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Profile for Amy VG > Reviews

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Content by Amy VG
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Reviews Written by
Amy VG (BC)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Intimacy with Christ: Her Letters Now in Modern English
Intimacy with Christ: Her Letters Now in Modern English
by Jeanne Guyon
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.17
31 used & new from CDN$ 5.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, May 22 2016
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This book blew my mind, it was brilliant! It took a while to get through this book as I would read one of her letters slowly and often more than once, pondering what she wrote. Most of the time, I felt like she was writing to me personally. In a nutshell, Jeanne Guyon, suggests that you keep Christ as your focus day and night, and she offers helpful, deep, and meaningful ways to do that. Brilliant. This is one book I will refer to often. High recommend!

Unexpected Way: On Converting from Buddhism to Catholicism
Unexpected Way: On Converting from Buddhism to Catholicism
by Paul Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 45.95
26 used & new from CDN$ 33.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Such a deep and enriching read, May 22 2016
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I enjoyed the author's account of moving from Buddhism to Catholicism. Especially since I could relate. I wholeheartedly practiced Buddhism for six years when God started to put people and situations in my life to question it and gently pull me towards Christianity. I have been an adult Christian for three years now. A lot of the author's ideas and questions and thoughts were what I had when I began to question. Buddhism seems hopeless, Christianity offers hope. The big issue for me when practicing Buddhism, so where is the Creator in all this? What is the purpose to life? The author skillfully presents his journey: his thoughts, his experiences, his feelings, and presents a solid case towards Christianity. The author brought up a good point in his book, Christianity, the whole package, is very rational and incredibly beautiful and deep. But most of Western society only know of Christianity from what they learned in Sunday school as a child, so they have a juvenile idea of Christianity. If you are on the fence, I suggest you read CS Lewis or Dallas Willard, for an adult, rational, and meaningful view of Christianity. Or this book would be a good start! Likewise, in the West, we don't have the entire view of Buddhism, only a popular cafeteria-style, where we have picked and chosen what they like or not like. I suggest you read the actual Buddhist sutras to get the "real" Buddhism. Or read some biographies of famous Buddhist teachers. I think you would be less likely to identify with it. In Unexpected Way I especially enjoyed the later part of the long first chapter on self-righteousness, why Baptism, and how much can one take of one's fellow human beings? I also enjoyed his take on pantheism, he explains the problems with it very well. All in all a worthwhile read!

The Early Church
The Early Church
by Henry Chadwick
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.87
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.85

4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, May 7 2016
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This review is from: The Early Church (Paperback)
This book proved to be a good overview of the first 500 yrs or so of the growth of Christianity. It drew amazing insights from the differences of what the author called the "primitive Church" to what the Church looked like several 100 yrs after. From reading this book I now have a better understanding on how doctrine, ritual, ideas changed from the time of the apostles to the early formation of the main Church at the time of Constantine. Fascinating. With all the debates and arguments over doctrine and heresy of today, I now see the parallels of time past, where the our fathers of the beginning Church would disagree and argue and accuse. This book was a tough read at parts: a lot of names and their ideas to keep track of, but all in all, definitely a good book to start with when looking into the early Church.

Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives
Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives
by Karen Marie Yust
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.66
34 used & new from CDN$ 13.07

4.0 out of 5 stars good, practical advice, April 14 2016
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I liked reading this book. I enjoyed Karen Marie Yust's thoughts and ideas on practicing your faith with your family. I could sense her deep commitment and love for this topic. And she provides a bunch of helpful practices. She starts off with some great advice: as parents we must provide our faith in every fabric of our families lives. So providing Christian books alongside popular books, prayer time alongside fun time, Christian movies alongside popular movies, etc. Also, always talking and reading about Christian Bible stories, again and again and again. One thing I found fascinating (I will try to paraphrase and I hope I don't mess it up) is she writes that what we grow up with imprints on us so much that we live to relive those experiences as adults. As an example she provided: when her husband and her got married and their first Christmas together, one's tradition was a star on the Christmas tree, the other an angel. And for a few years, they compromised, and both felt the tree was missing something, because their family tradition changed. This really inspires me to continue to work hard to provide my children with meaningful and lasting memories of our beautiful Christian traditions and faith. The two chapters I enjoyed especially were on story telling and praying with children. It's a good read, however if you have read a bunch of parenting books already, you will be rereading the same material. But it's always inspiring to read another good parenting book :)

Paul'S Idea Of Community
Paul'S Idea Of Community
by Robert Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 29.78
26 used & new from CDN$ 13.37

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, April 12 2016
If I could rate this book higher than 5 stars I would. This book, along with a few of Dallas Willard's books, have been of huge importance for me as a growing and maturing Christian in this mass confusion of denominations in our current age.
The author, Robert J Banks, has studied Paul's letters against the backdrop of the time period and then frames Paul's ideas and instructions to the early Christian communities. It blew my mind, put simply. I have read Paul's letters numerous times, but often not quite understanding Paul's meaning and his big idea on the communities he founded. What I enjoyed about Banks' book, was that he provided every Scripture verse he implies, so I would often look up the verse in my Bible to delve deeper.
Paul wanted Christ to lead, not any one person. All Christian's are given gifts which we are meant to use to build up each other in our Christian communities. But not one person is "better" or more important than the other. There is no coercion or firm rules, but bold statements of sticking to the Gospel and Christ's teachings. Authority exercised through the service of others, not in domination. Living by the Spirit is upmost importance.
Ahh, if in our present Christian communities we could follow Paul's led in how to follow Christ and how to practice our faith within our communities, I think more people would be Christian and those believers would be more passionate and led wholeheartedly by the Spirit, not led by our man-made ideas. I know there are many church communities that do practice this way, the issue for people is trying to find them. I highly recommend this book!

The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love
The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love
by James Bryan Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.14
28 used & new from CDN$ 18.50

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent!, April 2 2016
I definitely enjoyed reading this series. I found this third instalment in James Bryan Smith's Apprentice Series just as relevant and helpful as his two previous books.
And truthfully, I found this book more enlightening for me because I have always struggled with this aspect of Christian life: church community, and really the entire community around me, my "neighbours". Smith provides a lot of insight to how to view one's community, what Jesus taught about it, and how to follow Christ while interacting with one's community. Made me realize just how important my Christian community is, and how I grow as a Christian is tied with how I interact and react with my community.
I highly recommend this entire Apprentice Series, and I am very grateful to Smith for writing it. These three books are an easy-to-understand read, and yet have important, profound insights and practical application for all Christians who are sincere in following Christ's teachings.

Revolution: The Story of the Early Church
Revolution: The Story of the Early Church
by Gene Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.56
28 used & new from CDN$ 0.07

3.0 out of 5 stars mixed feelings but an enjoyable read, April 1 2016
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I am torn: 3 stars or 4 stars?

I am giving Revolution by Gene Edwards 3 stars, because though I enjoyed Edwards wise insights, I found he took major liberties on Scripture.

Near the beginning of the book, Edwards states that the first 3000 believers didn't study the Bible and that they most likely were all illiterate. Granted, they did not study like studies today, but we know from the Bible that they delved into Scripture. (Two examples: 2 Tim 3:16-17 "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work" and Acts 17:11 "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so"). I am pretty sure Jewish men needed to memorize the Torah, and the first 3000 believers were all Jewish, so I am sure they talked about Scripture and the connection to Christ quite a lot. A quote from Edwards in Revolution: "the idea of teaching the Scripture never entered their minds!" (pg 47) and "the apostles did not teach the Scripture" (pg 46). Instead the author claims they "experienced" Christ. Which is absolutely great, but to "experience" Christ, you need to know Scripture. Luke 24:27 says that Jesus spoke to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and "then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures."
Another small example to illustrate: Edwards states that Ananias plan was to give only part of his salary, but that is not what the Bible says, Ananias sold his property and lied and only give half of what he sold it for to the Apostles. It's a little thing, but it's still false.

There are a bunch of little things like that through out the book, so I opened Acts in the Bible and follow along noting the differences.

Regardless of that, I did enjoy reading the book and I enjoyed reading Edwards insights to how church community should look like. He often stressed the importance of time: time with the Lord in prayer and time under a mentor to learn and grow as a mature Christian before spreading the Gospel. I also enjoyed how he explained how the Lord developed and called men to serve. The last chapter was brilliant on explaining that. So for those insights, I recommend the book.

Early Christians Speak Volume 1
Early Christians Speak Volume 1
by Everett Ferguson
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 42.45

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent intro into the lives of the early Christians, March 9 2016
If you are curious about what the early Christians might have been like and how they practiced their faith, this book may be a good one to start with. The author, Everett Ferguson, provides small chunks of writing from early Christians dating 100-300AD. Each chapter represents a different theme: baptism, Christian assemblies, early services, love feast (potluck), early prayers (my fave), early hymns, Lord's Supper, women in the early church, organization of the early church, discipline, Christian living, acts of mercy. 18 topics in all. After the author provides a handful of early Christian quotes, he discusses what it might mean in those times. I really liked the author's discussions, definitely helped give me a clearer picture. Though the book is a bit academic, I was able to follow along just fine. The only place I got stuck is the chapter on the Lord's Supper. The quotes were clear enough, but the discussion confused me. I figure because the Lord's Supper is a beautiful mystery, it can confound us when we try to understand it rationally. At first I came away confused after reading the women in the early church chapter. Some early Christians wrote of men and women being equal spiritually, but then other writers were appalled to hear women baptizing new Christians. I found that so helpful to understand, that even today, we are presented with everyone's opinion on how to practice our Christian faith, and some of the people giving those opinions have cemented their opinions into very firm dogma. Not so with the Early Christians, they were more fluid. They had the Scriptures, Paul's letters, they practiced agape (love), they had their faith, they had the Holy Spirit, they had a handful of elders to help guide them, and that was it. No dogma. That came later, after 300AD. Very helpful book to get that understanding. You can purchase this book at Christian Book online for a reasonable price.

Going to Church in the First Century
Going to Church in the First Century
by Robert Banks
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from CDN$ 2.36

4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed it!, March 8 2016
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I enjoyed this little book. It is a very short account of the early church's Sunday celebration of the Lord's Supper. I enjoyed Robert Bank's writing style, though like the other reviewers it seemed slightly awkward in parts, but really no big deal. I enjoyed reading about how the early Christians may have interacted and supported each other. Inspiring.

Healing Light
Healing Light
by Agnes Sanford
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.33
68 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars wise advice, Feb. 18 2016
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When I first began to read this little book, I was skeptical. I thought maybe it would be new-agey or it would offer a complicated way to prayer. In the end, I loved this book. Agnes provides a very simple, straightforward method for healing prayer. Words need to be simple and direct, laying on hands is best but she offers suggestions for intercessional prayer, and the main thing is that you have the believe. Your faith needs to be strong. The person who is praying has to believe in the healing power of God, and it helps if the person that needs healing also believes. This little book is packed with stories, suggestions, advice, and motivation. By the end of this book, I felt confident in Agnes and her suggestions, she definitely followed the healer path and she had much wisdom to share. If you would like a boost of motivation and plentiful wise advice on how to start praying for healing, this book is a great place to start.

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