Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Raised?

Raised? Finding Jesus by Doubting the Resurrection
By Jonathan K Dodson and Brad Watson
Zondervan, 2014
English, 112 pgs

A unique twist on understanding the resurrection-doubt it first! Pastors Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson write for religious skeptics and clearly explain the fantastic importance of the resurrection of Jesus, even while welcoming doubt as an inroad to faith.

To the modern mind, the notion of someone rising from the dead is utterly implausible. While many people believe in the historical Jesus, most find it incredibly difficult to believe in a resurrected Jesus. They are filled with doubt.

Raised? grapples with the believability of the resurrection and with the questions that accompany it. Was it a mass delusion? If it's true, does it make sense of our world? If it is plausible and appealing, how should we respond? What do sin, faith, and Christ really mean? Finally, what difference does the resurrection make?

Written for skeptics, doubters, and those who want to better articulate their faith, Raised? doesn't shy away from the hard questions or settle for easy answers. Ultimately, Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson present a compelling case that claims Jesus came to show us a God who compassionately dives deep into our doubts and has the power to raise the dead.

I fully believe in the power of doubt. If you never doubt, you never seek. When you seek, you find answers. Therefore, doubt leads you to finding answers. For that reason, I was very intrigued by the title alone on this book.

As I began reading it I thought it read a lot like someone's Masters thesis. It's very well researched, well documented and filled with scripture. However, it gets a bit studious and can potentially be off-putting to someone who isn't looking for an academic read.

Another is fantastic. It is not hard to grasp the passion with which the authors write about the subject of the resurrection of Jesus. I love that they take historical and present day objections and logically dismantle them. I learned a lot about the Greek and Hebrew culture and ideas in Biblical times. I learned about WHY their belief in the resurrection was so radical at the time.

I am thinking again about Thomas, the Disciple. I am thinking more about the subject of the resurrection in whole, not just because it's coming up to Easter time, but it's just something that I've always believed but have never been able to logically explain why I believe it. This is helping me form that response. I don't meet a lot of people who doubt and are skeptical about Jesus, but I feel better informed as a result of reading this book.

If I could come up with a criticism of the book it's that it focuses a lot on what we "get" as a result of the resurrection. It focuses a lot on what will happen (theoretically) in the new Heaven and earth, after Jesus returns. Honestly, it's not about whether or not there will be art and culture on the new earth. I get Jesus. I get a new heart and grace and forgiveness and mercy and love and acceptance and I could go on....We get Jesus. We get restored to a relationship with God. We get to escape the horrors of eternal separation from God in Hell.

I received a copy of the book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Lean Body, Fat Wallet

Lean Body, Fat Wallet
By Ellie Kay & Danna Demetre
Thomas Nelson, 2013
English, 240 pgs

What’s good for the wallet is good for the body—an innovative approach to improving both your wealth and your health.
What would you do if you finally lost that weight and had energy to burn? How different would your life be if you were completely out of debt and in control of your finances? And what if you could do both at the same time with just a few simple, sustainable lifestyle changes? It can happen for you—without drastic dieting or austerity budgets, and even if you’ve tried and failed in the past.
Ellie Kay and Danna Demetre are life experts in two seemingly different fields—finance and fitness. Working together, they realized the principles and habits that help you balance your budget are the same ones that help you lose weight and keep it off. The result is an innovative “two for one” approach that can literally transform your life. Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find in Lean Body, Fat Wallet:
  • Four essential habits for satisfying, sustainable change—and how to make them part of your life
  • Ten “failure factors” that trip us up—and how to steer clear of them
  • The single key that makes it all work: “renewing the mind”
  • Proven strategies to overcome emotional eating and spending
  • An all-purpose investment principle to keep you moving forward in hope
  • A wealth of stress busters that don’t rely on food or money
  • A game plan for raising fit and frugal kids
  • Why giving is an essential part of achieving physical and financial health

I'm a little disappointed in this book. I was expecting to see something new in it, but I think that I've maybe been couponing, budgeting and dieting on my own enough that I've already figured this out.

Now, if you're new to coupons and diets this will be a good book for you. It's not based on anything ground breaking. Basically if you can change your thinking you can change your habits.

I did like the chapter about kids since we've been implementing an allowance and I was able to find a few tips in that chapter. I also appreciated that there was emphasis on giving.

I received a copy of the book from BookLook in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Book Review: When I Grow Up I Want to be a Firefighter!

When I Grow Up I Want to be a Firefighter!
By Wigu Publishing
Wigu Publishing, 2014
English, 60 pgs

Will was excited to go on his class field trip, until he learned they would be touring the local firehouse. Now, he is dreading the trip. For as long as he can remember, Will has been afraid of fire and, worse than that, firefighters! Though he knows firefighters are heroes who do dangerous work, to him they are giants in heavy coats and masks. As he journeys with his class through the fire station, Will and readers alike are introduced to the exciting world of firefighting. Can Will overcome his fears and maybe even learn something surprising about himself?

My 4 year old loves firefighters and fire trucks. Ever since we started asking "What do you want to be when you grow up?" the answer is always "A Fireman!" I was so very excited to get to read and review this book for that very purpose!

The story line is well described above so I won't rehash that. The book starts out with a poem "Ode to our Firemen" from 1878! How cool it is to have that included. I love that the pictures in the book are real photos with cartoon people over them. I feel like it gives the book a real, yet "it could be me" feeling. There are pages throughout that are not directly part of the story, but show more information. For example, there are pages on different types of fire crews, a map of a firehouse, a picture of a fire suit with descriptions and different types of fire trucks and vehicles.

At the back is a checklist for family fire safety as well as a plan for making an evacuation route.

My favorite part of the book, however is that the fireman tells Will that his is afraid of fire, but more afraid of people being hurt by fire. Love that!

My son will only read it when he has his full firefighter costume on! He loves the book and asks for it a lot!

There are other books in the series, including US Army, Teacher, Race Car Driver, Nurse and Police Officer. I foresee us reading a lot of them!

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review. Many thanks to Kim at Wigu for including me in the book review.