063 - I Lift Up My Soul

Recently I've gotten a bunch of devotionals to review.  This devotional seemed to be a lot like many others.  Short clips from other books compiled into one devotional.  Unfortunately, for many readers these books feel like you can get a little of everything and nothing all at the same time.  The devotions range widely in topic, can be read through in about a minute, and somehow fool people into thinking that they've spent time with God.

However, if the reader uses this book in addition to a normal quiet time with God then it could be quite helpful.  I love Charles Stanley's writing and would assume he too would want his readers to first spend time with God, then spend time with his book.  In the right context this book can be a great tool, in the wrong hand it can be detrimental to spiritual growth.  If you buy this book for someone make sure to let them know it shouldn't replace reading their Bible.

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.

062 - Living Life in the Zone

I'm not a huge fan of specialized devotionals.  I actually hate anything that too pointed.  This book comes across a little too pointed.  A 40 day Bible study for men who enjoy sports.  While that is a large demographic, I wonder why they couldn't have just written a men's devotional or just a devotional?  I thought the writing was average and the content was pretty typical.  Nothing groundbreaking, nothing too oooh and aaah over.  The book is packaged nicely, but that doesn't make up for the average work.  I'd recommend this book if you've never read a devotional before, if you have then it's just more of the same.  You could buy this book for your husband who isn't interested in church, and try to see if he'd get interested in the Bible through a sports devotional, but I'm not positive it would work.

061 - Transforming Church in Rural America

Recently I read “Transforming Church in Rural America” by Shannon O’Dell. Considering that I myself was in a transition from a smaller rural church to a larger urban church I found the book really interesting. In fact, it was so good I bought my old Sr. Pastor a copy. I would highly recommend this book for anyone preaching at or attending a rural church. Several of the topics raised were excellent and O’Dell encourages his readers to make rural church relevant and innovative, not boring and traditional. He encourages his readers to find various ways to make their church more effect at reaching the lost. I was also impressed because normally in these kinds of books there’s an assumption that if you’re doing things right you’re going to end up growing into a mega-church which is unlikely for rural churches. The book is real and practical and I would strongly recommend it.

060 - The Mockingbird Parables

I actually picked up with book with a hint of hesitation. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like, but I’ve never read a great book about a great book. However, I was quite pleasantly surprised. Matt Litton does an excellent job of drawing various lessons and parables out of Lee Harper’s classic novel. He breaks down everything from racism to environmental care to poverty. The book was incredible. It offered excellent insights and showed that the author really did have a strong grasp on the book. You could tell through the reading that Litton is passionate about the novel. I’ve gained new respect for the character of Atticus Finch and this book made me want to go re-read the book. I would highly recommend you go read this book if you’re a fan of the original or if you want some excellent Christian examples in classic literature.

Also, according to the law I’m supposed to let you know that I received this book for free to review. However, in no way has that impacted my review, I wrote honestly and openly about what I thought of the book.

059 - Illegals

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the book Illegals.  However, I have come to realize that just because Thomas Nelson publishes a book doesn't mean it's going to be Christian based.  In fact, this book is simply propaganda from the far right.  I thought the issue was poorly flushed out, the author decided to simply offer one side of the story rather than attempt to cover the topic from a balanced position.  What was worse was the fact that the book is so anti-immigrants that I wonder if the author or whoever approved this book at Thomas Nelson had ever read the Old Testament.  Needless to say I was disappointed in this book as a political book and as a Christian influenced book.  I would recommend picking it up if you like to get just one side of an argument or if you're already convinced that the religious right is a good thing.

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.