Category Call to Action

Trivial Pursuits

Trivial Pursuits: Why Your Real Life is More than Media, Money, and the Pursuit of HappinessTrivial Pursuits
By Ian Diorio
Baker Books
Retail Price $14.99
Amazon Price: $11.24

Book Description: 

Your life is not a reality show. It’s actual reality. But too many of us spend our lives on trivial pursuits–media, money, perpetual youth, and a culture of constant entertainment. We try to avoid the realities of pain, depression, loneliness, and mortality by filling our lives with diversions. Even worse, our churches that might use the reality of pain and suffering to point us to the cross instead dress the gospel up in the world’s clothing so that it will seem more “relevant.”With pinpoint accuracy, LA club DJ turned pastor Ian DiOrio diagnoses the problem and gives us the cure. Exposing our most common empty attempts to find meaning apart from God, DiOrio points us back to God and exhorts us to find meaning in our identities as followers of Christ, as shapers of culture, and as people who participate in communities of worship.

Review

This book is really a call to a deeper faith.  The author helps us to see that we often spend much of our time chasing after what really doesn’t matter.  Today’s culture lures us away from godly pursuits and side tracks us from what is really important.  And what is important is not money, success, or status, but serving God and others.  This was an inspirational read.

~Reviewed by David H.

    Immigration and the Next America

    Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our NationImmigration and the Next America
    By Archbishop Jose H. Gomez
    Our Sunday Visitor
    Retail Price $11.95
    Amazon Price: $10.45

    Book Description: 

    Archbishop José Gomez has written a personal, passionate and practical contribution to the national debate about immigration pointing the way toward a recovery of America’s highest ideals.

    Immigration is a human rights test of our generation. It’s also a defining historical moment for America. The meaning of this hour is that we need to renew our country in the image of her founding promises of universal rights rooted in God. “Immigration is about more than immigration. It’s about renewing the soul of America.” —Archbishop José H. Gomez

    Archbishop José H. Gomez is one of the leading moral voices in the American Catholic Church. He is the Archbishop of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest Catholic community and the Chairman of the United States Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration and a papal appointee to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. Archbishop Gomez is a native of Monterrey, Mexico and a naturalized American citizen.

    Review

    This beautifully written and much-needed book on the national debate of immigration.  It is well-thought out and well-written, giving common sense solutions to the immigration issue that treat immigrants with respect. The author discusses important areas that are even on the table in Congress at this time, yet are things our government should really look at. This is a balanced book on a difficult topic.

    ~Reviewed by David H.

      Hope Rising

      Hope Rising: How Christians Can End Extreme Poverty in This GenerationHope Rising
      By Scott C. Todd Ph. D.
      Thomas Nelson
      Retail Price $15.99
      Amazon Price: $11.95

      Book Description: 

      Extreme poverty does not have to exist. When Christians accept that fact and start living accordingly, we will find the solution is already within our reach.Worldwide, 18,000 children die from preventable causes every day. If that statistic leaves you feeling powerless, you are not alone—but you are wrong. If a false sense of powerlessness has lulled you into apathy, it’s time to shake off the grogginess of low expectations and get to work. We can make this world a place where kids do not die from easily preventable diseases.In Hope Rising, Scott Todd of Compassion International pens a galvanizing, comprehensive vision of the movement that will eradicate extreme global poverty through transformative Christian generosity—and do it within our lifetime. Todd provides riveting evidence to show that we are much closer to that goal than you might think.

      According to Todd, we live in an historic moment, and chances are you are already part of it. The gospel is already reshaping lives from thoughtless consumption to informed concern. Twenty-first-century Christians are generating multi-continent grassroots movements through communications and travel. Public and private sectors are working together.  It’s a whole new era of philanthropy, compassion, and justice aimed at eradicating the pandemic of extreme global poverty.

      This is a future we have the God-given power to create. This is the history we hope to write.

      As Todd envisions, “The twenty-first-century Christians embraced the entirety of their gospel—the truths it proclaims and the muscles it demands—with a new integrity. They did not deteriorate into humanist liberalism, as some had feared. Nor did they pile works on top of Grace…They simply determined that their world did not need to have children dying of preventable causes such as dirty water.”

      Review

      Some books on alleviating poverty are unrealistic and cause more condemnation and shame than is necessary or even warranted.  I am a firm believer that we are all accountable to help others in our own sphere of influence, so this book hit home with me. This book offers hope not only to those in need, but to those who want to make a difference.  The basic premise is that extreme poverty can be eradicated. Author Scott Todd speaks about our low expectations that extreme poverty can dealt with and then goes about showing how much has truly changed even in the last 20 years. I did not know so many inroads have been made in the war of poverty. I found myself encouraged to continue to do my part.  I highly recommend this book for everyone who believes God can make the impossible possible and wants to do their part in seeing lives changed forever.

      ~Reviewed by Allie B.

        Rhinestone Jesus

        Rhinestone Jesus
        By Kristen Welch and Ann Voskamp
        Tyndale Momentum
        Retail Price $15.99
        Amazon Price: $10.44

        Book Description:

        In high school, Kristen Welch wore a big, sparkly rhinestone “Jesus” pin to school every day and carried her Bible wherever she went. (Yes, she was that girl.) But she didn’t realize her faith, though sincere, was shallow; much like her artificial accessory, it would one day tarnish, no longer a true fit for who she was. As real life catapulted Kristen into places and situations she’d never imagined, there came a day when she stood shocked in the slums of Africa and realized in one desperate moment that Jesus wasn’t enough for her. At least . . . she wasn’t living like He was. On the brink of a risk bigger than any she’d ever taken, Kristen knew she didn’t stand a chance—unless she was willing to put aside the rhinestones and get branded by the real thing.Rhinestone Jesus is the story of one woman’s journey from comfortably living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say yes to a bolder, more authentic, more dangerous way. This story of spiritual adventure throws the doors wide open for any woman who’s ever thought of herself as “just a mom.” Kristen will inspire and empower you to say yes to God right where you are—and stand amazed at how your life will shine.

        Review

        In this book, author Kristen Welch is real.  She opens her entire life to the reader…warts and all.  I respect that.  As I read, I laughed and I cried and she made me fee “normal”.  Like all families have their “stuff” and that is okay.  God will use it all for our good to grow us into the people we are destined to become!  This book is based on the life and work of the author and her family who helped to found Mercy House, a home for pregnant young women in Kenya.  She gives us the back story and shares their struggles to persevere in the mission God had laid on their hearts.   It was very interesting and inspiring.  It moves you to examine your own life to see where God is calling YOU!  I highly recommend it.

         

        ~Reviewed by Amy L.

          Love. Period.

          Love. Period.: When All Else FailsLove. Period.
          By Rudy Rasmus
          Worthy Publilshing
          Retail Price $24.95
          Amazon Price: $18.27

          Book Description:

          When we say, “I choose to love. Period.”
          we are signaling to the world that a revolution
          has taken place in our hearts.
          —PASTOR RUDY RASMUS, LOVE. PERIOD.

          What would happen if we truly loved those who are different from us in race, background, abilities, gender, economic status, identity, or physical condition? How would our communities change if we stopped being afraid of those who don’t fit our definition of “loveable”? How would our hearts find greater joy if we acknowledged the risk of loving without conditions—and did it anyway?

          Love. Period. is hustler-turned-pastor Rudy Rasmus’s call for us to live the most daring way we can. To refuse to follow the hate and apathy of our world. To speak the words that Jesus intended: “I choose to love. Period.” Love—it’s precisely what God calls us to do.

          Review

          I wish that I could say that this book isn’t necessary.  That, as Christians, we follow God’s command to love one another and to love our neighbor as ourselves. But sadly, this book is relevant and necessary in today’s world and within church walls. Author Rudy Rasmus really makes you think and after reading this book you will find yourself reexamining the concept of love. This book provides useful and practical insight on why love is so critical…not only to our very existence, but to our development as a whole and complete person.  I highly recommend this book.

          ~Reviewed by Sharon S.

            Plastic Donuts

            Plastic Donuts
            By Jeff Anderson
            Waterbrook  – aboyer@randomhouse.com
            Retail Price $9.99
            Amazon Price: $8.99

            Book Description:

            Once you see your gifts from God’s perspective, your giving will never be the same.

            When she was a toddler, Jeff Anderson’s daughter opened his eyes to how delighted God is with our gifts. She brought him a plastic donut from her play kitchen, and he was surprised by the intensity of his reaction. His delight in receiving this simple gift—and his daughter’s joy in giving it—led him to dig deeper. Anderson would not rest until he found the scriptural connection between our gifts and God’s heart.

            Plastic Donuts removes the awkwardness and uncertainty that often accompany discussions about giving. Now you can think differently-and biblically-about what and how you give.

            Your gifts can capture God’s attention and connect you more intimately with His heart. Plastic Donuts brings everyone—leaders and followers, teachers and learners—onto the same page.

            Review

             

            The author has great insight on the issue of giving…not just monetarily but gifts from our heart to God’s heart.  He helps you to examine yourself to see why you are giving and how we view it.  He put the issue of tithing in a different perspective, which hit home with me.  When we give it not only pleases God, it helps us to grow in our relationship with Him.  The book is small and reads well, so you will get through it quickly.  But the best part is the life-changing affects it will have on you.  I highly recommend it.

            ~Reviewed by Allie B.

              Be REBELLIOUS

              Be Rebellious: Fight Back Against a Culture that Doesn't Care About YouBe REBELLIOUS
              By Megan Clinton
              Worthy
              Retail Price $14.99
              Amazon Price: $13.21

              Book Description:

              Why are we trying so hard to fit in when God created us to stand out?Many of us have been tricked into believing that life is all about starving yourself into a size 0, wearing sexy clothes, and snagging a hot guy. We measure our worth by the number of our followers on social media or “likes” on our digitally enhanced selfies.We shape our lives around these lies, unaware that we’re on a pathway to brokenness and destruction: Eating disorders. Depression. Addiction. Abuse.We may think we are “rebelling” by breaking the rules of our parents’ generation—but the reality is, we’re anything but rebellious. Instead, we’re slaves to our culture, desperate to fit in.But we don’t have to live this way. We have a choice.

              Do you want to make a difference and change the world? Then take your heart and life back from a culture that doesn’t care about you! Grab hold of the truth that your value isn’t based on your relationship status or dress size—it’s based on who you are.

               

              In Be Rebellious, Megan Clinton shows you inspiring and practical ways to be the woman God created you to be. Through her own experiences and biblical teaching, she encourages you to embrace your true beauty and to run toward God.

              It’s time to for this generation to rebel against modern-day culture . . . and live free!

              Review

              This is a fantastic book for both younger and older women alike.  We are often sucked into aligning ourselves with the culture and trying to fit in.  Clinton reminds us that we are called to stand with God, regardless of popular opinion and trend.  If we want to reach others for God, we need to learn who we are, how we are gifted, and where God is calling us to reach others for him.  This was an inspiring call to action for women of all ages.

              ~Reviewed by  Rosie B.

                Saints and Social Justice

                Saints and Social Justice
                by Brandon Vogt
                Our Sunday Visitor   – cowsik@osv.com
                Retail Price $12.95
                Amazon Price: $10.32

                Book Description: 

                Catholic social teaching has explosive power for changing not just individuals, but whole societies. And it’s the saints who light the fuse. – Brandon Vogt

                 

                The value of human life. The call to family and community. Serving the poor. The rights of workers. Care for creation.

                The church has always taught certain undeniable truths that can and should affect our society. But over the years, these teachings have been distorted, misunderstood, and forgotten.

                With the help of fourteen saints, it’s time we reclaim Catholic social teaching and rediscover it through the lives of those who best lived it out. Follow in the saints’ footsteps, learn from their example, and become the spark of authentic social justice that sets the world on fire.

                Learn from heroes like:

                • Bl. Teresa of Calcutta
                • St. Peter Claver
                • St. Frances of Rome
                • St. Roque Gonzalez
                • Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
                • St. Damien of Molokai
                • St. John Paul II

                Review

                I love this sort of book.  The author provides us many stories of people who have made a difference in their sphere of influence and beyond because they cared for “the least, the last, and the lost.” Vogt does a great job of highlighting the lives of 14 different saints from all walks of life who were open to follow God’s will and live on mission and relating them to our own lives, causing us to search our own hearts to see what mission God has for us.  It was a thought-provoking book and though it might make you a little bit uncomfortable, it can spur you on to great things.  I found this book inspiring, helping me to understand social justice issues, and my own responsibility.

                ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                  Follow Me

                  Follow Me
                  by David Platt
                  Lifeway
                  Retail Price $15.99
                  Amazon Price: $9.03

                  Book Description:  What did Jesus really mean when he said, “Follow Me”?

                  In this new book, David Platt, author of the New York Times bestselling book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, contends that multitudes of people around the world culturally think they are Christians yet biblically are not followers of Christ.

                  Scores of men, women, and children have been told that becoming a follower of Jesus simply involves believing certain truths or saying certain words. As a result, churches today are filled with people who believe they are Christians . . . but aren’t. We want to be disciples as long as doing so does not intrude on our lifestyles, our preferences, our comforts, and even our religion.

                  Revealing a biblical picture of what it means to truly be a Christian, Follow Me explores the gravity of what we must forsake in this world, as well as the indescribable joy and deep satisfaction to be found when we live for Christ.

                  The call to follow Jesus is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer; it’s a summons to lose your life—and to find new life in him. This book will show you what such life actually looks like.

                  When share our faith with people our goal tends to be to get them to pray the sinner’s prayer or commit to accepting Jesus.  Yet, we tend to shy away from sharing what that commitment really means and what it actually costs us.  And this really isn’t fair.  In this book author David Platt tells it like it is and gives us the skinny on what following Jesus actually should look like and gives us advice on how to share that with others.  This is a thought-provoking book that calls us to action.

                  ~Reviewed by Deb S.

                    Be the People

                    Product DetailsBe the People
                    by Carol M Swain
                    Zondervan
                    Retail Price $24.99
                    Amazon Price: $16.99

                    Book Description:

                    An insightful analysis of the forces of deception rapidly reshaping America’s morals, social policies, and culture, with a call to specific action, written by a thoughtful and courageous Christian social scientist on the front lines of today’s issues.Cultural elites in the media, academia, and politics are daily deceiving millions of Americans into passively supporting policies that are detrimental to the nation and their own best interest. Although some Americans can see through the smokescreen, they feel powerless to redirect the forces inside and outside government that radically threaten cherished values and principles.Drawing on her training in political science and law, Dr. Swain thoughtfully examines the religious significance of the founding of our nation and the deceptions that have infiltrated our daily lives and now threaten traditional families, unborn children, and members of various racial and ethnic groups—as well as national sovereignty itself–and provides action points for the people of this country to make the political system more responsive.

                    The book is divided into two sections:

                    • Forsaking what we once knew
                    • Re-embracing truth and justice in policy choices

                    It also covers key topics such as:

                    • America’s shift to moral relativism
                    • America’s religious roots
                    • Abortion’s fragile facade
                    • Historical and biblical views on families and children
                    • Erosion of rule of law, national security, and immigration
                    • Racial and ethnic challenges
                    • Reclaiming the future

                    Review

                    This is a fantastic book on American Culture past, present and future.  The author is obviously an intelligent woman who draws from her background in political science and law to present us a dramatic overview of where our Nation began, where we are now and what the future holds.  This book is a thought-provoking call to action for believers to take back American Culture for God.   It was enlightening read that will light a fire under you to make a difference.

                    ~Reviewed by Kathy R.