031 - Starving Jesus

     Starving Jesus was an excellent book that takes a look at the practice of Christian fasting. It examines the issue from a modern perspective and looks at whether or not it accomplishes anything. Furthermore, the book does an excellent job challenging the church to get “off the pew” and do something. The book takes a look at how many Christians go to church on Sunday but don’t live any different the other days of the week. The book is well written and could be a great read for any Christian looking for some ideas for how to rejuvenate their spiritual life. The book also includes some insight into the lives of the authors and offers a bit of an autobiographical feel to it as well.

     This book wasn’t anything spectacular, but was still a decent read. If you enjoy biographies or need to jump start your Christian life then check this book out. It might be right up your alley.

030 - Already Gone

Already Gone has plenty of incredibly interesting statistics. Ken Ham had a survey conducted of 1,000 young adults (20-somethings) and had some shocking results. Those results inspired this book to solve the problems uncovered. His statistics are incredible, but his answer to those statistics are fairly strange. Ham almost uses this survey to justify his organization and claims that a stronger emphasis on teaching Genesis 1-11 will keep people in church in the long run. Honestly, I wonder how accurate that idea is. I wonder if people are really leaving our churches because they weren’t taught Genesis 1-11 or if they are leaving because they have been hurt by Christians who say one thing and do another.

I would recommend this book to anyone who teaches Sunday school or volunteers with young people at a church. The most incredible statistic that was uncovered through this research is that students who attend Sunday school are more likely to leave church than those who just attend the main service each week. Perhaps the research in this book should inspire the church to revaluate their programs. The research is great, but the answer Ham proposes doesn’t seem like it will solve the problem.

029 - Sounder

Rarely do I read a book that is anywhere near as depressing as this one. Sounder is perhaps one of the saddest children’s books I’ve ever read. I am not surprised it has won a Newberry Medal because it was extremely well written. However, I was shocked it had won awards because the book is so realistic. Most children’s books take place in a perfect world where everything works out in the end. However, Sounder is much closer to the way life actually works.

William H. Armstrong wrote this book several years ago and it has been an American classic for a while now. The book would probably be good for any child getting into chapter books, but caution must be taken considering how real the story is. All in all this book was an interesting read, with a great plot, and tense emotions through the whole book.

028 - Saving God's Green Earth

Tri Robinson is one of the first pastors in America to begin teaching his church that stewardship of the environment is part of our duty as Christians. He wrote this book after their first year of really focusing on getting out and helping out the earth. This book is incredible. It includes plenty of Scripture for the Christian who isn’t quite sure about “being green” and highlights several Christian leaders who are leading the charge on taking care of the earth.

The book offers lots of insights and ideas for making your life more green. It offers encouragement and internet resources for those seeking accountability and community through the book’s website. Robinson has written an excellent book that should convince every Christian to step up and start taking care of nature. If you’re not sure if a Christian can be an environmentalist or if you’re a closet environmentalist then this book is for you.

027 - Red Rabbit

I’ve recently gotten into the swing of reading Tom Clancy. This is the second one I’ve read/reviewed over the last few weeks. However, this one was big. Red Rabbit comes in at just over 600 pages. With a book that long it’s needless to mention that there are several subplots found throughout the book. Clancy does an excellent job crafting the story and building characters. His book is quite detailed and breaks down each and every situation into several pages worth of prose. With a writer as detailed as Clancy it is easy to see why this book ended up so large.

The only issue I take with Clancy is that in his writing often it takes me a while to really grasp the story. This book starts off extremely slow, and takes a while to build the many characters. Clancy introduces so many characters so fast, I found myself re-reading pages to figure out exactly who he’s talking about. However, to my understanding this task gets easier since many of Clancy’s books return to the same group of characters.

Red Rabbit was a great story and had a strong plot. The twist was somewhat predictable though and offered little extra to the story. Also, I wonder if perhaps Clancy spent a little too much time on the details rather than on the story itself. I found that this book was very easy to put down and self-discipline is the only way I finished it. I would classify the last 100 pages as a “page-turner” but wading through the first 500 might not be worth it.

026 - The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones, a book about a 14 year old girl who is raped and murdered and her family’s (and loved ones’) inability to continue living without her. This is a rather odd story that is very melancholic. The girl is in her “heaven” watching her family and longing to be back with them. With this image of heaven, it would explain why her presence there was so lonely and her parents’ inability to move on without her.

The killer was weaved in and out of the story but never caught, leaving him free to continue killing. At one point, the book seemed to imply he was interested in the dead girls’ sister but that thread in the plot dropped off immediately after it was introduced. I felt the father was admirable in his pursuit of the killer. Although, it was sad that he didn’t have a belief in God and heaven so that he could find peace with his daughter’s death.

The dead girl’s mother has an affair with the police lieutenant and then moves to California but the book didn’t seem to make a clear reason for this. In the beginning, it seemed to be due to reasons that had nothing to do with the girls’ death but later it hints that her reasons were due to the death or the reaction of the father to the death. It was very unclear. At the end, the dead girl’s ghost comes back and while in her friend’s body was able to have sex with the boyfriend she had at the time of her death. Apparently, neither she nor the boyfriend were able to move on with their “lives” until this happened. It is hard to imagine that a 14 year old boy could not move on to another love in the course of 8 or 9 years in which this story took place. And earlier in the story, her sister has extramarital sex at the age of 14 but grows up to live happily ever after with this boyfriend. This romanticizes extramarital sex and gives unrealistic notions to any young reader. The author uses sex to solve everyone’s problems or maybe she intended for it to just cure everyone’s loneliness. From a Christian view, the author’s use of sex was shallow and definitely not the answers to seek during the times of losing a loved one(s).

This book was at one time a “#1 bestseller” and is described as “succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.” I don’t see that. Overall, I was disappointed with the weak plot, disappointing ending, and lack of Christian values.

Submitted by - K. Wynn

025 - Ralph S. Mouse

Occasionally I enjoy checking out a book from my childhood. This time was a book by Beverly Cleary that I remember my teacher reading to me as I fell asleep at naptime during my elementary days. This time through I did the reading myself, but still thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The book is a simple but quite entertaining. The simple plot looks something like this: Boy meets mouse. Boy takes mouse to school. School kids think mouse is cool. Mouse wants to go home. Boy returns mouse. All in all a simple plot, but a great story. This book is well written and engages the mind of any youngster who may be reading it. I would recommend this book to any young person looking for a good book who is reading chapter books. This is one of the better chapter books I’ve read by a great author.

024 - Follow Me to Freedom

Shane Claiborne and John Perkins have written a leadership book unlike anything I've seen before. The book is written entirely in dialogue. Most books written by multiple authors ended up blended so that no one knows exactly who is saying what. However, in this book they take two very different guys (a 20-something white redneck living in Philadelphia and a African-American civil rights leaders from Mississippi) and simply let the two men have a conversation on leadership. The book isn't necessarily ground-breaking in context, but offers a unique twist on the common leadership book.

Follow Me to Freedom includes plenty of great insights, but many of which can be found in other books. The authors discuss what it takes to be a leader, how to find people to follow you, how to choose who to follow, and other assorted topics. They offer insights based on their life experiences and above all point to Jesus as our ultimate leader. They, like most Christian writers, advocate a form of servant-leadership where the leader leads by selflessly loving his followers.

With Claiborne and Perkins being the authors this book also offers plenty of political commentary. Both men are very active politically, and have a variety of opinions about anything and everything involving politics. However, their political leanings are never the main event in the book, merely a rabbit-trail they allude to and then move along.

All in all, this book is worth your time. I would recommend it to anyone seeking more ideas about leadership or wants more information about leading people.

023 - Prince of Tides

This is a story of childhood abuse, a dysfunctional family and how the damage is carried into adulthood. The family insists that nothing wrong happened and everything in life is as it should be. It is also a story of a mother whose ambition in life is to become apart of the elite group in the community, even though this means putting aside her family’s needs. Maintaining family secrets are essential to her successful inclusion into society.

And it is a story of a sister and two brothers who bond together against these odds. Their struggles in life are stifling at times but they always have each other to carry them through. Although, their untold stories inhibits them from healing. The sister suffers from schizophrenia with her childhood revisiting her in the form of demons and hallucinations. The brother takes from life what is good and precious to him, only to be cheated of it by his mother’s pursuit of elitism. The brother (“The Prince of Tides”) loses his life in the struggle, breaking the bond that kept the three siblings strong. At this point, the remaining brother and sister begin losing their battle with life. It takes the telling of the family story by the remaining brother to allow the family to heal, where it was not possible before. The brother telling the story has felt that his past is behind him and has no impact on his current adult life. As he tells the story to save his sister, he learns it has influenced his life and the wrongs it has made in his life, thereby saving him, as well as his sister.

I felt this book was an incredible tale of tragedy and its effects on three bonded siblings. They dealt with their tragedy in different ways although none of their ways could save them. One sibling fought out and lost his life, the next gave up hers. The last sibling who had chosen to ignore it all was forced to face the issues in order to save his sister and his self.
Sometimes Christians mistakenly think that to “forgive and forget” means to put aside any ills without future consideration or assessment of its impact on our lives. To “dwell” on something means you are unwilling to forgive and thereby disobeying God. But this kind of thinking often inhibits healing. I believe God wants us to explore our true feelings, not ignore them. By working through past issues, we can move on to the future. Working through our misgivings gives us the power to truly forgive. And forgiving is not forgetting. To forget would not allow us to move forward from our problems. It would also not allow us to see the awesome things God can bring out of our tragedies. If there had been a “Prince of Tides 2”, I believe it would have been a wonderful story of the growth and freedom the brother and sister gained and the new life God gave them.

Submitted by - Kathrine Wynn

022 - Blue Like Jazz

Blue Like Jazz is refreshing. Being Don’s first hit book, it is an appropriate introduction into the man. Through this collection of essays, you learn about the background from which Don came. You follow him through his journey as a child and young adult as he bestows his life lessons to his readers.

His thoughts are pure and real. They are so rich in content yet simple in presentation. What I like about this book is that it addresses and answers many questions on the minds of Christians and non Christians about God in a way any common person can understand.

Don is not prudent with holding any of his flaws and failures from his readers. Never before have I read a book by an author, where afterward I feel like I have just made a new friend. He is so intimate in sharing his life. This is extraordinary on its own, because one of his flaws he so willingly shares is his fear of intimacy. His words are brilliantly written and his life is a proof of God’s changing power.

021 - On Church Leadership

On Church Leadership by Mark Driscoll is a great book for those seeking some good theology without all the big words and rambling sentences. This book is part of a series of books on theology entitled, “A Book You’ll Actually Read” series. This book was written to be read within an hour and to be basic enough that anyone could read through it an have a good grasp of the concepts included.

This book in particular was really good. It was based on the idea of helping people look at the Scriptures to see how God would want to church to set up their leadership. Driscoll gives the reasons his church (Mars Hill in Seattle) uses these guidelines. He offers his interpretation of difficult topics like women-pastors, elders, and more. The only problem with this book is that I’m not sure how many churches that are established would be willing to totally restructure their entire model of leadership because an 80 page book told them to. Worth your time, but the price seems pretty high for a book you can read in an hour.

020 - Knowing God

Knowing God is a superb read. Well worth the time it takes to sit down and read it cover to cover. God has blessed J.I. Packer with a phenomenal insight into the Christian life, into Himself and into biblical truth. Though this is a 30ish year old book the ideas contained within are still paramount to today’s Christian. I found the only way I could read this book was to read it with a pen, to underline key lines and to write my thoughts in the margin so that I was able to keep reading without worrying about forgetting my thoughts. I would highly recommend this book to anybody, believer or not. For a believer it is an edifying and sanctifying experience. For a non-believer, by God’s grace, will it lead to belief. That being said read the book not because of Packer or because of me rather because it gives one a deep insight into ones heart.

Submitted by - Sam Morris

019 - Don't Waste Your Life

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper was a great read. Piper expresses his desire for the reader to not near the end of their life and to have wasted it. He writes this book to encourage and help those seeking to live for something meaningful and lasting. Piper tells many stories and uses lots of illustrations throughout the book. The only problem is that for a period of about 3 or 4 chapters Piper only uses war illustrations.

All in all this book was great. Very interesting and a quick read. However, if you have read his book Desiring God then this one will seem to repeat some of that information. Don’t Waste Your Life has plenty of great information and since Desiring God is sort of Piper’s masterpiece there is no wonder why some of it’s ideas ended up in this book. Still, worth your time and would be a great gift.

018 - The Teeth of the Tiger

I own several Tom Clancy books, but have unfortunately never had the chance to read through any of them. I’ve heard plenty of great things about Clancy, mostly from men. And now after reading his book I know why. Clancy writes for men. In the same way that most war movies, spy sagas, and violent pictures are geared for men, Clancy designs his plots, characters, and twists to appeal to men.

For the most part, The Teeth of the Tiger was a great read. As stated earlier since it was written for men, and I am a man, I thoroughly enjoyed it. My only problem came near the end of the novel. As I approached the last 50 pages I began to wonder how the book was going to end. And then it did. It was interesting up to the end, but nothing to make the book memorable. No great obstacle to overcome. Just an ending.

017 - Eragon Series

Christopher started writing the Eragon series when he was just fifteen years old. Now he is a New York Times best seller and into his early twenties. Don't let his young age fool you, though. His wisdom and insight into human emotions combine with his genius imagination for adventure and brilliant eloquence place him on a plane beside older, more experienced writers. I never thought myself to become enthralled in fantasy novels, but Paolini carries me, captivated over hundreds of pages of adventure.

Eragon, a simple farm boy begins his journey outside the walls of his hometown when a dragon egg hatches for him. He becomes a chosen dragon rider and the one true hope against the evil of a tyrant king. His social circle takes a dramatic change from blacksmiths, shop keepers, and farm animals to dwarves, elves, urgals, and magicians.

The amount of war and death in the story makes your stomach turn and provokes your mind to examine and question the reasons behind war. Though not condemning war, this series unmasks real life issues attatched to the souls of warriors. For a youthful, fantasy series it tackles many real life issues. I am amazed at how a youth like Paolini can have so much insight into life experiences. Eragon. Eldest. Brisinger. And now we await the fourth and final book of this amazing adventure.

016 - Religion Saves and Nine Other Misconceptions

Religion Saves... is a great book that covers a huge variety of topics that are "hot" issues in today's culture and society. The book explores the topics of birth control, abortion, sex, dating, humor, predestination, and more all from a Christian perspective. Mark Driscoll is an excellent writer and offers not only solid theology, but also great practicality for his readers. His book is full of humor and that really keeps the book moving. Rather than getting bogged down with the heavy theology the funny stuff keeps things running smoothly.

Driscoll's book is recommendable to anyone wondering about the various topics covered. His book is full of footnotes pushing the reader back to Scripture or to other great writers. He tackles issues few other pastors are willing to touch, but he does it all in a very loving and compassionate way. Great fresh insights into often over debated issues.

015 - Running in Circles

Running in Circles, is a decent book written by an author I have never heard of. Kim Engelmann is a pastor at a Presbyterian Church in California. She tells her story and how she worked through the difficulty in which she was raised. Engelmann has a great deal to say about abuse in all it’s forms. Throughout the book you will find her view on physical and alcohol and verbal abuse.

Her book tries to get the reader to “get out of the hamster wheel.” The hamster wheel is the symbol of the way people live their lives in cycles. However, the book quickly begins to repeat itself leaving the reader is a hamster wheel of sorts. This book wasn’t bad, but I don’t think it’s worth the time it takes to read it.

014 - The Shaping of Things to Come

The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch is a great read for church leaders seeking to reach out to the upcoming generations. The authors write from a very post-modern viewpoint as to how the church can minister to young post-moderns. They believe that the current model of church is quickly become ineffective and push the reader to begin shifting their paradigm to a more "missional" one. In recent years the church has become more and more rejected by most people in the Western world. Even worse, the church has been experienced and then rejected. The topics of spirituality, meaning, and God have become more readily available but Christianity has been rejected as the answer to these topics.

The author's do an excellent job of showing what needs to change in the church to become effective again. They also build a case against the arguments that many reader may build while reading the book. I would highly recommend this book to be read by anyone in church leadership or anyone interested in the future of the church. Fairly deep and thought provoking, yet also adding practical advice and steps to the theology it teaches. Plenty of quotable portions and plenty of graphs for the visually-minded.

013 - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I recently received Donald Miller's new book in the mail. I had pre-ordered it and was waiting with great expectancy for it to arrive. Once it arrived it took me 2 days to finish. The book was that good. Miller often challenges the reader through subtle story to change their lives. This book is about creating your story and how to make it exciting and worth living. A book of stories about creating your story at first seemed odd, but as I read it the idea began to grow on me. The book is extremely well written and easy to read (like any good story). Miller gives the reader a look into his life meanwhile challenging them to examine how they live their own lives as well.

The idea of living our story out to the best of our ability was a new concept for me which was perhaps part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much. Miller offers plenty of nuggets of wisdom throughout making this book a combination of a novel and instruction manuel. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good page-turner. The stories really move the book along and the 250 pages seem to fly by. If you are looking for a good book, go get this one. It is well worth your time.

012 - Forgotten God

I recently read through Chan's first book Crazy Love and thought it was so good I went and got his second book. This book is all about the Holy Spirit. Chan makes it clear from the beginning that he will not get too heavy into the theology of the Holy Spirit and more about what it means to have the Spirit working in our lives. I've read several books on the theology of the Holy Spirit and several books like this one about how to let the Spirit work in our lives.

First let me say that this book is very well written. There are several quotes and nuggets of insight throughout the book. Several of the illustrations were hastily underlined and I'm sitting waiting to use them myself. Chan writes in a very readable style and puts some of the heavier theology on the bottom shelf so anyone can grasp it and comprehend it...

However, there are a few fallbacks of this book. First of all reading this book doesn't guarantee the Holy Spirit will move in your life. Second, Chan pretty much recycles a lot of the information that other authors have already said. This book isn't groundbreaking by any means. Despite the offer of easy reading and good illustrations all the information in this book can be found elsewhere. So all in all I would recommend this book if you haven't read a book about the Holy Spirit recently, but if you're an expert or if you've read widely on the subject of the HS then you probably shouldn't bother with this book.

011 - Tortured For Christ

I have owned this book for several years, but have never gotten around to reading it. Now I have. And to be honest, I'm not sure what took me so long. This book was one that I couldn't put down, but at the same time was tough to read. The book is the story of the life of Richard Wurmbrand who was a pastor in Romania who was captured and tortured by the Communists. This book was written merely days after his release from the country. It is moving and powerful. The stories of Wurmbrand's life are miraculous and unexplainable. The way God uses him is something many of us only dream about. But throughout the entire book Wurmbrand gives God credit for everything that happens. He blames the Communist system for his imprisonment, not the Communists. In fact, he shows perhaps the best example of Christ's love for his enemies that I have ever heard or seen.

This book has left me wanting more. More stories. More of God moving in my life. More copies of the book to give out to anyone who will read it. I would recommend this book to Christians. Anyone who follows Christ and wants to read the story of a man who is passionately pursuing God. Incredible read.

010 - Velvet Elvis

So I sat down to re-read Velvet Elvis (by Rob Bell) the other day and quickly discovered why I enjoyed the book so much the first time through. Bell writes in a very conversational way, and seems to be alright with everyone. He is slow to pick a fight and pretty much wants to live in harmony with everyone. Velvet Elvis explores a more "post-modern" view of the church. Bell lands with the Emerging Church (even though he denies being a part of it) on many topics. His book is very popular among young people looking for a new way to look at their faith. To be honest, the first time I read through this book I was in Bible college and still sorting out where I was theologically. At that point it was one of the best books I had ever read. This time through I was still impressed and challenged, but came away disagreeing with Bell more than last time.

I would recommend this book to a variety of people. I would recommend it to those who hate Bell but have never read through any complete work he's written. I would recommend it to those who are needing a fresh take on Christianity. I would recommend it to those who perhaps have already read it and have grown since then. I advise that when reading through this book follow the advice written on the back cover, "Don't swallow it uncritically. Think about it. Wrestle with it." Bell humbly writes, "Just became I'm a Christian and I'm trying to articulate a Christian worldview doesn't mean I've got it nailed. I'm contributing to the discussion." Anyone who reads the books should keep these things in mind.

009 - Vintage Jesus

Vintage Jesus was an incredible book. Mark Driscoll makes a book about the defense of a historical Jesus fun to read. His book never drags and offers the readers plenty of insights mingled with laughter. He breaks down the gospel of Mark like no one else ever has or ever will. His words are powerful and cut to the point. He offers the reader two options, either accept Christ as Lord or reject him as nothing.

Driscoll shows a mastery of history and culture as he quotes John Lennon and Augustine as well as countless others from both church history and pop culture. He references atheists, theologians, musicians, poets, nuns, and comedians. However, don't be fooled by the diversity of quotes he pushes the idea that Jesus came to earth as fully God and fully man, he died a sacrificial death so that we can go live forever with Him in heaven. Driscoll may come across as unorthodox in his presentation, but don't be fooled, his theology is superb. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. To those who are seeking to know more about Jesus to seminary students this book offers plenty and well worth the investment of time and money.

008 - Corporate Canaries

I found this book in a Christian bookstore several months ago and picked it up. I was genuinely surprised at how well the book was written. I’ve never heard of Gary Sutton, but he lets the reader know his credentials right off the get-go, sort of a “why should I be writing this book” list. His list is impressive and his insights are incredible.

The book is very unique look at leadership and management skills. Sutton takes a few pages to tell the reader a story from his grandfather’s life as a coal miner. He then draws conclusions for managers based on the life lessons his grandfather learned. The only drawback I can see is that I bought this book assuming that it would include something transferable to church leadership. However, most of the practical steps were designed for managers and higher-ups in companies, not necessarily the church. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking advice in the area of business or management.

007 - The Testament

This story was inspirational in such a way as I did not expect from John Grisham. I have only read one other book by Grisham, but so far this one stands head and shoulders above it and the reputations of his additional ones. I was captivated by several elements. The opening chapter was one of the most exciting beginnings of a book I have ever encountered. Grisham had my heart from page one.

Additionally, I did not expect so many spiritual aspects in a John Grisham novel. I felt like I was reading a Christian novel, except it was really good. He tackles the issue of greed and pierces the hearts of his American readers.

Grisham does a great job of painting a picture of what the love of money can do to a person. His characters are highly developed and their financially destructive behaviors are portrayed brilliantly. Your stomach turns sick as you encounter the wastefulness of the rich in opposition to the hunger and disease of the poor. These irresponsible spenders are contrasted against the selfless Christian missionary. Worldviews and morals clash in this adventurous journey toward the eternal.

006 -The DaVinci Code

Intriguing! Dan Brown is a very captivating writer. The plot is thick, deep, and dripping with mystery. I was glued to every page. The level of intelligence and creativity that he possesses in his writing is obvious and what makes the story worth reading.

Yet the book is also loaded with false history. Dan creates his own facts based on real historical events to fit the plot of his fictional story. The problem with this is that the average reader does not know what to take as real historical fact and created fact. Even in fictional stories, you expect plot points based on facts to be true. That is what makes a story realistic and even more exciting to read. Yet the way Dan creates his own facts makes the story more closely comparable to a science fiction novel than any other type of novel. The facts were created to sound realistic but anyone educated in world history or church history would find these things to be false. Yet his created facts are what makes the story exciting! And exciting it is!

He is a fascinating author, and I do recommend this book. But I also recommend that it be coupled with a church history book or other historical records. Indulge in the fantastic twists and turns of this fantasy novel but do not let the conspiracy theories get the best of your educated brain.

005 - Crazy Love

I finally got around to reading this book. I heard Francis Chan speak a couple years ago at a conference, and was blown away by his passion for the church. When I saw that he had a book come out it was an easy decision for me. I bought it, and then it sat on the shelf for way too long. It took me just over a week to finish this book. Chan's book Crazy Love tackles the issue of love. God's love for us, our love for God, our love for the church, our love for the lost, God's love for the lost, etc. Love, love, love. And yet with the subject so simple the book was still incredible. I've read tons of books on loving people and loving God, but none quite like this.

Chan repeatedly punches you in the spiritual face, all the while you keep going back for more. His book is a quick read, but at the same time calls for reflection and digestion between chapters, pages, and sometimes paragraphs. Chan's love for the church and his desire to see Christians today live like the early Christians is obvious as you work your way through the pages of this book.

The best part is that Chan is someone who not only has written a great book, but also walks the walk. He sold his house and bought a smaller one so that he could give more money to the church. He has opened his home to various people needing a place to stay. His church is currently working towards terracing off a section of their property for an outdoor amphitheater to meet in rather than waste a ton of money on a new church building. Incredible book by an incredible man.

004 - A Hole in the World

Occasionally I like to take a couple days to read through a random children's book that I'll pick up at a thrift store. This time I read through A Hole in the World by Sid Hite. To be honest, I normally find children's book quite enjoyable because they are quick easy reads. This book was no different in that regard. It was a quick read that I was able to read even with distractions and still catch the plot and story.

The story is centered around the main character getting into some trouble and his parents sending him off to his aunt and uncle's farm for the summer. The book is about the experiences he has there at the farm. The book has an excellent balance of experiences ranging from love to ghost stories to the reward of hard work. Not a bad book all things considered.

Buy it here:

003 - The Open Gate

I recently worked my way through the short book, The Open Gate. It is a collection of prayers written by the author (David Adam) and various other famous figures from church history. The book offers everything from short prayers to long prayers. Prayers for confession, worship, intercession, and thanks. Adam does an excellent job compiling these prayers in practical sections that someone could turn to whenever needed.

The only issue I take with this book is that it never makes it known that pre-written prayers are a good starting point, but don't work well for the entirety of your prayer time. One could easily pick up this book and believe that if they read one of the prayers each day God will be happy with them. It creates a false idea that prayer needs to be formal and written by one of the professionals. But if one is willing to simply use the book as a catalyst for their prayer life they will find that enriches and deepens their time with the Creator.

002 - Irresistible Revolution

Shane Claiborne writes a delightfully distressing book in Irresistible Revolution. Based on stories from his life, he passionately unravels his personal convictions on topics like poverty and vengeance. Shane is a radical. And those who read this book may have the temptation to write him off as one, dismissing themselves from the responsibility he commands.

Yet, I invite you to read this book with open minds and hearts, considering the character and call of Christ. His words are both sweet and piercing. And they come from a man who has every right to say them. His life experiences are mind blowing and prove to be the shapings of his personality and convictions.

What captivates me the most is his genuine love for EVERYONE. He takes that simple statement so much deeper than I can describe. I highly recommend this book to anyone. If you are someone who is looking to start reading Shane’s stuff, I think this would be a good one to start with because it gives so much life background.

001 - Mission in the Old Testament

Mission in the Old Testament (by Walter Kaiser) was a fairly good read. The book is short (a whole 82 pages) and a fairly quick read. The main premise of the book was the idea that God chose Israel in the Old Testament to be His people so that they could take His love to the other nations. Kaiser builds a strong argument, but at several points the reader may find him proof texting. The other major drawback to the book is that it is not necessarily an incredibly interesting book. It seems to be about a fairly obscure topic that not everyone would find interesting.

Unless Israel's role in the Old Testament is an intriguing thing to you, you may not want to pick up this little volume. Yet, if the Old Testament is interesting to you and you have a spare afternoon you could quickly make your way through this book.