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Category Archives: book reviews

One Dominion – Celebrating Canada

One Dominion book coverThis offering from the Bible League Canada is a collection of beautiful pictures from across this great country of ours, and short pieces of historical facts that remind the reader of just how deeply connected to faith the founding and shaping of Canada was.

Fittingly produced for the Sesqui-centennial of the founding of the Dominion, I throughly enjoyed this book.  I have always known that the faith of the Founding Fathers, and influencers was instrumental in shaping the core values of our Nation, but it was fascinating to see just how much.

I did not know the story of how the passage from Psalm 72 was chosen as the basis for the naming of the Dominion of Canada.  Nor did I know that what became Sick Kids Hospital was founded by a strong and visionary woman of faith.  Even our education and health care systems came about by the deep caring of Pastor’s hearts.

The photographs used throughout the book highlight what a beautiful and diverse country we call home.  My one disappointment is that nowhere was there any indication of the locations shared here.  While I recognized many locales, there are others I would love to visit and enjoy.

I think there are many in our leadership today who would be surprised at the very things they are seeking to remove God and Scriptural foundations from – are the important systems we have because people of faith carried out the call God placed on their lives to see them into existence.

I can’t wait for my next visit to Ottawa, and to take an opportunity  to see the Scripture passages that are engraved in stone – quite literally – on our House of Commons.  A great reminder to continue to pray that these will once again become reminders that all we have in Canada is from God’s gracious hand.

Thank you to Graf-Martin Communications and Bible League Canada for giving me the opportunity to independently review this book.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in book reviews

 

Invitation – Harbingers, Cycle One

HarbingersI was completely intrigued when I learned about a new book by 4 of my favourite authors – Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky.  A collaboration by the 4 of them could only be a good thing.

Each of the 4 central characters have their own story to contribute to the larger novel.  Each of their accounts is voiced by a different author, yet each has beautifully interwined all of the experiences so that it becomes a seamless novel.  At times, I forgot that I wasn’t reading one continuous writing.

The four strangers who come to realize they are a reluctant team : Brenda, a tattoo artist; the professor, and unbelieving ex-priest; Andi, the professor’s pattern-seeing assistant and Tank, an injured football player with a very special gift, begin to see disturbing and very dark happenings.

After meeting at the Institute for Advanced Psychic Studies, where they rescue a boy who seems to have a spiritual understanding of everything that is to come. Together they experience a house that holds dark secrets, discover gruesome deaths of masses of animals all over the world, meet and care for a little girl with a strange affliction.

Weaving suspense and gripping action with can only be describe as some form of spiritual warfare – it makes for quite a ride.  While it was an emotionally hard read for me, it was a book hard to put down.  And may I add – so refreshing to read a book that doesn’t have a “tied up with a bow” ending.  It was good to have the hard reality of what is to come in the next volume sit and demand to be wrestled with.  It certainly was an excellent reminder to do a gut-check on the health of my prayer life!

I would highly recommend this to those who enjoy fantasy, suspense and mystery writings.

Thanks to Graf-Martin Communications and Bethany House for the opportunity to independently review this book.

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2017 in book reviews

 

The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller – A Review

Chapel Car BrideIt seems fitting that for the first long weekend of the summer – I would finish reading a light, but engaging historical fiction book.   Judith Miller has created an opportunity for the reader to enter into a mining town in West  Virginia in 1913.

As I was reading, I did some research into the Chapel Car program and finding the actual car that Judith has based the book on added to the authenticity of the story line.  As Hope Irvine and her dad set up services in Finch, WV – with the hopes of establishing a significant congregation that will result in a permanent church plant – they encounter a community on edge.

The miners are feeling undervalued by the mine’s owner, who sends his son into town to thwart the talk of a union forming.  When he arrives, he simply wants to find ways to make easy money, and has no real interest in the people who work for the family business.

Hope and one of the miners, Luke Hughes,  strike up a plan to begin to help bring the conditions of the homes up to a livable, safe standard.  He and his sister become an important part of Hope and her father’s lives, and Luke begins to follow a call on his life.

Historical fiction – especially romance – is certainly not my genre of choice, but I enjoyed this book.  It was a great escape, and was refreshingly good a being intentional regarding faith issues.  I would recommend this book as for teen girls, ladies who want to read something that can be read as they catch a few minutes of quite time, and to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction.

Thank you to Graf-Martin Communications and Bethany House in providing the book that allowed me to complete this independent review.

 
 

(re)union by Bruxy Cavey – A review

41UbJk1Y59L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I wasn’t sure what to expect when I agreed to review this book, but because it was by Bruxy – I was intrigued.  I have known about Bruxy for years (he was my husband’s small group leader in Seminary!), and have watched as the church he leads has become a model for church ministry in today’s culture.  So, a new book was an exciting proposition for me to read.

Let me begin by saying this book is like sitting and hearing Bruxy share his heart and passion for reaching people with the Gospel.  He has put on no airs in writing this, and it is truly a reflection of his approach and way of communicating – so refreshing in a world that has people who think they need to sound like a less than authentic self.

Bruxy shares the gospel in 1, then 3 and finally 30 words.  His desire to bring the Gospel down to its basic roots is laudable.  This will be a fantastic resource for people to share with family and friends who are seeking, but don’t want a ton of church-y speak.

In a society where people have been turned off Jesus because of what they see religious people doing to each other (and truly, we need to just stop behaving badly to other Jesus followers!), this book is a refreshing approach.

I do, however, have some points that I disagree with – some theological issues.  But those can be attributed to Bruxy and I coming from very different traditions, and our basic tenants to approaching Scripture vary.  Those differences though, are not enough to dismiss the book at all.  I highly recommend this for those who want to more about the Jesus who came to save the world, and his call to follow him.

I am grateful to Graf-Martin Communications and to Herald Press for giving me the opportunity to independently review this Advance Reader Copy.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in book reviews

 

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise – A Review

lethoperiselogonewIf you are a regular church attendee, and your music has any aspect of contemporary songs in it – you have sung something from Hillsong.  I have long loved their music, and the heart behind the writing of praise songs that are sung the world over.

This movie – really more of a documentary – follows the Hillsong United band through the development of a new album and to aWorship event at the Forum in California.  It was fascinating to watch as the “flashback” scenes culminated in the event.

I loved hearing from Brian Houston, founding pastor when he said that he had wanted to start a church that was music driven and that the music would “connect the soul to heaven”.  He and his wife Bobbie took us back to the place where they first met – with just 100 others.  Since 1983 they have grown from those 100 to 75,000 in 12 countries.

What struck me most as I watched this journey of worship leaders who truly believe that “the songs mean nothing if they aren’t helping people connect to God” as Joel Houston shared, is that they are just real people.  They don’t have huge houses, flashy cars and all that goes with the American experience of celebrity pastors.  The band has a heart to use their talents to lead people in meaningful worship.

The piece has been produced with lyrics on the screen during the worship songs, with the intention of the audience joining in with the music.  Just imagine a theatre full of worshippers singing so loudly that those in the movie complex hear it!  Surely a small taste of heaven…

While there is no question about the centrality of Jesus in the theme of Hillsong’s music, it occurred to me as the movie was coming to its end – that there was not much mention of him outside of the songs.  Brian even said that people should “pour yourself into a local church, and you’ll never be the same”.   Perhaps it is an over reaction on my part, but it’s not enough to be part of a church, it’s the relationship with Jesus that matters and it’s him that makes you not the same.

I loved watching the process of the song writing, even when one song was finished at the very last minute.  To see Joel sitting with his Bible open, pen in hand and journalling his way to the lyrics was lovely.  My very favourite moment though, was the international singing of Mighty to Save.  Just incredible!

Should you have the opportunity to see Hillsong: Let Hope rise – do so.  Better yet, go with your family and/or friends and worship in the theatre right along with the movie.  My thanks to GrafMartin Communications for the opportunity to independently review this movie.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2016 in book reviews, Family ideas

 

The Longing In Me

To say that I am fond of Shelia Walsh – her writing and her speaking and even her tweets, would be an understatement.

Shelia’s story of her life and her honesty about living with Depression and how her faith in Jesus sustains her through it all is incredibly inspirational.  She has honestly shared once again, this time about the longing that is in all of us and how God longs to meet that deepest need in each of us.

You can find more about the book here www.TheLongingInMe.com, and once I’m done the book this weekend – I’ll post a more complete review.

 

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2016 in book reviews

 

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The Crimson Cord, Rahab’s Story – A Review

the crimson cordAs an independent reviewer, I am thankful to Graf-Martin Communications and Revell Books for the opportunity to read this very new telling of a very old story.

Rahab’s story is one that causes most of us to be uncomfortable with.  Let’s face it – she’s not a woman that most moms would hold up as a mirror for their girls to aspire to.  Nor are we content that she is only one of a very few women to be named in the lineage of Christ.  Yet, she is an example of courage, of God’s never ending grace and the beautiful great-great grandma of King David.

Jill Eileen Smith has crafted, very skillfully, a new engaging story of Rahab, and how she came to assist the Hebrew’s fulfill God’s plan for Jericho.  A faithful, yet abused wife finds herself sold into slavery to pay off her husband’s debt.  Her purchaser has many other plans for her.  Tastefully dealing with the degradation that happens with sex slavery – we understand Rahab’s complete lack of faith in herself.

She does though, find a way to assure her safety and her that of her family when the Hebrew’s come to claim the land God has promised.  Then we “watch” as God redeems her past life, and brings her to a place of honour in history.  She is a pre-cursor to the story of the kinsman redeemer named Boaz, and gives us a glimpse that all people are loved so much that God wants them to be part of the family.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read – although I must admit I began quite skeptical at what could be done with a bible character we know relatively little about.  Bravo!  I savoured every page.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in book reviews

 

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