Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Take Your Life Back by Stephen Arterburn

book cover
Take Your Life Back
by Stephen Arterburn
and David Stoop

ISBN-13: 9781496413673
Trade Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Tyndale
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Do you have a relationship that leaves you feeling drained? Maintaining and improving this kind of relationship--whether it's a spouse, a friend, or a child--can feel exhausting, fruitless, and toxic to your own health. It's complicated: You love the person, but sometimes you feel as if you're pouring all your energy into holding your loved one, and your relationship, together.

Arterburn and Stoop have helped millions walk the path of health through their New Life Ministries and counseling center--and now they reach out to those who walk the path alongside them. We are called to love one another deeply, but it is possible to support your loved one in a way that honors the relationship, God, and yourself.

My Review:
Take Your Life Back is about no longer "letting the past and other people control you." The first 127 pages talked about the different causes and ways a person can become reactive (unhealthy) rather than responsive (healthy) in their relationships. The authors came at it from several different angles and from a very inclusive mindset so you're likely to see yourself somewhere in those descriptions. The intent seems to be to help you recognize that you have a problem and what's at the root of it so that you can heal from it.

The next 50 pages were about what you can do toward having healthy relationships. While God and Jesus were talked about, it's in a general way. Unbelievers are urged to consider the Bible and surrender to God. I had expected a much stronger emphasis on the truths found in Scripture as the path to healing. Their advice included finding someone trustworthy to talk with and come alongside you and following the 12 step program. The last 23 pages described what the life of someone who has taken back their life will look like.

This book seemed more about encouraging you to recognize the problem and the goal and to make the effort to change. It does a fine job of that, but I expected more on how to "take back" your life. The advice they did give was pretty general and needs to be tailored to your own situation.

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, September 12, 2016

Good & Angry by David Powlison

book cover
Good & Angry
by David Powlison

ISBN-13: 9781942572978
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: New Growth Press
Released: Sept. 12, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Anger is our complex human response to things we perceive as wrong in a complex world, thus we must learn how to fruitfully and honestly deal with it. Powlison undertakes an in-depth exploration of the roots of anger, moral judgment, and righteous response by looking in a surprising place: God’s own anger.

Powlison reminds us that God gets angry too. He sees things in this world that aren’t right and he wants justice too. But God’s anger doesn’t devolve into manipulation or trying to control others to get his own way. Instead his anger is good and redemptive. It causes him to step into our world to make wrongs right, sending his own Son to die so that we can be reconciled. He is both our model for change and our power to change.

Good and Angry sets readers on a path toward a faithful and fruitful expression of anger, in which we return good for evil and redeem wrongs. Powlison offers practical help for people who struggle with irritation, complaining, or bitterness and gives guidance for how to respond constructively when life goes wrong.

My Review:
Good & Angry provides an in-depth look at anger and what the Bible says about it. The author described what anger is at its core and how anger can so easily go wrong. He also looks at good anger--anger which leads to righting of true wrongs and injustice. He did an excellent job of examining how to do "good anger" with God as our perfect example and by looking at what Scripture says.

The author also looked at how we can deal with anger gone wrong by asking ourselves several questions about the situation. He gave example situations and showed how to work through the questions. He looked at both serious causes and small annoyances that provoke anger as well as anger at yourself and anger against God. Overall, I'd recommend this book to every Christian, but especially those in positions of leadership.

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.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Living Clay by Keith Missel

book cover
Living Clay
by Keith Missel

ISBN-13: 9781625915054
Paperback: 172 pages
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
Released: Aug. 8, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
This Bible study illuminates the process of sanctification and transformation in the life of a believer. Filled with theological truth flowing from the context of Scripture, you will see how the Potter purposes to shape you--the clay--into a masterpiece. As Jeremiah was invited to the Potter's house, so you are invited to see how God is shaping you for His glory and your good.

My Review:
Living Clay is an 8 week long devotional with 6 days of devotions in each week. The author looked at how God purifies our lives and shapes us, and he used the biblical metaphor of God as the potter and us as the clay. He provided some information about how pottery is made to help those unfamiliar with the process to better understand the Potter metaphor.

Most weeks started with commentary that used the Potter metaphor. Each day had several verses for you to look up and 4 or 5 questions to answer about those verses. The author also provided some commentary to make sure you understood his main points. He used both biblical and modern people as examples to illustrate his points.

The themes for each week were: how God's hands shape us, hard callings, creating boundaries and rest, suffering and hard times, second chances, finishing well, evangelism, and God's sovereignty. The author has a passion for missions and evangelism, and several of the weeks emphasis those topics.

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.