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The Names of God by Ken Hemphill

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The Names of God by Kenneth S. Hemphill My rating: 3 of 5 stars I’m currently delving into the names of God so I picked up this eBook by Ken Hemphill, The Names of God. I’ve never given any thorough study to the Hebrew names of God in the Old Testament so I thought this book would be a good place to start. I have to admit I had a difficult time concentrating and following this text. Some parts were academic and dry, listing the number of times each word appeared in the Bible. Other parts wandered away from the main points to tell stories or chase the author’s rabbits. For instance, in too many chapters, he gave the message of salvation, which is an honorable goal, but I seriously doubt a non-Christian would be reading a book on the Hebrew names of God. It was things like this that created unnecessary distractions from the main point of each chapter. Still, the names of God are a worthy...

You Mean That Isn’t in the Bible?: 10 Popular Beliefs That Simply Aren’t True by David A. Rich

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Author David A. Rich makes some great points in You Mean That Isn’t in the Bible?, but he also chases a lot of rabbits along the way. At first I found this frustrating, wondering when he would get to something related to the chapter title, but either I got used to his style or he improved as the book went on. But that’s my style preference and I know others like a lot of life examples. Don’t get me wrong, though. I found myself heartily agreeing with most of the main points and I wish more Christians could grasp them. Ten False Beliefs Belief 1: There Are Many Roads to Heaven Belief 2: When We Die, We Become Angels Belief 3: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves Belief 4: God Wants You to Be Rich Belief 5: Christians Aren’t Perfect, Just Forgiven Belief 6: We Are God’s Co-Pilots Belief 7: Pray Hard and God Will Answer Belief 8: God and Satan Are Battling It Out Belief 9: God Is Not a...

God Laughs & 42 More Surprising Facts About God That Will Change Your Life

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God Laughs & 42 More Surprising Facts About God That Will Change Your Life by Elmer L. Towns My rating: 3 of 5 stars God Laughs contains 43 short chapters describing the traits of God. The Bible describes God in various ways, including anthropomorphisms (attributing human qualities to God, such as “the eyes of the Lord”) and other descriptions of God’s personality. The book provides a nice overview of some concepts about God that Christians easily overlook or may not have considered. At times, it seemed as if the chapters contained more personal stories of the authors than biblical teaching on the topics. I would also caution that there were some yellow flags about their view of grace. It seemed as though they preferred legalism to grace, but the benefits of the book outweigh the subtle problems. God Laughs is a creative look at some lesser-known truths about God. If you want to...

The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel (@LeeStrobel)

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I’ve never actually read anything by Lee Strobel, although I’m familiar with his work, so I picked up a Kindle copy of The Case for Christmas for a short exposure to his writing. As expected, he is very scientific in his approach to “proving” the true identity of the baby in the manger. He interviewed some scholars in his quest for answers and this book provides a summary of the relevant findings through the interviews. The style was readable and not too technical. He asked difficult, penetrating questions and the scholars gave honest, non-evasive answers. (Sometimes the best answer is “I don’t know” or “No one knows for sure.”) Still, Strobel highlights the various “ah-ha” moments he experienced as he gained new insights and perspective about Christ. The findings in The Case for Christmas demonstrate how our faith isn’t just an emotional or intuitive belief, but it is founded on true...

Epic: The Story God Is Telling by John Eldredge

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Epic, by John Eldredge, has an important message: We long to be part of something epic, which leads us to God. The author explains how every story has the same essential components and those are the same components originally found in the story of God—everything is beautiful, an Adversary interferes, an epic battle ensues, and good prevails. He compares it to a four-act play. The short book isn’t as epic as I’d hoped. I couldn’t help but feel I’d read it all before—verbatim. I thumbed through a couple of Eldgredge’s other books, but couldn’t easily pick out a single chapter to say, “That’s it.” But the endless movie references, theological quotes, and personal experiences from his life all sounded too familiar. “Rescuing the human heart is the hardest mission in the world. The dilemma of the Story is this: we don’t know if we want to be rescued. We are so enamored with our small...