Welcome to our new book review section of our website. Many of us love to read and find great encouragement from reading testimonies, biographies and teaching books. However, it is often hard to know where to begin, or you may have come to the end of your favourites and be looking for something new. On this page, different members of our congregation will provide a short synopsis and a review of books they have enjoyed. We hope you find this helpful!
Any books reviewed here can be ordered from our coffee book shop. Please use the form on our contact page to do this, or use the number on our coffee shop page to phone Annette and place your order on a Thursday or Friday.
The Cross and the Switchblade
by David Wilkerson
Review by Karen T.
The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson is described in the blurb as:
'The modern Christian classic about life and deaths in New York's street gangs...and the God who reaches out to the unreachable with His transforming love.'
The story begins when God breaks through David's 'predictable but satisfying' life as a pastor in a small, country church in Philipsburg. He had known slow but steady growth in his ministry but all that changed when through a small act of obedience, he was led to pray more. David heard the call of God to reach out to the young lives caught in gangster lifestyles of violence and drug addiction in New York City. He faces many trials and tribulations, and finds the faithfulness of God throughout it all! His work ultimately leads to the founding of the now worldwide Teen Challenge Organisations.
It's an amazing story of faith, battles with discouragement, and the miracle working power of God. I read this book initially as a new Christian and was unable to put it down. I have since read it again and again and have yet to come across anyone who has not found it a gripping read! This book is very suitable to give to a new Christian. It demonstrates not only the saving grace of God but the effective power of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in a young Christians life.
A Prisoner And Yet...
By Corrie Ten Boom
Review by Ailsa S
A Prisoner and yet, was Corrie Ten Boom's first publication following World War II.
Eventually discovered for sheltering Jews, Corrie was transported to Ravensbruck concentration camp.
There, she experienced unparalleled horrors, yet she kept her faith and trust in God and found many opportunities to share the love of God with her fellow prisoners.
Throughout the book she recalls moments when God intervened miraculously on her behalf, whether for practical necessities or for the spiritual strengthening to endure.
After her release at the end of the war, she began work on this biographical account which reveals a personal insight into the struggles that she faced, and by God's grace, overcame. She completely believed that "there is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still".
This book will help strengthen your faith and encourage you to trust God in all circumstances, believing that underneath are the everlasting arms of God (Deuteronomy ch33 v27).
Kisses from Katie
By Katie J. Davies
Review by Heather P
"People from my first home say I'm brave. They tell me I'm strong...pat me on the back and say, 'way to go. Good job', but the truth is, I am not really very brave or very strong, AND I am not doing anything spectacular. I am simply doing what God has called me to do as a person who follows Him. He said to feed His sheep and He said to care for 'the least of these', so that's what I am doing with the help of a lot of people who make it possible and in the company of those who make my life worth living"
-Katie J. Davis
Katie Davis had everything many eighteen year old girls long to have; popularity, good looks, intellect, and a relationship with a boy she was convinced she would one day marry.
God had other plans. Having been brought up in a reasonably well-off and loving home in Nashville, Tennessee, it appeared her future was already mapped out for her.
However, her passion to make a difference,with God's direction, changed the course of her life. After a short mission trip to Uganda, her life was never the same. She could no longer see things through the eyes of a westerner but through the eyes of the Lord Jesus Himself. She found herself so moved, so broken by the people and children of Uganda that she knew her calling was to return and care for them.
Through her story, its impossible not to experience the overwhelming Love of Jesus and the story of redemption. One thing I love about this book is the way Katie shares her many lessons learned and revelations to her own heart. She does not challenge the reader to a mission in Africa but instead challenges each one of us in where we stand in our calling, given to us by God.
Her selflessness is attractive and the vulnerability of her own mind is exposed to us in a way that shows God alone can supply and provide for every need, fear, and emotion. I couldn't recommend this book enough.
"We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us, and there is no better place to be than in his hands."
-Katie J. Davis
The Life of Christ
By F.W Farrar (The Dean of Canterbury)
Review by Diana R
The Life of Christ by Farrar is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys studying the Word of God and in particular the gospels. Farrar offers a chronological description of the Life of Christ, by amalgamating the four gospels together. Beginning with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and finishing with the resurrection of our Lord, the book gives a detailed breakdown of not only the journeys that He made but also an explanation of the teachings and miracles He performed.
The book is divided into sixty two chapters which include the events leading up to and surrounding the crucifixion. Farrar cross references the gospels with historical fact and allows these scenes to become very vivid, in a way that is both moving and helpful, through his narrative.
Although this book is currently out of print, it may be available in second hand book shops and I would thoroughly recommend it to those seeking after Christ.
Definitely worth its weight in gold!
Undaunted by Josh McDowell
Review by Vicky F
Born to an alcoholic father, Josh was the third youngest of four children. He was brought up on a farm in Michigan, and was shown very little love or encouragement from his father. He knew his mother loved him, but she was unable to protect him from his father’s lack of affection and physical violence when he was drunk. He also suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a family friend, and this amongst other things led him to believe that, if there was a God, He had no interest in Josh McDowell.
When he enrolled at college to study business, he observed the Christian ‘clique’ – a group of perhaps seven students and two professors, who he describes as having “phoney smiles’, and he writes "just looking at them riled me, and I resolved to do something about them.” One of the group set him a challenge to disprove the Resurrection of Jesus, and over the next few months, Josh travelled Europe, gathering evidence to try to do this. He read the Bible, researched its history and spoke to various Christian academics, but the “moment of epiphany” came to him whilst reading in the evangelical library in London where, after several hours of reading, he came to the realisation that ‘It’s true” – the Bible and Resurrection of Jesus, which he had set out to disprove was true.
He subsequently lived a changed life, led his father to Jesus (a very emotional and touching part of the book) and very importantly, realised that his mother (who had died a few years previously and for whose soul he feared) had given her life to Jesus as a teenager. He was tormented in case she had not died a Christian, but God had led him to meet a long lost cousin, sitting fishing at Manhattan Bay Pier during a lonely Christmas break. This cousin was to give him the reassurance that his mother was now in heaven, along with his miraculously changed father.
This is a book which is full of examples of God’s supernatural power and how lives can be transformed, despite how unbelieving and cynical they can start out.
I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn't believe in God or struggles to find a faith. An excellent, easy to read, hard to put down book about the life of Josh McDowell.
Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading - Eugene Peterson.
Review by Ian Kirk
Eugene Peterson is a Pastor, scholar, writer and Poet, and translator of the popular paraphrase of the Bible, "The Message".
I came to read this book through my interest, previously, in Lectio Divina (the art of spiritual reading). Peterson describes reading scripture "so that it is formative for the way we live our lives, not merely making an impression on our minds and feelings." (P.81).
"Reading the Bible," he states, "if we do not it rightly, can get us into a lot of trouble." So how we read the Bible is as important as reading it.
We each, as we read Scripture, need to listen to the Spirit in the text; to hear His voice echo into our individual lives, transforming us, not merely informing us. "Eat This Book" helps us here.
Part of the joy of reading this book, is the way in which Peterson crafts his sentences, some of it is sheer poetry.
The book is divided into 3 main sections:
1. Eat This Book
2. Lectio Divina
3. The Company of Translators
Part 1 is about how readers become what they read. 'Words - spoken and listened to, written and read - are intended to do something 'in' us, give health and wholeness, vitality and holiness, wisdom and hope. Yes, 'eat' this book.'
So, consuming God's Word goes far beyond making an impression on our minds.
Part 2 explores the meaning behind the ancient practice of 'Lectio divina', and trains us in the discipline of reading Scripture rightly. 'At every turn of the page it poses Jesus' question to us: "'How' do you read?" Theory and practice are beautifully explained!
Part 3 of the book, "The Company of Translators", discusses the translation of Scripture and his own "The Message" in particular, which proved interesting.
Eugene Peterson has written "Eat This Book" to encourage readers to treat Scripture as sacred; that its origin is in God, and to allow this sacred text to dance through our minds and hearts and form His life in us, leaving our own selfish ways and introverted lives behind.