Browse Category: Non Fiction

Review – The Father Effect by John Finch

Book description

Based on the feature film of the same name, THE FATHER EFFECT is a must-read for the millions of men and women who have lost their fathers through divorce, death, or disinterest.

John Finch always struggled after his father committed suicide when he was eleven, but it wasn’t until he was raising his own three daughters that he truly understood their futures relied on his coming to terms with his difficult past. To move forward, he needed to forgive both his father for choosing to leave, and himself for not being the best father he could be.

This journey led to THE FATHER EFFECT, a book containing practical help for anyone, man or woman, with a deep father wound from losing a dad through divorce, death, or disinterest. Through positive lessons on forgiveness and approachable advice on how to change your legacy as a parent, partner, and person, THE FATHER EFFECT is the ultimate healing tool for anyone who has suffered the absence of a dad.

First impressions

I picked this book with the hope to find useful information about this particular topic and see if I was missing something as a fatherless myself, and then share the information with those in need. After all the book cover says it offers hope and healing from a dad’s absence and that sounds pretty straight, right? Well, I was wrong.

Review

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad with the book content in itself, but it’s easy to see when you’re reading it that this is a very personal book, a very personal journey, John’s journey. The book starts with a letter written by John’s father, his last letter to his family. From there, John recounts his story through a difficult life without a father and how much time it took to him to realize something was wrong with the way he was living as a result of his father absence.

John’s testimony is powerful and without a doubt many will feel identified with his struggles, because they’re actually real and they have consequences, and many will benefit from the path and decisions John took to do something positive with his life. But there’s comes a point where the personal story keeps on growing and what just started as a simple testimony evolves into John’s detailed recording of his past life to his present reality where he’s married and a father of three daughters, and this is exactly the when the focus of the book shifts from hope and healing from a dad’s absence to practical advices from a father to your marriage and children.

There’s something John says about lacking fathers the that becomes quite the reality of the book: You can give what you don’t have. Because this is a personal journey, John only speaks from his point of view and cannot give more than what actually worked for him, for a married man with three daughters. I’m saying all this without bad intentions, but as a fatherless myself I didn’t feel this book was for me. Most of the information I found useful were long quotes by John Eldredge scattered through the book.

And just to confirm how personal this book was, the book finishes with a letter, this time by John to his father.

Conclusion

This book is for you if you are looking for an inspiring story ABOUT someone finding hope in difficult circumstances but if you’re looking for a more detailed book on HOW you can find hope and healing you need to look somewhere else.

Rating: 

 

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

Review – The Greatest Story Ever Told Journal by John C. Maxwell

Description

In 1976, John Maxwell was excited to receive a book as a gift. The title: The Greatest Story Ever Told. Imagine his shock when he opened it to find all the pages blank-except for a note from the giver that said, “John, your life is before you. Fill these pages with kind acts, good thoughts, and matters of your heart. Write a great story with your life.” This was John’s invitation to become proactive in writing his own life story. And it marked him. Now John extends that same offer to you and people you care about. It’s time to become intentional about writing your own story of significance. THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is the perfect companion for every milestone:

  • Promotion
  • Graduation
  • Wedding
  • New Year

Begin writing your story today.

First impressions

I really, really, really like journals. I’m not sure where this love came from but I love getting new journals not only for the sake of, you know… using them. But also just for the sake of collecting them. This was a great chance since in this case this is a journal inspired by one of my favorite writers, John C. Maxwell.

Review

In reality there’s not so much to say about a journal, which is really a normal journal. The idea behind it comes from a gift Maxwell received and somehow changed the way he was living his life.

This journal has a handwritten note by Maxwell with many of the words used in the description above. An invitation to live with intention, an invitation to inspire others through words and deeds. There’s also a page dedicated to show the way you can start sharing your journey with others with specific steps.

The rest of the journal is composed by 247 lined pages ready for you to start writing your story. This is a hardcover journal, with a simple black cover with “THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD” legend printed in white letters. The “texture” you see in the picture is from the leather binding version. The one I got is different, I guess is because is a review copy.

Conclusion

If you love journals like me, this one is for you. It’s a good reminder of the great story each one of us is able to bring forth in our lives. This journal can definitely work as a gift and could be the push someone needs from you.

Rating:

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

Review – Ordinary by Tony Medina

Book description

What if the path toward an extraordinary life is becoming more ordinary?Ordinary is not a call to be more radical. If anything, it is a call to the contrary. The kingdom of God isn’t coming with light shows, and shock and awe, but with lowly acts of service. Tony Merida wants to push back against sensationalism and “rock star Christianity,” and help people understand that they can make a powerful impact by practicing ordinary Christianity.

Through things such as humble acts of service, neighbor love, and hospitality, Christians can shake the foundations of the culture. In order to see things happen that have never happened before, Christians must to do what Christians have always done­. Christians need to become more ordinary.

Let’s think together about how we, ordinary people, doing ordinary things, might turn the world upside down.

First impressions

I chose this book for three main reasons. First, I needed a short book to read in order to complete my book reading challenge. Second, the cover looks awesome (with the book in my hands, feels awesome as well). And third, the subtitle of the book sounded really challenging and honest for us as Christians.

Content

I’m not sure how to describe Ordinary, I wouldn’t say I’m don’t agree with the principles presented here: loving involves action. The book focuses in specific areas where everyone could get involved, going from thing, like feeding the poor, to adopting a child.

The thing I didn’t like was the way Tony wanted to force this issue on the readers. It’s difficult to put it into words, but I think that while it was an extensive “to do” list for Christians, it lacked the “why”. And by this I mean the book never tried to explore the the reasons behind “why” we as Christians should behave in a certain way besides the “just because”.

I think true loving actions come from a heart that already is in tune with God’s heart and not from a list of requirements in order to be in tune with God’s heart.

Conclusion

From my initial list, Ordinary just filled my first two expectations. It was a short book and it looks awesome. It’s a good reading but maybe not what you’re expecting.

Rating:

Reseña – Liderazgo: Lo que todo líder necesita saber de John C. Maxwell

loquetodo

Descripción del libro

Ahora en un solo volumen, la serie best seller 101 de John C. Maxwell de libros de liderazgo que han ayudado a más de un millón de personas a ser mejores líderes. Este libro incluye materiales que, en el estilo de Maxwell, han ayudado a muchos lectores a alcanzar su potencial en cualquier etapa de su carrera. Puede ser considerado como un curso intensivo sobre los fundamentos de liderazgo o como una herramienta práctica para afilar los fundamentos básicos que todo profesional necesita. El contenido incluye el 101 de la actitud, autosuperación, liderazgo, relaciones, éxito, equipo, capacitación y mentoría. Cada libro 101 es una introducción al tema, no el «curso avanzado». Esta colección de libros ayudan a los lectores en el camino hacia un crecimiento significativo en áreas específicas de sus vidas.

Primeras impresiones

Los que me conocen saben que soy un gran admirador de John C. Maxwell. No tengo mucho tiempo desde que comencé a leer sus obras pero sin duda alguna me han servido en la vida diaria; trabajo a cargo de un grupo de jóvenes, pero además también trabajo junto con un equipo y he tenido oportunidad de poner en práctica lo aprendido. Inicialmente, Lo que todo líder necesita saber es un libro que te impresiona por su tamaño.

Contenido

A primera vista, Lo que todo líder necesita saber pudiera intimidar a quien lo tenga en sus manos. Con más de 500 páginas parece ser que no sabes por donde empezar.

Lo mejor de todo es que este libro es un compendio de una colección que ha sido publicada anteriormente bajo el nombre de “101” y cubre una gran cantidad de temas, desde actitud, hasta relaciones e incluso mentoría. No es necesario empezar desde la página uno para agarrar el hilo de las lecciones, basta con ir directamente al tema de interés para iniciar el aprendizaje.

De Liderazgo 101:
Para lograr el más alto nivel de efectividad, usted tiene que elevar el tope de la capacidad de liderazgo.

Quienes están familiarizados con Maxwell sabrán que sus lecciones están presentadas de una manera muy peculiar. Normalmente inician con una anécdota personal o de alguno de sus conocidos para después dar algunos conceptos que se pueden relacionar con sus ejemplos, es aquí donde debemos poner atención y darnos el tiempo de saborearlos. Finalmente, Maxwell termina casi siempre con el desenlace del ejemplo inicial, o bien, con otra historia que confirma los conceptos de la lección.

De Equipo 101:
Para la persona que intenta hacerlo todo sola, el juego realmente se acabó. Si realmente quiere hacer algo de valor, debe conectarse a otros.

Conclusión

Lo que todo líder necesita saber es un libro 100% recomendado si estás buscando aprender a ser un mejor líder en cualquier área en la que labores. También puede servir como una muy buena introducción al trabajo de Maxwell, que no por nada es reconocido como uno de los mejores gurús de liderazgo.

Calificación:

Gracias a Grupo Nelson por el ejemplar para esta reseña. Las opiniones y comentarios de esta reseña son propios.

Review – Expositional Preaching by David Helm

Book description

What makes for good preaching?

In this accessible volume—written for preachers and preachers in training—pastor David Helm outlines what must be believed and accomplished to become a faithful expositor of God’s Word.

In addition to offering practical, step-by-step guidance for preachers, this short book will equip all of us to recognize good preaching when we hear it.

Review

Having seen this title and not being familiarized with its author I was about to pick another one from the ones available for review, but after realizing it was recommended by people like Matt Chandler and Kevin DeYoung, which I like, I decided to give it a try.

I read about expositional preaching in another book, but the topic was just a small part of it. I thought of this book as a great opportunity to learn more about this kind of preaching, and I can say Im satisfied with the results.

The book its only 128 pages long, but the good thing is that Helm goes straight to the point. Im thankful he took the first chapter to address some of todays problems in preaching:

Too many of us unconsciously believe that a well studied understanding of our cultural context, rather than the Bible, is the key to preaching with power. David Helm

After this and until the end of the book he starts describing a process to prepare a message that, in his words, can be faithful to the text and fruitful for today. This process is divided into three main topics:

Exegesis: Pay attention to a biblical texts original audience and a texts purposes for those readers.

Theological Reflection: Discipline of taking the time to meditate on my text and how it relates to Gods plan of redemption.

Today/Contextualization: Inform how we preach Gods Word today for the us and now.

At the end of the book theres an appendix. It puts together all the theory of the book into a really useful guide for sermon preparation.

Conclusion

I highly recommend this book specially for those like me trying to learn the more about expositional preaching. And for those with more experience Im sure itll be a good resource to see the topic from another perspective.

Rating:

I received this e-book for free from Crossway for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Reseña – Bonhoeffer de Eric Metaxas

Sinopsis

Del autor de Amazing Grace, uno de los autores de mayor éxito editorial según el New York Times, llega esta biografía innovadora sobre Dietrich Bonhoeffer, uno de los más grandes héroes del siglo XX, el hombre que se irguió frente a Hitler.

Una obra rigurosa y profundamente conmovedora, Bonhoeffer es una historia de coraje moral frente al horrendo mal que significó el Nazismo.

Después de descubrir el fuego de la verdadera fe en la iglesia de Harlem, Bonhoeffer regresó a Alemania, y fue uno de los primeros en manifestarse contra Hitler. Siendo espía, formó parte de la conspiración para asesinar al Führer y fue ahorcado en el campo de concentración de Flossenberg a los 39 años. Después de su muerte, Bonhoeffer ha llegado a ser una de las figuras más complejas y fascinantes del siglo XX.

Bonhoeffer muestra a un teólogo cristiano totalmente ortodoxo cuya fe lo llevó a enfrentar atrevidamente al mayor mal del siglo.

Primeras impresiones

A principios de año empecé a leer Bonhoeffer de Eric Metaxas. Después de reseñar la serie del Círculo de Ted Dekker, decidí ir por otro tipo de lectura y una biografía me pareció suficiente para darle un giro interesante a lo que venía leyendo,  y aquí el resultado:

Mi reseña

Este es un libro de más de 550 páginas, hasta ahora lo más largo que había leído después de la Biblia. Antes de leer esta biografía no había escuchado hablar de Bonhoeffer, pero fueron algunas reseñas que vi en Internet las que me atrajeron a este personaje. Y sin duda el trabajo de Eric Metaxas es impecable cuando se trata de describir la vida de Dietrich a detalle.

Empezando desde la infancia de Dietrich y su relación familiar, esta biografía te va llevando de la mano desde aquellos datos históricamente relevantes, hasta aquellos pequeños detalles personales de la vida de Bonhoeffer que hacen mucho más fácil la lectura. No hay que asustarse por el número de páginas, una vez iniciada la lectura, verás que cada una de ellas vale la pena, y al final estarás queriendo más.

Seguramente el climax de Bonhoeffer será para muchos el periodo de conspiración en contra del gobierno Nazi de Adolfo Hitler, sin embargo, vale la pena prestar atención a aquellas etapas de la vida de Dietrich que formaron el carácter necesario para llegar a arriesgar su vida a favor no solo de la Iglesia, sino de la nación Alemana.

Una constante en los relatos de la juventud de Dietrich hasta su misma muerte, es su convicción y su relación con Dios y su palabra, sin duda alguna un modelo que muchos necesitamos tomar y que sigue siendo vigente en un mundo, que aún sin Hitler, sigue en decadencia y en busca de aquellos que esten dispuestos a arriesgar su posición aún dentro y fuera de la Iglesia hasta llegar a la muerte si es necesario.

Después de leer Bonhoeffer, no solo conocerás un par de datos históricos de la historia Alemana o del mismo Dietrich, estoy seguro que despertará en ti una incomodidad por gastar tu vida en Dios y en aquellas cosas por las que realmente vale la pena morir.

Bonhoeffer, es publicado en español por Grupo Nelson, y puedes encontrarlo en librerías o en tiendas online como Amazon.

Recibí una copia de este libro gratuitamente de Grupo Nelson a cambio de una reseña honesta.

Review Taking God Seriously by J.I. Packer

Book description

Explaining the essentials of the faith, renowned theologian and author J. I. Packer outlines the core commitments that are common to those of us who profess belief in Jesus. Here is a call to discipleship in mere Christianity—the business of taking God seriously.

Review

If you were raised in a denominational church (methodist, baptist, etc.) it is most likely that you are be familiarized with the terms used in this book. J.I. Packer is part of the Anglican Church, and in fact this book is a compendium of single works published in the past under the Anglican Agenda Series, but as Packers states in the preafce:

The questions after each chapter have an Anglican slant, but I do not think that Christians anywhere who take their Christian commitment seriously will find these questions unfruitful for meditation and discussion in their own neck of the woods.

Taking God Seriously is a journey through some basic topics in christian tradition and life. Packer develops each one of the topics very carefully (numbered below) giving concepts and theological insights through all the chapters.

  1. Faith
  2. Doctrine
  3. Christian Unity
  4. Repentance
  5. Church
  6. Holy Spirit
  7. Baptism
  8. Lord’s Supper

As christians we may recognize some of the topics on the list because of our church life, but in the other hand we may not know anything about them. Taking God Seriously is an excellent tool for those who want to know more about their christian roots at the same time they grow into their personal relationship with God.

There are two negatives for me about this book. The first one is the constant mention about the gay marriage topic almost in every chapter. Packer wants to make sure we really, really know hes not agree with it. With this I’m not saying I’m agree with that subject in particular, but it takes the attention from what really matters. The second is, Packer’s focus on the Book of Common Prayer above The Bible. I understand he’s teaching mostly to Anglicans, but it feels that there are more mentions about what the Book of Common Prayer says than what the Bible says.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book for free from Crossway for an honest review.