Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book C: Fabookulous December 19, 2011

The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel

Book description:

‘The more I looked, the more I found Christian Atheists everywhere.’ Former Christian Atheist Craig Groeschel knows his subject all too well. After over a decade of successful ministry, he had to make a painful self admission: although he believed in God, he was leading his church like God didn’t exist. To Christians and non-Christians alike, to the churched and the unchurched, the journey leading up to Groeschel’s admission and the journey that follows—from his family and his upbringing to the lackluster and even diametrically opposed expressions of faith he encountered—will look and sound like the story of their own lives. Now the founding and senior pastor of the multicampus, pace-setting LiveChurch.tv, Groeschel personal journey toward a more authentic God-honoring life is more relevant than ever. Christians and Christian Atheists everywhere will be nodding their heads as they are challenged to take their own honest moment and ask the question: am I putting my whole faith in God but still living as if everything was up to me?
 
A phenomenal read–I agree with a quote on the cover–this book is a classic in the making! The Christian Atheist will challenge you to wake up and LIVE like you actually believe in God. Some of the chapter highlights include “Believing in God but Still Worrying All the Time”, “Believing in God but You Can’t Get Over Your Past”, “Believing God but Seeking Happiness at Any Cost”, etc…Stop going to church for the formality of it and explore a rich relationship with God! We allow ourselves to grow so numb and so used to “our way” that we never REALLY change our lives. Live every part of your life as a follower of Christ, Sunday-Saturday. This book will wake you up, challenge you with some (hard) truths (at times). For me personally, this one just earned a spot on my top 5 list of all time! (And considering I read 52 books in 2010, that’s an exclusive list to be on….just sayin) 😉

 
5/5 stars
Fabookulous
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Book #47: Fabookulous December 8, 2010

The Overcoming Life by D.L. Moody

Book description:

What does it mean to overcome the world? D.L. Moody answers the question by posing more: “Are you more patient than you were five years ago? Are you more amiable? If you are not, the world is overcoming you.”

Ever practical in style, Moody cuts right to the heart–if we are not progressing in holiness, in Christlikeness, in obedience to the Savior, we are failing to live the overcoming life.

With salvation as the starting point, The Overcoming Life reminds us of the war we must fight against sin and the rewards that are ours when we do. Moody’s approachable words and insightful illustrations equip us to defeat the enemy wherever he is found– both inside and out.

I’ve wanted to read D.L. Moody’s writings for a while. I’ve heard Moody quoted in sermons for years and it’s always something interesting that makes me pause and think. It’s no surprise to me that once finishing this book my first thought was “D.L. Moody is a very quotable author.” Gee, I wonder where that thought come from…

The Overcoming Life is an excellent guide for those seeking to follow Scriptural instructions in living their lives for the glory of Christ and for their own peace among others while hear. For those that have a fear of death, Moody will give you a new view point and help you find comfort in God’s promises.

I really enjoyed this novel (a part of the Moody Classics collection.) To our faithful followers, subscribers, and other readers of this blog, you know that I’m picking some very short books these days! Must get to 52 before the end of the month! In true form, this book is a quick 165 pages filled with rich insight, advice, examples, and encouragement.

For all the D.L. Moody fans and supporters, you won’t want to miss this one. For those who haven’t read his writings before, I suggest you start here. Moody’s faith is very uplifting and, considering his upbringing, sort of astounding.

Taken from the biographical introduction at the start of the book:

“D.L. (Dwight Lyman) Moody, 1837-1899…was only four years old when his father died unexpectedly in May 1841. Edwin Moody was a good-natured man, and loved dearly by his family, but he drank too much. His premature death left his wife, Betsey, with nine children, including twins born just a month after he died. To ease the financial strain left on the family, Betsey sent several of her children, including Dwight, away to work for their room and board.

The next few major decisions Moody made were influenced by his childhood experience with poverty. By the time he was seventeen, he had wearied of trying to eke out a living on the farm. So the Northfield, Massachusetts, native packed a few things into a carpetbag and hopped a train to Boston, where he went to work as a salesman in his uncle’s shoe store.

As a condition of his employment, Moody’s uncle insisted that he attend church with him…In 1860, Moody abandoned his pursuit of fortune, quit his job, and began to focus on his ministry full time…The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the YMCA, Moody’s church, and his home.

D.L. Moody wrote The Overcoming Life in 1896, just three years before his death, to encourage Christians in their spiritual warfare against sin, self, and the world…Fortunately we have a guide in the fight–a man who rose from poverty to international stardom, all the while humbly preaching the simple message that it is in Christ alone that we have the victory.”

How very inspiring! I really enjoyed this and will continue to pursue more Moody writings in the New Year. Until then, I’m off to start my next short book!

4/5 stars

Fabookulous

P.S. Stay tuned for details on our brand new book challenge for 2011! We’ll update you once we get through this one 🙂

 

Book #50: LibraryLove

Life of Pi: The Unabridged Audiobook by Yann Martel

Book description~ Pi Patel, a God-loving boy and the son of a zookeeper, had a fervent love of stories and practices not only within his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family and their zoo animals emigrate from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship. Alas, the ship sinks–and Pi finds himself in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi. Can Pi and the tiger find their way to land? Can Pi’s fear, knowledge, and cunning keep him alive until they do?

What a curious and fun book! Sharing a life boat with a Bengal Tiger? No problem! Learning how to fend for himself? No problem! In a more modern version of Noah’s Ark-meets-Jungle Book-meets-Madagascar-meets Castaway, Life of Pi marks the second Man Booker Award Winner that I’ve read, er listened to, this year (Room, the first). If you are an animal lover, you’ll be fascinated by all the zoological (no, it’s not pronounced ZOO, it’s pronounced ZOE-uh-logical) references and whimsy of this novel. Son of the Pondicherry zookeeper, Pi comes of age as he learns from his family just how truly wonderful zoos can be, if run properly. He learns an appreciation and understanding for animals unlike most young boys, AND an appreciation and understanding of many religions that prepares him for his life’s journey.

“Just beyond the ticket booth Father had painted on a wall in bright red letters the question: DO YOU KNOW WHICH IS THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL IN THE ZOO? An arrow pointed to a small curtain. There were so many eager, curious hands that pulled at the curtain that we had to replace it regularly. Behind it was a mirror.”

The Patel family pack up their zoo animals on a Japanese Cargo Ship to emigrate from India to North America. When the boat sinks, Pi the castaway is left to fend for himself and you won’t believe what happens! I found myself laughing out loud throughout my morning commute listening to this audiobook. This is one of those books that everyone should read before they die, it’s very existential…IF you can get past some of the more graphic survival scenes midway through the book. Martel’s writing style is both artful and humorous.

Although this book is told in a non-linear way which I normally like, because I listened to this one, I’d want to go back and re-read this again in 2011 when I have time to read the print novel. The author’s structure was a bit distracting on audiobook whereas in print I think it’d be a nice palette cleanser in between Pi’s adventures. This audiobook also took me longer to finish so I would have enjoyed it a bit more having more solid time to devote to it. If you’re going to listen to this audiobook, I recommend you save it for a roadtrip so you can listen to it without interruption to keep the momentum going.

The elements of fantasy make Life of Pi really fun for all ages, yet also make you appreciate and view your world in a more detail-oriented way. I highly recommend this book for both young and old if you need a stocking stuffer for your young adult or friend, and look forward to revisiting this again next year. From friends of mine who have also enjoyed this novel, it’s even better the second time around.

4/5 stars

Almost finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet; stay tuned for my review later this week!

50 down, 2 to go! Hallelujahhhhhhhhhhh!

xoxo,

LibraryLove

 

Book #41: Fabookulous November 12, 2010

When God Winks on New Beginnings by SQuire Rushnell

Book description:

Whether you’re starting out or starting over, it’s comforting to know that you’re never alone- God is watching and guiding your every step. Oftentimes He sends little assurances to you through so-called “coincidences” or suddenly opens a door of opportunity and encouragement at just the right time- little “godwinks” letting you know He’s there.

If you’re standing at a new threshold in life and need a boast of reassurance, When God Winks on New Beginnings will ignite your spirit with powerful, true stories of people just like you who have followed the “signposts of encouragement,” and watched how godwinks mapped their paths to destiny.

I’ve read and loved all of the “When God Winks” books by SQuire Rushnell (and yes, the Q is supposed to be capitalized.) These books are filled with stories about “coincidences”, which SQuire refers to as little “godwinks” in your life which are God’s way of letting you know you’re on the right track or something is meant to be. These books appealed to me a couple of years ago with the first one because I do not believe in coincidence. I do, however, wholeheartedly believe in what I now know to be “godwinks” and I love hearing others’ stories of these little (or big) experiences.

From a long lost couple who turn out to be soul mates, to that “sign” (godwink) that this is the right job/career path; from knowing when to buy a home (and which one), to flying cross country for a vacation, God is guiding us all the way. When God Winks on New Beginnings focuses on those times where you may be “starting over” in a particular area of life. Whether it be love, career, relationships, or finances, this little book will inspire you and make your heart smile. If you read this book, you will probably relate to one or two (if not several) of the stories and may begin to notice the godwinks you’ve experienced.

I’ll share one and this is actually a godwink on behalf of another. I sent this in to SQuire’s website, where he asks for godwink stories for future books. Here’s the following story I sent in (and I’d LOVE a Godwinks book about pets and animals, but alas I am not the author) 🙂

My aunt suddenly and tragically lost her dog a few years ago. His name was originally Bear but the people she adopted him from had renamed him Tyler. She had lost her previous dog to cancer and a little while later, Tyler was a 40th birthday present from her sister and brother-in-law. He was a lab mix and he brought such joy to her life after going through the pain of losing her longtime pet before him. Tyler was just four years old when he was struck with Lymes disease. While taking him on his normal 3.2. mile walk that he loved, I was by myself with him one day and he started to lay down during the walk and just couldn’t take it anymore. That was highly unusual for Tyler and he was always so full of energy, it was an immediate tip off that something was wrong. When we got home, he had no appetite and couldn’t do much but lay on the carport and mope. It was only a few days later that he passed and my aunt, family, and myself were devastated. We missed him so much and couldn’t understand why he’d be taken so soon from us.

My family members have always had dogs in their homes and it wasn’t long before my aunt began to crave that companionship and love from another pet. So she began her search for another dog that needed a home. After looking at a few, she found one that looked JUST like Tyler! It reminded her of him and she wanted to meet him. It was love at first sight! And his name was….wait for it….Bear! (Tyler’s original name before it was changed) As my aunt went through the adoption procedure with the animal rescue, all of the paperwork and information was exchanged just in time for her to pick Bear up and bring him home. And of all days, she brought him home on her birthday! (Just like Tyler was a birthday present) The fact that his name was also Bear, he looked just like Tyler, and that it all happened on her birthday was enough to convince my aunt this was the dog for her. God was winking the whole time He led her to Bear.

One week after Bear came home, my aunt adopted another dog named Mona and the two of them are the best of friends. And now my aunt has double the unconditional love pets bring to a home!

Whether you like love stories, funny stories about “chance” (godwinks), or to feel inspired and warm and fuzzy, I recommend the When God Winks series to you! You’ll enjoy them all, so just pick one and enjoy. And then stop by to let me know what you thought and if YOU have any godwink stories!

5/5 stars

Fabookulous

 


 

Book #34: Fabookulous October 2, 2010

A Heart Like His by Beth Moore

Book description:

In this in-depth biblical biography, Beth Moore takes you on an intimate, exciting journey through virtually every astonishing episode of David’s remarkable life. From shepherd, to refugee, to king of Israel, David exhibited the purest virtues and the most heinous sinfulness. But through it all, his relationship with the Lord continued to grow. A Heart Like His looks at this bond of mutual love and admiration from today’s perspective and draws spiritual insight and understanding from a man who boldly fulfilled his divine destiny.

Based on Scripture and Moore’s probing insights into the romantic, majestic life of David, A Heart Like His, will show you how to serve God better by understanding our own unique place in His heart.

It’s taken me a while to finish this book. It has nothing to do with how good or not good I thought it was, rather a busy schedule and a new fall study has kept my reading time to a minimum. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind in the “52 books this year” challenge. I do hope to still complete the challenge, and if nothing else this has been a great year for me to plow through all of the Beth Moore books I’ve wanted to get to.

Moore remains one of my favorite teachers and if you’ve been following this blog, you probably feel like you know her too! She writes in such a clear way, you’ll find yourself thinking “That makes total sense, why didn’t I think of that?!” as you study the lives of biblical characters with her. She is also always entertaining and humble in her approach. A Heart Like His is a book based on a bible study Beth created about the life of David. This makes it ideal for those who want to just read the story without the 12 week commitment to a study. As with most of Moore’s books, review questions can be found in the back of the book if you enjoy going a little further into detail.

David has been a fascinating character to many. A “man after God’s own heart”, David seemed like the perfect example of being a faithful servant. Yet when he sinned royally with Bathsheba, thus setting off a domino effect of sins, he still kept God nearby and sought forgiveness. How refreshing, considering we all have our highs and lows. It’s pretty amazing the significance these ancient stories still have today.

Though I don’t feel I gave this book the attention it deserves, I did read it in its entirety. However there really is something to be said for picking up a book, reading a few chapters at a time versus picking up a book and just getting through a few pages at a time. A slower pace really will make you feel like the book is dragging on and on. Sticking with my better judgment, Beth Moore continues to be one of my favorite authors and teachers. This would be a great book for those wanting to discover more about David’s life and the lessons we can glean from reading about it.

For Christian non-fiction fans like myself, add this one to your TBR list! As for me, I’ll still plow my way to number 52 by December 31st…

4/5 stars

Happy Reading,
Fabookulous

 

Book #22: Fabookulous July 5, 2010

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (Arming Yourself in the Age of Seduction) by Beth Moore

Book description:

It is reported in the headlines, confessed in the pulpits, and hidden in the pews in churches around the world. The seduction of God’s people by the deceiver is a tale as old as the garden, but we are always surprised when it happens. We must realize that Satan is a lion on the prowl and we are his prey.

Writing with a passion fueled by the biblical warnings of the schemes of Satan’s seductive activity and the broken-hearted concern of a teacher who receives countless letters from repentant Christians limping on the road to restoration, best-selling author Beth Moore examines why devoted followers of Christ indeed can and sometimes do fall into the traps of Satan. Delivering dire warnings to Christians to safeguard themselves against Satan’s attacks, Beth writes, “We, Christ’s church, are in desperate need of developing His heart and mind in issues like these.” When Godly People Do Ungodly Things is a guide to authentic repentance and restoration.

Going back to one of my favorite authors and Christian teachers, I picked up one of the variety of Beth Moore books that are on my To-Be-Read (TBR) list. I’ve had When Godly People Do Ungodly Things for a while, having swapped it on PaperBackSwap. There was no particular reason I read this book other than a simple curiosity and a love for Beth Moore’s biblical teachings.

Today I did the majority of my reading because I finally found a day to relax and read. Seems like the summer has kept me almost too busy to read! By the time I get into bed, I don’t get very far into a book before my eyes are shutting. So I was really grateful for the extra day off work due to the holiday so I could sit under Beth’s teaching.

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things is split into three sections: a warning to believers, a section to show us a plan against an attack from the enemy, and a section pointing the way back to God for those who have been seduced by the enemy. I believe a lot of Christians take too lightly the schemes of the enemy and believe situations and events are harmless when in fact they can be laying the very groundwork for a future attack. Beth argues the latter point in this book as she uses case studies as examples of how something in one’s past can later come up in a bigger, more dangerous way.

I’ve always enjoyed Beth’s teachings and believe she has the best of intentions to deliver God’s messages given to her. Written with a passion for God’s Word that is unparalleled by many, I can see how this book could come on too strong for those who have not read her books or studied one of her bible studies before. While reading the first section, it was easy to see how serious she took her topic. I’m grateful she did as I feel like there is a lot of valuable information and tools in this book for finding one’s way back to redemption.

Another wonderful book by Beth Moore, if you are currently struggling with sin that you can’t find your way out of, if you know somebody who is and you’d like tools on how you can help them, or if you’d like biblical guidance on how to protect and arm yourself for future attacks, I’d encourage you to pick up this book.

4/5 stars.

Happy Summer Reading,
Fabookulous

 

Book #20: Fabookulous June 16, 2010

My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith by Benyamin Cohen

Book description:

One day a Georgia-born son of an Orthodox rabbi discovers that his enthusiasm for Judaism is flagging. He observes the Sabbath, he goes to synagogue, and he even flies to New York on weekends for a series of “speed dates” with nice, eligible Jewish girls. But, something is missing. Looking out of his window and across the street at one of the hundreds of churches in Atlanta, he asks, “What would it be like to be a Christian?”

So begins Benyamin Cohen’s hilarious journey that is My Jesus Year– part memoir, part spiritual quest, and part anthropologist’s mission. Among Cohen’s many adventures (and misadventures), he finds himself in some rather unlikely places: jumping into a mosh-pit at a Christian rock concert, seeing his face projected on the giant JumboTron of an African-American megachurch, visiting a potential convert with two young Mormon missionaries, attending a Christian “professional wrestling” match, and waking up early for a sunrise Easter service on top of Stone Mountain- a Confederate memorial and former base of operations for the KKK.

During his year-long exploration, Cohen sees the best and the worst of Christianity- from megachurches to storefront churches; from crass commercialization of religion to the simple, moving faith of the humble believer; from the profound to the profane to the just plain laughable. Throughout, he keeps an open heart and mind, a good sense of humor, and takes what he learns from Christianity to reflect on his own faith and relationship to God. By year’s end, to Cohen’s surprise, his search for universal answers and truths in the Bible Belt actually make him a better Jew.

How many times have you started reading a book with a preconceived idea of how you would like it? I certainly did so with this book. The premise sounds eerily similar to that of The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, which to this day remains my all time favorite book. And because Jacobs offers a cover quote for My Jesus Year, it was easy to assume this memoir was going to be very similar.

But talk about being pleasantly surprised! Done from an anthropological perspective, Cohen does something I’ve talked about doing for years! I’ve often wondered and considered exploring different churches every weekend just to see how different people worship. My motives have never been to rethink my religion as I’m confident in my beliefs and where I am with them. But for pure interest sake, it has always appealed to me to visit neighborhood and local churches of different denominations. That is exactly what Cohen does for an entire year. (Well, sort of. He kind of leans toward the other extreme visiting a Christian wrestling match, a Christian rock concert, megachurches, as well as a monastery; so on and so forth…)

Born Jewish and the son of a Rabbi, Cohen’s quest is more profound in the sense that he is exploring his religion and seeking knowledge and thirsting for that closeness to God. In a rut with Judaism he dives into Christianity, in a new location every single weekend for one year. While still observing Sabbath on Saturday, Cohen went to Christian churches on Sundays as well. Again, for an entire year. That seems overwhelming to experience that much that often.

While reading laugh out loud funny (once I got past my predetermined judgments of how the book would read), this is one of the wittiest memoirs I’ve ever come across. The depth to his conclusions after visiting a new church or Christian body are astounding and surprising. Cohen writes with a sincerity that will appeal to every reader no matter your religion or lack thereof.

His humor is engaging, his story is intriguing and his memoir is both revealing and enjoyable. I’m happy to share this book (which I had purchased a few years ago) with over 30 swappers on the wish list on PaperBackSwap. This is a story that should be shared and I’m glad I finally picked it up to read.

5/5 stars!

Happy Reading,
Fabookulous