Book Snapshots will focus on books that are in the leisure to easy reading level. These are books I’ve found that can be reviewed more briefly than some that are in the moderate to difficult category. I will focus on providing a brief summary of the book’s salient points, a concise critiques, and a recommendation for audience.
But the main difference between my reviews and snapshots will be length. My reviews will be between 500-700 words and the snapshots will be between 200-400 words and I’ll include 2-3 books within one snapshot. I hope this format will serve you well. Today we’re looking at two books Sifted by Wayne Cordeiro and Linspired by Mike Yorkey.
Sifted by Wayne Cordeiro
Sifted is about wearing out and coming to the end of yourself. I’ve been to that place. Even as an average Joe I could relate to the feelings of siftedness that Cordeiro detailed in his book. In part one, Cordeiro deals with our hearts. He’s brutally honest when assessing the success rates of pastors and the struggle innate in the position. Many don’t succeed and that’s mainly because their idea of success in ministry is distorted. He also challenges to not position ourselves as the one to run to but rather encourages us to point people to Christ (p. 63).
In part two, Cordeiro addresses our home and ministry. He admonishes pastors to not forsake their families (pp. 88-91). He talks about the importance of sabbath. In part three, Cordeiro ends with a discussion on the hard work of ministry. He focuses on servanthood as a necessary characteristic of leadership (pp. 149-151). He recommends knowing your strengths and stewarding your authority. He ends the book with a strong warning for pastors to deal with their own sin. In short, know yourself.
The writing was fluid and easy to digest. I found the advice practical and format interactive (lots of questions and helps). I never found myself bogged down. That’s important especially if you want busy pastors who may be experiencing sifting in their own lives to read your book.
However, I also arrived at the end of the book and felt like I had received lots of good advice but very little exploration of what the Bible had to say about depression, hope, and ministry. If Sifted has a weakness it’s that it needs more interaction with Scripture. More marveling at the gospel. More Jesus. In short, if you’re looking for a book on dealing with depression, suffering, & trials in ministry, Sifted would be helpful as a supplement to a more brawny theological work.
Linspired by Mike Yorkey
I love basketball. Admittedly I’m not a Knicks fan. I’m a Boston Celtics fan. They haven’t been much competition though (I couldn’t resist sorry) so I wasn’t ashamed to cheer for Lin when he started his furious flight to stardom. And being an avid Boston sports fan I was aware of Lin while he was playing at Harvard and when he signed with Golden State I was glad. I knew he was a Christian and he seemed like a solid guy by all accounts. But who knew what was about to happen? Linspired chronicles the journey from Lin’s earliest years to his present in a way that’s intriguing.
However, I found myself wanting more details. Yorkey talks about Jeremy’s struggles in faith, his doubts, and the temptation of stardom but the story lacked the human touch that might have really made Jeremy relatable. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t look for morbid details of all of Jeremy’s personal life. But I wanted him to be human. I wanted to relate as a Christian who also has struggles. I found myself liking Jeremy but it was hard to relate to the struggles a guy who was sitting on the bench of an NBA team making more money than I’ll make in 10 years.
One of the most interesting anectdotes came towards the end of Linspired when Yorkey was discussing the media attention Jeremy’s pastor was receiving. He relates that many of the reporters were searching for a “‘prosperity gospel’ angle--that if you pray hard enough and believe hard enough, then God will bless you and show favor toward you” (p. 168). Jeremy’s pastor quickly dismisses this and focuses on living a life in obedience to Christ and Jeremey’s success as God’s grace. Helpful words.
Linspired reads like a sports article which I found refreshing. You had stats mixed in with personal tid bits like Jeremy Lin’s faith and unique story as the first American born Chinese-Taiwanesse to find stardom in the NBA. You could enjoyably read through Linspired in one sitting. I recommend you do so.
Mathew Sims is an average Joe who works a 9 to 5 and blogs on the side. He is an editor and writer for Grace for Sinners. He lives in Simpsonville, SC and loves spending time with his two daughters, Claire and Maddy, and wife of seven years, LeAnn. He has a BA in English/Creative Writing and attended Geneva Reformed Seminary for two years completing nearly 40 hours hours of an Mdiv program. He and his family serve and are members at Grace Church. He loves reading, writing, the outdoors, music, cooking, and is an Apple fan boy. You can find him on twitter @GraceforSinners and Facebook. Please email me with any questions or comment below.