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Three Star Reviews

Book Review | Seasons of Waiting

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Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams are Delayed
by Betsy Childs Howard

Waiting is one thing most Christians have experienced before, and something most of us complain about.  Waiting stretches us.  It tests faith and reveals character.  It shows whether we deep-down trust God or not.  And, it’s usually uncomfortable. I’ve been through my own long waits for provision and fulfilled promises before, so I was excited to read Seasons of Waiting by Betsy Childs Howard.  seasonsofwaiting

Overall, I felt her outlook on waiting offered a new, big-picture perspective.  She argues that what we wait for in the here-and-now illustrates how all of creation longed for a Savior and how we are all still longing for the return of Christ.  This made me realize how my own waiting means far more than just character-building or faith-growing in my own life.  I wait with creation. I wait with all humanity.  It helps me to pray in a new way and tap into a greater longing for God Himself rather than just whatever I’ve been seeking.

After an initial introduction to the greater context of waiting, Howard then offers a series of chapters on specific things many people wait a long time for:  Marriage, Children, Healing, a Home. This section of the book was, to me, okay.  I felt disappointed in the content because those aren’t really how I’m finding myself waiting.  It appears that this book was launched after an article the author wrote for The Gospel Coalition on being, at that time, a single Christian woman.  But when she transferred that to book form, it felt too audience-specific.  Howard does make attempts to broaden the audience in each chapter, reminding us that those waiting for a human husband represent the bride waiting for the return of Christ.  This was mildly helpful, but still left me wanting more.

At only 98 pages, this book ended up far shorter than I expected and didn’t really delve into the greater spiritual lessons on waiting that I wanted.  I didn’t need to read about specific waiting scenarios.  I wanted to follow the journey of those who waited in Scripture.  I wanted to know what to do in the waiting, how to pray in the waiting, how to serve others in the waiting, how to be content in the waiting, and the like.   To me, the book could have replaced the middle content with much deeper lessons on a subject we all need to learn more about since we’ve all been in a season of waiting before (or are in a season like that now). Of course, for others who are waiting for marriage, or children, etc., this book may feel particularly relevant and helpful.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer:   Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Book Review | Malestrom by Carolyn Custis James

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malestromMalestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World  by Carolyn Custis James is an intellectual and well-researched examination of culture. She digs into “male power” from a cultural and Biblical perspective.  Chapter topics include:

  • The Father Wound
  • The Rise of Women
  • The Marginalized Man
  • Gender Role Reversal
  • The Manhood of Jesus
  • Liberating Men From the Malestrom

I’m a fan of Carolyn Custis James books, especially The Gospel of Ruth which my pastor recommended reading. The Malestorm book is more challenging and might be difficult to read at times. Her writing style in this book resembles the thesis work of a graduate student rather than entertainment writing typically associated with books.

Book Description

Malestrom builds on and expands previous books by Carolyn Custis James to explore the idea of manhood, a growing issue both in the wider culture and in the church. Until now, the entire discussion has been largely reduced to Western conceptions. Instead, James here shows how our culture’s narrow definitions of manhood are upended when we consider the examples of men in the Bible and Jesus’ gospel. Together, they show a whole new Kingdom way of being male and forging men and women into the Blessed Alliance.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” LifeVerse Books is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

JumpStart Your Leadership | Book Review

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JumpStart Your LeadershipJumpStart Your Leadership by John C. Maxwell is a easy book to read and digest. You can read the entire book in just over one hour, or you can read the daily tips for three consecutive months.The book content was originally published in Maxwell’s The 5 Levels of Leadership book.

As you read the book, it’s obvious this is a summary of another book with larger ideas. This jumpstart concept is divided into 90 ideas. Each idea begins with a short paragraph and is followed by a leadership question for reflection. Here are some of the leadership questions from the book:

  • Write down one positive thing you can honestly say about each person on your team. Then take the time during this next week to compliment each person with it.
  • Consider a candid conversation you have had that did not lead to a positive result. If you could redo the conversation, what might you say differently to emphasize the person’s potential and how you could help them reach it?
  • Are you avoiding a difficult conversation you know a team member needs? Why? What step will you take today to discuss it with them?

These would be good journal prompts for leaders, or agenda items for a team meeting.

The book is similar to a devotional in format and structure, however it’s leadership-based and not faith-based.. Each day begins with a leadership quote, followed by a short paragraph based on Maxwell’s book The 5 Levels of Leadership, and concludes with a journal prompt. It’s very simplistic and easy to use.

While seasoned leaders might find the book too basic, the audience is geared towards newer leaders starting their careers. It’s basic material rather than deep wisdom. There were a few times I wondered if John Maxwell was the author or if the book was written by someone else, perhaps by an editor. For a deeper study, read Maxwell’s entire book The 5 Levels of Leadership and use this as a supplemental action plan.

 

My Amazon Rating 3/5

 

Women’s Ministry in the 21st Century | Book Review

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Women's Ministry in the 21st CenturyWomen’s Ministry in the 21st Century: The Encyclopedia of Practical Ideas is a handbook for new and seasoned ministry leaders. As a founder and ministry director for online Bible studies, I was excited to buy this book and learn from it. The book was overflowing with ideas and bursting with creativity. There are almost 250 ideas for leading women in this book!  The book sections include:

Friendship and Fun
Serving Others
Spiritual Growth
Ten-Minute Devotions
Bible Studies
Movie Club/Book Club
Celebrations and Events
Outreach
Retreats
Leader Helps (forms)

While the book is primarily geared for local ministries, with a little modification and creativity some of the ideas could be implemented for online Bible study and women’s groups. This is an interesting handbook primarily geared towards fellowship, social activities and outreach. If you are looking for a book on leading a ministry or teaching Bible studies, this would not be useful for that purpose.

My Amazon Rating 3/5

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions | Book Review

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Good Leaders Ask Great QuestionsGood Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell is a basic leadership book. The focus of the book is in alignment with the title. Maxwell uses examples from his own leadership experience, sharing successes and failures. The common theme of asking questions is divided into to parts: Questions John Maxwell Asks and Questions Leaders Ask Him. Most emphasis is placed on answering questions from leaders, such as:

  • What must I do to lead successfully?
  • How does leadership work?
  • How do I get started in leadership?
  • How do I resolve conflict?
  • How can I succeed?
  • How can I successfully navigate leadership?

The book is informative, yet some of his other books are much better. This book reminded me of a summary of coaching calls or perhaps a solution to managing coaching clients. The structure is repetitive and the book loses it uniqueness after the “Ask question” concept is grasped. I’m a huge fan of John Maxwell books, yet I found this one a bit too simplistic and geared primarily to new leaders.

Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is excellent and one of the required books for my pastoral leadership class at Liberty University. Failing Forward is my favorite Maxwell book and I’ve recommended it many times to friends. I’ve read both of these books several times and they will continue to be reference books in my leadership library!

My Amazon Rating 3/5

 

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Church in The Middle

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The Church in The MiddleAlthough the name Rolland Daniels is unfamiliar as an author, “The Church in The Middle” is worth noting. His first book is visually exciting with the spectacular images, fonts and colors. While the entire book is just SIX chapters in length, the author recommends not rushing through the content. Most pages are filled with graphics, so it will not take long to read the actual words. Each chapter ends with discussion questions for more reflection. His premise for the book  is that “.. a posture of consumerism and what might be called entitlement have permeated our pews.” This administration book is primarily directed at pastors, yet other members of a church staff will find it useful. It’s written in love and not condemning. Great thought and research have been included in each chapter. When the author identifies a problem, he also presents a solution. At times I found the book autobiographical, though overall the format is informational. The “congregational covenant” is a useful tool for small groups as well as the entire church. This book is visually exciting and the modern graphics add to the thematic concept of “future.” Because of the graphics, the ebook has a large file size and might take longer to download. With nine pages devoted to notes and end notes, the content of the book is about 100 pages.

My Amazon Rating: 3/5

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”