Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Don't Call It Love by Gregory Jantz & Tim Clinton

book cover
Don't Call It Love
by Dr. Gregory L. Jantz
& Dr. Tim Clinton
with Ann McMurray

ISBN-13: 9780800726751
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: September 1, 2015

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher from NetGalley.

Book Description from NetGalley:
"You complete me" may be a romantic line in a popular movie, but it's not a healthy basis for a real relationship. Unfortunately, many people are drawn into relationships that are unfulfilling precisely because they are looking to other people to fill in the places where they are lacking--they are looking for a person who will "complete" them. At the heart of relationship dependency is a person's belief that he or she alone is not enough. But using others to provide wholeness simply does not work, because while we are made to be relationship dependent, it is God we must turn to in order to find wholeness.

In a warm, engaging style, Drs. Jantz and Clinton walk readers through patterns of relationship dependency, helping them unravel why they are drawn back to the same dry well of unfulfilled relationships over and over again. Readers will discover how to break the cycle, banish their fears, and find wholeness in the God who designed them to be in relationship first and foremost with him, thus freeing them to find healthy relationships with others. Includes a twelve-week personal recovery plan.

My Review:
Don't Call It Love is a book that describes relationship dependency and how to break that cycle. I've had difficultly understanding why a teenager I mentor seems to seek out chaotic, emotional roller coaster relationships. This book did help me understand where she's coming from, but it's intended to be read by someone who needs help rather than someone who wants to help. The overall tone of the book was encouraging and hopeful.

The majority of the book was a series of questions, lists, and descriptions relating to relationship dependency. The authors described various traits of relationship dependency, the 8-phase addicted-to-relationships cycle, and the fears that drive this behavior. They explored how emotional and spiritual abuse contributes to relationship dependency. (Spiritual abuse is when someone deliberately uses God's approval--and this someone "speaks" for God--to control another person.) They also explained how brain chemistry can reinforce bad patterns of behavior, how this can be retrained, and various attachment styles.

Finally, they talked about the truths you need to know to replace the lies that feed relationship dependency. The authors are Christians, so these truths are based on Biblical truths. This included more questions and lists, but these showed how knowing the truth changes the answers that you might have previously given. They also included a 12 week recovery plan that gives a prayer, Bible verse, the truth learned from that verse, and actions to take that week.

The book gently helps the reader to recognize and admit unhealthy relationship patterns in their lives and encourages them to want something better. I think it'd help someone frustrated with their relationships.

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 26, 2015

The Case for Hope by Lee Strobel

book cover
The Case for Hope
by Lee Strobel

ISBN-13: 978-0-310-33957-1
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: September 29, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher through

Book Description from Back Cover:
We live in a world filled with strife and disorder--one that can bring discouragement and make our future seem bleak. But when we find hope, we can overcome whatever trouble surrounds us. With hope comes an overriding confidence that, no matter what we face, God is with us and is greater than any challenge we encounter.

So where do we find hope that lasts? What is the reason for our hope?

In The Case for Hope, bestselling author Lee Strobel shares the unswerving truth that, through Christ, we have access to unlimited, unfailing hope. Included is a 30-Day Journey of Hope journal to help you meditate on specific passages of Scripture, allowing God's words of hope to come to life as never before.

My Review:
The Case for Hope is about what we put our hope in, why we can have confident hope in Christ, and how to live that hope out. Due to the title, I expected a bunch of interviews like in his early books ("Case for Christ", "Case for Faith"). While some interviews were worked into the flow, it's more his take on the subject than exploring other people's answers. I thought he did a good, Bible-based job of explaining the hope we can have through Jesus.

He started by explaining the different uses of "hope" in our culture and what biblical hope means--a sure hope, not a please-let-it-be-true hope. He explored why we can have assurance that Jesus was the Son of God and how his death and resurrection provides us with hope. This hope can transform our lives, and our hope can still be sure even in times of doubt. He described various people whose lives have been transformed by knowing Christ, even people who actively rejected Christ. At the end, he provided a 30-day Journal. Each day had a scripture on hope to think about and room underneath to write down your thoughts.

The author did a good job of describing biblical hope, why we can feel confident in it, and how this can change our lives. I'd recommend this book to new Christians or those who feel like they don't have a confident hope in anything.

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.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Love Casts Out Fear by Brother Nathan & David Culross

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Love Casts Out Fear
by Brother Nathan, David Culross

ISBN-13: 9780801016882
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Baker Books
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
When Brother Nathan was a child in Egypt, he witnessed the unthinkable--his own father's murder at the hands of terrorists. At first, he struggled with his powerful urge to seek revenge against his father's assassins. Today, he ministers in the very village where his father was killed, as well as in countless other cities and villages across Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

Love Casts Out Fear tells the gripping story of a deadly attack, Nathan's initial anger, and forgiveness that makes way for redemption. It also gives a firsthand account of the challenges faced today by Middle Eastern Christians, and of God's provision for a ministry that touches the lives of thousands.

My Review:
Love Casts Out Fear is a memoir about Brother Nathan's life as a Christian in Egypt. Nathan's father--a pastor in rural upper Egypt--was killed by terrorists when Nathan was 6 years old. He planned gun-wielding revenge on those killers for years until he realized that Jesus wanted him to forgive them. He then went on to do Christian ministry in Cairo, Egypt during some very interesting times. This memoir covered his life up until 2013 and included descriptions of his parent's lives as well.

Nathan's past has allowed him to reach out to those stuck in the revenge cycle to show the way to true peace. Nathan's story shows how God has been at work in his life and in Egypt. It also shows what life is like for Christians in rural Egypt and in Cairo. It's written in a casual style that's easy to read. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting book.

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.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thank God for Atheists by Timothy Morgan

book cover
Thank God for Atheists
by Timothy Morgan

ISBN-13: 9780736966283
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Released: October 1, 2015

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
After a decade of major disappointments, Timothy Morgan was ready to reject God. Atheism offered an escape--an opportunity to dismiss God permanently. But as Morgan delved into the thinking of great atheists past and present, he was stunned. In book after book, he found their reasons for rejecting God to be intellectually unfulfilling.

In Thank God for Atheists he candidly shares his journey by letting atheists speak for themselves, examining their logic to see whether it holds up or not. You'll find this a personal and thoughtful book on why the evidence for God is much more compelling than the evidence against Him.

My Review:
Thank God for Atheists is an apologetics / worldview comparison book. It's a book that I can honestly see both atheists and Christians finding interesting. The author made every effort to accurately summarize the views of the atheists that he discussed in this book (Friedrich Nietzche, Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins). He offered the living authors the chance to read his summary of their views and comment on it (which Dawkins did), and he asked atheist groups to do the same with his summaries of the dead authors.

The author started by explaining his Christian upbringing and why he started looking for convincing reasons to believe God doesn't exist. Then he discussed the long history of skeptical thought--the people throughout history and the world who questioned the religions of their area. He took four authors that he thought best expressed the arguments for atheism and who came at it from somewhat different angles. He provided a short biography for the author, summarized his views, then addressed those arguments. If several authors had the same argument, he picked the one who expressed it the best and only responded to it once.

I felt that the author did a good job of explaining why he didn't find these views logically compelling even though he wanted to be convinced. His writing was concise and his reasoning was easy to follow. I appreciated his respectful tone as people are more likely to listen when they feel like their view has been correctly heard and respectfully considered. I didn't always share his exact views, but I felt he did a good job of representing why Christians (and others) can find atheist arguments unconvincing. I'd highly recommend this book to those who want to dig deeper into the arguments for both sides.

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.