Review – The Comeback by Louie Giglio

thecomeback

 

Book description

Have you ever longed for a comeback?

We all know what it feels like to have life disappoint us and not work out as we’d hoped. We all know what it’s like to long for something different, something better, something more.

The Comeback celebrates new beginnings. It offers encouragement and perspective, and it’s for you if you feel frustrated or confused, if you’re sorrowing or in pain, if you’ve made mistakes or are grieving, if you’re disappointed or feel as though life doesn’t make sense.

The good news is that God is in the business of giving fresh starts to people. He gives hope to the hopeless. Direction to the directionless. Help to those who need help. God is always good, all the time, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.

God already knows what the solutions are. No matter what kind of disappointment or grief or pain or trouble or heartache you encounter, God always offers a new beginning, a change of heart, or a powerful spiritual turnaround. God offers the way forward, and his pathways are always good.

Your current circumstances will not get the final say in your life. God is the God of the comeback, no matter what kind of challenge you’re facing.

And your story can become a great comeback story too.

First impressions

Louie Giglio is one of those big names, mostly known for the Passion Conferences around the world. Have I read something by him before? No. Have I attended any conference in my life? No. I picked this book out of curiosity because well, let’s admit it, if you’ve been doing a conference for too long and have thousands of youth attending, then you must have something important to say. And yes, I chose it because of that minimalist cover too.

Content

The Comeback is a very appropriate name for this book. First because Giglio uses the word like there’s no tomorrow and because it does speak about comebacks. At the beginning, after a few pages, I was doubtful about keep on reading. I felt it was like a lot of other motivational books, and sure there are motivational chapters, but thank God it goes beyond only that.

Each chapter of the book speaks about a different ‘comeback’. Seems Giglio wanted to cover all the bases, and you can certainly feel identified with at least one of his many examples.

Either it is about a personal issue, an easy one, or a tough situation in life there’s still hope. And The Comeback it’s about real people, like Joseph or Peter from the Bible and real people, like the one attending church. It’s about real struggles being faced with a real God and the way He has everything under control, not to give us what we want, but what we need and what others need trough us.

I liked the way Giglio closes the book withchapters dedicated to Jesus and His great comeback, His resurrection from the death and how His victory now belongs to us through grace. As Giglio puts it:

He’s alive, and our personal victories are all wrapped up in that. It doesn’t matter what you need to come back from or how hopeless it feels. – Louie Giglio p.219

Conclusion

Passion Conference is mostly aimed at young people, and the language Giglio uses seems to be also aimed to a youth audience, but it can be read by anyone. The Comeback is a great book to close this year. As I said I was hesitant to finish it, but definitely I found a lot of wisdom to chew on. You may have heard the Bible histories presented here before, but I challenge you to read them with a different perspective but with the same redeeming power behind them.

Rating: ★★★★

I received this Bible from the Book Look bloggers program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – NKJV Foundation Study Bible

nkjvfoundationstudybible

 

Bible description

The perfect foundation for Bible study and the Christian life. Build your life on it! The Foundation Study Bible is a thorough, portable, and affordable Bible for students of God’s Word at any level. It has the most important helps for basic study, whether you’re just beginning or brushing up on essentials.

The New King James Version® – More than 60 million copies sold

First impressions

When I saw this Bible available for review it caught my attention. Not because the description but because its design. It looks like its target are teens or young adults. Another thing that I liked was the size, because it’s smaller than any typical study Bible out there.

Special features

  • Trustworthy NKJV text
  • Cross references and translators’ notes
  • Verse-by-verse study notes and theological notes
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Index
  • Concordance
  • Full-color Bible maps

For a study Bible this is a very affordable Bible. It doesn’t mean it’s not a study Bible, but it does mean it’s a very basic study Bible. It has a very short introduction to each book and when I say short I mean half the page, which is short for a study Bible

Layout & design

As I said before one of the things I liked from this Bible was its design. It’s a hardcover edition with dust jacket. When you take off the dust jacket the cover has printed the logo of this Bible in white, which looks good. It’s a compact Bible so you can handle it easy and it doesn’t bend as sometimes happens with hardcover Bibles.

I loved the font they choose for the text it makes it look modern plus it’s easier to read than those old fonts from those old Bibles. The page is divided between the text and the study notes, which again, are really basic.

Conclusion

I think this Bible is a good Bible if you want to have a little ‘extra’ for your reading. It’ll not solve your deep theological doubts, but it’ll give you a little more to chew on.

I received this Bible from the Book Look bloggers program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review – ESV Men’s Devotional Bible

ESVBible

 

Bible description

Our world presents daily distractions that can easily displace Christ as the center of a man’s heart and life. The goal of the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible is to strengthen and encourage men through the life-giving Word of God and sound devotional content aimed at nurturing godliness.

With 365 theologically rich and gospel-centered devotions drawn directly from the Bible, this all-new resource was created under the editorial oversight of Dr. Sam Storms with contributions from over fifty Christian leaders. Introductions orient men to each book of the Bible, exploring its unique contribution to a man’s walk with God. Thoughtful and instructive articles address the importance of sound doctrine, life in the local church, leadership, the heart, calling, and a host of other relevant issues for today.

The Men’s Devotional Bible will strengthen men in their walk with Christ, helping them apply the gospel and the truth of God’s Word in their homes, churches, and workplaces.

First impressions

I’ve always heard good things about the ESV version of the Bible, and even I’ve read it online I always wanted to add one to my collection. This is a hardcover edition but still looks cool and elegant in its design.

Special features

– 365 brand-new devotions
– Brand-new book introductions
– 14 brand-new articles
– Dictionary of key terms
– Ribbon marker
– Smyth-sewn binding
– Lifetime guarantee on TruTone edition
– Packaging: slipcase (TruTone), L-card (HC), permanent slipcase (Cloth over Board)

Layout & design

men's-devo-int

This version has different editions, but this one is the hardcover one. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good Bible, on the contrary it makes it more durable and perfect to shelf for hardbacks freaks (like me) out there. The font size is clear and easy to read.

Conclusion

While this is not a famous Bible version like NKJV or NLT, it’s recommended by respected teachers as Paul David Trip and Russell Moore. It’s a good option if you’re looking for a gift for this season. Believe me, whoever receives this awesome Bible from you will be thankful and happy.

Review – Live Love Lead by Brian Houston

lovelivelead

 

Book description

Whether a person is searching for their calling or wholeheartedly pursuing their life’s purpose, LIVE LOVE LEAD will help them navigate a faith path that is all their own and discover unique gifts tailored perfectly for their journey.

How do people experience the best life that God intends for them? The answer lies in understanding that the Christian life is an adventure, and that they only have to follow the greatest Guide who ever walked the path of life–Jesus. In this straightforward book, Brian Houston shows readers the way to live fully, love completely, and lead boldly–the hallmarks of Jesus’ time on earth.

First impressions

I’ve never read a book by Brian Houston, but that doesn’t make him a stranger to me. If you have heard the name of Hillsong, then you have probably heard about Brian Houston, if not, well… where have you been all this time? The cover was also something I noticed when choosing this book, it’s simple, elegant and effective.

Content

When I started to read Live Love Lead, I didn’t know exactly what kind of book I had in my hands. First, it seemed a simple theology/leadership book. The language used by Houston is straight and easy to understand, sometimes way too simple. I started to question myself about choosing this book, since it sounded as many other motivational christian books out there.

After reading a couple of chapters everything changed and there were many deep thoughts and truths explained in a really easy way. That’s when I understood this was Houston’s goal all the time, making a christian book accessible to everyone, not only to church leaders or leadership gurus. Houston uses different Hillsong songs as introductions to each chapter and most of the content of this book comes from his experiences not only from present but also from his past, his beginnings as a pastor and everything else in between.

Live Love Lead is a book about living the way Jesus did. Living, loving and leading no matter the circumstances, no matter the situation. I really liked the way Brian Houston offers solutions, not only based on his experience, but based on God’s Word.

Conclusion

Even if you don’t know who Brian Houston is, I recommend this book to you. It’ll change your perspective on life. It also serves as a great gift (Christmas anyone?) Live Love Lead is a book worth a reading and worth to become a classic. Go to LiveLoveLeadBook.com for more information.

Rating: ★★★★★

Blog Hop Called to Speak on Youth

For the last two weeks I’ve been posting about the book, A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes. It was released on October 16th. Luckily I’m part of her launch team, and I’m excited to write my final post for this launch. This time is my personal post for a blog hop. This blog hop is about encouraging myself and others to speak out for our passions and against injustice.

As a youth pastor I’m surrounded by well youth. I’m part of a multicultural church, so I get the chance to work with youth from different ages but also from different countries/cultures. I’ve doing this for the last five years and its something I know I’m called to do; to speak the truth to a younger generation than mine (I’m 30, is that old? lol)

Its something great and interesting to know the different personalities, the different perspectives on life, the different dreams and visions, boys and girls have for their life. Because they do have dreams and visions and most of them want them to become a reality in their lives. There’s a passion inherent to youth that is like a fuel even through the hardest times.

But something Ive seen during these years is a constant struggle to them. Even if theyre from Mexico or from a distant country in Europe. Its something we all know, something were all used to: ourselves, our very identity.

Our identity is something shaped along your life, by our parents, by our family, culture, experiences and certainly you can almost add anything else to this list. Our conclusions along your life will dictate the way we face life in the present. If were not too sure about who we are, what we have or what we can do, well do average and well be disappointed with the results.

But there are good news, we dont have to live limited by our experiences, or limited by our identity; by the identity that was shaped by bad experiences or sufferings. In fact, we should stop concluding who we are taking into account what we did and start believing who we can be thanks to what Jesus did, that sounds good isnt it?

I know that to those who are not believers, this idea may seem confusing or strange, but that doesnt make it less real and true to those who dare to believe.

When our identity is forged by what Jesus has given us as a gift, then our limitations and sufferings from the past stop being an excuse to live fully in this life. When our identity is not about the way the rest of the world see me or even how I see myself, but the way God sees me, theres no place to insecurity or rejection.

Youth from this generation, doesnt matter if theyre part of a church or not, they need to turn their face to the reality that Jesus came, not only to forgive our sins, which he obviously did, but also to give us the opportunity to be made new.

Its my desire to see a generation of young people confident about themselves, that see themselves made in the image of God, and not made into a fake image from the world around them. I believe that the potential God has put into youth is not there to be wasted or put aside, its there to be spent with the certainty of a new identity given only by Him.

NOTE: Its funny because I was supposed to post my blog hop earlier, but something happened and I couldn’t do it until now. I had a difficult time with someone that went through exactly what I shared with you and I had to be there for him/her. Thank God, everything is o.k. now and Im glad I had this topic in mind, since it was a lot of help to deal with the situation.

What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

Book Two in the “Out of Time” series.

Read about the first book, A Time to Die, here.

There’s also a giveaway for this launch, don’t forget to check it and participate!

Make sure to check the rest of the posts for this blog hop :)

9.28.15 – Gretchen Engel

9.30.15 – Nadine Brandes

10.01.15 – Jason Joyner

10.05.15 – Gretchen Engel (part 2)

10.06.15 – Tricia Mingerink

10.08.15 – Gretchen Engel (Scriblerians)

10.09.15 – Emilie Hendryx

10.11.15 – Janeen Ippolito

10.12.15 – Zachary D Totah

10.14.15 – Brittany Valentine

10.15.15 – Andrew Swearingen

10.17.15 – Megan Besing

10.19.15 – Angel Roman

10.20.15 – Charles Franklin

10.21.15 – Lisa Godfrees

10.23.15 – Shantelle Hannu

10.27.15 – Natalie Walters

10.29.15 – The Artist Librarian

11.02.15 – Rosalie Valentine

11.17.15 – Amanda Fender

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.