Category: Book Reviews

Isaac Newton Review


Booksneeze Book Review!

Mr Stokes gives a great look at the iconic Isaac Newton. The perspective is obvious as part of the Christian Encounters series, yet the person of Newton is enjoyably expressed. This text does not dive deeply into the technical aspects of Newton’s work, but does deeply gaze into the heart of Newton, his desires and motivations.

I appreciated the historical development presentation, exposing the effort and occasional wrong turns present in even the great intellect of Newton. Any young Christian with a head toward mathematical pursuits would enjoy this perspective on a great contributor to the sciences. Others interested in this time period will find this volume accessible in ways more technical accounts would not be.

guest review by Mr. Jake Malloy

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

the voice of psalms


A few weeks ago, I reviewed The Voice New Testament for Thomas Nelson Publishers. In that review, I explained the idea behind the Voice Project…you can find that here. I won’t take time to explain it again, but I will add a caveat.

This is a response to those who have misunderstood or maybe even have failed to try to understand the heart and process of the writing of this translation of Scripture. When reading this translation, one must remember that the writers put in italics those words that they have added to make it a more sensory experience. Some have argued that a person who has never picked up a Bible may not take time to read the introduction and misunderstand those words to be a part of Scripture. I would first say that 1.) they’ll probably read the introduction, because that’s how normal people read books, 2.) the words that are added do not add additional meaning to the text in the way that it adds a new idea…instead, it adds a better understanding of what is being communicated to the reader, and 3.) we know that the specific words of Scripture do not hold the power…Scripture is not God, and that would be idolatrous to call it such. Instead, the Holy Spirit teaches us and communicates truths of God with us. We can trust God to work in peoples’ lives. My encouragement for those who have failed to try to understand what the Voice is all about … read the introduction, and the entire work- compare it, pray about it, talk about it, and then come to a conclusion.

That being said, my reading of the voice of psalms led me to a time of deep worship and communication with God. The Holy Spirit used it to teach me truths and He led me to a time of soul-searching and conviction of sin. After approximately every other psalm there is a short devotion that is written to lead one to a reflection on the words of the psalm and a reflection on one’s own life. I don’t think they are meant to teach anyone any new piece of information, but instead, I think it’s supposed to lead one to a deeper knowledge of God- a knowledge that connects the mind with the heart and the feet (living out the truth). It’s not until we live out those things that we know in our head that we have true knowledge.

For those of you who conclude that you’re uncomfortable with accepting this translation as one that you would use on a regular basis, I would encourage you to get a copy to use for times of devotion. It’s a good treat to have on your shelf.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Need a good book of Bible maps and charts?

Time for another Booksneeze review!

This one is of Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts (third edition). It’s a collection of all the maps and charts that are in Nelson Bibles. Now, before you write this book off as boring or type-Aish, I think you should finish reading the review! Not only is this a collection of helpful charts and maps, but it is an overview of each book of the Bible- the possible author(s), dates, themes, literary structures, outlines, and pictures too!

When reviewing this book, I perused the entire thing, but focused specifically on Isaiah because I spent a semester studying a chunk of it in my Old Testament class last semester. For those interested in a book like this, you should know that this book may tend to land on the conservative side of debatable issues, BUT that it gives the other side credit too.

I loved the attitude of the introduction of this book. They say that this is NOT just a book to sit on a shelf as a “reference” tool. Instead, they want you to freely copy and pass along information and charts to friends in a study group or your students in the classroom. To help in this, they also make all the charts and maps free for download at www.thomasnelson.com/MapsandCharts.

This book would be a very helpful tool for those teaching introduction courses in the Bible, or for anyone who likes to see visual representations in order to better understand stories and concepts. I, for one, am a very visual learner, and would have found this book incredibly helpful last semester in Old Testament. Thankfully this book came in time for me to use it in my New Testament class starting on Monday!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review of Thy Kingdom Connected

In addition to being a booksneeze blogger, I also review books for The Ooze Viral Bloggers. The opportunity to review Thy Kingdom Come by Dwight J. Friesen recently came to my inbox, and I had to jump on it. The subtitle is “What the Church can Learn from Facebook, the Internet, and Other Networks.” Basically the book used networky terms and ideas to communicate the role of the church, the role of pastors, the idea of the kingdom of God, and missions.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the complexity of this book. It was easy to read, but it was written in a variety of styles- textbookish at times, businessy at times, leadership-like at other times. Also, at the end of each chapter, the author gave some suggested books to read as well as some reflection questions. These types of additions really make a book more than a one-time read experience. It networks you to other books, other resources, and makes the reading experience more of an ongoing conversation. In fact, that’s very in-line with Friesen’s premise.

If you are a church leader, or an future church leader, this book is for you, ESPECIALLY the chapters on what church is. Although the subtitle is slightly misleading (there’s not much talk about using facebook or the internet for the purpose of the church), it’s still a great book on the idea of the kingdom of God being like a giant network.

The Voice New Testament

The Voice New Testament is a translation of Scripture that brings together biblical integrity with art/beauty. Have you ever read a translation of the New Testament and it just didn’t really connect with your heart? And then read a translation that does? They say the same thing, just in a different way. The Voice does a fantastic job of staying true to the text, but in such a way that allows you to get wrapped up in the beautiful story of God and His people. This translation is truly a translation, and not something like The Message, which doesn’t really claim to be a translation. There are a lot of people who have worked, and are continuing to work on this project- scholars, artists, musicians, and wrtiers.

Admittingly, Scripture has been a little dry to me lately. But this translation has helped me to see the story of God’s love and instruction a little more clearly, and a little more intimately. I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS ONE ALL THE WAY THROUGH! This translation would be a great gift to someone who is in their twenties or thirties and looking to get a fresh look on Scripture.

Free Book*

I must admit that after 30 pages of Free Book by Brian Tome, I was pretty put off. I was shocked by some of the things that he was saying and almost dismissed this book as one that “tough guys” who love to be the independent American should read. I wondered who in the world would want to read a whole book of this. But, I decided to persevere through it (since I’m reviewing it for Thomas Nelson’s book review program, booksneeze).

I would have missed out on a lot had I put it down. PLEASE persevere through the first few chapters because it gets really good. Tome guides the reader through a series of chapters which makes you think about various strongholds in your life that is preventing you from experiencing real freedom in Christ. I will be rereading this book in order to think about some of the things that came up in my own heart.

Tome certainly does “bring it”, but in an incredibly authentic and humble way. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks they are not experiencing life to the fullest— the way God wants us to experience it.

Take Your Best Shot by Austin Gutwein

For my first post-semester book, I chose one that I’ve had around for a couple months now called Take Your Best Shot by Austin Gutwein (yep, that’s the founder of Hoops of Hope) and Todd Hillard. It’s a young adult book, so it was a very relaxing, quick read that left me encouraged and motivated to do something to help someone. Gutwein and Hillard encourage teenagers to take their best shot at doing something substantial for someone else, all the while weaving in Gutwein’s story of how Hoops of Hope came about.

The authors did a great job of emphasizing that although this was one way of helping others, there are many more ways out there for a person to use their interests and skills to advance the Kingdom of God. Each chapter ended with a short reflection on a passage of Scripture and some kind of “put this into practice” suggestion. I think that young adults will connect with the author and be inspired to seek out what God desires for them to do, whether that be big or small.

If you’re looking for a book to give a young adult this Christmas season, this would be a great one to encourage generosity and obedience to God!

A good prayer

For one of my classes, I’m to read at least 500 pages of contemporary leadership material. So, for a portion of that, I decided to pick up It by Craig Groeschel (thanks JR.- it’s actually you’re old book!).

There are parts I really liked about it. And parts I really disliked. But, the prayer at the end that Craig leaves the reader with is excellent, and a prayer that I want to pray for myself and for my community. Here it is:

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Amen.

Check it Out- Wasabi Gospel


A book bomb is going off on amazon.com, you may want to check it out.

I got the privilege of being able to get a sneak peak of this bomb, called the Wasabi Gospel, written by Shawn Wood. You may have heard of another book that he’s written, 200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One.

Anyway, although I didn’t have time to read the entire book word for word, I did skim through it and read chapter 4 in-depth: Rich People Go Straight to Hell, Do Not Pass Go.
Sound challenging? Yeaaah. It was. Wood does a great job of communicating wasabi-like Scripture passages in a way that is easy to identify with and that reveals the real zest with which Jesus said them.

Who is “the rich”? Could it be you or me? What are we expected to do with excess? What are people doing today because of this truth? Not meant to produce a guilt trip or wring us through the dryer, Wood encourages and challenges readers to live the life of the Kingdom- bring the Kingdom to earth. If all the chapters in this book are a similar quality, this is going to be a must-read for all young adults.

To learn more about this book and about the author, be sure to check out any of the following links:

www.wasabigospel.com
www.shawnwoodwrites.com
www.twitter.com/shawnwood
www.facebook.com/shawnwood