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Thursday, July 21, 2016

"What Do You Seek?" (Michael J. Buckley, SJ)

TITLE: What Do You Seek?: The Questions of Jesus as Challenge and Promise
AUTHOR: Michael J. Buckley, SJ
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2016, (160 pages).

Questions set us on a path of learning. They help us discover new things. They are more intriguing than mere answers. They keep the doors of learning open. In fact, Scriptures are full of questions to help us ponder and to wonder about the things of God. Honing on the questions of Jesus, author Michael J. Buckley leads us through a series of 14 questions asked by Jesus in the gospels. These questions if left unanswered can be seen as a direct challenge to rebel against Jesus. If one tries to answer, Jesus often points us to the promise and greater things that are to come. Jesus uses questions like a surgical knife to slice open our stubbornness, and to probe deeper into us on our true motives and true needs. Buckley puts it well:

"A question as such may not provide new instruction, new facts, or new data, however much it might incite a desire for these. The question may actually turn human beings reflexively back upon
themselves—upon the experiences and commitments and beliefs that are taken to be there already but that cry out for understanding and meaning, upon a store of habits, convictions, data, decisions, and challenges. The question takes up what has been a challenge, what has been a sacred charge from the most ancient wisdoms: “know yourself.” For the question asks what is there already, even if unnoticed and unexplained."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"The Wired Soul" (Tricia McCary Rhodes, PhD)

TITLE: The Wired Soul: Finding Spiritual Balance in a Hyperconnected Age
AUTHOR: Tricia McCary Rhodes, PhD
PUBLISHER: Colorado Spings, CO: NavPress, 2016, (216 pages).

Technology is now everywhere around us, with us, and following us. For many people, it is quickly rewiring our brains and changing the way we talk, think, travel, and traipse. While positively, we get more and better information in ways quicker and more efficient than ever before, there are negative consequences as well. People tend to remember less, choosing to let their phones and digital devices record or save all their personal details. They are more forgetful and less willing to learn the old school way. Many choose to simply Google their information, as if the first try is the answer to their questions. While finding content is easy, discerning is not so easy. Where are our reference points? On what basis do we decide which is right, which is wrong, and which is appropriate? We live in a technologically connected world. According to author and professor Tricia Rhodes, we are living in a "hyperconnected age." Contrasting her own carefree escapades in the past, she compares what it was to live then and now. Her children are digital natives but she is not. She calls herself a 'digital immigrant' and is poised to see how the digital world is changing not only the way we live but the people we are. Her key thesis is that our digital habits have direct link to our formation into Christlikeness. On lifestyle, we are asked what the first thing we do when we get up. On habits, we are asked about our reaction when we hear our phone beeps. On reading, how has our attentiveness be sustained in a world of WiFi and Internet connectivity? On prayer, how is our level of patience and waiting been changed? On presence, how have our ability to connect with people been affected? On information overload, we wonder why we are so tired in the first place. These and many more are the negative consequences of technology manhandling us and we allowing it free reign on our lives. This has let to our brains been re-wired by technology. A key discovery in brain plasticity research is that "cells that fire together, wire together." Such brain cells are fired up together when one uses technology. If that is the case, technology is directly influencing the way our brains function. Thankfully, we do not need to be sucked in by the technological whirlpool. Rhodes propose a way not only to counter the negative effects of technology but to intentionally work toward Christlikeness. She updates the spiritual discipline of lectio divina and applies them in this book for a technological age. Briefly, the four disciplines are:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"The Ten Greatest Struggles of Your Life" (Colin S. Smith)

TITLE: The 10 Greatest Struggles of Your Life: Finding Freedom in God's Commands
AUTHOR: Colin S. Smith
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016, (208 pages).

The Beatles sing the classic song "All you need is love" as some kind of a catchall solution for the world's problems. "Make Love Not War" is another of those clever cliches to remind people not to fight. Often, such phrases are simplistic darts flung into a sea of relentless splashing waves. Who can adequately capture the essence of the world's problems? Only the Creator of all creation can do that. From the beginning of time, God has known what the world's struggles are and would be. He has given all mankind the Law not to enslave us but to liberate us. One of the most powerful ways that we are enslaved is when we give in to wrong desires, sinful ways, and revel in activities that we tend to blame on 'human nature.' We are not as 'innocent' as we think. We are also not as perfect as we would like to be. Just as the meaning of sin is to 'miss the mark,' sin makes us think off the mark when we look at ourselves, our own capabilities, and our own understanding. The great writer, George Orwell, once wrote that "Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." There are many things people do not want to hear. That is why they struggle. The Ten Commandments given in the Old Testament remain very relevant today. There are laws in every society against the ills of theft, of murder, of adultery, of perjury, and so on. While the first few commandments to worship God and honour God's Name have become diminished in secular environments, it still presents a struggle at a deeply spiritual level. The truth is, whenever there is tension, where there is a direct pushback against what God says, there will be a struggle. This is Smith's attempt to paraphrase the Ten Commandments in the light of real world struggles, how we combat one or more of these temptations on daily basis. The Ten Struggles as described by Smith are:
  1. Struggle With God
  2. Struggle With Worship
  3. Struggle With Religion
  4. Struggle With Time
  5. Struggle With Authority
  6. Struggle For Peace
  7. Struggle For Purity
  8. Struggle For Integrity
  9. Struggle With Truth
  10. Struggle With Contentment

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Missional Motherhood" (Gloria Furman)

TITLE: Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God
AUTHOR: Gloria Furman
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016, (224 pages).

Motherhood is not just taking care of children. It is essentially part of the mission of God. Motherhood is a gift to be cherished. It is for every woman, biological or spiritual. By expanding the concept of motherhood as something beyond "just a mother," the author tries to show readers that motherhood is part of the biblical responsibilities and privileges. Mothering is more significant than some of us may think. It is a gift. It is a mission to nurture young lives. It is a way to participate in the calling to worship God. The author summarizes the whole book in this way:

"Jesus invites women to missional motherhood: to follow his
pattern, to trust his promises, and to nurture others by the
power he provides."

As the title suggests, motherhood is not simply a state of being. It is a mission. It is intentional. It is targeted from God's Word and aimed at how the entire vocation of motherhood can reflect the glory of God. Furman even supplies an application framework through thinking of motherhood in terms of 'head, heart, hand, and mouth.'

  • Head: How does the truth renew the mind in the truth?
  • Heart: How does the truth thrill one to love Jesus?
  • Hand: How does the truth strengthen one's hands for sacrificial service?
  • Mouth: How does the truth open one's mouth to share the gospel?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Unparalleled" (Jared C. Wilson)

TITLE: Unparalleled: How Christianity's Uniqueness Makes It Compelling
AUTHOR: Jared C. Wilson
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2016, (240 pages).

Aren't all religions about the same? What is wrong with being spiritual but not religious? What is so different about the God of the Bible? Isn't Jesus basically a good teacher? These questions and several more form the gist of what this book is all about. Part theological, part apologetic, and part Christian Education, popular speaker and author Jared Wilson helps us see that Christianity is unique from other religions in at least ten ways. On Theology, God is bigger than any of the other religions combined. In the light of recent controversies over whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God, Wilson says that as long as one does not worship Jesus as God, the path is already different. On the Trinity, the God that Christians worship is also Triune Godhead, which is precisely why community is such a big thing in Christianity. That is because God is already in a divine community and desires for us to share in the same love and fellowship. He highlights the Christian perspective of humanity as one that is most optimistic not on the basis of what they can or cannot do, but on the basis of them being created in the image of God. This is the Christian doctrine of Humanity. He describes the doctrine of sin (Hamartiology) by calling the sinful generation as "broken mirrors" in which we do not realize how broken we are, and how loved we are. On Christology, Wilson writes about the uniqueness of Christ and how Jesus is the only way to salvation, this grace being offered to all. The doctrine of the atonement is explained in "winning by dying," how Jesus himself lived counter-culturally and triumphed eternally. He explains the Resurrection plainly by saying that it is this great historical event that has no parallel. On the doctrine of salvation (soteriology), he reminds us that it is grace that leads us home. The last two topics cover the Great Commission and the last days. From the supremacy of Christianity, Wilson moves on to focus on the supremacy of Christ.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"Relational Children's Ministry" (Dan Lovaglia)

TITLE: Relational Children's Ministry: Turning Kid-Influencers Into Lifelong Disciple Makers
AUTHOR: Dan Lovaglia
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (272 pages).

As far as children are concerned, the Bible has been very consistent. The Bible has said in Psalm 127:3 that "Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him." We are blessed to have children in our midst. I remember how children light up the mood in any room. At the same time, we need to look at what it means to practice Proverbs 22:6 to "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Even in the New Testament, children are specifically told to obey their parents. That is one main reason for children's ministry. We want to reach children for Christ, to groom them to be God-fearing individuals, and to help them live a life honouring to God and to people. In the words of Dan Lovaglia, author and Director of Leadership Development at Awana International, children's ministry must be relational. He wants to equip leaders to move from "kid-influencers into lifelong disciple makers" and in doing so to help children do the same when they grow up. Such leaders include not only ministry workers, volunteers, and pastoral staff. Most importantly, it is about reaching and equipping parents by coming alongside them, supporting, encouraging, and guiding them. All of these are best done through relationships. With skill and care, Lovaglia helps us through three main stages.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

"A Doubter's Guide to the Ten Commandments" (John Dickson)

TITLE: A Doubter's Guide to the Ten Commandments: How, for Better or Worse, Our Ideas about the Good Life Come from Moses and Jesus
AUTHOR: John Dickson
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (224 pages).

Can we be good without God's laws? Are the laws and ethics of today original and independent from the Ten Commandments? How extensive is the impact of the ancient Torah in contemporary times? These questions and more are covered in various degrees as author and historian John Dickson writes a guidebook for skeptics, doubters, and unbelievers. An honorary Fellow of the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University in Australia, Dickson is also an Anglican minister a well as a multi-media think tank. He contends that our world of today has benefitted greatly from the Ten Commandments in more ways that we have ever imagined. There are no equivalent list that has impacted our lives more than these commandments. He gives three examples. The Code of Hammurabi, a Mesopotamian king in the 1700s BC contains nearly 300 laws, but not many people knew about Hammurabi. The 6th Century Greek's "Maxims of Delphi" contains "147 pithy imperatives" but its knowledge is largely restricted to historians and researchers of ancient history. Even Richard Dawkins's secular "Ten Commandments" do not gain much traction. Comparing these three humanistic lists with the Ten Commandments, the former pales in comparison. Dickson goes on further to point out that the Ten Commandments do not simply instill fear of punishment or rewards for obedience. It goes much further as these very commandments reflect the Personhood of God. They are personified in the Person of Jesus Christ. They connect the relationship vertically with God, and horizontally with fellow people. More importantly, they liberate rather than enslave one toward being the people they have been created to be.

Friday, July 8, 2016

"What Christians Ought to Believe" (Michael F. Bird)

TITLE: What Christians Ought to Believe: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine Through the Apostles' Creed
AUTHOR: Michael F. Bird
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (240 pages).

Wonderful! A book of theological truths based on the Apostles Creed. Theology is more important than what the average Church goer may think. Rather than plowing through thick volumes of theological textbooks on systematic theology, or buy individual books on various theological topics, we have in our hands a book that expounds on the essence of the history, the core theological issues, and the crucial doctrines every Christian ought to know. The Apostles Creed is an excellent choice because it is still the most unifying creed for all (if not most) Christian communities. The Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, Evangelicals, Non-Denominationals, Bible, Independents, and many others are pretty united when it comes to this ancient creed. Even fringe groups will very likely profess the same creed with certain disclaimers. Whether one agrees with the creed fully or not, the scope of coverage is wide enough to give the Church a pretty decent theological syllabus. Author and New Testament Professor Michael Bird has done exactly that and has written this book for the masses.

He begins by making a case for the Apostles Creed as an important syllabus for beginners. Not only is it biblical, it gives us a basic summary of what the Early Church held, what traditions are, and how they inform our theological education. Creeds are part of the way God has used to teach us. From the Old and New Testaments, we get the life of Jesus, the Apostolic teachings, the Rule of Faith, and the Creeds. Creeds are used in worship; in promoting unity and fellowship with other believers; in reminding us about our faith. They also form a key part of our devotional lives. The rest of the book deals with a particular part of the creed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"People to be Loved" (Preston Sprinkle)

TITLE: People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue
AUTHOR: Preston Sprinkle
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015, (224 pages).

There is little doubt that the topic of homosexuality has split Christians and churches in many parts of the world. Every denomination has their controversial splits. Every theological institution has members, faculty, and students with strong views on both sides. Many books have been written from both sides. Some try to take the middle ground and received criticisms. Others advocate their views strongly and receive equally strong push backs. Along with the various authors views, there are multiple support and opponents from publishers, readers to casual commentators. Many try to see the matter as simple and clear cut as possible but to no avail. Instead of a polemical approach against either side, author Preston Sprinkle decides to build bridges through understanding and honest appreciation of each view. He points out the strengths and weaknesses of both sides and the ways they interpret the biblical passages. In doing so, he turns what is potentially a contentious issue into a conversational style engagement without coercing anyone from compromising their stand. Calling homosexuality not just an "issue," Sprinkle highlights the greater importance: People. In reading this book, we learn that it is not the answer but the search for truth and more importantly, the way we argue out our views that represent the better way forward.  There is no point in winning any argument and losing our friends (or foes).

Monday, July 4, 2016

"You Are What You Love" (James K.A. Smith)

TITLE: You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit
AUTHOR: James K.A. Smith
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2016, (224 pages).

We worship what we love. Out of what we love, we worship. This relationship is tight and indispensable. It has implications for what it means to be human, and reflects what exactly we do want. Author and professor James K.A. Smith observes in the gospels how Jesus is more interested in what the disciples want rather than what they believe or know. Smith believes that many people have become stuck in Descartes-style of "I Think Therefore I Am" to the detriment of the lack of holistic living. Interestingly, he does not argue for less but more knowledge and learning that pulls together holistic living and learning. We need to cultivate a lifestyle of living and loving, of learning and labouring toward a model of centering our behaviour according to the heart of loving. Out of this identity arises our true motivation for thinking; for spirituality; for calling; for discipleship; worship; and spiritual formation. Describing the heart as our center of spiritual gravity, Smith also tells us that this goes way beyond the head. The virtues of love in the heart form our "erotic compass."  He believes that it is possible to acquire such virtues through imitation and practice. This book is about the latter that uses habit as the way to cultivate and to calibrate this compass.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

"Student Ministry Essentials" (Steve Vandegriff and Richard Brown)

TITLE: Student Ministry Essentials: Reaching. Leading. Nurturing.
AUTHOR: Steve Vandegriff and Richard Brown
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015, (256 pages).

Student ministry is crucial not only for the future of the Church but also for the relevant disciple needs of young people. All if not most of us will be a student. For the Church, whether it is a parachurch or a Church-based student ministry, the goal is the same: Equipping and Discipling the young to grow in Christ and to be effective stewards of God's gifts to them. Yet, the years in school are supposedly limited and brief. Apart from the busy academic work expected, there is also the challenge of balancing one's time and resources against the many competing needs and conflicting distractions. In a book that aims to reach, to equip, to lead, and to nurture student leaders, authors Steve Vandegriff and Richard Brown have come together to share their knowledges and wisdom about practical discipleship development; leadership skills; partnership strategies; visions and dreams. The three big thrusts in this book are:

  1. To reach out to students and leaders by knowing their needs
  2. Toward inspired leadership with a knowledge of the culture, the environment, and the fit
  3. To nurture one another with a better knowledge of what student ministry is, means, and needs.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Leading Kids Ministry" (Pat Cimo and Matt Markins)

TITLE: Leading KidMin: How to Drive Real Change in Children's Ministry
AUTHOR: Pat Cimo and Matt Markins
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016, (176 pages).

How do we drive real change? What does it take to be a change agent in children's ministry? Is it about following the latest trends about children's work? Is it about trying to maintain relevance in a sea of changing expectations? Is it about attractive programs? No. It starts with being a change agent for God. In order to be change agents, we must first be changed. In order to be part of God's ministry to drive change, we must be transformed by God and be renewed in our hearts and minds. In order to lead kids ministry, we must be led. In order to be part of real change in ministry, we must be changed from the inside out. This is the key thesis in this book that aims to encourage and empower leaders and leaders to be in kids ministry.

We first need to get ministry right by recognizing that change is a process. It is not an isolated one-time event. We need to be clear about what we want to happen and what we need to do. It is about gaining perspective and to communicate it clearly to our co-workers. It is about gaining self-awareness. This can be facilitated with various tools to help us find our strengths and weaknesses. Leaders in Kids Ministry need to be empowered by senior leaders, something that this book also describes later. The chapter on "Running Toward Your Problem" is a crucial test of our willingness to face up to our challenges. Are we running away or toward? Are we humble enough to ask for help and feedback? Are we able to partner with other volunteers, senior leadership, parents, and others? Truth is, far too many kids ministry leaders do it alone. In order to reverse this trend, the authors propose nine steps toward healthy partnership.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"How to Read Water" (Tristan Gooley)

TITLE: How to Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
AUTHOR: Tristan Gooley
PUBLISHER: New York, NY: The Experiment, 2016, (368 pages).

Water is everywhere around us. They are visible in the clouds and the rains; the rivers and the streams; the lakes and the oceans. We use it to hydrate our gardens; to cook our meals; to wash our premises; and many other aspects of life. Just as water has many uses, if we take the time to consider what we are looking for, water can be interpreted in both philosophical as well as practical ways. Rather than to reduce it to the level of meaning only according to the eyes of the beholder, the author believes that with wisdom and intuition, there is more to water than the physical images that meet the eye. Several things move Tristan Gooley on her quest for discovering the meaning of water. First, knowing how to read the clues in puddles and streams can give us a good idea of what it happening underneath them. Second, it is easier to learn about water when our feet is on firm ground. Third, reading water is a unique navigational skill. Four, there is a mystery about water that can deepen the wonder and appreciation of this precious resource.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"The Inevitable" (Kevin Kelly)

TITLE: The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
AUTHOR: Kevin Kelly
PUBLISHER: New York, NY: Viking Books, 2016, (336 pages).

With the rising pace of technology, what is going to happen in the next 30 years? What are the ways technology are going to shape our future? What are the evidence that suggest such forces and how can we prepare for it? In a book that looks forward to the next 30 years, author and futurist Kevin Kelly has put together a compelling overview of 12 technological forces that will shape the kind of world we live and will be living in. Calling it "the inevitable," he tells us that we need to embrace the changes that are coming. We need to brace ourselves for changes that are going to be faster, paradigm shifting, and massively different from our traditional models. For example, mass copying will be coming. The traditional gates against plagiarism will crumble. Tracking, surveillance, and the erosion of privacy will continue. Instead of resisting the changes, we need to learn the underlying forces that are same. The author believes that once we understand the digital nature of change, we can deal with the change per se.

Monday, June 27, 2016

"The Game Changers" (Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese & Patricia Paddey)

TITLE: The Game Changers
AUTHOR: Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese & Patricia Paddey
PUBLISHER: Ancaster, ON, Canada: SaveTheMothers.org, 2016, (225 pages).

Mothers are more important than we think. Protect and empower mothers and we will see how the culture and society improve by leaps and bounds. Without downplaying the role of fathers, the fact is mothers general play a bigger role in a child's development more than anything else. From childbirth to nursing; and from caring at home to making a living for the children, mothers have a specific position which no father can honestly replicate. Right from conception, every child is already intimately connected with the mother. After all, a baby generally spends 38 weeks developing inside the mother's womb. Granted, in places in the West, medical care, children's welfare, and healthcare infrastructures are readily available, the same cannot be said for other developing countries like East Africa. According to reports, about 303,000 women and girls die needlessly from preventable causes., particularly pregnancy related situations. According to obstetrician Jean Chamberlain Froese, 99% of all pregnancy related deaths occurred in developing countries. If the poverty index and survival rates of people are already low, it is even worse for women and young girls. The three critical areas that lead to such fatalities are the three delays, which Froese calls, the "Foundational Triad" are:
  1. Delay in Decision-making
  2. Delay in Transportation
  3. Delay in Medical care

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"It's Complicated" (Jack Haberer)

TITLE: It's Complicated: A Guide to Faithful Decision Making
AUTHOR: Jack Haberer
PUBLISHER: Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016, (180 pages).

Seeking God's will is not as simple as saying, "It's all in the Bible." The more sweeping or simplistic a person says, the less satisfying it becomes, especially for earnest seekers. If we are honest with ourselves, we are sometimes guilty of some or all of the following. We give simplistic answers to issues that are inherently complex due to the many different factors and scenarios. Our answers in turn become reductionistic as we cut the real problem down to our size, just because we are unable to appreciate the extent of the real problem. In turn, we betray the trust that others have placed on us. Better to say we don't know or to put down some disclaimers first. In a nutshell, life's issues are often more complex than we think, more ambiguous than our own past experiences, more intricate and impossible to predict. If theory is a pretty portrait, practice will take potshots at it. In this book, pastor and author Jack Haberer aims to do three things. First, he lists the varioius popular questions asked and puts them in a single framework while pointing out the many ambiguities that come with it. He then leads us through a biblical journey of how the various biblical characters hear from God. Finally, he brings us back to our modern era and gives us an interpretive framework for discerning God's will for our times. The two basic questions that face us are:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Slow Kingdom Coming" (Kent Annan)

TITLE: Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice, Loving Mercy and Walking Humbly in the World
AUTHOR: Kent Annan
PUBLISHER: Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2016, (149 pages).

Just like the action movies, our busy lifestyles and activities that we do make us look like people constantly on the move. If we are not putting anything in motion, we may even be accused of idling. For believers who want to let their faith make a difference in their lives, the pressure is on to do something quick, lest we be accused of hypocrisy. If we open our ears and eyes to see what is before us and what is beyond us through the news and media, we will know that the injustice in the world far outstrips the amount of justice we see. Maybe, the bad news receive greater publicity than the good. There is so much to do that we do not know where or how to start. There are racial discrimination all over the world with the rich and poor often separated by privileges both explicit and implicit for certain people groups. There is human trafficking that despicably enslaves women, children, and vulnerable people. There is violence; violation of human rights; lack of basic resources; and immoral practices throughout the world. Besides that, there are needs closer to home, like the lonely people in our neighbourhood, people experiencing unjust treatment; and the ever growing rich and poor divide. How can we see God's kingdom come when the world seems to be heading toward greater brokenness? Where is the healing and the shalom of God? When we pray "Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done," where are the results? The key thesis of this book is that the most effective way to ensure the long-term development of developing societies is when we spend time and resources defending, promoting, and cultivating their freedom and their rights.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Love in the Face of ISIS" (Lorraine Marie Varela)

TITLE: Love in the Face of ISIS: Seven Prayer Strategies for the Crisis in the Middle East
AUTHOR: Lorraine Marie Varela
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Chosen Books, 2016, (160 pages).

With news of terrorism activities coming at us on a daily basis, it is natural to feel fearful about terrorists and the unending threats of violence. The killings and bombings do not simply occur in the Middle East troubled spots. Even in countries like France, Turkey, Belgium, Germany, the United States, and Thailand, the spread of ISIS is getting increasingly global. Mention ISIS and people would gravitate toward fear and uncertainty. Thus, many countries have come together to ally themselves against such terrorist organizations. From airports to border checks, from Internet chatrooms to Twitter messages; governments from all over the world are accelerating their monitoring of activities by terrorist groups such as ISIS. In such a climate, it seems like loving them is totally counter-culture. How can anybody love a group that kills innocent people? More importantly, what can Christians do in the face of such evil and violence? For author and professional photographer, Lorraine Marie Varela, the right response for all of us is prayer. The gospel of Jesus Christ is stronger, more powerful, and more effective than any strategies of man. For God wins through love. For in prayer, we will learn that what is impossible with man is possible with God. Now are these glib words uttered only by people in nice and safe places? Definitely not. For Varela has seen the pain and suffering of people through her many visits to the Middle East. The more suffering and impossible situations she saw, the more she had to cling to Christ. Out of the depths of helplessness and the heights of recognizing God's sovereignty, she shares with us seven strategies to live in the gap. All of them had to do with the Name of God. Briefly, the seven strategies are: