Maze Runner Review (book)

I read and finished the book “The Maze Runner” last week.  I read it because the movie is coming out soon and my sister kept posting things about the movie saying how awesome it is going to be.  I think she also meant how “hot” the main character is, but whatever.  I still decided to read it.

Overall, the book was pretty good.  It has suspense, action and some mystery.  It obviously falls in line with a lot of the other movies that are being made right now which means that it is set in the future and deals with some dystopian themes.

After finishing the book I immediately pulled up the trailer on YouTube to watch it and see how it looks.  To my disappointment, although I should have expected it, the movie looks very different.  You can really tell they are changing many things for the movie.  The 3 things that I can tell are different from the trailer don’t seem to be horribly different, but that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the movie.  I’m going to see the movie on Friday (if my wife finishes the book) and then I’ll write a post comparing the book to the movie.

Overall I’d give the book a 6/10 so its a decent read if you have free time.  It goes by pretty quick.  I’m not sure if I’ll read the other books in the series because many reviews say they get worse and worse as the series goes on.

What are your thoughts on The Maze Runner?  Have you read it?  Do you plan on seeing the movie?

– Jacob

Radical by David Platt

If you haven’t heard of this book here is what is written on the back:

“What is Jesus worth to you?

It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…

But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?”

Radical-Taking-Back-Your-Faith-from-the-American-Dream

The book was published in 2010 so many of you may have read it by now but I just finished going through it with a small group and I wanted to do a mini-review on it.  I am going to give my thoughts on both the book and the video series that goes along with it because we read/watched both of them in the group.

The Book:

I loved it.  The book makes a lot of good points (although he does repeat himself a few times) that I think are very good and thought provoking.  My post from a few weeks ago about our response to the homeless was from something I read in the book that got me thinking.  Overall, it wrestles with the idea that being a follower of Jesus Christ is a big decision, one that should ultimately change your life in a huge way yet there are tons of people who say they are christians but look no different.  Pretty good and challenging stuff.  It’s also an easy read.  It will go by quickly and isn’t something that will be hard for you to understand.

The Video Series:

I hated it.  You might be wondering how I can hate the video series since it is based on the book that I loved and trust me, I was wondering the same thing each and every week.  Part of it is I just really did not like his delivery and speaking style.  David Platt is a good writer, but he turned me away as a public speaker.  Also, the video doesn’t exactly line up with the book so sometimes I felt like the weeks didn’t really go together.

Overall I would recommend the book to people.  As I said, it is a quick and easy read but it also touches on subjects that are very important.  It will challenge you to look at your life and say “am I really following Jesus with everything”?  But don’t watch the video series, you’ll waste your time.

-Jacob

A Review of “Jesus Is _____.” by Judah Smith

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I just finished reading the book “Jesus Is _____” by Judah Smith, a pastor from Seattle.  I originally started reading the book thanks to Justin Bieber.  Since I work with youth and his endorsement sent the book flying off shelves I decided I should give it a read.  Since then I have been hearing and seeing a lot of the author, Judah Smith, all over the place.  Judah Smith was a speaker at Passion 2013 conference in Atlanta, he did a recorded video/prayer that is played before the Rock & Worship Roadshow each night and is getting interviewed in Relevant magazine.  Ironically, Relevant magazine recently did an article on “Christian Celebrity”.  You can decide if Judah fits into that or not, I’m just giving my thoughts on his book.

I really enjoyed the book.  It was a fairly quick read.  I cracked the majority of it out over a weekend trip to Oregon.  So if you are worried that it will take a long time or whatever that is definitely not an issue with this book.

The premise of the book is to shed a new light on the person of Jesus.  There are six main sections of the book with the sentence of “Jesus Is ____” being answered.  Jesus is your friend, Jesus is grace, Jesus is the point, Jesus is happy, Jesus is here and Jesus is alive.  Within each of those categories there are 2-3 chapters on the matter.  My personal favorite section was Jesus is grace.

“When we see Jesus face-to-face, sin is going to be the furthest thing from our minds.  All we will be thinking about is his grace and love and how happy we are to be in his arms.
      When we make up rules because we are afraid people will sin, we end up doing an end run around faith.  It’s not fear that saves us — it’s faith.  Fear of failure has a sneaky way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We focus so much on what we don’t want to do that we are drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  Or like a mosquito to a bug zapper, since its the twenty-first century now.
      Make rules and follow rules as needed, but don’t focus on rules.  Focus on faith.  Focus on grace.  Focus on Jesus.”

-Judah Smith, “Jesus Is _____.” pg. 58

The book has a good mixture of important theology on the person of Jesus Christ and a sense of humor that I really appreciated.  Overall, I would recommend the book to people.  Like I said before, it’s an easy read and the content is very good.  Hopefully the half a million teenage girls who bought it because Justin Bieber recommended it actually take in what they read rather than thinking “OMG I’m reading the same book as Justin!!!!!!! ❤ #Believe”

-Jacob