Sunday, May 26, 2013

Get a Fire Going: Spark, by Jason Jaggard

My generation in church grew up singing around the campfire, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.” I recaptured that sentiment when I picked up this book by Jason Jaggard.

The concept is simple. Take a small risk every week: something that could make the world a better place. Spark groups are small groups of people who each commit to take one risk each week for four weeks and share with each other the results.

In a world where parents try to shield their children from all risk and adults sue one another because everything has to be somebody else’s fault, Spark is a breath of fresh air.  The 100% safe life, even if it were possible, would be too boring and meaningless to endure!  Let this book ignite you today—and may we all put our sparks together to light the world.

I received a free review copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.

Song: "Pass it On" by Kurt Kaiser

Prototype by Jonathan Martin: A Book Review

What if we truly believed, like Jesus did, that we were beloved by God Almighty? Jonathan Martin asked this question, and Prototype was the answer. Jesus is the prototype for a new kind of human.

According to, a prototype is: “someone or something that serves to illustrate the typical qualities of a class; model; exemplar.”  If Jesus told us to follow Him, why don’t we look more like Him and do the things He did?  Martin thinks it is because we don’t really believe God loves us like He loves Jesus.  Fix this faulty thinking, and we fix much of what limits us in our Christian lives.

One theme from the book that spoke to me was the celebration of scars.  Say what?  Think about it.  People knew the risen Christ because He showed them his scars.  Our scars are a record of our lives.  They are proof of what has been overcome and hope that other things can likewise be conquered.  If only we the body of Christ would share our scars with one another instead of hiding them from each other!  We could really know and help and love each other in spirit and in truth.

This encouraging book is suitable for adults and maturing teens. Parents might want to read this with younger teens, because Martin addresses some mature subjects in a frank, yet tasteful manner.

I received a review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can We Know Truth? How Can We Know?

A review of  Reasons for Belief by Norman Geisler & Patty Tunnicliffe

This is an apologetics book for those without a theology degree.  This accessible treatment of ten essential questions addresses the most common questions everyday Christians must answer for themselves and be ready to answer for others.

All the essentials are covered, from the nature of truth to the existence of God to the deity of Jesus Christ to the reliability of the biblical manuscripts.  The treatment of truth is especially important in this postmodern age when many have grown up with the idea that “truth” can be different for different people.  The authors show that for truth to mean anything, it must be the same for all people.

I thought the approach taken by the authors was thorough.  They present all the alternative answers to each question and tackle them one at a time until only the truth remains.  This book would be an excellent group study for adults or youth.  It is also a great addition to personal and church library collections.

I received a free review copy of this book from Bethany House. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Commonplace Book?

I have just come across the term "commonplace book" and wanted to share it.  It is not a diary, but more of a journal dedicated to collecting literary fragments.  Perhaps instead of dogearing pages on all my books whenever I read a cool, quotable phrase, I should keep a commonplace book.  It would be better than the fragments of paper all over my desk and in my files!  Here's a link if you'd like to learn more.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Signs, Wonders, and a Baptist Preacher

Signs, Wonders, and a Baptist Preacher by Chad Norris chronicles Chad’s spiritual journey from his childhood in a Southern Baptist home through his questions and God’s answers as he tried to reconcile the Jesus of his youth with the Jesus of the Bible.  There are bumps along the journey, but I love Chad’s openness about the process of opening up to all God wants to reveal and do.

I identified with Chad’s struggles with mental illness and his desire to seek healing.  I greatly appreciate his challenge to think about what Jesus really did and what He calls us to do.

Let me close with a favorite quote from page 128:
…Kingdom power is not about “the great man of God’ who rides into town with great faith.  It is about the common man with just a little bit of faith who starts to do the things that Jesus did.
I received a free review copy of this book from Chosen Books.