Hughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. Simon & Schuster.
This picture book is incredible. I love the photographs by...moreHughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. Simon & Schuster.
This picture book is incredible. I love the photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr. I do. They're so beautiful, so expressive. They really evoke the mood and tone found in Langston Hughes' classic poem "My People." I really don't see how they could complement each other any better than they already do. You can read the poem in its entirety here. I love what Smith says in his note, "at just thirty-three words total, the poem is a study in simplicity, which is what attracted me to it in the first place." I love simple. And this poem, this book, is further proof that simple can be good, really good. A short and simple poem about beauty paired with masterful photographs.(less)
I love the premise behind Kendell Easley's 52 Words Every Christian Should Know. In the introduction, he writes that this book is a book, "for everyda...moreI love the premise behind Kendell Easley's 52 Words Every Christian Should Know. In the introduction, he writes that this book is a book, "for everyday believers that says, 'Christian terms have standard meanings, and here are the historic, orthodox meanings of essential terms.'" I agree with Easley that it is essential for believers to have more than a fuzzy notion of what these terms mean: clarity is what is needed. He chose 52 words so that even the busiest person could have no excuse: one word per week for an entire year. (I think this would be a great book to use in Sunday School classes or group bible studies.)
Each term is "presented in a two-page study, organized into 8 major biblical categories."
The eight categories:
God Scripture Creation and Mankind Sin Jesus Salvation Church and Discipleship Last Things
A sampling of the terms:
Sovereignty Great Commandments Covenants Original Sin Hell Messiah Atonement Resurrection Justification Regeneration Adoption Baptism Lord's Supper Sanctification Glorification Second Coming Heaven
A sampling of the definitions:
Trinity: DEFINITION: God is eternally one Being. Yet He exists eternally as three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. There are not three Gods, only one. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are distinct from each other.
Depravity: DEFINITION: Depravity means tendency toward evil. Everyone is naturally inclined away from loving God and toward self-centeredness. Humans are not as sinful as they can possibly be, but they are tainted by evil through and through.
Gospel: DEFINITION: Depravity means tendency toward evil. Everyone is naturally inclined away from loving God and toward self-centeredness. Humans are not as sinful as they can possibly be, but they are tainted by evil through and through.
Regeneration: DEFINITION: Regeneration or being born again refers to God's act of making a person alive spiritually. This is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which sinners are given new spiritual life enabling them to relate to God in faith, love, obedience, and delight.
Faith: DEFINITION: Gospel faith means trust, reliance, confidence, or commitment. Jesus Christ, specifically His death in saving sinners, is the object of such belief. This must be distinguished from “assent” (belief that facts are true). Loyalty and devotion are included in genuine faith.
Hell: DEFINITION: Hell is the final place and condition of unregenerate humans (and evil spirits) in which they consciously suffer everlasting punishment, separated from God forever. It is a place of spiritual, psychological, and bodily torment from which there will never be hope of release.
Heaven: DEFINITION: Heaven is the supernatural location of God's presence displayed far beyond the earth, where the holy angels worship Him. After the last judgment and the renewal of all things, God will manifest His presence among the redeemed in “the New Jerusalem.”
I appreciated this book. I think it is a necessary book. Understanding and comprehension is important. Assumption that everyone is automatically "on the same page" is wishful thinking. These are words used commonly in sermons, in Christian articles and books, in conversations and debates. Not that this is about "being smart." These terms can bring clarity to WHAT you believe and WHY you believe which could impact HOW you live and HOW you share the gospel. For example, understanding, "grasping" truths such as justification and sanctification and atonement and adoption CAN be life changing.(less)
The full title of Kevin DeYoung's newest book is Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You...moreThe full title of Kevin DeYoung's newest book is Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me. It's an incredibly lengthy title, but an incredible book almost deserves such a title!
Yes, Taking God At His Word is an incredible book. It is easily one of the best books I've read so far this year. The book opens with a discussion of Psalm 119 and concludes with a discussion of 2 Timothy 3:14-17. Four chapters focus on four attributes of Scripture: sufficiency, clarity, authority, and necessity.
But my absolute favorite chapter is a wonderful little chapter solely devoted to answering the question: What did Jesus believe about the Bible?
Jesus held Scripture in the highest possible esteem. He knew his Bible intimately and loved it deeply. He often spoke with the language of Scripture. He easily alluded to Scripture. And in his moments of greatest trial and weakness— like being tempted by the Devil or being killed on a cross— he quoted Scripture. His mission was to fulfill Scripture, and his teaching always upheld Scripture. He never disrespected, never disregarded, never disagreed with a single text of Scripture. He affirmed every bit of law, prophecy, narrative, and poetry. He never for a moment accepted the legitimacy of anyone anywhere violating, ignoring, refining, or rejecting Scripture. Jesus believed in the inspiration of Scripture— all of it. He accepted the chronology, the miracles, and the authorial ascriptions as giving the straightforward facts of history. He believed in keeping the spirit of the law without ever minimizing the letter of the law. He affirmed the human authorship of Scripture while at the same time bearing witness to the ultimate divine authorship of the Scriptures. He treated the Bible as a necessary word, a sufficient word, a clear word, and the final word. It was never acceptable in his mind to contradict Scripture or stand above Scripture. He believed the Bible was all true, all edifying, all important, and all about him. He believed absolutely that the Bible was from God and was absolutely free from error.
I loved this one cover to cover. I love his goal. I love his method. I love the richness in this one. It has depth and substance. It is a passionate appeal to believers of all ages to read the Bible, to take God at his word!(less)
Every now and then you come across a just-right book. The String Quartet was a just-right book for me. I found it to be the perfect blending of storyt...moreEvery now and then you come across a just-right book. The String Quartet was a just-right book for me. I found it to be the perfect blending of storytelling and characterization, of fantasy and mystery. At its simplest, I suppose, you could say that it was a story about a magical cello rediscovered in a tumbling-down barn. That would be accurate but not do the book full justice.
Dawn Arterberry is the heroine of The String Quartet. She has recently moved with her father to Vermont; the two are still deep in grief: Dawn's mother has recently died. Within a chapter or two, Dawn will leave home once again, she'll be attending a private boarding school on a beautiful but remote island. The good news is that she's already made a good friend in Elliot; the two have had the summer to get to know one another. Elliot is with Dawn on the fateful day she explores the old barn on the family farm. Of course, neither realizes the significance of that cello, the cello belonging to her grandfather.
Dawn adjusts relatively well to life at her new school; she joins the orchestra and becomes part of a string quartet. And that is, in part, where the proper fantasy-adventure begins... for one day in practice... something unexpected happens.
If you enjoy novels where heroes travel from the 'real world' to a fantasy one, then The String Quartet may be just right for you. I enjoyed the world-building. I enjoyed the storytelling. But most of all, I enjoyed the characterization! I liked getting to know Dawn, Elliot, Davis, and Abigail.(less)
I absolutely loved this historical fantasy novel. I loved, loved, loved it!!! Annie Jaffin, the heroine, has never met her grandmother. Her mother alm...moreI absolutely loved this historical fantasy novel. I loved, loved, loved it!!! Annie Jaffin, the heroine, has never met her grandmother. Her mother almost always changes the subject. Annie knows that her mother doesn't exactly get along well with her mother. But she doesn't know why exactly, she doesn't have the details. And some would probably say that she doesn't need to know the details, that she doesn't need the burden and baggage of all the family troubles. But it still makes for an awkward first meeting. To meet someone who will die within a day or two at most. To have your only impression of your grandmother be her at her physical worst. Annie's grandmother seems desperate with Annie, wanting to express a decade's worth of love all in three minutes. But Annie finds it a bit overwhelming as well.
Seven Stories Up is historical fantasy. Annie wakes up to find herself in 1937, she meets a young girl around her own age: Molly. A girl she realizes relatively quickly is her grandmother. Annie and Molly--what a pair, what a fantastic pair of friends. Molly, who has asthma, has always been kept separate from the world; she's rarely let out of her rooms; she rarely meets anyone; she definitely never gets the opportunity to act her age, to play, to go to a fair or carnival, to go shopping, to go anywhere. The whole world almost has been off limits, and her family rarely takes the time to connect with her. Her father, well, for better or worse, is absent though he's only a few stories down. He's the owner/manager of the hotel. Her mother and her sisters are vacationing this summer. Molly, before Annie's arrival, was friendless and hateful.
I absolutely loved this one. I loved how Annie and Molly are good for one another. I loved how their relationship develops. And I love, love, love the time travel aspect of it.
Will knowing Annie in the past, change Molly's life forever?! (less)
Holly, our heroine, has inherited her grandpa's wedding chappel, Rose of Sharon. This wedding chapel is one of the classiest in Las Vegas, at least th...moreHolly, our heroine, has inherited her grandpa's wedding chappel, Rose of Sharon. This wedding chapel is one of the classiest in Las Vegas, at least that is what Holly and her family would have us to believe. Her grandpa had a certain standard to uphold. No gimmicks. Just real romance. In other words, no preachers in Elvis suits. But poor financial decisions from several years ago has left the chapel in big trouble. Grandpa Jim knew this before he died. He failed to mention it, of course. But he speaks the truth in a letter to his favorite grandchild, Holly. Seventeen IS young to be THE BOSS, but, Holly is super-smart. She is GREAT at numbers. She has vision too. She's going to give it her ALL. She is not afraid to make decisions and stand behind those decisions even when other employees disagree. In other words, hello, Elvis. She knows that she absolutely cannot save the business IF she binds herself to WHAT WOULD GRANDPA DO?
One of the highlights of this novel, and there are many, is the romance. Grandpa left TWO letters behind. One for Holly. One for Dax. Dax is the boy-next-door. The boy-from-the-wedding-chapel-next door. He not only works at the chapel next door, he is the grandson of the owner. These two businesses share a parking lot. Though they've never really spoken before her Grandpa's death, after his death, these two become something...
I loved, loved, loved the developing relationship between Holly and Dax. I loved their conversations. I loved their dates. I loved how everything was far from perfect. I loved the emotion and tension between these two.
I also loved the character development. Many members of Holly's family were developed. And Holly had a circle of friends that were developed too. This made the novel believable. Readers were invited to share a life, a messy life.
This one will most likely be one of my favorite YA books of 2014. I just loved, loved, loved it.(less)
What a FUN concept for a board book. This one is sure to please both mommies and babies. Why? It will give little ones something to chew (or drool on...moreWhat a FUN concept for a board book. This one is sure to please both mommies and babies. Why? It will give little ones something to chew (or drool on I suppose) and mommies (and daddies) something to read. Here's how this one begins,
Books are for reading, not eating. Crayons are for writing, not biting. Feet are for stomping, not chomping.
Isn't it a cute concept? I love the rhymes. It's just as adorable as can be. In a good way of course! (less)
I love, love, love, LOVE this Peppa Pig board book. I do. If you enjoy the television show, chances are you'll be just as giddy to see this one releas...moreI love, love, love, LOVE this Peppa Pig board book. I do. If you enjoy the television show, chances are you'll be just as giddy to see this one release in time for Mother's Day. (Though I must say, it can be read EVERY DAY of the year. There's no reason to limit it!)
This board book stars Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, and Peppa and George. Readers very familiar with the show may recognize references to certain episodes. The book is very sweet and funny. (less)
Living for God's Glory is a great read. It was very informative and well organized. It also seemed very comprehensive. There was so much examined and...moreLiving for God's Glory is a great read. It was very informative and well organized. It also seemed very comprehensive. There was so much examined and explored within it. Much more than an exploration of TULIP and the five solas. For example, it includes centuries worth of church history.
Some chapters I really loved, loved, loved. Some chapters I learned from. When it was good, it was excellent. However, I must admit that some of the chapters were skim-worthy. The interest level just wasn't there for me. And some chapters I felt lacked a bit of relevancy--containing information that was good to know but not quite *essential* to know.
What I loved best was the writing. The BEST section of the entire book was "Calvinism in the Mind." The chapters include: "The Marrow of Calvinism," "Total Depravity," "Unconditional Election, "The Extent of the Atonement," "Definite Atonement," Irresistible Grace and Effectual Calling," "Perseverance and Assurance," "Scripture, Grace, Faith, Christ, and Glory" and "Philosophical Calvinism." These chapters--perhaps with the exception of Philosophical Calvinism--were absolutely AMAZING.
Other chapters I enjoyed include "Calvin's God-Exalting Piety," "Sanctification in Puritan Thought," "Sanctification in Puritan Practice," "The Origins of Calvinism," "Calvin's Evangelism," "Puritan Evangelism," and "Confessing The Faith."
This book would be a great textbook perhaps! (less)
The Humming of Numbers was one of my favorite 2008 reads, so I was ecstatic to get a chance to read her newest book...more Zeke's tree wouldn't speak to him.
The Humming of Numbers was one of my favorite 2008 reads, so I was ecstatic to get a chance to read her newest book The Farwalker's Quest. The book stars two kids--twelve year olds: Zeke and Ariel. They're approaching an important date: Namingfest. Soon they'll take tests to determine what paths their futures will take. Zeke hopes to become a Tree-Singer. Ariel hopes to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a Healtouch. Each person in the community has a gift; a gift that contributes to society as a whole. Of course, for those that fail to pass the test, there is the shame of wearing the name 'Fool' til the next year's festivities. (Though there are a few unfortunate souls that wear that name for life.)
Three days before Namingfest, the two find something in a tree. Something ancient. Something fascinating. Something dangerous. (Though it takes a full day for that to be realized.) Something that will bring strangers into their town. Something that will change both of their lives forever. That something is a magical artifact, a "telling dart" that is capable of flying hundreds of miles and revealing its message only to the intended recipient. That this 'dart' found the girl, Ariel, speaks volumes. It will be the best and worst thing that ever happened to her in her short life.
It brings adventures and dangers and new friends...and enemies...her strength and will be tested every step of the way.
I loved this one. Loved the world Sensel created. Loved that it's set so far into the future that society has collapsed upon itself, entered a dark ages of sorts, and is only just beginning to revive again. Loved the characters. How these relationships are built and developed through the novel. How easy it was to care about them all. Loved that so many of the characters were developed. There is a richness to the characters, to the world. (That's not always the case.) Loved the adventures. Loved the pacing. The intensity of it. Each chapter kept me hooked and wanting more.
I'd say this is perfect for fans of The Giver, City of Ember, and Ursula K. Le Guin's Annals of the Western Shore series (Gifts, Voices, Powers).
I know it's not saying much being as how it's only the first full week of January, but this is my best read so far!
Because of Winn Dixie is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. I love, love, love this one! Opal Buloni, our young heroine, has recently moved...moreBecause of Winn Dixie is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. I love, love, love this one! Opal Buloni, our young heroine, has recently moved with her father, a preacher, to a small town in Florida. He is the new preacher at a small church, a church held in an old convenient store building, a church with no pews but lawn chairs. The novel, I believe, is set during the summer. Opal, when the novel opens, is still adjusting. She misses her mother tremendously. Her mother's leaving is not recent, but, as Opal grows up, she is beginning to realize more and more how much she misses her mother. Her curiosity and longing has changed. She feels her father ignores her, not because he doesn't love her, not because he doesn't want her or need her, but simply because he's always busy and quiet. Opal needs friends. Find friends she will and all because of Winn Dixie, the dog she finds at the grocery store. Winn Dixie, the dog with an irresistible smile, needs Opal just as much as she needs him. And with a little love from Opal and her Dad, Winn Dixie sets out to charm EVERYONE in town, even people who don't "like" dogs.
I love, love, love the characters in this one. I love Opal. I do. I love her dad. I love that he listens to his daughter and shares with her ten things about her mother. I love Gloria Dump, Miss Franny, Otis, and Sweetie Pie. And, of course, I love Winn Dixie. I also love Opal coming up with a ten things list for Winn Dixie.
I love the writing. This is one of those novels that is just so easy to quote!!! (less)
It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea. In...moreIt was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea. In happier times, London would never have bothered with such feeble prey. The great Traction City had once spent its days hunting far bigger towns than this, ranging north as far as the edge of the Ice Wastes and south to the shores of the Mediterranean. But lately prey of any kind had started to grow scarce, and some of the larger cities had begun to look hungrily at London. For ten years now it had been hiding from them, skulking in a damp, mountainous western district that the Guild of Historians said had once been the island of Britain. For ten years it had eaten nothing but tiny farming towns and static settlements in those wet hills. Now, at last, the Lord Mayor had decided that the time was right to take his city back over the land bridge into the Great Hunting Ground.
I don't know about you, but this one had me hooked from the beginning. In this fun science fiction series, it's a town-eat-town world ruled by municipal Darwinism. London is a city on the go, on the move. And for better or worse, Tom is along for the ride.
Tom Natsworthy is an apprentice. True, he's just a third apprentice...and an orphan at that. But he's as content as a boy can be under the circumstances. But when Tom witnesses something he shouldn't--no matter that he'd just saved Mr. Valentine's life--his new life of danger and adventure is off to a brutal start. Tom's new companion--the young girl who got him into this mess of an adventure is Hester Shaw, a flawed and scarred character if ever there was one. But this encounter leaves an unintended impression on another teenager as well...a Miss Katherine Valentine.
All three teens will in one way or another impact the world, save it even. I won't go into all the ins and outs of the plots--the different factions the world is broken into, the danger that Medusa poses to the world, the need for a hero or two to risk it all.
The world Reeve has created is an interesting one. One that you may enjoy reading about--I know I did--but that you'd never want to live in yourself. It's a fast-paced, sci-fi adventure with danger and mystery and the slightest smidgen of romance.