Books to Read in 2019 & Giveaway

Folks! There are some great books for you to read in 2019, and today I’m not only talking about them, but I’m also giving one of them away. 😉

Giveaway Details:

Prize – Your choice of one of the books that I talk about in today’s or next week’s video. How To Enter – Comment on one of the posts where I talk about the books. (It can be on Youtube, my blog, or on my Instagram) Each comment equals one entry.
The Winner – One winner will be randomly selected the week of January first. If you live in the USA you can choose between a physical or ebook, if you’re outside of the USA you’ll win an ebook.

Books Talked About In This Video:
The Lie
Whatever the Cost
Love Does 
Love Lives Here
Goals

The Five Love Languages

Which one of these books looks most interesting to you?

The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide {Book Review}

The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide
for Churches and Ministries

BY: Basyle Tchividjian and Shira M. Berkovits

Find it on:

Amazon

Third Person • NonFiction  • 310 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Churches have always sought to be a safe haven for children and families, but many today are dealing with the tragic reality of child abuse. For the first time in history, this issue is finally being acknowledged by churches and faith communities. But the task of developing a policy to keep children safe can seem too overwhelming it feels like an impossible task to plan for every contingency. This results in churches neglecting to put working safety plans in place, leaving themselves, and the children they care for, vulnerable. This handbook, authored and edited by a multidisciplinary team of child abuse experts, is designed to help churches and faith communities formulate policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministries, school, and church. By walking through a wide range of scenarios, this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse policies and guide them through each step they should take to address the safety of children under their care. Covering vitally important topics including the warning signs of abuse, how to respond to abuse allegations and care for victims, and the legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries, working through this book will guide churches and Christian ministries in creating and implementing policies to protect children in a Christian environment from child abuse. This handbook is an invaluable resource for Christians who are seeking to educate themselves and others about child abuse and how they can best protect the little ones under their care.

Covering vitally important topics including the warning signs of abuse, how to respond to abuse allegations and care for victims, and the legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries, working through this book will guide churches and Christian ministries in creating and implementing policies to protect children in a Christian environment from child abuse. This handbook is an invaluable resource for Christians who are seeking to educate themselves and others about child abuse and how they can best protect the little ones under their care.

Why I Choose this Book:

I work with kids in our church some, and I want to continue working with kids in different venues as a writer, therefore I thought it would be helpful to learn how to respond correctly if I ever come across an instance of abuse.

What I Thought about this Book:

It’s not light reading. By the time the book arrived I was having second guesses about if it would really be worthwhile enough for me to read it compared to how much sadness the book was going to contain. It makes me so sad to think of how many kids have suffered, and that the world has so many horrible people that books like these actually need to be written.

In the end I decided to skim quite a bit of this book – I wanted to get the gist of the information, but in the position I’m currently in I didn’t need to have details on what different kinds of child abuse looks likes.

This book contained a lot of good, good information regarding how to make churches and ministries places of safety for children. Through the pages you can learn what signs of abuse are, what to do if you find out a child is being abused, and how to keep your church safe. This includes what to look for in volunteers and staff, and also how to keep your church building itself a place of safety and openness.

I was amazed at how thorough this book was. The point of the book is to help churches and ministries know how to write a good safeguarding policy, and then put it into place in everyday life. At the end of each chapter there were examples of what the wording could look like in an offical policy. There were also a lot of sample pages – samples for questions to ask potential staff, samples of letters to write while working on forming a committee to put the policy into place, and the list goes on.

Conclusion:

Although this book wasn’t fun to read, and it contained a lot of sadness, it was also enlightening and despite the skimming, I learned from it. Overall I’m thankful I read the book, although I don’t really recommend it to people who aren’t actively helping lead a church or ministry. For the intended audience though? Yes, I would recommend it.

Rating: 

I’m giving The Child Safeguarding 5 out of 5 stars, and 10 out of 10.

*I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for a review

Book Review Time!

Y’all, I haven’t posted any book reviews in August so far, but we’re about to change that! Today we have both a nonfiction and fiction review. Have you read either of these books?

The Lifestyle of a Watchman

by James W Goll

Find it on:

Amazon
Goodreads 

First Person • Nonfiction • 304 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Unique, Powerful Call to the Front Lines of Prayer

From bestselling author James W. Goll, a strategic prophetic leader in global intercessory prayer, comes an in-depth journey into the heart of what it means to be a “watchman on the wall.” Designed for serious worshipers and intercessors, this unique 21-day journey will help you move to the front lines of prayer–becoming more alert to the presence of God and praying his will with confidence.

With reflection questions, devotional prayers, and practical application, this book will help you
– discern the specific spiritual atmosphere around you
– discover the strategies of God for certain times
– pray more effectively for others
– understand how to intercede for current events

Walking in the lifestyle of a watchman means that you can be the sentinel that God is calling his mature intercessors to be. Learn to partner with the strategies of heaven and step boldly into your calling.

Why I Choose this Book:

Although prayer has always been a part of my life, I know I don’t pray enough, nor do I always pray the way I should. I’m working on becoming much more intentional about praying.

What I Thought about this Book:

Mr. Goll’s writing style is one that works well with the “average” person. I didn’t feel like he was talking down to the reader, and yet it was easy to understand what he was writing. Sometimes with theological books, I’m left going “Wait, what in the world does that even mean?” Thankfully that wasn’t the case with this book.

This book is supposed to be read over twenty-one days – one chapter for each day. I have a hard time keeping pace because I’m always chomping at the bit to finish a book. But, when I started the book I made the decision to go at the correct pace and try and implement what I was learning, and I’m glad I did.

I’ve always known that prayer was important, and this book really stresses that truth. In today’s age we have phones (etc…) constantly at our fingertips and therefore don’t experience many of the quiet moments like before (waiting in line, while taking a break, etc….). It’s more important than ever to be intentional to not only set aside time for prayer, but to also snag those moments throughout the day. I’m in awe of the fact that we can pray anywhere and at any time and I want to take advantage of that blessing.

Mr. Goll’s book talks about different types of prayers and different types of people who are called to pray for specific things. (Prophetic prayer, prayers for the church, etc….) He also highlights various prayer warriors at the end of each chapter. He includes a mixture of living, biblical, and historical people, with each person having made a difference in the world through their prayer.

The book contains a lot of scriptures – something I’ve always appreciated when it comes to a nonfiction book about studying the Bible/learning to have a closer walk with God.

Conclusion:

Some really good points were brought out in this book, but I was also a little bit surprised at some of the points that weren’t talked about in the book. Overall though, the book was well written and I would recommend it to people who are seeking to grow closer to God.

Rating:

I’m giving The Lifestyle of a Watchman 4 out of 5 stars, and 7 out of 10
*I received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review


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Befriending the Beast 

by Amanda Tero

Find it on:

Amazon
Goodreads 

Third Person • Fiction • 106 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

Belle has returned unannounced to the castle to restore her relationship with the king, her father. Her hopes are dashed with the devastating message: “The king refuses to see you.” Convinced that God has led her home, she is unwilling to return to Lord and Lady Kiralyn. Time is running out for the decision that will change her life. When tragedy strikes, will she and her father be pulled further apart or knit together? Could she stay at the castle even if she will never see her father again?

Why I Choose this Book:

I don’t generally read books with magic, so I grew up not reading fairy tales. I’ve always been slightly curious about the genre, so when I find a fairy tale retelling that is void of magic, I’m interested in reading more. The author was offering to let me read the book in exchange for an honest review, so I signed up.

What I Thought about this Book:

Sadly I think my lack of growing up with fairy tales lowers my ratings on fairy tale retellings because I don’t have the built-in love and fangirling that most readers of retellings have. From the reviews I’ve seen a lot of readers really enjoyed the twist of having the “beast” be her father instead of some romantic interest. I’m guessing that if I’d grown up with the original story I would have been really intrigued by this new look at the story.

This story was well written, with the descriptions being especially, well, descriptive. The main character also felt like she was well thought out and stayed true to her character the whole book. I liked the setting and the dialogue sounded like it fit the time period well.

Overall, I didn’t really find the book to be incredibly interesting, but I did enjoy reading it. There were a couple of times that I decided to read just a couple more pages because I was interested in finding out what was going to happen next.

Conclusion:

If you enjoy fairy tales, then I recommend this.

Rating:

I’m giving Befriending the Beast 3 out of 5 stars, and 5 out of 10

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review 

Top Ten Book Recommendations for Nonfiction Readers

Today I’m linking up with The Broke and Bookish for a Top Ten Tuesday post. The prompt for today was “Ten books we’d recommend to ________,” and I choose ten books I’d recommend to someone who wanted to read nonfiction. Even if you’ve never enjoyed nonfiction before, these books would be a great place for you to get your feet wet.

I came up with a variety of my four and five star reads, trying to stay away from books I’ve talked about recently. These books seriously contain fantastic stories, information, writing, and ideas. I’ll give a little blurb about each book below. I highly recommend all these books and have even bought extra copies of some of them to give away.

  1. Whatever the Cost
    Written by identical twin brothers, this book is brimming with wit, laughter, and solid information.
  2. Life Creative
    So, so beautiful. The book itself, the writing, the ideas that are shared. Living a balanced life while being a creative person is possible.
  3. 20 Things We’d Tell our Twenty-Something Selves 
    Told by a husband/wife team, the writing is honest, clear, and helpful. (What twenty-something person doesn’t need advice and honesty?)
  4. Every Body Matters 
    This one dives right into the heart of the matter that most people in the church today avoid.
  5. Screens and Teens
    Yes, yes, and yes. How to have a healthy balance in today’s age of screens all over the place.
  6. Knowing God By Name
    This book goes through various names of God, exploring what they really mean and who God really is.
  7. Dangerous Love 
    Getting shot by terrorists? Yep. Finding forgiveness? Yep. There’s a bit of an info dump near the beginning of the book, but when you get past that the story is riveting.
  8. God’s Smuggler 
    Smuggling. For God. Say, what??? Yeah – it’s a mouth-dropping (and sometimes laughable) true account of the life of a man from Holland.
  9. Forensic Faith 
    Picture this: A real-life detective sets out to prove that God couldn’t exist, and instead becomes a passionate Christian. Here’s how that happened.
  10. Control Girl
    Nothing like wanting to take control of a situation (or should I say every situation). But that’s dangerous. Here’s a good look at just how dangerous that can be.

Have you read any of these books? Which looks most interesting to you?

How to Successfully Pivot to a New Career – Love Your Work {Book Review}

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Love Your Work

BY: Robert Dickie

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

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First Person • NonFiction • 203 Pages

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It sounded like a smart book to read. In reality I already love my work, but the back cover blurb was interesting.

Backcover Blurb: 

Is your career all it could be?

Henry David Thoreau famously said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Does this describe your current work situation?

Whether you’re just starting out, looking for a change, or experiencing unwanted change, there’s a way forward. Love Your Work is about pivoting step-by-step to a more satisfying career. It will help you:

  • Dream up bigger goals than you have now—and meet them
  • Search out new careers or niches within your industry
  • Pursue work and success in the holistic sense

Maybe the new economy feels daunting to you. Maybe you’re not sure how to break out of your industry. Maybe you’re struggling to move up in rank. Wherever you are, if you don’t find your work meaningful and engaging, it’s time for a change, and Love Your Work will prepare you to make it.

Robert Dickie III is a career advisor and CEO passionate about helping people find their best work. And it shows. He offers motivating stories, insights into today’s market, and dozens of resources for growing in your career. By the end of Love Your Work, you won’t just be equipped for the next move, you’ll be inspired for it. You’ll see work differently, and you’ll want to pursue it like you never have before.

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The first several chapters took a while for me to get through – they didn’t exactly apply to where I am in life right now. It felt like information overload and rather boring, like a chunky article that I didn’t exactly know what the takeaway would be for me personally. (To clarify: I’m pretty sure this is because I’m not at a place where this information pertains to me, not because of the book itself.)

About a fourth of the way through the book though, it became a lot more relatable and I began finding gems as I read. There were a lot of great one-liners, quotes, ideas, and statistics. The writing felt a lot more engaging, and I found myself curious about what was going to be shared next.

It’s clear the author really researched the topic of how to build a successful career in todays economy. Some of the information regarding how much the career world is changing was a bit over my head, but mostly I found it intriguing. Obviously I knew that the field of technology is rapidly changing, but I hadn’t realized just how extremely fast that change is happening, so this book was rather eye-opening.

The author presents a balanced and Biblically congruent look at work and careers and giving your best. I appreciated his insights, suggestions, and the resources he suggested. (Not that I’ve looked into all the resources yet, because there were a lot of them.)

One of the “ah-ha moments” for me was when he was talking about someone who regularly asks his audiences what they would do differently if they could go back to when they were 18 and “start again” with their careers, lives, etc…. The author wrote what he’d do, and I realized that as a twenty-four-year-old, I have an advantage over literally everyone older than me who hasn’t stopped to ask themselves questions like that. That advantage, is of course, that I can ask myself that now and make changes at this age, instead of waiting until I’m older to realize it if I’m not on the path that I want to be in life.

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This book had a lot of good information, and even though I regretted requesting it for review at the beginning (because I didn’t feel like it was beneficial to me and it didn’t hold my interest), I’m glad I read it.

I would recommend it to anyone thinking of switching to a new career, or who is dissatisfied with their current job.

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I’m giving “Love Your Work” 3 out of 5 stars, and 5 out of 10.

*I received this book free from Moody Press

Next Up – Book Review

Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make 

BY: Jonathan Pearson

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

First Person • NonFiction • 128 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

There are 8 key attitude and action shifts that every great leader makes.

From entitlement to honor. From passive to passionate. From unreliable to consistent. Are you willing to make these shifts (and more) and be ready when the “next up” call comes?

The Millennial generation is poised to do something. We can either learn, grow, ask for help, and lead honorably into the future, or we can passively wait, feeling entitled for the keys to eventually be given to us. We can do better than that! Let’s take the initiative and rise to the challenge.

The future will be filled with leadership transitions at not only the highest levels in businesses, churches, and organizations all over the world, but also at regular, everyday places. Who will be ready to lead existing movements, groups, and causes? Or who will be ready to start the new ones?

Using practical, biblical, and contemporary examples and lessons, this book will help existing and burgeoning leaders pinpoint the areas of their lives where they still need to make the shift and learn to lead more effectively.

Why I Choose this Book: 

Because it sounded like a great book. (And happily it was.)

What I Thought about this Book:

The whole time I was reading the book I kept thinking of other people who I wanted to share the book with. I thought of my teenage cousins, especially one who have shown fantastic leadership qualities already. I thought about various parents. I thought about people my own age. All this to say, that although this book mainly geared toward young people, it applies to pretty much everyone. For some reason though, I kept thinking it would resonate extremely well with young guys. This could possibly be because the author wrote in such a personable, friendly way, that I kinda felt like I was sitting there listening to him in person. I don’t know how to explain his style exactly, but I was pretty impressed by it. In fact, I could almost imagine him saying things like “Dude” and “Bro” although in reality, he was eloquent. I know, confusing, right? Okay, let me put it this way: I think “cool” teens and proper parents would both be able to connect with this book and the author. And that’s a hard balance to master.

The purpose of the book is to help the Millennial generation start preparing now to be the leaders that our world needs when it’s time for us to take over the reins. That sounds rather overwhelming, but the author wrote the book in such a way that it felt encouraging instead of impossible. The 8 Shifts the author shared were spot-on and so incredibly needed and helpful for everyone – not just those who one day want to be leaders of a church, country, or business. (Which makes sense, because in reality, most of us are leaders in one capacity or another.)

Next Up was a breeze to read through, although obviously there is so much good information within the pages that need to be studied out and re-read and applied to everyday life. The book made me think that not only could it be read by someone alone, but it’s also one of those books that would be great to read in a group to promote discussions.

I look forward to hopefully reading more books by the same author if he publishes any more.

Conclusion:

Next Up is formatted well, easy to understand, packed full of good information, extremely practical, Biblically based, and short and sweet. I recommend it highly, especially to people in their teens, twenties, and thirties who want to invest their lives so that they make a difference for eternity.

Rating:

I’m giving Think Again 4 out of 5 stars, and 8 out of 10.

*I received this book from Moody Press