Archives For Christian Living

Life Overload

Are you over-scheduled? Over-committed? Over-programmed? I know for sure that I am. In fact, I’m one of the worst offenders of piling on more things to my “to-do” list and feeling like I’ve only had a good day if I’ve accomplished something significant.

But you know what?

It’s not really meant to be that way. I think we all do better when we have regular periods of “Down time.”

Further, continuing to “pile on” to your schedule will quickly lead to problems in almost every area of your life.

So what do we do about it?

Continue Reading…

Doctrine: What Christians Should BelieveDoctrine: What Christians Should Believe by Mark Driscoll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sadly, most Christians rarely, if ever, put a second’s thought into the doctrines of Christianity. Many may even find the title (Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe) to be offensive or controversial. Many, if not most, self-professing Christians may not even know what “doctrines” are or where they stand on the important doctrines that make up the Christian faith. All the more reason that every Christian should read this book (or listen to the audio version). No, not all Christians believe the same thing.
Continue Reading…

Raising a Modern Day Knight: A Father's Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic ManhoodRaising a Modern Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a good book, overall. I think the topic is timely and this is a reasonably proper Biblical basis to the book. The key factor here is the focus on pomp and ceremony.

The real take-home meat of this book is in the first few chapters – defining “authentic manhood” in a way that we can both aspire to as fathers and aspire to raise our sons to that same standard. In a way, I think it’s a bit short on helpful suggestions. But then again, maybe it’s more of a “call to arms” than a “battle plan” so to speak. Not a lot wrong with that. i’ve been going through the video series with some local guys as well and that helps flesh it out quite a bit.

The positives are good Biblical referencing for the sections that discuss manhood definitions and the importance of active, intentional fatherhood to provide your son(s) with the right direction to their lives.

The negatives, however, are pretty significant. There is a lot of emphasis on ceremony, which may (or may not) be useful in each son’s particular case. There is literal emphasis on the importance of the ceremony to be “expensive,” which to me is somewhat offensive. There is also emphasis on the family crest which promotes pride for the family, which may or may not be useful in years to come. Though it could certainly benefit the father-son relationship by giving a common creative activity. There is not much Biblical basis for these activities, however, so again, be aware of this fact.

Overall, I think that if you take this book as a call to arms, toward setting a higher standard for our sons in both their character and relationship with the Lord, I think this book is a reasonable start. If you are truly looking for something deeper, I think you may need to look elsewhere, but Raising a Modern-Day Knight is a short, easy read so it may be worth looking into regardless.

Read with discernment and try to keep your focus on creating a heart for Christ in your sons, being an active and intentional father, and modeling in your own life the positive characteristics you want for your son.

View all my reviews

Financial Peace RevisitedFinancial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an absolutely fabulous book for anyone who wants to transform their financial situation from a nightmare into an absolute dream! My wife and I are currently going through Financial Peace University and this book is almost exactly the same information. It is indispensible.

Financial Peace Revisited is essentially the book form of Financial Peace University and is actually a part of that curriculum as you are asked to read certain chapters in association with a given week’s topic.

The book has chapters and subsections. Chapters cover really everything you need to know about money, starting with the basics, then expanding into topics that will help you understand the spiritual aspects of money (yes there are some) the emotional aspects of handling money, lifestyles (and lifestyle management). And of course they cover budgets and the famous Debt Snowball.

Basically everything is geared toward educating you not only to understand money but also to understand why you are tempted to do the things that end up causing people to end up in money trouble. More likely than not, if you’re reading this book you have experienced some financial trouble, or are pretty deeply in trouble. It’s not enough to blindly follow somebody’s advice on how to get out of it. If you do that, you’ll simply end up in the same trouble again in the future. On the other hand, if you learn the pitfall(s) that lead to your trouble in the first place you are really learning how to avoid falling into the same trap(s) in the future.

This book isn’t just for people who know nothing about money. Later chapters discuss building strong emergency funds (and why you should), retirement funds (and educates you on the most common solid options there), insurance coverage, and even charitable giving. There are chapters on teaching your children about money and also on how to handle money issues with family and friends (which can be touchy and very dangerous if you don’t think about it logically.

Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic book. I can’t say enough about it. Almost everyone out there could likely learn some things in this book that can substantially change their financial future, or at least has the potential to do so. Those lease likely to benefit are people who are deeply involved with wealth management already (perhaps professionally). And we all know people who constantly tell people the right thing to do, yet fail to follow their own advice.

You can of course buy Financial Peace Revisited
at Amazon (I get a small referral fee if you use this link).

Also, check out all of the resources available to you on Dave Ramsey’s website and his My Total Money Makeover Site.

View all my reviews

Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of JesusBeautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus by John Eldredge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful Outlaw was a wonderful book and one I highly recommend.

As a Christian, I find that I often lose sight of who Jesus really is. So much of what we see in our world today both secular and religious serves to put more distance between Christians and the One who gave His life for us. This book is John Eldredge’s attempt to bring us back to a personal, intimate (close) relationship with Christ himself. And he does a great job by reminding us of who Jesus really was and is. It just makes it easier to love someone you know, doesn’t it?

The book is really genius in that it is set up to dispel the misconceptions that we let creep into our knowledge of Jesus. Even in many (MANY!) churches, the religious attitude just creates distance because they portray Jesus as this untouchable. Perfection personified. Jesus WAS perfect, but His whole purpose of coming here was (and is!) to get close to us. To draw us to Him. While here, He was fully human and as such he had a personality! He was playful, cunning, fierce, humble and of course loving. He got mad at pious religious attitudes. In fact, that was the stuff that made Him maddest.

Beautiful Outlaw is a great exhibition of His personality through study of his words and actions in the scriptures.

This is a fairly short book, and it’s broken int o17 short-ish chapters. Each chapter is focused on one aspect of Christ’s character and how that affects us in our relationship with Him. How it draws us closer to him. Solidifies our relationship.

So much of society’s “understanding” of Christ and Christianity is just so wrong. It’s easy to see how the world looks at Christendom, just watch the news. Search for just about anything in Google and you’ll find references. And let’s face it, there is a fiercely negative attitude towards Christianity in society. Much, if not all, of that is really the fault of Christians. So many of “us” are so attached to the “religious structure” that we are effectively pharisees. More concerned about the appearance, but rotten to the core. How offensive is that to non-Christians? How offensive should that be to YOU? If more people just lost the “religion” and got down to the “relationship” with Christ, it would be so hard to have a hateful attitude towards Christ and all of us who are filled with His Spirit.

In the final chapters, Eldredge discuses the personal relationship we have with Christ and gives some useful guidelines to see where that relationship truly exists. It essentially comes down to the statement “You will know them by their fruit.” There are good examples of how to use this which should help us not only improve our discernment about others around us, but also look into our own motivation. Are we doing it because we feel like we need to out of some religious structure, or are we doing it because of our true heart for Christ?

I’ll be honest. There are a lot of Christians who may be offended by this book if they read it. Those are probably the people who are more tied to religion and ritual than an actual relationship with Christ. On the other hand, there are probably people who are not Christians who may read this book and be blown away by how wrong their understanding of Christ was. And how desirable He really is if you just let the rest go and start that relationship. That probably (sadly) goes for Christians, too.

Finally, I didn’t actually read this book… I listened to the audio book through Audible. It is unabridged and is narrated by John Eldredge himself. Eldredge does a GREAT job narrating (he’s been narrating his own audiobooks for years) and in the past, I’ve actually preferred the audio versions to the paperbook versions slightly. Just because his intonations make every joke and playful comment perfectly clear. I “get” a lot of that in reading the books, too, but maybe that’s true for me because I have listened to the audiobook version of other books in the past.

View all my reviews