The Resurrection of Gavin Stone – Movie Review

This is a surprisingly good movie. Are secular critics going to rave about how great it is? Of course not. It’s an obviously Christian movie. Christian movies are destined for a certain type of ending, especially a feel-good one with an unbeliever being the main character. Just by reading the summary of film, you can fairly accurately guess what is going to happen. But even though the overall plot is very predictable, they throw some creativity into the way things happen – it’s not all entirely predictable, so that’s a good thing.

The film is labelled as a comedy. Is it overly funny? No, not really. Lighthearted and feel-good with some humour, but I wouldn’t say funny enough to be labelled a comedy. I’m not being stuffy, there just aren’t even that many attempts to be real funny. The plot isn’t real intense or compelling. But the characters are lovable. The acting is good. The camera work is good. It doesn’t feel like a cheap cheesy film.

There is some humour that non-church people may not pick on. This was one of the things I enjoyed most about the film, how they took very Christian/Churchie (in a bad way) things and exposed them without being sacrilegious, judgemental or condescending.

Overall, it’s a worthwhile film for Christians to watch. You’ll laugh a little bit, you’ll enjoy seeing the transformation of Gavin Stone. Will it change your life? I wouldn’t guarantee it, but you should leave being reminded of what Jesus can do in a life, and how God can work in ways we wouldn’t expect.

4/5 Paper Movement Stars

Movie has been provided courtesy of Mongrel Media and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone – Movie Review

Jesus Called – He Wants His Church Back (Book Review)

This book sports a title that is easy to agree with, but with a title like this stating things are wrong, you might expect a lot of negativity about what a terrible state the church of today is in. But it’s a really solid, positive, uplifting read. Ray writes with a humility and grace. He makes profound, insightful statements.

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What I really appreciate about this book is that is something that you can (and should) personalize to your own personal walk with Jesus. This isn’t a book bashing the church as an organization, or bashing Christians as a whole. You can read this book and if you apply it, you will become a better Christian, and help make your church better.

This book covers a wide variety of topics while not feeling scattered, but rather thorough.

Highly recommended read for Christians, whether they love their church or not. There is a lot of convicting content that’s straight to the point.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book courtesy of BookLook Bloggers.

Jesus Called – He Wants His Church Back (Book Review)

It’s Not What You Think – Jefferson Bethke (Book Review)

This is a worthwhile read. You can learn more about the Bible, as well as God and yourself. Bethke tackles numerous different subjects (as seen in the chapter titles) that Christians have had wrong ideas about. The title of the book is an umberella for him to talk about a wide variety of subjects compliled into one book.There perhaps isn’t a lot of cohesiveness between some of the different subject matters as it jumps from a topic like ‘where is the kingdom of God’ to the significance of eating at a table, but that being said, each chapter has good thoughts so a bit of randomness is forgivable .

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The book is well written and enjoyable, but I didn’t have any problem setting it down, and it actually took me a long period of time to get it completed, for what that’s worth to you.

Bethke’s writing style includes a lot of talking about the Bible, sharing wisdom from other authors, and he has some stories from his own life (and he’s willing to talk about his shortcomings).

If you’re an underlining/highlighting kind of reader you shouldn’t have any problem finding things that you want to take note of. There are quite of bit of good nuggets here for you.

4/5 Paper Movement Stars

It’s Not What You Think – Jefferson Bethke (Book Review)

Book Review – Dairy of a Jackwagon (Tim Hawkins)

Dairy of a Jackwagon is a great read if you love sarcastic humour – this book is full of it. You will also likely find this book funnier if you have seen Tim performing. If you can get a visual of Tim telling the joke and what expressions he might be using I think you’ll be more likely to find the jokes funny.

I’m not overly familiar with Tim Hawkins, although I have seen many of his videos. I definitely recognized some of the jokes, so if you’ve seen every Hawkins video out there you will probably run into a ton of duplicate content.

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Tim’s humour is clean, and with typical funnyman creativity that makes you (or at least me) curious as to what all goes through his head throughout a day. He has a gift at seeing the funny in the everyday things. He also has some good insights into Christianity and Christians, although they definitely don’t feel like the focus of the book, and even when they are there Tim isn’t forceful about it. It’s a very light read. You can definitely read this book in small chunks and be able to pick it up much later without really missing anything as the book doesn’t have an underlying plot – it moves around from topic to topic.

There are definitely some great humour in here, I tried reading this in bed one night, it did not help me fall asleep, I was laughing out loud. While not all the book is over the top funny there were numerous jokes that had me LOL’ing and I just had to share with my wife.

As others have said, video or live is the preferred method of experiencing Tim Hawkins, but the book is still a great experience for readers with a sarcastic sense of humour, or die hard fans. There is also a audiobook version of this book, read by Tim himself. I haven’t heard it, but I’m sure that’d be fantastic.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book courtesy of Booklook Bloggers and the publisher.

4/5 Paper Movement Stars

Book Review – Dairy of a Jackwagon (Tim Hawkins)

What Keeps You Up at Night? -Pete Wilson – Book Review

A Good Read for Sleepers and Non-Sleepers Alike

I expected this book to have a fairly narrow purpose, namely addressing things that worry us and how to deal with them. Being fairly young, and having had a fairly non-tumultous life thus far, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s just a good overall read for the believer on how to do life well – whether you’re going through a valley or not. And of course, valleys will come. There’s likely a lot of great advice in this book for you whether you feel your life is going great, or about to come off the rails.

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Pete has a way of writing things in an encouraging, but not over-the-top manner. Early in the book Wilson writes: “One of the things I hope to convince you of in this book is that the object is not learning to fear less; it’s learning to trust God more.” I think that statement is a great way to summarize Pete’s heartbeat behind this book. In a lot of ways What Keeps You Up at Night is a book about God, not us. And that’s what makes it so good and worthwhile reading. There’s a lot of meat and truth in here.

The content is Biblical and excellent, and the presentation was well written, including stories and illustrations with a great personality behind it. The book doesn’t get the 5th star as I didn’t find the book as engaging to me as I would’ve liked. It’s good, just not 5 star fantastic. It’s still a very great book to get your hands on, whether you’re a worrier or not. You might just have to take it slow as you work your way through it.

I received a complementary review copy of this work courtesy of the publisher and the BookLook Blogging Program.

4/5 Paper Movement Stars

What Keeps You Up at Night? -Pete Wilson – Book Review

The Complete 101 Collection (John Maxwell) Book Review

Jam-cram-packed with gold. This book is so simple, yet so helpful. It’s chuck-full of useful advice for those who not only want to be a better leader, but even just a more effective, more productive, better human being. This was my first exposure to Maxwell, and I can see why he’s such a popular authority on leadership. The book is a breeze to read, and super easy to comprehend. It’s a lot of common sense. But, as we know, common sense isn’t always as common as we’d like to think. This book is very straight to the point without fluff and filler. The concepts are easy to understand, but there are so many things in here to work on over the course of a lifetime.

This book contains a lot of great advice to help me be both a better employee and manager at my job, as well as things that can help me as a layperson at my church with my various responsibilities. Don’t not read this job just because you don’t view yourself as a “boss”. I am quite certain you can find a lot of super-useful, challenging material to help you grow!

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I did a lot of underlining in this book. It’s a book that could be read over and over again with much usefulness gleaned from each read. It’s great too because it covers a wide variety of topics. While it is certainly a big book, it’s a lot shorter than reading 8 full length books!

I enjoyed John’s writing style. He uses a lot of little stories and examples which put some skin on his ideas. There are a lot of relevant quotes from various great men and women. I know some people are quite put off by Maxwell’s statements of faith splattered throughout this work. Personally, I do not find him very preachy at all, and as a Christian myself would’ve liked to see Jesus clearly held up as the undisputed best thing that could ever happen to anyone. That is basically my only criticism of this book. For those wishing John would remove the ‘religious theme’ from this book, you are asking him remove something that is a foundational part of who and why he is what he is.

This book won’t just help make you a better leader, it’ll help you make more of the life you’ve been given. 5 stars. Go read it.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and BookLook Bloggers.

5/5 Paper Movement Stars

The Complete 101 Collection (John Maxwell) Book Review

Life is ______. by Judah Smith (Book Review)

Classic Judah Smith

If you’re familiar with Judah’s preaching, you’ll be able to hear his voice all over this book. He writes like he talks. In this book, as in his preaching, he is extremely accessible and has a gift for sharing wisdom in a very non-academic manner. Will he may seem very simple, I think that part of his brilliance is the ability to teach in a way that anyone can understand. Judah’s personality and attempts at humour may come across as over-the-top to some. I don’t know what to say about that other than this: he is Judah, deal with it.

What I find inspiring from Judah’s work is his love for Jesus and life. He’s one excited man full of energy. This book is no exception. There are numerous, simple, underline-worthy things waiting for you in this book. This can probably be both and blessing and a curse, but Judah has a very-confrontational vibe. It’s good because it makes him very accessible to the masses, but on the flip side he seems a little soft, as if he might might not be willing he is to call out sin when it needs to be called out. It seems as if his style just ruffles my legalistic feathers.

Just before writing this review I saw a post from Judah promoting the book with this quote from the book: “God wants our lives to be awesome in every way.” A statement like this sets off some prosperity Gospel warning bells, so read with caution and discernment. I don’t remember reading this statement in the book, so I can’t place its context, but the fact that he is using this sentence in isolation would indicate to me that he doesn’t feel the need to clarify his statement. When Bieber and Gomez endorse a Christian book, it makes me wrinkle my brow a bit. But after reading through the book I can say that I think it’s a very beneficial read that strives to push you towards a more abundant life lived closer to Jesus.

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Here are a few quote-worthy lines from the book that jumped out to me:

If we live by the law, we die by the law. If our whole focus is how much we can do for God… rather than how much he does for us and how much he loves us – eventually we’ll find ourselves in a pity party apart from the cross.”

The answer to many of our problems is simple: it’s thinking about Jesus more than ourselves.”

Grace plays offence.”

We access the abundant life by giving up control”.

And lastly, a good insight into the way I believe Judah tries to do with his whole life:

Might I suggest that we be slow to criticize and critique and quick to celebrate what God is doing in people’s lives?”

I think it’s a good book for people across a wide spectrum in their walk, whether it’s someone who’s exploring Christianity wondering what it’s about, or for the seasoned believer whose walk with Jesus has been running on the dry side.

Thanks Judah for the encouragement. You’re more like Jesus than I am in so many ways.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book courtesy of Booklook Bloggers.

4/5 Paper Movement Stars.

Life is ______. by Judah Smith (Book Review)