037 - Mystically Wired

Mystically Wired by Ken Wilson is an excellent book on prayer. More often than not books on prayer simply push the reader to just pray more. Block off more time, make sure you go to a certain type of place, or try to pray more often are normal “go-get-em” pep talks that most books give. However, Wilson’s book teaches about prayer. His book walks the reader through his journey in pray and how he grew dissatisfied with the traditional “do more” prayer books. Wilson challenges his readers to really connect with God through prayer rather than simply sticking through it. Wilson breaks down the human brain and what prayer and meditation does in the brain and the physical benefits for the believer.

The book was excellent. The only negative is that often some of the scientific brain study information was a little difficult to comprehend. The idea that pray has a physical impact on the brain is really intriguing, but I would have expected the information to be presented so that anyone reading could grasp the concept. I love the practical suggestions Wilson includes at the end of the book. The practical suggestions and the bibliography are worth the price of the book. Make sure to pick this book up.

Also, I’m supposed to let you know that I was given a free review copy of the book, but that has nothing to do with whether or not I liked it.

036 - Classic Wisdom for the Professional Life

Classic Wisdom for the Professional Life was a short read. The book took me less than 24 hours to wade my way through the various quotes. I found some of the quotes good, but questioned when these would be practical. For a pastor like me I have very few needs from a “professional life” quote book. In fact, other than framing some of these and putting them on the wall, or being a gift book for an MBA graduate, I’m not sure why this book was published. If you’re the kind of person who gets motivated simply by reading a quote book, then it’s probably right up your alley.

The other major negative about this book was that it was priced at $15.99 retail. Holy cow! I’m not sure who would spent 16 bucks on a book that takes a few hours to read, but if they have that much money they probably don’t need some “professional life” wisdom. I gladly read the book, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive a reader’s copy for no charge, but I have a hard time recommending this book to anyone. If you’re really interested in it, I’d recommend checking it out at a library.

According to the law I have to tell you that I received a free readers copy from Thomas Nelson, but that had nothing to do with my like/dislike of the book.

035 - An Army of Ordinary People

I’ve always been interested in the house church movement, and I finally got a chance to sit down and read a book about it. An Army of Ordinary People simply tells stories of different house churches and describes different struggles and victories faced by those who join, lead, or start them. The stories are all interesting and quite well told by the author. The only real qualm I had with the book was the super-loose definition of the word “church.” Felicity Dale seems to define the word “church” by any group of two or more believers. The only problem with this is that she doesn’t include anything about Bible study, prayer, communion, or accountability in her definition. If it’s just two or more people together, in my opinion, it waters down what a church really is.

With the exception of my difference of opinion in how a church is defined I really did enjoy this book. The writing was extremely good, and Felicity did an excellent job of offering the common Christian a look into the basics of the house church movement.

I’m also supposed to let you know that I received a free reader’s copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for reviewing the book. However, I wasn’t required to give the book a positive review.

034 - Searching for God Knows What (Expanded Edition)

I read Searching for God Knows What by Don Miller a while ago. It was a great read, however not the best of Don’s writings. The book covers the topics of self-help formulas, easy promises, and weak Christianity. Miller’s book is quite challenging to the normal view of Christianity that acts like it has all the answers and makes a 6 step process the end all. Miller writes with genuineness that most writers lack.

This revised edition didn’t seem to be very different at all. A new cover, with a new introduction and that’s about it. If you already own Seraching for God Knows What then don’t spend money on this copy for just a new introduction. It’s considered an “expanded” edition, but really lacks a great deal of new information. If you haven’t ever read any of Don Miller’s books then you should go out right now and buy one, seriously, he’s incredible.

I’m also supposed to tell you that I received a free reader’s copy from Thomas Nelson, but that getting a free book has nothing to do with what I thought of it. My opinions are my own.

033 - Plan B

What happens when life doesn't go as expected? How do we react when things don't go as planned? Pete Wilson does an excellent job of tackling the tough issue of how we should react when things fall through. He cuts through the regular standard Christian answers and gives an honest answer about our reaction.

Throughout his book Pete offers example after example of individuals and families he knows which have gone through unspeakable pain in extremely tough circumstances. Pete offers his readers a guide through the process of accepting that life doesn't turn out the way we want it. Life always includes suffering. He offers insights and advice for those who are in the midst of a life-altering painful situation. He talks frank about community and the role it plays in suffering as well as challenging the reader to consider their heart when the deal with difficult circumstances. Rarely do I read a book in 2 days, but this one I absolutely consumed. It was incredible.

Oh yeah, and I have to tell you (for legal reasons) that Thomas Nelson gave me an advanced reader's copy, but that has nothing to do with how great I thought the book was.