I have been given the opportunity to do some reviews on some books from a few different publishers. Some of them do not quite fit into the focus I have for Living Infuzion, but obviously have some good information. Here are some of my perspectives on some pretty good books! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Am Second – By Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett

Review By Jason Rivers

My first exposure to this concept of I Am Second was when I saw a screening of Soul Surfer, and found out that Bethany Hamilton did one of the I Am Second videos.  I wanted to find out more, but as with life, time passed and I forgot about it.  I had the opportunity to review the book, and jumped at it.
Essentially, I Am Second is a collection of stories of people from all walks of life from rock stars to people going through a divorce, or from sports heroes to a woman desperate to the point of being a prostitute.  The common thread in all cases is that each person or couple came to a point where they were at their lowest and they came to a place where following Jesus Christ was the choice that they made. 

This book is done with a modern edge.  Each story is told with some descriptions from the authors.  At the end of each story is a QR code leading to the video online.  Some stories also have links to other stories of people’s I Am Second videos that are not in the book.

This book is such a good place to look into the stories of people and their experiences.  In my life I see people that always want to debate the Bible, with I Am Second, it is hard to debate someone’s experience.  This book can also be an excellent way to start discussions with people because many of the stories are from people well known in culture.  It could be used to help in leading the unsaved to the place where they declared for themselves, “I Am Second”

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze for the purposes of review.  I was free to review the book as I saw it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Voice - New Testament

I have been taking a look at The Voice: New Testament. I really like what I am seeing with this Bible translation. The philosophy of the translation is about telling the story that is the Bible. Too many times with the rushed culture we live in, people only read their favourite verses in times of trouble, but rarely do they go through the whole Bible to see the story of it.

The translation team was from two sources: There were the Biblical Scholars that worked with the manuscripts, and there were the people that were more artistic users of the English language. The two groups worked together to stay true to the original documents, while trying to keep the language relevant to modern culture and understanding.

Something that I loved when I saw it was the script style of the writing. The story is being narrated, and then the conversations are formatted like a script. It made the reading fun, and easier to follow. The Voice translators also chose to clarify who Jesus was. He is not Mr. Christ, but Jesus the Christ, or as The Voice translates it, Jesus the Anointed.

This New Testament has small explaining blocks inserted into the text for teaching things about the culture that this book was being written into. It helps with the modern reader in their understanding of the Bible and what may be missed in a surface reading.

I can see this translation being very useful in public worship services, or other times where reading it aloud are needed. I plan on using it with some Tweens that I work with. I think they will have fun with the script aspect.

New Testament has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Not In The Heart by Chris Fabry

This is the story of Truman Wiley, a middle aged man run down by life. He has gone from being a world-renown journalist, to being a washed up gambler consumed with the grief of life. He is indebt over his head,hiding from a loan shark and now homeless. He has abandoned his wife, college-aged daughter and teenage son. His son has been gravely ill all his life, and now needs a heart transplant to live. He receives a call from his estranged wife that could be the opportunity of a lifetime. A man sitting on death row wants Truman to write his story. He claims he is innocent and wants people to know the truth once he is dead. He also wants to donate his heart to their son. Truman reluctantly takes the job beliving the man is guilty. But as he writes the story things don’t quite add up and he begins to have doubts about the guilt of this prisoner. This is where the conflict of the book lies. Should Truman write the story as it has been told in the courtroom, and allow the man to die to save his son, or correct dig deeper and expose the real killer?
I enjoyed this story very much. The characters were real and I could identify with their feelings and thoughts. Truman Wiley wrestles with ideas and thoughts that are tough issues to resolve, and his own experience facing a decision for Christ may not happen as you expect. In the writing style Mr. Farby does most of the book from the perspective of Truman, but some of the chapters are written from the perspective of other characters which created an interesting dynamic to the experience of the book.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that loves digging into the truth and all the struggles that go along with that process.

I was given a complimentary advanced reader copy of this book by B & B Media Group for review purposes, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Princess Stories By Carolyn Larson

As the father of a young girl that is growing up loving the Disney princesses, reading Princess Stories: Real Bible Stories of God’s Princesses was a thrill. Carolyn Larson develops this concept: God is the King of all of Heaven and Earth.  The bible says that God if our father.  Each young woman is God’s daughter.  The daughter of a king is a Princess.  Then the book goes through chronologically to examine some of the main and not so main women in the Bible.  Some are very well known, like Eve, Sarah or Mary the mother of Jesus.  Some are lesser known like Naaman’s  servant or Hulda, a prophetess in Josiah’s time. 

Each Princess is titled with a memorable attribute that is linked to their name.  There is a short poem with each chapter, and the princess is illustrated beautifully by Sergey Eliseev.  Each story from the Bible is paraphrased from the perspective of the Princess.  Each story also has a key verse from the Bible to read or even memorize, and there are a few questions with each story that would be perfect to talk through right before bed.

The final chapter is about the most special princess of all, the young princess reading the book.  The chapter shows how the King of the universe sees her, and loves her.  It completes the concept of the book.

I was very pleased to review this complimentary copy provided by Tyndale Blog Network, and i was free to review it as I saw fit.

More Lost Than Found - Finding a Way Back to Faith

I have been reading “More Lost than Found: Finding a Way Back to Faith” by Jared Herd.  My first impression of this book was that it was a bit disjointed, and struggled to come to a point.  At the same time the style of the book was more of a reflection on some struggles and some thoughts that Herd went through.

As someone that grew up in the church I can identify with several of the ideas that he presents in the book.  I have seen several of my friends become disillusioned with the church to the point of leaving.

The book seems to try to take the person of God and remove the big institution aspect that often the church has developed into, and Jared Herd wants to refocus the (quite possibly discouraged and disillusioned) reader on the person of Christ, and how Jesus focused on the heart of the person rather than the project that the local church was doing.

There are some things that stood out for me that you will have to read the book to know more about: idea of how the word Christian has shifted from describing the person to saying that something has been sanitized for use, comparing who Jesus asked to follow him versus how some churches only accept certain ‘kinds’ of people, and the idea of moving away from the superficial and into those things that are real in the life and spirit of the person. 

This has been a challenging book and good for a read when you struggle with your faith and how it seems to not match the way the church sometimes behaves.

I have been provided a complimentary copy of this book by Booksneeze, and I am free to evaluate the book as I see it.