Thursday, September 13, 2012

Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern Day Experiences of God's Power by Tim Stafford

Tim Stafford  shares stories that he has of  first hand experiences: a young man of his personal acquaintance who was cured of foot pain so bad that he could not walk and is now 4 years later walking normally; he tells of acquaintances of his who were stricken with cancer that went to the same church and were not cured of their disease. This book expounds on some of the hypothesis of why miracles happen and sometimes they do not. He further states that the very idea that the diseases are not always cures indeed makes the ones who are cured a miracle. Miracles do not happen all the time or they would not be miracles. He believes that God works in many ways - miracles are just one of them.

This book will make you think. It will make the reader look at their own belief or disbelief in miracles and think about what makes it true. Mr. Stafford looks at many religions beliefs in a positive light in regards to miracles even when it differs from his own. I think this is a good book for anyone wanting to investigate miracles. It explores miracles with a lot of wisdom.

If a reader is looking for an inspirational book of miracle stories, this is not it. Although there are some instances of miracles cited, Miracles goes much deeper than simply telling tales. It offers discussion of miracles and their role in leading people to a deeper devotion to Jesus Christ.
Chapter 13, entitled “What We Know and How We Should Use It.” provides a list of affirmations about miracles and some guidelines to help the reader keep miracles from eclipsing devotion to God.
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~ John 20:29
Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book.

Word Spirit Power: What Happens When You Seek All God Has to Offer by R.T. Kendall, Charles Carrin, Jack Taylor

Word Spirit Power answers a fundamental question posed to the church, "Where is the Acts 2 power to perform miracles?" The trio argues that despite many denominations insistence that God no longer performs miraculous signs and wonders like He did in the early church, it is rather the church that denies the Holy Spirit. This book offers an insightful message that the power of the Holy Spirit is activated when there is a marriage between the word of God and a yielding to the Holy Spirit. A balance of the two empowers us to fulfill our ministry with the biblical Holy Spirit power found in Acts 2.

Overall, this book will generate a passion for the Lord Jesus and His presence. Critics won't find much to wrestle with here except perhaps the experiences of the authors. The chapters are given not to theologically show our need for God and His power but to generate a hunger for God. I am hungry for God. I want Him to move in power in my life. I want to see souls saved for the glory of God and I want Jesus to be exalted in answering our cries. Truly He is a mighty God! 

I wish to thank Bethany House Publishers/Chosen Books for the complimentary copy of this book.

An Invitation to the Supernatural Life by Michele Perry

"An Invitation to the Supernatural Life" by Michele Perry calls readers to draw closer to Jesus and help deepen their relationship with Him.  Michele Perry weaves tales from her missionary life in South Sudan, with practical principles we can use in our every day life to draw closer to the Supernatural Life.  Michele has a vibrant way of describing her encounters and mixes it with practical advice on dealing with the spirit world.

One of the most impressive things she writes on is dealing with demons - while they do exist, "don't give them much attention, keep your attention focused on Jesus and his Heavenly Kingdom" - because where you focus your attention is where you give permission.  She expounds on angels - looking to them for help, conversing with them like you would converse with a friend over a cup of tea and she states that conversing with angels is NOT worshipping them or praying to them.  I was amazed at her description of the angels she has herself encountered....they are definitely not the gauzy, sweet angels that we find on greeting cards, these are warrior-helpers sent by Jesus to aid us.  One that Michele seen on the camp compound in South Sudan was ten stories tall!

I was most impressed with her chapter on living and walking like Enoch - the man who lived his life so close to God that he was taken into Heaven with God.  She even gives principles for walking that same kind of life today. 

Reading this book will help those who are struggling with questions like:  Is it possible to connect more deeply with God?  What does that look like?  It will help you to develop a hunger for a more meaningful life with God.

The book has solid content, engaging stories from her own life and encounters with the Supernatural Life, easy applications, and each chapter contains questions for deepening your understanding of the chapter, your walk with God, and ways to activate what you've discovered.

I wish to thank Bethany House Publishers and Chosen Books for the complimentary copy of this book.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The River by Michael Neale

I was intrigued by all the hype made of "The River" by Michael Neale.  It was compared to "The Shack", which was quite enjoyable.  So I was excited at the chance to read and review "The River".  It was interesting that the cover looked like an old, worn leather bound diary...right down to the jagged-edge pages.  

"The River" is basically a coming of age story and how the main character overcomes difficult obstacles to becoming the man he was meant to be. 

Gabriel is 4 years old when he sees his father die while rescuing a kayaker from the River. He is sent to live with his mother in Kansas after that and we then watch him struggle with the loss of his father and the fears and sadness that brought on. He is a quiet boy that has days that fit into two different categories - good days or bad days. The bad days are when he retreats to his safe place and is unable to find his way out for a bit. His mother loves him and worries about him, but is unable to help.  When Gabriel goes on a camping trip after high school he has an experience that changes his life and where he was heading. He goes white water rafting on The River. He is both terrified to go and yet very drawn to it. It takes a cute girl to talk him into going and once he does he knows he cannot live without living life on the River.

The book started out with a very promising first act but it gave way to an underwhelming second act and the third is even more sluggish.  For that matter, not enough time is expended on Gabriel's inner struggle and development.  When I'm reading a Christian novel, I want to feel the heartache of the protagonists. I want to read about characters who doubt and wrestle with God, and perhaps ultimately choose to seek Him even though they're breaking on the inside. I never truly felt Gabriel's inner conflict throughout this story.  The premise of the book is that everyone has a story and each person's story needs to be told.  While Gabriel's story was told here, it didn't hold anything left me feeling kind of flat and not really connected to any one character.  In my opinion, it wasn't all it was hyped up to be.  It wasn't a bad read, but it wouldn't be high on my list of recommendations.

I'd like to thank the folks at Thomas Nelson and Book Sneeze for the complimentary copy of this book and the chance to read and review it.