of things she did (as a witch, medium, and ghost-hunter), and what caused her to stop these activities.

We're told some details about the occult practices she did, but it's to compare them to Christian practices. For example, she saw someone describe magick as "prayer with props," so she described for us the attitude and intent (and ritual) behind magick versus that for prayer. The author showed a very good Scriptural understanding of the purpose of Christian practices, etc., and why these are different from the occult at their foundation. The author discussed the truth behind the paranormal according to the Bible. Throughout the book, she quoted what Scripture has to say about these things.

I'd recommend this book to those who wish to reach out to those in the occult (and so wish to better understand it and what the Bible says about it). I'd also recommend it to Christians who dabble with the occult (horoscopes, yoga, angel oracle, etc.) because they don't see the harm in it. I wouldn't give this book to a Christian Witch or someone who doesn't hold the Bible as their sole authority, though.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bible Overview Wall Chart

book cover
ISBN-13: 9781890947705
Wall Chart: 19.5" x 26"
Publisher: Rose Publishing
Released: 2004
Link to buy from Publisher

Source: Wall chart hanging up at my church.

Description from publisher:
The Bible Overview wall chart and pamphlet give a fantastic summary of every book of the Bible:

• Who wrote the book?
• When was it written?
• Where was it written?
• Message, main events, and theme
• Key verse

This is a great reference for ages 10 and up. Easy-to-understand text for young people and for people with no Bible background, yet clear and scholarly enough for college students and seminarians.

Wall chart size: 19.5" x 26" printed on heavy chart paper.

Reproducible worksheets and teaching tips on back of this chart. Wall chart is available unlaminated or laminated. Lamination will not affect the ability to photocopy worksheets.

My Review:
The Bible Overview Wall Chart is a quick and easy way to get an overview of all the books of the Bible. The wall chart is available unlaminated or laminated and is 19.5" x 26" in size. The type size is small enough that you have to stand near the chart to read it, but it is easy to read and understand.

The books of the Bible were divided into Old Testament and New Testament, then further divided by background color into their type (like Minor Prophets or Gospels). Each book of the Bible was listed in order (reading the chart from top to bottom). The following information was given for each book: the name of the book, who wrote it, what it was mainly about, where it was written, when it was written, why it was written, a short outline of the book, and a key verse from that book.

The chart information is short and to the point (so you won't learn if there is controversy about who wrote the book or whatever, you'll simply get a traditional/conservative answer). It's a great, low-cost way to learn the basic information about every book of the Bible and to visually see how the Bible was organized. I'd recommend it to leaders to hang in their churches, to those who want a quick "survey" of the Bible, and to those who want a quick, easy-to-use reference for this basic information.

If you've seen this wall chart, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the chart in the comments.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Praying the Names of Jesus by Ann Spangler

book cover
Praying the Names of Jesus
by Ann Spangler

ISBN-13: 978-0310253457
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: September 19, 2006

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover:
Praying the Names of Jesus will lead readers into a richer and more rewarding relationship with Christ. By understanding the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, readers will gain a more intimate knowledge of Jesus and of his plan for their lives. They will also begin to see how each of his names holds within it a promise: to be our Teacher, Healer, Friend, and Lord---to be God with Us no matter the circumstances. Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Bread of Life, Yeshua... through his names and titles, we come to understand more fully how Jesus reveals God's heart to us.

Praying the Names of Jesus focuses on twenty-six of his most prominent names and titles to provide six-months worth of devotions. Each week provides a unique devotional program designed for personal prayer and study or for use in small groups.

My Review:
Praying the Names of Jesus is a daily devotional that lasts for 26 weeks (half a year). The study focused on 26 names and titles for Jesus, so the devotional focused on one name (or several similar names that were being counted as one name) each week.

Each week's study started with a page of information about the name/title and a key scripture where the name/title is used. We're not told which day to read this on, but you could read it on Sunday since there were no devotional entries for Saturday or Sunday. You could also read it with the two-page devotional for Monday, which contained several scripture verses that use the name/title and gave further information about the name/title. It also included a few questions for you to think over.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each have a few verses that use the name/title for you to read and reflect on along with suggestions for prayer based on those verses. The author also talked about how Jesus acted out this title in the Bible and how we can apply what we've learned to our lives.

Friday focused on the promises in the Bible connected with that week's name/title. Several verses were provided and more were suggested for you to look up on your own.

Each day's devotional only took a few minutes to go through. I was disappointed that there were no entries for Saturday and Sunday. Overall, I found this devotional interesting, and it left me feeling refreshed and encouraged.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.