Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: Managing God's Money

  Cover: Managing God's Money

Managing God's Money  is a thought-provoking and convicting book. Alcorn rightly recognizes that God's Word does not return void resulting in a work which contains a great deal of Scripture. Managing God's Money provides a balanced, Biblical response to giving, saving, and spending our money. Mr. Alcorn's goal for the book is that we would know what God has to say about money. It is written in a helpful question and answer format with nice, short chapters. There were times when Alcorn's answers seemed too brief or general , however, he typically expounded upon those topics later in the book. He also provides an extensive list of resources for further study toward the end of the book. If you want to grow in using your money to invest for eternity, this book is a great place to start!

(If you're wondering how this book differs from Alcorn's other books on the subject, his product page has a helpful paragraph highlighting the differences.)

*Many thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with this complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Review: 365 Great Bible Stories

365 Great Bible Stories
Preview A Sample

I have to be honest, when I saw that Christian Focus was publishing 365 Great Bible Stories by Carine Mackenzie, my first thought was, "Do we really need another children's Bible?" There are already several excellent children's Bible on the market. However, our family has been incredibly blessed by all of the resources that we have purchased from Christian Focus so I really wanted to look through this children's Bible and compare it to the others that we have come to love.

As expected, Christian Focus did not disappoint. Here are some of the excellent features of 365 Great Bible Stories:

  • Text that is faithful to the Biblical account with minimal commentary,
  • Bible references included with section titles,
  • Clearly articulates "The Good News of Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation" (as stated in the subtitle ;),
  • Communicates important  Biblical truths with clarity,
  • Simple illustrations that are not too distracting (and no illustrations of Christ which is important to some people),
  • Heavy-duty pages and a built-in ribbon bookmark. :)

Additionally, there are a couple of things that set this children's Bible apart. Having 365 Bible stories, it covers significantly more of the Bible storyline than the traditional children's story Bible. (Our favorite story Bibles for children have 26, 42, and 90 stories.) Each story is contained on one page with a simple illustration and something about which to think, pray, or discuss. Even my three-year-old daughter was able to sit still long enough to read and discuss a selection.

Another feature that makes this children's Bible unique is the way that it highlights recurring "Themes and Topics" with illustrations throughout the book. For example,  "When you spot a dove picture that's a story about the Holy Spirit" (pg. 4). Other themes include: "Jesus Christ and Salvation, Wars and Battles, and Travellings and Journeys." You can simply flip through the story Bible, stopping at similar illustrations to trace a Biblical theme.

While there is no replacement for the living and active Word of God, it is helpful to have resources to help our children see the redemptive storyline of the Bible. 365 Great Bible Stories is another helpful resource to that end. It can be used by itself or along with a Bible to help bring greater clarity to the Truth in God's Word and the message of salvation.

*Many thanks to Christian Focus Publications for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Athanasius Winner

Congratulations to: 
Jennifer D.

Who is the winner of Simonetta Carr's
new book, Athansius.

Many thanks to:
my faithful readers for
making this giveaway possible!

Thanks to all who entered! 
If you didn't win this time, stay tuned;
I have another great giveaway coming up soon. :)
Have a blessed day, my friends!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Review: The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Study

"Your hands have made me and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments" (Psalm 119:73, ESV).

Most Important Thing You'll Ever Study: A Survey of the Bible (vols. 1-4 and Answer Key)

A few weeks ago, Crossway sent me a rather large package. I opened it to reveal a set of Starr Meade's The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Study: A Survey of the Bible. I was excited because this meant that we would have a set of this excellent resource to share with a friend, as we already had a personal copy.

When these books first came out, my daughter and I (age 7) were reading Acts together. We decided to use these guides as we read and found it a rich and rewarding experience. One of the things that I most appreciate about The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Study is that the four volumes are organized chronologically (the fifth volume is an answer key). As we read through the book of Acts, Meade guided us to read the Epistles in the context of early church history. It was very insightful to read the Epistles alongside Acts, and it helped to add depth to our understanding of God's Word. Doing so with these study guides helped us to pause and reflect in a way that we had not previously done.

As I was preparing to write this review, I was finishing up my reading in the Old Testament: Ezra-Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. I decided to use The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Study as a guide so that I could share a recent experience with it. Although I have read the Bible chronologically for a number of years, I found Meade's survey a helpful asset for a number of reasons. Just as before, I found myself pausing to reflect on things that I had simply read hastily in the past. The result was a much more meaningful interaction with God's Word.

Meade does an excellent job of communicating why it is important to study God's Word, taking adequate time to reflect and meditate. She shows how all of Scripture is really one big story about how God redeems a people for Himself through Christ. She lets Scripture speak for itself yet adds short commentary to bring clarity where appropriate while remaining faithful to the Biblical text. Additionally, she has a gift for making doctrinal concepts easier for young people to understand and does so masterfully in these books.

May God use this resource to help people of all ages give themselves to the reading of the word of God, and to meditation on it…
"not the simple reading of the word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts," as George Mueller has said: "for this is the first and great and primary business to which I ought to attend every have my soul happy in the Lord" (as quoted by John Piper in When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, pg. 119).

You and your family can try this resource and see if it serves you as well. Westminster has a sample of the Introductory Info., Genesis, Psalms, Luke, and Romans! Enjoy!

*Many thanks to Crossway for sending me a complimentary copy of these books in exchange for my honest opinion!