Category Archives: Tyndale Blog Network

C.S. Lewis & Mere Christianity – Paul McCusker

C.S. Lewis & Mere Christianity is published by Tyndale House Publishers.

C.S. Lewis & Mere Christianity is published by Tyndale House Publishers.

About the Book
About the Author
Read a Sample

Summary: C. S. Lewis & Mere Christianity: The Crisis That Created A Classic is a look at the historical events of C. S. Lewis’s life and how they impacted his writing. The book also has tidbits of  information about the important people of the time period and the important people directly connected to C. S. Lewis. If you’ve ever wondered why C. S. Lewis wrote the way he did, or if you love all things C. S. Lewis, this will become an important book for your personal library.

Review: I love history and I love C. S. Lewis. That said, this is the perfect book for a nerdy book-lover like me! Paul McCusker did a great job bringing Lewis’s time period to life. This wasn’t just a book about C. S. Lewis, it was about the events that were happening during his life. After reading the book I have a better understanding of what C. S. Lewis lived through which in turn helps me understand a little better why he wrote Mere Christianity (which is one of my absolute favorite Lewis writings). I love the fact the Paul McCusker included pictures, not only of Lewis but of WWII. The book itself was well-researched and is easy to read. Sometimes history/biography can be a little bland and boring, but the author did a great job keeping this not overly heavy. The chapters are fairly short which helps keep you reading. None of this, “Great, I’m only halfway through this chapter and I’ve already read 50 pages.” (if you know what I mean).

There was really only one place that I felt confused when I was reading, and that may have been because I missed something earlier. In Chapter 5 the author mentions Minto and I can’t seem to figure out who that was. That doesn’t take away from the greatness of the book though. C. S. Lewis & Mere Christianity will definitely find a home on our bookshelves and will make a great homeschool resource!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own, no other  compensation was received.

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If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis – Alister McGrath

About the Book
Read an Excerpt
About the Author

Review: Doesn’t the trailer give you a great summary of the book? I sure thought so! Growing up, the Narnia books were some of my favorites. As a college student, I loved Mere Christianity. In fact, my favorite quote of all time comes from that book. The books of C. S. Lewis have been sitting on my bookshelves for years, and I always come away with something different when I read them. The title of Alister McGrath’s newest book If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis caught my eye. Who wouldn’t want to have lunch with C. S. Lewis?! Sadly, the time for an actual in-person lunch with Mr. Lewis is past. Thanks to Dr. McGrath, however, readers can get a pretty clear picture of what it would have been like. In just eight chapters, Alister McGrath takes us all the way from the meaning of life to Heaven. His knowledge of C. S. Lewis is a wonderful asset when it comes to discussing the larger topics about which Lewis wrote.

I couldn’t stop underlining things that I felt were important. On the very last page of the book, Alister McGrath sums everything up in a great few lines. He writes, “. . . the most important thing is that each of us, whether rememembered by others or not, is remembered by God. And that’s what really matters. Human history may forget about us, as it has forgotten so many. But our names are engraved on God’s hands, and written in the Book of Life. . .” (207).

If you’ve ever wondered how C. S. Lewis felt about some of the most important aspects of life, I would strongly suggest you read If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis. It’s very well written and once you get into it it’s rather hard to put down. If I had more than two thumbs, I’d put them all up.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own, no other compensation was received.

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A Call to Resurgence – Mark Driscoll

About the Book
Read an Excerpt
Resurgence Website
Author’s Website

 

Summary: Is Christianity really alive in today’s world? Yes there are a lot of churches, Christian schools, and talk of God, but do the people who go to these places or say these things really believe it? Mark Dricoll brings some interesting statistics to life and calls believers to live fully for God.

Review: Quite honestly, I got this book because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t like Mark Driscoll for one reason or another so I thought I’d read his newest book. I want to say that people don’t tend to like him because he’s blunt, at least that’s my first impression. I’d agree with that assessment. However, I don’t think that’s any reason to not like him. No he doesn’t sugar coat his words, but does that make what he’s trying to say untrue? Nope! In fact, that’s why I like him. I’ll take a plain doughnut please, none of this sugar glazed stuff. Why? Because the sugar changes the actual flavor. Same goes for sugar coated words. Do I think things could be said a little less “harsh”? Yes, but at the same time, will people listen to this particular message if it isn’t presented like it is? I don’t know.

 Anyway… As I read through A Call to Resurgence I made notes of quotes I liked and things I did/didn’t agree with. On the whole, I agree with the message of the book. We do live in a world where Christianity isn’t popular, and we as Christians do need to stand firm in the Word. It did bother me a bit that Pastor Driscoll didn’t capitalize pronouns used in place of God or Jesus. Other than that, I have a favorable opinion of A Call to Resurgence. 

 On pages 112 and 113 there’s a chart to kind of help you figure out where you might be on the “tribe” scale. Looking at the chart I thought I kind of fell in between two groups because I fit both descriptions. Maybe I’m just weird, that’s ok with me!

I’ll leave you with this quote because it pretty much sums up the general message of the book (I think).

 “This is not a time for compromise but rather courage.” (Driscoll, 3)

 Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received.

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Little Book of Great Dates – Dr. Greg & Erin Smalley

A Focus on the Family book, published by Tyndale

About the Book
Read an Excerpt
About the Authors
Author Website

Summary: Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you stop pursuing your spouse! That’s the general idea behind the Little Book of Great Dates. Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife Erin have come up with 52 dates, one for each week of the year, to help married couples reconnect. Each date has a short explanation of the importance of the date’s theme, as well as an activity idea for the date itself and a conversation starter section. Small enough to fit in a purse, the Little Book of Great Dates is a great way for couples to start getting back into the habit of dating each other.

Review: First off, I love the cover. It’s blue and it looks kind of like a journal. I also love that it’s small enough to fit in the glove compartment of the car or in my purse. Admittedly, my husband and I still try and get dates in every now and then. It is nice to have this little book though because it’s got a lot of really good ideas in it (which is great for me since I’m not very good at coming up with date ideas).

Having grown up with the boy who became my husband, I already know several of the answers that go with the conversation starters, but not everyone does! I love that the authors give you some questions to help you dig deeper and get to know each other better. I think one of my favorites is the one where you’re supposed to go and do something that the other one really loves to do and then switch the next time. It really gives your spouse an idea of why you like doing what you do, or they might see a side of you they don’t get to see because you’ve never done it together before. I know it sounds weird, but it really does bring you closer together!

If you have a hard time coming up with dates, or you want to start dating your spouse, or even if you do date but want something deeper, I’d suggest that you pick up this little book and try it out! Make it a habit. Date your spouse and see what happens.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received.

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My Princess Devotions – Karen Whiting

978-1-4143-6905-1

Available from Tyndale Publishers

About the Book
(w/ excerpt)

About the Author

 

Summary: Available in September 2013, My Princess Devotions (Preschool Edition) is a new addition to “The One Year” family of books. The daily devotions are designed to help little girls learn that they are in fact little princesses because they are daughters of God, who is the Almighty King. Each devotion has a princess-y title, a verse that corresponds to the title, a brief explanation, a prayer, and a way for young girls to apply what they’ve learned to real life. A fun and relevant way for little girls to learn about God!

Review: It’s taken me a while to get the review written for this devotional because I had a hard time getting it out of the hands of our 4-yr old daughter. If that doesn’t tell you how great this book is, I don’t know what will! As I was browsing through the available titles on the Tyndale Blog Network, she came up behind me and said in an excited voice, “Oh mommy! I want that one!”. How could I not get it? One, she’s all about princess and cutesy and pink. Two, it’s a devotional and we include daily devotions in our school time. The package eventually came in the mail and as soon as I opened it, in the car, she reached out for it and hasn’t let go since except to eat and sleep. She loves to remind me that we need to read her “princess ‘votions”.

Now, on to the “technical” stuff. There are 365 devotions, one for each day of the year (unless it’s a leap year), and each one has four little sections. There’s the “Royal Words” (Scripture verse), “Princess Thoughts” (brief explanation), “A Prayer for the King” (daily prayer), and “Princess in Action” (Life application). Sometimes the verses make you go “Um, what?” but then the explanation and application sections make it clear. Example: On March 10th the verse is 1 Samuel 2:19 and it talks about Hannah bringing Samuel a little robe each year. At first it’s like, “Ok, sure?”, but then you read to find out that it’s a verse being used to help little girls see how important moms are.

The only thing I really “take issue” with is that until a little girl (or boy, for that matter) asks Jesus to be their Savior, they technically aren’t a prince(ss). But I understand why kid’s devotions are written the way they are so it’s ok. It’s my “job” as a parent to do the guiding towards the Savior.

Personally, I think Karen Whiting did a great job with this devotion book! I know our daughter gives it 10 fingers up, if she’d let go of it, LOL!

 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received.

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Captive in Iran – Maryam Rostampour & Marziyeh Amirizadeh

About the Book

About the Authors

Buy the Book: Amazon, ChristianBook, Books-a-Million, Barnes & Noble, Lifeway, Parable

Before you read the review, please watch the video! 

Summary: Maryam and Marziyeh became Christians in 2005 and couldn’t keep it to themselves. They handed out Bibles to those who asked for one and spoke with those who asked about Christ. The problem? They lived in Iran where it was (and still is) illegal to share your faith if it isn’t Islam. The girls continued sharing their faith and meeting with their house churches until one day in 2009. Maryam and Marziyeh were arrested and eventually sent to Evin Prison in Tehran where they spent 259 days. While there though, they were able to reach many more people for Christ, some who may not have been reached otherwise. A modern-day Joseph experience where “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result–the survival of many people.” (Gen. 50:20, HCSB)

Review: One word – WOW!

I know Evin Prison has been in the news recently because of Pastor Saeed. If you want a glimpse into prison life there, at least on the women’s side, I urge you to read Captive in Iran. The strength these ladies had, despite their treatment, can’t be explained any other way than God. Maryam and Marziyeh’s experience is moving and thought-provoking. We’re not put in jail for our beliefs here in the U.S. (at least not yet, who knows what the future holds) so it’s easy to say “Oh yeah, I’d stand behind my faith!”. But would we really? Would I really? When faced with questioning, torture, and possibly even death, would I stand firm?

I’m still having a hard time coming up with words to review this book. I loved it, which will probably sound weird, but it was awesome to read about the power of God in their lives. And it was enlightening to read just how the process works in Iran. I know people are probably going to say “Yeah well that’s from their perspective, that’s not how it really works. They’re just trying to make the government look bad.” To which I have to say, they lived it and have a better idea of how it works than anyone who hasn’t experienced it. Throughout the book they never spoke with resentment toward their captors, and that’s amazing given their experience.

Please, I encourage you to read Captive in Iran. Share it with your friends. Give it to your pastor. Read it in a small group (there’s a great discussion guide available as a PDF). Read it, if not to prepare for the possible, to educate yourselves and others. Be inspired to live fully for God, no matter what the circumstance.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free through the Tyndale Blog Network, no other compensation was received. All thoughts are my own.

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Finding God in The Hobbit – Jim Ware

About the Author

About the Book (from the publisher, with a link to a preview)

Where to find the book: Amazon, Christianbook, Books-a-Million, Barnes and Noble, Lifeway, Parable

Summary: Though Tolkien himself was not a fan of allegory and did not specifically write The Hobbit (or any of his other books) as such, his worldview is still evident in his writing. In Finding God in The Hobbit, author Jim Ware takes readers on a journey through The Hobbit and helps them see just what there is to learn about God within the pages of the book. As the back cover of the book says, “Just as the very ordinary Bilbo Baggins was caught up in a web of momentous events beyond his understanding, so you also are part of a larger story.” Readers are shown new ways to see the events that take place in the story of Bilbo Baggins and will come away from Jim Ware’s book with a new perspective of Middle Earth.

Review: I personally love The Hobbit so I was excited to read Finding God in The Hobbit by Jim Ware. I’d skimmed through his other books and thought that he made good points but I was especially interested to see what he had to say about The Hobbit. It’s true that Tolkien did not write with allegory in mind, but his worldview did influence his writing and it is easy to see that in his books. Jim Ware does a spectacular job of picking apart pieces of The Hobbit to show important aspects about the Christian life (which makes sense since Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic). I have always drawn my own conclusions from both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings in regards to the Christian life and it was nice to see a different set of conclusions, all that make sense.

I think the one I never picked up on was the importance of things we usually take for granted. I won’t tell you what object it is that Jim Ware is talking about within the world of The Hobbit but I will say that it makes entirely too much sense. Of all the lessons to learn from a pleasure read, who would ever guess that one would be not to take seemingly unimportant things (like ourselves) for granted. There’s more to us than meets the eye, like hobbits.

All-in-all, a very good read. If you like making connections to real life stuff when you read Tolkien’s books, make sure you pick up a copy of Finding God in The Hobbit, you’ll end up with a few more things to think about.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and no other compensation was received.

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Building Up the Men in Our Lives

Building Up the Men in Our Lives
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9, NIV)

By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach

                                     learn more

When our husbands let us down, it’s hard not to voice our anger and disappointment. We don’t do it to hurt or embarrass our husbands. We are women, and we’re wired to share our hearts with another person. We definitely need one another to become the women we want to be, but we need to be careful not to cripple our men by uncovering their weaknesses to everyone.

Obviously we all need someone to help us sort through our feelings. I think it is best to find one or two trustworthy people who are in favor of our marriages and won’t repeat our conversation to others. I have two best friends to whom I tell everything because they help me see things from my husband’s perspective and help me fight for my marriage by praying and sharing wisdom from the Word. I am careful, even with them, not to overshare in a way that would humiliate my husband, Steve.

Think about how we would feel if our husbands talked about our weaknesses at their workplaces. Let’s commit to covering our men and not exposing them, and let’s pray for them to grow as leaders.

Don’t Enable . . .

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

Because we women are so good at leading, many times we leave our men in the dust or allow them to become weak leaders. How are they ever supposed to learn to lead if we do everything for them? We are not their mothers; we are their wives. Christ asked them to love, lead, and take care of us the way He loves the church.

It’s important that we not try to do things that are our husbands’ responsibility unless they are absolutely necessary. Even if we can do their job better than they can, we’re not helping them become the men they long to be; we are enabling them. They will see us as their mothers and not their wives, which will make us bitter toward them and produce the fruit of self-hate in their lives.

Do What You Can to Empower Him . . .

Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do. (1 Peter 3:6)

I used to think it was strange that Sarah called her husband “master.” I thought maybe she was even putting her husband before God. But today I realize she was a wise woman. She was empowering her husband to find his place as her leader. We can also help our husbands become godly leaders for us. Even if they do not rise up right away, we shouldn’t give up on them. We can keep praying and empowering them. Whatever they do, big or small, let’s encourage them. Let’s be like Sarah and do whatever it takes to empower our men to be great.

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visit www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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Fighting to Find the Benefits and Blessings of Purity

Fighting to Find the Benefits and Blessings of Purity
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

By Sheri Rose Shepherd
Bestselling Author and Bible Life Coach

                                     learn more

When I was a new Christian, it never occurred to me to change the way I dressed or flirted; after all, I was single, so why shouldn’t I dress the way I wanted and get whatever attention I could? I had worked hard to lose over fifty pounds and get in shape. I was finally thin for the first time.

Then one day, about a year into my walk with God, my young singles pastor came up to me after our church service and politely asked me if I could come to church dressed more modestly. He told me I was distracting him and some of the young men in our group from focusing on God. I know it took every ounce of courage he had to confront me and help me understand how men struggle, and even though I was a bit embarrassed and slightly offended, I’m glad he took a chance and told me the truth.

We have no idea the major internal battle that goes on inside our men when it comes to women. The truth is, sex and women hold the key to unlock a beast inside of them. Deep down inside, our men are screaming for some relief from all the overstimulation and sensual battles that war against their souls every day. Even those men who desire purity are forced to fight for it because of all the women who flirt and flash their flesh to get attention. Even our beloved King David, a warrior who was strong enough to stand before a giant, could not withstand temptation when he saw Bathsheba naked in the bathtub. The interesting thing about this story is that Bathsheba was unaware she was even tempting David. Bathsheba was in her own home, taking a bath in her own yard, but when David’s eyes saw her flesh, he lost his strength and forgot who he was: a God-appointed king. Once he lost his moral compass, he lost his senses. He caved to his craving for her and then set up her husband to be killed on the battlefield so his own sin wouldn’t be exposed.

David’s moment of weakness had tragic consequences as the baby conceived by Bathsheba died. But even more tragic was that a piece of David’s soul died that day, and the passion he once had to be a heroic man never did fully return. Our hearts’ desire is for men to know how to connect to our hearts, but we make it difficult for them when we blind them with our bodies. We know how to grab their attention, but in the process are we trading what we want most, which is a real love relationship with them? Feeling sexy is fun, but what is the cost when we force men to fight temptation? Somehow it seems the price that we pay to get attention is not worth it. And it’s really out of control when a man cannot even attend church because the women are distracting him from worshiping.

Look at the influence the first lady in the human race had. Her craving led Adam to follow her into disobeying God. Eve saw something that was pleasing to the eye, and she wanted it more than she wanted to obey God. She ended up taking her husband down with her, and the Fall occurred.

Today the “fall of families” is an epidemic. We are losing our moral men of faith by the masses while pornography and human trafficking are out of control. Our men are forced to look at our flesh, whether they want to or not. They don’t even have to seek it on the Internet; all they have to do is walk out their doors. Is it any wonder they are struggling to remain pure? Something has to change, and it has to start with us. How will our sons and daughters find the strength to remain pure and experience a pure love if no one leads the way?

For more teaching from the Your Heart’s Desire book and Bible study, visit www.biblelifecoaching.com.

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American Patriots – Rick Santorum

Summary: American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom is a compilation of 25 accounts of Revolutionary War men and women. The Declaration of Independence shares the beliefs on which the country was founded, “. . .that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. . .”, and the men and women whose stories are told here fought for those beliefs. Rick Santorum presents a well-researched history of some of the important people of the Revolution. Some of the name are more well-known than others, but all of them were brave souls willing to stand up for their beliefs.

Review: I learned a lot of things about the American Revolution that I didn’t know before. Most of the people Rick Santorum included in the book were people that I had heard very little, if anything, about. It was quite refreshing to read something new about history for once. At the end, I was left with the question in my mind of “Would I do the same?”. I’d like to think that I would.

The book itself is divided up into three parts, one for each of the “unalienable Rights” given in the Declaration of Independence. Part One is comprised of five chapters and tells the stories of seven individuals who did their part for the “unalienable Right” to Life. I think I was most intrigued by this section, especially the story of Peter Francisco. George Washington, the future President, spoke very highly of him and I thought it quite interesting that I’d never heard much of anything about him. Apparently March 15 is Peter Francisco Day in three states, which makes me wonder why we don’t give him more attention. Part Two is also five chapters and has 12 mini-biographies focusing on those who stood up for Liberty. A couple of the people in this section are Abraham Whipple and Phillis Wheatley. Part Three, again, is five chapters  with six individuals who fought for The Pursuit of Happiness. The appendix includes the text of the Declaration of Independence and a list of the signers.

Did I like the book? Yes I did. It was easy to read and it wasn’t about the “usual” people you hear about in regards to the Revolutionary War.  I plan on using this book as supplementary history reading when my children are in junior high or high school. It’s a very good starting point for learning about some of the other important people of that era.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

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