Bishop T.D. Jakes writes in Planted With A Purpose: God Turns Pressure Into Power (Faithwords, 2020) that the problems, stress, and uncertainty a person is dealing in their lives at the moment can be used to create power and blessings from God.
Jakes takes the symbolism of the Bible story where Jesus Christ speaks in the book of John, of being the vine and his followers are the branches to a different approach. Many preachers use the story to discuss being deeply rooted in the soil and connected to Christ. Although Jakes uses some of this as illustration, he focuses on the vine in terms of the wine making process.
Jakes uses stories from his own life, like growing up poor and wanting to preach before he was ready, to encourage the reader that those times in his life, although he wanted things immediately to pass, were learning experiences to give him the skills and attitude to be ready when those things in his life came. He tells the reader that their current predicaments which they are facing, just like grapes being crushed in wine making, are not “the end game,” but a “single step” into the process of making God’s “eternal wine.” He also states that an unplanted seed (the person who is going through the trials), is nothing more than “constrained potential.”
The book is an easy read, with short chapters, running usually of five pages or so. Each chapter could be used to read one at a time, or can be read many chapters at a time. Even though one could read the chapters one at a time, it is not really in a devotional from, where there are many Bible verses in the chapters. Jakes uses Bible verses in the book, but it is not all verse throughout. He uses Biblical stories like Abraham and Sarah, Jesus, and The Israelites to illustrate some of his points. He discusses how Christian’s lives are part of the fermenting process and how the symbolic characteristics of wine pairing can be used in their relationship with God.
The book, although touching on a serious subject of dealing with people’s trying times, is mostly upbeat and very encouraging Several thoughts that stayed with this reviewer are “our weeping endured for the night, but joy comes in the morning,” and how God wastes nothing , so followers may not see God moving, it doesn’t mean he isn’t.
In the current situation that people are dealing with the Corona virus, some Christians may need to read this book for encouragement, if they are wondering how their lives are currently being pressed in terms of stress, and other uncontrollable situations. This is a timely released book that may lift up those that need a boost.
This review copy was sent courtesy of the publisher.
Planted With A Purpose: God Turns Pressure Into Power by T.D. Jakes (FaithWords, 2020) ISBN: 9781546017813 (hardcover) 978-1-5460-1782-0 (ebook) can be found at http://www.faithwords.com
The book Galatians: A Biblical Study by Joyce Meyer (FaithWords, 2020) is a study of the Bible book written by Paul, with added insights on the topics detailed.
Meyer gives a guide accompanying the letter to the church of Galatia, with topics as following and understanding the Old and new Law, truly knowing God, and the battle between works of Faith and the Fruits of The Spirit. Meyer’s previous writings are usually focused towards the women in the church, but this guide is neutral in gender, and is not just for the females.
Meyer walks through issues such as how the people in the church were living at the time when Paul was writing the letter, rituals and worshiping other Gods, and how she calls the “just once” lie can affect a Christina’s walk in life. She uses Paul’s other writings for added helpful points to continue her thoughts on the verses, which are mostly looked at by five or less verses at a time. Meyer also uses stories about Jesus, Abraham, John The Baptist, and others to show her thoughts, not just Paul and the book that is being looked at.
The format of the book is very much similar to the devotional Our Daily Bread, with short comments followed by questions to ponder on at the end of each chapter, in case the reader wants to write notes at the end of the sections. The wording is not only for males and females, but it is not over the head of readers; Meyer writes in easy to read phrasings that both beginners and knowledgeable Bible readers can enjoy without getting frustrated by word jargon.
The reader could read this as a devotion, with one section or chapter at a time, or several chapters at once. The flow of the text and writing was smooth, and considering I am not a huge fan of televised preachers, or Meyer’s work in general, this was a pleasant surprise that makes me want to see if all her other commentaries on Paul’s writings are as good (maybe more from the publisher to send me?? )
You do not have to be a fan of Meyer or her writing to enjoy this companion to the Bible, and the reader does not have to have the Bible sitting next to them while reading it; she puts the verses at the beginning of each chapter. Both new Christians, and older ones, can take something away from this text.
This review copy was sent courtesy of the publisher
Galatians : A Biblical Study by Joyce Meyer (FaithWords, 2020) 978-1-5460-2608-2 (hardcover) 978-1-5460-2607-5 (ebook) can be found at : http://www.faithwords.com.
Throughout the Bible there have been questions asked by God and Jesus , not because they do not know the answers, but in order to bring people back to a closer place. Questions like “Where Are You,” asked in the Garden of Eden, wasn’t asked because the God didn’t know the whereabouts of Adam and Eve (he created the universe and everything in it, so he definitely knew where they were), but to get their attention .
In her book The Inquisitive Christ ( Faith Words, 2020), Carla L.T. Murphy looks at the questions that Jesus asked throughout the Bible, which are meant to bring awareness to create a point of decision making in the Christian’s life of getting truly intimate with Christ.
The opening of the book tells how the author and her family packed up their belongings and moved to Ireland , where throughout the book she references situations while comparing them to the Biblical references such as learning the reasons behind sheep shearing among other things. Several chapters start off with some lifestyle rituals and scenery commentary about life in Ireland, which gives a wonderful setting to the writing. Murphy also discusses how Socrates was known for asking questions and was considered one of the greatest thinkers of all time because he pondered reasons using his mind.
Some of the questions discussed in the text begin with the Garden of Eden, where the serpent temps Eve by asking “Did God say not to eat from the tree?” , to God asking “Where are you,” and “Who Told you you were naked?”, using the points that questions always lead somewhere, either to doubt and mistrust , or to the source of truth. Other questions tackled are Jesus’s quotes “Do You Want To Be Healed,” “What Do You Want Me To Do For You,” and “Why Are You Trying To Kill Me.” Murphy uses these quotes to examine not only the reasons for asking these questions, but how they affect the Christian relationship in preventing a closeness with God, answering some of the ideas with solutions like God never sleeps on his followers although they sleep on him, how Christians want a guarantee in following God, and how human pride affects the relationship.
The concept of the book is wonderfully thought of, and at times, too much thought is put into it. Murphy is an instructor at Liberty University’s School of Divinity, and her writing shows that she is very intelligent in her topic. Several times throughout the book some of the points being made were over this reader’s head that made me wonder what I just read. This is not a bad thing, but for one who prefers simple down to earth ideas, some of this was too much for my liking. I enjoyed the writing of the Celtic lifestyles she throws into the chapters, and would gladly read a book about more of her Ireland living with her family, and her references to the Lord of The Rings and the Narnia books are well placed. This book is not geared for beginning Christians, although some of the points are well made, as someone who grew up in the church since an early age, again, some of the writing was over my head, with very descriptive details and wordiness.
For those that would like to dive into an intense study of several questions in the Bible , similar to signing up for a Philosophy course, the topic will appease to those, however for some that are not ready for a intense mind dwelling read, this book may be too much at times for newer Christians.
The Inquisitive Christ by Carla L.T. Murphy (Faith Words, 2020) ISBN: 978-1-5460-3837-5 (hardcover) 978-1-5460-3838-2 (ebook) can be ordered at: http://www.faithwords.com .
Geared Towards: Mature Christians
For Fans Of: Philosophy, Christian Living, Christian Studies, Biblical Studies
Naked and Unafraid from Kevin Gerald (Faithwords, 2020) is a Christian Living book that encourages readers to not just be content with where they are at, and challenges them to take chances and overcome feelings of criticism, by moving on from the past to be the best person they can be for God’s Kingdom.
Gerald uses the Bible story where David is dancing in the streets unashamed of what others may think of him as the backdrop for his suggestions. David was king at this time, and dancing in the street after throwing off his royal robes was unbecoming of royalty. Gerald states that while Christians should be dancing in the streets like David did, in terms of living their lives, many of followers choose the safe way by window watching through life.
The book gives easy to read points to help out readers, along with going back to David’s life as references, to support his ideas. Topics like defining vulnerability, abandoning small thinking, comparing the differences between criticism and critique, how to own your life story (the good and the bad), and being able to move on from those past experiences to be a better person .
Like many books in this genre, each chapter ends with a series of questions that are asked, which the reader can further ponder on the topics in the chapters. The deeper thinking is nice for those that want to use the book as a devotional by reading one chapter or section a day.
The best section of the book is towards the middle, dealing with how to overcome criticism. In our world today filled with social media and others thinking they have the right to comment on everything and are easily offended, this was a very strong section of the book, and was the most enjoyable. One does not have to be a Christian to take something away from this section of the book, but the writer gives those in the church a nice boost in this area, because the church is not immune to the criticism. Another learnable experience is how to move on from the past by not be easily offended by everything in life that come your way, and owning your story, which the writer states that in doing that , people need to avoid playing the victim game, which seems to be the “in” thing (my words) to do now days, full of entitlement mentalities. One great passage in this section states that if you are hurt, you get to decide if it is a chapter in your life, or the whole, story, which the writer defines as the “author privilege.”
Another great thing about the writing is how the author jumps right into the topic, without two or three chapters of introductions, like some other Christian Living writers may use before getting to the topic at hand. However, a few chapters started to drag where I read it and wondered “What did I just read.” Overall though, the best parts in the text (mentioned above) overcame these few small sections and delivered some great, and powerful, advice. Many parts in the book can appeal to those people in the business world, not just in a church setting, with the writer’s take on risk taking and getting up from failures to try again, and topics like handling stress, getting more involved in the church (or community) , and turning setbacks into comebacks, are helpful universally great ideas that anyone can learn to incorporate. Kevin Gerald ‘s writing comes off as honest and relatable, and not over the heads of his readers, which is a plus, especially when driving home the messages he wants to send out.
This review copy was sent courtesy from the publisher.
In his latest book, famous preacher Joel Osteen covers the topic of receiving God’s favor in The Power Of Favor: The Force That Will Take You Where You Can’t GoOn Your Own (Faith Words, 2019).
Osteen’s preaching style and ministry is based on a positive outlook on Christianity, where others may focus on more serious topics, and Osteen’s basic viewpoints are featured here. In the book he suggests that getting in touch more with God and less about where the person’s current surroundings are, they will see more production and good things happen in their lives. He uses the idea that the word favor means “Goodness,” which by constantly speaking it into the follower’s life, God will lead them into abundance and overcome defeat.
Osteen uses Biblical illustrations from Joseph, Daniel, and Elisha (many times) to show how the favor of God can work. He also uses people from his church and others who have written him, as examples as well, from businessmen (who started with nothing and have huge numbers of clients) to how his church in Texas ended up getting an arena for their church that used to be the home of the Houston Rockets.
Just like many of his other books, the writing is simple and in short chapters, which is a plus. Sometimes books get too filled with religious jargon that the reader doesn’t know what the point being made is; not here with Osteen, which is one of his charms in his writing and preaching. However, if you have read his others books (I have read several of his), there is not much new here in terms of getting his point across, even using the story about how the church ended up in the arena multiple times in this book alone. It’s great that his church ended up with a wonderful facility for their services, and that fact that he is thankful for the success of the church, but it seems to be one of the only things he keeps repeating that got this reader to get annoyed at the constant referring to the story. The same goes with his illustrations of Elisha, which again, is constantly used as examples throughout the book, multiple times to the point that I don’t need to use my Bible now to read the story of this character.
Some argue over the fact that Osteen’s preaching is all about goodness and prosperity. I understand the point, in which that if everyone followed his models, there would be no one struggling to pay bills, everyone would be a success money wise, and have fame. This contradicts what the Bible states about love of money, and how those seeking worldly possessions will be treated in Heaven. I do believe that God can do anything and having this attitude that Osteen presents will help get rid of a defeated “Woah is me” attitude. Some people just need to hear positive messages , and he does achieve it here. I read the book in a short time, and kept the pages turning for the most part. I enjoyed looking at the viewpoint in the affirmative, which is needed.
Those that have read Osteen’s books in the past know what they are getting in regards to reading his books, and this is no different; a positive outlook with some charm and humorous takes at times on a topic that he preaches regularly on. Even with some of my critiques of the book , it was still an entertaining read that makes the reader change their outlook on things, even if you are not going to get out of debt, get a big paying job, or success like is presented here.
This book was sent courtesy of the publisher.
The Power Of Favor: The Force That Will Take You Where You Can’t Go OnYour Own by Joel Osteen (Faithwords, 2019) ISBN: 978-1-4555-3433-3 (hardcover), 978-1-4555-3436-4 (ebook), 978-1-5460-3852-8 (large print) can be found at http://www.faithwords.com
FaithWords is a division of the Hachette Book Group.
Even though I grew up in churches, I will admit I don’t know much about BeBe Winans. I do know that he and his sister CeCe are Gospel music legends, who have won many awards throughout their careers. I can not name any of their songs or albums, although I do listen to several Christian artists.
I was hoping by reading BeBe’s book Born For This: My Story In Music (Faithwords, 2019) I would know more about his career and who he is. Unfortunately, I learned very little about the man behind the music.
The book starts off compelling and emotional, with BeBe describing he and his family’s time dealing with the sickness and death of one of his brothers Ronald. The book keeps a telling and entertaining read at first, in that it is not a normal autobiography with dates and a timeline, but written where the chapters start off with a Bible verse (or quote) and then that part of his life is retold trying to keep the theme of the quote or verse. This made the book appealing to me at first, until the halfway point.
BeBe recalls his youth and growing up in the church, along with his father’s story of how he (his father) changed his name to Winans . BeBe also details how his church became a family to him, with discipline, respect, and a love for community that were all installed into his values. BeBe tells about how he started to feel a little disappointed how his older siblings (including sister CeCe ) got their musical breaks before him, by auditioning for the Praise The Lord Club show, which was run by Jim and Tammy Bakker, who wanted only his sister and not BeBe.
The Praise The Lord Club stories start off interesting, where once BeBe gets a break singing in the choir, and then later, duets with his sister, stating that there was shock by the audience (along with complaints from viewers) that African American singers were being showcased on the show. The writer starts to tease friction among those that helped broadcast the show, while being viewed as the pet projects of the Bakkers.
Halfway through the book is where things start to fade. Winans tells about how living in the South, along with singing on television and on records, turns into a race issue. I am not doubting the writer’s experiences in having to deal with being the one of the first major acts thrown onto a southern television show (who am I to judge what the author experienced), but the way it is written , the book turns into a “woah is me” experience. The early part of the book shows the drive that BeBe had wanting to be a singer, but the last half of the book turns out to be someone who almost complains about having the success.
There is a story about Tammy Bakker swearing right before a live broadcast, where the writer details the swear word several times in the following pages (which may seem odd for a Christian book to keep using the word on so many pages). BeBe also tells that a close white female friend of his gets fired by the Bakkers after the Bakkers claim that she and Winans were becoming too close. The reply in the book to this was “if people think we’re dating, let’s date,” almost to shove it into people’s faces. For someone that uses the book to claim he was judged by racial problems, the way this event is written makes it like he was dating her because she was white. There is a lack of detail describing an actual build up to a relationship before this story.
The book ends up just ending where Winans starts becoming famous with some of his albums. The book basically covers his early career. He does have some nice stories about befriending Whitney Houston, but the second half is mostly either almost complaining about not being as famous as he should be early on, to God promising him he would be famous and rich and questioning God when it didn’t happen as quick. When the reader wants to see his thoughts on the results of Jim and Tammy’s fall in the Christian world, Winans just brushes the events over , stating that they are human and it’s in God’s hands. I understand him not wanting to bash those that gave him a break , but it just stops the conversation that he spent a lengthy part of the book talking about with one minor sentence as the conclusion.
I am not sure if it is the editing or this was the way Winans wanted to express his thoughts, but the overall book seems flat. It starts off well, but after the halfway point, it turns into one of those books that he doesn’t seem grateful for what he was given. There is a part in the book where he mentions being mistaken for a valet parker while standing outside of a fancy restaurant. He then writes how he wants to go off on that person. The book tends to focus more on the race issue than being a Christian book discussing his music (which is what the title suggests). The Bible verses that are featured in the book do not get much of an explanation. I could see a normal secular musician writing a book about being angry about things in his past, but not a Gospel legend from a Christian publisher.
Just because I was not a fan of the book overall, due to the way I interpreted the voice of the writer, the work that goes into a book is not dismissed in my review. However, since Winans is a famous person, who is considered an icon, I expected more stories on his music (the writing of the songs, some studio stories, etc) and less about how God was supposed to make him famous earlier than he became. There is a lack of Christian viewpoints for the reader, and more of an entitlement attitude that should be used in a Christian Living/Inspirational genre. It lacks emotion and detail in the stories given that one would expect more from a legendary musician.
This copy was sent courtesy of the publisher.
Born For This: My Story In Music by BeBe Winans (Faithwords, 2019) ISBN: 978-1-5460-0989-4 (hardcover), 978-1-5460-0988-7 (ebook).
Wouldn’t it be nice to have one day a week to do nothing but recharge yourself in body, spirit, and mind, shutting off the emails, cell phones, and whatever else gets in the way? Christian writer Robert Morris shows readers how to do this in his new book Take TheDay Off: Receiving God’s Gift Of Rest (FaithWords, 2019).
Morris, the founding senior pastor at Gateway Church in Dallas Fort-Worth, encourages Christians to re-evaluate their lives and how to get one day of rest each week, full of distractions, along with why it must be done.
Morris takes an approach on the subject, first by stating that taking a day of rest is the 4th Commandment which God gave Moses, so if Christians can take the other Commandments seriously (such as “don’t murder, or steal”), why should getting a day of rest be any lesser than the others? Morris then describes how Christians need to re-fuel the major parts of a person’s life: the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, by bringing up ideas such as if a person is not sleeping well at night, worrying about bills, the kids, or the job, it may be because the person is not trusting God that he is going to take care of his followers.
Morris uses other examples, such as the success the chain Chic-fil-A has by being closed on Sundays, yet still making a bigger profit than many of the competitors, to detailing the difference between resting on the Sabbath verses taking a vacation, having the day off written on a calendar where the person does “nothing,” even if it offends others at the office, friends, or those that want to schedule something on that day. He also walks the reader through why people do not want to rest one day a week (and the fears that it brings), to how important overall a day of rest has on a person and their ministry, to the subject on if the Sabbath day has to be on a Sunday or another day during the week. Morris also gives tips a step by step plan to get comfortable on the rest day, and some things the person should do (and should not do) during that day to get closer with God.
The book is mostly enjoyable, there are parts towards the middle and end that (to me) seemed to repeat itself in wording that has already been said earlier in the book (the book is still just over 200 pages, so it is relatively short). The first half of the book was really insightful; with Morris explaining that God even rested after creating the universe so why shouldn’t his followers, and using examples of Adam and Eve (as well as other Biblical stories), to explain why rest is important, along with doing work.
One problem I have with books like these, especially in the Self-Help area, is that not all things are equal in terms of people’s lives. I am definitely going to take the things in this book and apply it, but not every person can follow these steps, due to situations. Yes, everyone should be able to have one day of rest , away from the workplace, family, and even church responsibilities, but can they? A person that is currently working two (sometimes three) jobs just to make ends meet, due to scheduling, can not be able to have a full day to themselves, since many employers do not work around other job schedules (especially in my area of Columbiana, Ohio, where jobs are very scarce). If a person has to work several jobs just to make ends meet, does that mean they are breaking one of the Commandments, when the author writes a section about God judging the person’s heart? One may state that the person is not fully trusting God for providing, but is that really the case? Not everyone gets to choose the work schedule, like famous writers or pastors (or business owners) to be free to make one day full day possible. This is NOT a knock on the author and his ideas and points made, but just a commentary on the real world in certain areas of the world.
Overall the book is easy to read, and besides a few questions I have on the subject ( and a few parts that repeat themselves), the book’s is an unique and new way to look at not only how Christians should renew themselves throughout the week, but also how to look at their values and goals by being Christians.
This book was sent courtesy of the publisher.
Take The Day Off : Receiving God’s Gift Of Rest by Robert Morris (Faithwords, 2019) ISBN: 978-1-5460-1016-6 (hardcover), 978-1-5460-1014-2 (ebook) can be found at : http://www.faithwords.com.
Adam Dressler’s book this is how we pray: Discovering a Life of Intimate Friendship with God ( FaithWords, 2019) helps Christian Living readers in looking at the sometimes confusing world of prayer. Dressler answers questions and takes an everyday approach to the topic where some Christians get caught up in, and sometimes, due to leadership ideals, becomes hard when it comes to applying it to their own lives.
The book defines the word prayer in basic terms as “a friendship with God.” Each chapter walks through some of the ways a person can use prayer in their everyday lives. Does someone have to pray at length or under twenty minutes? What does someone do when they don’t know what do pray about? Is prayer just asking for things? What if the person is upset with God, and finds it hard to pray at that time? These topics are covered throughout the book (with the author’s personal experiences in covering these obstacles) along with providing Biblical text to back up his views.
Some of the chapters deal with praying with gratitude, how to deal with everyday distractions, what to do when the person praying feels like their prayers are not being answered, and being silent during prayer time.
One of the more entertaining parts in the text is the chapter titled “Others,” where Dressler tells about all of the stereotypical opinions that were given to him when he first became a Christian, which brings a humorous side to the book. Anyone who first becomes a Christian (or those looking back at the time when they did), can understand this chapter and the viewpoints, such as when they were told they had to read or pray for a certain amount of time, and getting up early at 5 A.M. to study (even if the person is not a morning person). A story about a friend of his who had a worn out Bible, stating that all Bibles should look like this, hit home here (especially since I don’t like when people write in their books, and as expensive as Bibles are, I’d always took care of mine-not let it get all worn with pages falling out).
The writing brings a more down to earth approach to the topic, as opposed to some books that seem to go over the heads of readers. This book can be geared for Christians on any level, not just beginners or only to experts. There are points that can be applied to anyone. Dressler’s writings does not come off as someone who is a pastor (although he is), and his admittance of failures in certain aspects are comforting. He is not a know it all writer. A few of the chapters, towards the middle, tend to drag a little for my taste, but the book is an easy read overall, where Christians can take away some relief if they feel their payer life is not prefect or up to what others may seem is the standard.
This review copy was sent courtesy of the publisher.
this is how we pray: Discovering a Life of Intimate Friendship with God by Adam Dressler (FaithWords, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-5460-3504-6 hardcover, 978-1-5460-3503-9 ebook) can be found at http://www.faithwords.com
FaithWords is a division of the Hachette Book Group.
Most people think of angels during the Christmas season, either in the gift shops or in holiday movies such as It’s A Wonderful Life, where Jimmy Stewart encounters the angel Clarence. Angels are seen hanging in the lobbies of churches and all throughout the television screens (usually on the Hallmark Channel) during this time.
Perry Stone’s book, This Season of Angels: Angelic Assignments During This Prophetic Season (FaithWords, 2018), takes a look at what angels are, their role, and their powers according to the Biblical texts.
The word season is defined as a “set moment in time” in the book, and uses this concept to take the reader through the different types of angels, what each purpose is for them, and also tries to answers the limitations of the power of angels. The back of the book features something that could be considered a “question and answer” segment in the Appendix section , where Perry tries to explain some of the myths about angels that may be construed throughout people’s lives. Perry also uses personal experiences, including stories from his father’s life, with their encounters of angels.
Stone writes how some of the angel’s roles are to bring warnings, use prophecy, and bring blessings to people, using stories from the Bible to show the roles , and the limitations that they have in spiritual realm.
The first part of the book started off confusing, where this reader seemed to be bombarded with information, wondering if the book was over my head (and I have spent many years in churches and reading the Bible), but once the first few chapters settle down, the book ends up explaining itself nicely, without tons of Bible verses that confuses people when some Christian writers release books. The writer explains his topic, while using the Bible and some Greek definitions to help the reader. Some Biblical books go overboard with the verses, along with in-depth Greek and Hebrew history, but Perry’s use of these definitions are just the right amount (there are parts where he writes that he will not bog down the reader with twenty more verses on the subject).
Overall, the book is an interesting read, and those that like the subject of angels will enjoy the book. The chapters are mostly short, and if you can get through the first chapter or so, the flow comes together (maybe it was just the day that I started reading it that made it confusing, which happens as well). The personal experiences from Perry through friends and family members add a nice touch to the reading, and is not just all Bible verses. Even if you are not a fan of Biblical preachers, this book is still a nice text to read for those that want to discover spiritual entities.
This review copy was sent courtesy of FaithWords books, a division of the Hachette Book Group, INC.
This Season of Angels: Angelic Assignments During This Prophetic Season by Perry Stone (2018, FaithWords) ISBN: 978-1-5460-3530-5 (Hardcover), 978-1-5460-3529-9 (ebook) can be ordered at http://www.faithwords.com.
The dictionary describes the word murmuration as a flock of starlings. Other science sites define the word by a bunch of starlings that flock together, darting through the sky in unison. However the definition is used, it is a unique site in nature, with the birds all together in the same direction.
“Designed For More” (FaithWords, 2018) by Lucas Ramirez with Mike Devito, takes the theory of murmuration and applies it as a symbol for the Christian church as a call for unity and direction.
This Christian Living book takes one of the fascinating parts of nature, and encourages Christians to be more like the starlings, mentioning that if everyone is united , like the starlings, the focus and goals can be achieved for a better church. The book also looks into how the starlings approach murmuration, in regards to all being on the same goal and being unified, which helps prevent predators from invading the group.
Other concepts that Ramirez uses in his writings is the theory that even though members of the church have different opinions, they can still be a united front in the overall goal of the church, without fighting amongst each other. He encourages others to use these tools in the local communities , using some business techniques like “creative tension,” along with discussing egos and competition that creeps into the church, which divides the overall goal. “Designed For More” then goes in depth on 7 Principals that will unleash the movement of the church to become more united.
Ramirez’s and Devito’s book is an interesting and educational read. The word unity is used so much in today’s culture, especially in politics, that I almost was going to skip over this book when I was approached to review it. However, the creative symbolism of using the murmuration by the writers made the book appealing to me. Although it is a Christian Living book, that included Biblical verse in it (both writers are in the ministry), there are ideas in here that could be used for organizations and businesses as well. There are many good ideas in this writing, including the writers explaining the differences between discussion and dialogue, and other concepts that a person can use in any aspect in life, without having to be a church going Christian.
The publication includes bold type sentences to enforce the main parts of the section, along with Devito’s contribution to the work in a separate box on the page (both are nicely packaged for the book to make it easy to read and understand). There is not a bunch of deep Bible jargon as well, which the reader easily can apply the suggestions (and remember them), without being boggled down with in depth religious text that by the time the chapter is done, the reader can’t remember what the points were.
The only suggestion that I questioned from the authors dealt with what they called “Creating Seven Influential Neighbors.” The total idea is not a bad concept, but the writers make it out that the reader has so much free time in their world throughout the week or month that this is achievable. I understand changing priorities to help make the church and communities a better place to create unity, but this section, the suggestions are not possible to achieve between a person’s work, family, and church life to have that much time to spend monthly-something has to give. This is not a knock on the idea or the writers, but when reading the suggestion, this reader was questioning “How can all of this possibly be done in a month?” However this small part does not deter from the point of view the authors try to convey.
“Designed For More” is a book that should be read by church leaders, and even community organizers. Although it is a Christian book, there is great sections in here discussing the science (along with interviews with people who study starlings) that make it educational. The reader can take many things from this book, especially if they are struggling with where the goal of their church is heading.
This review copy was sent courtesy of FaithWords and Hatchette Books.
“Designed For More” by Lucas Ramirez with Mike Devito (FaithWords, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-5460-3298-4 ebook: 978-1-5460-3296-0) can be found at : http://www.faithwords.com, @Faithwords (Twitter), @FaithWordsBooks (Instagram), and Facebook.com/FaithWords.