Browse Category: Non Fiction

Review – The Nehemiah Code by O.S. Hawkins

Book description

Who isn’t in need of a new beginning? Bestselling author O. S. Hawkins knows that whether it be broken relationships, integrity missteps, or loss, most of us will spend some or much of the next year trying to restore something. The good news is . . . it’s never too late for a new beginning.

Hawkins, with more than 550,000 books sold, now turns his eye to another biblical hero in The Nehemiah Code. Nehemiah was a civil servant from 2,500 years ago who applied principles found in the Bible for insight during hard times, help to start again, and encouragement to rebuild a life.

Review

This is a small good looking book containing big truths about rebuilding in today’s society.

O.S. Hawkins is well known for writing a series of “codes” inspired  by prominent Bible figures, and this one is no exception. Taking wisdom from the life of Nehemiah, each chapter gives us a glimpse into rebuilding our lives in the middle of difficult situations. Just like Nehemiah did with an entire city.

The book is divided in the following six parts, covering attitudes or actions that can be applied into our own personal situations. 

  • Taking personal responsibility
  • Moving out of your comfort zone
  • Rebuilding team spirit
  • Holding those around you accountable
  • Doing what is right
  • Finishing strong

Rating 4/5

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Poverty, Riches and Wealth by Kris Valloton

Book description

Overcoming the Never-Enough Mentality to Experience True Kingdom Abundance

Prosperity. It’s one of the most dividing, misused and misunderstood words in the Church. With refreshing honesty, humor and keen insight, bestselling author and teacher Kris Vallotton mines the Scriptures in an eye-opening study of what the Bible really says about money, poverty, riches and wealth. And what he finds is sure to shake up what you thought you knew.

Showing how Kingdom prosperity begins from the inside out, Kris helps you learn to cultivate a mindset of abundance–no matter your circumstances–and begin to experience the wealth of heaven in every area of your life.

Review

I’ve been following Kris Valloton on Facebook for a long time. I really like and appreciate his wisdom and insight in the prophetic. I own another three (unread) books by him, picking this one for review was an obvious choice for me. After finishing Poverty, Riches & Wealth it doesn’t seem that obvious though. 

Let me start by saying that I have no complains about the actual content of this book. Valloton touches important topics on the perception that most Christians have about the money and prosperity. He backs up his teaching with the Word, giving example after example on how we have twisted the Scriptures in order to stay in our confort zone about the lack of resources in our lives.

A common element in Poverty, Riches and Wealth is the inclusion of Valloton’s journey through his life in different business, before he became a full time minister. He uses his experience to teach common misconceptions and mistakes many of us have in order to correct them or avoid them.

Then, what’s the reason of my initial comment? Well, the reason is that while the content is totally useful and practical, Valloton seems to had the wish to cover all the bases and in doing so the book lacks focus and clarity. He goes from talking about cultural background about the poverty mindset in America to explaining tithing, from sharing a really long story about his meeting with the Pope to giving leadership advice.

Conclusion

I’m guessing if you’re familiar with Valloton’s writings, you’ll be happy after reading Poverty, Riches and Wealth. Maybe I need to read more of his books in order to get his way of thinking, or maybe he needs a better editor, that would solve most of the issues with the lack of focus.

Rating: 3/5

I received this book from Chosen Books in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Memory Rescue by Daniel G. Amen

Book description

A proven program from #1 New York Times bestselling author and brain researcher Dr. Daniel Amen to help you change your brain and improve your memory today!
Brain imaging research demonstrates that memory loss actually starts in the brain decades before you have any symptoms. Learn the actions you can take to help not just prevent memory loss later in life . . . but to begin restoring the memory you may have already lost.

Expert physician Dr. Amen reveals how a multipronged strategy—including dietary changes, physical and mental exercises, and spiritual practices—can improve your brain health, enhance your memory, and reduce the likelihood that you’ll develop Alzheimer’s and other memory loss–related conditions.

Keeping your brain healthy isn’t just a medical issue; it’s a God-given capacity and an essential building block for physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Take action against the fast-increasing memory crisis that threatens this crucial part of who you are—and help your brain, body, and soul stay strong for the rest of your life.

Review

This is a long book, but worth the reading. Dr. Daniel Amen brings a complex subject to easy language for everyone.

There’s not only scientific knowledge poured over each chapter, but also practical advice such how our daily habits affect the way our brain works. It starts with “basic” information on how our brain is wired and then starts elaborating towards more detailed information on the subject.

I’d recommend this books to those in need of practical advice but also to those in search to understand more how our brain works and how can it can be improved.

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – The Spiritual Gifts Handbook by Randy Clark & Mary Healy

Book description

People today need more than a message. They need an encounter with the living God.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are God’s answer to the darkness of our time, able to convince even the most broken and hardened of hearts that God is real, present and active in our lives. And as the Holy Spirit pours out His gifts among believers, He is uniting Christians of every denomination as one Body.

With wisdom and practical insight, international healing minister Randy Clark teams up with acclaimed Catholic Bible scholar Mary Healy to show that the gifts of the Spirit are for all believers. The authors walk you through biblical texts, dispel misconceptions and show the endless variety of gifts. And they reveal how you can activate the gifts in your own life and use them to benefit others. 

Review

This is my second book co-authored by Randy Clark. I really like the way he shares his own experiences with Bible teachings on healing and deliverance. I thought it was a good idea to try something different, in this case, the spiritual gifts.

The first thing I realized was that Mary Healy is not a christian author, or christian minister for that matter, but her background is Catholic; a Charismatic Catholic that is. This means she believes and practices the gifts of the Spirit, known to them as Charismas, but still operates under the Catholic Church authorities, which in turns means under the Pope and Apostolic Tradition besides the Bible.

Both authors share their experiences when talking about the movement of the Spirit in Christian and Catholic circles alike with the intention to motivate a stronger manifestation of the Spirit in our time. Although the name of the book seems to imply is all about the “Gifts or Charismas” of the Spirit in reality half of the book talks about personal experiences and theological definitions while the other half really describes the different gifts, divided into what the authors call: Revelation Gifts, Power Gifts and Gifts of Speech. 

Conclusion

I found The Spiritual Gifts Handbook to be a great book. I’m not sure I’d recommend this book to a newborn Christian, but it gives a fresh perspective into what God is doing with the church in this time. Also, it’ll sure be of interest to those who want to know more about the Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church.

Rating: 4/5

I received this book from Chosen Books in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Reseña – Matar la Kriptonita de John Bevere


Descripción del libro

Tu puedes destruir lo que roba tu fuerza. Igual que Superman, que puede saltar sobre cualquier obstaculo y derrotar a todos los enemigos, los seguidores de Cristo tienen la habilidad sobrenatural para conquistar los desafios que enfrentamos. Pero el problema para Superman y nosotros es que hay una kriptonita que roba nuestra fuerza. Por supuesto, ambos Superman y la kriptonita son ficticios. Pero la kriptonita espiritual no lo es.

Este libro responde por que tantos de nosotros somos incapaces de experimentar la fuerza divina que era evidente entre los cristianos del primer siglo. En Matar la Kriptonita, John Bevere revela cual es esta kriptonita, por que esta comprometiendo nuestras comunidades, y como liberarte de su atadura.

No apto para los débiles de corazón, Matar la Kriptonita es todo menos un “alza en azúcar” espiritual. Esta es verdad seria para cualquier seguidor de Cristo que anhela abrazar el desafiante, pero gratificante camino de la transformación.

Reseña

Matar la kriptonita fue uno de esos libros que me tuvieron en suspenso hasta muchas páginas después de que comencé a leerlo. Por un lado John Bevere se toma el tiempo necesario para dar una larga introducción, cuya intención es llevarnos poco a poco y de manera detallada hacia un un punto en específico. Y aunque esto puede ser bueno para muchos, en mi resultó en una frustración de sentir que no había un hilo claro del tema que se quería exponer.

Por alguna razón, el libro consume varios capítulos iniciales dando vueltas alrededor de algunos conceptos generales, en su mayoría enfocados a las repercusiones del pecado en la iglesia como cuerpo de Cristo, para de repente decirnos que la kriptonita en el contexto su libro se refiere a la idolatría. Es aquí cuando te das cuenta que muchas páginas pudieron ser ahorradas. De ahí en adelante el mismo autor trata, de manera forzada, llevarnos de la mano por algunos temas que el mismo dice parecen no estar relacionados.

No podría decir que Matar la kriptonita no es buen libro, de hecho me parece bastante acertada la manera en que Bevere trata varias creencias vigentes en círculos protestantes y que no corresponden con una mentalidad de hijo que es heredero de Dios, tal como el de la santidad. Pero al mismo tiempo que expone distintas situaciones y ejemplos se pierde el objetivo y siento que no se llega a ninguna parte.

La santidad por lo tanto, no es un fin en sí mismo, como lo dibujan los legalistas. Es la entrada a la verdaera intimidad con Jesús. – John Bevere, p.274

Conclusión

Después de 286 páginas, creo que el objetivo del libro no se cumple como se esperaba. Un mejor trabajo de edición fácilmente solucionaría varios problemas y haría más digerible la gran cantidad de información presentada. Desafortunadamente creo que lo mejor de este libro bien podría ser solamente su título tan creativo.

Calificación:

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Recibí una copia de Whitaker House en Español para la reseña. Los comentarios y opiniones expresadas son propias.

Bible Review – CSB Worldview Study Bible

Description

The CSB Worldview Study Bible features extensive worldview study notes and articles by notable worldview scholars to help Christians better understand the grand narrative and flow of Scripture within the biblical framework from which we are called to view reality and make sense of life and the world. This Bible is an invaluable resource and study tool that will help you to discuss, defend, and clearly share with others the truth, hope, and practical compatibility of Christianity in everyday life.

Review

I love Study Bibles, I own a couple of them and they’re really helpful when reading the Bible for devotional as well when I’m preparing a message or a teaching. The CSB Worldview Study Bible is a new Bible by B&H Publishing and it comes full of great features:

  • Extensive worldview study notes
  • Over 150 articles by notable worldview scholars
  • Center-column references
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Presentation page
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Two-piece gift box, and more

At first glance it looks like a typical Study Bible, with references, footnotes and commentaries, but as you read through the pages, you’ll find articles or essays in the middle of specific books and passages. They’re listed at the beginning next to the index and before the list of the contributors.

Contributors include: Ted Cabel, George Guthrie, John Stonestreet, Constantine R. Campbell, Eric J. Tully, Darrell Bock, Mary Jo Sharp, Kenneth Matthews, Carl Trueman, Paul Wooley, Thomas Kidd, John Bloom, William Edgar, and more.

According to the credits the interior was designed and typeset by 2D/DENMARK, using Bible Serif created by the same studio.

Conclusion

There are three editions of the CSB Worldview Study Bible, the one I received for review was the Navy Leather Touch. It’s important to note that it’s a big Bible and maybe not so easy to handle. If you’re looking for a firm grip, the Neutral Cloth Over Board will probably be a better option.

I received this book from B&H Publishing Group in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Unimaginable by Jeremiah J. Jhonston

Book description

A Stirring Account of Christianity’s Power for Good

In a day when Christians are often attacked for their beliefs, professor and speaker Jeremiah Johnston offers an inspiring look at the positive influence of Christianity, both historically and today. In Unimaginable, you’ll discover the far-reaching ways that Christianity is good for the world–and has been since the first century AD–including:
– How the plights of women and children in society were forever changed by Jesus
– Why democracy and our education and legal systems owe much to Christianity
– How early believers demonstrated the inherent value of human life by caring for the sick, handicapped, and dying
– How Christians today are extending God’s kingdom through charities, social justice efforts, and other profound ways

Like It’s a Wonderful Life, the classic film that showed George Bailey how different Bedford Falls would be without his presence, Unimaginable guides readers through the halls of history to see how Jesus’ teachings dramatically changed the world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. This provocative and enlightening book is sure to encourage believers and challenge doubters.

Review

I’ve heard about a couple of books dealing with this same topic and always wanted to dive into one of them but never took the time to do it until now. I’m happy Unimaginable is the first one I read about this important subject, one that I believe is important for every believer to understand.

From the very beginning it’s obvious that Johnston is passionate about Jesus and about the impact of Jesus through history, and the good news is that the author is passionate about history.

The book is divided in three parts:

I. The World Before Christianity
II. The World Without Christianity
III. The World With Christianity

When reading Unimaginable you can feel you’re reading an overview of history itself, but when necessary, Johnston points to the specific parts of history and human civilization that have, or haven’t, touched not only by Christianity but by religion and belief in the divine in general.

The point I want to make here is that human civilization, which by its very nature requires law, is not only founded on belief in the divine but was also generated by this belief. Without a sense of the divine, would humans have created civilization? – Jeremiah J. Johnston, p.30

From the ancient Rome to the sad reality of WWII we witness a world of hopelessness and world leaders that chose to turn their backs from God’s principles to face terrible consequences. I really liked the section dedicated to not only the philosophies, but to the lives of some influential thinkers. There’s a clearer idea of why some of them decided to see the world through dark lens and how their thinking affected not only their contemporaries but is still affecting in our present.

But not everything is bad news, the last part narrates the way Christianity flourished in the Roman world and a call to be transformed in the middle of any situation.

Rating:

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Reseña – Planifica tu futuro de Michael Hyatt y Daniel Harkavy


Descripción del libro

Todos tenemos una sola vida qué vivir en la tierra. Lo que hacemos con ella es nuestra decisión. ¿La vivimos a la deriva como espectadores, reaccionando a nuestras circunstancias, y preguntándonos cómo llegamos al punto donde estamos? ¿O la estamos dirigiendo, maximizando la alegría y el potencial de cada día, viviendo con un propósito o una misión en la mente?

Muchos de nosotros hacemos lo primero, y nuestras vidas se deslizan de nuestras manos un día a la vez. ¿Y si tratáramos la vida como el regalo que es? ¿Y si viviéramos cada día como si fuera parte de un plan? Eso es lo que nos enseñan el autor de éxitos de ventas del New York Times Michael Hyatt, y el coach ejecutivo Daniel Harkavy: a diseñar de una vida con el final en mente, determinando de antemano los resultados que deseamos, y el camino para llegar allá. En esta guía paso por paso, ellos comparten principios básicos para ayudar al lector a crear un plan de vida efectivo para que pueda llegar a donde desea, en todas las áreas de su vida.

Primeras impresiones

Michael Hyatt es uno de esos mentores digitales a los que le sigo la huella a través de las redes sociales. No solo tiene experiencia en el área editorial, en la cuál estoy altamente interesado, sino que después de su carrera por Thomas Nelson, Hyatt ha dedicado su vida a compartir importantes lecciones de influencia y liderazgo. Por el otro, lado no había tenido oportunidad hasta ahora, de leer algo de Daniel Harkavy pero resultó ser un descubrimiento bastante positivo.

Reseña

Debo admitir que a primera vista pensé que Planifica tu futuro se trataba de un libro enfocado al cumplimiento de metas o proyectos a corto plazo, pero después de leer las primeras páginas me di cuenta que realmente está diseñado para entender y desarrollar un proyecto, pero uno de vida a tomar en cuenta desde el ahora.

En pocas páginas y capítulos ambos autores explican de manera clara, y muchas veces repetitiva, la mejor manera de desarrollar un plan de vida. De acuerdo a su experiencia, cualquiera que se tome el tiempo de entender y desarrollar uno propio, se verá beneficiado en todas las áreas de su vida

…no siempre puedes escoger lo que te sucede. Los accidentes y las tragedias se producen. Lo que puedes hacer es escoger cómo responder a esas situaciones, y una de las mejores maneras de comenzar es hacerte las preguntas correctas. – Michael Hyatt p-39

Cada capítulo esta acompañado de consejos y testimonios de los autores, pero también de personas que han completado el proceso, finalmente se ofrecen instrucciones y ejemplos de ejercicios para el lector que le ayudarán a redactar su propio plan de vida de manera gradual y progresiva.

Conclusión

Planifica tu futuro puede ser leído como cualquier otro libro, pero tal y como los autores recomiendan, se trata de que al leerlo puedas tomar el compromiso de dedicar el tiempo necesario para desarrollar las tareas que se piden. El desafío no se termina al leer la última página, sino que requiere de un compromiso personal para sacar el mejor provecho.

Calificación

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Recibí una copia de Whitaker House en Español para la reseña. Los comentarios y opiniones expresadas son propias.