Please Sorry Thanks by Mark Batterson — Book Review

If everyone I know would read this short book, the world would be a better place. It should be obvious — be polite, be forgiving, be grateful. Why don’t we follow these simple rules more often in all our relationships? I am certainly tired of the constant negativity that seems to surround us these days.

Batterson points out that “words create worlds.” The words we speak affect our mental attitude, and our attitude affects those around us. My husband (who is a pastor) if fond of saying that as Christians, we should be different. This is one very simple way to do that. In a society that’s rife with anger we can model an alternative mindset.

The book has three sections:

*The Psychology of Please

*The Science of Sorry

*The Theology of Thanks

In each one you’ll find some inspiring stories and quotes, interesting statistics and plenty of worthwhile suggestions. If you follow even a few of them, you may find yourself healthier, happier, and even holier. Give it a try.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. Basic, but certainly Biblical and refreshing.

For more book reviews see these posts:

Testimony: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Failed a Generation by Jon Ward– Book Review

A Praying Church by Paul E. Miller– Book Review

Resilient Faith by Lewis and Sarah Allen–Book Review

All My Knotted-Up Life by Beth Moore — Book Review

Most Christians know about Beth Moore’s career as a speaker, Bible study author and teacher. However, reading her autobiography will give you a more complete picture of her life as a young Christian, wife and mother. Beth felt called to ministry when she was quite young, but it took years for her to discover her passion for the Bible and encouraging other women.

Beth does not present the Christian life as an easy one. She is quite candid about many difficulties in her life: the tension in her parents’ marriage, being sexually abused by her father, mental health issues experienced by her husband and her eventual rift with the Southern Baptist Church. Through it all she relies upon God and His faithfulness.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. Inspiring and insightful. It will make you laugh and cry. I enjoyed it.

For more autobiographies see these posts:

My God and I by Lewis B. Smedes–Book Review

Where the Light Fell by Philip Yancey–Book Review

In My Grandmother’s House by Yolanda Pierce–Book Review

The Spirituality of Grief by Fran Tilton Shelton — Book Review

In this book Pastor Fran Shelton uses her own story plus other examples to paint a picture of how to navigate the grief process. Each chapter begins with a question such as:

  1. How Do We Begin?
  2. What is Grief?
  3. Why is Grief Exhausting?
  4. How Do We Take Care of Ourselves?
  5. What Do We Do about Forgiveness?

Each chapter ends with a spiritual exercise that can be used in coping with grief. There are additional resources and suggestions at the end of the book.

The author stresses the fact that grief is a common human experience, not limited to the loss of a loved one. The loss of a job, retirement, moving, a serious illness and many other life events can evoke feelings of grief. Recognizing and understanding our grief will help us to grow spiritually and to help others through similar circumstances.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I found it interesting and helpful.

For more about grief see these posts:

Grieving with Hope

Funeral, Memorial Service, Celebration of Life — What’s the Difference?

The Night Lake by Liz Tichenor–Book Review

The Practice of the Presence of Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada — Book Review

Most people know the story of Joni Eareckson Tada, a well-known advocate for the disabled. Following the swimming accident that left her a quadriplegic, she turned to the Scripture, and to writings of other Christians on the topic of suffering. A book she found particularly helpful was The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, a 17th century lay monk, who spent most of his time working in the kitchen. Although she had read this book before, it came to have special meaning for her as she sought peace and acceptance of her condition.

In this devotional book, each entry begins with a short section from The Practice of the Presence of God, followed by Joni’s own thoughts on its meaning and present day application. At the end there is a question for journaling or meditation. Some of Joni’s drawings are sprinkled throughout the book. There is also an introduction that summarizes the lives of Father Lawrence and Joni.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. I’ve been using this for my daily devotional reading.

The Lutheran Ladies received an e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

For more book reviews see:

The Lives We Actually Have by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie — Book Review

Learning Humility by Richard Foster–Book Review

Suffer Strong by Katherine & Jay Wolf–Book Review

Personality and Worldview by J. H. Bavinck — Book Review

This book review was written by my husband, a Lutheran pastor.

George Barna’s polling has indicated how few professed evangelicals have a truly 

Christian worldview.  We may argue about what beliefs comprise a Christian worldview, 

but before we get to that point we must define what is meant by the word “worldview.”  I 

suspect many, or even most people, would not be able to give an acceptable definition.  

Luckily for those who care about such things, Crossway has published a translation of  

J. H. Bavinck’s work on this topic. 

Bavinck, a Dutch theologian, pastor and missionary, was the nephew of the better 

known Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck.  The author of this work died almost 60 

years ago, 36 years after its initial publication.  It is translated from the Dutch by James 

Eglinton with an introduction by Tim Keller. 

Bavinck posits a distinction between a “worldvision” which everyone has, how they 

understand the world around them given their experiences in life, and a “worldview” 

which is more comprehensive and the product of long and deep thought.  Everyone has 

a “worldvision” but very few have a “worldview”.  However, it is “worldviews” which drive 

individual cultures even though few people actually develop them. 

For centuries Western culture was shaped by a Christian worldview, but, even 100 

years ago, the Christian worldview was being challenged by a materialistic outlook by 

our culture was being slowly altered.  Today we are experiencing the results of that 

replacement of Christianity with materialism and egoistic approaches to life.  This theme 

was more recently dealt with in Carl Truemans’ book The Rise and Triumph of the 

Modern Self. 

Bavinck’s work is interesting and enlightening.  I’m afraid that it is not going to appeal to 

many readers because it can be a challenging read for those who have little interest in 

or comfort with the philosophical ideas of Descartes, Spinosa, Kant and Hegel.  Still, for 

those who want to wrestle with the concept of worldviews, it is a good place to start. 


The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

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

For more book reviews see these posts:

Mission Possible One-Year Devotional by Tim Tebow–Book Review

A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law — Book Review

The Lives We Actually Have by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie — Book Review

Testimony: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Failed a Generation by Jon Ward– Book Review

In this spiritual autobiography, Jon Ward describes his journey from a Pentecostal evangelical church to a new and more nuanced understanding of the Christian faith. As a child, he accepts his faith and the leaders of his church unquestioningly, but he gradually begins to see the flaws in a belief system based primarily on feelings and experiences. When he becomes a journalist, dealing with the political scene, he decides that evangelical leaders have been wrong to tie the church to one issue (abortion) and one party (Republican). He believes that this attitude has contributed to creating the situation we are now facing, an environment that has become polarized — with each side treating people who disagree as evil enemies. Instead, he advocates listening carefully to those with opposing views so that we can come to understand one another. Leaders should be chosen not by their party affiliation, but for their character.

If you are a Trump supporter, you probably won’t like this book, as the author is extremely critical of the former president. Although I think he goes too far, I agree with most of what he has to say.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. An interesting look into the world view of many conservative evangelicals, and a much-needed call to a more balanced political life.

I received an e-copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

For more book reviews see these posts:

Quilt of Souls by Phyllis Biffle Elmore — Book Review

Prayer by O. Hallesby — Book Review

5 Puritan Women by Jenny-Lyn de Klerk–Book Review

In Jesus’ Name I Pray by Costi and Christyne Hinn–Book Review

In this book, TJ the squirrel learns an important lesson– prayer is not magic! His friend, Jo, believes that if he prays using this secret phrase–“in Jesus’ Name”–he will receive whatever he asks for. After TJ gives this a try, and finds that it doesn’t work, he is disappointed. A visit from his neighbor, Grace sets him straight. She explains Jesus wants us to pray for the things that really matter –not new toys or more acorns! Our prayers should reflect the things Jesus taught us to value; things like loving our neighbor, sharing, obeying and trusting Him. The decide to pray for Jo and share the true meaning of prayer with him.

Advertised for children ages 2-7, I believe it would be most suitable for the upper age range. Children who are younger will not have a long enough attention span to follow the story and will not understand the concept. The illustrations by Guy Wolek are colorful, but not remarkable. The book closes with this verse:

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14


For more books for children see these posts:

All Will be Well by Lacy Finn Borgo–Book Review

As You Grow by Kirk Carmeron — Book Review

We Believe in Christmas by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

Feathers of Hope by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

In Sharon Garlough Brown’s latest novel, she continues the story of Wren, a young woman suffering from anxiety and depression, and her Aunt Kit, a retreat leader who takes her in as she works to regain her bearings. If you’re a fan of the Sensible Shoes series, you will encounter some of the same characters and get a glimpse of what’s been going on in their lives.

The primary theme of the novel is transitions. Kit is retiring from her position as the director of New Hope Retreat Center; Wren is feeling ready to launch into life again, applying for a job as volunteer coordinator at the nursing home where she’s worked as a cleaner. Wren also reconnects with an old art teacher, who is undergoing a difficult adjustment to life in that same nursing home after leading an active, independent life.

These and other characters deal with grief, difficult relationships, forgiveness, racial justice, reconciliation and more, all from a Christian and hopeful perspective.

There is a list of additional resources at the end, covering the topics of Mental Illness, Grief, Spiritual Formation, Vincent Van Gogh and racial justice.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. An easy, but challenging read.

For more books by the same author see these posts:

Remember Me by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

Shades of Light by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

An Extra Mile by Sharon Garlough Brown–Book Review

The Miracle of You by Cleere Cherry Reaves — Book Review

Beautifully illustrated by Vejandra Barajas, this children’s book is a delight to the eyes, and young children will enjoy familiar scenes that include nature, family and other children. There is plenty of diversity in the people depicted. However, I do have some issues with the content. Of course, ever child is a miracle, beloved by God and by their parents. But should we be telling our children that they are God’s “greatest” miracle? Or even the “favorite” miracle in the lives of their parents? This makes me a bit uncomfortable, even though the listeners will be preschoolers.

In addition, along with the natural creations such as the ocean, animals, the moon and stars, the author calls planes and ships “creations” in a way that places them all in the same category. These are human creations, although it is God who gives us the ability to create. Possibly this was Ms. Reaves intention, but if so, it wasn’t clearly spelled out.

VERDICT: 2 STARS. I wouldn’t purchase this one due to the questionable theology.

For more books for children see these posts:

When I Talk to God, I Talk About You–by Chrissy Metz and Bradley Collins–Book Review

The Creator in You by Jordan Raynor–Book Review

God’s Great Love for You by Rick Warren–Book Review

On Getting Out of Bed by Alan Noble–Book Review

This is the second book I’ve read recently that deals with the difficulty of persevering in the Christian life. Maybe this is a trend? This short book, almost a long essay, will resonate with all Christians, but is particularly focused on those dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Alan Noble obviously speaks from personal experience when he says:

“…however you explain the difficulty of living in the modern world, whatever theory you accept, you’re still stuck with the reality that a normal life includes a great deal of suffering. Ultimately, you must have some reason to put up with such a life, some reason for still getting out of bed….though getting out of bed in the morning can be incredibly hard.

We all suffer at times, and we all sometimes feel that the best we can do is to get out of bed and make a small effort to keep going. Noble tells us that this is okay, and even courageous. It is a small act of hope in the goodness of God. He advises those in pain to be willing to humbly ask for help. However, he also reminds all of us that it is important to fulfill our responsibility to others and to God, even when it is hard.

Throughout he emphasizes the importance of remembering that God is good, and life is good, even when we are in pain. Turning to God’s love, grace and forgiveness (along with therapy or counseling when needed) is the only way to maintain hope, especially in the face of chronic conditions.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. A realistic look at the challenges of mental health issues from a Christian perspective.

For more book reviews see these posts:

What is a Girl Worth by Rachael Denhollander–Book Review

Quilt of Souls by Phyllis Biffle Elmore — Book Review

Suffer Strong by Katherine & Jay Wolf–Book Review