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 .

51jjnfYfMJL

 

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.

515tRAK6gyL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

IMG_8228-960x1280

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 People Factor (Van Moody) – Book Review

Image This book has heaps of glowing reviews. I think the value of this book to you will depend on your personality. As an introvert myself, I was hoping for help on both creating and developing friendships. Unfortunately, to me this book seemed mostly geared towards ‘successful’, extroverted people with a lot of influence who have lots of people looking to be their friends, rather than for average shy people who need help in getting more good friendships developed. What I liked about the book: Van helped me to see the importance of being intentional about who I get close to. I tend to think of friendships as just happening due to proximity and interest etc. Rather, we should put some thought and effort into friendships – make some choices that’ll be beneficial to us. He talks a lot about what to look for in a friend, both the pros and the cons. The idea about being thoughtful and actually choosing our friends is a big takeaway for me, and a kick in the pants to make the effort to get connected with people that could make a big positive impact in my own life. What I didn’t like so much: the book seems quite focused on me, and what is beneficial to myself, rather than looking at how to best help others and be a great ‘people person’. Again, for those who are successful leaders, I can see why it’s so important that we choose our friendships carefully and weed out the ones that aren’t going anywhere. We only have so much time and energy – I get that. However, for me myself, this seems like the wrong thing to focus on. I don’t have tons of people lined up for advice from me, wanting my time. I probably need more good friendships to invest my time in instead of hermiting, not to spend my energy weeding the friendships that I do have. A word of caution as well, if you don’t read this book carefully you could get them impression that you shouldnt get very involved with any ‘loser people’. I’m quite certain Moody isn’t saying don’t reach out to them, don’t spend time with them. Jesus spent time with the broken. That’s a pretty well known fact. What I think Moody is saying, is don’t make these people your bosom buddies – because they will likely suck a lot of life out of you. Be smart about how involved and tied to them you become. Overall, it’s obviously a useful book, especially for some. What it does, it does well – this is unpacking how to choose great friends. If you are an extrovert with a wide range of friends, I’d recommend this book to you to help you maximize your time and energy. If you’re an introvert looking for advice on what kind of friends to pursue, this would also be a great read. If you’re looking for tips on developing friendships, I’d think there would be better choices. I received a review copy of this book courtesy of http://www.BookLookBloggers.com 3/5 Paper Movement Stars

The People Factor (Van Moody) – Book Review

A Call to Resurgence (Mark Driscoll) Book Review

Not a Book You Write to Gain the Mass’s Love

I liked this book. Many will not.

First of all, here are my biases and what you should know about me as a reviewer. I like Driscoll. His preaching has had a huge, huge impact on my life. Is he right about everything? No. Neither am I or you. I hope his critics realize that Mark has accomplished a lot of amazing things. He’s a passionate man who loves Jesus fiercely. Please consider the good about him before you tear apart the one thing you dislike about him. He’s helped a lot of people. Lastly, I’m not the smartest person who will review this book. I write this review with the viewpoint of an ordinary layman.

What I Like About A Call to Resurgence:

1. It’s straightforward. In typical fashion, Driscoll doesn’t beat around the bush. You don’t have to play mind games to figure out what he is really trying to say.

  1. It’s raw, it’s honest. As someone who is very in tune with his time, Mark presents a lot of insight into where Christianity is at today. He talks about the cost of following Jesus. This isn’t a light, feel-good read. Yet neither is it a ‘sky is falling’ depression-inducing read.
  2. It’s informative, it’s eye-opening. While I haven’t been living under a rock, it’s good for me to hear things about the world from someone with a perspective like this. I think Mark has a lot of wisdom. I appreciated his breakdown of different things that Christians believe, and his quick rundown of some significant events/people in the history of Christianity.
  3. This book covers a lot of stuff! If you read this book you are likely to learn something!

5. I didn’t feel like this book was all about what Mark believes. He presents a lot of information without running a commentary on everything.

  1. Mark doesn’t shy away from talking about hard things, things that give his critics rocks to throw at him. Actually, this time he’s “piled them for your convenience”.
  2. The book’s about God’s glory, not making the church look awesome to the world.

Image

What I’m Not Sure About This Book

Why all this tribal talk? While I found the explanation of all these different Christian groups interesting, I’m not sure what exactly the point of figuring out our tribe really serves. He spends a heap of time explaining what different Christians believe, explaining their strong and weak points, etc. Maybe it’s just a matter of awareness. I’m not sure. It didn’t really feel like a call to believe everything he does.

All in all, this is an informative book worth your time. Not a must read, but a great read none the less. The narration of the audiobook version is fantastically done.

Jesus loves you, it’s true.

I recieved a complementary audio copy of this book for review purposes courtesy of christianaudio.com

4/5 Paper Movement Stars

A Call to Resurgence (Mark Driscoll) Book Review

Jesus is Greater Than Religion – Jefferson Bethke | Book Review

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to Jefferson Bethke the last year or so. Having a few years on his 23, I’m blown away by the man of God he is and by what he’s already accomplished at his young age. He is cranking out a lot of great content. He’s relevant. He knows how to connect with his culture and generation. He’s artistic. He does what he does well: very well. He’s got a lot of insight. Sometimes people like this end up turning you off and leaving you bummed out by just how good they seem. How can you be so courageous?How can you read so many books? How can you be influencing so many people?

Enter Jesus > Religion. You soon realize Jeff’s entire life isn’t filled with sainthood. Throughout the book Jeff shares his story. It’s honest, raw, and at times very dark. And yet it’s a beacon brightly blazing on Jesus. As we often hear, the one thing people can’t argue is our personal testimony. What I love about this book is that Jeff has been through the motions of trying to be good, of trying to find fulfilment in sin, and ultimately being captured by grace. It might be easy to roll your eyes at a cute, rich pastor’s kid raving about how great God is – but Jeff’s story is hard to argue with. It’s not pretty, but it’s glorious.

Jesus Is Greater

I’m not going to go over every chapter, since you should read the book yourself. The title tips you off on the angle of the book. Here are a few things that stuck out to me that I wanted to mention about this book.

#1 The book addresses the topic of sin head-on

In Jeff’s words:

God doesn’t hide sin. In fact he put it on display two thousand years ago in a splintered T-shaped piece of wood. Jesus came down to earth, live the perfect life we never could have, and died the death we should have. And every drop of blood that poured from him was another drop of love falling on us.”

He took your shame. He took your sin. He took your filth so that God could be both just and justifier of those who put their trust in Jesus. He doesn’t just let you off the hook; he put Jesus on the hook for you. Stop working to do something Jesus has already done. It is finished. If you trust him, your faith is counted as righteousness.”

#2 Jesus deserves more glory than we’re inclined to think

God should get a lot more glory for things than we give him. If we only give God glory for explicitly Christian things, we are thieves. He wants all the glory. When we bite into food, we are to let him know how awesome he is for making food. When we listen to great music, we are to do the same. When we don’t we are stealing. There is glory God deserves that he is not being given.”

#3 We can be who God created us to be.

I love that God made us different, to do different things, to be different parts of the body. But that’s hard to accept sometimes, so I’m glad for the reminder Jeff gives us. In my own words, when Jeff became a Christian he quit the baseball time to study the Bible. He felt he needed to go to seminary – become a pastor or a theologian, because that’s what great Christians did, so he thought. Looking back, he realizes that he wouldn’t have enjoyed or been very good at that. Now, instead of studying how to parse Greek verbs he’s making a huge impact doing what God created him to do, making amazing Youtube videos that are reaching millions of people. How cool is that?

#4 Christians should be great at creating

He hammers on music, but the spectrum is even bigger than what we think of as art. While we’re not all overly ‘artistic’, we shouldn’t always be lagging 10 years behind our culture. As he says:

The problem with trying to be relevant is it makes us copy what culture is already doing. To be relevant, you have to copy what is cool. So we put our mouths on the tailpipe of secular culture in hopes we can recycle some of it and use it for ourselves.”

Jeff’s story is a testament to the fact that God can use you and your gifts for his glory – whatever they are. He’s using social media well. He’s helping make Jesus famous. He’s a modern day missionary.

#5 Jesus Rules.

Really, there’s nothing better.

In conclusion: this is a great, easy read. Instead of trying to amaze us with the knowledge he’s accumulated from a lot of study, or how he managed to get millions of Youtube views, he brings us to Jesus – the real Jesus. This is a book of great news for sinners and saints alike. Love it.

I received a review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher.

5/5 Paper Movement Stars

Jesus is Greater Than Religion – Jefferson Bethke | Book Review

10 Great Dates – Book Review

Probably Not Worth Reading If You Aren’t Going to Do It

Depending on what you think of as “a date”, this book might leave you mighty disappointed. Basically, by the word ‘date’ they mean “conversations”. Conversations are obviously a very good thing to have on a date, but for those looking for ‘great’ ideas on what to do while conversing this book won’t help you one bit (unless you’ve never thought of taking your spouse out to eat).

Image

For me, the book could prove helpful since I’m not real good at conversations. However, working through the dates could feel more like an interview than a date, since it means ripping a page out of the book, taking it to your date, and working through the conversations. I haven’t tried any of the dates with my wife yet, but I’d like to.

The book is written quite well and is fairly interesting, but not overly captivating. A minor gripe is what I personally found a little annoying – since the book was written by 2 couples, how the authors always had to explain which of them was writing the personal details.. ie “We (the Arps) did……”, “When we (the Larsons) were first married….”

I think it could be a very useful book for couples who don’t know each other very well and have a hard time opening up with each other, and while it might not seem real valuable for mature Christian couples who know each other very well, there is still very likely some great things that you can learn about yourself and your spouse by working through these dates.

In summary, having gone through the book and not yet having done the dates, I don’t feel like I’ve been rewarded for my efforts. Really, I’d be better off just reading and doing the dates (in the back of the book) than reading through the book with no plan to ever actually go and do it.

Book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.

3/5 Paper Movement Stars

10 Great Dates – Book Review