Author Archives: booksneezed

The Essentials

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Student Ministry essentials may differ between student pastors and parents across the board. What may have been essential in the last decade perhaps are not essential today.

Unfortunately, there are a ton of ideas and books on how student ministry should be approached & accomplished. Some of the ideas are good, yet some are not so good. Fortunately, this book takes proper aim and what you will find within this book is not a program-based approach, but a strategy for discipleship, leadership, and serving.

If you are desiring to be inspired, challenged, and equipped, then this is a book that is a must-have. If you are looking for an easy approach that gives surface results overnight that only last for a night, then this is not the book or approach for you.

My hope is that your aim is the first approach and that you are ready to dig your heels in and be loyal to see things through so that leadership development and disciple-making takes place.

Thank you to MP Newsroom. I received this book from MP Newsroom for the purpose of an unbiased review. 

 

Everything…

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Many pastors are stuck when it comes to Wednesday Night Prayer meetings. In fact, these meetings are still called prayer meetings, but prayer is no longer the priority. What has happened?

Pray About Everything is an anchor for prayer within the church body. This book hits the nail on the head of why the body of people pray together. Thankfully, the author even emphasizes the Wednesday Night gathering opportunity and shares his experience(s).

The author also is rooted in scripture to ensure that prayer is not his own doings, but that of God. For example, in Acts 2, the scripture says that they devoted themselves to the prayers…this implies they surrendered themselves wholeheartedly to the Psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, etc.

The reason they gave themselves to this habit and practice is because they knew their was power in fellowship with God. This belief was rooted in what they witnessed through Peter and the other disciples/apostles.

As the author states to pray about “everything”, he covers so much of what is lacking in prayer and what we ought to be praying over and for. These emphases help the reader to know what direction their prayer life is to be headed toward and rooted in.

Overall, this is a brief but powerful book on a subject that can never be exhausted or perfected. It is simply our lifeline to God and His spirit.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews for the copy. I was not required to write a positive review.

Evidence of His Work

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Who would think that two preachers who differ on minor theological perspectives would be able to come together and provide a resource for preachers? With differences aside and God’s glory upheld, Dr. Shaddix and Dr. Vines have provided yet another resource for preachers both seasoned and starting out.

Progress in the Pulpit is 12 chapters (six by each author) on what it takes to grow in your preaching and why it is necessary for both you & your congregation. That is why growing in your journey matters so much…because you are not the only beneficiary of the impact that the Lord has on yourself.

Readers will find that this book hits on some principles of why it is important to grow as a preacher and on how to grow. But it seems the case is strongly made for why, yet lacking in how to exactly do that. But nonetheless, it is a beneficial resource with some strong prompting to grow in your preaching and why that matters more than you think.

Thank you to MP Newsroom. I received this book from MP Newsroom for the purpose of an unbiased review. 

Learning to make a difference

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There are hundreds of books on church leadership, or really any topic for that matter. Because of the mass quantities of titles available, people tend to gloss over so many of them. But every once in a while, one rises to the top and becomes the gem of them all.

This book on congregational change is that gem. Wow, what a resource we have in this title and what it will do to inspire not whole change, but personal change that fuels whole change.

What this book implies is that change must happen from within before it happens from without. How can a congregation change unless the leader of that change is being changed? Why would a congregation follow someone to a place that they have not been themselves? Speaking of the blind leading the blind!?

Therefore, in this book, the reader(s) will see a wholistic approach to change that envelops the entirety of a leader and his people. The book will read like a diary or journal entry so expect the reading to be warm but challenging and personal.

I look forward to utilizing this book for years and recommending it to other leaders!

I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Academic & Ministry Blog Review Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Follow Me as I follow Christ…

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Because of the examples that have gone before us, we are without excuse when it comes to following Christ. One of the key examples that we have is the Apostle Paul, who recorded much of the New Testament and by doing so, answered our questions before we even asked them.

His writings were to both groups and individuals therefore, we see both aspects of the spiritual journey with Christ. We are one and yet, we are One.

What this book basically entails is the doctrines of the Christian faith exemplified in the personal life of Paul. Hardin pulls back the curtain on things such as suffering, perseverance, discipleship, prayer, holiness, etc. What is seen within each aspect is how these are natural bi-products of being connected to the Vine (Christ) and walking in the Spirit.

Unfortunately, these aspects are often labeled as practices to achieve a standing before God, rather than these being practiced because of one’s standing before God. To address this issue, the author begins the book with Paul’s plea for imitation in Christ. What a great starting point to bring a fresh perspective to the identity that a believer has.

What may sound like a how-to manual is so much more than that. This book refers to the not-so-secret ingredients of the Christian’s journey and it is rooted in being strengthened by grace. After all, that is what we need & that is what we have in Christ. Let us remember this each step of the way, as the Apostle Paul did.

I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Academic & Ministry Blog Review Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

You asked…

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For decades, evangelism has been reduced to a presentation or concise formula that is shared at the drop of a hat. This makes sense, in that the gospel message is very simple, but this does not make sense in that a decision for the gospel is not a simple one.

Because of the cost to decide to follow Jesus, Jesus Himself, used questions that probed the hearts & minds of people. This way of evangelism got the potential recipient & follower thinking in terms of what was truly at stake.

In Questioning Evangelism, Randy Newman offers a resource that teaches you not just how to share Jesus, but to share your faith in Christ, in a way that offers the person something to truly ponder on. It is as if you are the one asking the questions, rather than the other way around.

This approach puts the ball in their court and brings them into the discussion in a concrete way. Therefore, they are not just being presented something and simply listening to be polite, but they are engaged from the very beginning for the purpose of thinking through what is at stake.

This is a strong resource for the days we live in & readers will find this to be a worthwhile read, even though it is heavily convicting.

I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Academic & Ministry Blog Review Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Take a Look

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Phillip Keller is a writer for the heart. His writing touches readers from the first page to the last and this book is no different from his others.

A previous book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, is a beautiful resource for understanding the guidance and presence of God. This book is a unique perspective as he breaks down the Lord’s Prayer in a simplified manner.

You will find this book to be a superb companion to the bible and not something that moves the bible aside. However, read this book with the application in mind because some of it you may find to be right on point and some you may find to be a stretch. This is why you must accompany this book with the bible and the historical context.

Otherwise, this is a fresh look at a common passage and one you will find encouraging.

Thank you to MP Newsroom. I received this book from MP Newsroom for the purpose of an unbiased review. 

The Chase is On…or off

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One of the temptations in life is that we must accumulate more & more to suppress the wanting desire that drives our lives so often. However, this “chase” becomes burdensome  & creates weariness like a mouse running on a wheel. For many, the chase is on from day  one, but the chase can be off, if you discover true contentment.

The author here wants contentment to be the ongoing experience through the delight of discipline in contentment. This is the key – the ongoing practice of contentment. The reality is that we are practicing one or the other, contentment or discontentment.

There is joy in contentment, while there is jealousy in discontentment. To practice contentment, one must let their faith dictate their drive in life. For example, what you believe about God will work it’s way into the daily decisions of your life. So if you do not believe that God is the giver of all good things, then you will allow discontentment to govern your mind & therefore your life.

This book is more than just a how-to, but it is helps address the “why” on both sides of the coin – theological & practical.

Once again, Crossway Publishers has given a book that looks at the foundational issues in a discontented life, rather than the surface value issue alone.

Thank you to Crossway publishers for the opportunity to review this book. I was not required to write a positive review.

Welcome to the World!

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The world surrounding you awaits you. High School was a journey that introduced concepts and perspectives to you, but college will reintroduce you to those and so much more.

Any time a person is getting ready for a trip or adventure, there is a preparation that must take place. Without it, you are unprepared and vulnerable to whatever may come your way.

With entering college, you are entering a stewpot of worldview, perspectives and ideas that can both help and harm you. Therefore, this book serves as a preparation encyclopedia of both theology and practicality for the college freshmen.

The author does due diligence to address things that are both common and unique to the college experience and the season of young adulthood. I found this book both challenging and refreshing to the mind. It paints a broad picture of everything that a student will have available to them while nailing the specifics of it all.

This is a resource that should be close at hand to those entering college and already in college. Pick this up for your graduate and their summer reading plan.

I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Academic & Ministry Blog Review Service. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Gaining by giving

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Giving up is anti-culture in the West. For the culture screams & shouts to gain & consume at all costs. But there is a draw & power in giving up that is untapped by consumers.

The title lends itself to a play on words, because there is actually good in consciously giving-up something in order to gain something else. The season of Lent is designed to illuminate hope & victory. But it is hard to experience this when you’re in a daze from a totally consuming nature.

The author presses in on giving-up and/or fasting so that you are able to be filled with hope, love and genuine excitement for who God is and what He has done. The author realizes how hard this can be when our motor never stops running and our plate is tipping over from an unbalanced life.

This book is a simple book with a powerful premise that will truly tempt the reader to consider the good of giving up and what one can gain from pouring themselves out of the things that actually weigh them down and become burdensome.

You don’t have to wait until Lent to grab this resource and dive in. You may find this to be something you read throughout the year as you sense the unbalanced life building up.

Thank you to MP Newsroom. I received this book from MP Newsroom for the purpose of an unbiased review.