Posted in Moody Publishers Book Reviews

20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-something Selves Review

I recently signed up to become a book reviewer for Moody Publishers. Moody sends me free books and I tell you what I think about them. The first book I have received is 20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-something Selves by Peter and Kelli Worrall. This husband and wife duo share life advice from their personal experiences as well as from years to teaching and counselling college students.

Before discussing the content of their advice, I want to make a note about Bible translations. If you’re like me, the first thing you do when looking at a Christian book (or a box of cards) is find out what version of the Bible is used. If it is the Message, I automatically put the item back on the shelf. The Message is not an authoritative translation of the Bible and so I doubt the legitimacy of anyone who uses it. The Worralls predominately use the ESV; however, in Chapter 18 they use the Message for I Peter 1:3-5. Since this is a review of the book and not a treatise on the failings of the Message, I will not give a point-by-point analysis of the differences between the versions. You can use Bible Gateway to see for yourself. Sufficed it to say that I don’t understand why they did it.

Moving on.

20 Things is like a cross between a devotional, a self-help book, and an advice column. The Worralls address the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life. The book is only 246 pages and the chapters are fairly short; it can easily be read in a sitting or two. But I recommend  taking on one chapter per day to give yourself time to actually think about what the authors have to say. Because the chapters are so short, the Worralls don’t delve as deep into some issues as they could have. And they know that. Each chapter ends with “Actions to Consider,” “Questions for Reflection,” and “Other Things to Read.” What surprised me about the reading suggestions is that they were not all Christian works. Along with passages of Scripture, sermons, and other works by Christian authors were classic secular novels such as A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables, and Frankenstein as well as more psychological works The Power of Habit and Alone Together.

As you read 20 Things, keep in mind that is a collection of advice learned from the authors’ lives. They share several personal stories about their struggles and successes. When I read this book, there were some chapters that I found incredibly helpful. They made me think about issues from a new perspective and analyze how I can change for the better. But there were also chapters that didn’t apply to me.

One particularly good insight that Peter has in Chapter 19 is looking at sin (in general, but this chapter dealt with pride) as a zombie. As Christians, we have put our sinful desires to death. But they creep up on us and we are tempted. We must fight sin like we would fight zombies.

Despite my disappointment over the use of the Message, I am glad I read this book.


Posted in Christmas, My Life, Recommendations

Happy Halloween?

Recently, a friend’s innocent Facebook post about fall was hijacked by two people discussing whether Halloween is good or bad for Christians to celebrate. At issue was its roots in pagan Celtic culture and transformation by the Roman Catholic Church. Honestly, I’ve never researched the origins of Halloween, although I’ve heard bits and pieces.

When I look at something like Halloween or Christmas trees (which are also reported to be rooted in pagan culture), the history is good to know, but it’s not solely what I make my final decision on. I also look at how the they are used today.

Christmas trees today have nothing to do with pagan celebrations. (They don’t have anything to do with Christ’s birth either.) Decorating Christmas trees is just a fun family activity that has become a part of our society’s Christmas celebration. And the trees are a convenient location for presents.  Therefore, I do not have qualms about putting up a Christmas tree in my living room every year. (If you do, that’s ok–it is possible to celebrate Christ’s birth without one.)

However, it is a different story with Halloween. A day to dress-up and receive candy sounds like every little girl’s dream. But that is not all that Halloween is. What is the first thing you think of when Halloween is mentioned? Witches? Ghosts? Monsters? Halloween is an evil holiday. I believe the Bible is conclusive on the subject.

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Exodus 18:22)

God hates witchcraft so much that he commanded all witches to be put to death. So should Christians be dressing up like witches, decorating with witches, or celebrating a day associated with witches? I don’t think so.

And then there’s Philippians 4:8 “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, (ghosts are out) whatsoever things are honest, (tricks are out) whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,(witches and vampires are out) whatsoever things are lovely, (monsters are out) whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, (Halloween is out) and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

My conclusion, based on Scripture, is that we Christians should not celebrate Halloween.

Posted in Quotes

Quote of the Week #2

“For the wages of sin death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Sinners. That’s what every person on the planet is; those just born a minute ago and those who have lived over a hundred years and every one of us in the middle.  Even the “good” people.

So what’s the problem? Evil leads to death. Both physical and spiritual. Our physical lives are shortened. But our souls will go on, eternally suffering the punishment of our sins.

“But” is one of my favorite words in the Bible.

But God, who created us and gave us physical life, has also given us eternal life. How is this possible? Christ Jesus our Lord.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

God gave his Son to die in our place. And because Jesus was perfect and never sinned He was able to pay our punishment.

Still, dying was not enough. Jesus had to conquer death too.

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. And that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”           I Corinthians 15:3-4.

After three days in the grave, Jesus rose again. He is still alive! And He lives in heaven with God the Father. And because of Him we can live eternally with God. If we put our trust in Him, alone.

There is only way to God and eternal life with Him: Jesus Christ our Lord.