Tag Archives: book review

Martin Luther, The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed The World by Eric Metaxas — Including a Signed Copy Giveaway!

NOVEMBER 15, 2017 UPDATE:  TODAY Melissa Macduff won the drawing for the signed copy! (Drawn through Random.org)

The best part — she is gifting this signed copy to her Pastor, who she says “is a big fan of Eric Metaxas!”  This is especially sweet for me knowing that this signed copy that I bought and had Metaxas sign will go to a Pastor in Washington state!  Hallelujah!  Congratulations Melissa!

Earlier this month in anticipation of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (Today!  October 31, 2017) of my favorite authors, Eric Metaxas, released his newest biography, Martin Luther, The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed The World.  [Details how to win a free signed copy at the end of this post.]

Being born into a Protestant family in 1956 I have “heard of” Martin Luther. It is safe to sum up my understanding of Martin Luther, as Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk and university lecturer when he composed his “95 Theses,” which protested the Catholic churches sale of reprieves from penance, or indulgences.” The End.

Beyond that, my mind is an open book, so to speak, as I picked up Metaxas 446 page-turner (plus acknowledgments, notes, and indexes.)  Lucky for me my husband began reading the book just the day before me, and so our discussions quickly began to center around what we were reading.

While there is little mystery surrounding Luther today (although there are still a few unknowns and unanswered questions about him) this book is a page-turner because I had trouble putting it down! Reading this book will increase your vocabulary by thousands of new words. True story – when reading anything written by Eric Metaxas I have his book in one hand and the Dictionary app on my phone in the other. I do not want to get to the end of 446 pages and realize that I simply skipped over what I didn’t know or understand. Therefore, it is a slow read for me, but enjoyable every step of the way.

In my mind’s eye, I can see a gentle smirk on Eric’s face as he writes. Not unlike Martin Luther who, according to Metaxas, was an “intense and dourly over-pious monk but also had a raucous joke-and-insult-producing side”. In case you wonder how I can see this you simply need to read Metaxas Acknowledgments at the end of the book. He is very funny and his personality and humor only enhance the story of Martin Luther making this an educational and entertaining read.

Metaxas writes like a surgeon as he expertly wields his pen cutting through layers and layers of facts and fiction dissecting each to find the truth. Apparently, there has been a lot of fiction surrounding Martin Luther and Metaxas makes no bones about what he has found to be true and what is not.

Martin Luther’s storyline includes many other famous and infamous souls. Not only does Metaxas transport us back into life in the early 1500’s, but the bigger picture of the Protestant Reformation takes center stage when we realize even though there were other Reformers before Luther, the invention of the printing press and movable print type by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439 cleared the way for Luther’s writings to be distributed quickly.

[I can’t help but wonder what Martin Luther would think about the speed with which we share information today! I just read (on the internet, so it must be true!) that a one-kilobyte email travels at the speed of light, basically, so that’s close to 670 million MPH.  Let’s just say much faster than in 1517. ]  I digress.

One can hardly separate the Gospel of Jesus from Martin Luther and his search for God,  but my favorite part of Eric Metaxas telling of Martin Luther’s story is how he carefully, cleverly, and rightly shares the truth of the Gospel of Christ throughout this book.  It is when we understand that Eric cannot and does not write this biography without sharing the Gospel do we clearly see the heart of the author. Eric is a man who I believe walks closely with God and so when he writes, I read.

What I’ve learned is that Martin Luther didn’t set out to change the world.  But he did strive to change his world.   He was a German monk in the Roman Catholic Church that wanted to be sure he was right with God.  The reformation as we now know it directly descended through Luther’s struggle and strife and rediscovery of his own relationship to God.  Buy the book. The history, the research, the writing, and the subject has given me a great appreciation for the man who God chose to bring about the Protestant Reformation.  I believe you will also be affected by this biography by Metaxas.

I am thankful Eric has taken time to sign books across the land which included a stop in Tennessee! The line was long and his time was short so I only asked him to sign a copy for my friend Joan and my husband.

My own copy is a mess with yellow sticky notes, penciled notes, quotes highlighted and a few exclamation points!

Would you like your own signed copy? I bought a copy and asked Eric to it signed for one blessed (and lucky) reader!  See the details listed below on how to enter the drawing!

Eric Metaxas other works include:

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic
Campaign to End Slavery

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness

Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen,
and How They Can Change Your Life

7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness

If You Can Keep It:  The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty

Happy Reading!  Good Luck in the giveaway!
~Catherine

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of Martin Luther, The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, with the drawing to be held on November 15, 2017.

HOW TO ENTER

To enter this giveaway, just answer the following question in the comments section of this postHave you read a book by Eric Metaxas before, and if so which is your favorite?

ADDITIONAL (OPTIONAL) ENTRIES

To up your chances of winning, you can receive up to FOUR additional entries to win by doing the following (these are optional, not required):

1. Subscribe to My Daily Bread Body and Soul by email. Come back and let me know you’ve subscribed in an additional comment on this post.  See right-hand side of blog:    PLEASE JOIN US AND SUBSCRIBE TO PRAYCOOKBLOG VIA EMAIL

2. LIKE My Daily Bread Body and Soul on Facebook. Come back and let me know you became a fan in an additional comment on this post.

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4. Follow @praycookblog on Twitter. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional comment on this post.

All giveaway drawings are done by Random.Org

and it was beautiful … by Kara Tippetts, Book Blog Tour

anditwasbeautiful coverIn July of 2014 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, my friend LindaKaye sent me a message and said, “My daughter has a friend fighting breast cancer right now. You must go read her blog at http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com/”.

I did as LindaKaye suggested. I was captivated by Kara Tippets. What I didn’t know was that I had arrived in her world towards the end of her fight with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2012 she had been writing and fighting for several years. Over the next 9 months, I followed her blog posts, I would write a comment here and there to encourage her and as she shared her hard, very hard life, I got to know her.

Kara Tippetts went Home to Jesus on March 22, 2015, after a long battle with breast cancer. Blythe Hunt wrote this on Kara’s blog the day she died.

Her well-known blog Mundane Faithfulness, where she originally posted about motherhood and living in kindness, became a blog about looking for God’s Grace to show up even in the hardest, messiest, ugliest places. It was a window into her life of chemo, church planting, spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen with her littles, her passion for Jason, her passion for those who don’t know Jesus, and her struggle to accept her growing cancer as God’s story for her life. Her self-described “mundane” life appeared anything but mundane to her readers who inevitably fell in love with her inviting, joyful personality and her love for and trust in Jesus; readers were attracted to her honesty, vulnerability, sense of humor, and simple faith. She never hesitated to share the hard moments, but she always pointed her readers—and herself—back to Jesus.

As the cancer spread, Kara courageously embraced her situation, trusting in a Sovereign God. She believed that cancer was not the point, but Jesus was; how she responded and trusted Christ in the midst of this hard was where she would find Grace. As Kara and her family processed what God was calling them to live out, she invited her community to join her journey through this seemingly impossible ordeal—how would she trust God in the midst of sickness? And then, how would she trust God in the midst of dying?

the hardest peace
In the fall of 2014, David C. Cook published her story, The Hardest Peace.

just show up kara tippetts
Just Show Up
, written with Jill Buteyn, came out on October 1, 2015.

And It Was Beautiful, was released on March 1, 2016.  and it was beautiful is Kara’s final book, celebrating life in the midst of the long good-bye. In a nutshell, this book is about living and dying well.

kara 20
But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading

Update! Wicked Women of The Bible

I am anxiously counting down the days to September 22 when Ann Spangler will release her new book Wicked Women of the Bible.  I am nearly through reading about Wicked desire (Bathsheba), Wicked Funny (Esther … aka How A Good Queen Gets the Last Laugh!) and even a Wicked Birthday Party – the story of Herodias and Salome!

My exciting “update” to YOU is that Ann is offering a FREE download of her 40 page e-book “Wicked Men of the Bible” to anyone who pre-orders Wicked Women of the Bible before it releases on September 22,  After you pre-order, to get your free copy of the e-book, simply email your receipt to admin@annspangler.com.

You can pre-order here.  More information is available here.

You are going to want to make sure you don’t miss any of my blog posts leading up to the launch because I am going to give away two signed copies of Wicked Women of the Bible!  

If you haven’t already signed up to receive each of my blog posts via email you may do so on the righthand side of my website that looks like this:

exodus 23-22

 

ORDINARY How To Turn The World upside down

Ordinary Tony MeridaIf you read “About” me on this website, you will discover that I think of myself as very ordinary.  I grew up an ordinary girl in an ordinary family in the very ordinary  mid-western state of Nebraska.  Although I claim a lot of “ordinary” I also feel I have an extraordinary life!  It is totally through my relationship with an extraordinary God that my life rocks!

So, when given the opportunity to read the book “Ordinary, How To Turn The World Upside Down” by Tony Merida I was sort of interested.

Have you ever started reading a book, kinda haphazardly, and after the first page you were hooked?  This happened to me with Ordinary.  The first thing I learned is that this author is no “ordinary” fella.  He is Dr. Tony Merida.  He is a pastor of a church not too awful far from where I live.  He is a church-planter.  He is a professor. He is writer. He is a lover of Jesus Christ.

This is a book about loving your neighbor as yourself.   He writes about “mercy ministry.”  I didn’t even have an idea what this meant when I started reading.  Five chapters and the Conclusion later I know that I want my life to be a reflection of mercy ministry.  I now realize that it means not only to care about others but to get my hands dirty.  To love my neighbor by getting involved personally.   Dr. Merida made me think and really ponder exactly what I am doing for others.  Anything worthwhile?  From the first page to the last his words found a place in my heart.  He spoke to me.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Early in the book Tony writes,How can we, ordinary people, do Micah 6:8 every day? Do you have to be a lawyer, or a missionary, or a podcasted celebrity preacher?  No. You need to walk humbly with God, doing justice out of merciful love for others in every way possible.”

Tony quotes a lot of scripture in his writing and I like that.  He backs up his ideas and statements by pointing directly  back to scripture.  One of my favorite quotes, (and I am pretty sure I will be quoting this soon) is:

“Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.”

Chapter 2 talked about Kingdom Hospitality and I ate it up!  Part of me is about food, sharing, hospitality, feeding others.  He said “there is nothing more ordinary than a meal.”  I totally agree.  And then he spent a chapter explaining how we, as Christians, are called to not only love one another but to feed and clothe and care for one another with a “depth and authenticity.”  It has made me totally question what I am doing about social injustice, poverty, AIDS, abortion, and so much more.

This little 125 page book has given me a great deal to think about when I look at my ordinary life and wonder how much of what I do is done with kingdom intentionality.

Dr. Merida quotes many people from Tim Keller to C, S, Lewis.  I can totally see this book as the springboard for a small group study, a sermon series, or in my case,  leadership development  for Community Bible Study.

The book is published by B & H Publishing in Nashville, Tennessee.  I highly recommend it as an excellent, thought-provoking read.  However it really should have come with the label “BEWARE”  — you won’t be the same once these words penetrate your heart.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest, personal review.

Happy Reading!
~Catherine
Ordinary Tony Merida

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