This Is Our Time – Book Review

This review is longer than usual because this book deserves your attention.

Trevin Wax is a well-known evangelical millennial and after reading this book, I can see why.  He manages to take modern day situations and show how they relate to God’s word.

Starting with the introduction, Trevin engrosses the mind and engages the thought process by telling us that our neighbor is not where the battle is, but rather the battle is with the lies that are told by the powers and principalities that engage us daily through the media. There are 8 chapters in the book.  The first 4 deal with the habits that impact us on a day to day basis.  The last 4 are based on the larger myths that animate our society. Every single chapter holds a wealth of information that opened my eyes to things that I have been doing and not even been aware that I was doing them.  I enjoyed this book so much that I am going to give a chapter by chapter review.

Chapter 1 deals with how our cell phones, internet practices, and even our friends can lead us to have a formed opinion instead of an informed opinion of ourselves, by narrowing our information intake to model our “Christian beliefs.” This constant affirmation of our views leads us to the myth that our “beliefs” are always right.

Chapter 2 is about our interaction with movies, TV shows, etc.  As most of us realize, a lot of the things we watch are fictional but the constant immersion into this alternate reality can pervert our true reality.  Often, these movies and shows tell us the lie that our fulfillment is found not in God but in emotional and material things.

Chapter 3 – This chapter addresses how we use society’s goals to map out our future.  Often, doing that leads us on a faulty path away from God.  God’s word leads us on a true path with a glorious ending.

Chapter 4 – Our all-time favorite myth of all, shopping and material things can make us happy.  We have turned our year into one shopping event after another.  Instead of being thankful for what we have in November, we are planning to buy more on Black Friday so we can be happier.  Ads that target our longing to be accepted through the labels we wear, the car we drive or the newest electronic gadget have turned shopping into a substitute “Religious” experience.

In these first four chapters, there were several quotes that stood out.

“The primary myth the smartphone tells you every day is that you are the center of the universe.”

“Desensitization is not a sign of spiritual progress but of sensual dullness. Do not confuse the ability to be unfazed by depictions of sin with spiritual maturity.”

“True courage is not deciding for yourself what is “right and wrong” but seeking to discover what truly is right and wrong – for yourself and everybody else.”

“The lie is not that you wouldn’t be okay without it.  The lie is that you’re going to be happier with it.

“The American Dream is about shopping for happiness.  The Kingdom Dream is about experiencing joy in God.”

Now onto the last four chapters.

Chapter 5 – Here the Author reminds us that we are not “at home” on this Earth.  We forget that this is not where we will spend our eternity but it is only where we spend a short tie in the span of our lives.  We, as Christians, have become too much “of the world” and have failed to remember to just be “in the world.”  This chapter also delves into the trap of politics, where sometimes politics become so central to us it becomes our alternate religion.

In Chapter 6 Trevin deals with the thought that we look at marriage as the pinnacle of our relationships, instead of making it the foundation of our lives. He does a great job of delving into common fallacies that pervade our societal beliefs and shows how each and every one of them steers us wrong and why.

Chapter 7 – Another common myth – Sexual freedom is a sign of a mature society and a sign of our freedom.  We have gone from a society and culture where sexual restraint was a sign of maturity into believing that sexual relations are a sign of maturity.

Chapter 8 This chapter is titled “As the World Wobbles” I admit I was confused as to what the content of this chapter would entail.  After reading the chapter, the title fits perfectly. We, as a society, go back and forth with “the world is ending” to “the world is better now than ever.”  Read this chapter for more information on this.

The final four chapters of the book sum up the worldly myths we encounter daily.  Below are my favorite quotes from these chapters.

“So, if you want to put down roots somewhere, put them in the soil of a church.  After all, the gates of hell are shaking not because of an election but because of Easter.”

“All marriages are broken, but what makes a marriage is they are broken together.

“Staking your identity in sexuality or pinning your hopes for happiness on sex is too low of a goal for a human being made in God’s image.”

“We can’t be faithful in our own time if we’re always longing for another.”

As you can probably tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and believe it would make a great small group study.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Read it, Study it, Learn from it.  I sure did.

Purchase the book at the link below – You will not be disappointed

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/this-is-our-time-P005789993

 

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Mighty Reader Workbook Grade 1 – Book Review

Author Heidi Cooley takes 13 stories from the Bible, Both in the Old and New Testament and simplifies them in such a way as to make them easily understandable to young students.
Each story is broken down into lessons over a 6 day time period, with one per day. These lessons not only target reading strategies but also reading skills. She also manages to include activities that highlight writing with reading comprehension.
Overall, I think that this is a well-written and designed series. Parents are encouraged to participate in the lessons, which also help in building the child’s character.
Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and fell that it is worth the investment, including in a Sunday School setting.

You may purchase the book at the link below.

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/mighty-reader-workbook-grade-1-P005803242

 

I was given a free copy of this book for an unbiased review

ThoughtFull by Dorena Williamson–Book Review

I reviewed Dorena Williamson’s book ColorFull a while back and loved it, so I was eager to take a look at ThoughtFull.  This second book does not disappoint — the story is just as engaging and beautifully illustrated as the first.  Subtitled “Discovering the Unique Gifts in Each of Us” it encourages young children to appreciate the differing personalities and gifts of others.

ThoughtFull: Discovering the Unique Gifts in…

Ahana Robinson, a young Down’s Syndrome boy receives an award for being a good friend.  He has the spiritual gift of encouragement.  His friend, Joshua notices that some kids tease Ahana because he is different.  This empathy reveals Joshua’s own spiritual gift –mercy.

Joshua’s dad comments:

“If kids and adults worked at discovering the unique gifts in other people, we could all be all be thoughtFull.”

On the last page parents and teachers will find a Bible verse to help children remember the main point of the story, as well as some “thoughtful” questions to reinforce the lesson.

VERDICT:  Highly recommended.  I give this book five stars!

When We Say Father – Book Review

As Lutherans, we ray the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday – But do we really understand or even hear what we are saying – the power and reverence?  This book explains the power of prayer and what each line means.

I enjoyed this book and felt it gave great examples of how to construct our own prayers through the model of the Lord’s Prayer.  This book is written so that anyone wanting a more detailed explanation and help can follow along.

As always, I really liked the author’s personal experiences that relational to the passages.  I am a firm believer in “connection through confession” with others through our own experiences in the faith

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars – it is well written and easy to understand.

You may purchase this book at the link below

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/when-we-say-father-P005796873

Big and Little Coloring Devotional – Book Review

First and foremost, I do not color, I have to start this review off honestly.  Rather than taking the time to sit down and color, or a lot of times just “be still”, I can usually find about a thousand other things to do.  That being said, I liked this book and I actually did do some coloring to try it out.  The book overall is well done and put together nicely.  The devotionals are easy to relate to and the illustrations definitely project the image the devotional is portraying.  I feel motivated to sit down a color occasionally.

I enjoyed all the devotionals but I do have a few favorites

  1.  Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
  2. Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God
  3. Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. I connected with the hamster on the wheel in this one a lot.

Overall, I am going to give this book 5 out of 5 stars.  The author and illustrator did a great job of working together to give devotionals that are relevant today and a picture that tied in nicely.  Great job ladies, I will be recommending this to others.  You can purchase through the link below.

 

I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review.

 

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/big-and-little-coloring-devotional-P005794600

Mi Casa Uptown – a review

Mi Casa Uptown: Learning to Love Again by Rich Pérez is a good read if you are thinking, or are in, a urban setting or if you are thinking about doing missions work in the city.

Rich Pérez is from New York City; Washington Heights to be exact.  He left there to go to college and seminary and then returned to his neighborhood because he feels deeply about connecting with neighbors.  In this book he explains how we’ve become disconnected to our neighbors and how, with God’s help, we can become connected again.

One point that Rich makes that hit with me was that to engage in any community, humility is needed:

“Humility is a posture that demands intentionality and sacrifice; it demands a compelling example.  It’s sacrifice and not entitlement that inspires authentic relationship.  In the end, thriving communities are not monolithic communities, where one group or culture runs the show.  Instead, the kind of humility I’m referring to is revolutionary – quite literally helping to shift the way neighborhoods exist.  Humility inspires people to live differently toward on another and, more important, honors the stories that have existed before your own by dignifying them rather disregarding them.”

Even though I enjoyed this book, I had a hard time relating to it.  I come from a rural background and have never really engaged the Hispanic community.  Even so, I found quite a few “take-aways” about how to live in community.  I give this book a solid three stars.

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis–Book Review

Why would a middle class teenager who “had it all” choose to move to Uganda, thousands of miles away from her parents, her brother and the love of her life?

Why would she choose to become the adoptive single mother of thirteen girls?

Why would she open her home to ill, dying and needy people?

It’s actually simple.  Katie Davis loves Jesus and her greatest desire is to be in the center of His will for her.  Kisses from Katie is her story.  It humbles me and brings me face to face with the fact that I often say “no” to God’s will for my life, or worse yet, don’t even make an attempt to discern what His will is.  I need to repent of my headstrong desire to have my own way.  I also need to repent of my callousness toward others who have so much less than I do.

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After reading Katie’s second book, which I reviewed last week, I was hungry to learn where and how her story started.  I highly recommend both.  These books are a wake-up call to American Christians (and I am one of them) who live their comfortable lives obliviously forgetting the Bible’s command to feed the hungry and help those who are without  basics like clean water, shelter, education and medical care.

Katie makes the point that we don’t all have to go to Uganda.  We can love those around us who need our care, one person at a time.  It’s not that hard, and it’s the only fitting response to those who have been saved by His grace.  Read this book.  It may change your life.