Tag Archives: Thomas Nelson

Book Review: Running For My Life – by Lopez Lomong (Olympic athlete)

Book: Running For My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games
Author: Lopez Lomong with Mark Tabb
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: July 17, 2012
Genre: biography & autobiography; sports
Pages: 240; hardcover
Price: $24.99
My rating: An inspirational true story of hope and courage.
 

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw the blurb about it I wanted to read this book – not because I’m an avid sports fan (because I’m not) but because I am always interested in how people overcome adversity. This book did not disappoint.

Lopez Lomong was born in the Sudan. He was one of a family of four children, but the only one with his parents in the open-air church service that Sunday morning in 1991 – the day the rebel soldiers came for the children. He was only six years old. That was the day he was violently separated from his family with dozens of other boys and girls, the day his life was forever changed.

Lopez tells the story of his kidnapping, of not knowing what happened to all the girls that were taken at the same time, of the prison camp where boys were trained to be child soldiers – but he was too small to become a soldier so he was left in the hut, probably to die as so many did. The difference for him was that he was rescued in a dramatic way, which to this day he firmly believes was God’s hand on his life.

Lopez tells about his escape with three other boys, how they ran for three days, always miraculously finding food and water when needing it, where he ended up as a refugee instead of where he thought he was headed – home to his mother, and the ever-challenging experiences he had there that would shape him into the man he would become.

His parents had named him Lopepe, which means ‘fast’, and he lived up to that name because he loved to run and always ran as fast as he could. This trait would be one thing that kept him alive, one main factor that would shape his life and eventually help him immigrate to the United States where he continues to run. In an unlikely place his heart was set on the Olympics when he was a boy. I read Running For My Life during the London 2012 Olympics, which seemed appropriate since Lopez Lomong was running for the USA.

As I read through this book as one looking in from the outside, I could recognize God’s guidance and protection as Lopez trusted Him with his life. He tells his story with painful honesty, later revealing a sense of humour that caused me to laugh out loud several times.

Lopez Lomong has a passion, not just for running, but for helping the people in his village and South Sudan. He now has a charitable foundation called 4 South Sudan set up to achieve his goals of providing clean water, education, nutrition through better farming methods, and basic health care that will save lives. Because World Vision already has a presence in Sudan, he partnered with them to set things in motion. Also, part of the proceeds of the sale of this book go to his foundation. 

Check it out: www.LopezLomong.com/foundation

  Give Running For My Life a try, my guess is you will enjoy it.

You can find Running For My Life listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

Book Review: Beyond Molasses Creek – by Nicole Seitz

Book: Beyond Molasses Creek
Author: Nicole Seitz
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: January 31, 2012
Genre: general fiction
Pages: 312; paperback
Price: $15.99
My Rating: an intriguing story that draws the reader in
 

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

The dedication in this book reads: To those who long to be free.

This story is told from the individual voices of its three most prominent characters, Ally, Vesey, and Sunila.  It begins when Ally and Vesey are children – when white children are not to be friends with black children – so theirs is a secret friendship until they are found out and Vesey pays the penalty in a volatile climate of racism. Later, Ally travelled the world over when her heart’s desire could not be attained, and now at sixty years of age she comes home to South Carolina because her father died.

The tragedies and disappointments that affected Ally’s life led to her searching for peace from “the gods”, even though she was brought up to know the true God of peace. Vesey, who lives across the river – Molasses Creek – suffered poverty and racism, but he knows Jesus Christ as his source of peace. Then there is Sunila, twenty years younger but also searching for freedom and peace in her life of hard labour in India and the racism of caste in that country. Because of an unfortunate event connected with Ally (which in real life probably would not occur – but this is fiction), her life is not what it should have been.

The author has written an intriguing tale. It took me awhile to get into the story because of how it is broken up – into short chapters that jump from one person to another – but once I caught on to this it was easier to keep track. The story gradually picks up momentum, and layer upon layer the questions that are raised are answered.

One thing that bothered me was the hinting about the Lord but the outright repetitiveness about the idols and gods of man-made religions, with not much of a decision made when it was obvious the Lord answered Ally’s heart’s cries. She thanked God but it did not seem to be much more than saying, oh, He IS real. Perhaps the reader is supposed to understand that through all of Ally’s searching God was waiting for her all along.

Another thing that bothered me – and I’m being careful to not write spoilers into this review – is that Ally told a whopper of a lie near the end of the story, which I felt was very dishonouring to her friend who was an honest man. It just seemed shockingly wrong and could only lead to more pain. It simply made no sense to not tell the truth.

If you are looking for a Christian book, Beyond Molasses Creek is not near the top of my list. But if you are looking for a different kind of fiction, this could satisfy that hunger. I will say that I was moved to tears in a few places, so it definitely was not a total letdown. The reader can get pulled into the story, and I found that once past the halfway point I wanted to skip ahead to find out some things because of what was unfolding a little too slowly for my liking. (I resisted and stayed the course, though.)

Nicole Seitz has written an emotionally charged novel that I actually enjoyed, despite the points I mentioned above. I wouldn’t mind reading more of her books.

You can find Beyond Molasses Creek listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 
 

Book Review: Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You’ve Only Heard About – by Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson

Book: Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You’ve Only Heard About
Authors: Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: 2011
Genre: Religion
Pages: 189
Price: $15.99 US
My Rating: Inspiring, informative, encouraging for anyone seeking to be inspired, informed, encouraged in their Christian life.

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

The authors, both from Australia, received a revelation new to them, that “God’s strategy for redemption on the earth was to be carried out by the church.” They were moved to prayer, relocated to the USA where “the future of the Western church is hanging in the balance”, and set into place in ministering to hearts and lives as part of that strategy. In this book, Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson share their vision in a clear and sincere, heartfelt manner. They include wonderful teachings, stories, and insights, which reveal “God’s kingdom coming to earth.”

Rumors of God is divided into ten chapters, each with a subtitle.

  1. The Sculptor’s Shop: Rumors of Abundant Life
  2. Hostages of the Mind: Rumors of Another Dream
  3. The Great Reversal: Rumors of Generosity
  4. The Faith You’ve Only Heard About: Rumors of Love
  5. Getting the Gospel in Order: Rumors of Grace
  6. Giving Up Your Rights: Rumors of Freedom
  7. The Radical Individual: Rumors of Commitment
  8. Loving Beneath the Surface: Rumors of Community
  9. The Greenroom: Rumors of Justice
  10. Our Burning Revolution: Rumors of Hope

At the back of the book is a section with questions based on each chapter, good questions to make the reader think and soul search. What could be a problem, though, is that the scriptural references they use throughout the book are mostly just noted in the back and not written out in full in the text of the book. This could prevent many from getting the full impact intended.

A comment that I was surprised to read was one written in chapter 5 about when the woman who was caught in adultery was brought to Jesus. The author said that Jesus “continued finger painting in the dust”, dismissing the seriousness of His meaningful action as a frivolous idle moment.

It was unclear to me as to whether the authors were always referring to church as being “church” – the organization under man’s leadership in works, or “Church” – the Body of Christ under the spiritual headship of God and from which relationship the works come.

There are some other things to watch out for, but Whitehead and Tyson made some excellent points and provided interesting – and surprising – stories to express their enthusiasm. It is a good read. On the whole Rumors of God is a book of encouragement to those who seek to be inspired and motivated in their faith.

You can find Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You’ve Only Heard About listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: The Shelter of God’s Promises – by Sheila Walsh

 Book: The Shelter of God’s Promises
Author: Sheila Walsh
Genre: Christian life/religion
Pages: 224, paperback
Price: $15.99 USD
Released: February 1, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
My rating: An excellent book of encouragement and comfort for those who need to know or be reminded about where God’s  promises fit in their lives.
 

I received this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for a review.

The Shelter of God’s Promises is both for personal use and for group study. I read it alone and really enjoyed it.

This is a book written by a woman with an open heart taught by God. Sheila Walsh speaks out of experience, and from a voice of love, teaching and inspiring the reader.

Her ten chapter topics are:
Promises, Promises/I Need Something to Hold On To;
Provision/I Don’t Have Enough;
Peace/I’m Afraid and Feel Alone;
Confidence/I Can’t See God’s Plan in This Pain;
Love/I Don’t Believe That Anyone Could Really Love Me;
Grace/I Have Failed;
Hope/I’m Broken;
Strength/I Feel Things Are Crashing Around Me;
More/I Know There’s Something Better;
Home/I Have a Future.

Each topic is skillfully and tenderly addressed as she shares in a one on one manner, sometimes in humour – sometimes from pain and vulnerability – what God has revealed to her.

For someone who is seeking some answers, this may be the book to read. For someone seeking comfort in a hard place, for someone needing further insight – at the back of the book is a study guide with questions to consider after each chapter. It’s divided into four brief sections: Discover; Believe; Live; Memorize (with a scripture verse to memorize that week.) Taken seriously, the questions will help to motivate a deeper walk with Christ.

Even if the reader chooses to not use this book as a study it will still be an inspirational read of comfort and encouragement.

You can find The Shelter of God’s Promises listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Have you read this book yet?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂