November 30, 2009

Book Review

Life Lessons with Max Lucado
Books of Ruth & Esther

This is a 12 lesson bible study on the books of Ruth & Esther (4 lessons on Ruth and 8 lessons on Esther).

Each lesson has a particular theme based upon the bible reading. The lessons start with a reflection question then the Scripture is read. The Scripture is included in the book. Both the New Century Version and the New King James Version are included for comparison.

The lessons do not usually include the entire chapter of Scripture, only the relevant portions needed for the particular theme of the lesson.

There are some basic discovery questions and response questions which encourage you to think about the Scripture. There are also additional questions which get you thinking about how you can apply the Scripture in your life.

The author also included an inspirational writing in each lesson as well as a prayer and additional bible readings demonstrating the theme of the lesson.

There is room in the book to answer the questions as well as some journaling and additional thoughts.

Overall, I would highly recommend this study book series for an individual, group, or even a sermon preparation guide.

Each lesson takes about 1 hour to complete in a small group setting.


November 16, 2009

Book Review

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

The author presents a total money makeover in a few "simple" steps.
  1. Save $1000 for emergencies
  2. Create a debt snowball plan - make minimum payments on all debts and focus on paying off the smallest debt first.
  3. Save a 3 to 6 month emergency fund (based upon monthly expenses)
  4. Invest 15% of gross income
  5. Save for college (ESA plan first, then 529 - $2000 per year)
  6. Payoff Mortgage
  7. Have fun - invest - give
Those are essentially the steps. Follow each one in order and don't move on to the next until you complete each step.

Overall, I agree with the author. There is no better plan for personal finances. However, that doesn't mean there aren't other plans that are equally as good. I do believe that if you follow his steps, you will eventually be debt free and living a healthy financial life.

One thing I didn't like about the book was the number of times the author said he was a millionaire, lost if all and is now a millionaire again! Seems a little egotistical to me.

I also found the customer testimonies annoying. They all seemed to praise the author, how great he is and how much they love him. Blah Blah Blah. I realize some testimonies are good and necessary, but I think most of them simply feed the author's ego and fill his book!

Overall, I would recommend this book and this plan for anyone wishing to get in shape financially.

November 13, 2009

Book Review

In the Footsteps of Faith by John MacArthur

In the Footsteps of Faith exams the lives of several men and women of the bible. In particular MacArthur looks at:
  • Noah
  • Abraham
  • Moses
  • Rahab
  • Hannah
  • Jonah
  • Mary
  • John the Baptist
  • Peter
  • Paul
  • Lydia
  • Timothy
  • Epaphroditus
  • Jesus
These men and women provide us with great examples of faithful Christian living. We can learn from their successes and failures. We can see their faith in action and pattern our lives after them.

If anyone is looking for ways to increase their faith and find ways to live faithful, then this is a good book to read.

There is a study guide for each chapter at the end of the book.

The study guide briefly summarizes the main point of the chapter then provides a few questions to think about or discuss. Finally, there are a couple of thoughts to pray about and some ways to apply the truths of the chapter.