Book Review – The Louder Song by Aubrey Sampson

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Have you ever been at a point in your life when you asked God “Why is this happening?”

If you’ve been filled with grief over a tragic event and you can’t understand why God would allow such disappointment, Aubrey Sampson understands. Such a point in life she refers to as lament. Lament can happen over a job loss, diagnosis of an illness, death, or a difficulty in a marital relationship. In her new book The Louder Song, she talks about her own journey of lament and weaves it with the lament stories that you might have heard in the Bible (or may not have, given that Christians are so often told to put on a happy face).

Aubrey Sampson is honest in telling her story. She knows that on the journey of grief, you can’t just get a how-to-do-grief book, and go on your merry way. You can’t just fix it neatly for yourself or someone else. You have to go through it. You have to feel the hurt and pass through it. There are no shortcuts for grief. She affirms every Christian who has asked the tough questions – why did this happen? How could God do this to me? Why don’t I have answers? She affirms that you are not a weak Christian for asking the questions and not having answers. Faith and questioning can and should co-exist in times of trials.

If you want a book that’s honest about grief, I highly recommend this book. Sampson is honest with her raw emotions and about her questions of God; I really liked her vulnerability.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review: Kingdom Single

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     “Poor single woman!” she continued. “The world wants her to fornicate, and the church wants her to marry! Whatever happened to what Paul said about the blessings of being single? William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, wrote” (I Kissed Dating Goodbye, by Joshua Harris, page 84)


Depending upon the denominational circles in which she finds herself, a Christian woman might be the exception if she isn’t married by 25, making it difficult to find peers who can relate to her life as a Christian single in a world where sex before marriage and cohabitation are the norm.

There are plenty of books that tell Christian singles what not to do (don’t fornicate, wait on the Lord for a Godly spouse) and lots of books tell Christian teens how to Biblically date or court. But many of these books are geared toward the younger crowd who aren’t yet in the “career” age yet.

It was with this reality that I was really excited about Tony Evans’ new book Kingdom Single.  One of the bullet points on the back cover says that God has a mission for you to join now, as a single. You don’t have to wait until you’re married to have a rewarding life. Even if you never get married, you can still live fulfilled and satisfied as a whole person, with a happy life. This is a very different approach from any other Christian book on singleness that I’ve read, so I was really excited about it.

But it wasn’t long into Kingdom Single that the book fell flat. While it has some positive ideas, the way they’re explained falls short. One in the beginning is that you shouldn’t just wait idly in your life wondering where your mate is, but you should be busy with your mission in life. This is a powerful idea that I agree with, but the example used to illustrate it is so bizarre that it wasn’t of much help. Tony uses the Biblical example of Adam and Eve’s creation in Genesis 2. We see very clearly that God looked at Adam and said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and from that, God decided to make a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18). This is also why Eve was created – because of Adam’s lack of a suitable helper. Tony says that Adam wasn’t looking around wondering where his woman was, and that when Eve was created, she wasn’t looking for her man. And that’s correct- but Adam was only on Earth for seven days (literal or metaphorical, we could debate), and Eve was created for the sole purpose of being a helper to her husband, before sin and corruption entered the world, so she didn’t have to endure a long process of having to wonder where her husband was, if he existed, how to find him, and so on. For the single Christians wondering where their suitable partners are, this example is not the best one to look at and say that Christian singles should just be busy about their business not wondering where their suitable partners are. If anything, Genesis 2 validates a Christian single’s desire to feel loved and supported by a marriage partner. Better examples for both sexes on how to live out a calling and what to search for in a partner could be found in Proverbs 31; this passage has incredible mileage for both sexes as it gives women something to aspire to and men something to pursue. (And a Proverbs 31 woman can make some assumptions that for the virtues she’s pursuing, her man can meet her standards of Godliness as well.)

Another part of Kingdom Single that made this such a difficult book to read – and why I didn’t finish it – was the lack of practical suggestions or examples from people living today. The examples were all from the Bible, and while I appreciate Biblical examples, living examples are good too. While the premise of Kingdom Single was promising, it didn’t read as a book written for single people on how to live out their singleness in a Godly way. It just seemed to be a book on how to life a Godly life with the word “single” or “kingdom single” slapped on in various places. The content didn’t match well to what the book was supposed to be about.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of Kingdom Single from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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42 Seconds by Carl Medearis [Book Review]

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Most people probably think of Jesus’ interactions with people in the big ways, but what about the small ways? Is it possible that Jesus made just as big of an impact on people’s lives in the small exchanges as he did in the big, long sermons?

Carl Medearis thinks so. In his new book, 42 Seconds The Jesus Model For Everyday Interactions, he claims that the average length of a conversation Jesus had with a person was a mere 42 seconds. Not even a whole minute. Not much time at all. Within these fleeting seconds, Medearis proposes, there are some ways an impact can be made on a person’s life, with each chapter posing a question. I like how Medearis uses questions to structure each chapter, and he gives stories from his own life and other people’s lives. The stories are easy to relate to, and even though the author makes suggestions on how to follow the “42 Seconds” conversation model of making a difference, he’s honest on how he falls short on his own suggestions. The book is easy to read, the chapters are short. Each chapter begins with a “Nonstarter” – something that Christians might be tempted to do  (i.e. “Try to impress “), countered by an “Opener” –  the alternative (i.e. “Be vulnerable”). The good thing about the suggestions given is that they aren’t radical life changes you have to make in one day, but they’re all small steps you can take at your own comfort level, wherever you are.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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PREPARE Living Your Faith in an Increasingly Hostile Culture

As Americans, it’s easy to feel free, but J. Paul Nyquist wants American Christians to be aware of changes to their religious liberty. In his new book, Prepare, he explains why American Christians need to ready themselves for changes to their way of life, and why they need to get ready for religious persecution.

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Why, you may ask, is this necessary, when American Christians are free to worship as we please, where we please, how we please? Nyquist explains that persecution is not just physical harm or death, but it comes in many other forms. With this understanding, persecution is coming for many American Christians. He urges those in America to decide how they will respond to this when it happens. He lays out some responses to persecution and explains how large cultural changes in America have happened.

Overall, Prepare is a well-written, thought-out book. For those paying attention to the issues of religious liberty in society at large, a lot of what the author is saying will make a lot of sense.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Want to Love Your Work?

Do you want to love your work, or at least enjoy it a little more?

So much of our waking lives is spent at work, but for many people, work is downright drudgery. Still others wish that they could move into a field that would align better with their interests and skills. The idea of work that they could love is just that… an idea.

CEO Robert Dickie wants you to love your work and has some ideas on how you can pivot into a career change. His new book Love Your Work recognizes:

“the Great Recession “refugees” who worked hard, followed instructions, and did everything they were told to do…only to wake up one morning… Instead of being passionate about what you were doing, maybe you found yourself just getting by. You noticed the world changing around you…” (page 5)

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To be clear, there is no microwave method for career change success. This book is best meant for those who have some time to calculate their next move, rather than those who are jobless with no time to consider what they want to do next. Dickie acknowledges this, advising that those who need a job fast will need to create a short-term plan first rather than a long-term one.

But for those looking at the long haul, Love Your Work has a lot of ideas. Dickie gives suggestions on how to acquire additional skills or certifications without racking up an enormous amount of debt. He also wants you to be aware of the changes surrounding technology and believes that these are going to be very influential in the work world; even if you don’t work in technology, he believes changes in the tech world are changes you need to be aware of and he gives links to news sources for the industry.

Love Your Work is unique in that it shows a Christian angle in some ways. For example, Dickie uses examples of Bible characters to show the importance of integrity, and he explains how the fruits of the Spirit relate to having emotional intelligence.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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