Master Your Money: Book Review

Master Your Money 
By Ron Blue
Find it on: 
First-Person
Non-Fiction
272 Pages

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
A step-by-step guide to financial freedom
Do you know if you have enough? Do you know how much is enough? If you can’t answer these questions, Master Your Money is for you.
In this book, Ron Blue extracts principles from God’s Word and applies them to your financial portfolio.
Learn how to:
  • Avoid the most common financial mistakes
  • Apply biblical principles for money management
  • Save, invest, and give wisely
  • Create a long-term financial plan that works
  • Plan for your taxes and estate needs
  • Get out of debt
Ron’s professional experience in financial planning will ease your anxieties over money and be an asset to you and your family for generations to come. Learn the tools and techniques you need to move forward toward true financial freedom.
This new edition includes important updates and new content, making it timely and relevant.
Why I Choose this Book: 
Money is an important part of life and I want to make sure I use my money in a way that brings God glory. 
What I Thought About this Book:

Master Your Money is thorough, helpful, and practical. It’s clear the author knew what he was talking about and that he really wanted to help others manage their money well. I especially appreciated the many times the author referenced the Bible and used God’s Word for his guide while writing the book. As God’s children, I believe that Christians are going to be held accountable for how they make and spend money and this book can help people figure out how to get out of debt, stay out of debt, and use their finances to live life the way God wants them to. 
There were quite a few times where I felt like the book was above my head, but that’s not surprising as taxes and investments are still something I find quite confusing. Reading books like Master Your Money helps me learn a little bit more though, and for that I’m thankful. (I will note that Your Money Map by Howard Dayton was more at my level and covered a lot of the same information. I highly recommend both Master Your Money and Your Money Map.) 
Being free to earn and spend money is a blessing I’m very thankful for. I’m also thankful that money can, and should, be used as a tool. When we learn to master our money it no longer “masters” us, and that’s a very good thing. We can’t serve both God and money, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have money, it just means that money shouldn’t be our god or an all consuming issue in our life. This book can help bring that balance about, which makes it a very useful book.
Although I don’t remember the book discussing it, statistics show that there’s a lot of friction regarding how people handle finances when it comes to marriage and I’m pretty sure the same is true with other relationships (such as business partners). I highly recommend people who are sharing finances to read this book and work through it together.
Conclusion:
Yay! Read it. Learn. Don’t spend more than you make. Use God’s Word as a starting point. Money can be a blessing when used the right way.
Rating:

I’m giving Master Your Money four stars and recommend it to anyone 18 and older. (Although I suppose it’s really geared more toward those who are already running a household, it doesn’t hurt to get a good foundation started early on.) 

The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations: Book Review

The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations
Find it on: 

Third-Person 
Two Points of View
Non-Fiction
288 Pages


About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Love God, love people. Could evangelism really be that simple?Often, it doesn’t seem so. It can feel scary, awkward, and uncomfortable as we try to navigate loaded questions and different perspectives. Even the most faithful of believers sometimes get stumped. But can you imagine if we, as Christians, simply spent time with people who are far from God and provided a safe place to talk about spiritual matters? If we listened to them and discovered what was really important to them? After all . . . it’s what Jesus did. And it’s what you can do too.

Drawing straight from the life and ministry of Jesus, The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations offers simple practices to help you build relationships with people who believe differently. Anyone who has read and appreciated Becoming a Contagious Christian or Just Walk across the Room won’t want to miss this book on creating a safe space to have natural, loving, and spiritual conversations with others.


Why I Choose this Book: 

Conversations are interesting, and there’s always the balance of carrying on a good conversation with someone who believes differently from you while remaining respectful. Plus, from reading the sub-title I actually thought it was about how to have conversations between christians with different interpretations of the Bible, but that wasn’t the case.

What I Thought About this Book:

When I started the book I really wasn’t sure what I thought of it. There were several things in the first few chapters that I didn’t agree with fully. For example: the authors seemed to almost look down on just out right witnessing (as in, bringing up conversations about God before developing a relationship). I think there are many different ways to witness, and that different people are called to witness in different ways, and each situation is different from all other situations. 

After the first couple of chapters though, I found myself agreeing more and more with the book. The overall word that kept coming to mind as I read it was practical. The book was incredibly practical and therefore easy to put into practice. 

The main idea I came away with is that as christians we’re called to be the salt and light and so therefore we need to fulfill that calling by actively engaging people in every-day life situations. We should be building relationships, then sharing God’s truths with those people in a conversational-type setting instead of simply lecturing them. 

There were many parts of the book that could have been in any self-development book, but then they related the ideas back to the Bible, pointing out how Jesus is our example. For instance, there was a chapter about asking questions and then really listening instead of asking questions and then forming your reply as they talk. They shared several examples of questions Jesus asked and the situations surrounding those instances. It was pretty cool. 

Conclusion:

I read this book all in one day while getting over the flu. After the first few chapters I found it interesting, helpful, and informative. I don’t recall any questionable content. The writing wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was nice and easy to read. 

Rating: 

I’m giving The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations four stars and recommend it to ages 15+ 

*I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an honest review*

In the Field of Grace By Tessa Afshar: Book Review

In the Field of Grace
By Tessa Afshar 
Find it on: 
Third-Person 
Two (?) Points of View
Fiction
290 Pages

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi’s, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.


But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor.  Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi’s chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel’s destiny and the future of the whole world.

Why I Choose this Book: 

The first Bible Study I attend as a little girl was hosted by my older sister and we studied Ruth. Ever since then I’ve found her story to be fascinating and somewhat mind-bloggling. When I saw the chance to review a biblical fiction book about Ruth, I was pretty excited.
What I Thought About this Book:
Ah, Ruth! This book portrayed familiar characters in unfamiliar ways, and really helped them to come alive. Although the author obviously took liberties and added huge sections to the short account in the Bible, I found the book to be happily (as far as I remember) above reproach when it came to the actual scriptural part of the story.  
Although the writing wasn’t as tight as I thought it could have been, I found the descriptions to be lovely and really could imagine the time period and what all was happening. I could see the fields and almost feel the dust and heat. I could imagine the hurt and longing. The book did a good job at coming to life for me and helped me think thoughts about the account in the Bible that I hadn’t really had before. 
The account of Ruth has always been somewhat confusing to me, probably since I don’t fully understand what the culture was like back then. It’s amazing to me how people lived their lives and conducted business and just went about day after day. This book spurred on a bunch of random thoughts regarding life back then and life now and how different, and similar, life is the world ’round, even centuries apart. 
I enjoyed the story a fair amount, and the first half of the book a lot. Toward the end I felt my interest waning a good bit and wished that the book would have ended sooner than it actually did, that alone was enough to take the book down a notch or so in my estimate. 
Conclusion:
There was obviously romance since this is about Ruth. Overall though, I really felt like the romance was handled carefully and didn’t come across wrong. There were a few scenes that I didn’t appreciate, but other than that I thought the book was good. 
And, as I mentioned earlier: I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second and think it dragged two much at the end. 
Rating: 
I’m giving In Fields of Grace four out of five stars, seven out of ten. 
*I received this book for free from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review*

20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-Something Selves By Kelli & Peter Worrall: Book Review

20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-Something Selves
By Kelli & Peter Worrall 
Find it on: 
First-Person 
Two Points of View
Non-Fiction
256 Pages
About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
Are you making your twenties count?
Despite what many think, our twenties aren’t that dead space between youth and real life. Done right, they can be among our most important years.
In 20 Things Wed Tell Our Twentysomething Selves, professors Peter and Kelli Worrall look back on the good, bad, and miserable to give you the best of what they’ve learned, like:
Dig deeper than your doubt
Foster good habits
Take risks
Adjust your expectations
Press into pain
With humility, warmth, and brilliant storytelling, Peter and Kelli invite you not only into their wisdom, but into their very lives, sharing about marriage, faith, drawn-out adoptions, dark nights of the soul, and the God who’s in it all.
But 20 Things is more than a list of advice; it’s a book that can change your life. Let the trend of your twenties be sowing wisdom, and who knows what the rest of life will bring?
Includes action steps, discussion questions, and ideas for further reading at the end of each chapter.
Why I Choose this Book: 
I’m in my twenties and I want to live each day of my life to the best of my ability. Enough said. 
What I Thought About this Book:
Wow. I really liked this book. It was so chocked full of amazing advice given in a really loving, friendly, and easy to understand way. The book is written by a husband and wife team and I greatly enjoyed the way they pulled it off – I = have no clue how people can co-author a book like they did.
Each one of the points was so spot-on and helpful and Biblically based which was really refreshing. They told stories from their on lives, opening up to the hurt and problems they’d gone through and how they’d learned from their own issues and received healing, and how other people can, too. 
I was reading several different books at once, but I can’t remember anything inappropriate in this book, nor does anything come to mind that I disagreed with. (Surprise, surprise! I may have missed something though.) 
Overall I’m very thankful I read this book and I really want to re-read it already. It’s challenging and insightful and encouraging all at once. I’m also eager to look into the recommended reading that they had at the end of each chapter. Normally I don’t like sections like that, but in this book I found them unique and interesting. 
Conclusion:
 In reality I think this book is one that very much transcends age. I would have found it extremely helpful in my teens and thing it would be quite beneficial to people older than their twenties, too.  
Rating: 
I’m giving 20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-Something Selves Five stars out of five, and ten out of ten. I highly recommend it to anyone thirteen and older. 
*I received this book for free from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review*

The Seven Laws of Love By Dave Willis: Book Review

The Seven Laws of Love 
By Dave Willis 
Find it on: 
First-Person 
One Point of View
Non-Fiction
272 Pages


About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
In our fast-paced, success-obsessed culture, we’re constantly tempted to chase after things that don’t matter. We’ve been conditioned to value possessions over people, status over relationships, and ourselves over God.

But the reality is this: God created love to be the centerpiece of our lives. In The Seven Laws of Love, Dave Willis makes the case for a love revival and proves that in returning to a life of love we have no greater model than the one who is love himself.

In Dave’s humorous, touching, down-to-earth style, The Seven Laws of Love takes you on a journey through the ins and outs of everyday relationships—with your spouse, your children, your friends, and your coworkers—using practical, applicable examples and guiding principles that demonstrate what a life of love actually looks like.

There is no higher calling on earth than to love and be loved. It’s time to learn The Seven Laws of Love, and to make loving a priority over all other pursuits. Anything else isn’t really living.

Why I Choose this Book: 

It’s a constant aim of mine to love more. It’s so easy for me to be motivated by goals, by achievement, by need, and by guilt, but I want to be driven by love. I want my life to shower those around me with the love that God has so freely given to me. 
What I Thought About this Book:

Mr. Willis is really down to earth; in fact, I would liken his style to that of a friendly email. I know that probably sounds weird, but there was one point where I actually subconsciously thought I was reading an email… Something that I don’t think has ever happened to me while reading a book before. I enjoyed the style – it was real and easy to breeze through, yet packed in a lot of good information.

The book was practical and very Biblically based, backing up many of the statements or ideas with verses. I appreciated that. Mr. Willis also uses examples from his own life and that of his family to help drive points home and make them stick. He’s a pastor (something I hadn’t realized going into the book), and that was evident: He sounded like a joking, easy-going pastor. 

There were a lot of suggestions of ways to be more loving, as well as a list of discussion questions at the end of each chapter. (Although, I maybe didn’t quite read all of the discussion questions… Oops.) 
Conclusion: 
 
There were a few of his examples I didn’t exactly appreciate and maybe 100 % agree with, but other than that I found the book helpful and encouraging, as well as inspiring and convicting, as the case may be. 
Rating: 

I’m giving The Seven Laws of Love four stars out of five, and seven out of ten. 
*I received this book for free from BookLook in exchange for an honest review*

Counted with the Stars By Connilyn Cossette: Book Review

Counted with the Stars
By Connilyn Cossette 
Find it on: 
Third-Person 
One Point of View
Fiction
352 Pages

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.
To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?
Why I Choose this Book: 

I have a kind of love-hate relationship with Biblical fiction. When an author clearly upholds the authority of scripture and has done their research, I really like how the Bible comes even more alive to me through their imagination. At the same time I can’t stand it when someone stretches Biblical truths to make their fictitious story work better. I decided to give Miss Connilyn a try and see how true to reality her book was.
What I Thought About this Book:
The book was enjoyable and I liked it a lot. A list of things that made me happy: 
* I felt like everything mentioned in God’s Word was held in high authority and the Miss Connilyn really wanted to uphold the truth 
* The characters were well developed and different from each other 
* The historical time period felt very well researched
* The world was painted with bright colors and came alive to me
* Although I basically knew the story, there were still a few things I didn’t see coming, so the surprise was good
Despite all the good, there were a few things about the book that made it less than stellar. One of those would be the grip factor… Although I enjoyed reading it, I was able to put it down easily which isn’t a plus. I’m pretty sure that was mostly due to the fact that I knew the original story so well. It would have to be difficult to take something like the Exodus of Egypt and put a new twist on it while leaving it historically accurate. Miss Connilyn did do a good job of putting in a few twists though, so good for her. 
For most of the book I felt like there was a good small balance of romance, but then near the end there were a few scenes that I didn’t agree with or feel were necessary. That seems to be the reoccurring theme in my reviews though, so… 
Conclusion: 

A few of the ways she depicted Biblical themes weren’t they way I imagined them, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because I’m pretty sure it’s just my imagination against her imagination. 
I liked this book and hope to read more books in the series. 
Rating: 

I’m giving Counted with the Stars four stars out of five, and seven out of ten. 
*I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review*

Yankee in Atlanta By Jocelyn Green: Book Review

I finished multiple books during the last few days and so this Monday is going to be my “Review Day” where I post three or four of them. I hope y’all enjoy seeing what I’ve been reading and maybe choose one or two books to add to your own reading list. To see a complete list (and reviews) of the books I’ve read in 2016, you can check out my Goodreads list. If you have any books you’d recommend, I’d be delighted to hear from you. 
It’s that time again where we get to choose where Annie goes for this week in our Friday Series, Around the World in Fifty-Two WeeksAnd our destination is… Bosnia and Herzegovina!

Yankee in Atlanta 
By Jocelyn Green

Find it on: 

Third-Person, Multiple Views
Fiction
416 Pages


About the Book
(Back cover blurb)

When soldier Caitlin McKae woke up in Atlanta after being wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor who treated her believed Caitlin’s only secret was that she had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta.

Trained as a teacher, she accepts a job as a governess to the daughter of Noah Becker, a German immigrant lawyer, who enlists with the Rebel army. Then in the spring of 1864, Sherman’s troops edge closer to Atlanta. Though starvation rules, and Sherman rages, she will not run again. In a land shattered by strife and suffering, a Union veteran and a Rebel soldier test the limits of loyalty and discover the courage to survive. Will honor dictate that Caitlin and Noah follow the rules, or love demand that they break them?


Why I Choose this Book: 


It appears to be a spy book and starts out with the MC masquerading as a man to fight in the Civil War. Now that, my friends, is a big grab for me. 

What I Thought About this Book:


I had such high hopes for this book and it started out SO well. I read the first two books in the series just so I would be ready for this book and not miss out on anything. Both books 1 (see review) and 2 (see review) received three stars and I was pretty sure this was going to be a four star book because it was so promising… And instead it barely squeaked in with three stars. What in the world?

First of all, I was wrong about the premise. Caitlyn isn’t a spy. She’s only a solider during the prolog. She’s a governess. (I must confess, I didn’t read the whole back cover blurb because I like being surprised. After reading the book I guess I would have had lower expectations and therefore might have enjoyed the book better if I had finished the back cover.) Still, the book was still redeemable, despite the two most exciting elements not panning out… Yet, it wasn’t redeemed. 

Instead I felt like there was far to much focus on romance and some of it was too detailed and I ended up skim reading sections. A fair amount of one of the sub-plots was how one of the characters from a previous book dealt with being abused and (sorta) forced into prostitution. I’m guessing that if I was working with ladies who were dealing with those issues this book might have come in handy, but I’m not, and it didn’t. (Hence the skim-reading.) 

The ending was also an eye rolling experience for me. I felt like one of the characters jumped out of character and did something that in reality, they would never do. And then *boom* so many pieces fell into place at just the right time for a happy-ever-after. Obviously that kind of stuff can happen, and when it does in real life it’s so cool, but in fiction it feels very… fictional. 

So, with all of these issues why did the book still garner three stars? Because, despite all that^, the book was captivating at times and the characters really came alive and were well developed and individual. I liked the story, although it wasn’t what I was imaging, and I enjoyed finding out what the characters were doing after the last book. 

I learned a lot about the war and how the civilians lived in Atlanta and all the problems they faced. The book reminded me once again how horrible war is. This series has brought the Civil war alive from the perspective of the women during that time. I commend the author on what seems like through research. 

Conclusion: 


I was pretty sure I wouldn’t read any more books in the series… But, then I saw the next book IS about a spy, so we’ll have to see. I sadly won’t recommend this book because of the romance I had to skim-read, but other than that I think it was nice. 

Rating: 


I’m giving “Yankee in Atlanta” 3 out of 5 stars, 4 out of 10 stars. 

*I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review*

Dangerous Love By Ray Norman: Book Review

Dangerous Love
By Ray Norman 
Find it on: 
First-Person 
Non-Fiction
256 Pages
About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
Ray Norman spent most of his life living in far-flung corners of the globe, working on long-term development projects and living out his calling as a Christian professional. By the time he arrived in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania around the turn of the millennium, he was veteran of life as an expat, at home in countries and cultures not his own. But in 2001, the world was about to change—and so was Ray’s life.
In the aftermath of 9/11—a time when tensions between Muslim and Western culture were peaking—Ray and his daughter, Hannah, made the short drive from their home to the Mauritanian beach. But instead of spending the afternoon enjoying the waves and the water, father and daughter found themselves hurtling back to the city, each with a bullet-hole pumping blood into the floorboards of their jeep.
Dangerous Love is an account of the Normans’ brush with violent extremism—and of the family’s unexpected return to Mauritania in the face of terrifying risks. This is the story of a call that could not be denied and of a family’s refusal to give up on love.

Why I Choose this Book: 
In a world where anything is apt to happen, knowing that God is still God and can change fear into love and bitterness into forgiveness is very important. It’s inspiring and encouraging to learn from others who have gone through difficult times and have come away closer to God. 
What I Thought About this Book:
For some reason it was difficult to get into. The prologue was gripping, but then I nearly instantly lost interest as the first couple of chapters went into great detail with history that was somewhat hard to follow. I laid the book aside for five months and only came back to it because I had agreed to read and review it.
And then boom, it was incredibly interesting. The author writes with long, flowing sentences and uses many wordy-descriptions, but once I got in the flow, it worked. By the end of the book I was actually grimacing at myself a bit, realizing that the whole Western mindset of hurry, hurry, hurry must be more ingrained in me than I realized. The author talks about how he had to learn to slow down to live among the people of Mauritania, and I’m pretty sure that’s why his book has the cadence it does. 
Overall it was really clear that Mr. Norman and his family really, really loved the people they worked among. That is huge – showing God’s love with actions, deeds, and words is a mind-blowing combination. Mr. Norman said when he and his daughter were shot, he didn’t feel any anger, instead he felt overwhelming betrayal and hurt that one of the people he loved so much had turned against him (even though they hadn’t known the person personally). 
I felt like Mr. Norman did a good job of telling the story with details, but not over dramatizing anything. He was honest and raw, describing how things went and how they were effected and how they chose to respond… I especially was impressed by Hannah (their ten-year-old daughter) and how she was able to handle the whole situation. 
Conclusion: 
This book is encouraging, inspiring, and a worth-while read. It obviously has some violence in it, but not much at all. I can’t remember having any impressions of it not being suitable for kids 14 and under, but I’d say it’s definitely okay for ages 15 and up.
Rating: 
I’m giving Dangerous Love Four Stars (eight out of ten).
*I received this book for free from BookLook in exchange for an honest review*

When Others Shuddered By Jamie Janosz: Book Review

When Others Shuddered 
By Jamie Janosz 

Find it on: 

Narrative 
Non-Fiction
208 Pages


About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
When Others Shuddered: Eight Women Who Refused to Give Up is the story of eight women called to serve God and who, in doing so, changed the world. They lived at the turn of the century, rubbing shoulders with the well-known men of their time, like John Rockefeller, Marshall Field, and Dwight Lyman Moody.
These women—Fanny Crosby, Mary McLeod Bethune, Nettie McCormick, Sarah Dunn Clarke, Emma Dryer, Virginia Asher, Evangeline Booth, and Amanda Berry Smith—were unique. They were single and married, black and white, wealthy and poor, beautiful and plain, mothers and childless. Yet, each felt called to make a difference and to do something—to meet a pressing need in her world.
These women wanted to live lives less ordinary. Their stories inspire us to follow God’s calling in our own lives. They teach us that each individual person can make a difference. These eight women will show you how God can use your life to change the world.
Why I Choose this Book: 
It’s encouraging and inspiring to read about people who have done great things for God and have lived their lives to the fullest. I like to read about their lives so I can “learn their secrets” so to speak and use my life to bring glory to God. 
What I Thought About this Book:
This book reminded me of a compilation of “book reviews” of the eight ladies’ lives that were featured. There were about 20-25 pages devoted to each woman and gave a general overview of their lives and notable accomplishments. 
There were a couple of ladies who I found myself wanting to learn more about (Evangeline Booth for instance), and then one or two who I knew a moderate amount about (like Fanny Crosby). Overall I enjoyed reading the book and it made me want to make sure I was living the life that God has for me so at the end of my race I can hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 
These ladies accomplished some pretty impressive feats and overcame many of the barriers of their time. They worked through personally difficulties and triumphed even when things were difficult. It is inspiring indeed to think about what all they went through and how they still emerged victorious. 
Sadly, there were several things about some of these ladies that I don’t want to mimic in my own life. There were times when their ministry took away from their families and several had falling apart marriages which made me sad. Obviously no one is perfect, and this was a good warning to live a life that pleases God in all aspects. (Also, just as obviously, this was a very brief overview of the ladies’ lives and so I have no clue what full stories are.) 

Conclusion: 
The book had a lot of good information, but the writing style wasn’t one I particularly enjoyed. Although I didn’t see typos, there were times where it was very redundant and didn’t feel well edited. That might just because I have editing on my brain right now, though. 

Rating: 
I’m giving When Others Shuddered Three Stars (five out of ten).

*I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review*

Copy Vs. Create & Life in Community: Book Reviews

Create Vs. Copy 
By Ken Wytsma 

Find it on: 

First-Person 
Non-Fiction
180 Pages


About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
Today’s leaders simply can’t succeed without putting creativity in their toolbox. If you don’t think you’re creative, that may sound discouraging. But take heart: creativity can be taught and practiced, and Create v. Copy shows you how.
This short, punchy book explores various aspects of creativity and imagination and leads you toward a healthy, confident, more innovative life mindset. It celebrates the good news of your God-given capacity to create and helps you harness it to take charge of your life, navigate changing times, and ultimately, flourish and succeed. 
Having traveled to dozens of countries, founded the leading international conference on justice and theology, and collaborated with scores of nonprofits, Wytsma is uniquely fit to help us be culture-shapers in a world of global change. He blends theology, history, and cultural observation to show us what being God’s creative image-bearers might look like today.
Whether you’re a parent, CEO, pastor, or politician, this fresh look at contemporary leadership will challenge the way you view your position of influence, and it will equip you to adapt and thrive in our perplexing yet exciting cultural climate.

Why I Choose this Book: 
It’s about being creative. The title drew me in and made me curious. 

What I Thought About this Book:
There were some elements of this book that I really liked, and several of the chapters hit the four star mark. I especially liked how the author pointed out that God is creative and that we are created in His image and are supposed to live creatively. The first time I heard that concept (about five years ago), I was shocked and delighted. To think of creating as a way that we can be like our heavenly Father is amazing. I still enjoy pondering that idea. 

I think that somewhere the author mentions he didn’t write this book for artists, and I really got that vibe. I was imagining something whimsical and thought-provoking and, well, now that I think about it, probably something that wasn’t as practical as Create Vs. Copy. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with the book, but I didn’t click with the author and there were times I felt like I was sloshing through the words. The book was focused more on the theoretical side of creativity than I was prepared for. It’s kinda like finding a suit when you’d been prepared for a multi-colored, twirling dress. 

Conclusion: 
Only a few chapters made me really sit up and take notice, but I think a lot of people will enjoy this book. It’s also got a cool style going on inside with various drawings and big red boxes with words. 

Rating: 
I’m giving Create Vs. Copy Three Stars (five out of Ten).
*I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review*


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Life in Community 
By Dustin Willis 

Find it on: 

First-Person 
Non-Fiction
186 Pages

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):
When people live in community moved by the gospel and marked by the Spirit, great things happen.  They commit to one another. They grieve together, sing together, eat, pray, and play together. They love, serve, honor, encourage, and provide for each other gladly. And they live on mission together. Hearts are healed, walls come down, and outsiders come in. No competition. No pretense. No vain conceit. Just full hearts breaking bread and giving freely.
It is nothing short of amazing.
Most of us live in a shadow of what God intended for us. Life in Community calls us into the light. Reclaiming Scripture’s stunning vision of gospel-centered community, it inspires us to live in love unbounded. Read it, live it, and join the movement: Help unleash the power of extraordinary community.

Why I Choose this Book: 
I’m trying to reach out and be more a part of the lives around me. It’s so easy to huddle in my office and seclude myself at work, but I want to really live and to touch lives and be touched by other people’s lives. 

What I Thought About this Book:
I enjoyed the book. It was insightful, rooted in scripture, easy to read, and filled with paragraph-long real-life stories that made it easy to relate to. 
The author does a great job of exploring what the Bible has to say about the way we’re supposed to live life. We can’t pull into ourselves and live an abundant, Godly life. Instead, we’re told to be involved with other people’s lives. We’re supposed to bare one another’s burdens, not forsake the gathering of believers, be hospitable, confess our faults to one another, and the list goes on. None of those things can be accomplished if we don’t interact with others. 
In Life in Community we learn practical ways to put these principles into practice and to live lives that make a difference and draw people closer to God. 

Conclusion: 
It was a good book, helpful, easy-to-read, and encouraging. 

Rating: 
I’m giving Life in Community Four Stars (Seven out of Ten).
*I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review*