Monday, April 18, 2011

Max On Life

Max Lucado
Thomas Nelson

We have questions. Real, important, and challenging questions. Questions about sex, finances, and forgiveness. Unsettling questions regarding illness, suicide, and eternity. Don't we crave answers to these queries that tug on the deepest parts of our hearts?
Do angels really walk among us?
How should I discipline my kids?
Any advice for my struggling marriage?
Why do I worry so much?
How do I know what God's will for me really is?
In Max On Life, one of the most trusted pastors and authors of our time takes on life's most important questions. Max Lucado has received thousands of questions and wrestle with plenty of his own. Here's hoping that his answers to the questions of others will help you find answers to yours.

I initially wanted to read this book because I love Lucado's writings. His books "Outlive Your Life" and "Fearless" are incredible books that get to the heart of living a life beyond what you can imagine. Lucado's writing style is very personal, yet he gets straight to the point without adding a lot of fluff -- mainly, because there is no need for it. Max On Life is an intimate time of questions and answers with one of America's most trusted authors. Max goes through honest, real questions that have been posed to him and takes his time in responding. You aren't going to get trite, "Christianese" answers in this book.

Max On Life covers questions that not too many people feel comfortable answering, but almost all of us, at one time or another, have had these questions burning on our hearts. Lucado answers questions about salvation, sin, and the existence of God -- all without injecting any doctrine other than Christ. His boldness in responding to questions that truly shake the faith foundations of others is striking and it brings relief to know that there is someone who has taken the time to find the answers, back it up scripturally, and lay it all out on the table.

You may not like what you read, you may love what you read, but rest assured Lucado goes out of his way to expose truth with an honesty that many might find unnerving. After all, questions about sex, finances, homosexuality, human suffering, the afterlife, and our purpose in life are not simple things.

If you have questions about the faith, or if you engage in conversations with people who have questions, I highly recommend getting this book and meditating on the information within it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Couples Who Pray

SQuire Rushell and Louise DuArt
Thomas Nelson Publishing

Yes, it's true. The most intimate act between a man and a woman is prayer. And praying daily with the one person you love more than any other takes you to a level of joy and satisfaction that you simply will not believe until you try it.
Author of the bestseller When God Winks At You, SQuire Rushnell, and his wife, entertainer and talk-show host Louise DuArt, know first-hand what praying together as a couple can do. They were amazed at the happiness and harmony this simple act brought to their relationship. Couples Who Pray has everything you and your partner need to begin a more intimate, rewarding relationship, including simple tips that can make your marriage the best it's ever been!

When my wife and I got married, we decided to get some marriage books -- not because our marriage was off to a bad start, but we realized that any good thing can still be better. Fast forward five years and our marriage is better than ever, but we still look for marriage books that can help us improve in areas that we may have never even thought about. Couples Who Pray is a book that touches on an area that we never really developed in our marriage (much to my wife's chagrin), so I thought that this would be a good book to review.

Cracking it open, I found that the authors are quite adept at Public Relations. Much of the book is telling you how great your marriage will be and can be as long as you get the principles they are going to tell you. They even appeal to the baser instincts of men by assuring men that once they start the 40 day prayer challenge, they will find that their sex lives even improve. When they finally do get to the point, it isn't anywhere near as sensational as the previous chapters make it out to be -- which is the way of all truth: it isn't sensational, it's just true. I can break it all down to some very simple paragraphs:
Men, when you pray with your wives, you are opening up to them in ways that your wives need. As you pray, you talk to God as your best friend (which He is), and your wife gets to listen in. This is exactly what she needs to feel connected to you. She is hearing your most intimate thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and she is sharing in your struggles. Just five minutes a day is all you need. Just pray with her for five minutes a day and your marriage will change - guaranteed.
Women, gently suggest that your husbands read this book. Don't shove it at them and tell them to read it, simply suggest that they might want to take a look at it. You should read it as well, even if they don't want to. You will understand the dynamics of your relationship in a whole different light after reading Couples Who Pray.

As for the writing itself, well, I already mentioned that the husband and wife author team are great PR people. It's easy to read, and the premise catches your attention. I recommend this book to anyone who has issues praying as a couple, or anyone who wants to better their relationship. The thing is, as with everything else in marriage, both people have to want it. You cannot push a prayer life onto anyone, so don't even try. But you can suggest this book and make it available if they want to check it out.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Life Without Limits

Nick Vujicic

Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic overcame his disability to live an independent, rich, fulfilling life, becoming a model for anyone seeking true happiness. Now an internationally successful motivational speaker, Nick spreads his central message: the most important goal for anyone is to find their life's purpose despite whatever difficulties or seemingly impossible odds stand in their way.

I'm not one for motivational books, but I just had to read this one. I have seen several of Nick Vujicic's videos on YouTube and I knew that his story was one of incredible adversity and even greater triumph, but I had no idea as to the extent of either.
This book is completely autobiographical -- written by a man without any arms or legs -- and his challenges are strikingly similar to the average person. In fact, he mentions several times that he has seen people that are far worse off than he is, and they have all of their limbs.

Well written and riddled with humor, Life Without Limits truly shows you that there are NO limits to what you can accomplish with God on your side. The tag line for the book is "Inspiration for a ridiculously good life", and it truly delivers. Nick shares his inspiration and how he handles things that would cause most people to give up. He shares his personal struggles, in such a way that you truly do feel everything that he feels. You can feel the same humiliation as he is teased as a child, to the incredible euphoria as he triumphs over challenge after challenge -- including winning in a fist-fight.

I challenge you to read Life Without Limits and not be inspired to rise above where you are. After all, if a man with no arms or legs can get up from falling on the floor, type 40 words a minute, answer his cell phone, live on his own with no assistance, and surf by himself, you can do anything!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah. I was not required to write anything positive, just that I give an honest opinion.