Do More Better by Challies

Book: Challies, Tim. Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity. Challies, 2015.

Pages: 119

Point: To be productive is not merely to complete more tasks. Productivity means that one does what is most important and does it well. “Productivity is effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God.”

Path: Challies does an excellent job of defining what productivity is, what it is not, why it is necessary, and how one can plan to be productive through the effective use of tools.

Sources: This book is not a composite of “prodicutivity gurus.” In the pages you can find hints of David Allen, Peter Drucker, and other time management specialists, but you don’t find strings of quotes.

Agreement: This is an excellent book and I found it very helpful. I went through Matt Perman’s book, “What’s Best Next” early this year and also Challies’ blog series on productivity, so my habits have not changed dramatically, but it was an excellent read. His brief but thoughtful critique of our obsession and misunderstanding of productivity was challenging to me. Everyone with a computer or smart phone would benefit from reading his chapters on tools.

Personal App: Am I just trying to get things done, or am I intentionally investing my time in meaningful pursuits in a manner of excellence?

Favorite Quote: “Productivity is not what will bring purpose to your life, but what will enable you to excel in living out your existing purpose” (10).

Stars:  5 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  • feels like they are daily spinning their wheels
  • wants to streamline their workflow
  • struggles with disorganized living
  • is way to busy to read a book
  • is just starting college or a new job

Other books along this theme would be:

  • DeYoung, Kevin. Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem. Crossway, 2013.
  • Perman, Matthew Aaron. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. Zondervan, 2014.
  • Glei, Jocelyn K., and 99U. Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Amazon Publishing, 2013.
  • Allen, David. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. New York: Penguin Books, 2001.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an impartial review

Top Shelf Book – Dispatches from the Front

Book: Keesee, Tim. Dispatches from the Front: Stories of Gospel Advance in the World’s Difficult Places. Crossway, 2014.

Point: The person of Jesus Christ knows no boundaries, only fronts through which he confidently treads.

Path: Tim Keesee gives wartime correspondent information in a poetical and provoking narrative. He invites us to pick up the war cry of our King as he boldly leads his children in a victory of love. The stories which are written are meant to direct us to the task and revel in the Savior’s plan. In nature, they are both exciting and difficult, joyful and painful.

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  1. Is interested in missions.
  2. Wants to get a global view of their local faith.
  3. Would like to hear what Christ is doing around the world.

For a full review, use the link above.

There’s a book for that…Homosexuality and the Believer

Book: Hubbard, Peter. Love into Light: the Gospel, the Homosexual and the Church. Ambassador, 2013.

619QRcXh-cL._SL1500_Point: The answer to SSA (same-sex attraction) is the Gospel – shared, taught, and lived out.

Agreement: This is the best treatment I have read on the issues of homosexuality and the church’s response to it. I will be referencing this work again.

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  • Struggles with SSA
  • Has a friend or relative who struggles with SSA
  • Goes to church and wants to truly love others
  • Wants to know more about the big issues behind same-sex Marriages

There’s a Book for that: the Reformation

Are you:

  • interested in church history?
  • a lover of a good story
  • coming from a catholic or lutheran background
  • confused on what “Protestant” or “Evangelical” actually means

Than I would highly recommend this book: Reeves, Michael. The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation. B&H Publishing Group, 2013.

Point: A return to the authority of Scripture opened the eyes of the reformers to see justification by faith alone, and forever changed history.

Path: In a clear and engaging manner, Reeves explains the background, the major players, and the continuing effects of the Reformation. He gives sufficient information to peak interest, but does not dive too deeply into debates and arguments from scholars. I would categorize the tone of the book as something akin to “sarcastic storytelling,” and have to admit that it is very appealing! The story is engaging, there is both suspense and humor, and the broad picture of the Reformation Era is very helpful!

For a full review click on the title above.

Who would actually say, “I think I pray too much…”

Here is a book for someone who wants to grow in that area. Click on the title to see a full review.

Book: Carson, D. A. Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers. Baker Academic, 1992.

Point: Paul’s prayers in the NT to the sovereign God teach us why we can pray, how we can pray, when we can pray, and for what we can pray.

Favorite Quote: One of many, “Just as God’s Word must reform our theology, our ethics, and our practices, so also must it reform our praying” (17).

Stars: 5 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  • Wants to learn how to pray biblically
  • Struggles with what to pray for
  • Wants to grow in their love for God and faith in him
  • Anyone who may pray at least once in their life

There’s a book for that…

Do you ever wonder:

  • if there isn’t something greater to give your life to?
  • why you get so upset about little things?
  • why it is so hard to forgive sometimes?

Read this book: Tripp, Paul David. A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2008.

Point: When we are the center of our solar system we live within a shoebox. When our glorious God is the center of all that we are we are pulled into a universe full of his glory.

Read the full review on Amazon by clicking on the book title. Let us know if it is helpful.

It is on sale on Kindle now. Definitely worth it.

There’s a book for that…

Do you ever struggle with:

  • trying to earn God’s love?
  • trying to become more sanctified on your own?
  • wondering how the gospel connects with your every day life?

Fitzpatrick Elyse, Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life. Crossway, 2010. 

Point: Fitzpatrick says this: “What I’ll be asking you to consider throughout this book may be summarized in one simple question: In your pursuit of godliness, have you left Jesus behind?” (Page 19)

Read the full review on Amazon by clicking on the book title. Let us know if it is helpful.

Finally Free by Heath Lambert

Book: Lambert, Heath. Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.  Pages: 176

Point: God’s forgiving and transforming grace through Jesus Christ is able to overpower any sinful act or habit. 

Path: Lambert expertly relates the Gospel and its power as the foundation for this book, and then practically walks through the steps to see the forgiveness and transformation take place. Chapter 1 is dedicated to understanding the Gospel and then the following chapters deal with 8 Gospel enabled tools to fight the desire for porn. Chapter 2: the difference between godly and worldly sorrow. Chapter 3: what true accountability looks like. Chapter 4: radical measures to stay out of hell. Chapter 5: confession and repentance. Chapter 6: your spouse and purity. Chapter 7: those who pursue porn are prideful. Humble people don’t pursue porn. Chapter 8: gratitude and the fight. Chapter 9: how a growing relationship with Jesus will put a desire for porn to death.

Lambert, H.; Finally free


He also includes a very helpful appendix for those who have been hurt by a loved one in pornography. Sources: The author brings biblical truth, counseling experience, and wise teachers together in a format that is easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to remember.

Agreement: As a pastor who works with young men and families, this is an exceptional book. He is tasteful, so much so an early teen could read it (a problem I had with “Every Man’s Battle), yet thorough. He is Gospel centered. He is practical. While reading the book I was making a note of the people for whom I was going to buy a copy and read through it.

Disagreement: This is the best book I have read yet on the subject and struggled to think of a way to make it better. Personal App: Am I living in light of the power of the Gospel?

Favorite Quote: “You cannot look at Jesus and look at porn at the same time” (144). “Jesus is not your lapdog. He is your Sovereign Savior” (148).

Stars: 5 out of 5

This is a top shelf book. It would be worth another read and I would highly recommend it. If this review was helpful, let me know here.

Amazing Grace by Metaxas

Book: Metaxas, Eric. Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. 1st ed. HarperOne, 2007. 

Pages: 304

Point: God can do incredible things through seemingly small men.

Path: The author takes the reader through the success and failures of William Wilberforce, primarily his stand against slavery. In biographical fashion, Metaxas demonstrates that great feats are accomplished by men who know the truth, love the truth, and fight for the truth day after day.

Sources: Using his own ability to tell a story and weaving together various other primary and secondary sources, Metaxas creates an interesting and compelling picture of this incredible man.

Agreement: I was often moved emotionally as I heard of the wickedness of man and the grace of God seen through the eyes of Wilberforce. Multiple times I thanked God for enabling men such as he to continue to fight the evils of humanity in the face of such adversity. Nearly as often, I found myself praying for courage and tenacity as he had.

Format: I alternated between reading on the kindle and listening to the audible version. I would recommend both.

Personal App: As I see more and more the evils of society around me, am I willing to stand for truth by the grace of God?

Favorite Quote: “William Wilberforce’s conversion to Christianity in 1785— what he called his “Great Change”— was without question for him the central and most important event of his life. Indeed, as far as Wilberforce was concerned, faith in Jesus Christ was the central and most important thing in life itself, so it can hardly surprise us that sharing this faith with others was central and important to Wilberforce too. And so, everywhere he went, and with everyone he met, he tried, as best he could, to bring the conversation around to the question of eternity. Wilberforce would prepare lists of his friends’ names and next to the entries make notes on how he might best encourage them in their faith, if they had faith, and toward a faith if they still had none. He would list subjects he could bring up with each friend that might launch them into a conversation about spiritual issues. He even called these subjects and questions “launchers” and was always looking for opportunities to introduce them.”

Stars: 5 out of 5

A top shelf book – it would be worth another read and I would recommend it.

If this review was helpful, let me know here.

Death By Living by N. D. Wilson

Book: Wilson, N. D. Death by Living Life Is Meant to Be Spent. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013. 

Point: Life, like the food in your pantry, will spoil if you try to hoard it away instead of using it.

Path: This is not a “3 Steps to Your Best Life Now” or “Everyday A Friday” piece of trash. Wilson, through poetic eyes and hard words opens the eyes of the reader. He weaves ancestors’ stories with family adventures and ancient wisdom as he connects his small story with the Great story swinging through unfathomable space.

The chapters were written, not as a list of things to make your life better, but as small glimpses into a narrative which both you and I are part of, being told by an Infinite God. They are meant to (and actually accomplish!) make you weep, and struggle, and laugh, and fight as you see the bigger picture in the grace of God.

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Sources: Stories, Scripture, honesty, and a godly heritage.

Agreement: I have found that reading Wilson’s books (both fiction, and non-fiction) help to open my eyes to wonder which I have never seen before. Often times I come to tears, or feel the weight of a truth, or have to simply stop and ponder. After reading, I don’t have a list of things I need to accomplish, I have a burden inside to truly live.

As a new father, I would recommend this to anyone with a little person even remotely connected to them. Help them to see and live!


Personal App: Am I spending my life, or attempting to hoard it away?

Favorite Quote: There were so many. I literally highlighted whole paragraphs and sections. Here is one:

“There is a school of American thought that suggests we are supposed to live furiously and foolishly when young, slave away pointlessly when adults, and then coast into low-impact activity as soon as financially possible. Isn’t that just a kiss on the lips (from a dog). The truth is that a life well lived is always lived on a rising scale of difficulty.”

Stars: 5 out of 5

It would be well worth another read and I would recommend it. Read it.

If this review was helpful, let me know here.

This is a top shelf book.

I received this book through and did not have to give a positive review.