Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review

My Imaginary Jesus
Matt Mikalatos
Tyndale c2010 

Reviewed by Diane Busch

How do you imagine Jesus? What does he look like?  How does he act?  Is he always with you?  Does He just show up at certain times?  How do you treat Him?  How does He treat you?  What do you believe about Jesus?  

This enjoyable, often humorous, fiction read contains thought-provoking situations and little "aha" moments.  It opens our eyes to all of the boxes we try to put Jesus in.  We each have our own ideas or images of Jesus.  We need to let Jesus break out of the restrictive boxes we have put him in.  This book helps reveal some of our misconceptions, such as

   * Angry Jesus
   * Magic 8 Ball Jesus
   * Testosterone Jesus
   * King James Jesus
   * Bargain Jesus
   * Liberal Social Services Jesus
   * Conservative Truth-Telling Jesus
   * Televangelist Jesus
   * Free Will Jesus
   * Meticulous Providence Jesus

   * My Imaginary Jesus

The author inspires us get rid of our Imaginary Jesus and get to know the Real Jesus.

(Tyndale provided a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Releases

The 13th Tribe
Robert Liparulo
Thomas Nelson, March 2012
Their story didn't start this year . . . or even this millennium.
It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshipping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment-endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God.
This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they've been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since-by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans have ever seen.
Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he's hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former Army Ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God. The Tribe is poised to execute their most ambitious attack ever and the lives of millions hang in the balance. When Jagger's wife and son are caught in the crossfire, he'll stop at nothing to save them. But how can one man stand against an entire tribe of immortals?

Live in Miami 2012 CD
Hillsong United
EMI, February 2012
Giving voice to a generation passionate about God, the modern rock praise & worship band shares 22 tracks recorded live on their sold-out Aftermath Tour. Includes the radio single "Search My Heart," "Break Free," "Mighty to Save," "Rhythms of Grace," "From the Inside Out," "Your Name High," "Take It All," "With Everything," and the tour theme song.

Who is Jesus?
Kathleen Long Bostrom
Tyndale, February 2012
Who is Jesus? includes full-color contemporary illustrations and questions that kids might ask about Jesus. Each answer is worded as if Jesus himself were speaking and is based on what Scripture teaches us about God's Son. Featuring illustrations from Care Bear creator, Elena Kucharik.

A Perfect Pet for Peyton
Rick Osborne and Gary Chapman
Northfield, February 2012
Encourage your kids to learn more about the Five Love Languages and how to utilize them in their own lives. Join twins Peyton and Penny as they go on a birthday adventure to Mr. Chapman's Pet Pal Emporium to get paired up with their perfect pet pal. The kids will learn about the five languages: gifts, words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, and acts of service. Includes a quiz in the back to help children identify their unique love language.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Book Review

Today We Are Rich : making total confidence work for you
Tim Sanders
Tyndale, 2011

Reviewed by Diane Busch

This book is highly motivating as all Tim Sanders’ books are. He gets very personal sharing about his childhood, being raised by his grandmother, the murder of his father when he was a
teenager, and what he calls his “sideways years”.  He recalls many lessons that his beloved grandmother, Billye Sanders, taught him and explains how they have helped him achieve success.

In Today We Are Rich, Sanders lays out 7 principles of total confidence:
● Feed your mind good stuff - start out each day with time reading the Bible and other
great books and prayer.
● Move the conversation forward - “The key to positive conversations is to project your
confident outlook by selecting the right words, saying them in the proper tone of voice,
and assuming a constructive role.” This will generate enthusiasm and encourage others.
● Exercise your gratitude muscle - " Gratitude is a muscle, not a feeling...You've got to
give your gratitude muscle a workout everyday if you want to feel gratitude.”
"You can't be hateful when you are grateful" - Billye Sanders.
"Gratitude fuels optimism and inspires hope" - Erwin Manus in “Uprising”.
● Give to be rich - Sanders says, "Gratitude will give you a desire to give back, so act on
it, because when you give from a heart of thanks, you are ready to be rich...Giving is like
any other exercise: the more you do it, the better you get at it and the more you get out
of it. You should do it all the time.”
● Prepare yourself - “Add to your existing preparation the following 3 elements, and you
too will find the way to leap from good to great in everything you attempt: 1) get smart; 2) network knowledge; 3) Mentorize - have a mentor & be a mentor.
● Balance your confidence - Rehearse fully: practice makes perfect. Sanders
says, “Define your purpose. A purpose is an effective focal point for your life, giving you
a worthy goal to pursue in all your efforts...How well I accomplish my purpose is the endall
measurement of my success...Purpose does more than keep your confidence on an
even keel. It preserves it...When you are faithful to a purpose, you'll have a sense of
personal integrity. It will help you believe that others, and God, will be there with you.”
● Promise made, promise kept - "Promises are like crying babies in a theatre, they should
be carried out at once." - Norman Vincent Peale.

Sanders has been greatly influenced by his now ninety-five-year-old grandmother, known as
the cherished Miss Billye to those around her. She always has a good attitude and expresses
love to everyone. We also should strive to make a difference in other’s lives as we invest in the positive practices of learning, thanking, giving and finishing.

New Book Review

by Frank Peretti
Howard Books, 2012

Reviewed by Diane Busch

This is not your typical Christian fiction book, but then again, no book by Frank Peretti ever
could be called typical. 

Through the many twists and turns of the plot, you will have many questions and not too many answers. Many things just don’t make sense, at first. But you will be driven to keep reading to see what happens next.

You will wonder: Is this a book about magic and magicians? Is this a book about time travel?  Is it science fiction? Is it a love story? Just keep reading to discover how all of the events and characters intertwine, eventually making sense as the mystery unfolds.

And if you are like me, you won’t be disappointed in the end.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Releases

Night with a Perfect Stranger
David Gregory
Worthy Publishing, March 2012
Six years ago, businessman Nick Cominsky encountered Jesus the old-fashioned way-in a face-to-face meeting. And the Christian life seemed a breeze . . . for a while. But now, having done everything he knows to grow spiritually, he wonders where his closeness with Jesus has gone. Burned out and hopeless, Nicks wails his complaints to God during a late-night interstate trip. Then suddenly he runs out of gas-and finds Jesus along the roadside with a gas can. Jesus hops in the truck and offers answers Nick never heard in church . . . and a nighttime of adventures ensues beyond anything Nick could have imagined.

The Mighty Macs DVD
Affirm Films
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, February 2012
From the inspiring true story comes the tale of one woman who just wanted to make a difference and wound up making history! When Coach Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino, Mr. Popper's Penguins) arrives at tiny Immaculata College, the women’s basketball team has no budget, no uniforms and no gym. Refusing to give up, Cathy finds help from a young nun named Sister Sunday (Marley Shelton, Never Been Kissed). Together, their relentless drive reignites the team's spirit and the Mighty Macs start conquering bigger and better-funded schools. As financial troubles rock Immaculata, the Macs charge into the championships against all odds. Can the Mighty Macs save their school with one last long shot at victory? You'll stand up and cheer for the heartwarming, incredible season that made the real Cathy Rush a Basketball Hall of Fame legend!

I Still Believe: The Number Ones Collection CD
Jeremy Camp
Bec Records, March 2012
From the powerful debut Stay to the recent bestselling worship project, Jeremy Camp has connected with music fans around the world with his gravelly voice, contemporary rock style, and plainspoken, honest faith. This 2012 collection from BEC Recordings showcases fifteen number one hits from the songwriter and worship leader, including "Walk By Faith," "This Man," "Give Me Jesus," and others, plus the brand new, previously unreleased song "Wait."

Passion: White Flag CD
Sixstep Records, March 2012
 Recorded live at the Passion 2012 conference in Atlanta, Georgia---with artists Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, the David Crowder Band, Charlie Hall, and Matt Redman! Features "Not Ashamed," "Lay Me Down," "You Revive Me," "All This Glory," "Mystery," "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)," "One Thing Remains," "Yahweh," "No Turning Back," "Let Me Feel You Shine," the title track, and more.

The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
Jan and Mike Berenstain
Zondervan, February 2012
It's almost Easter time and Brother, Sister, and Honey Cub can't stop thinking about all the Easter candy that they want to eat. They know that Easter is about more than just candy, it's also about "Bible stuff". It's up to their Sunday School teacher Miss Ursula and some of the older cubs to teach them why we celebrate Easter. Includes a sheet of stickers.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review

God Behaving Badly : is the God of the Old Testament angry,
sexist and racist?
by David T. Lamb
IVP Books (InterVarsity Press)

reviewed by Diane Busch

God Behaving Badly is a great book for answering the hard questions that sometimes arise about God in Old Testament times.  Lamb examines and debunks the bad reputation and critical perceptions that some give to Yahweh--God in the Old Testament.

Yahweh is not angry--He is loving and slow to anger.  But he does get legitimately "angry over evil, injustice and oppression.  He is willing to severely punish individuals or nations to protect the weak and to promote peace."

Yahweh is not sexist--"He is actually highly affirming of women, making them in his image and even selecting a woman to be the spiritual and political ruler of Israel (Deborah)."

Yahweh is not racist--"He is welcoming toward all nations.  He even commands his people be hospitable toward foreigners."

Yahweh is not legalistic--"He does not burden us with laws.  His commands reveal his goodness and his desire to bless."

Lamb reminds us that the God of the Old Testament was not a legalistic kill-joy.  He told us to have a lot of sex with our spouse, eat good delicious food, throw parties to celebrate what God has done, and to take a vacation day once a week.  That is loving, generous, gracious and good.

God is good.  All the time.
Because God is good, good things happen to bad people like us.
Because God is good, his commands result in blessing for us.
Because God is good, he gave us the Bible in which we learn what he is like--that he is fascinating and relational.

Lamb goes into a lot of detail studying scripture and examining the following topics from many angles: God's love, anger, sexism, racism, violence, legalism, rigidity or flexibility, and his presence with us.

The book ends with discussion questions for each chapter, making it a good choice for small home groups, book clubs, or Bible study groups.