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Rise by Trip Lee

by Ben Silk 0 Comments

As a young Christian in my mid twenties, I feel as this book is speaking to my demographic. I have barely heard any music by Trip Lee, however I was interested to find out the perspective of a hip hop rapper who is also a pastor. I discovered that I connected a lot with what he had to say. He splits the book up into three sections: “getting up, growing up, and pointing up.”

Trip Lee asks several questions that hit you in the heart, for example…”If you have been given new life, why would you wait to start walking in it?” This is a great reminder that God calls us to walk with Him as we are not as we want to be. Another great question he asks is “are you willing to give anything up so that others can gain something?” This question speaks to your mindset and your perspective, that we are called to serve.

He talks about procrastination, lust, being a young father, maturing as a Christian…and several other topics that hit home with me. His book is a call to RISE to the potential that God has spoken over us through His Word.

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The Leadership Handbook by John C Maxwell

by Ben Silk 0 Comments

This is a great book. It is definitely one of the books I will go back to several times throughout my lifetime. However, when I did receive this book I was a little let down to find out that I had already read it. It is a republishing of Leadership Gold, which I was not aware when I requested to review this book. That being said, I read Leadership Gold as part of my reading list in 2014 and it is full of highlights.

The book covers 26 leadership lessons that John C Maxwell has put together from his lifetime of leading. Each chapter contains “Mentoring Moments” that includes exercise to help apply each chapters lessons.

Whether you are aspiring to be in a leadership position, or are currently a leader in your company, community or church this book should definitely be on your list of must reads.


Review: Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

by Ben Silk 0 Comments
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary Book Cover Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Ronald F. Youngblood
Thomas Nelson
October 1, 2014

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary is the most comprehensive and up-to-date Bible dictionary available. With a fresh new look and updated photographs, this new and enhanced edition is a wealth of basic study information with more than 7,000 entries plus more than 500 full-color photographs, maps, and pronunciation guides. Features include: Cross-references to major translations More than 7,000 up-to-date entries More than 500 full-color photographs and maps Enlarged type size for easier reading Visual Survey of the Bible from The Open Bible

When I saw this book appear for review I was pumped. I have personally been looking for this type of bible dictionary for a while now.  I’ve been told early on as a Christian that when the Bible uses certain words, for example the word Love, there can be several different meanings. This of course happens due to the fact that it has been translated across several languages, and has been something that has always interested me. Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary allows you to delve deeper into the Word of God and discover deeper meaning behind scripture. I love how it has a Visual Survey of the Bible, mapping out where people were when the scriptures were written. It has allowed me to put much more imagery to what I am reading and envision what it was like for people living at the time of the writings. It definitely caters to those of us who are visual learners. Being able to go to one area and learn about all the animals of the Bible, for example, is another amazing feature of a bible dictionary. This will definitely be a cherished piece in my library, continually open as a read through God’s word. With big, easy-to-read print and over 500 photo’s I highly recommend Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

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Speak: How your story can change the world by Nish Weiseth


Speak is about sharing your story. I’ll be honest,  it has not been always easy for me to share my story. At times, I have felt embarrassed,  or ashamed, however most of the time it is really about thinking, “there’s nothing cool or special about my story, no crazy miracles of healing,  etc….what would anyone get from hearing my story?” Nish has helped me change my attitude and perspective and has made me realize the importance of sharing my story. By willing to be open and raw, it enables others to be open and raw with you. Our stories are important, no matter how mundane, because as she points out … at the end of the day it is more impactful to share your story instead of a sermon.  Stories allow you to capture the heart, knocking down walls and breaking barriers. By sharing our stories we can do better at coming together for solutions. By listening to each other and applying the rule to “always know the other persons story before jumping to conclusions”, we will have the opportunity and ability to change the world one story at a time. In her book Speak, Nish shares her story of moving from one of the most anti-organized religion places in America- Portland,  Oregon to the epicentre of latter day saints or Mormons in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She realizes that through all the differences between the two cities,  they still share one thing in common: an unwillingness to listen to the stories of differing opinions. As Nish points out this is an epidemic,  not only in our cities and countries, but globally and even in our homes.  We are more polarized today then ever before, too many of us are focused on winning or being right instead of loving on our neighbour’s by really listening and understanding where tbey are coming from. If you were like me and dont feel your story is worth sharing, or you feel you need to do a better job of listening to the stories of others then I encourage you to read this book. Also be sure to check out, a blog where they “believe that if we’re honest, vulnerable and brave when we tell our stories, that those stories can build bridges across ideologies, advocate for the least of these, and proclaim the Kingdom of God breaking in on earth every day.”

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The Jesus Code by O.S. Hawkins


Even though this is a devotional, it is very tempting to read the book through as I find myself growing in confidence and faith as I learn the full meaning of the questions asked throughout the Bible. In the Jesus Code, O.S. Hawkins breaks down critical questions that every believer should answer. As a newer Christian, I must admit that these are some great questions that I have found myself searching for answers for and I am grateful to have them answered in details all in one place! I love the way he brings out the story behind each question and explains how to apply the answers in your life.  Although I have only read a few of the devotionals so far, I find them leaving a last impression on my entire week. The devotional allows me to view the questions in a different light and have a better understanding of the stories throughout the Bible. The Jesus Code has equipped me to know how to answer the tough questions that I did not know how to answer, for example “If the Lord is with us, Why then has all this happened to us?” It was amazing to receive an extra copy in error and be able to share it with someone so that it may impact them as much as it has for me. I believe this a great devotional for any believer no matter where they are in their journey with Christ.

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NIV New Spirit-Filled Life Bible


I am typically a person who loves to have the physical version of a book. There is just something about being able to hold it and highlight and share with others. However, I was very interested in viewing this version and so I chose to get the NIV New Spirit-Filled Life Bible in an eBook format. I used my Android phone to read it, which at first use was difficult, however once I got it working with my Amazon Kindle app the formatting and set up was fantastic. At the time of getting the Bible I was in Acts, which was awesome considering so much work by the Holy Spirit is done in this book. I did wish there was a ‘back’ type of button when you go to reference a footnote to bring you back to the scripture you were reading. This may be more of a issue with the actual reader than the eBook though. This is an amazing version of the Bible for anyone who is interested in learning more about the Holy Spirit. I thoroughly enjoyed the additions on Holy Spirit Gifts and Powers and the Holy Spirit and Restoration. It helped to explain the power of the Holy Spirit in a new light to me throughout the Bible. As a newer Christian I found this very helpful to gain a better understanding of my faith. I loved how it outlined all the different gifts of the Holy Spirit with their scriptures. Overall this NIV New Spirit-Filled Life Bible allowed me to delve deeper into my relationship with Jesus and gain insights and more powerful meaning and perspective in scriptures. This will be my go to Bible whenever I have questions regarding the Holy Spirit.

Features include:

  • Kingdom Dynamics—41 themes throughout the Bible that give us values as we advance the gospel throughout the world
  • Word Wealth—More than 550 key terms defined and brought to life, pulling the language from the original Greek and Hebrew into everyday English
  • Truth-In-Action—Charts with practical application from every book of the Bible
  • Detailed book introductions
  • Verse-by-verse study notes

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Book 12: Love Skip Jump by Shelene Bryan


This book will challenge and change you. After hosting a dinner party, a guest invited by a friend questioned Shelene about her blind support to two kids in Africa and asked if she ever thought she was being scammed and the money was going to pay for some guys porsche. She decides to take the question to heart and goes on a journey to Ugunda to discover for herself where her 25$/month is really going. What she discovers by taking a leap of faith and saying yes to God creates ripples throughout the rest of her life. If this book doesn’t make you want to go on a missions trip I don’t know what will. The stories Shelene shares are heart-wrenching and heart-warming. I found myself full of joy and sadness as I was taken through the events that led up to the writing of the book. Love Skip Jump is about saying YES to God when he calls for you to do something.

Skipping as she calls it is about giving up something so that someone less fortunate than you can receive something they desperately need. Her is founded on the concept that by skipping out on something you do not need, for example going to the movies that week, you donate the money you would have spent to feed a child. Finally, she states that jumping “is an action, a choice in your life to do something to serve God and the people around you. Jumping changes your life from one of spiritual consumerism to a life of doing.”

The book focus a lot on helping the poor, and how we must do a better job of helping those in need. As Jesus states in Matthew 25:45-46 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Leading by example, Shelene challenges us to get outside our comfort zones and decide to skip something so you can help the “least of the least” whether they are in Africa or homeless in your own backyard. Ask yourself, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”(Seth Godin)

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Book 10: The Hope Quotient by Ray Johnston


The Hope Quotient


“What’s the single most important thing you do as a leader?” – Stay Encouraged.  Ray Johnston states that the “greatest gift you or I can give anyone is hope.” He shares a quote, “Some wise person once said that we can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air-but not a single second without hope.” I have found this so true in my own life, whenever I have had hope and believed God for a way out, a door has always opened. If you are feeling low on hope, it doesn’t take much to turn your situation around as Ray informs us “just 10 percent more hope is enough to launch you in a new and better orbit.” Ray Johnston demonstrates that “hope is the most important, because when you have hope, anything is possible.”  He covers what he calls “The Seven”, seven different factors, that when they are present in your  life, “they cause hope to thrive.”

Factor 1: Recharge Your Batteries Nobody does well running on empty.

Factor 2: Raise Your Expectations You don’t get what you deserve; you get what you expect.

Factor 3: Refocus on the Future It’s time to throw away your rearview mirror. No one goes forward well when they are looking back.

Factor 4: Play to Your Strengths Be yourself; everyone else is taken.

Factor 5: Refuse to Go It Alone Never underestimate the power of support. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.

Factor 6: Replace Burnout with Balance Burning the candle at both ends isn’t as bright as you think.

Factor 7: Play Great Defense Avoid these five toxic hope killers that can threaten your future.

Personally, whenever I read a book of this nature, I like to take out my highlighter and add colour to my book wherever I find an awesome quote or passage. Let me tell you, this book is filled with them! Ranging from the five relationships we all need to how to unleashing hope in your marriage; this book has so much hope-filled information it is amazing!

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Book 8: How High Will You Climb? by John C. Maxwell

How High Will You Climb?

How High Will You Climb?

Another amazing book by John C Maxwell. This is a must read if you are purposefully trying to grow and strengthen your attitude. How High Will You Climb? is a book that is scripturally driven covering all areas from how to praise to how to handle fear. Each chapter contains great questions to help you apply all the insight that he teaches. The book also holds a study guide to further assist you. I have found this book to be a great resource and will definitely be one of my go-to books on how to have a winning attitude. Have bad habits like the rest of us? This book has a step by step process to show you how to break them. Maxwell’s How High Will You Climb? is full of inspiration; it offers clear and simple strategies to be more successful by demonstrating how to cultivate the right attitude.

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Book 7: It’s a God thing by Don Jacobson and K-Love

It's a God thing

It’s a God thing

It’s a God thing is truly a book that needs to be shared with the world. An amazing book of everyday miracles, it contains stories of hope, redemption, overcoming, victory and God’s love.  Don Jacobson and K-Love put together a great collection of everyday miracles that can’t be explained any other way then by God’s hand in the living world. This is a book you find yourself not wanting to put down as story after story share of God’s amazing power and timing. If you are thinking that the miracles that occur in the Bible no longer happen in everyday life, this book proves otherwise. As a Christian young in his faith and walk with God, these stories encouraged me to change my perspective and remind myself to surrender to God’s will. If you are a Christian this book will help strengthen your faith and remind you that God is always in control and always present and watching over us. If you are not yet a Christian, I pray that this book will show you the power of an amazing God that loves you, forgives you and will redeem you as you believe in his Son, Jesus Christ.

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