Category Archives: Non-fiction

You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado

You'll Get Through This cover artTitle: You’ll Get Through This

Author: Max Lucado

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

You’ll get through this.

It won’t be painless.

It won’t be quick.

But God will use this mess for good.

Don’t be foolish or naïve.

But don’t despair either.

With God’s help, you’ll get through this.

You fear you won’t make it through. We all do. We fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. In the pits, surrounded by steep walls and aching reminders, we wonder: Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten?

In You’ll Get Through This, pastor and New York Times best-selling author, Max Lucado offers sweet assurance. “Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere.” Max reminds readers God doesn’t promise that getting through trials will be quick or painless. It wasn’t for Joseph–tossed in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned, forgotten and dismissed–but his Old Testament story is in the Bible for this reason: to teach us to trust God to trump evil.

With the compassion of a pastor, the heart of a storyteller, and the joy of one who has seen what God can do, Max explores the story of Joseph and the truth of Genesis 50:20. What Satan intends for evil, God redeems for good.

Review:

The world is full of bad things, and everyone on the planet will experience bad at some point in their lives. Max Lucado takes a look at some of these bad things and shares real life examples of how God has used them for good. Interspersed throughout the book is the biblical story of Joseph. Sold into slavery by his older brothers, wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt, forgotten, scorned, and mistreated, Joseph’s story is the perfect example of how God can take the biggest messes in our lives and use them for good.

Once again, Lucado has written a book that takes everyday challenges and holds them up for closer examination. Through the conversational tone of his writing, he reaches straight into the reader’s heart and invites them to let go of earthly troubles and focus on God instead. Each chapter has a theme that ties a piece of Joseph’s story and a modern example together in a way that offers hope that God can and will use even the worst events in a person’s life for good.

You’ll Get Through This doesn’t offer a quick and easy solution to surviving the stressful times in life. Instead, it reminds readers that God is always in control and has a plan, and no matter how bad life may get He will ultimately use those bad things for something good. Our job is to trust God and cling to our faith regardless of what happens.

One of my favorite quotes in the book comes from the first chapter and sums up the theme of the entire book: “You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good.”

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is going through a difficult time and anyone who wants to read a book full of hope and advice for surviving the difficult times that will undoubtedly come.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Non-fiction, Thomas Nelson

Living the Quaker Way by Philip Gulley

Living the Quaker Way cover artTitle: Living the Quaker Way

Author: Philip Gulley

Publisher: Convergent Books

Book Description:

Philip Gulley invites us into a bracing encounter with the rich truths of Quakerism—a centuries-old spiritual tradition that provides not only a foundation of faith but also vision for making the world more just, loving, and peaceable by our presence.

In Living the Quaker Way, Gulley shows how Quaker values provide real solutions to many of our most pressing contemporary challenges. We not only come to a deeper appreciation of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality, we see how embracing these virtues will radically transform us and our world.

Living the Quaker Way includes a 30-day spiritual practice that applies the Quaker tradition of Queries.

Review:

When I first saw this book, I was excited to have a chance to read it for two reasons: one, I have read and enjoyed Mr. Gulley’s writing before; and two, I come from a long line of Quakers and hoped this book would give me insight into what they believed. Once I started reading the book, however, I quickly realized that the way my conservative, Bible-based Quaker ancestors believed and what Mr. Gulley described are similar but two very different things.

The first chapter endeavors to answer the question, “What is a Quaker?” Although it seems like a straightforward question that would be simple to answer, the reality is far different. Based on what I read in that chapter, it appears being a Quaker (and even what makes one a Quaker) means many things to many people. There is no simple definition, not even one based on sharing the same beliefs, as evidenced by the fact that there are Quakers who are atheists as well as those who firmly believe in God. Mr. Gulley puts forth a valiant effort to offer an all-inclusive definition of the apparently undefinable. As a result, he presents readers with this statement: “Despite our differences, most all of us agree that to be a Quaker is to live out as best we can the virtues of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality.”

The remainder of the book is dedicated to explaining each of those virtues. Each chapter contains examples from Mr. Gulley’s life, other Quakers, and ideals of what the world could be if everyone embraced the Quaker way of life. While packed with information presented in an easy-to-read format and suggestions we would all do well to take to heart, there were several statements I (as a conservative Christian) disagreed with. At times, I wondered if the Quaker religion still values the Bible and the teachings contained therein. The liberal ideas presented by Mr. Gulley made it clear to me that I would not be comfortable in many Quaker meetings because of the differences in their beliefs and mine. However, reading this book was an eye-opening experience for me, one I appreciate having the opportunity to enjoy.

For someone questioning their beliefs or dissatisfied with their current religion, this book could be a wonderful resource. Those who want to make the world a better place will appreciate the insights shared. However, if you are a conservative Christian like me and believe the Bible teaches truth and is a guidebook for our lives, this book may be disappointing in some of its suggestions and descriptions of both the author’s beliefs and the beliefs of the Quaker religion as a whole.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Non-fiction, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Coming October 2 – Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic

Coming October 2, 2012 from WaterBrook Press – Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic.

Unstoppable cover artBook Description:

Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic.  Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships.  Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

But how does that happen?  In Unstoppable Nick addresses adversity and difficult circumstances that many people face today, including:

·         Personal crises
·         Relationship issues
·         Career and job challenges
·         Health and disability concerns
·         Self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and addictions
·         Bullying, persecution, cruelty, and intolerance
·         Balance in body, mind, heart, and spirit
·         Service to others

Through stories from his own life and the experiences of many others, Nick explains how anyone wanting a “ridiculously good life” can respond to these issues and more to become unstoppable. What’s standing in your way?  Are you ready to become unstoppable?

Read the first chapter excerpt here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Non-fiction, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Your Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic

Your Life Without Limits (10-PK) cover artTitle: Your Life Without Limits (10-PK)

Author: Nick Vujicic

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Book Description:

You Can’t Control What Happens to You…
But You Can Control How You Will Respond!

As a teenager Nick Vujicic wondered how he ever could have a “normal life.”  Born without arms and legs, Nick questioned how he would finish school, find a job, enjoy relationships, and not be a burden to others.  He even contemplated suicide before realizing that his challenges did not need to limit his life.

In Your Life Without Limits, Nick tells why circumstances should not rule your life and how to grab hold of the hope that changes everything for the better.

Look for Nick Vujicic’s inspiring, full-length books Life Without Limits and Unstoppable.

Review:

This booklet provides a brief glimpse into the struggles and hope of Nick Vujicic, a man born without arms or legs. Your Life Without Limits is a companion work to Vujicic’s book Life Without Limits. Themes of encouragement, faith, and hope are evident throughout this booklet. Written with a conversational tone, readers feel as though Vujicic is speaking directly to them.

His story is one that inspires people to overcome whatever challenges they may face and thrive in the lives God gave them. By sharing some of his experiences, thoughts, and beliefs, Vujicic helps readers put their challenges in perspective and learn to look outside of themselves for the hope to lead good, fulfilling lives. The simple fact that he has overcome great obstacles and thrives as a speaker and author is enough to encourage people.

Vujicic speaks directly to readers at times, giving the feeling that he is speaking to friends rather than strangers. He offers ways of coping with feelings of hopelessness, as well as giving readers suggestions for how to help themselves by helping others. By the end of the booklet, readers come away with the knowledge that hope is a mainstay in Vujicic’s life and that hope enables people to overcome whatever obstacles may appear in their lives.

If you’re questioning God’s purpose for your life or feeling overwhelmed by the challenges in your life, or you just want to read an uplifting story, I highly recommend Your Life Without Limits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Non-fiction, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book by Chuck Norris

The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book cover artTitle: The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book

Author: Chuck Norris

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Book Description:

Hundreds of thousands of humorous Chuck Norris facts have been published, traveled around the globe via the Internet, and gained an international audience of millions. Chuck Norris facts are a quirky, extremely popular Internet phenomenon that has entertained fans from all over the globe. In the last several years, Chuck Norris has been asked repeatedly from the heartland of America to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, “Which facts are your favorites?” For the first time ever, in The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book, Chuck gives readers not only his favorite “facts,” roundhouse-kicked by the man himself, but also the stories behind the facts and the code by which Chuck lives his life. Fans from every corner of the globe will enjoy both the fanciful and inspirational from one of the world’s great action heroes. This book makes a perfect gift.

Review:

The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book is a fun book, but it also gives a great deal of insight into the man behind the fact phenomenon. Each of the 101 Chuck Norris Facts in the book is supplemented by a true story from Chuck Norris himself. After that bit of trivia is a quote pertaining to the story, and the end of each entry gives the corresponding core value from Chuck’s Code–Norris’ five core values he lives by: Freedom, Family, Fitness, Faith, and Fight–and a sentence or two that goes with it.

Throughout the book, Norris offers opinions and trivia on everything from his movie career to his family to nutrition. The reader comes away with a greater understanding of Norris’ deep-seated Christianity, his patriotism, his support of the military, and his belief that people must work not only to improve themselves but the world around them as well.

The humor in this book had me laughing many times, but Norris also touched on some topics that hit home and made me see things I could improve in my own life. I was particularly impressed with his openness about his failures as well as his successes. His belief that everyone has the opportunity to change their corner of the world is inspiring, especially since the stories in this book show how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of countless people. The many reminders that God sees each of us as His own special creation and has a plan for each and every one of us are uplifting. I highly recommend The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book for anyone looking for a book that leaves the reader with hope for a better world and a better relationship with God and family.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Non-fiction, Tyndale House Publishers

Fearless by Max Lucado

Fearless cover artTitle: Fearless

Author: Max Lucado

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.

They’re talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn’t it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

Review:

Max Lucado has written another excellent book in Fearless. His “tell it like it is” style opens readers’ eyes to the reality of fear and how deeply it can effect a person’s daily life. A touch of humor keeps this book from weighing the reader down as he is forced to look at what fears are in his life and how they effect the choices he makes.

Fearless provides plenty of reminders that God never intended people to live in fear. If we have faith in Him, we have nothing to fear. With God in your corner, what do you have to be afraid of? As Lucado points out time and again, Christ often used phrases like, “Do not be afraid.” With a straightforward instruction like that, God makes it clear He intends for us to be courageous in our faith.

This book is full of practical advice and real-life examples that bring the concepts down to a personal level and help them hit home. Lucado’s words provide a great reminder that God doesn’t give us fear; His love overcomes it.

There are a few lines in chapter seven that, for me, capture the tone of the entire book. Lucado is talking about praying about our worries and fears rather than letting them eat away at us.

“Be specific about your fears. Identify what ‘this cup’ is and talk to God about it. Putting your worries into words disrobes them. They look silly standing there naked.”

This entire books disrobes many common fears, and Lucado is right. They do look pretty silly standing naked in the light of faith and logic.

Whether you worry incessantly, live in a state of constant fear, or just wonder if God really cares, Fearless is a great book to help you find your way to stronger faith and a life where you fear less.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Non-fiction, Thomas Nelson