Tag: spiritual reading

Book Review: Upset the World, by Tim Ross

upset the world
Image belongs to Gateway Press.

Title: Upset the World
Author: Tim Ross
Genre: Nonfiction, Christian
Rating:5 out of 5

Following Jesus is not a safe course of action, it can upset your life and others. How does He do that? Through random acts of kindness, unexpected encounters, or a friendly stranger. Upsetting people can break down barriers and build relationships.

Pastor Ross teaches you how to:
Create a new ordinary of relating to others
Practice listening to and obeying the Holy Spirit’s voice
Learn how to do everyday evangelism
Love everybody (even people who disagree with you)
Change the way people think about Christianity

Upset the world with the message of hope and the love of Jesus Christ.

From the very first time I heard Pastor Tim speak—when he was still on staff at Gateway Church—I’ve loved his dynamic way of speaking. His presence is vivid and dramatic, and he dares to say what you’re thinking out loud.

This book is filled with stories and anecdotes of his experiences and he doesn’t urge his readers to take big leaps of faith—just the next small step forward in their everyday lives. His tone is conversational and relatable, and his love for Jesus and people shines through on every page.

Tim Ross is the pastor of Embassy City Church.

Book Review: Life on Mission @ Work, by Tyler Edwards

life on mission @ work
Image belongs to the author.

Title:    Life on Mission @ Work
AuthorTyler Edwards  
Genre:    Nonfiction
Rating:    5 out of 5

Many of us spend a large portion of our waking hours at work. For some, it’s hard to find time for anything else. How do we follow Jesus AND deal with the demands of our job? What if we stopped viewing our work as an obstacle and started seeing it as an opportunity? Could our relationship with Jesus change the way we view, value, and behave at work? Life on Mission at Work is focused on practical ways we can turn our work into our mission field, where our occupation becomes our opportunity to glorify God and share His love and grace with others.

This book came at a very good time for me, as my definition of work has changed in the past four and a half months. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work from home, but at first it was a struggle. Most of us spend a lot of time at work, but we don’t treat it as a mission.

Life on Mission @ Work gives easy, practical tips on how to change that. It’s broken down into easily-digestible pieces that are the perfect amount to mull over and implement into your day-to-day life—without fear of getting overwhelmed by “too much.” The straightforward, conversational tone makes this a joy to read, and I highly recommend it!

Tyler Edwards loves stories and Jesus. He is the author of Life on Mission @ Work.

(Galley courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: How to Have a Better Relationship with Anybody, by James Hilt

how to have a better relationship with anybody
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:  How to Have a Better Relationship with Anybody
Author:  James Hilt
Genre:  Nonfiction
Rating:  4 out of 5

You can have a better relationship with anybody—God, your children, your spouse, or friends. The answers for how to do so are found in Scripture. Counselor James P. Hilt has helped hundreds of people who wanted healthier, happier relationships with his principles derived from the insights of Scripture. He will help you:

Identify and get rid of problems that separate you from others
Stop feeling bitter and resentful
Listen more effectively
Become more patient
Celebrate others more readily
Feel more satisfied in your relationships

Study what the Bible has to say about relationships, apply these healing truths to your life, and discover the remarkable difference it can make. Christ’s love can flow unhindered through your life. Don’t put up with disconnection and resentment any longer.

This was an insightful read that offered both insight and tips that were feasible and doable (Not far-fetched and almost laughable tips for those of us just trying to live our lives and keep all the balls in the air.). The voice was relatable, like talking to a friend, not preachy or condescending, and it incorporated biblical principle and scripture into anecdotes from the author, making it feel even more like sitting down for a chat with a friend that has a little more experience than you.

James Hilt is an author and a counselor. How to Have a Better Relationship with Anybody is his newest book.

(Galley courtesy of Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Becoming Sage, by Michelle Van Loon

becoming sage
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:  Becoming Sage
AuthorMichelle Van Loon
Genre:  Nonfiction
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 

For the last several decades, Western churches have focused the bulk of their resources on the early stages of discipleship—children’s Sunday school, youth group, college ministry. These are all important, but we’ve neglected spiritual growth in the second half of life. In fact, an outside observer might think that after the growth of the college years, the goal is simply to coast through the rest of your Christian life. The book explores what the unique challenges of midlife can teach us about Jesus and how to think about everything from church, friends, and family, to money, bodies, and meaning.

I found Becoming Sage to be a thought-provoking and intriguing read, and it addresses a topic that seems prevalent in many churches:  the focus on family and children that seems to occupy a prominent place in church life. But what about after the children have left home? What then?

Becoming Sage explores the topic in depth, without castigating the church, which I found refreshing and hopeful

Michelle Van loon blogs, writes, and speaks about spiritual life formation. Becoming Sage is her newest book.

(Galley courtesy of Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Everywhere Holy, by Kara Lawler

everywhere holy
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

Title:  Everywhere Holy
AuthorKara Lawler
Genre:  Christian
Rating:  5 out of 5

Life doesn’t have to be sweeping vistas and larger-than-life dreams. It can be small and ordinary and still be filled with God and love. For Kara, life is best lived in the mundane, everyday routines that fill her life, and God meets her there and opens her eyes to the beauty and grace that surrounds her.

I don’t have kids or a small farm like Kara does, but I enjoyed every page of this read. Kara’s writing isn’t flowery, but every sentence is filled with a simple grace that touched me. Peace and simple joy fill every page, and I highly recommend it.

Kara Lawler is a mother and a writer. Everywhere Holy is her newest book.

(Galley courtesy of Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Middle Matters, by Lisa-Jo Baker

the middle matters
Image belongs to WaterBrook & Multnomah.

Title:  The Middle Matters
Author:    Lisa-Jo Baker
Genre:  Christian, Self-Help
Rating:  4 out of 5

The best-selling author of Never Unfriended opens up about midlife and what it feels like to have outgrown those teenage jeans, but finally grown into the shape of our souls.

For everyone who is still caught off-guard when someone calls you ma’am—even though you don’t recognize the newest tween celebrities or have a prayer of fitting into those old jeans. You’re an adult now. You’d think you’d be used to that…

The Middle Matters is a look at an “ordinary” life—from the inside—and just how extraordinary it can be. Because a life well-lived is where the beauty is. No matter how ordinary you think your life is.

The stories and anecdotes made this book so relatable! I enjoyed every single page, even the ones I truly couldn’t relate to (not having kids will do that to you sometimes). This book is like your best friend or your older sister giving you solid advice as she talks about the realities of life.

Lisa-Jo Baker is a former attorney and an author. The Middle Matters is her newest book.

(Galley courtesy of WaterBrook & Multnomah via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Seeking Him, by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth; Tim Grissom

seeking him
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:  Seeking Him
Author:    Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth; Tim Grissom
Genre:  Christian
Rating:  4 out of 5

Revival isn’t just about church. Sure, it can take place in church, but it can also take place in your heart, life, and spirit. It can change marriages, friendships, families. This 12-week, interactive study guide gets to the heart and soul of matters. Using real-life examples and stories, the authors encourage readers to examine their own lives and seek God in all areas.

Seeking Him has been newly updated by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Tim Grissom.

(Galley courtesy of Moody Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Redwoods and Whales: Becoming Who You Actually Are, by Phil Joel

 

redwoods and whales
Image belongs to Emanate Books/Thomas Nelson.

Title:  Redwoods and Whales: Becoming Who You Actually Are
Author: Phil Joel
Genre:  Spiritual, Christian
Rating:   5 out of 5

Redwoods and Whales offers a warning and a promise:

The warning: Don’t become that beached whale, trying to live in a foreign environment.

The promise: You will find freedom when your identity is centered under the safety of the Divine.

Life is tough. Depression, addiction, suicide, violence…they’re all commonplace in our society, and they make it hard to know where to turn. Despite the “connectedness” of our social media word, many people feel alone and adrift. But we have a choice:  we can choose to seek God and His true nature, and we can choose to live healthy, purpose-filled lives.

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this book, but Redwoods and Whales brought inspiration and hope while acknowledging the sometimes-bleak world around us. The casual tone combined with the chatting-with-a-friend feel of the book makes it easier to soak in the deep message in this book.

Phil Joel is a musician and an artist. Redwoods and Whales:  Becoming Who You Actually Are is his debut book.

(Galley courtesy of Emanate Books/Thomas Nelson via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Ministry of Ordinary Places, by Shannan Martin

 

ministry of ordinary places
Image belongs to Thomas Nelson.

 

Title:  The Ministry of Ordinary Places
Author:   Shannan Martin
Genre:   Nonfiction, Christian
Rating:   5 out of 5

Many people dream of big ministries in places they feel at home in, surrounded by people like them. Shannan Martin found that that sort of ministry wasn’t her destiny at all. Instead, she ended up in a working-class neighborhood in Goshen, Indiana—okay, a neighborhood where sometimes finding a job to work at is hard—an ordinary place, surrounded by ordinary people who might be wildly different on the surface, but who are alike at heart:  struggling and in need of love.

Truly paying attention to both the big things and the small can open your eyes to the truth in the world around you, and Shannan built a home amidst people who were willing to do life together—no matter how hard that is at times. Sometimes, when God calls people to ministry, it’s not a Billy Graham-style of ministry. Instead, it’s smaller, quieter, and has a profound effect on the people around us, the people who make up our lives.

This book. This book. Usually when I read nonfiction, I can only read a few pages at a time, but I wanted to read large chunks of this at a time. Shannan’s writing is so powerful and evocative, full of truth that touches the heart and opens the mind to broader ideas of home—and what that can look like.

Shannan Martin is a writer and speaker. The Ministry of Ordinary Places is her newest book.

(Galley provided by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Chosen for Christ, by Heather Holleman

chosen for christ
Image belongs to Moody Publishers.

Title:  Chosen for Christ
Author:  Heather Holleman
Genre:  Nonfiction, Christian
Rating:   4 out of 5

Most people spend their lives in search of something:  marriage, career, prestige, a better job, more education…but these things we plan on often leave us frustrated and searching for more. What if we started living as if we were chosen for a person, Jesus Christ, instead of a plan? A calling is about more than a plan. Turn that old way of thinking on its head and embrace your true identity.

Chosen for Christ is all about embracing your identity as being chosen by Christ—and what that really means for you and your life. This book was both inspiring and uplifting and gave me a whole new way to think about things. An excellent read!

Heather Holleman is a wife, mother, college teacher, and author. Chosen for Christ is her newest book.

(Galley provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.)