Book Review: NIV First-Century Study Bible

Every believer needs a Bible. In many parts of the world we have a free press and the Bible is available in so many formats to so many peoples and nations, so there is little excuse for not having a Bible. Unless you don’t want one. Sometimes people need the right version. Other times people need help understanding how it all ties together. And then there is the stray resource that helps you understand the Bible in a unique way.

I was intrigued by the concept of a “First-Century Study Bible.” We often talk about being “people of the New Testament” or striving to have a “New Testament church”. Yet we forget how far we’re removed from that time and culture. Even those statements are made from the perspective of the world that we live in. Would we really be able to go back and live the message of Scripture as they did?


To help us with such an endeavor, Zondervan partnered with New Testament scholar Kent Dobson to bring us the NIV First-Century Study Bible. Dobson is lived and studied in Israel, learning from both Christian and Jewish perspectives. He has been featured on programs for both the History and Discovery Channels. The result is a Bible filled with information you probably haven’t heard before.

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Book Review: “One Big Thing” by Phil Cooke

onebigthingNo one was created to be mediocre. God does not intend for us to sit on the sidelines or to be a copy of someone else. We are all unique, and uniquely created for greatness. We have passions and ideas, and they don’t fit into each other’s molds.

So why do we feel so forgotten? Why do some shine while others feel inept and invisible? We have lost sight of ourselves, our true selves. We have settled for next to nothing when anything is possible.

We can achieve the greatness that awaits us. Our purpose, our destiny can be fulfilled. It is possible to see our dreams and visions realized. There aren’t so  many voices or hurdles to our goals if we focus and determine to make one thing happen. One Big Thing.

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Book Review: “This Is Our Love” by Jody Cross

thisisourloveIf you attend church regularly, you probably take the time to sing at almost every service. Whether you use a hymnal or a projector screen, sing works by Martin Luther and John Wesley or Hillsong and Chris Tomlin, your musical expression is labeled as worship.

There is a great power in worship that we do not always consider or tap into. Worship – as a personal and corporate expression of the truths God, as well as thankfulness, adoration and praise – has the ability to change our way of life. As we confess those God truths and confess our need to align with them, we encourage ourselves to think with the mind of Christ, to see with the eyes of Heaven, and to allow our hearts to beat with Heaven’s heartbeat.

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Book Review: “Revealing Jesus; A 365-Day Devotional” by Darlene Zschech

9780764211546 RevealingJesusAs a pastor I often mention that as Christians our lives should point to Jesus. Whatever we say, whatever we do, are our lives pointing to Him? At times life can seem so mundane and unspiritual. Yet we are called to shine the Light in the darkness, and that Light is Jesus.

So how do we do that? What parts of life point to Jesus? What does it look like from season to season, from good days to bad days, from solitude to spiritual community? Pastor and worship leader Darlene Zschech teaches us about these issues and more in her new devotional book, Revealing Jesus (Bethany House).

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Book Review: “The Uncomfortable Church” by Dr. Lawrence Brice

uncomfortablechurchOne of the largest issues embroiling our world and culture today has nothing to do with the environment, the economy or government scandals. Its importance strikes to the heart of the home, the family, the individual.

While it appears to be an administrative issue its core points to the legitimacy of existence. The hot-button issue of gay marriage is not just a referendum on the legality of a formal union between two people. The heart of the debate is not whether the union is acceptable, but whether the individual is.

The Church, of course, finds itself in a difficult position. At least, it should. How does the earthly representation of Jesus Christ love its neighbor while remaining committed to biblical principles? Is it even possible? With hopes of leading the Church along the best road, Dr. Lawrence writes to us about The Uncomfortable Church, asking in the subtitle, Can gays be reconciled to the Body of Christ?

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