The Greatest Words Ever Spoken

The Greatest Words Ever Spoken: Everything Jesus Said About You, Your LIfe, and Everything Else (link to Amazon) is the second book by Steven K. Scott. As described on the back cover,

“For the first time ever, all the statements Jesus made in the New Testament have been brought together under more than two hundred practica, easy-to-find topics. When you want to know His will in a specific area of life; you’re seeking the answer to a perplexing question; or you are desparate for His encouragement, comfort, or wisdom, you can easily find the help you need.”

This is a very accurate description of the contents. The book is divided into chapters containing main topics and further subdivided into particular topics. The quotes are from the New International Version and does include dialogue if there is a series where Jesus is in conversation with others.

My first impression is that this is not a helpful resource. I believe that the words of Jesus are important but removing them from the rest of scripture takes away all context and does not allow for any flow of the narrative.

On a more charitable note, I think that this book may be helpful as a kind of concordance – to find specific passages and look them up in context. I would not recommend this text for use without a Bible.

Difficult Conversations

Most if not all difficult conversations have similar patterns from which lessons can be learned to better engage in them. This is the basic assertion of the authors of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. From their website:

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most was developed over ten years of work at the Harvard Negotiation Project. Written to help professionals, parents, teachers, government officials, corporations and communities, Difficult Conversations offers a concrete, step-by-step approach to preparing for and conducting your most challenging conversations.

The authors divide difficult conversations into categories:

  • What happened? conversation
  • Feelings conversation
  • Identity conversation

Each conversation has distinct pitfalls and opportunities. The authors offer clear guidance about navigating each of these conversations in a way that bears fruit. Difficult Conversations is written with many relevant examples that illustrate and add valuable content.

I found the practical style of this book to be quite helpful and it is one that I will keep on my shelf for a long time. I recommend this to leaders, parents, and anyone anticipating a difficult conversation at some time in the future.

Evensong Rising – “Evensong Rising”

I enjoy listening to good music and the new self-titled album from Evensong Rising definitely falls in that category. It is a album of worship songs with a mix of styles. They are tied together with an overall laid back feel.

  • Alleluia is a catchy song of praise. I found myself getting lost in the rolling melody.
  • Stand Firm has an edgier blues/rock feel with smoky vocals.
  • Lyrical guitar and keyboard introduce Satisfied
  • The lilting rhythm of Unto Him was soothing.
  • Make Us New Again is a reminder that God promises to be our God and we promise to be God’s people – the covenant between God and humans
  • Doxology ’07 is a good remix on an old favorite
  • Rise Up brings a little reggae beat to the mix of the CD
  • Salvation comes is a smooth jam with lyrics of confession and call for God
  • Jazzy and smooth Holy Spirit
  • Pentecost is a beautiful call for the Holy Spirit’s presence – rhythmic, melodic and strong

While a couple of the tracks, like Solid Rock, are a bit sing songy this is overall a great album. The music is not particularly earth shattering, but it moves the listener into a smooth rhythm of worship. I am going to pass this along to the music staff here at Resurrection and recommend it to you as well.

For Young Men Only

For Young Men Only by Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice is fourth in the “Only” series and was preceded by For (Women, Men, Parents, Young Women) Only. If this book is a good representation of the rest of the series, I am looking forward to reading For Men Only.

For Young Men Only, not surprisingly, has a target audience of teen men and addresses their interactions with teen women. Feldhahn and Rice write from a Christian perspective, but not one that is in your face. They include survey data and quotes from interviews with young women. This survey data is compiled into “six big surprises” which comprise each of the chapters. These surprises make sense for all ages, such as:

  • A girl is most attracted to a guy’s hidden qualities
  • A girl wants a guy to talk to her. But to really make an impression with her, a guy just needs to listen.

Feldhahn and Rice write with an easy to read style that is tailored to the audience of teenage men. I highly recommend this book for young men and can safely say that I could have used a book like this in high school.

You can buy it at Amazon here.

The Becoming of G-d

The Becoming of G-d by Ian Mobsby is a wandering look at the nature of God as Trinity, ecclesiology, spirituality and the interactions thereof. The Becoming of G-d is Mobsby’s second book and was published in May 2008. From Mobsby’s website:

Ian Mobsby is one of the founding members of the Moot Community with past involvement in two previous alt worship/emerging church communities. Ian is an ordained Anglican priest working with Moot full time in the Diocese of London, an associate Missioner of the Church of England Archbishop’s Fresh Expressions Team, and an associate lecturer of the St Paul’s Theological Centre in London.

Mobsby touches on a wide variety of topics in The Becoming of G-d. I found his treatment of perichoresis (interpenetration) and kenosis (pouring out) in regard to the Trinity to be particularly interesting. Mobsby ranges from Rublev’s Trinity, models of the church, and the becoming of community, belonging, forgiveness, hope and justice. Mobsby is aware of and addresses common critiques of the models that he proposes.

Mobsby touches on a wide variety of topics but manages to keep them connected and related to the Trinity. The writing is a bit rough and in need of editing in places, but this manages to lend authenticity and rawness. I recommend this book for those interested or exploring newer ways of being church and are ready for a scavenger hunt of connections to the Trinity, both inside and outside the church.

We the Purple

We the Purple by Marcia Ford is a look at independent voters in America with a Christian perspective. Ford has published several books with this latest addition taking her distinct perspective to the political arena.

We the Purple is both about and finds its primary audience in independent voters – those who do not claim a political party. Ford takes the reader through many aspects of the independent voter from the nuances of registration in states to the potential that the internet has for independent voters to organize. Included are many profiles of independent voters from across the country.

Ford writes in a very personal way and uses a mix of data, definitions and vignettes to draw attention to what she see as the plight of independent voters – lack of attention or respect. She often quotes others as a part of bringing the point home.

I enjoyed learning about independent voters and the political environment in various states in response to these voters. I find myself resonating with those who do not claim a particular political party, but did not find Ford’s description of the independent voter particularly compelling. I also found stereotypes of people of faith in response to politics that I do not believe are the case any longer. I recommend this book to those who are interested in learning more about independent voters.

Wild Goose Chase

“Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit – An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose'” (Mark Batterson). This is the story behind the title for Mark Batterson‘s latest book, Wild Goose Chase. About Mark from the back cover of the book:

Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of Washington D.C.’s National Community Church, widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative churches. Mark is the author of the bestselling In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and a widely read blogger. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children.

In Wild Goose Chase, Batterson has created an excellent text seeking to inspire the reader to step into the adventure of chasing the Wild Goose.  The main thrust of the book is to address cages that we find ourselves in that prevent us from chasing the Holy Spirit and God’s dream for our lives. Batterson covers the cages of: responsibility, routine, assumptions, guilt, failure and fear. Batterson assesses each of these with a refreshing mix of biblical narrative, personal experience, perspectives from church history, and stories from National Community Church. Each chapter closes with hope, next steps and probing questions for self-reflection.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wild Goose Chase, finding it inspiring and encouraging. Batterson writes well and uses solid examples from both inside and outside the church world. I was struck by Batterson’s use of scripture throughout the book – both in narrative examples and subtle endnoted references. This technique was quite effective and it reminded me of the style of some of John Wesley’s writing.

Wild Goose Chase will be released on August 19 and you can pre-order a copy from Amazon here or find out more about the book including a free download, preview chapter and Mark’s 10 Steps to Setting Life Goals at chasethegoose.com.

I will go back to Wild Goose Chase in the future and I heartily recommend it to those seeking to find or rediscover the adventure of pursuing God’s dream.