Discovery House Bible Atlas by John Beck

Here’s one of the most recent major Bible atlases out there. Written by Dr.  John Beck, this volume has in its favor being written by someone who has spent much time in Bible lands and is clearly passionate about teaching biblical geography. You will appreciate as a Bible believer his consistent, conservative stance on the subjects you find in a Bible atlas. While he is a scholar, and while he has written in over 300 pages to the extent of particularly scholarly works, he has aimed at accessibility and serious Bible students. He has succeeded in reaching that audience and as a pastor I enjoyed the atlas too.

The maps look different than those in other volumes, and sometimes the scope, scale, and even color were not my favorite. As that is of course only a matter of taste, I should point out a careful accuracy in them. There were also plenty of them covering more biblical events than some other major atlases. No matter your own eye for graphics, the educational value of these maps are unmistakable.

What especially stood out in this volume to me was the pictures. They were vivid, copious, and gorgeous. I found them a visual treat. They even covered places most Bible tours never get to.

The writing struck me as that of a warmhearted preacher. In that many Bible students have learned much from preaching, I feel that increases its value for serious study. You probably can’t go wrong with this Bible atlas.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Prayer by A. W. Tozer

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We all know that A.W. Tozer is a powerful, provoking, and spiritual writer par excellence. Since he died in 1963, we aren’t getting any new titles, yet W. L. Seaver has complied Tozer’s thoughts on prayer from across all his writings and given them too us here. While it can’t compare to his original writings, this volume accomplishes something worthwhile, and , frankly,  more powerful than I anticipated. 

You’ll be hooked in chapter one when he blows up our emergency-only praying. Praying is meant to be a whole-life experience as he well explains. If we would expand our prayer life to every area including the most mundane then we would not have these big blocks of our lives totally out of touch with our Lord. 

Especially moving were chapters on praying without condition, on wrestling in prayer (he removes much confusion here), and truth has two wings. While those were my favorites, or most personally challenging to me, there isn’t a dud in the book.

Seaver gives a small review after each of Tozer’s writings that is well done.  If you want to use it with a study guide as well, the section “reflect and apply” is there for you. Some of the later chapters even come from previously unpublished sermons.

You wouldn’t have thought a compilation volume could pull off being a major work on prayer, but I think it can worthily take its place on your shelves by the great classic volumes. It’s really that good!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Who Moved My Pulpit? By Thom Rainer

The subtitle “Leading Change In The Church” says it all. Rainer is the premier expert on church change as he has exclusively given his life over to helping with local church issues. It’s the same size as his popular “I Am a Church Member”, but this time he aims specifically at those who are actively trying to change churches from a dying model.

Don’t confuse this book with those telling you to change to a specific new model. He only reminds us of our stated mission of reaching people and assumes pastors will seek the Lord about the specific changes needed to bring that out. He focuses on dealing with the inevitable resistance that will be found in most established churches to change.

He reminds us that no matter how needed change may be, change can be badly mismanaged and doomed to failure. The bulk of the book is 8 elements of implementing change. These elements have been beaten out on the anvil of hard experience and seem incredibly wise.

Rainer is a man easy to appreciate. There is a humility and real concern that pervades his writings. He instructs without a heavy hand and seems to be genuinely rooting for you on these pages.

As a pastor, I found real instruction in this volume. It’s another winner from Rainer’s pen.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Pearl Harbor by Craig Nelson

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This book is a great read. Besides being a great retelling of a pivotal event in the history of our nation, this volume succeeds in putting Pearl Harbor in its proper context.  It clarified what I knew and taught me much that I did not. 

Nelson divides his book into three main parts. Part 1 discusses the roads to war in five informative chapters. Since you know what is coming, bad judgments jump off the page. Still, it makes for fascinating reading. That the politicians and military brass could be taken that by surprise is shocking and would be unforgivable were it not for the incredible war effort put together every day after December 7, 1941 until victory.

The heart of the book is in Part 2 that describes December 7th itself. I loved his taking a chapter for the attack from the air against everything except the ships.  It was gripping and you could so visualize the events. When he turned to the battleships it only became more intense and powerful. What many sailors faced is simply beyond description. I loved too how he explained the fear that raged for days after the attack. I felt I got inside the minds of those who lived it on these pages.

The last part cherry picked history from the rest of the war and beyond flawlessly to conclude the story of Pearl Harbor. It was the perfect length to make sense of a senseless event.

This book is a winner for anyone who loves reading history in a style worthy of a novel with careful reconstruction of events. I imagine you’ll love it. 

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Your Marriage Masterpierce by Al Janssen

I’ve read several great marriage books, but what stands out about this one is how inspirational it is. Others are better in explaining key Bible teaching on marriage, and yet others in practical detail, but this one stands out in making you want to be what you should be in your marriage and fulfill God’s will in showing grace.

Janssen clearly excels in creative writing. The book is a joy to read. He uses Bible stories and personal marriage vignettes to make his point. In his Bible stories, he stretches some of them a little beyond what the text can bear, but he makes some great points too. His use of Adam and Eve was his best and most thought provoking.

One of the things that he gives us that I find too often missing is his call to sacrifice in our marriages as our Lord does for us. He believes in protection from gross abuse and practicing tough love in serious situations, but he compels us to sacrifice in our relationship. Sacrifice can feel like pain at times, but that is exactly too what the Lord has done. So many run when loving endurance would not only have honored the Lord, but also likely yielded a great marriage. Simply sticking it out helps many as most couples who dedicate themselves to the marriage, usually rate their marriage great five years later. Selfishness makes many run. For example, he uses Hosea and Gomer, as well as a modern-day Hosea and Gomer to well make his point. (Chapter 14 is riveting).

This turns out to be an updated edition, but somehow I missed the earlier one. In any event, it is a jewel. 

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

New Testament Theology by Donald Guthrie

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Here is a paperback reprint of a classic. It’s been held in high regard for several years and has not yet been superseded. As I have delved into it, I am most amazed by its depth and scope. Some have found it too detailed, and I suspect we might want to use it more as a reference tool than for fireside reading, but it still holds great value as you track down theological themes in the New Testament.

When we say detailed, we mean 1000 pages. It actually takes through page 74 to describe how he thinks NT theology should be approached! He covers every topic thoroughly. You will know pretty much all that the New Testament has to say on the subject when you are done. I once read a criticism of this work that it doesn’t do too well in pointing out specific contributions to the whole each section makes. For example, you might not easily find what Paul added to the discussion. The truth is, there are many such volumes that explain those distinctions, but very few that give this comprehensive viewpoint. For that reason, this book remains indispensable to the theology section of your library.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures by Georges and Baker



This book is profound on many levels. For me personally, I can’t remember when I last read a book that made me feel like I didn’t know a thing about the subject before I read it as was the case here. It’s not that I hadn’t traveled or been in mission work in other cultures, but that I didn’t know specifically why those other cultures even seemed to think differently than my own. My culture, as is so well described in this volume, is based on guilt whereas many other cultures think more with an honor-shame mindset. Even more surprising, my Western culture is by far in the minority in our world.

The authors, Jayson Georges and Mark Baker, are well qualified to write on this subject and I particularly appreciated how they shared their own trial and error while serving in other parts of the world to gain some of their knowledge the hard way. 

Though they tackled three distinct areas–deep analysis of what the honor-shame culture is, a careful explanation of how it fits in with biblical theology, and how to take this understanding and practically minister to those who view the world through an honor-shame lens–they amazingly prove themselves adept in all three disciplines.

In the first area they really helped you get into the mind of someone who thinks in terms of honor-shame and see why it makes as much sense to them as our more legal outlook does to us. In the second, while there is a forgiveness/legal/guilt outlook in Scripture, there is clear honor/shame outlooks as well. We may have been overlooking key theology here. Finally, the practical side is amazing. The chapter on evangelism is worth the price of the whole book.

This book should be required reading for every missionary or persons working with different cultures. It might make the difference in effectiveness more than you realize. For that matter, every Christian should read it both for its theology and ministry training. This book is home run all the way!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Telling God’s Story by Preben Vang and Terry Carter (2nd Edition)

Here is an attractive, helpful book that will be a great boon to students of the Scriptures. While you will find some similar material to an introductory-level Survey of the Old and New Testaments, this book has the unique approach among such works of making us see the Bible as one story. Since so many lose sight of the unity of the Bible, this approach is especially valuable.

Authors Preben Vang and Terry Carter, both professors who teach this material, evaluated exactly how the first edition had succeeded and failed in presenting the Biblical narrative and strengthened this Second Edition with that evaluation.

This book’s value is even more enhanced by the great maps, fine charts, and overall visually appealing design of the book. My teenage son walked by, picked up the book, and said it looked so interesting that he wanted to read it.  I can hardly think of a more ringing endorsement of the book’s worth.

The writing is good as is the deftness in choosing what material is best suited to teach the narrative of the Bible. My recommendation would be to secure this volume in addition to a more traditional survey. You won’t be disappointed. 

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue by J. A. Myhre 


Here’s a children’s book that will be loved in any Christian home. The plot is set in Africa and has the unique thrills of that continent. The author, J. A. Myhre, is a doctor in Africa. Her 20 years in Africa makes her able to visualize accurately situations there. The stories here began as stories for her own children and it’s a blessing that they are available for children everywhere.

The story transports us to the life of an amazing girl named Kiisa. She is dropped by her father at a school where she feels out of place and has to take a stand to do right and suffers for it. A little bird befriends her and encourages her. Later, the story becomes riveting when the school is attacked. What Kiisa does makes the story ( I don’t want to give away the plot!).

Beyond the gripping nature of the story itself is the description of the unsugarcoated nature of evil in our world and the right kind of courage in its presence. This story challenges our children to be righteously courageous in our world. I recommend it.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Old Testament Survey by House and Mitchell

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This book is ideal for its intended audience–serious beginning students of the Old Testament. Now in its Second Edition, this volume already has a successful reputation. Paul House and Eric Mitchell are both well respected scholars. There’s a helpful section entitled “Beginning the Study” that helps you get off to a good start. 

Part 1 launches into the Pentateuch. The bulk of the volume is given over to discussing individual OT books. Additional information is woven in as you are studying the individual books. The graphs and maps are from the reservoir that B & H Publishing usually draws from and are outstanding. While we might disagree on some little point made, this is a particularly great introduction to surveying the Old Testament.

If you want to maximize your learning experience, be sure to secure “Old Testament Survey: A Student’s Guide–2nd Edition” as well. It is one of the best student guides of its kind that I have seen.

This is a great addition to any Bible study library.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.