Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Stuck by Jennie Allen — A DVD Based Bible Study

A DVD based Bible study by Jennie Allen, "Stuck" aims to help Christian women get out of the broken, angry, discontented, fearful, overwhelming and sad situations that make them feel stuck — to help women focus on God instead of their circumstances.

Each study chapter (there are 7 of them) is around 15-20 pages long and includes verses to study, reflective questions, and challenging activities on top of Allen's written reflections. The chapters are long, but the DVD clips never exceed 8 minutes. For leaders, there are also several question cards per chapter for group discussion.

Going through this study on my own, I didn't care much for the discussion cards. One of the things I dislike about Bible studies is all the questions. For me, group discussion based on the content of the study, itself, most often comes shallow and without effect. Having external questions might help a bit with this, but I think I would prefer more natural conversations centering around the week's Scripture passages. I also have a hard time with many of the questions asked in these kinds of studies because sometimes I just can't come up with answers. "Stuck" was a bit refreshing in that aspect. I was able to get something out of most of the question (but I skipped the parts that asked you to draw pictures representing various things).

As far as the DVD goes, Allen is very natural and open as she speaks, but the sessions are so short, you don't really get much out of them. But you have to watch them to fully understand the pictures that accompany each chapter in the study book.

The content of the study is simple — stuff many of us have heard before or already know — but will be refreshing and eye-opening for those who are going through or who are stuck in the deep, hard situations.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Win a FREE Copy of Tony Dungy's Devotional Book "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge"

Tyndale has given me a certificate for a free copy of Tony Dungy's devotional book "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" to give away to one lucky person. 

There are three ways to enter (one entry per method allowed, liking Harmony Wheeler on Facebook will count for two entries):

  1. "Like" Harmony Wheeler on Facebook (worth two entries)
  2. Comment on a post on this blog (worth one entry)
  3. Comment on and mention this contest (worth one entry)
I will draw a random name on Wednesday, February 15. The winner will receive a free copy of "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge."

Review: The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy

Win a Free Copy of This Book (See Next Post, or Click Here to Learn How)

I'm no football or sports fan. The only parts of the Super Bowl I like are the commercials. But coach Tony Dungy, who has led a winning team at the Super Bowl, finally gave me something more to enjoy about sports: spiritual and practical daily applications. No, I'm not running around with a ball all day every day. Rather, Dungy's "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" (co-written with Nathan Whitaker) uses principles and stories from the sports world (and from outside the sports world, as well) to help readers understand basic Scriptural principles, values and morals for living life for Christ.

Dungy's sports stories and metaphors will appeal to a male audience — there are a lot of devotionals out there for women, but not enough for men — but it's also easy to read and manages to keep away from anything that might scare away female readers. Each daily devotional includes a Scripture passage, a few paragraphs on a topic, and a one or two sentence "Uncommon Key" that sums up the day's message. Each day is dedicated to one of seven general topics, which include Core, Family, Friends, Potential, Mission, Influence, and Faith. Each devotional also takes up a full page. Personally, I get more out of short devotionals that are easy to recall throughout the day, but longer devotions like those Dungy writes can be just as effective when properly used.

As the book's introduction says, you must really settle down with each devotional and dedicate a good amount of time to thinking about what it says in order to get something out of it. Such is the case with any devotional, and although Dungy's devotionals are sometimes repetitious and don't always line up whatever of the seven topics they've been assigned, "Uncommon" presents some real gems for readers.

Win a Free Copy of This Book (See Next Post, or Click Here to Learn How)

More information on "Uncommon Life"
List Price:
Trim Size:
6 x 9 
October 2011 

Strengthen the core of your life and faith on a year-long journey with beloved Super Bowl–winning former head coach Tony Dungy! The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge contains 365 reflections from the #1 New York Times bestselling author on living an “uncommon life” of integrity, honoring your family and friends, creating a life of real significance and impact, and walking with the Lord. This year, step up to the challenge—and dare to be uncommon every day.

* I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review of it.

Review: Why Men Hate Going to Church

I picked up David Murrow's updated and revised edition of "Why Men Hate Going to Church" with much enthusiasm and hope. As one who has trouble with finding a good church or just plain finding motivation to go to church, I was hoping to find something to relate to in this book. The book ended up pointing out that my feminine qualities are more predominant than I thought, which leads me to wish there was a book entitled "Why Conservative Introverts Hate Going to Church."

That said, I did gain a lot of insight into men through this book. Murrow's premise revolves around the fact that male values are completely different from female values and that the church focuses more on those feminine values. Worship and church-speak, for example can focus on the "relationship" and on loving God, which Murrow says leaves many men with the wrong idea of "I can't love God. That would be homosexual." That specific reference is a small part of Murrow's book, so don't be offended by it.

Murrow states that men in general (that is, men who do not possess more feminine values and characteristics, not to say that those men who are more feminine are not still men) like action and need to be given positions of leadership and active ways to serve, such as repairing buildings, as well as more visual ways to learn. Women do not mind more manly attributes, but men see feminine attributes in the church as wimpy.

While some of Murrow's thoughts are confusing or contradictory (especially when it comes to what worship in the church should be like), overall, he provides plenty of Biblical support and interesting, proven successful ideas for mentoring men spiritually and keeping them involved in church.

4/5 Stars

* I received a free copy of this book from Book Sneeze for my honest review of it.