The Daniel Dilemma by Rand Hummel
The Daniel Dilemma: Real Courage for Real Life is a Christian teenagers’ survival guide for not getting eaten by lions in a world that rejects God and expects them to reject Him too. From this study, teens can find the courage to overcome the daily peer pressure that threatens to pull them away from their faith. Rand Hummel uses his more than twenty years of Christian camp experience to formulate fourteen Laws of Courageous Leadership from the book of Daniel and apply them to the real-life situations young people face today. (From the publisher)
This study of the book of Daniel takes the reader through this book as a survival guide to be used to navigate the world today. Mr. Hummel does a great job by comparing what Daniel and his friends went through to a variety of situations that teens today face each day. This makes this study and the book of Daniel relatable to the teen reader. The majority of the chapters address a single subject that Mr. Hummel says is a law such as humility, prayer, rejection, etc. This study fits a niche in the publishing world. There are not many bible studies that are focused on one book of the bible that is targeted to teens. This is a great start to introduce teens to a single book of the bible study. Each chapter of the Daniel Dilemma could be taken as a day’s study. The one criticism was that the author uses the King James version of the bible. For your average teen, this version of the bible is very hard to read and apprehend. Give this book to a teen who is desiring to get deeper in their walk and wanting to get deeper in the Word. Just have either a bible app or another bible version handy so the teen can get a better understanding of the verses Mr. Hummel covered.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, BJ Press for an honest review.
Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix
Lauren and husband Sam have moved their family to Nepal to minister to the people of this beautiful country. Sam has always felt called to start a ministry in Nepal. It took him and Lauren over ten years to acquire the money to make the move from the United States. In Nepal, Sam treks around the country to spread the Gospel while Lauren and their son Sam stay living in Kathmandu.
Told between present time and a time period where Lauren and Sam first met. Author Michele Phoenix was a missionary kid and gives a viewpoint of mission work not all rosy as some stories depict this calling. Using the alternative tellings, the reader gains insight into the main characters Lauren and Sam and their relationship strains. This story is poignant and thought proving about relationships and a warning to those who are in different places in their faith. Readers will find themselves at times questioning the motives and moves of both Lauren and Sam but really empathizing with their son Ryan who is a victim of circumstances. Give this title to someone who enjoys a well written book that enjoys a story that is thought provoking. A book that will stay with the reader for weeks after finishing it.
Note: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy by Litfuse Publicity Group, Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers for review without any compensation
The Devoted by Suzanne Woods
Eighteen year old Ruthie Stoltzfus is torn for her future. She loves her family and the Amish religion but she also wants to go on in school. If she wants to stay near her family and in the Amish way she can not continue her education. She had been seeing Luke Shrock but his bad boy ways have left her lonely and in conflict of the Amish way. All of this conflict comes to head and yet clearer as a stranger appears in town. Patrick Kelly has always been drawn to the Amish religion and decided to move to Stoney Ridge to see if he should convert. Ruthie while torn between her religion and education sees Patrick who embraces the Amish ways.
This title is the last of Ms. Woods’ Bishop Family Series. It can be read as a standalone but to fully understand the characters and the quant town of Stoney Bridge start with The Bishop’s Family. Readers who love Suzanne Woods other books will not be disappointed by The Devoted. Ms. Woods does an excellent job showing the plot from a variety of viewpoints which for readers who enjoy the interaction among characters will appreciate. The viewpoint of Ruthie against Luke shows how a person new to world can see things with a new appreciation. The romance does not seemed forced, rather as readers of Christian Fiction expect to figure out the characters who will fall for each other. Readers of Amish fiction will appreciate the freshness of this title by showing that the encroachment of the World can cause us all to slip from our faith. The wrestling of this issue is explored by the character of David. Hand this title to a reader who enjoys Amish fiction with a little introspection on how we all wrestle with trying to life up to ones faith while embracing their desires.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Revell for an honest review.
Ten Reasons to Stay Christian in High School by Michael Ross and Greg Johnson
This book is written for teens that consider themselves Christian. The authors take ten subjects per chapter. They explore the subject, give possible responses to these subjects that are not very strong and then give several responses with facts and scriptures to respond to other teens. The subjects range from creation to relationships to friendships to the bible. Each chapter ends with questions and scripture readings to challenge the teen to go deeper biblically on each subject.
This book tackles many of the subjects that many teens struggle with during their high school years and even beyond. Each chapter introduces the subject with realistic scenarios that a high school student might encounter. The scenarios are given in such a matter that the reader can at least identify with or has already experienced during their life. The authors write what they call “lame” responses to the variety of subjects. Although most teens would probably not state that these are lame responses but the most common responses heard around the teens peer groups. The book best addresses biblical responses to a variety of subjects but showing why these are better than the most common responses and challenges the reader to go deeper.
This book is good to be used individually but could be used during small group times or small group studies to allow teens to strengthen each other through the discussion at the end of the chapter. This book is recommended for any Christian teen who desires to take their faith deeper and to share their faith with other teens.
Thrive by Mark Hall
The only way to be the hands and feet of Jesus is to love him and serve others out of our love for him. But to do that we must first be deeply rooted in our life with God. In Thrive, Mark Hall, lead singer for the popular band Casting Crowns, shows us what it really looks like to walk with Jesus.
In part 1, Digging Deep, Hall demonstrates how to truly engage with the Word and a community of faith, worshiping and pursuing God wholeheartedly as our hearts and minds are transformed. In part 2, Reaching Out, we see the fruits of our engagement with the Word and the community, the grateful giving back of service and love.
Using relatable stories, grounded teaching, and great application, Hall helps everyone who wants to take the next step of faith and see their life grow deep and strong.
I have to say up front that I have watched several of Mark Hall’s Youtube bible studies before so I had high hopes for this book. I was not disappointed. The chapters were short which could be used as a devotion especially when read with the Book of James. The stories he used were relatable and fully illustrated the main point of the chapter. I loved that he ended each chapter with a “point to remember”. I found using the book as a devotion where I read a chapter a day and used the point to remember to meditate and try to live it out the point during the day.
I work with teens and could see using this book as a discussion or just recommending Thrive as a book to read for enrichment and deepening ones faith. I know that there is a youth version that has been recently been released so that also might be a good choice. I would highly recommend this title for any Christian looking to deepen their faith and to give some reinforcements to reach out to the world by deepening their relationship with Christ.
Note: I received a copy of this title from publisher, Zondervan through their Book Look program.
So Long, Insecurity: teen edition by Beth Moore
This book written based on Beth Moore’s book So Long Insecurity was written for teen girls. The book is written similar to a magazine. Each chapter is broken down into categories that many teen girls face during their everyday life. Subjects such as Am I good enough, boys, media hype, popularity, etc are addressed in separate chapters. Each chapter starts with a question addressing the chapter subject and then answered by Beth Moore with quotes from teens. Ms. Moore than address the subjects with bible verses and women. Each chapter concludes with a quiz, where the reader can determine their current status in relation to the subject.
The magazine format keeps the book interesting and is similar in style to teen magazines such as Seventeen. The pictures and quotes from other teens helps the reader relate to the subjects. The bible verses and principles are presented in fun cards and images relating to the specific subject addressed. In the chapter on social media, the statistics listed seemed a little low and there was no indication where Ms. Moore got her statistics. I would recommend this book to any tween or early teen who is beginning to feel peer pressure. This would be a good start for those girls in understanding how you can feel insecure but I would recommend Beth Moore’s adult book for a deeper understanding on the subject.
Note: I received an electronic version of this title through NetGalley from Tyndale House Publishers for an honest review.