Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Review: Next Door Savior

Max Lucado is a writing legend, known for his clear and direct writing that often opens a window to a simple and fresh take on scripture.  Next Door Savior is no exception.  Each chapter focuses on scripture or a story of Christ and how despite is full divinity, was also fully man.  Often with prose and examples taken from contemporary times, Jesus becomes a man you can relate to, a friend you may have over for coffee rather than an unreachable deity.  My favorite quote in the book seems to sum it all up for me

"His uncommon approach to his common life groomed him for his uncommon call."

Next Door Savior is not a long book that requires a front to back reading for understanding.  Rather, each chapter is almost like a stand alone devotional- often focusing on a certain topic.  When you feel like you are struggling in a certain area, you can just look up that chapter in this book and be encouraged by a Jesus who was just like you.  I would see a great use for this book as a devotional tool for meetings, classes, or groups to use.  
Do not read this book with the intention of having a proverbial 2x4 to the head.  This is book is not overly deep in its undertaking- but its clean approach to the stories of Christ will be uplifting and encouraging.  It may even help you see in your day to do day that we truly do have a friend in Jesus- a man who came and lived as we did, not unreachable, but a neighbor. 

*I received a copy of this book from BookSneeze in partnership with Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Though Mountains Fall

I have been itching for the next book in Dale Cramer's The Daughter's of Caleb Bender series- and its finally here!  Though Mountains Fall continues the struggling Amish church settlement in Paradise Valley, Mexico centralized on Caleb Bender and his family.  We left the family torn to pieces over the death of their older brother and healing over the kidnapping of Rachel and coming to grips with the inevitable love of Domingo (the Mexican hired hand) and Miriam.  This next installment brings intense drama as the Amish struggle to maintain the peace in the valley as bandits and soldiers disturb their lives.  This book is about choices- decisions have to be made not only about the future of each character and family, but of the entire Amish settlement.  Will Miriam choose her love for Domingo over the faith of her family?  Will her family choose love for their daughter over the rules of their church if she is banned?  God forgives us, can we forgive others?

Dale Cramer has become my favorite new novelist and I hope that this is not the last installment of the Caleb Bender series and that there are future ones like it.  The story lines are the perfect blend of fresh ideas merged with the classic topics (Amish lifestyle, faith, love) that keep us reading Christian fiction.  Cramer's writing has beautiful voice which I connected to greatly- which is not always easy from a male author writing from a primarily woman's point of view.  If you are looking for a new author or a new series- I cannot recommend this series enough- just be sure to start with Books 1 and 2 before you jump into this wonderful novel.  You will miss a great deal and will not be disappointed.

*I was given a copy of the book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my honest review