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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
30 Minute Reviews
August 10, 2011
Here is another roundup of 30 Minute Reviews. These are books that I did not have time or opportunity to read from beginning to end. Instead, I tried to spend at least 30 minutes with each—enough to get a bit of a sense of what the book is all about.
The Mighty Weakness of John Knox by Douglas Bond - This book marks the third volume in The Long Line of Godly Men Prolifes—a series that accompanies Steven Lawson’s A Long Line of Godly Men books. Lawson has previously authored books on Calvin and Edwards and has now handed the reigns to Douglas Bond to write this volume on John Knox. According to Reformation Trust, “John Knox, the great Reformer of Scotland, is often remembered as something akin to a biblical prophet born out of time—strong and brash, thundering in righteous might. In truth, he was ‘low in stature, and of a weakly constitution,’ a small man who was often sickly and afflicted with doubts and fears. … Douglas Bond shows that Knox did indeed accomplish herculean tasks, but not because he was strong and resolute in himself. Rather, he was greatly used because he was submissive to God; therefore, God strengthened him. That strength was displayed as Knox endured persecution and exile, faced down the wrath of mighty monarchs, and prayed, preached, and wrote with no fear of man, but only a desire to manifest the glory of God and to please Him.” This is a great little series (and it looks good on a book case, too); if you’ve got the first 2, you’ll definitely want to pick up this one as well.
“We’re Just Friends” and Other Dating Lies by Chuck Milian - New from New Growth Press, publisher for CCEF, is “We’re Just Friends” and Other Dating Lies: Practical Wisdom for Healthy Relationships. Here is what the publisher says about it: “As a pastor of a large congregation and former singles pastor, author Chuck Milian has seen firsthand the broken relationships that occur when men and women don’t move with proactive care in and through their dating relationships. With pastoral wisdom and insight, Milian educates readers about defining expectations before they start dating, and he outlines a specific five-step dating plan that will help limit relational damage as they look for someone to share their lives with. The author encourages, challenges, and instructs believers in this comprehensive how-to-date handbook. He gives practical advice on wisely forming relationships with the opposite sex while still having fun, avoiding unnecessary hurts, making lifelong friends, and knowing ‘where they are’ each step of the way.” This book seems to go beyond what I have seen in most titles about dating to help make sense of the progressive nature of relationships; I think that is a helpful addition to the field.
When Will My Life Not Suck? by Ramon Presson - I’ll be honest—the only reason I gave this book a look is that it is published by New Growth Press. If I didn’t have a good bit of trust for the publisher, I probably wouldn’t have gotten past the title. I guess the publisher pretty much says it all here: “Personal crises and disappointments have led many to the pessimistic conclusion that ‘my life sucks.’ Underneath the contemporary slang are universal and timeless questions about the human condition. People of every age, in every kind of circumstance have wondered to themselves and others: Will my life ever be better than this? Is this as good as it gets? This book is an honest and compassionate look at the real struggles we face in a broken world where bad things do happen. Ramon Presson, a marriage and family counselor, describes his own significant personal struggles, including hospitalization for depression. Using the letter that Paul wrote to the Philippians from prison, Presson shares that hope and joy are possible even when life disappoints. Full of practical suggestions for how you can live with purpose and meaning right in the middle of your everyday struggles, When Will My Life Not Suck? is a hopeful treatment of human suffering from someone who has personally lived it and counseled others through the wilderness.” Hopeful biblical treatments of human suffering is a busy field in Christian publishing but it seems that this one brings something to the table in its urgency and practicality.
Get Wisdom! by Ruth Younts - “Question: What do our kids need? Answer: They need wisdom. ‘Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom…’ Proverbs 4:7. Designed for parents or teachers to use with children from K-5-through Grade 4, twenty-three lessons illustrate qualities of wisdom and godliness. Each lesson is presented in a simple format with illustrations to capture the attention of the child, and supplemented at the back of the book with suggestions for teaching the lesson. Every child of God both adults and children should work hard to show these traits more and more, because we love Jesus and want to be like him. That s easier said than done, isn’t it? We struggle with sin every day, and we will fail. The lessons remind us that when we do, we will find forgiveness and the grace to continue to get wisdom at the foot of the Cross.” This book offers helpful, short, practical lessons for young children (probably best for kids toward the younger end of that recommended age group).