The strength of our Book Reviews collection lies in the categorical breakdown that we have created for you below. We have divided the most common ministry design issues into categories so that you can more easily find the solution that you are looking for. Our eventual goal is to have an in-depth review for every book that will give you further assistance in discovering the reading pathway that can lead you to the solutions to the ministry issues you may be facing.
- Personal Development
- Development of Others
- Leading Change
- Pastoral Transition
- Leading Church Mergers
BOOKS FOR HEART
by Thomas Nelson. Publisher: Thomas Nelson.
Book of daily encouragement
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To help the reader reflect on the life, death and resurrection of Christ in order to recognize and respond to the blessings that are ours in Him.
110 pages containing 101 different accounts of blessings brought to us by our relation with Christ.
This may make a good gift to develop believers and a connector to those not yet believing in Christ.
Who will benefit?
Pastors and others.
How does it benefit?
It should result in joy and commitment.
Where does it fit in the ministry design process?
Jesus uses us as we are, even in our weakness.
by Gene Edwards. Publisher: Tyndale House.
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Reviewed by Caleb Nelson
“Saul sought to pin David to the wall,” says the Hebrew idiom of 1 Samuel 19:10. In the hands of storyteller Gene Edwards, this statement becomes a metaphor for all kinds of conflicts, retaliations, and problems in the kingdom of God. What do you do, asks Edwards, when an authority figure in your life throws spears at you? Do you throw them back? Or do you respond with humility, like David, trusting that God is in charge even when His ways are inscrutable?
Edward’s A Tale of Three Kings retells the story of Saul, David, and Absalom and in so doing, universalizes it. When you are suffering under a seemingly ungodly leader, a Saul who appears to be the Lord’s Anointed but acts like Satan’s henchman, you must simply submit. God never tells us whether the leader we dislike is a godless Saul or a godly David. Alternatively, if you are the leader, and an Absalom rises up to challenge you, you can’t try to throw spears at him. God will defend you if He wants to. Saul thought David was an Absalom, just as many people serving under Davids think they are serving Sauls. But by putting all this teaching in narrative format, Edwards really makes it stick. His dialogue is brilliant, too, even though one can’t imagine the characters talking like that. But what they say reinforces the message so well that one can’t help but embrace it.
If you have leadership challenges or problems—buy this book and read it.
By Andreas Kostenberger and Richard Patterson
This book is a revision of “Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology”. The authors sought to make the revision an easier read for lay people. I believe they have accomplished their mission. I believe you will find this book easier to understand and it will increase your Bible knowledge. I appreciate the last chapter “Getting Down to Earth: Using the Tools, Applying the Word. The authors want the reader to answer the question “what will you take away from reading and processing this book?” They want the reader to apply what they have learned from the book so we will allow the scriptures to change our lives, including those with whom we share what we have learned. “The final chapter aims to help you put what you’ve learned from reading this book into practice.” I suggest you pick up a copy today and introduce your church leaders to it. It may really help you in your disciple making efforts.
By Greg Blake
The memoirs of the Chief Encouragement Officer Greg Blake. Perhaps you have seen him in action, now read whats behind the CEO of Pepworks International.When we first got married my parents bought us a old dining table that had come out of a bakery in NY. We bought an old fashioned icepick and thought it would be a great practice to have people carve their name in our table when they came for a visit….well 41 years later we are still continuing the tradition. We have hundreds of signatures. My 4 kids have bought an old table and are continuing the practice with their families. We even have sanded out the names of old boyfriends who didn’t make the cut!(I just finished my memoirs called Carving the Table (available in ebook format on Amazon) Click Here to get a copy!When folks visit our church for the first time, Debbie and I invite them over to our home on a Friday evening (Family Night) to get to know them better. Very non-threatening. We will also find out their occupation and will do our best to match them with another couple with the same occupation so there is an immediate connection.Have had numerous couples join because of the personal interest in their lives. I tell people that you can’t get to know people in the foyer of a church Sunday morning doing small talk.Unfortunately today we have become too busy to invest our lives in others and ultimately eternity.
by Michael P.V. Barrett. Publisher: Ambassador-Emerald International.
Focuses on the components of the gospel and their effect on our lives.
by Tom Hovestol. Publisher: Authentic.
A study of the Pharisees of Jesus’s time.
By Bob P. Buford
Author Bob Buford called them “code breakers”. They are people age 40 and older who have pioneered the art of finishing well in these modern times, and who can teach us to do the same, starting today. Buford sought out 60 of these trailblazers—including Peter Drucker, Roger Staubach, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard and Dallas Willard—and has recorded their lively conversations in these pages so that they can serve as “mentors in print” for all of us.
“Twenty years from now,” Buford writes, “the rules for this second adulthood as a productive season of life may be better known. But for now, we’re out across the frontier breaking new ground.” Buford gives you a chance to sit at the feet of these pioneers and learn from them about Finishing Well so that you may shift into a far more fulfilling life now, no matter your age. A life of significance that will be a legacy for future generations too.
Chip Ingram. Publisher: Baker Books.
Discusses 7 attributes of God to enrich and change the way we live.
By Clint and Penny Bragg
I believe whether your marriage is healthy or in crisis or somewhere in between you will receive encouragement, instruction and insight to help you build or restore your marriage. If you are looking for help, hope and healing for your marriage you have come to the right book. This couple, Clint and Penny Bragg, uses scripture and their personal story to guide you toward God’s solutions to the challenges of married life.
Here is a summary of the process they recommend.
Start by honoring the process
Identify your roadblocks
Build a strong foundation
Develop connections with forgiveness and faith
Deepen your discussions
Agree on your standards of communications and behavior
Guard your marriage gates
Retrofit your relationship
Establish your mini marriage retreats to get and stay fit
Mending your marriage is an ongoing process
Pick up a copy today and begin your personal journey through the process to mend and/or strengthen your marriage.
Click on this Link to purchase your copy on amazon.
By Chris Bonts (Author)
By Perry Noble
Stressed out? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Good news—you’re not alone!
No one ever said life was going to be easy. Between financial struggles, marital issues, health scares, and the regular, run-of-the-mill problems of everyday life, it’s easy to feel weighed down and trapped by your circumstances. In times like these, it’s tempting to just throw in the towel and quit. Well, don’t do it!
Perry Noble has stood at the edge of the abyss himself, and in Overwhelmed, he shares the keys to unlocking the chains of anxiety and despair once and for all. Building on the premise that when we shift our focus from our circumstances to Christ, everything changes, Perry walks readers through a life-altering plan for overcoming stress, worry, depression, and anxiety so we can be free to enjoy the abundant, joy-filled lives we were created for.
God knows we’re frustrated. He knows we’re tired. He knows we’re struggling. But He also knows how things are going to turn out. He is greater than anything you are going through . . . so don’t give up on God. After all, He’s never given up on you.
By Kent Crockett
“Who are the pastor abusers? They are mean-spirited church members who criticize and bully their pastor with the goal of forcing him out of the church. While most church members are supportive of their minister, pastor abusers are usually only a small group, and are often running the church. Can anything be done to stop them? What can a pastor do when he is under attack? What are the minister’s options after being fired or forced out of the church? Pastor Abusers: When Sheep Attack Their Shepherd is a survival manual for pastors, explaining what is happening behind the scenes and the driving forces behind the attacks. Over 30 abused pastors were interviewed and their quotes are listed in every chapter. Helpful advice is given, telling pastors how to respond to the harassment. This book lists the pastor’s four options after leaving the church, along with a listing of ministry and secular job websites. READER COMMENTS: A reader in Idaho: Your book describes exactly what is happening in our church. You can rename the book with our church name in front of Pastor Abusers. A pastor in Maryland: A must read for every pastor and should be required reading for seminary students. An anonymous pastor: The information in Pastor Abusers was extremely helpful as we trudged through the most difficult, painful experience of our lives.”
By Dallas Willard
“As Christians, we know that we are new creations in Jesus. So we try to act differently, hoping this will make us more like Him. But changing our outward behavior doesn’t change our hearts. Only by God’s grace can we be transformed internally. Renovation of the Heart lays a biblical foundation for understanding what best-selling author Dallas Willard calls the “transformation of the spirit”—a divine process that “brings every element in our being, working from inside out, into harmony with the will of God.”
This fresh approach to spiritual growth explains the biblical reasons why Christians need to undergo change in six aspects of life: thought, feeling, will, body, social context, and soul. Willard also outlines a general pattern of transformation in each area, not as a sterile formula but as a practical process that you can follow without the guilt or perfectionism so many Christians wrestle with.
Don’t settle for complacency. Accept the challenge Renovation of the Heart offers to become an intentional apprentice of Jesus Christ, changing daily as you walk with Him.”
by Krish Kandiah. Publisher: Monarch Books. A fresh perspective on reading and studying the Bible.
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The authors take us on a journey to “discover how the 66 books of the Bible help us to know God and how to live for him”. “This book is a crash course in enjoying the breadth and depth of the Bible, packed full of practical help.” They help us with the disconnect, so often present, between the Bible “we know we should treasure and the book we struggle to read”.
Succinctly put the authors “aim” to do several things for the readers. They teach us how to “navigate life with the Bible, allowing God’s word to change our faith and our lives and our character on route”. They give us “skills to help us to translate the Bible, not literally from Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek, but practically into the nitty-gritty of everyday life”. They help us “break away from seeing the Bible as a book we are obliged to study and to see it more as an invitation into the company of the King of Kings”. They seek to inspire us to take the Bible from a head full of knowledge and translate it into practical knowledge that we can live out on a daily basis.
The authors address our heads, hearts and hands as we travel page to page in Route 66. Let me encourage you to buckle up, put on your driving gloves, thinking cap and sun glasses so you can enjoy the journey with the authors as they seek to inspire us to the next levels in our spiritual lives. If your heart needs refreshing or your mind needs a new perspective on how to read the scriptures this book may just be the ticket. Share it with your family, friends and consider using it in your small groups or bible classes. I believe you will be enriched by the contents of its pages.
By Bill Hybels
“Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Overscheduled. Sound familiar? Today’s velocity of life can consume and control us . . . until our breakneck pace begins to feel normal and expected. That’s where the danger lies: When we spend our lives doing things that keep us busy but don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do.
What if your life could be different? What if you could be certain you were living the life God called you to live—and building a legacy for those you love? If you crave a simpler life anchored by the priorities that matter most, roll up your sleeves: Simplified living requires more than just cleaning out your closets or reorganizing your desk drawer. It requires uncluttering your soul. By eradicating the stuff that leaves your spirit drained, you can stop doing what doesn’t matter—and start doing what does.
In Simplify, bestselling author Bill Hybels identifies the core issues that lure us into frenetic living—and offers searingly practical steps for sweeping the clutter from our souls.”
by Jud Wilhite with Bill Taaffe. Publisher: Multnomah.
The author tells his personal story of ministering in Las vegas and the evidence of God working in their midst.
by David Gregory. Publisher: WaterBrook Press.
A personal parable that shares a journey to significance.
by Leonard Sweet. Publisher: Water Books.
Focuses on living out God’s love
by Pastor Rudy Rasmus. Publisher: Thomas Nelson.
One ministry’s story of their efforts to reach the hurting.
by Gary Heim & Lisa Heim. Publisher: Kregel Publications.
A clarion call to Christ-centered living.
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While the authors, Gary and Lisa Heim, share their experiences and knowledge of Scripture they are careful not to create a mechanical solution to overcoming the struggles of life. It is very clear in their writing that Christ is the answer. Our choice to turn “North” to Him is key to victory over the troubles of Life. No pathway, process or mechanics can replace the person of Christ in our lives. He is the answer.
They challenge us with a “fresh way of thinking about the struggle to put God at the center of our hearts”. They make it clear that “God’s purpose is to turn our devotion back to a humble and grateful dependence on him alone for our deepest needs.” I believe you can trust the authors’ explanation and application of the scriptures to give you direction when facing life’s testing times.
I would agree with Larry Crabb that the book is written in a “practical, readable, engaging and accessible” way that will enrich the reader to make the right choice when faced with the challenges of living our daily lives. The authors state that “they wrote the book with one purpose – to stir and stoke the fire of our heart’s affection for Christ.”
They have accomplished just that in my own heart with my reading of the book. I believe it would be a worthwhile investment of your time and money to purchase and study its contents as well.
by Jerry Bridges. Publisher: Navpress.
This is a tremendous book that explains God’s role in our life and the need to trust Him.
By Rod Tucker
“Greg was homeless. As he walked through the park one day, he was surrounded by people. Good people. Caring people. Christian people. People doing ministry. But people totally oblivious to Greg. No one saw him, talked to him, noticed him, or tried to minister to him. The Christians were preoccupied—working hard on the ministry they were putting together—a ministry intended to provide help and healing to the most vulnerable in their city, a ministry designed to reach . . . the homeless! How do Christians, benefactors of the overwhelming grace of an immeasurably generous God, fail so miserably at showing and distributing—of all things—grace? In voice and style evocative of Donald Miller and Scot McKnight, yet with a message all his own, Rod Tucker explores how we Christians have become masters of self-deceptive and fake moral living. Just like Adam and Eve, we don’t want anyone to know we are spiritually naked. But covering up around God denies us the freedom of his grace. Until we can be honest with ourselves, honest with God, and honest with others, daily grace will continue to elude us, either as gift received or as gift given. We remain trapped in our Botox spirituality until we come to grips with exactly who we are.”
by Skye Jethani. Publisher: Thomas Nelson.
Focuses on our posture toward and view of God.