Christ's Bridge
A bridge to books and other knowledge about Christ.
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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ordinary by Tony Merida (Book Review)

Ordinary by Tony Merida

Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down by Tony Merida

Genre- Christian / Nonfiction

Published by- B&H Publishing

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 140

Age Group- Adult (older teen)

Description of book- hardback, list price $12.99, ISBN: 978-1783970438

Do you feel the need to be a flashy Christian and go to a flashy church?  Tony Merida shows us a different way in his book, Ordinary.

As Christians we need to live humbly and fulfilling lives with acts of hospitality, service, and neighborly love.  Merida show us how to do that with chapters focusing on hospitality, orphan care, advocacy, and more.

About the author- Tony Merida currently lives in North Carolina with his wife and five adopted children.  He is the founding pastor of Imago Dei Church.  He has written several other books.

My thoughts- Ordinary might be small, but it contained more helpful information than many larger and longer books.  There are many books in the market that want us to be extrodinarely extraordinary, but Tony Merida wants us to be ordinary.  Do not worry, we can and should be ordinary in an extraordinary way.

We should be there for the widows and the orphans.  We need to be there for the less fortunate.  Merida gives us specific instructions and details on his life to tell/show us how to love our neighbors and care for those are unable to care for themselves.  There is a list of websites at the end of the book.  This list will give you a good place to start, so you will know who and how to support.

The one thing I would change about this book would be the addition of some awesome chapter questions to go with this awesome book.  The questions would help guide people in the right direction.  I know it would help me to know which way my family and I need to go.  I know there is a Bible study available from Lifeway, but questions would be able to help those who cannot afford the Bible study.

If you read one book this year, Ordinary is the one to read.  As Christians we need to help make this a better world and we can do it in very ordinary ways.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down, by Tony Merida, for free from Cross Focused Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. All links were current when posted.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Salt, Light and Cities on Hills by Melvin Tinker

Salt-Light-And-Cities-on-HillsSalt, Light, and Cities on Hills by Melvin Tinker

Genre- Christian / Nonfiction

Published by- EP Books (Evangelical Press)

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 119

Age Group- Adult

Description of book- paperback, list price $10.99, ISBN: 978-1783970438

Salt, Light and Cities on Hills, by Melvin Tinker, discusses social action and evangelism in Britain today.  He uses writings from John Stott and Tim Keller.  He also references Isaiah and the Sermon on the Mount. 

Some questions answered are:

  • Can evangelism and social action work together?
  • Did the disciples use evangelism and social action?
  • Should we be doing what the disciples did?

About the author- Melvin Tinker is currently married and has three sons and six grandchildren.  He is the Senior Minister of St. John, Newland, Hull.  He is a speaker as well as an author.

My thoughts- I know this book is about the church in Britain, but I feel this book would work in any country in the world.  Our churches need to learn how blend evangelism with social action.  The disciples and those in the book of Acts knew exactly how to do it so all learned about Jesus.  This is something that we need to do as well.

I think this book would be good for ministers and those who are involved in evangelism and social action in the churches.  Some of the reading was tedious to me, but I knew how important it was and I kept reading.  I thought the last couple of chapters were the most interesting, because they involved Melvin Tinker’s opinions  I thought reading about his views were much more interesting than reading a discussion of the different view points of John Stott and Tim Keller. 

One of my favorite parts of this book were the notes at the end of each chapter.  I learned a lot of extra information about evangelism and social action.

I think Salt, Light, and Cities on Hills is a book that everybody who is involved with evangelism and social action in the church must read.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Salt Light, and Cities on Hills, by Melvin Tinker, for free from Cross Focused Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. All links were current when posted.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Fatal Tree by Stephen R. Lawhead (book review)

The Fatal Tree (A Bright Empires Novel, Book 5)

by Stephen R. Lawhead

(I received this book for review purposes.)

The Fatal Tree

Genre- Fiction / Fantasy / General

Publisher- Thomas Nelson

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of Pages- 356

Age Group- Adult

Description of Book- Hardback, $26.99, ISBN: 978-1-59554-808-5

The Fatal Tree, by Stephen R. Lawhead, is the final book in The Bright Empires Series.  There are some weird wrinkles in time all over the earth, that nobody can ignore.  Kit, Cass, and Mina are trying to come together to solve the problem at the Spirit Well.  They are having a hard time getting to the right time and place.  They are unable to get to the Spirit Well, because there is a very dangerous yew tree growing over the portal. 

Will they be able to save the world?  Will their nemesis, Lord Burleigh be able to help them?

About the Author- Stephen R. Lawhead currently lives in England with his wife.  He is the author of The King Raven Trilogy, The Song of Albion Trilogy, and The Dragon King Trilogy.

My Thoughts- The end of a series.  I have enjoyed reading the Bright Empires Series.  The fourth book, The Shadow Lamp, was very interesting and this one, The Fatal Tree, was excellent.

I really enjoyed having the list of characters and their descriptions.  It would have helped me if the people had been organized by their relationships or importance in the series.  I would have liked a complete table of contents, because there were a couple of chapters titles I could not read.  I also wanted to know what the titles were, because I wanted to go back and look some information up, I had to flip through the book to find it.

Now that I got all of the technical items out of the way, I can discuss my favorite parts.  My favorite character in this book was Lord Burleigh.  He was the antagonist throughout the series, but he changed thanks to the effort of Engelbert Stiffelbeam, the man he assaulted.  It was while Burleigh was in jail that Etzel, Engelbert, visited him once a week to bring him food.  Etzel was being a wonderful Christian, he was drawing people to Christ through his actions, not his words or lack there of.  I personally feel that is one of the best ways to draw people to Christ.  I thought all of the other characters were well developed, but they did not come close to Lord Burleigh and Etzel.

Since I had read the other books in the series, I knew the plot, what the ley lines were, and who the characters were, but I do not think this book would be hard to follow if you were new to the series.  You may want to start at the beginning though to get the whole story. 

This is an excellent book and I recommend it to all.  The book, Hood, from the King Raven series, looks interesting.  I was able to read a short excerpt in the back of The Fatal Tree.  I will be reading it soon.

Informational and Purchasing Links-

The Fatal Tree - http://www.amazon.com/The-Fatal-Tree-Bright-Empires/dp/1595548084/

Author Website - http://www.stephenlawhead.com/

Author Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-R-Lawhead/84503526872

My review for The Shadow Lamp- http://www.christsbridge.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-shadow-lamp-by-stephen-r-lawhead.html

Participants’ links:

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received a free copy of The Fatal Tree, by Stephen R. Lawhead to review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.  I am part of CSFF Blog TourAll links were current when posted.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

God’s Super-Apostles by R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec (book review)

God’s Super-Apostles:

Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement

By R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec

(I received this book for review purposes.)

God's Super-Apostles

Genre- Christianity / Pentecostal & Charismatic

Published by- Weaver Book Company

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 160

Age Group- Adults

Description of Book- paperback, ISBN 978-1-941337-08-0, $12.99

Do you know the name of Rick Joyner, Bill Johnson, Bill Hamon, or Cindy Jacobs?  Have you ever hear of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

God’s Super-Apostles explains what NAR is and how it is different from Pentecostal and charismatic teachings.  “Prayerwalking,” “healing rooms,” and “24/7 prayer rooms” are also discussed.  There are also chapter discussing what it says in the Bible about these different teachings.

In the back of the book there are different indexes, appendices, and a glossary.

Sample of the Book!

About the Authors-

R. Douglas Geivett currently works as a professor of philosophy in the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University.  He has written several other books.

Holly Pivec has written many different articles and has been the managing editor of Biola Magazine.

My thoughts- I thought God’s Super-Apostles was a very interesting book.  I have never studied or known much about NAR, but I know a lot more thanks to R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec. 

One thing I know for sure is that before I join a church or even after I visit one I will be studying the Bible to make sure what was discussed is also in the Bible.  I do not plan on staying at a church that believes so strongly in the apostles and prophets and teaching people spiritual gifts.

I really liked the examples of what happened to different individuals that went to different NAR churches.  I also liked the appendices, because they gave good advice to parents, pastors, and participants.  There was also a section about questions to ask the church and one about different names NAR individuals might call people, like critical spirit.  The glossary was also very helpful.

This book was well done, because it discussed what NAR believed, then what the Bible teaches, then compared the two.  I would highly recommend it to others.  I think everyone needs to know about NAR.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received God’s Super-Apostles, by R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec, for free through Cross Focused Reviews.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.  All links were current when posted.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Samuel Rutherford by Richard M. Hannula (Book Review)

Bitesize-Biographies-Samuel-RutherfordSamuel Rutherford (Bitesize Biographies) by Richard M. Hannula

Genre- Christian / Nonfiction

Published by- EP Books (Evangelical Press)

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 140

Age Group- Adult (I think this would be good for students of middle school age and up.

Description of book- paperback, list price $10.99, ISBN: 978-1783970186

It was 1636 and King Charles I thought he would never hear of Samuel Rutherford again, because he had been banished to Northern Scotland.  It was not to be, Rutherford came back to his congregation again, and he came to help Scotland develop important documents to help fight against England.  And during all that time he wrote sermons, letters, and a variety of books.  

About the author- Richard M. Hannula currently lives in Washington where he is a school principal and an elder in a Presbyterian Church.

My thoughts- I’m not sure if I had heard of Samuel Rutherford, before I read this book.  I know a lot more about him after reading this excellent book by Richard M. Hannula.

I really enjoyed all of Rutherford’s quotes that were added to the book.  Sometimes I find that too many quotes in a book can take a way from the book, but I feel that this book would not have been the same without all of the quotes.

My ancestors come from Scotland, but I did not know how truly independent they wanted to be as a country and how intense they were.  I was really proud of them for doing their best to take a stand against England and her kings.  I’m glad that Rutherford and his passion for God and the truth was there to help guide them in the difficult times.  After I read the section in the book about the Book of Common Prayer, I went downloaded a copy to the Kindle and took a look at it.  I could understand why the Kirk and Rutherford did not want it.  It was full of rules and order.  It would not have allowed them to be free.

I plan on reading this book to my children.  I believe they will learn and be inspired by Samuel Rutherford.  I highly recommend it to you too.

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Samuel Rutherford, by Richard Hannula, for free from Cross Focused Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. All links were current when posted.

Preaching by Ear by Dave McClellan

Preaching by Ear

Speaking God’s Truth from the Inside Out

By Dave McClellan

(I received this book for review purposes.)

Preaching-by-Ear

Genre- Christian Ministry / Preaching

Published by- Weaver Book Company

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 173

Age Group- Adults (Ministers), it would also be good students in college

Description of Book- paperback, ISBN 978-1-941337-02-8, $15.99

Preaching by Ear, by Dave McClellan, is filled with useful information on why and how pastors should have orally based sermons.  Providing information from Augustine, Quintilian, and more, McClellan show how important it was to develop sermons without writing them down and reading off of notes (because they did not) and how it is still relevant today. 

Sample of the Book!

About the Author- Dave McClellan is married and has two adult children.  He an adjunct professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and John Carroll University.  He is also a pastor of The Chapel at Tinkers Creek.

My thoughts- I thought this was an excellent book.  It was easy to read, understand, and dealt with a topic which I think is important.  I was even reading parts of it to my nine and ten-year-old children.  I thought they should learn how important it is to be able to tell stories and be able to write about different things.

One of the most interesting parts of this book to me was learning about Augustine and Quintilian.  I have never studied ancient history in depth, so while I may have heard about these two men, I knew nothing about them.  It was from them that I learned that it is important, as a preacher to be able to have an orally based sermon.  When I was learning about this I thought of Kevin Weatherby, from Save the Cowboy.  I do not know for sure how he prepares his sermons or if this is a method that he uses, but I think he must.  His sermons always flow well and I do not see him actively checking for notes.

I think this is a book that all pastors need to read.  It should also be required reading for those who desire to become pastors.  I highly recommend it. 

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Preaching by Ear, by Dave McClellan, for free through Cross Focused Reviews.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.  All links were current when posted.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Persuasive Preaching by R. Larry Overstreet (book review)

Persuasive Preaching

A Biblical and Practical Guide to the Effective Use of Persuasion

By R. Larry Overstreet

(I received this book for review purposes.)

Persuasive Preaching-001

Genre- Christian Ministry / Preaching

Published by- Weaver Book Company

Copyrighted- 2014

Number of pages- 312

Age Group- Adults (Ministers), it would also be good students in college

Description of Book- paperback, ISBN 978-1-941337-00-4, $24.99

What is your method of preaching?  What kind of preaching do you prefer?

Persuasive Preaching, by R. Larry Overstreet, discusses what persuasive preaching is, Biblical support for it, four different structures of persuasive messages (motivated sequence, problem-solution, cause-effect, and refutation), and different applications.

Sample of the Book!

About the Author- R. Larry Overstreet has served as a pastor in Michigan and Indiana.  He is currently an adjunct professor at Piedmont International University.

My thoughts- I thought Persuasive Preaching had a lot of good points.  I am not a pastor, so I enjoyed learning about the different structures that persuasive messages can have, learning about the Holy Spirit in preaching, of course, understanding what persuasive preaching is all about.

I did not know about the different structures for persuasive messages, so I really enjoyed learning about the motivated sequence, problem-solution, cause-effect, and refutation.  I think that I listen best when it is a motivated sequence, because it catches my attention, shows need, satisfaction, visualization, and action.  I am sure with the right pastor that I would do well with the other structures as well, but I know the sermon has to catch my attention right from the beginning.  Overstreet gave examples of each structure in the back of the book, so I was able to see the outlines for each of the type.  I thought they were excellent and I also thought the messages were persuasive.  I would have enjoyed listening to his different sermons. 

I think this book would be perfect for those who are pastors, who wish to become pastors, or those who want to know how to share a persuasive message. 

Disclosure of Material Connection- I received Persuasive Preaching, by R. Larry Overstreet, for free through Cross Focused Reviews.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.  All links were current when posted.

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