Sunday, February 13, 2011

Book Review: Same Life, New Story

“Same Life, New Story,” Change your perspective to change your life, by Jan Silvious, published by Thomas Nelson2010
          Although I ordered “Same Life, New Story” because I admire Jan Silvious, a biblically sound author and speaker, I was expecting a “ho-hum ladies; let’s get our thinking straight” read. The sub-title “Change Your Perspective to Change Your Life” understates the goldmine in this book.
          The format of “Same Life, New Story” is an easy read for either a personal or a group Bible study. A quick read of this book provides understanding to face issues in life and a deep, intense study will change your life.
          Throughout the book, Ms Silvious shows us, through the decisions of various women of the Bible, that we can write new stories for our lives—that we can change our thinking, behavior, and decision making.
Jehosheba, Deborah, Anna, and Rahab did not know how their stories would turn out anymore than we can see into our own futures.
          The author shows us how to learn to question what we are thinking, to unclutter our lives, and how clinging to the what-might-have-been yesterday will stop you dead in your tracks. The author writes “…you are only a victim when you think you are a victim. Bad things happen, but you do not have to let them define your life…..God’s story is bigger than yours.”
          Ms Silvious gets specific as she links biblical times with down-to-earth pain in the issues of today and covers the gamut of modern life circumstances that happen while we are ‘doing life.’  From personal experience, I can attest that she does not play games, beat around a worn-out bush, or over-simply the traps of life. I wish this book had come to me 25 years ago when I found myself living out consequences of my own and other people’s bad choices. However, after reading “Same Life, New Story,” I am excited to understand that I DID change my life circumstances and re-wrote my story. But, believe, me, this book makes it easier to bring about those hard changes. Ms Silvious says, “Wisdom is the gift of knowing what to do. Courage is the gift of having the guts to do it. That is a powerful combination.” Truly, when we allow God to use our wisdom and courage, great things can happen.
          The best surprise in this book, for me, is that the author did not write JUST for young and middle age women, but she also covered issues that clutter the lives of us silver seniors. Just because some of us have been through the fire and came out smarter does not mean we stop making mistakes. Aging brings on its own unexpected battles and this book is a valuable tool to help me write the difficult last chapter of my life in a graceful way that will glorify my Lord and encourage those coming behind me.
          I highly recommend this book whether or not you think there are issues in your life to change. Jan Silvious skillfully connects our lives today to the Lord Jesus Christ and she shows us how to live in God’s Word.
          Thank you, Book Sneeze, for sending this book to me to review.  
And, note to my local readers.... Jan Silvious's book, "Same Life, New Story" is NOW available at our own Closer Walk Christian Book Store, 997-7827, If anyone decides to teach this book, let me know and I'll post the info and encourage you!!!

Book Review: Finding Our Way Again

Before Christmas, I signed up with Book Sneeze to write book reviews. Their system is simple: a member chooses a book to review, the book is sent at no charge, and the reader is asked only to post a review at Book Sneeze, on the reader's blog and on a book site. WOW! I couldn't wait. Here is my first, I'm sad to report, review:

Finding Our Way Again
by Brian McLaren

     I chose as my first review with Book Sneeze, Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren, Thomas Nelson publishers, reprinted from 2008 with a forward by Phyllis Tickle. The book arrived just before Christmas.
    Because I love studies of the Old Testament, the subtitle, “The Return of the Ancient Practices,” intrigued me. I had not read Brian McLaren and while I’m old enough to know better than to assume anything, the synopsis on the back cover assured me this was a “safe read. It ended by saying: “Compelling and readable, the Ancient Practices series is for every spiritual sojourner, for every Christian seeker who wants more.”
            As a 73-year-old practicing Evangelical Christian, I definitely want more and needed a quick but deep study and Mr. McLaren’s subtitle, “The Return of the Ancient Practices,” enticed me because I believe in specific times of prayer, tithing, and fasting, and I ache to keep the Sabbath more holy.
            This is the first book of a series on ancient practices that I understand “is written by a Christian for Christians.” The author states that he is a follower of Jesus Christ, the pastor of a Christian church, and that he believes in the Trinity. He also says that all three of the great monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—can learn to live in peace with each other and that our spiritual elders, Abraham, Moses, Mohamed, and Jesus are examples of how to live peaceful, loving lives.
             I don’t argue his general premise, but Jesus is much more to me than “an example.” To ensure that I connected all the dots together, I struggled through all 223 pages of the book, including the pages of Notes, About the Author, and the Study Guide in addition to the Table of Contents, the Acknowledgement page and three pages of Forward.
            When I read the Notes section, I closed the book overcome with a deep sense of sorrow. Mr. McLaren writes, “Sadly, Jesus’ statement “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) is one of the most frequently misunderstood statements in the Bible.”
            I believe the Bible teaches that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God and that man’s sinful nature makes it impossible to be in relationship with the one Triune and perfect God.  Thankfully, the one perfect God loved his creation so deeply and longed for a relationship with us enough to become human himself and be the sacrifice to make us right with Him.
            Life (at least mine) is too short to read bad books. From now on, I will research the author before I decide to read a book. I truly yearned for something in this book to take away to help me how to order my days more smoothly and to love my neighbors better and to walk humbly with my God. I finished the book empty hearted and do not recommend it.
            Book Sneeze, sent this book to me for my personal review at no cost to me and with no review requirements.


Mike said...
Miz Liz, I'm glad to hear you read the book critically. I reviewed it as well and provided a (do I dare say, "scathing") review. I'm finding a lot of people who reviewed it are satisfied with McLaren's "flowery" new-age approach to Jesus Christ.