Who Will Play With Me by Randall Goodgame–Book Review

In size, illustration and presentation, Who Will Play with Me? reminds me of the many Dr. Suess books my children loved as preschoolers.  It’s just the right length for a read aloud book for this age group, and the winsome characters (Slug and Bug) will inspire interest and amusement.

Not overtly Christian, the story encourages children to be kind and put others first.  It also points how our diversity as individuals helps us to accomplish more together.  All of our traits are worthy and useful in different situations.   The book ends with a quote from Philippians 2:3:

“In humility, value others above yourselves.”

The author, Randall Goodgame is the well-known creator of Slugs and Bugs music and you can visit SlugsandBugs.com to find more of his products.

VERDICT:  Overall, this looks like a fun, cute book for young children.  My only criticism is the rhyming dialog seemed a bit forced, and lacked bounce.  I give it a 4.

Want to order the book?  Click on the link below:

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/who-will-play-with-me-P005811096

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

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Vulnerable by Raleigh Sadler– Book Review

All I can say is WOW!  I didn’t  want to read this book at first — I ordered it from B&H Publishers because the book I really wanted to review was not available.  I know very little about human trafficking, and what could I do about that anyway?  Now that I’ve come to the end (lining up with our monthly theme, lol) I’m very glad I gave it a try.

First of all, Mr. Sadler defines trafficking — and it’s not all about sex and kidnapping.

“The act:  the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of people.  The means:  force, fraud, and coercion.  The purpose:  people are trafficked for “prostitution … or other forms of sexual slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Putting it very simply, human trafficking is exploiting vulnerable people for commercial gain.

Who is a vulnerable person?  Anyone who has an unmet need.  This need can be material, emotional, psychological and/or financial.  If someone is homeless, undocumented, in the foster care system, or the penal system they are vulnerable to exploitation.

Often trafficking of vulnerable people is going on right around us, and we look right through it.  Sometimes the people themselves do not understand that they are being victimized — they believe they have consented, or are party to their enslavement.  They are in, or have lived in a situation where exploitation and demoralization are regarded as normal.

The theme of this book is that we are all vulnerable, and that:

“God motivates vulnerable people like you and me to love other people by his own vulnerability for us.”

Lost in our sins, we are completely vulnerable.  Yet Jesus became a man, vulnerable as we are, to die for us.  Do you believe this?  If so, action will flow out of this belief.  Maybe you are thinking that alone there isn’t much you can do.  However, the author stresses that

“Community is the most underrated tool needed to discover how God is calling us to love our neighbor.”

This book is full of eye-opening facts.  For example, as consumers, our supply chain is so infected with use of what is essentially slave labor.  In other words, people  around the globe are forced to work in slavery-like conditions so that we can enjoy our comfortable life style.  You can find out how much you contribute to world slavery by visiting SlaveryFootprint.org.

At the end of the book is a list ways to fight human trafficking, including many resources to learn more about the problem and it’s solution.

VERDICT:  The theology underlying the book is sound.  I give it five stars.  If you would like to purchase your own copy, follow the link below:

Vulnerable

 

 

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper–Book Review

This book review was written by Barbara M., one of our Fanning the Flame team members and presented at our last meeting.

Part 1 discusses making God supreme in missions through worship, prayer and suffering.  He discusses missions not being the ultimate goal of the church — worship is because God is ultimate, not man. When the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity, but worship abides forever. He uses a lot of Biblical texts to “back up” his statements and he uses many statements to make his point.

Part 2 discusses making God supreme in missions — the necessity and nature of the task.  The supremacy of Christ as the conscious focus of all saving faith and the supremacy of God among all the nations is the focus of this section, which also has many Biblical texts to back up his statements.  Emphasis is made regarding reaching all the nations.

Part 3 discusses making God supreme in missions –the practical outworking of compassion and worship.  Piper says that Jonathan Edwards (18th century pastor and theologian) impacted his thinking regarding worship and missions “so much it is incalculable.”  He says if by the mercy of God, Christ becomes the treasure of the nations and God becomes their delight, then He is honored and we are saved — the goal of missions.  Therefore the twofold motive of missions, mercy for man and glory for God, is one coherent goal.  Also discussed was the inner simplicity and outer freedom of world wide worship.

There is a four page conclusion and then an “afterword” by Tom Sellar, Pastor for Leadership Development, Bethlehem Baptist and Dean of Bethlehem College and Seminary.  Some of the above descriptions of the book are taken in part of whole from the book itself.

 

Letters to an American Christian – Book Review

If you’ve ever wondered how Christians should navigate and react to political situations this is the book for you.  Bruce Riley Ashford, who is a Dean of Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will help you through all the confusing rhetoric that is being spewed by politicians in Washington D.C.

The book is separated into three parts: A Christian View of Politics and Public Life, A Christian View on Hot-Button Issues and A Christian Hope for American Politics.  Each section has many chapters that are actually written like a letter to a political science undergraduate named Christian.  By writing in this format, Bruce Riley Ashford has kept the tone of the subject matter light and easy to read.   He covers many topics that are in the news today like abortion, gay rights and same sex marriage, free speech, religious liberty and Second Amendment rights, only to mention a few.

The first section, A Christian View of Politics and Public Life, explores the relationship between Christians and government and he also explains the separation of Church and State.  The second section goes over the top hot-button topics of the day that I listed above.  This section really helped me form and solidify my opinions on these topics.  Section three is about being a Christian Witness in the world and how to effect the culture around us.

I took a long time reading this book because I really wanted to soak in what the author was saying.  I can get very confused with all of the political rhetoric out there.  I’m interested in what happens in the “public square”, but back away when the yelling starts.  This book really helped me sort out the issues and learn how to, perhaps, join my voice with others.

I’m giving this book five stars.  If you are interested in the public forum, but can’t make sense of it all, and not sure where a christian should stand, this is the book for you.

 

Letters to an American Christian

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

Unplanned by Abby Johnson–Book Review

If you don’t have time for any other book this year, read this one.  I seriously had trouble putting it down once I started.  Abby Johnson is completely honest and vulnerable in describing her journey from Planned Parenthood Director to leader in the pro-life movement.  I enjoy reading about the spiritual journeys of others, and this an engrossing example.  Abby writes about her professional and personal life, including her own two abortions.

Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line by [Johnson, Abby]

Some of my personal takeaways were:

  1. Semantics matter.  It is very easy to be taken in by words that sound good, but are not completely truthful.  For example, Abby was deceived by claims that the goal of Planned Parenthood was to “decrease abortions” by providing better access and education about birth control
  2. We should not treat those who disagree with us as the enemy.  Abby was won over by the genuine concern and love of pro-life workers, not by being badgered.  She also know many Planned Parenthood workers who truly cared about the health of women, and who worked to do good in their communities
  3. Prayer is meaningful and we should not give up.  People prayed for Abby for many years before her eyes were opened to the truth.  Pray not only that abortions be prevented — pray for those who have had abortions, and for those who work in the abortion industry
  4. The saddest part of this story was the reaction of different churches Abby attended.  One church told Abby and her husband they could not be members because of her work at Planned Parenthood.  A second church told her she should leave when she quit the job to become pro-life.  We have become so polarized that even fellow Christians are unwilling to dialogue with one another about sensitive issues. We’re very quick to judge and reject others.

VERDICT:  5 STARS!  Don’t miss it!

Empowered by Catherine Parks–Book Review

This book of short biographical sketches would be ideal for teaching youngsters about some of the heroines of the faith.  The author begins by telling us:

“Not one woman in this book planned to become famous or change the world.”

Parker has chosen women of different eras, with different talents and passions, to illustrate how God can work through each of us to glorify Him and do His work in the world.  These women had one big thing in common — they truly knew God and had a desire to follow His will for their lives.  Some of them will be familiar to most Christians (Elisabeth Elliot, Fanny Crosby) while others were less well known (Pandita Ramabai, Phillis Wheatley).  They faced obstacles of different sorts, and overcame them with the help of Christ.

Each sketch emphasizes a different quality such as strength, obedience, kindness or faithfulness, demonstrating how it was lived out by a particular woman.  At the end of the sketch there an explanation of the quality, discussion questions and a Bible verse. This would be an excellent Christian book club choice for older elementary school or middle school students.

VERDICT:  5 stars.  If you work with tweens, especially girls, you’ll want a copy.

For ordering information, follow this link:

Empowered

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

 

Why God? by Dan Dewitt–Book Review

Thomas is a little boy who loves to ask questions. In this book, Dr. Dan Dewitt, a professor of theology and apologetics, attempts to answer some big questions in a simple way that can be understood by elementary aged children.

Thomas asks his mother, “Why do we believe in God?” and “How did the world get broken?”  The answer is that God created everything, and in His amazingly perfect creation we see clues to the goodness and power of the Creator.  Through sin (disobedience to God) that perfection was damaged — but in our hearts we find more clues that point us back to the Source of all goodness.

The book is colorfully illustrated, and includes a “parent connection” page at the back with some suggested Bible verses, discussion points and questions.  It could easily be used as a Sunday School lesson.

VERDICT:  4 Stars.  It’s very basic, but would make a good starting point to a discussion with children about why we believe in God.

If you would like to purchase this book, go to the link below:

Why God?

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255