Sunday, May 31, 2020

New life in Christ

About 2000 years ago, Jesus told Nicodemus, a ‘Teacher of Israel’ that he needed to be born again, and he had questions about what that meant.  So where does that leave us today? We have many of the same questions, but we can’t ask Jesus directly what he meant.
                It certainly isn’t an easy question, and the answers aren’t always that clear, but because we told that we must be born again to enter the God's Kingdom, we have questions and we seek answers.  Steven J. Lawson has gone to considerable effort to try to give scripturally sound answers to that age old question.  I had questions before, and even after reading New Life in Christ: What Really Happens When you’re Born Again and Why it Matters (Baker Books, 2020) I still doubt that I could clearly express myself if put on the spot to answer the question of what it means to be born again.

Having said that, I have a better understanding, but still not enough to thoroughly explain it to someone else. But then, other than Jesus, I doubt if anyone can truly explain it.  But Lawson does a good job of hitting the major points.
This book is an interesting read for anyone who is really interested in going deeper into the subject matter, but if you’re looking for an ‘easy read’, you might want to look elsewhere.  If I were still active in pastoral ministry, I might use this book as a starting point for a sermon series, .
I received a copy of this book as a member of a bloggers’ group. I was not required to post a positive review.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Talking with Your Kids about Jesus: Great conversations starters

As parents, we have choices. We can choose to teach our kids the things that we want them to know, the things that align with our core values, or we can abdicate that responsibility and leave it up to the public school system, their friends on the playground, social media and the mainstream media, or ‘the world’ to have a major say in what they learn and adopt as their core values.  We have a choice: we help influence what will become their worldview, or we let the world play a major role in their decision making processes.
                And like it or not, their view of God and Jesus is going to be included. So the title of Natasha Crain’s book Talking with Your Kids about Jesus: 30 Conversations Every Christian Parent Must Have (Baker Books, 2020) struck a chord.

This book contains 30 short chapters with discussion questions, and prompts for open discussions with your kids about Jesus. Who was He? Who is He? What about the miracles? How could He be human and God at the same time? What did He teach about Heaven, Hell, religion and the Kingdom of God?  What is it about His death that has fascinated scholars for 20 centuries?  Why can we believe that the resurrection happened? And what does it all mean? What is it about Jesus that truly makes a difference when it comes to our lives on earth, our lives in the Kingdom, and how does Jesus fit into the story of our salvation?
Although this book is meant to be a guide to help parents talk with their kids about Jesus, it could easily be adapted into a study for new believers, regardless of their age, they have many of these same questions.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a member of their bloggers’ program. I was not required to post a positive review.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Younique is not really unique

I was looking forward to reading Younique: Designing the Life that God Dreamed for You by Will Mancini (with Dave Rhodes and Cory Hartman) (B&H Publishing, 2020) because it looked like it might be a tool to help me decide how to spend my golden years. I’m retired, but not so tired that I’m ready to spend my days in a rocking chair on the porch, watching life pass by.  There is definitely a part of me that wants to make a difference in the time that I have left, and since its God that gives me that time, I want my life to honor Him.

I was hoping for something new, but I didn’t really find it. This is another book with good information about mission, vision, purpose, and goals. Much of the same stuff that I’ve read in a number of other books over the past 40 or so years. Yes Mancini presents it a little differently, but I found his plan burdensome and overly complicated.
In many ways it seemed as I was reading Younique that this was a management book with some scripture and biblical principles thrown in to offer a fresh appeal to ministry leaders. Although I didn’t check out the links that offered additional information on several things mentioned, I got the impression that to get the full benefit of Mancini’s plan for designing a new life, that I might need to purchase a membership, or buy additional materials.
In short, this book is not for me, and I would hesitate to broadly recommend it, although I can think of one or two people who would probably be willing to give it a try.
                I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a part of a blogging program, I was not required to write a positive review.