Tuesday Book Review — Listening Skills

Yes, yes, I know that I normally post these on Wednesdays, but due to a busy schedule we are putting it up early this week. This is a good read for all ministers and those who desire to become better listeners. I would recommend that everyone in a church leadership position be required to read this.

Listening & Caring Skills: A Guide for Groups and LeadersListening & Caring Skills: A Guide for Groups and Leaders by John S. Savage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A required read for a class I am taking this summer, I approached the book with some skepticism. I have been pleasantly surprised to find this book practical. While I might use different terms than the author to describe some of the skills mentioned, I have no real quibble with his observations. This book is good for both individuals and groups. What has been fascinating to me, is reading about a particular tactic used and thinking, “hey, that’s what I’ve been doing,” without knowing what the label was. Grab it, it will help you become a better listener.

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Wednesday Book Reviews

BetroviaBetrovia by Dave King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fascinating read. The characters, the plot, the setting — it was quite the enjoyable book. The richness of the world Dave King has created is quite impressive. The depth and individuality of the characters not only bring them to life but they draw you into their lives. A good, clean read full of action and adventure- well worth your time

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The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your DoorThe Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door by Jay Pathak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good book that helps you come to realize how important it is to get to really know the people next door. If we truly are to love our neighbors as ourselves, we must engage with them. A superficial knowledge is not enough to accomplish the ministry Jesus sent us to do.If we really cared about people we would want for them what we have for ourselves – a relationship with Jesus. I like the approach that we do not get to know them to try an put a spiritual notch on our gun but to seek to know their needs, wants and desires so we can help them where they are and model a lifestyle that they would desire to have. A very good read

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Wednesday Book Reviews – A Family Affair

These two books have one thing in common – family. I enjoyed both and enjoy knowing the family who wrote them even more. Grab yourself a copy of each and have a good read on me.

The Winds of the MolornuThe Winds of the Molornu by Sherri Lackey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book immensely. A great plot, good characterizations and a story line that kept me hooked until the end. I had known the author for some time as the wife of a friend of mine but didn’t realize she was an author. After finding this out, I had to get her book – am I glad I did. A true talent for telling a good story. This is one book you will want to curl up with and enjoy. Definitely a good read.

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Ground of Oam (Oam's Cry)Ground of Oam by P.A. Lackey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a first time author, I found this book to be very enjoyable. The characters were well thought out and the plot line was far from simple. I admit that I did have some trouble jumping between the different character’s viewpoints, mainly when I would put the story down for a day or two and then pick it back up.
Is this a polished work? No, and that would have garnered only 3 stars except for the fact that for a teenager, this was extremely well done. At this rate, he may one day surpass his mother (author Sherri Lackey – Winds of the Molornu, The Vrykolakas Deviation)

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Wednesday Book Reviews – 5-star Day

These Are The GenerationsThese Are The Generations by Eric Foley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Simply amazing. The story is both warming and frightening, inspiring and challenging. To understand what the central characters are going through is impossible in the West unless one has traveled to countries that repress Christianity. I have and can vouch that stories like these are not uncommon. What is uncommon, is the magnitude of faith demonstrated. Pastor Foley is to be commended for relating this account as well as for his work on behalf of persecuted and forgotten Christians across the globe.

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Today's Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic?Today’s Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic? by Walter J. Chantry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was startling to think that this was first written in 1970. It is so relevant and fresh that it could have been penned today. Although written as a book, it could have very well been a series of sermons. It is one of the best expositions of Mark chapter 10 that I have read. If you like David Platt’s Radical, you might be surprised to read this book and see the same things being said thirty years earlier. I heartily recommend this as a good read

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Wednesday Book Reviews – East of Ashes, Dirty God

East of AshesEast of Ashes by Gideon Nieuwoudt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Such a promising beginning. My favorite time period, a book with good, solid, believable characters, a clear Christian message – so why only three stars? Actually would be 3.5 if I could do halves. The ending for me seemed truncated, cut off too soon. Its not that I didn’t like the ending, just that there didn’t seem to be the attention to detail that there was in the rest of the story. That’s too bad because the book was well written and I was hooked from the first few pages. I would read other books from this author in a heartbeat and do recommend this as a good read, just not a great one.
It is well worth your time though and I do respect how the clear Christian message was approached and executed. That aspect of the book gets 5 stars.
Give it a chance – I believe you will enjoy it.

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Dirty God: Jesus in the TrenchesDirty God: Jesus in the Trenches by Johnnie Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading this book and how the author illustrates the grace of God. What keeps this from getting 4 or 5 stars from me is that the message seems to get muddled a lot on the way. While it didn’t seem cohesive to me – perhaps better editing would have helped – what he had to say was good. I can see this book being helpful but rarely does the author use inclusive language “we”, “our”, etc.. so it reads kind of like a pep talk and not a conversation. Very useful for those confused about grace, Jesus and salvation or for brand new Christians just exploring their faith.

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Wednesday Book Reviews

9 partsNine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic WomenNine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book lifts the veil, so to speak, on the lives of women in Islamic culture. Written by a veteran journalist, it is both fascinating and disturbing. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to understand more about a culture that is still seen as mysterious and exotic by many in the West. Since it is a secular book, this book avoids religious biases and gives a clear picture of what the lives of Muslim women are like in different parts of the Arab world. I highly recommend this as a good read for any who seek to truly understand what goes on in a world hidden from view.

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c through marriageC Through Marriage: Revitalizing Your VowsC Through Marriage: Revitalizing Your Vows by Jim Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a definite must for pastors, marriage counselors and couples. It will go on my shelf as a great resource for pre-marital counseling and yet it will also be used to counsel couples in crisis. The book covers many subjects that come up in a marriage and tackles them all with tact and solid information from a Christian viewpoint. The author has a high view of marriage and this book will help couples solidify their relationship with their spouse. This would also make a great gift for newlyweds. I know, they will most likely put it on their bookshelf and forget about it, but when the inevitable problems arise, they might just pull it down and use it to help repair their marriage. I highly recommend this a good read.

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