Browse Category: Reseña

Review – The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

theshack

Book description

Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation. Evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his great sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note–apparently from God–inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment, he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change his life forever.

First impressions

I read The Shack six or seven years ago for the first time. Shortly after I found several reviews pointing how theologically inaccurate the story was and somehow I thought maybe I’ve missed something. I wanted to give the book a new chance and decided to read it again. Also there’s a movie adaptation coming up, and wanted to refresh the story in my mind.

Review

There are two ways you can read (and review) The Shack: as a mere work of fiction and inspiration or as a theology work about God and suffering.

In the former, you have an amazing and emotional story that empathizes with almost every living soul on Earth. There’s something in Mack’s suffering that clicks with our personal daily struggles, making us part of the quest to find an answer and if possible, a solution. Then there’s the mystery behind the character (as in, the person) of God. How is He like? what does someone like God look like?  Is there a God? Does He care about us? The Shack responds some of these questions with a lot of creative freedom.

All this ingredients produce an exciting page turner, at least for those familiar or interested in these topics. There’s one issue that needs to be addressed and so the plot it’s clear from the very beginning making The Shack a fast reading.

In the later, you have an interesting view on God, the Trinity, the work of Jesus and its implications on humanity, and many other theological subjects you can think of (seminary, prayer, church, forgiveness, religions). The author (or should I say the author using God’s voice) didn’t just limited his views on the matters related to the story, but he also used The Shack as a way to express his disagreement with many practices and doctrines of Christianity unrelated to the story, but definitely a priority to Young.

This is where things could be confusing to some people. I had friends that would say something like: “It’s like Jesus/God/The Holy Spirit would say in The Shack…” giving a book the same value as The Book, maybe not out of rebellion, but out of ignorance of what the Bible says about God.

Conclusion

On the same note I hope my review is not confusing to some of you. I really liked reading The Shack for the second time, but encountered some theological issues that can by skipped if reading with a mentality of a casual reader. I’d recommend to read this book in the same manner you would read Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

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 – Becoming a Disciple Making Church by Neil T. Anderson

makingadisciple

Book description

Life-Changing Discipleship Can Be the Expectation, Not the Exception

As leaders, we want the people in our churches to become spiritually mature disciples of Christ, but so many remain stuck in struggles and sins. Personal and spiritual conflicts are holding them back from the true freedom that can be found in Christ alone.

Neil Anderson has been walking individuals through this journey for over a quarter century, but now he wants to teach pastors and church leaders how to do this for their own churches. As the culmination of his life’s work, Becoming a Disciple-Making Church shows you how to help your people resolve conflicts–from difficult marriages to unrepentant sin to church disputes–through genuine repentance and faith in God. Rather than giving up or simply referring people to counselors outside the church, embrace the fact that God through His Word has answers to problems of the heart and mind. And in this ministry of reconciliation, true discipleship will happen.

First impressions

Neil T. Anderson is the author of Victory Over the Darkness a really well known book among Christians, that I haven’t read. That was the reason I wanted to check Becoming a Disciple Making Church, which is a really good introduction to Anderson’s work.

Content

This is not an original work, in the sense of being new material. It’s a collection of different chapters from different books in the context of building a leadership capable of building disciples using the principles in each section.

It’s not that the book it’s not good for this reason, on the contrary, there’s a lot of subjects of interest for everyone and the best thing is that you can put them into practice right away. Some examples are, How to overcome:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sexual strongholds

Each chapter explains the meaning of each concept and its psychological and biblical background. Finally it gives you the tools necessary to deal with each issue using biblical principles.

Conclusion

Reading Becoming a Disciple Making Church it’s a good start if you want to get familiar with Neil T. Anderson or with his work. It’s a really worth reading.

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.

Review – A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes

atimetorise

Book description

What more can you sacrifice than your life? Parvin Blackwater is dead. At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless. Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? This is the concluding book in the Out of Time Series.

First impressions

It’s been two years, and finally it’s the turn for A Time to Rise to be released. This book marks the final chapter in the Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes. I’m excited for this release and because if you liked the first two books, then you’ll love this one.

Warning: The Story section starts with some OBVIOUS spoilers, if you want to be completely safe, please skip to the Conclusion section 😉 lol.

Story

A Time to Rise literally picks up the story where the last one left and we have Parvin trusting God against all odds. There’s no need to wait for action, because right from the first chapter, there’s a good dosis of adventure and persecution.

Nadine Brandes successfully develops the story without feeling rushed of slow paced. The two main ingredients I liked the most from a Time to Rise are:

First, there’s a lot of action: persecutions, bombings, rescue missions, but thankfully they have a purpose as they help to untangle many of the unanswered questions left from the previews books (Jude anyone?). These action scenes are very detailed that you can feel as if you’re watching Mission: Impossible with all the special effects. They’re vivid, they feel real.

And second, there’s also a lot of internal dialogue between Parvin and God. Parvin starts to grow out of her relationship and trust in what God is communicating and out of what she’s applying into her circumstances, just like in real life, lol. I liked the idea of God being present in our everyday life and the idea of us making God part of our daily life.

And finally we have the ending. Please stand up and give an applause to Nadine for not rushing the ending as many authors do. I loved the way she started to build tension little by little to give me time to deal with the climax, and to give me time to deal with Skelley Chase being ________ by the end of the book (how? why?)

Characters

Parvin, feels stronger this time. Yes, she still has questions for God, but she also has more confidence on Him. On the other hand of relationships, her relationship with Hawke is part of the story (I mean, it has to be), but thankfully is not being abused to the point of distracting you from the main plot.

I missed Willow, well… the old Willow. It was a character I liked from the very beginning and I was sad when I knew she wouldn’t be the same. I think she had more potential as a character, but at least she’s still present throughout the story.

Skelley Chase, is a complicated character and when everything was finished I still couldn’t figure out who he really was. I mean… how is that… why did he… was he always the good/bad/good/? guy?… Nadine did an awesome job bringing such a complicated character to life but also giving him such an unexpected ending.

Conclusion

It’s hard to say good bye to the this series. Make sure to get the Out of Time trilogy if you’re looking for an awesome dystopian story with great and easy-to relate characters but also if you’re looking for a series that challenges you to live your life at its full potential.

Rating

I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review – Light of the Last by Chuck Black

lightofthelast
Book description

After an accident left him temporarily blind, Drew Carter didn’t just regain his sight. He now sees what others can’t imagine–an entire spiritual realm of mighty beings at war.

Forget the gift, Drew just wants his life back. Part of that involves Sydney Carlyle, a woman he is inexplicably drawn to. When he’s offered the chance to become a CIA agent, it seems the way to redeem his past. The only problem–his visions of the supernatural realm are increasing in frequency.

It’s up to the warrior angel Validus and his hand-picked team of heavenly agents to protect the unbelieving Drew. Validus now knows that the young man is at the epicenter of a global spiritual war, and the angels must use a millennia of battle experience keep Drew alive, for the Fallen want him dead.

Surrounded by spiritual warriors and targeted by demons, Drew’s faced with an impossible decision that will forever alter the destiny of America…and his own soul.

First impressions

It was in 2014 when I started to read this series from Chuck Black, now with Light of the Last, everything comes to an end (right?) I was hesitant to read this one but I couldn’t just leave this series unfinished. Beware that the following review may contain spoilers. 

Story

Being honest I wasn’t sure I could follow or understand the story after book two. Book three seems to continue where book one left off, with Drew being the main character.

In Light of the Last humans and angels come together to face the world’s America’s greatest villains: demons Islamic terrorists.

I liked the story and character development, I liked the writing and fast paced action with great fighting scenes. I liked the freedom the author took about angels and their mission and intervention with humans.

I didn’t like the way the author changed the focus of the story as it began as an epic fiction about the end of the days, but suddenly everything was about the United States it politics and terrorism.

Maybe I’m alone here, but I also didn’t like the connotation Islamic religion was given. No I’m not muslim, actually I’m a Christian, but as if having Islamic extremists being the bad guys was not enough, the author also implies that there’s demonic activity surrounding them. Did Black ever mentioned demons being around Drew’s non-christian friends? I don’t think so.

Characters

Drew had an awesome improvement since book one. He didn’t get mature by magic, as sometimes happen, but as the story progressed it was believable how the events took him from one point to the other. His experience with the angels was the part I enjoyed the most, while his love story being the part I enjoyed the least.

Conclusion

Maybe I’m gonna sound contradictory, but Light of the Last is the best book of the trilogy to me. There’s a lot of action and mistery going on the whole time you never have time to get bored. Overall it was an interesting reading but this is maybe the last book I’m reading by Chuck Black.

Rating:

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

Review: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

thecalling

 

Book description

Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.

As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels—he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.

With dissension in his own camp—and the CityWatch soldiers closing in—Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.

First impressions

After The Choosing, I was excited to keep on reading about Carrington’s adventure against The Authority. The first book set the scenario for an amazing follow-up but I’m not sure I read the right book. Please read at your own risk, since there may be some spoilers from book one.

Story

There are some sequels that pick up right were the first book left, but this is not one of them. Actually this is a whole different story seen through Remko’s eyes; now, after looking at that cover, everything makes sense.

Time has passed and there’s a new enemy in town a.k.a. Authority City and a new hero. Remko is the one in danger this time while Carrington is changing some diapers, I mean… really because now she’s a mom.

There’s still plenty of action and things going on in Remkos life that keeps you interested long enough. While the first book focused in the issues happening IN the city and with the bad guys, this one is focused with the issues happening OUT of the city at the seers camp and with the good/not so good guys.

Characters

Remko, is the central character, unlike many other YA books this one has no POV’s but everything is related to what he’s feeling or thinking or doing. Thank God there’s a believable character development and you can see how Remko is still fighting some ghosts from his past but at the same time taking new responsibilities and challenges.

Jesse, a new character that appears out of nowhere but became a favorite of mine instantly. He’s an archer living in the woods until he finds the seers camp. He has a lot of potential, and thankfully there’s a high probability we’ll see him again.

Aaron, the Jesus type of character, or maybe Jesus himself (who knows?) is seen a lot this time. I love how Rachelle gave him a personality that really inspires you through his dialog with others. I’m excited to see what’s happening with him in the final installment.

Conclusion

The Calling was not the sequel I was expecting but it was indeed a great sequel. There are many loose threads in the story that make you wish to have the last book right now, and thankfully it’ll come out this fall. If you enjoy dystopian stories infused with faith, The Calling is for you.

Rating: 

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.

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.

Album Review – Salvation’s Tide is Rising by Passion

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Introduction

Since this is my first album review, I want to make some things clear. First, I do not consider myself a professional album reviewer, I just like to listen to music like almost everyone else. Second, I got the chance to review Passion’s latest release Salvation’s Tide is Rising and I thought I’d be a different kind of experience, and it was.

I grew up listening to Christian contemporary music to the point it became predictable. There were a couple of refreshing, powerful songs with meaningful lyrics and then there were songs that were just nice songs, full of christian clichés and catchy choruses. Shortly after it became the new normal I just stopped listening to CCM, and became an indie music follower, waiting for a new wave of original worship music.

Review

Unlike the previous albums, recorded live during the annual Passion conferences led by Louie Giglio, this one was recorded in the studio, which may give it a different sound and feeling.

The first track, Salvation’s Tide is Rising, which gave the name to the album, speaks about the church, a church that is walking towards the expansion of the kingdom of God, which is only possible when there’s real unity and power. Kristian Stanfill sings: “Your house, forever, undivided. All Your sons and daughters won. At the cross we are united”.

One of the artists that became a must in the youth conferences is Crowder, known for his originality in music. He’s responsible of two songs in this album, My Victory, that celebrates Jesus’ sacrifice for us and All We Sinners, which in contrast “celebrates” our sinful condition and the salvation found in Christ. If you want to know more about why I’m saying this you are free to ask in the comments.

But to my surprise I found a couple of songs that were truly amazing. The first one is Simple Pursuit sang by Melodie Malone, her voice is a great plus to the power of this song and the desire to know God and be known by Him as a church that is filled with His presence. Definitely one of the songs that deserves our attention.

The other one is a really simple song, it has just too few verses but it’s a great song by Matt Redman, a simple song about surrender and live our lives for a greater purpose. There’s nothing outstanding about this song, except that it captures a passion and a life of abandonment for Christ and live for Him. That’s what makes it a great song.

Conclusion

Salvation’s Tide is Rising is your average worship album but it still makes a great choice. If you’re looking for diversity this is your album. Physical copies will be available January 29, but you can get it on iTunes now, just click here.

Salvation’s Tide Is Rising

1. Salvation’s Tide (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
2. My Victory (feat. Crowder)
3. Remember (feat. Brett Younker & Melodie Malone)
4. God and God Alone (feat. Chris Tomlin)
5. Simple Pursuit (feat. Melodie Malone)
6. I Turn to Christ (feat. Matt Redman)
7. Your Grace Amazes Me (feat. Christy Nockels)
8. All We Sinners (feat. Crowder)
9. Surrender (feat. Jimi Cravity)
10. Good Good Father (feat. Kristian Stanfill)

I received a digital copy from FlyBy promotions in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer

delightingingod

 

Book description

Understand Your Life’s Purpose by Better Understanding God

“My worship grows and grows as my perception of God grows. God cannot grow. My perception of God grows as I experience Him day after day. I should be more capable of worshiping God today than I was ten or twenty years ago.”

Delighting in God is the message A.W. Tozer intended to be the follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy. He demonstrates how the attributes of God–those things God has revealed about himself–are a way to understand the Christian life of worship and service. Because we were created in the image of God, to understand who we are, we need to understand who God is and allow His character and nature to be reflected through us.

We are here to serve and adore Him, and we can only fulfill that role by acknowledging who He is. This is the essence of the Christian life and the source of all our fulfillment, joy, and comfort.

First impressions

A couple of years ago I read The Knowledge of the Holy, I knew it was a classic in Christian literature and it was an awesome reading that blew my mind about the attributes of God. It’s a must read, not because it’s famous, but because it’s certainly a life changer book. This book was promoted as a follow-up, that’s when I knew I got to pick it for review.

Content

This book is compiled and edited by James L. Synder, in this case it means this book is result of several of Tozer’s recorded preachings in the past. Unlike The Knowledge of the Holy published during his lifetime, Delighting in God was a different sort of reading because of this fact, at the beginning it can be a little bit of a letdown, because it’s easy to detect the difference, but it feels normal after a couple of chapters.

When reading through the pages I got the feeling Tozer was desperate, frustrated or simply mad about the state of Christianity in America. He doesn’t hold back when denouncing the lack of passion in church to know God. For him it’s not enough to know about God, but our purpose as Christians should be to know God and be known by Him.

This book is about our perception of God, a faulty or a lofty one. According to Tozer, our perception of God is the one thing that defines everything in our life and this book is a journey about how we may have a wrong perception, but also how it can be restored to impact our lives.

As I move toward God, my capacity to understand God grows deeper and deeper. Of course, the opposite is also true. As I move away from God, my capacity begins to shrink. – A.W. Tozer p.65

Conclusion

Delighting in God is rightly called a follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy, this is A.W. Tozerbeing honest with himself and with his audience, you can feel his passion about what he’s saying and his resolution in trying to offer something to his generation. This should be read by every Christian, the reality of the church back in Tozer’s days could be easily compared to the one we’re living, and sadly that’s not a compliment.

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.