Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Be the Dad She Needs You to Be

Be the Dad She Needs You to Be by Dr. Kevin Leman

My daughter just went off to her first day of kindergarten at the local school in our area and I was not ready for this at all.   You pray and your guide and direct your daughter’s life, but you cannot possibly protect her from everything.  Yet, as Dr. Kevin Leman’s new book, Be the Dad She Needs You to Be, there are many things to consider when raising a daughter.  The book in 11 chapters with a conclusion takes everything from investing in your daughter’s life, sex, the workplace, and the way dads parent differently than moms.  Dr. Leman cuts to the chase at times, gives his advice, and brings his years of counseling to bear in this book on dads/daughters.

Kevin gets to the heart of the issues that matter most at the beginning of the book by stating, “If you have a negative legacy from your own father, or if your wife has one from her father, it’s time to stop the cycle.  Your daughter deserves your absolute best (7).”  Being engaged has its benefits beyond the present but dads don’t always see it that way.  Daughters deserve the absolute best from their dads because God has created them as the sole father and caretaker of his children, no one else on this earth is their father.  No one replace a father.  Kevin emphasizes that it is not the times of great resources that our daughters remind, but the times we took our time with them to do the little things, this is what memories are made of. 

One of the clearest expressions of a father’s love for his daughter comes in the way he loves her.  Kevin writes, “Making each daughter feel special and uniquely loved is one of the best gifts a father can give his daughter (146).”  This might come in knowing what kind of donut she likes or her favorite friend at school or it could mean knowing exactly what questions to ask about her life.  Kevin makes it a point of emphasis that being involved in your daughter’s life is not the same as buying them an iPad and sending them to another room.  No, being intentional is knowing them in the way that you would know your wife’s likes, her passions, and her goals.  That daddy-daughter connection is so important.

I really enjoyed this book and know you will too.

Thanks to BookLookBloggers and Thomas Nelson for the review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

1 Samuel for You by Tim Chester

I Samuel for You by Tim Chester

This new commentary and guide to 1 Samuel written by Tim Chester is an accessible and pastoral volume devoted to the message and theology of 1 Samuel.  Tim Chester is very familiar with the good book company as he provided the volume on Titus in the For You Series.  What can at times be a daunting task to comment on such a large book in the Old Testament, Tim gives the reader an in-depth look at the issues that are most important in the book such as kingship.  With insight, application, and a trenchant analysis toward the major themes of the book, Tim does an excellent job at acquainting the reader with the terrain of 1 Samuel.

In the opening few pages of the book, Tim alerts our attention to the theme of kingship in 1 Samuel.  After looking at 1 Samuel 1.1-2.11, Tim writes, “It is worth it, because God’s King is coming, and when he comes he will turn the world upside down…Hannah sings: “He humbles and he exalts.  He raises the poor from the dust…and makes them inherit a throne of honor” (1 Samuel 2:7-8) (25).”   There are two sides of history to choose from; the kingdom of God’s King or the kingdom of this world (24).  Israel as a nation didn’t know what exactly to expect from a king because many times they wanted a king they could choose from their own devices and likings.  Yet, as 1 Samuel indicates, God is King over all the earth and does as he pleases yet has our best interests in mind, from the beginning to end.  At the end of the chapter Tim points us to Jesus’ Kingship as one who was humbled to the point of death but was then exalted to the highest place.  He ends the chapter, “In the ascension of Jesus, God has taken the first step in turning the world upside down (26).” 

Another section that is very illuminating is 1 Samuel 16.1-23.  We find the shepherd David in this text tending his sheep.  We find the connection between Jesus clear here between him and David as Tim writes, “David proved he was a good shepherd because he was willing to risk his life for the sheep.  Jesus proves he is the Ultimate Shepherd because he gives his life for the sheep: (110).”  A humble king is what the nation needed and not one who was controlled by Israel’s whims.  David was willing to go the extra mile and risk his life for the people.  Jesus didn’t risk his life for sheep but gave his life willingly on the cross for his sheep.  Also, although David did risk his life for his sheep, his life wasn’t completely devoted to serving Yahweh, for he stumbled many times.  Whereas Jesus, being in full submission to the Father, carried out his role as Shepherd King without fault. 

I really enjoyed reading this book.  The gray sections on the side of the pages provide a good encapsulation of some of the major points Tim is trying to make.

Thanks to the good book company and Cross Focused Reviews for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dear Luke, We need to talk . Darth and other Pop Culture correspondences

Dear Luke, We need to talk. Dad Darth and other Pop Culture correspondences by John Moe

Witty, hilarious, and non-stop entertaining, Dear Luke, We need to talk, Dad Darth and other Pop Culture correspondences is a new book by public radio show personality John Moe that you don’t want to miss.  From Twilight to Dora the Explorer, John covers the ground by imagining what it would be like to have witty conversations between partners.  It’s almost as if when your reading the book, you remember the conversations at the water cooler you have with your co-workers about entertainment but never thought would be put for public consumption. 

In a Court Ordered Letter from Dora the Explorer’s Mother, John comes from the vantage point of a mother writing to a Child Protective Services Case Worker about why she should keep Dora.  When starts out as somewhat amusing turns out to be very funny indeed.  At one point in the letter, Dora’s Mother says, “…one talking monkey I can handle, but these woods are full of talking birds, talking crocodiles….These things should not talk.  And they certainly should not be bilingual (131).”  Entertaining to the core, John also brings out the fact that Dora’s mother is never in the picture as a mother in the show, but resorts to a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach to parenting.

With Super Bowl ideas to boot from Harry Potter v. Lord of the Rings battles or XL America where plus size models would dance around the stadium snacking on junk food, John Moe is sure to come up with winners.  This is a book that you will want to read out loud to your family, as I did with the Dora Explorer letter.

Thanks to Blogging for Books and Three Rivers Press for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Conditioned Mind

The Conditioned Mind: Overcoming the Crippling Effects of Sin and Guilt by Michael J. Mannia

Counselor and author Michael J. Mannia knows firsthand how the spiraling of sin and guilt can eat away at life.  His new book, The Conditioned Mind, is a look into how believers can overcome the effects of sin and guilt and live in the freedom that we have in Christ.  Through a careful look into the patterns that we develop and the mindsets that we get ingrained in, Michael is able to offer ways through guilt that bring freedom and healing.  I think this is not only a timely but a book that aims toward bringing real healing to its readers.

In the first chapter Michael looks at two needs that we have: our need for love and our need for security.  Love isn’t something optional for the human race, but something it needs at its core.  “Additionally, we need to reciprocate love.  We need to feel loved as much as we need to love others (8).”  Love is a two-way street that involves each member of the relationship giving love to one another.  Our second greatest need is the need for security.  Michael points out that routine, familiarity, and predictability are the hallmarks of security.  A child needs to know that each day her mom or dad will be there in the morning as he awakes and at home when he or she arrives home after school.  A parent also needs the security that his/her spouse will not put them in uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and dangerous situations. 

On the chapter on Breaking through Denial, Michael points out the deleterious effects of denial.  He writes, “When the facts of an issue are accepted but the significance or impact is denied, it could be said that we are minimizing (86).”  Michael points to the life of David in his sin with Bathsheba.  Although David might have thought that his sin was not grave, he minimized effects of morally compromising his role as King.  It wasn’t just simple denial that David held onto but a deep sense of self-deception that would tell himself that his situation wasn’t as bad as he’d made it.  Michael makes it clear that we need prayer to the Lord himself to show us the areas where we minimize sin so that we can walk in the light as He is in the light (89). 

From rationalization to repression and depression, evil and pride, Michael is careful to bring together biblical solutions for the predicaments we find ourselves in or that we put ourselves in.  I I found this book to be a good outline of some of the mental challenges we face as Christians and how we can overcome these challenges with God’s Word, his people, and prayer. 

Thanks to CrossLink Publishing an BookCrash for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.