My 1st Book of Questions and Answers by Carine Mackenzie
My family has been using the Westminster Shorter Catechism with good result with our children but it’s also been slow moving. Sometime the cadence and structure can be cumbersome for a four year old to repeat back and learn.
We had received My 1st Book of Questions and Answers when Claire my oldest was first born from our church. But it had been lost for a time and forgotten. Claire, now four, was recently walking around with it and I asked her what it was. She said it was her new Bible.
I took a quick look at it and saw some of the endorsements and was intrigued. After further examination later that night, I decided for now we would switch over to My 1st Book as our teaching tool.
The main benefit of this handy book is that is takes the some times wordy and confusing language structure (at least for a four year old) of the well-known catechism as conveys the same truths with precision.
It’s also recommended by Presbyterians and Baptists alike. From what we’ve used so far and from my examination of section on topics like baptism I don’t see anything that would prevent it being used with good results by either denominational members.
Our plan is to now use My First Book for the next year with my four year old and then start my youngest on over the next 6 months to a year. With just over a hundred questions you could easily complete the book 10 or 20 times over the course of 3 years. It’s the perfect tool to get children use to the question and answer style of learning and also prepare for a more advance catechism like the Westminster Shorter.
John Stott: The Humble Leader by Julia Cameron
I requested this book because I love reading biography and to my regret I don’t know much about John Stott. I really enjoyed that the writing was compelling. I had never read anything in the Trailblazers series but what Julia Cameron has done is taken a traditional biography and made it accessible for almost any level of reader. And the details of the biography are told like a story. It was easy to read in the best way.
There is a nice balance of biographical detail, story telling, and emphases on Christian living. You really get a sense that John Stott was a devoted Christian who loved God and in the smallest details of his life sought to honor God. For instance, he was intentional about the consumption of food and would not take seconds. He also had a group of people that he invited into his life that helped him make tough decision and he trusted their advice. Just a wonderful example for younger Christians.
After reading The Humble Leader, I have already scanned through the other available offerings and plan on purchasing some of their other books for my kids (see Eric Liddell, Joni Eareckson Tada, C. S. Lewis, Geroge Whitfield, Charles Spurgeon, Amy Carmichael, to name a few. There’s over 33 selections). Just a superb way to introduce Christian biography to younger folk or new Christians.
A free copy of this book was provided by Christian Focus. If you plan on purchasing this book, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by using these links to purchase from here.
All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill
As a father I try to soak up all the parenting experience and advice I can. There was a lot of it in All Pro Dad. Mark Merrill has drawn wisdom from a variety of people. And Scripture says in the multitude of council is wisdom.
You can also sense that Scripture is important through out. I did find myself wanting some more Scripture exposition. A lot of what Merrill provides is practical advice which was great. But sometime without being hinged directly to Scripture I felt I could’ve got it from any parenting book. Some important passages on parenting stand out in my mind--Ephesians 6, Deuteronomy 6--that didn’t receive much, if any, attention.
The writing itself could easily be consumed by any level of reader and that is the book’s strength. You could really hand this book to almost any father and it wouldn’t be intimidating and would immediately help. I am hesitant when we connect masculinity/fatherhood and sports so closely because it could ostracize men who don’t enjoy sports who also need this message.
I could see All Pro Dad being used in conjunction with a book like Parenting by God’s Promise with great results. Merrill excels at the practical. The style reminds me of sitting down with an older coach and just soaking in all the practical life experience he could share
A free copy of this book was provided by Thomas Nelson. If you plan on purchasing this book, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by using these links to purchase from here.
Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman
You may be wondering why I’m reviewing a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail. First, I love hiking and I love reading books about hiking the AT. Second, Paul Stutzman is a Christian writing about suffering the loss of his wife and his spiritual journey while hiking.
I enjoyed Hiking Through. It was another book where I sat down and read it with in two sittings. Just good writing and story telling with under tow of suffering that everyone can relate to. Anyone who loves hiking and travel journals would enjoy this book.
I wanted to understand more of his grief and not only how his travel impacted that grief but a more explicit connection between his travel, his grief, and how the tension he felt was resolved spiritually. I was hoping for something that could be used almost as a counseling tool for others who had lost loved ones. He does say more than once that he hopes his story will help others. And I think it has that potential but the connection seemed to his grief and the spiritual resolution seemed loose. There was some on and off discussion about the sovereignty of God and suffering. Paul concludes that God is in control of everything and we can trust him with our lives. So it was there but I wanted more.
Also, there’s a heavy emphasis on talking with God verbally and him responding audibly. As someone who doesn’t believe God talks audibly, there seemed to be an over emphasis on this kind mystical spirituality. Paul is a Mennonite so I’m not sure if this is normal for that religion.
Even amidst those few concerns the story and writing stands on its own. It’s worth purchasing and reading. Don’t miss out on a good story.
A free copy of this book was provided by Revell/Baker Publishing. If you plan on purchasing this book, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by using these links to purchase from here.