Book Review: Finally Free by Heath Lambert

Title: Finally Free
Author: Heath Lambert
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

As many books have been written on this topic from a Christian perspective, it’s still not enough. With the epidemic that is pornography addiction among men, there needs to be more resources, low cost and within the reach of the everyday man. Finally Free by Heath Lambert is a most excellent guide through the process of undoing the damage that addiction to pornography has done. Heath writes very practically and does not pull any punches when it comes to speaking frankly about this topic and each chapter has very concise and did I say practical? steps that must be completed. Commitments to prayer, seeking God, removing suggestive or weak points (removing the computer from the bedroom, locking down the internet or removing the computer and/or internet from the home altogether in extreme cases) and seeking accountability male accountability partners who are strong in these areas are all important aspects of this book. 

What I most appreciated about this book was simply it’s practicality. There are few resources out there that speak simply and tangibly about how to get free from this addiction. Each chapter is clearly articulated and laid out and although there is no group guide and leader’s manual, This could be a value added resource.

What I was not impressed with (and these are very minor issues) was the forward by Josh Harris. I don’t buy into a lot of what Josh Harris writes about and was not on board with his book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”. The other thing that I found lacking was the absence of group and leader’s guides. If it hasn’t already, this book should quickly be adapted to a small group study. I know this would be a huge resource for men’s groups and a book like this would adapt very well to this type of format. 

Overall, a delicate subject handled very well by Heath Lambert. I would like to see more along this subject line from him in the future.


Book Review: Silent Night by Colleen Coble

Title: Silent Night
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Colleen Coble needs no introduction; her novellas and wonderful stories are well known and loved by thousands! So I was well prepared and delighted to read Silent Night, another installment in the Rock Harbor series by this best selling author. Well known characters and brilliantly established plots are common place in this series. After the loss of their baby, Bree and Kade are just beginning to deal with their own loss when Lauri, Kade’s sister turns up early for Christmas holidays and gets curious about the rescue of a lost parachuter. When Bree and Samson (Bree’s rescue dog) get thrown into the mix, a full scale adventure unfolds. Since the relationship between Lauri and Bree is rocky at best, things get even more tense. Throw the preparation for Christmas holidays, family drama and more unforeseen events and you have the makings of a pretty grand Christmas tale. I’ll be honest, this is my first Colleen Coble novella. But I’m a real softy for Christmas and this book was just the perfect read. I really enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t too long and I was able to finish it in one evening. It’s a great story to revisit too and fits perfectly in the series of Rock Harbor stories, which I am beginning to read thanks to this book! If you want a great read for yourself at Christmas, this book is available in digital format as well as a real old fashioned paper book! It would also make a great gift and can be found at nearly all your online book retailers and book stores.


Book Review: The MoneySmart Family System

Title: The MoneySmart Family System

Author: Steve & Annette Enconomides
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

The world’s thriftiest family tackles an important topic in their latest book titled “The Money Smart Family System”. Teaching financial independence to children, has never been more important than it is right now. In our economy, it’s not uncommon to encounter adults who struggle with financial independence, so teaching this early to our children will not only inspire us as adults to be serious about our finances, but also set the foundation for our children at an age where they are the most impressionable and willing to learn.

Steve and Annette Economides (crazy name for a thrifty family right?) give very practical advice on finances for children at every stage in their life. Specific goals like “preparing your kids for their first paying job” or “paying their own car insurance”  as well as “getting the kids prepared for school” and “ending the battle over clothing - forever”. The book features very valuable resources including charts, how to handle chores and even effective ways to save for a Disney vacation! Something our family has been attempting to do for a long time!

With intuitive strategies, effective life hacks and positive parental guidance, financial independence is as attainable for parents as it is for children! That’s why even though this book is subtitled: Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age, it’s just as important for parents to read as it is for parents to teach to their children. 

When you look at it that way, this book is not only an important read, it’s almost priceless in it’s return investment on your family!


Book Review: God's Love Letters To You

Title: God's Love Letters To You
Author: Dr. Larry Crabb
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Rating: *** (3 stars)

God’s Love Letters To You is a great complimenting devotional that ties in directly with Larry’s latest book co-written with his wife, 66 Love Letters. Although both books stand alone, I found it very enjoyable to have already read 66 Love Letters before reading God’s Love Letters To You.

I’ve always appreciated Larry’s practical approach to faith. It’s refreshing to me and as someone who studies psychology, I’ve come to regard him as a guide in my life.

This devotional consists of 40 short, insightful and challenging words paired with prayers and scripture references to be read daily. A great way to start or end your day. Small enough to be a stocking stuffer or a gift for a friend, but powerful enough to leave a lasting impact on someone’s life.

Although this devotional is a great glimpse into the fantastic book that is 66 Love Letters, It is no substitute. Do yourself a favor and order 66 Love Letters and pick up God’s Love Letters To You as a study companion. It’s a great pairing.


Book Review: The Principle of The Path

Title: The Principle of The Path
Author: Andy Stanley
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Rating: ***** (5 Stars)

Self-help books are a dime a dozen. I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone, so wading through the useless, over-obvious or the more dangerous, complete fallacies, is a skill in and of itself. I can’t believe how often I hear about well meaning Christian friends who get caught up in the Eckhart Tolles or and take those concepts as an addendum to their Christian walk or completely disregard the faith of their childhood for a new more fashionable and less “restricting” faith fad.

This book will probably not become Oprah’s book-club pick, nor will it likely gain the worldwide attention that Eckhart Tolle’s books have, but it should. Andy Stanley has captured a principle so important and vital to our lives that it can’t be ignored and if you read this book, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree.

The thing about principles is this, a principle is a principle whether you know it (and how to apply it’s rules) or not. You don’t need to know a principle exists in order for it to work or to benefit or be affected by the outcome. The principle applies it’s rules to the situation regardless of how you respond. The best example of this in the book is when Andy refers to Archimedes’ principle that “…any object, wholly or partially immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.” This principle exists whether you know it or not, just ask any child who saw a pool full of people swimming, decided it looked like fun, jumped in and immediately sank to the bottom! The child hadn’t been taught the principle of buoyancy, but if he/she had learned what Archimedes knew about floatation AND (the most important part) applied it to his/her situation, their outcome would be much different and more enjoyable!

So, what if we could know the outcome of every situation and how to apply the principle of the path to every aspect of our lives. According to Stanley, we have already fallen victim or conquered situations in our lives by inadvertently applying the rules of the principle of the path or ignoring them. Andy Stanley’s conversational approach to this concept affords an easy (but no less informational) read about improving every aspect of our life by understanding that no matter what decision we make, we are on a path and our decision has the potential to alter that path for the good or the not-so-good.

Take the time, read the book and enjoy Andy’s relaxed and matter-of-fact writing style. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and I know you’ll be the better for it. A very highly recommended book.


Book Review: Couples Who Pray by Suire Rushnell & Louise DuART

Title: Couples Who Pray
Author: Squire Rushnell & Louise DuART
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Couples Who Pray: The Most Intimate Act Between A Man and a Woman

This book intrigued me because it listed quite a few celebrity couples such as Denzel & Pauletta Washington, Donna Summer and Bruce Sudano as well as Scott and Tracie Hamilton. The reason for my intrigue was two-fold. I wanted to know how and why these people were involved in this book and secondly, and maybe even a little skeptically, I wanted to know if this book was just an attempt to cash in on the wave of pseudo spirituality that Oprah’s camp seems to capitalize on. Do you want to know my thoughts? Read on…

The book plain and simply makes a good case of the need for prayer in a marriage. I wholeheartedly agree. Although often repetitive, the book makes a good argument that not many could argue with even if you were looking at this from a purely “Spiritual” or worldly meditative perspective. At the very root of it all, the act of prayer is intimate; involving your marital partner in honest and heartfelt prayer can only improve your relationship.

If I have any issues with this book it would be that there were times I couldn’t relate to some of the stories from the couples. In particular, a story comes to mind where one couple talks about a discussion they had in a casino while they were on vacation. This bothered me slightly, as a born-again Christian, I was always taught that gambling is wrong so I left this story a little confused. My only other complaint about this book would be that it comes off just a little too watered down for my tastes. I understand the need to appeal to a mainstream audience, but I’m afraid there’s not enough meat for the Christian audience and quite possibly just a little too much for a complete non-Christian to stay engaged until the end.

The perfect audience for this book would be an engaged or newly wed couple with a background in the church. Maybe they’ve slipped away during their college years or haven’t really committed themselves to their faith. For those who have been married and grown up in the church, there are probably better places to spend your money.


Book Review: Jesus Calling - 365 Devotions For Kids

Title: Jesus Calling 365 Devotions For Kids
Author: Sarah Young
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Devotional books for kids are tricky. Where do you draw the line between age groups? What is appropriate for one age group isn’t always understood or even appropriate for children a few years younger or older. Jesus Calling is a beautiful hardcover modern book of brief but poignant devotionals for kids aged 10 and up. The tone is upbeat, funky and directed towards slowing down and listening to God speak. Some of the topics include; feeling afraid, the importance of prayer, Heaven, the beauty of creation and God’s unchanging love. The book is well designed in a web 2.0 style with sparse, but smart imagery and a great color scheme. Each daily devotion is dated and includes an opening scripture verse, a short dialogue and a few “read on your own” passages that pertain to the text. I suggest ages 10 years and up for this as the concepts (although they aren’t culturally advanced), may just go over the head of younger children. Writer Sarah Young does a great job putting concepts in terms for this age and it is refreshing to see a non-licensed, tie-in product that just exists for what it is. This would make a fanastic keep-sake devotional for Christmas, birthdays or an anytime gift!