Monday, March 31

Jesus is Better than You Imagined by Jonathan Merrit

Everyone has an idea of what Jesus is like. Within Evangelical Christianity you’ll get a similar answer from most people. Most of them make Jesus sound great (though unfortunately some groups manage to make Him sound awful). But we still have our own ideas, and sometimes those are shaped through negative experiences. But…what if Jesus is better than you imagine? What if He is better than His followers make Him out to be? In his newest book, Jonathan Martin shares many stories from his own life and how he came to be surprised at where he found Jesus.

Ever since I read A Faith of Our Own a couple of years ago, I’ve been reading Jonathan’s writing. I regularly check his articles for Religion News Service and have been anticipating this book. I tore through it as soon as I received it.

Sunday, March 23

Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

Everyone has a chatterbox inside their head. This chatterbox spreads lies and half-truths and tries to keep you from fully following God. At times it may even sound good, all the while leading you in the wrong direction. It is this ‘chatterbox’ that Pastor Steven Furtick (Elevation Church) examines in his new book, Crash the Chatterbox.

Chatterbox is broken up into four main sections, taking a look at insecurity, fear, condemnation, and discouragement. Furtick examines how our chatterbox tries to stop us, and how we can see past it and hear God’s voice over the noise. Filled with stories from his own life, and told second hand, Furtick provides many illustrations for his stories.

Saturday, March 22

The Hyperlinked Life by Jun Young & David Kinnaman

When seeing that David Kinnaman (UnChristian, You Lost Me) co-authored this book, I knew I had to pick it up. When I saw that the other co-author, Jun Young, worked at Microsoft and in communications, I was even more intrigued. The Hyperlinked Life is a part of the Barna Group’s “Frames” series. This series is composed of several short books (this one clocks in at a whopping 95 pages, including the note and ‘about’ sections. The goal of Frames is to offer, “…concise, data-driven and visually appealing insights for anyone who wants a more faith-driven and fulfilling life.”

The topic in The Hyperlinked Life is ‘Information Overload,’ something that has permeated our society. The book starts out with several great infographics that show some results from the Barna Groups polling. These infographs show how tied we are to our technology, especially our social media and cell phones. There is a small section from the Barna Group offering a further breakdown of the results and they illustrate the daily toll our constant reliance on technology can take on us.

Sunday, March 9

A Draw of Kings by Patrick W. Carr

War is coming to Illustra. Duke Weir has seized control of the country and captures Adora, with plans to marry her to let his leadership and to produce an heir. Enemies gather at their border. Errol is imprisoned and the identity of the rightful heir is still unknown. With the barrier fallen, the true heir must be found or Illustra will be destroyed.

This final book in Patrick W. Carr’s “The Staff & the Sword” trilogy starts off at a fast pace and keeps it up until the end. With the country at the brink of war, there is a much darker tone to A Draw of Kings as many story elements finally lock into place. Carr also manages to keep a couple of surprises until the end.

While this series is set in a fantastical medieval world, this book finally seemed to take full hold of the fantasy genre. Between the demonic enemies and their beasts, Carr presents a strong story of good versus evil.

Friday, March 7

The Adam Quest by Tim Stafford

Normally I would’ve passed over this book, but after the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, the title caught my eye. Tim Stafford (writer for Christianity Today) interviews eleven scientists who profess Christianity. He specifically speaks with them about their view on human origins to see what they believe and why. His point of the book is to be objective, and let the reader decide (though he does include a chapter with his beliefs at the end). Not all of the scientists agree with each other. He interviews young earth creationists, intelligent design creationists (which he labels as those who belief the earth is billions of year old but was influenced by a creator), and evolutionary creationists (who believe God used evolution to form life over millions of years).

Each chapter focuses on different scientists. Stafford covers a brief bit of their history, especially how they became Christians and how they became scientists. He then goes into their reasoning for their respective views

Saturday, March 1

Oscar Predictions 2014

Once again, I did my best to catch as many of the nominees as I could. At the moment I’m 5/9 in the Best Picture category, though I’m seeing Captain Philips Sunday afternoon. Here are my predictions in some of the categories I’m most interested in.
The Academy Awards 2014