Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Book Review

Every Body Matters
by Gary Thomas
Zondervan 2011

Reviewed by Diane Busch

I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Author Gary Thomas may be best known for his book “Sacred Marriage”, but in his newest book he broaches a subject that many in the church are afraid to touch:  the fact that we need to take care of our bodies by eating healthy and exercising so that we will be in our best shape to serve God and do kingdom work.  He has honest discussions about the words “gluttony” and “sloth” used in the Bible, saying that these two things make us less useful and less prepared to do any good work. He talks about his own struggles and the changes he has made, as well as using many examples from other peoples’ lives to give inspiration and encouragement to the reader.

In Every Body Matters, Thomas offers superior motivation for Christians to “recognize we might have grown a bit soft—in our bodies and in our souls and that there may even be a connection between the two.  The lack of physical discipline can undercut and even erode spiritual growth. We want to get in good physical shape so we can become, as Paul writes, ‘instruments for special purposes, made holy useful to the Master and prepared for any good work.’  We are vessels set apart to serve God.”  Thomas says, “Christians who don’t take their health seriously don’t take their mission seriously.  God gave us souls--and bodies to go with them.  To be fully alive, fully human, fully the people God created us to be, we have to care for our bodies, discipline them, and make them our servants in our service to God.”

“Being silent about eating too much because we don’t want to sound judgmental, or refusing to address laziness because it can sound elitist or we think it’s none of our business, is to allow and even encourage fellow church members to live lives in which there is no inspiration to be made holy, useful to the Master, and prepared to do any good work.  Let’s create a new kind of environmental influence—one that demonstrates how we treat our bodies as a form of Christian stewardship, a vehicle for evangelism, and preparation for the good work that God has planned for us to do.  The spiritual disciplines are the place to start, but their effectiveness is magnified when joined with physical discipline.

For some of us this may be the kick in the seat of the pants that we need. Thomas gives tips for making changes and setting goals.  This book would be appropriate for any age or maturity of Christian reader from teenagers on up.  Included in the back of the book are questions for discussion and reflection for each chapter.

This book was provided by Zondervan free of charge for the purpose of review.

New Releases

Man Alive
Patrick Morley
Multnomah, January 2012
Is your faith meeting your needs? No? Then follow Morley on an exciting path to spiritual transformation! Leading you to fresh encounters with God's Word, he identifies seven deeply felt needs of men today. Discover his biblical, practical, and motivating plan to leave spiritual mediocrity behind and live a life of purpose and power.

Love Finds a Way: 3 Modern Romances Make Falling in Love Simple and Sweet
Wanda Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing, January 2012
Three women discover love even when they're not looking. Lorna Patterson hopes to gain an education, not a husband, when she returns to college. Then she meets culinary student Evan Bailey who might have her rethinking love. Shelia Nickels comes to antique dealer Dwaine Woods on a search for her grandmother's doll. But her hunt for the lost childhood treasure has her stumbling into unexpected feelings instead. Wendy Campbell doesn't want a relationship. But when her father plays matchmaker and brings paramedic Kyle Rogers into her life, he hopes she'll overcome her self-doubt and open her heart to love.

Where I Find You CD
Kari Jobe
Sparrow Records, January 2012
Dove Award-winning worship leader Kari Jobe leads you to the feet of Jesus with her second studio album. Includes the radio-single song of commission "We Are," "Steady My Heart," "One Desire," "Find You on My Knees," "Savior's Here," "Stars in the Sky," "What Love Is This," "Run to You," "Rise," "Love Came Down," "We Exalt Your Name," and "Here."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Releases

7 Money Rules for Life
Mary Hunt
Revell, December 2011
Drowning in debt? Here's your no-nonsense guide to money mastery! Helping you transform your financial future from shaky to rock solid, Hunt encourages you to take seven simple steps to financial freedom. Discover how to spend less than you earn, save for the future, manage your credit, borrow only what you can repay, and more. 208 pages, hardcover from Revell.

Saying It Well: Touching Others with Your Words
Charles Swindoll
FaithWords, January 2012
SAYING IT WELL is a practical, easy, and unique book on becoming an effective and persuasive speaker, teacher, and conversationalist. While most books on mastering the art of speaking take a very similar approach, mainly presenting philosophy, technique, and the how-to-do-it, SAYING IT WELL will make it personal and keep it realistic. The author will write in first person, not unlike a presciptive memoir, where he tells his own story of his journey in how he became a world class communicator. Yet, he'll stay focused on the subject and deliver the how-to, but in a personal, entertaining, vulnerable story format. He will lift the veil of his own struggles and the adventures he has been on in learning the craft so the reader can relate. The author will share several foundational principles regarding how to communicate, from preparing for a speech, organizing thoughts, filtering out the superfluous and focusing on the important, overcoming fears, how to grab the listener's attention, deliver in a convincing manner...and frankly, how and when to stop.

Winning the Food Fight
Steve Willis
Regal Books, December 2011
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver brought his mini-series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, to Huntington, West Virginia, "the fattest city in America." But long before the small town was on the chef’s radar, one pastor had already begun to pray for Huntington’s spiritual and physical transformation. Winning the Food Fight is pastor Steve Willis’ insider look at the divine timing of Jamie Oliver’s visit and a backstage pass to the events that are changing the heart and health of an all- American city. Readers will encounter the stories of real people who have made the connection between spiritual wellness and physical health, and be inspired to begin their own journey toward God-honoring transformation using Pastor Steve’s practical, biblical plan.

Just a Minute: In the Heart of a Child, One Moment Can Last Forever
Wes Stafford
Moody Publishers, December 2011
A hug, a compliment, a word of praise . . . such things may seem inconsequential, but to a child they can make a difference! Whether you want to reach out to kids across the globe or in your own backyard, Stafford shows how building self-worth, discovering latent talent, breaking emotional barriers, and more can transform little ones' lives. 208 pages, hardcover from Moody.

Tyndale: The Man Who Gave God an English Voice
David Teems
Thomas Nelson, December 2011
A beautiful literary tribute to the poet, martyr, expatriate, outlaw, and original translator of the English Bible. In this personable, historical narrative, Teems brings wit and wisdom to the story of the English "Paul" who defied a tyrannical church in order to introduce God's Word to the common people. 304 pages, softcover from Nelson.

Hope for Parents of Troubled Teens
Connie Rae
Bethany House, December 2011
Licensed counselor Connie Rae has seen it all, both in her professional practice and in her personal life with a son who struggled through a drug addiction. In It's Never Too Late to Help Your Teenager, she offers encouragement and practical advice on what to say and do, and mistakes to avoid. She helps parents understand their child's temperament, their own parenting style, the developmental process, and the world in which their teenager is growing up. Each chapter ends with a list of practical steps and a prayer, giving parents hope throughout the process.

Courageous DVD
Provident Films, January 2012
The latest movie from the creators of Fireproof! Police officers Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, and their partners are brave men well-equipped to deal with hardened criminals. But when they remove their badges, they face a more daunting challenge---fatherhood. As their children drift away from them, can these stalwarts find a way to defend and protect those nearest and dearest to them---and draw closer to God? Rated PG-13. Approx. 129 minutes.

Decades of Worship CD
Michael W. Smith
Provident Music, January 2012
Michael W. Smith's exhilarating worship style has turned millions of hearts to the Lord. Now his most popular renditions are collected on one dynamic release! Join him as he praises God in "Above All," "Agnus Dei," "Mighty to Save," "A New Hallelujah," "Breathe," "Healing Rain," "The Stand," "You Are Holy," "So Great," and more.

Rachel Chan
In:Ciite Music, December 2011
The debut release from Rachel Chan is an upbeat set of encouraging Christian pop originals. The daughter of author and speaker Francis Chan, this talented teen showcases her songwriting chops and effervescent faith on "Prove It," "As Close," "You Must Love Me," and more.

Hugs & Kisses, God (Lift the Flap Book)
Allia Nolan
Zondervan, December 2011
Children will be eager to read and learn about God with this fun lift-the-flap book. Featuring a rhyming text and colorful pictures, your little ones will learn all the different ways that they can show God love during their days.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Releases

I Am A Follower
Leonard Sweet
Thomas Nelson, December 2011
Worried that you don't have what it takes to be a great leader? Sweet believes you can leave that anxiety behind . . . because the Christian life has never been about leading! Tracing the importance of following in Scripture, he challenges "architects" to become "gardeners"--- advocating a churchwide shift toward a culture of "followership." 240 pages, softcover from Nelson.

I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives.
Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett
Thomas Nelson, December 2011
An inside look at the lives of people who were completely transformed after life-changing encounters with Christ! Dealing with the darkest moments of life, these personal stories reveal how God's redemptive power can free us from addictions, depression, pride, infidelity, and other difficulties so we can become radically obedient to Jesus. Includes study questions. 240 pages, hardcover from Nelson.

How to Be a Best Friend Forever
John Townsend
Worthy Publishing, December 2011
There's nothing like the sustaining strength of a true-blue forever friend. . . . But how do you find one? And once you have, how do you maintain the connection? Boundaries author Townsend offers eight principles for building long-term, rewarding friendships---empowering you to experience one of life's greatest joys. Includes study guide. 192 pages, hardcover from Worthy.

Love Food & Live Well
Chantel Hobbs
WaterBrook Press, December 2011
Struggling with weight issues? Do you love food? Chantel says you can have your cake and eat it, too! Encouraging you to enlist food as an ally, she helps you implement the 80/20 rule---eat healthy for 80% of the time and indulge yourself the other 20%. Her revolutionary diet-and-fitness plan works---Chantel lost 200 pounds! Paperback.

Girls Uncovered
Joe McIlhaney Jr. and Freda Bush
Northfield, December 2011
An eye-opening look at the influence of our increasingly promiscuous society on American girls. Surveying the psychological, social, physical, and spiritual effects of sexual behaviors and attitudes, the authors frankly discuss sensitive topics ---including pregnancy, emotional attachment, and sexually transmitted infections---to help parents, youth workers, and counselors guide young women through the challenges they face. 176 pages, softcover from Northfield.

Give Us Rest CD
David Crowder Band
Sixstep Records, December 2011
Say goodbye to the old you and be transformed as the the blessed light of Christ leads you to new life! A powerful allegory in music and song, this requiem mass in C (the happiest of all keys) features "Lux Aeternam Shine," "God Have Mercy (Kyrie Eleison),"The Sound of Light," "The Great Amen," "Our Communion," "Because He Lives," and more. Two CDs.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Book Review

The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge
by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. c2011

Reviewed by Diane Busch
If you are a fan of the great coach and leader Tony Dungy, then you will enjoy his daily insights, reminders, and challenges in The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge.  This motivational devotional is great for men, but women can also be inspired by his wisdom and encouragement, as most of the content is not gender specific.

In the introduction Dungy suggests that if you and your friends or co-workers read this same devotional each day, then you can share insights or have discussions via email, phone, or social networking.

This book is set up in 7 themes (one for each day of the week) which are: Core, Family, Friends, Potential, Mission, Influence, and Faith.  Each day's reading includes a scripture passage, the text of his message for the day, and an Uncommon Key, which gets to the core of the day's theme, often by adding a challenge, reminder, or hard question to ponder.

In the back of the book there is an alphabetical Scripture index so you can find a devotional to go along with a certain scripture.

This book is a practical, motivating, and challenging tool to keep you focused on following Jesus and growing in your faith for 2012.  I highly recommend it.

This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of review.  www.tyndale.com