Gospel Fluency Handbook” By Jeff Vanderstelt and Ben Connelly – A Book Review


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Gospel Fluency Handbook: A Practical Guide To Speaking The Truths of Jesus Into the Everyday Stuff of Life

The Gospel in Me, the Gospel with Us, and the Gospel to Others

“Gospel Fluency Handbook” provides in-depth studies of the Gospel with a concentration on helping the reader recognize areas of unbelief to strengthen and grow in their faith equipping the reader to live the gospel message as the central purpose of daily life immersing them in their local community culture. Practical and interactive penetrating self-examination questions call for a keen sense of honesty, transparency, and accountability among the participants.

Each of the eight-week chapters includes guided readings, reflections, group discussions, exercises, and suggestions for prayer. Themes are centered on foundational truths of the creation, the fall, redemption, the new creation, the fullness of Christ, and unity in the faith. The authors differentiate between “Bible Fluency” and “Gospel Fluency” to address topics related to culture shifts and demonstrate how the impact of “Gospel Fluency” becomes a life-changing reality. A helpful appendix explains over a dozen defining theological concepts.

The handbook is designed to be used in a group or community and is structured for interactive discussion which encourages personal Christian growth, application to daily life, becoming fluent in expressing and proclaiming your faith, and reaching beyond to the ends of the earth. Whether used in a class or as an individual learning experience, you will want to participate in a fellowship of believers to encourage you to share the good news of Jesus that can change lives forever.

Saturate Publishing, 227 Bellevue Way N. E. # 224, Bellevue, Washington 98004, 978-0996849326, $ 24.66, 2017, 262 pages

 

 

 

 

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Well – Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa, By Sarah Thebarge – A Book Review


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Lessons You Can Learn when Love Looks Around

After reading the editorial reviews on Sarah Thebarge’s new book, “Well – Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa” I knew I had to read the book for myself. I thought I was ready to consider the hard questions we seldom want to face.

Author, Sarah Thebarge, a spokesperson for Compassion International, describes the seemingly hopeless conditions in Togo, West Africa, including the suffering, disease, the cultural conditions, and the discomfort of the climate extremities.

Chapter after chapter, Sarah kept me spellbound as she related her experiences. From baggage claim at the airport in Lomé the capital city of Togo, her first shift on the job at the Hospital of Hope in Togo, right on through her three months of Medical Ministry, I was drawn into the reality of a broken world and burdened by a deep concern to find my place in making a positive difference in the healing process.

Sarah writes with candor and an intense vulnerability that draws the reader into the conflicting reactions of the physically demanding, and emotionally challenging trauma of her experiences and in her search to find hope in an intolerable situation. Sarah’s writing grips your heart. Her sense of compassion becomes contagious.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Faith Words, Hattchet Book Group, Inc.1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N. Y., 10104, 978-1455553198, $20.00, 2017, 322 pages

 

 

 

Questioning Evangelism – Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did – by Randy Newman – A Book Review


Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did – by Asking Questions

In the book “Questioning Evangelism – Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did” Randy Newman asks his readers to look at evangelism in a new way; following the example of Jesus by asking questions.

Using examples from personal experiences Newman introduces an approach for designing questions that are more engaging and less confrontational.  He combines a balance of biblical theology, infused with compassion, in a distinctive merger of apologetic information and relational evangelism.

Newman teaches evangelism and apologetics at the C. S. Lewis Institute in the Washington D.C. area. He is a for a former staff member of Campus Crusade, and originator of Connection Points, which specializes in helping people of different backgrounds dialog in questions of faith.

“Questioning Evangelism – Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did” can be used for individual study and challenge or in an interactive group setting. A study guide is included to generate stimulating discussion and personal application.

I was personally challenged as I pondered the concept that: evangelism “happens” in relationships, developed through challenging questions while allowing me to: Declare the gospel, defend the message, and dialog the truth to a new generation. “Questioning Evangelism” has given me a new awareness of how I can more effectively share my faith in todays’ culture and within my community.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Kregel Publications, 2450 Oak Industrial Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505, 978-0825444289, $ 17.99, 2017, 268 pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reinhabiting the Village, Co-Creating our Future, by Jamaica Stevens – A Book Review


ReInhabiting the Village, Co-Creating our Future

By: Jamaica Stevens

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Voices of the Village – Core Values and Common Purpose

“ReInhabiting the Village, Co-Creating our Future” is an amazing collaboration of talented visionary artists, skilled photographers, awesome graphic designers, and expressive writers, from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and collective intellect.

Awe inspiring graphics create a colorful collection of dramatic stories which exemplify the celebration of community projects going on around the world. I especially enjoyed the features on: Media and Story Telling, Transformational Technologies, and Community Land Projects, as they introduced me to the benefits of building community through growing ecological awareness into every aspect of my life. The book is made up of twelve themes designed to “empower the reader through practical wisdom and inspiring perspectives.”

“ReInhabiting the Village, Co-Creating our Future” helped me expand my world view, in mid- rural America, by introducing me to multi-platform narrative and world-building techniques, including: Health and Healing, Art and Culture, Learning and Education, The Urban Village, and, Holistic Event Projects.

Nearly every page is filled with quotable concepts worthy of thoughtful consideration, commitment, and interaction. “ReInhabiting the Village, Co-Creating our Future” will be valued by readers at every level community, individual, corporate, and government, by leaders in industry, education, religion, social, and medical.  Highly recommended for decision makers, innovators, dreamers, and community builders…change makers in every field of endeavor. An invitation to begin or continue in a pattern of life long learning.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Robert D. Reed Publishers, P.O. Box 1992. Bandon, OR 97411, 978-19444297015, $ 34.95, 2016. 346 pages