Year End Book Review

It's been a good year of good readings. I'm not one to create lists but here it goes. The following books are in no particular order; just those that I have read over this past year and wanted to pass along to you.

1. Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan - This is a book I'll read again. Chan gives account to scripture after scripture reminding us of the powerful Holy Spirit while revealing the complacency of many Christians today who are too weak and too fearful to unashamedly follow the Holy Spirit. It's a convicting, challenging and an inspiring read.

2. Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World by Gary A. Huagen -  Haugen speaks with authority over injustice through the three parts of his book: Part I: Taking up the Challenge, Part 2: Hope Amid Despair: God's Four Affirmations About Justice and Part 3: Real-World Tools for Rescuing the Oppressed. Haugen not only presents the problem of evil in today's world but he also offers practical suggestions on how the every day Christian can participate in God's mission of justice.

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The Seeking of Fame: God's, Not Ours

At this past weekend’s Desiring God National Conference, Sam Storms and Justin Taylor introduced a book that was written in secret, in honor of a man, as a means to proclaim the fame of God’s name.  This book, For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper, was well conceived and well received, as would be fitting for a man and a community of people who are enraptured by the supremacy of God in all things and the fame of His glorious name among the nations.

This book will age like a fine painting, one that rivets the eyes as it honors the beauty of the subject, but one with such a glory that the spirit is lifted up towards reflection upon Higher Things.  And I suspect Piper would have it no other way.  It is undoubtedly the providence of God that delivered a book of honor during a time of well-publicized sabbatical in the public ministry of a man who is battling pride, the kind of pride that festers at the feet of a world renowned minister intent on proclaiming the glory and fame of God’s name.  What tension must Piper feel in the affirmation of his identity as a man, and a pastor, and a writer, in balance with his desire to see the name of God magnified in all of his life, and at war with the self-glorifying pride that plagues his own heart.

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FREE download of chapter one

Check out my website to download your own copy of Chapter one from my book A Beautiful Mess: A Perfectionist's Journey Through Self-Care. 

Click here to visit

The book is not dead nor does it sleep

Anybody who says the book is dead hasn't been keeping up with current events. Truth is, more books are being published now than ever before. Way more.

More than a million book titles were published in 2009--a quarter of those by "traditional" publishers and the rest by self-publishers and micro-niche publishers--including five titles by ConversantLife writers published by Conversant Media Group and Harvest House:

  • Apologetics for a New Generation by Sean McDowell: Helping you effectively share the answers to life's big questions with a new generation.
  • I Can't See God Because I'm in the Way by Stan Jantz and Bruce Bickel: Showing that a fresh view of God is more accessible than you think.
  • The Last TV Evangelist by Phil Cooke: Knowing why the next generation couldn't care less about religious media, and why it matters.
  • The God Question by J.P. Moreland: An invitation to honestly explore an entirely new way of living--the way of Jesus.
  • The Forecast by Caroline Ferdinandsen: A counterfeit memoir the lets the author lie the entire time and still tell you the absolute truth.
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Who Do You Trust? Really

For your first week of reading, Why Trust Jesus? Here's several questions that I want you to ask yourself but also ask your friends in your community group/ book study group.  After you have read Norman Geisler's foreword and my introduction, consider these questions.  

1. What characteristics do you look for in someone else, before you can trust them?

2. What are the greatest barriers to trusting Christ daily in your own life? Is it intellectual, emotional, or self-sufficiency? Talk it out. 

 3. We have all probably been let down by Christians. Maybe a pastor or priest,  a father or mother, an ex-lover. In the midst of  disappointments or failures, why do you believe the Christian faith is most trustworthy? Or more specifically, why Jesus? 

4. What steps will you take this week to grow in trust?

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The iPad and Imagination

Even before Apple pulled back the curtain on its new iPad--the iconoclast himself holding the brand new device and calling it "a truly magical and revolutionary" product--the anticipation for the Apple Tablet was enormous. The publishing world in particular was gaga in the days leading up to the announcement, a lot of industry leaders wondering whether or not the Apple tablet will revolutionize the distribution of newspapers, magazines, and books in the same the iPod transformed the music industry.

Whether the iPad ends up revolutionizing the way we buy and consume digital content of all kinds remains to be seen. But at first blush I do believe Steve Jobs has once again done something extraordinarily well. He hasn't just created a device; he has tapped into our imaginations. By calling the iPad "magical" rather than "useful" or "universal," Jobs has soared above the ordinary by placing this device--and let's face it, the iPad is just a device--into the realm of wonder rather than utility. If Steve Jobs is to be believed, the iPad isn't a device to merely help you do things more efficiently. It is device that will help you dream of doing things better.

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Summer Reading

There are many 1/8-read-books lying around, but here a few I’ve shared the most consistency with this summer.

“Reconciliation: The Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu,” by Michael Battle
For those pondering reconciliation, race relations, South African history, or a theology of love, this is your guy and this might be a great book to add to your collection.

“The Inner Voice of Love,” by Henry Nouwen
Brilliant. Not a light book, or one you’ll want to read to read straight through, but definitely one with an uncanny ability to review life at varying points of its journey. If you’re the heart-felt, slightly (or wholly) melancholic type, Nouwen will become a dear friend. I’ve never read something by him that didn’t shift the landscape of my interiority.
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What Is Happening to Me?

I did something for the very first time the other day.

I saw a new book coming out in hardcover and thought, Boy, if I had a Kindle, I would totally download that one.

What is happening to me?

I work at a publishing house! I love the printed page! I love ink on paper! I love books!

And yet, for that particular book (and if you’re curious, it was Michael J. Fox’s Always Looking Up), I was interested enough in the content to want to read it, but not so interested that I wanted a hardcover that was retailing at $25.99.

And, really, it wasn’t so much the price that was stopping me. It was the thing—the hardcover book. Some days, the thought of accumulating even one more thing wears me out.

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The Most Anti Essential Christian Books

I found this post on Eugene Cho's blog. He's the pastor of Quest Church in Seattle and I thought it was hilarious. Enjoy.

In reponse to the question about the 10 Most Essential Books (for Christians), we received some fabulous and interesting suggestions.  But the one that took the care for Most Hilarious was submitted by someone named BW.  And if you’re gonna get offended, I have two things to say:  1) It’s not my list :) and 2) Relax.  It’s okay to make fun of ourselves sometimes.

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Review: "Angry Conversations With God"

Angry Conversations With God (Faith Words, March 12, 2009)

By Susan E. Isaacs

Susan Isaacs is not your average Christian comedian. She’s not even your average Christian. So don’t think for a second that Angry Conversations With God is your average Christian spiritual memoir. It’s anything but.

Exploring this “middle-class white girl’s dark night of the soul,” Isaac unpacks her warped, twisted ideas about God’s will, sex, sin and salvation in fictional accounts of actual therapy sessions where she took God to marriage counseling. To call this memoir creative would be the understatement of the year. Creative and original, yes, but it’s also chock-full of saucy language (i.e., profanity), bitterly painful memories and shockingly angry tirades at God.

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