For a little while now I have been familiar with the I am Second videos. The videos themselves feature prominent Christians (politicians like Mike HicFor a little while now I have been familiar with the I am Second videos. The videos themselves feature prominent Christians (politicians like Mike Hickabee, sports stars like Tong Dungy, music stars like the former singer from Korn and models like Kathy Ireland to name just a few) explaining why God comes first in their lives. If you have not checked them out already, they are worth watching. Now, Thomas Nelson has published a 365 day devotional guide based on these videos.
The basic set-up is quite interesting in my opinion. There are a total of 12 different sessions featuring different topics , each session consisting of 4-5 weeks of particular sub-topics. You begin the week with one of the I am Second videos (internet links through QR codes) and then answering a few questions based on some Bible passages. Each other day of the week begins with a Bible passage to read and consider. Below each passage you will find the following headings: Talk with God (prayer), Live it (application) and Tell it (teach it to others).
The biggest thing this book has going for it is the use of interactive media. Not only are you watching videos, but you are interacting with others online who are going through the same sections. Each day ends with an encouragement to tweet your lessons for other to benefit from and discuss. I can think of many young people I teach who would eat this up! But this feature intrigues me not just because of the “cool factor” this may have, but because of the idea of community this promotes. Too often devotions are seen as only personal. This idea tends to lead to subjectivity without much accountability. Having and sharing your devotions with a community (even the if only the online Twitter community) does promote at least some sense of connection with other believers and may provide a little bit of push back and iron-sharpening-iron when needed.
The negative aspect of this book is its lack of depth. This is not a devotional for mature Christians wishing to draw closer to God through deeper interaction in the Word. I really was not impressed with the actual content. However, as I alluded to above, I could see how this could be used by young people are may be new to the faith. This book would help them formulate a helpful pattern of how to begin your devotional life. It does promote stability, regularity and organization.
So, while this book certainly has many positive aspects, I can’t say it has earned my full recommendation.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review....more
I’m shocked to admit this to all of you, my faithful readers, but this is the first book by Joel Beeke that I’ve ever read. However, after having readI’m shocked to admit this to all of you, my faithful readers, but this is the first book by Joel Beeke that I’ve ever read. However, after having read this small devotional, I know this will not be the last book by Joel Beeke that I will have ever read!
Why Christ Came is a small book that might have a huge impact on your Christmas this year. With thirty-one, short devotional readings it would make a great book to buy this month and work your way through during the month of December. In other words, this is not a stocking-stuffer, order your copy today (and I would encourage you to do just that).
Each reading contains a bite-sized Biblical truth that is profound enough for meditation and short enough not to feel too overwhelmed by its depth. Christmas tends to be one of those often-rehearsed stories that we all just become comfortable with while forgetting the “wonder of it all.”
Why did Christ leave the glories and splendor of Heaven to endure the humility of humanity? Why did God take on human flesh? This book explores these questions in a meaningful way that will leave you glorifying Christ and reveling in the fullness of the gospel. I think that is what I enjoyed most about this book – its emphasis on the gospel. From the very first reading we are reminded that “The good news of the gospel is that Christ has come to do God’s will as the Mediator for those who trust Him.” (page 4)
“Jesus both declared the will of God and performed it. He warned the people about the judgment of God, and then endured that judgment for His people. He then promised eternal comfort by shedding His precious blood for them.” (page 48)
“Those [II Peter 1:5-7] are incorruptible virtues or spiritual graces that were lived out and embodied for us in the righteousness and holy human life of the Lord Jesus Christ. What He has done for us He also works in us through His Holy Spirit as we abide in in Christ through faith.” (page 84)
These gospel-saturated quotations are just a few of the gems found in this work. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for ways to escape the commercialization of Christmas and regain a stronger focus on Christ.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review. ...more