Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Meet Generation Z by James Emery White

We're done talking about Millennials now. Generation Z is the up and comers.

Pastor White does a fantastic job of giving an overview of this new generation and how followers of Jesus can better understand them and how to be more effective in reaching them.

This book is divided into two parts. The first part is the basic introductory three chapters about how our society got to where it is by way of technology and a waning of religious expression.

Part two dives into the, "now what can we do about it" phase. And this part is the meat and potatoes of the book.

White tackles how Christians find their voice with the Zs, how we need to rethink evangelism using two segments of the book of Acts as a reference. (chapters 2 and 17) We need to understand the culture and learn to speak their language.

Then he looks at apologetics and how while we are leaning into science more than before, people are also looking for meaning in spiritual things - not necessarily religious things. How can followers of Jesus utilize this new mindframe?

White does a great job providing ideas and avenues to pursue.

He finishes the main part of the book by giving an overview of what his church has done by way of mission and focus.

Then he offers some sermons that he gave in response to some hot-button topics like gay marriage, the spiritual world, and do we need to believe in God.

I'm not sure why those were included in this book other than to show what it could look like to engage Generation Z through a Sunday morning sermon.

All in all, this was a terrific book that I will be sure to reread.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Baker Publishing.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Returning by Rachelle Dekker

Time has passed once you read this third and final entry in Rachelle Dekker's debut trilogy. Twenty years in fact. And this passage of time allows Dekker to explore new things so the books don't feel like they're simply rehashing the same themes.

A girl named Elise is being held captive in a community of humans who have been injected with a serum causing a robotic state of "peace". Those who oppose this way of life call themselves Seers and they have a plan to infiltrate the community and rescue those who have been injected as well as find Elise.

But it won't be easy.

You can tell this is a work done by a Dekker. As Rachelle is Ted Dekker's daughter (you've got to be tired of hearing stuff like that right? She's her own voice and author) there are similar themes to this trilogy and Dekker's Books of Mortals trilogy.

So many similarities, in fact, that at times it felt like Ted was giving his daughter pointers. You have the emotion-less state, the serum that causes this, the group who meets in the wilderness and has their celebratory gatherings. I mean this book in particular felt just like a young adult version of that other trilogy.

That isn't to say this book wasn't fun to read. The characters were enjoyable. I took a long time to catch up with them in each book because things had changed so much due to the time that has passed.

The themes are pretty blatant but I didn't feel like it was too heavy-handed.

I enjoyed this book and this trilogy and look forward to what Rachelle has for us next.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by Tyndale House Publishing.