Thursday, April 11, 2013

Altar Ego

In Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are author Craig Groeschel challenges his readers to be the person God means them to be. Groeschel breaks Altar Ego into three main sections: “Sacrificing Your False Self for Your Sacred Identity in Christ”, “ Sacrificing Cultural Relativity for Eternal Values”, and “Sacrificing Self-Justification for Passionate Obedience”. The first section outlines how to overcome one’s self image and the expectations of others to become God’s ambassador. The second discusses living with values like patience and honor. And the final outlines being bold in one’s true identity in words and deeds.

The book is easy to read with Groeschel providing an easy to access writing style. His use of stories helps show he is a skilled preacher who is familiar with weaving personal anecdotes in and out of teachings. The content itself will be familiar to those who read Christian Living books, with chapters on prayer and reorienting self around God’s images of you. Altar Ego is probably best suited to a new Christian or one that has shown interest in further exploring their identity in Christ. For those who have explored life with Christ in depth before the text would most likely serve as reinforcement of truth and opportunities to gather new examples of those truths.

Review Copy Provided by Booksneeze  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Draw the Circle

Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson builds upon his earlier work in The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. Batterson provides readers with a 40 day devotional to help focus his readers on a greater prayer life. Each entry is 5 to 6 pages in length and covers a variety of prayer related topics. Batterson’s writing used excerpts from The Circle Maker, stories of those impacted by the original book and tales from Batterson’s own prayer life.

Batterson opens with “The forty-day prayer challenge is going to change your life (Batterson, 7).” Personally I feel this promise falls short. To me Draw the Circle is more of a devotional than a challenge. To me a challenge is something that requires action steps and reflection. I assume that these can be found in Batterson’s The Circle Maker Prayer Journal. If I evaluate the book as a devotional, I find it typical of that book type. And I believe those who enjoy Batterson’s writing style will likely find this enjoyable and enlightening.

I sadly am not a huge fan of devotionals, though I have read a few. Yet I was still able to find thoughts for reflection. These include need to provide variance to our prayer life to avoid ruts, the need for specific and non specific prayer and stories of God working in the lives of the prayerful. I probably would have enjoyed this more if I had thought of it as a devotional and not a challenge.

Review Copy Provided by Booksneeze

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are?

Book cover with a man holding title in front of his face.
Mark Driscoll in Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in Christ confronts his readers with a simple truth.  They are experiencing an identity crisis.  He notes that many Christians place negative labels on themselves instead of realizing that their salvation has made them image bearers in the likeness of the Trinitarian God.  So instead of viewing ourselves as being in the image of Adam, the sinful man, we need to understand how we are copies of Jesus, the holy divine man.  To demonstrate our true identities, Driscoll explores the book of Ephesians with his reader.  He points to our true indentity that includes that we are, saved, blessed, saintly, rewarded, adopted and loved.  How often we forget we are loved!

I have never read a Driscoll book or heard a Driscoll sermon.  I have often heard he is a fiery personality.  I did not get that impression from this book.  Yes, he is realistic about how Christians are often obstacles to other Christians.  And he pushes us to be more than legalistic.  But I did not see him as controversial in this book.  Maybe this is a reflection of my own thoughts!  In the end, I believe this is a helpful book, for Christians that are struggling to understand who they truly are!  

Review Copy Provided by Thomas Nelson