Living by the Word of God by Davis Byrd (Parson’s Porch Books)
Davis Byrd has written a deeply personal yet broadly practical book of theological reflection. Living by the Word of God is “an expression of my personal un-derstanding of God’s word and my faith that that is built upon that word … an effort to give voice to my faith so I may more fully understand it myself.”
Byrd’s book defies easy categorization. You might call it a systematic theology, because Byrd, an architect, certainly is systematic. And yet the book is not as comprehensive as the typical systematic theology. It’s more of an experienced theology—worked out over a lifetime of thinking about God and the Bible in the circumstances of life.
I found two aspects of this book particularly attractive.
First is its innate integrity and humility. Byrd writes as if he were involved in an open, ongoing discussion with the reader about the things that matter most in his life—in every life. He doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but he obviously loves seeking them, discussing them, holding them up to the light.
Second is its engagement with the larger Chris-tian community. Byrd exposes readers to Christendom’s great thinkers. His bibliography alone is worth the price of his book.
Marv Knox, editor
The Thorn by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House)
Many know Beverly Lewis as the “queen of Amish fiction.” In her first novel, she wrote about the Shunning of her Mennonite grandmother. Although the novelist has penned nearly 90 books since, including children’s stories, the Christy Award winner’s staple remains the “bonnet-romance.”
In The Thorn, Lewis provides glimpses into “plain” lives that revolve around family, friends, and faith. With help from her grandmother, 20-year-old Rose spends her days caring for her Mamm, who was paralyzed 11 years earlier in a buggy accident. She feels abandoned because her sister Hannah, “Hen,” marries outside the faith.
Rose finds release riding horses with her friend Nick. The bishop and his wife adopted the non-Amish boy from a troubled home, and most agreed all he brought was trouble. Her father fears Rose and Nick will marry. The bishop fears they won’t.
Following Nick’s departure, Rose faces her own decisions as she attends Sunday hymn-sings. There, she catches the eye of Silas Good who proposes in the traditional way, waiting to lip-kiss until marriage.
The Thorn offers a chaste romance filled with complicated relationships, personal reflection and devastating dilemmas, some of which await resolution in the second book of The Rose Trilogy. And along the way, readers learn the value of simpler lives and the difficulty of living in the world without being of the world.
Kathy Robinson Hillman,
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas
Mobilizing Men for One-on-One Ministry by Steve Sonderman (Bethany House)
Steve Sonderman writes from 20 years experience working with men at Elm Creek Church in Milwaukee, Wisc., and beyond. That experience has equipped him to pen this practical, no-nonsense guide that will help any aspiring leader find his way.
Men need relationships with men—a point the author strongly emphasizes. He bases this on the second chapter of 1 Thessalonians, and he points to keys the Apostle Paul wrote that will make any man an effective leader of men if put into practice.
The author believes the main things men are looking for in a leader they will follow is that he be spiritual, relevant and challenging. A spiritual leader must hone his skills, such as the art of listening and asking good questions.
This book is filled with practical wisdom and guid-ance for a man aspiring to be a leader of men. Sonderman concludes God has put each of us right where he wants us to be and surrounds us with men who desperately need us and want us to invest in them.
This book will challenge you and equip you with the knowledge and tools for a ministry that will bless you and others. If you have a heart for men, read and practice what Sonderman has written.
Leo Smith, executive director
Texas Baptist Men