Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against your Giants by: Louie Giglio

Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your GiantsGoliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants by Louie Giglio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating 3.5 stars

God wants us to live free from the demoralizing voice of that giant, and because God wants to get glory in our lives by showing the world that he is greater than everything we face in our lives, then that giant’s got to go down.

What are the giants in your life that keep your from living life freely? Can you identify them? In the passion that is known of Louie Giglio, he is passionate about Christians living life freely to give God glory. Another words, without this freedom from our giants, we are unable to give glory to God in our lives. The table of contents will give you an ideal of the adventure that awaits you.

Bigger than Your Giant
Dead but Still Deadly
Fear Must Fall
Rejection Must Fall
Comfort Must Fall
Anger Must Fall
Addiction Must Fall
A Table in the Presence
Fuel for the Fight

Giglio has taken the story of David – well known for his fight for Goliath in how the giants in our life must go down. David is not just another story but an example of Christ. Giglio has also stresses that this is not just another self-help book but one that identifies the giants we may be blinded too. It is here that I am wary because if it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. The trouble of any self-help book is that we focus on what we need to do and be instead of who God is and what he has created us for. His glory. The self-help can lead us to tread mill of doing instead of the glory of salvation.

Is this helpful? I believe it can help in identifying our giants. We may not think we have a problem with anger but anger comes in many forms and the roots run deep. It is our motivation that is telling. I think Giglio identifies this well.

Our giants can be the cause of stress, anxiety, and depression which in these cases, we need others to walk us thru it. This book is a great start for that journey not only being free but in that freedom living for God.

A Special Thank You to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power by John Piper

Living in the Light: Money, Sex and PowerLiving in the Light: Money, Sex and Power by John Piper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When God’s glory is revealed and treasured most, the power of sinful attraction/desires are broken. The brightness of the sun makes the darkness of sin vanish. So when it comes to our desire, the issue is this: Do we see the glory of God?

Vintage John Piper at the center of Living in the Light is what do we value? What do we treasure? Why money, sex and power? Because in these three areas of living, our hearts are revealed. What we value and what we treasure. Usually Piper can be difficult to read in that you may have to read a paragraph twice or more to get what he is applying. You don’t want to miss the beauty because of misunderstanding or not grasping the glory.

This book is easy to read and to grasp. He starts with definitions and foundations of money, sex and power. In other words, another foundational reality we have to deal with is that money, sex and power are, from the beginning, gifts of God- good gifts of God. And if they sink us, it isn’t because God gave us bad gifts; it’s because something happened inside us to turn gifts of grace into instruments of sin, into altars and incense in the temple of pride. So the first thing we need to do is talk about definitions which lead us to see certain foundational realities that are far deeper-and far bigger than the dangerous icebergs or the floating reassure-islands of money

It gets to the root. We also encounter the dangers of money, sex and power. But the good news is the gospel delivers. It not only delivers but teaches us to enjoy the gifts. In his own words-Definitions and foundations. Dangers and how to defeat them. Potentials and how to deploy them. The 3 D’s- Define, Defeat, Deploy.

Some of the quotes that I found inspiring.
In our ungodliness, we do what ungodliness does-it suppresses the truth that God is to be treasured as supremely glorious and generous. Our sinful nature hates the light of God’s supremacy and runs to the darkness, where we feel supreme.

Sin is any feeling or thought or action that comes form a heart that does not treasure God over all other things. The bottom of sin, the root of all sins, is such a heart-a heart that prefers anything above God; a heart that does not treasure God over everything else, and everyone else.

Before Christ, sin is not an alien power in us. Sin our preference for anything over God. Sin is our disapproval of God. Sin is our exchange of his glory for substitutes. Sin is our suppression of the truth of God. Sin is our heart’s hostility to God. It is who we are to the to bottom of our hearts. Until CHRIST.

We need to know the battle we are in and know how to engage it. It is not a book to be read only once but to be reminded of that battle that is worth the stand. To behold the glory of God and treasure him above all else.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own

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Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by: Barbara Rainey

Letters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a WifeLetters to My Daughters: The Art of Being a Wife by Barbara Rainey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every marriage is rife with impossibilities. But in those times, we can experience the wonder of repentance, restoration, and renewal as we risk building doorways to the hidden corners of our souls. Married couples who love genuinely, willingly, and persistently come to see their beloved in a wholly different way.

Barbara Rainey and her husband are well known with their books on marriage. I have never read any. I do have them on my shelf at home and after reading this, I will make more of an effort to read them. This book on marriage is different. It is written as a letter to her daughters. My mother and I never had a problem with speaking with each other on difficult things but my own daughters are more reserved when it comes to personal issues. This book would make a great gift to your daughter if she becomes engaged to maybe open the door of discussion on what a Christian marriage looks like and the difficulties facing marriage in general. Rainey takes several of her pastimes such as gardening, painting, and dancing to express the contrasts that come with marriage. The good and the bad, the redeemed and the struggle. After reading how she compares marriage to a dance, I have a desire to take dance lessons just to work together the leading and following of how a well choreographed dance looks like.

Each chapter starts with a question from one of her married daughters and ends with wisdom on the things we need to remember to draw near to God and love our man. It is a conversation to see that we are not alone in our struggles and that it takes work that is never done.

Quotes that I found inspiring.

But when I focused on responding to my husband’s faltering steps and less on helping him lead, I found more joy in our experience and he improved more rapidly. And interestingly, when I centered my attention on following, he was more aware of his mistakes and apologized quickly when I wasn’t getting in his way and it was his mistake. Connection, our instructors taught us, was the key to success.

Give him the gift of respect for who he is today, knowing your gift will free him to become the leader God knows you need tomorrow.

When pornography is found on a computer or in a drawer, don’t accept an apology or a commitment to change. The problem is already a cancer. What at is required is accountability and wisdom. Accountability can come when enough men in his life know of the problem to be a force of goodness in prayer, direct interaction and confession. No one address this problem alone with success. Wisdom grows when the deeper roots of anger are seen in the struggle itself.

A great gift and a great reminder of the gift of marriage.

A Special Thank You to Bethany House and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines by: David Mathis

Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual DisciplinesHabits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines by David Mathis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Because of grace unmeasured, boundless, free, now our once dead hearts beat and our once lifeless lungs breathe. Only through grace do we believe (Acts 18:27) and only in grace do we receive “repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25).

Developing habits of grace come by hearing His voice thru His word and having His ear through prayer. These disciplines though we may know them as head knowledge become difficult to live out because of distractions and life. Our hearts are prone to wonder. David Mathis has a way of communicating these truths that I found myself seeing them as a way to draw myself closer to the heart of God. That is not a duty of a Christian but a joy because of grace. It is only by hearing his voice thru his word and by prayer that the Holy Spirit can work in our hearts.

He clearly teaches that grace sanctifies, justifies and glorifies. How do we practice grace? How do we discover the power of grace? It starts with the desires of the heart. Desiring more of God that leads us to have a contagious grace. I have found when we do have a good understanding and practice of grace, we have humility.

I don’t think we will ever have a thorough understanding of grace however, it is too important not to pursue grace. In the disciplines of reading and praying, the study will strengthen your faith as you value the doctrine of grace.

A Special Thank You to Crossway and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams are Delayed by: Betsy Childs Howard

Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are DelayedSeasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed by Betsy Childs Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

He, the Giver, longs to give Himself and to satisfy the soul with His goodness. It is just for this reason that He often withholds the gifts, and that the time of waiting is made so long. He is constantly seeking to win the heart of His child for Himself.

It is in the waiting I can reflect my heart and tune it to God’s. A time to be in the word and prayer. A time to gather friends, family, church to pray with me. It is a time to see what my heart is really made of. The Lord knows our heart can lose hope when we wait. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Proverbs 13:12. It can be easier to stop hoping than to have your heart hurt. This is the passive the way (the way many times I go) but there is a better way. Waiting can expose what we worship. We can make waiting about worshipping the Living God.

Howard takes several stories that we may know or have experienced. The waiting for a child, a husband, or a health issue. Each of these issues are issues that have been already lived in the word of God to direct us to worship God.

Some of the quotes I found inspiring.

God gives us material for sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice makes little sense to others.

Grieving at the brokenness of this world points beyond to the life to come. If all our desires were satisfied here, why would we want Christ to return and establish his Kingdom?

It is not beyond God’s power to tell his story through you. It is only by digging deeply into God’s story that we can hope to understand our own.

The lessons learned in waiting is eternal.
You will cherish the discipline of waiting and find it an opportunity to worship and know that God is God.

A Special Thank you to Crossway and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Same Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life by: Ed Shaw

Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate LifeSame-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life by Ed Shaw
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So the current controversies over sexuality should excite rather than dismay us-it is from times of profound disagreement that our Sovereign God has often brought a return to radical biblical clarity in the church’s theology and practices. It forces us to examine the plausibility of scripture and the design of God.

I appreciate the teaching and the life of Ed Shaw. A pastor that knows and lives the plausibility of a celibate life. It is not a drudgery but a expression of joy. It has brought him closer to the heart of God than most because of the sacrifice he has made to live a life of celibacy. The question you might ask yourself is why would deny yourself love.

Shaw opens up with two very real people. Maybe you know them. A young man that is going to college that his gay and he is a Christian. He questions why can’t he enjoy the love of another man and be still be a Christian. Or a young woman that has been divorced and is developing a friendship with another woman that has turned into more. She questions the church about the relationship, and the church is clear on where it stands with that relationship. How can the word of God be plausible to what these two people are dealing with and how can we be plausible with how we love and express the gospel to them.

Shaw walks thru 9 Missteps that applies to the Gospel. I want to be clear on this as a reader-THIS IS NOT JUST A SAME SEX ISSUE, this applies to the GOSPEL and our relationship with a living God.

1) Misstep#1-Your identity is your sexuality -How we can we ensure our identities are defined by God’s word and not by the world around us.

2) Misstep #2 – A family is mom, dad and 2.4 children-How can we all make sure that talk of church family isn’t just talk?

3)Misstep #3 If you are born gay, it can’t be wrong to be gay-How can we better communicate that a natural instinct to do something doesn’t mean it must be right?

4)Misstep #4 If it makes you happy, it must be right! – How can we all keep checking that our decisions aren’t more governed by what we feel than what God’s says is good for us?

5)Misstep #5- Sex is where true intimacy is found-How can we all develop more intimate friendships?

6)Misstep #6- Women and Men are equal and interchangeable- How can we better explain the need for sexual differences in the union of marriage?

7)Misstep #7 -Godliness is heterosexuality-How can we all make sure that we aren’t appearing to be sexually self-righteousness?

8)Celibacy is bad for you. – How can we all be as affirming of singleness as the Bible is?

9)Suffering is to be avoided-How can we help each other appreciate the good results of suffering in our lives?

Each of these missteps are answered and can be applied on how we live out the Gospel. It is a thoughtful and insightful read that is gospel centered. I highly recommend.

A Special Thank You to InterVarsity Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide by: Cameron Cole

Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical GuideGospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide by Cameron Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It argues the gospel serves as the catalyst for fostering lasting change in the lives of teens and in the redemption of the world. It encourages youth wordkers and volunteers to place the gospel at the center of their ministries. What does this mean? How does this look like?

It is easy for the gospel to get lost in the life of any ministry. This is the heart of this book. It is for ministry leaders, parents, and anyone working with youth. One thing that I was encouraged by this book was the student ministry was not replacing church. The student ministry is a bridge between the church and the youth. With so many young people leaving the church, we must be more diligent about making the student ministry about the gospel. There are seven foundations in this book. Gospel Centrality, Discipleship, Expository teaching, Relationships, Community, Partnering with Parents, Generational integration. The study does not only explain each foundation but how to apply and why it is important. What makes this a gospel issue.

Do our students have a right understanding of who God and who we are? Do our students embrace the goodness and holiness of God. Expository teaching focuses on the gospel instead of self-help or moralism. With expository teaching the teacher/pastor can lead others to see their FCF (Fallen Condition Focus). It is not about how God is relevant in our life but how we are relevant in His plan of redemption. When good teaching occurs, then good service will follow. The service of ministry. Why we do what we do. Having a heart for different cultures that are united in the Gospel. Our service does not become a pride issue when are trusting God for the work. This comes from the leadership. I also was encouraged by serving others in dignity by encouraging participation. We rob them of joy and create a entitlement culture by not including those that we are serving. This is where real comes in.

There is nothing bad that I could say about this book. I personally think all Christians should read this book just to be reminded of what the gospel is about.

A Special Thank You to Crossway and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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