Monday, February 29, 2016

Skeletons in the Closet:

Skeletons in the Closet: (Laundry Hag Series, Book 1) By: Jennifer L. Hart
Fiction: Mystery, E-book
E-Book Count: 5
Book Count: 6

Maggie is a penny pincher who with the "help" of her friend ends up starting a cleaning service.  Her first client is the rich socialite that resonantly moved into the neighborhood with her creepy husband that collects medieval torture devices.   Because of her job cleaning the house, she witnesses the wife's affair and is the husband's alibi when the wife ends up murdered.  And then like all mysteries of this type, she then gets caught up in the mystery and has to solve the case as she bumbles along from one misadventure to the next.  So she almost gets shot by a little old lady, looses her wheelbarrow on a shopping trip, hosts Thanksgiving for in-laws she hates, and hires assistants ranging from a very pregnant teen to a grumpy old man that spends his time flirting with the older clients and complaining about food.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Autumn's Breath:

Autumn's Breath: A Horror Short Story by: M. R. Mathias and Michael Robb
Fiction: short story, horror, e-book
E-Book Count: 4
Book Count: 5

First a note, the e-book count has been changed from the last time, but not the book count, as this book was only a short story and not a full book length. 

A boy and a girl at make out point, ghosts, monsters, a killing frost, aliens?, time travel?, the FBI?, hell freazing over?, there are many things that might have happened  in this story.  Much like the protagonist we don't get the whole story in a clear format, but a mix of people and things as seen by her so knowing what really happened is unclear. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Making Radical Disciples: Make and Multiply Disciples Like Jesus Using Ten Contagious Disciple Making Lessons:

Making Radical Disciples: Make and Multiply Disciples Like Jesus Using Ten Contagious Disciple Making Lessons: By: Daniel B. Lancaster
Non-fiction: Religion, E-book
E-Book Count: 3
Book Count: 5

Some people enjoy B-grade horror films for their cheesy badness.  Some people watch films that they know has bad/missing/incomprehensible plot lines, bad dialog and cheesy special effects just to enjoy how bad it really is.  You might wonder why I would start a book review with that, and the reason why is that most people that do anything related to disciple making, point out that there is no magic bullet that will work on everyone. But this book is a magic bullet to make disciples in 10 easy lessons!!!!  So I only read it to see how bad it was.  (And of course because it was free, as I might spend a couple of dollars on a movie I know is bad, but I'm not spending book money on this.) This is also why I am not counting it in my new year's resolution count.

The main idea of the book is that, this is a series of lessons that they made up teaching people how to be disciples in southeast Asia, where they do not have a Christian history so that even non-Christians have some idea about the religion, like in America.  Although it says it isn't a "just teach this lesson" way of doing things that doesn't work, it then gives step by step instructions on how to teach the lessons.  This includes having the people repeat what you taught them exactly how you did it multiple times so they learn it.  And having them look up things in the Bible  for answers and then making them keep redoing it until they get the answer that you want them to have. 

It also teaches 8 pictures of Jesus to help the people learn about Him, including hand movements and has people recite memory verses over and over again for each lesson.  Both of these things make it feel like it was designed for children, or as they stated in the beginning, people with no knowledge of Jesus.  If it was for kids I could see it working, not to make sure they are a disciple, but as a Sunday school class.  If it was for adults that were new Christians or wanted to learn about Christ, and didn't have any pre-existing knowledge, I would be concerned; as when reading it, it talked about Jesus a lot and it talked about God, but it didn't talk about Jesus as God.  There were times that it did say Jesus was God's son, but reading it, if you weren't familiar with the idea of the trinity, it would sound like Jesus was some sort of demi-god, or ideal human as it emphasized the  separation between Jesus and God the Father or the Holy Spirit more then most people do. (It was in the context of how we should be like Jesus and listen to the Holy Spirit, etc. but reading it, it just hit me that I don't think it said Jesus was God and if I wasn't Christian I don't think I would learn it in the actual lesson parts of the program.)   Besides that I could see the pictures useful in teaching people about Jesus, but teaching someone about Jesus is not the same thing as helping them be a radical disciple. 

Also, it's method of multiplying disciples was presented in such a way that it made Christianity sound like a pyramid scheme with getting a gold star from God as the prize. (Note: it did not suggest that you would get a gold star, only candy.)  

In closing: this book does have a number of useful pieces in it, but I do not know how following it exactly (as it states you should do) will result in making all sorts of radical disciples as the title states.  It could be a useful tool in teaching people who don't know anything about Jesus things, but it wouldn't be the only tool needed.  Also it is so much easier to write long reviews of books I don't like then ones that I do like, as I don't worry about giving too much away. That is why a number of the reviews on mystery books are just a list of characters and the opening events.  And I am glad that this book actual worked for all the people that gave it 5 stars on Amazon, I just don't know how it did.  

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Sent Together: How the Gospel Sends Leaders to Start Missional Communities:

Sent Together: How the Gospel Sends Leaders to Start Missional Communities: By: Brad Watson
Non-fiction: Religion, NYR, E-book
E-Book Count: 2
Book Count: 4

So I read this book because it relates to something that we are trying out at church and that I am working on. Although, as I told one friend when talking about it, I knew that it was going to be a Protestant book when I got it, but then it really cinched it by quoting (and there forth meaning that the author actually read,) one of the documents of Vatican II.  As seen by a conversation that I only overheard part of, but which I think was someone complaining about the same church activity that caused me to read this book, which included the line, "You know that Vatican II really said. . ." and was stated by someone that I am almost positive never read any of the actual documents.  (Side bar to the conversation that I had: I think I have read the document that was quoted in the book. Maybe if it looks like he needs a laugh sometime, I will confess it to my priest. . . " Father forgive me, It's been 2 months since my last confession: I actually read things that the popes said before forming an unmovable opinion on it, oh and here is the bottle of water you asked for.")

And now onto the actual book, which from the title you might have guessed is about making mission communities/church planting/neighborhood outreach or what ever you might want to call many similar activities of that sort.  It includes practical advice, questions to ask yourself/group, personal stories of how things have worked or not worked for them in real life, and a Bible based set of reasons why to do something like this.  It includes a loose framework to do these things, including suggestions for more exact things you might pick from to do depending on where your group is: spiritually, in life, physically, etc.  It also has a large number of quotes from the Bible, and Christians from various backgrounds relating to each chapter. And some great, simple explanations of the kerygma/Gospel/Salvation story.  At the end there is a series of appendixes for all planning activities suggested in the book.