Friday, December 11, 2009

Called to Love – Kaye Miller

© 2009 New Hope Publishers, Birmingham

When I signed on to work with New Hope Publishers as a “review blogger” I expected to receive one book in the first four that they sent and was disappointed that it was not there. Instead I received a copy of Kaye Miller’s Called to Love. What a nice surprise it turned out to be—just the kind of inspiring reading any pastor needs to pick up.

Miller, the 21st president of the national Women’s Missionary Union® (WMU®), really understands living love. She grew up on the mission field of Thailand as a missionary kid (MK) and learned the love of Christ from her medical missionary parents.

This book claims to be “Stories of Compassion, Faith & God’s Amazing Grace” right on the front cover. The stories related (both from Miller’s life and as told to her or read by her) are more than just stories, though. They are the illustrative fabric with which the author weaves the reminder to Christ followers that it is ours to live love every day.

Divided into three parts, part 1 reminding us of the great call to love we have been given; part 2 offering reflective material to help readers internalize this call; while part 3 challenges readers to do more than just acknowledge this love and this call, but to actually live it.

The reflection questions at the end of each chapter and group study suggestions at the back of the book are almost unnecessary for the reader who takes seriously the message contained in this book. At times inspiring, at times encouraging, and at times challenging—complete with extended Bible study material woven in—this book is highly recommended, with 5 out of 5 reading glasses.

Benjamin Potter, December 11, 2009

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Living Rich for Less – Ellie Kay

©2008 WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs

Ellie Kay is a nationally known author, speaker, and finance guru. She has a mountain of good advice for Americans trying to do more than just make ends meet in these trying economic times.

The advice she gives in Living Rich for Less is sound as far as it goes. She suggests that people should apply the 10/10/80 rule with their assets—Give 10%, Save 10 %, then Spend the other 80% wisely. Not bad advice that matches up with a number of the financial doctors trying to fix Americans’ fascination with debt.

There are several points which bother me about this book, though—

Ø The cover promises that the reader can learn to “save $30,000 this year”. This assumes that you have an income of over 90,000 to spend.

Ø Built into the fabric of the book are pauses the author refers to as the “cha-ching” factor. My biggest problem with this is the focus on being rich.

Ø The assumption that all Americans want to be rich and live like they’re rich is a struggle for me as well. I’d like to think that there are those out there who are wanting to get a handle on financial issues in order to do more good with the resources available to them.

I agree that Americans have a drastic need to change the habits that dig the hole of debt deeper each year. I agree that the principles in Kay’s book should work if practiced properly, I am bothered by the idea that the reason that you get out of debt is to get rich.

If your goal is to become rich—get and read this book. If your goal is to learn to use wisely the resources you have at your disposal, find another guru. I give this book 3 reading glasses.

Benjamin Potter, December 7, 2009

The Mudhogs – Dalton James

©2009 Outskirts Press, Denver

Some of you will recall this spring when I reviewed two books, then interviewed this children’s author who comes from the ranks of his readers. Dalton is eight years old and illustrates his stories as well as writing them.

The Mudhogs is the story of three pigs who have come together as a club with the purpose of enjoying the mud. One problem: there’s been no rain for a long time. Finally, Piggy, Piggles, and Piglet decide to go on an adventure to find mud somewhere in the world. The story is narrated by a tick that lives on Piggy’s knee, and is a fun reminder that sometimes what we really want is right at home.

In a note accompanying my review copy of this book, James’ father suggested that this third book is the author/illustrator’s best yet. I heartily concur. The Mudhogs will entertain and inspire children and readers of all ages. Pick up a copy for the holidays and enjoy this four-reading glass selection.

Benjamin Potter December 7, 2009

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