Review: Newton on the Christian Life: To Live is Christ

Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Theologians on the Christian Life)Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ by Tony Reinke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tony Reinke has combed through the letters of John Newton and sifted out many of his words pertaining to the Christian life. Newton excelled at distilling practical wisdom for daily living. His counsels are personal and helpful. Reinke does point out a couple of areas of deficiency in his writings. I think those deficiencies and Newton’s advice in a couple of other areas show he was somewhat affected with pietism, though he also denounced and warned against legalism. None of that should hinder anyone from benefiting from this book.

The author has arranged Newton’s counsels in different chapters that touch on various aspects of Christian life on earth. He gives us much on overcoming sin and temptation, viewing trials, and battling self, which Newton viewed as the greatest enemy. Reinke also acknowledges different aspects of life he didn’t have space to deal with, but the book is a real blessing.

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Review: Education of a Wandering Man

Education of a Wandering ManEducation of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fascinating read. This is L’Amour’s autobiographical memoir of his life. He focuses on his wandering travels and the books he read all along the way. I have never read anything by L’Amour, nor did I know much about him. If you’re a reader or a writer, you will enjoy and learn from this book. You will probably like it also if you are a fan of L’Amour’s novels.

By many ways of measuring, he had a full life. He would argue that his life was richer still for the books he read and the people he met that told of him people, places, and events he could never know otherwise. Some books he names only. Some books he comments on. He also scattered nuggets about living life, reading, writing, and learning throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and picked up some good recommendations.

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Review: Principles of War: A Handbook on Strategic Evangelism

Principles of War: Thoughts on Strategic EvangelismPrinciples of War: Thoughts on Strategic Evangelism by Jim Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The author used the proven principles of war as a framework to explain the spiritual warfare of evangelism. He stretches here and there, but ends up with a thought provoking little book. I disagreed with some things and at times scratched my head wondering how some things would be practically applied. Though it is easy to bemoan the lack of evangelistic activity among many churches today, I wonder if that lack at least in part reflects a lack of proper strategizing and clarifying of objectives such that the individual Christian truly knows what they’re doing. It’s easy to look out and see problems among Christians but often the roots of the problem are not properly diagnosed and the solutions far too simplistic. I think this book is worth reading and thinking through.

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Review: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being CreativeSteal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short, kick-in-the-pants book. A lot of quotes and suggestions that are so simple, you think anybody could have thought of that. That’s the beauty of a book like this. There’s nothing here hard to understand or conceive of. The danger of a book like this with its simplicity is knocking the excuse props out from under you. As long as we can think of the creative process as some mysterious abstract thing experienced by only a few initiates, we can insulate ourselves from doing work. Kleon divulges the secrets that exposes our own thoughts as laziness insulation.

I recommend it and I will leave you with a helpful little tip. If you’re bogged down in your reading or work, a short and simple book like this is a great way to get your mind out of the rut and inspire your ideas and energize your work. Sometimes we have just been working at the same thing too long. Do something different and then come back to it refreshed.

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Review: The Books of the Bible

The Books of the Bible (Zondervan Quick-Reference Library)The Books of the Bible by John H. Sailhamer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve found Sailhamer to be always worth reading. This book goes book by book through the whole Bible and gives a brief overview of each book. Sailhamer brings out the main point of each book while keeping an eye toward the book’s place in the canon and overall story of the Bible. This would book would be valuable for study, for preaching, and for daily Bible reading. If you read through the Bible every year, you could profit from referring to each book to get a sense of the main point, theme, and structure of the book. In a few places, the brevity left me unsure of some things. I also would pick at some things here and there, but overall a great book.

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