A Fresh Batch of Book Reviews #15

Need help navigating our cultural waters? These books are essential guides.

Do you feel overwhelmed, confused, and perhaps frightened by our rapidly changing, ever-darkening culture? Jesus calls us to be salt and light in a dark culture. These two books are like road-maps for a challenging journey.

The Daniel Dilemma: How to Stand Firm and Love Well in a Culture of Compromise


In July 2016, I heard author and pastor Chris Hodges speak at the She Speaks conference. I was drawn in by his warmth, humor, and positive vibe. I tend to be a careful Christian, and his message breathed freedom and hope into my cautious world.

The publisher, Nelson Books, provided every conference attendee a free advance copy of Chris’ new book, The Daniel Dilemma. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear Chris’ perspective on standing firm and loving well in our culture. God has challenged and instructed me through this book.

Fear and concern often grips me as I consider my children’s future world. This book is reorienting my fear-based position to one of quiet trust in God’s will. Since the prophet Daniel lived faithfully in the pagan Babylonian culture, I can have hope for my family.

This book outlines how a believer can stand strong as our culture becomes increasingly hostile toward Christianity. Chris gives many examples of how to ground your thoughts, actions, and preferences in God’s truth rather than in what feels good.

Most importantly, this book is helping me shed the cloistered mindset I often wear in self-protection. Chris provides many ideas for loving, respectful interactions with unbelievers. He humbly shares the ways he lived out his message, and he has given me a lot to consider as I move forward.

The Daniel Dilemma is changing my approach in my daily interactions with the world. I truly want to serve as salt and light in the world, but I wasn’t sure how to do that before I read this book. It calls me to think more often and pray more thoughtfully about how to carry salt and light into my everyday world. It empowers me to be confident in my faith and look forward to the future rather than fear it.

Christ-Centered Parenting – Bible Study Book: Gospel Conversations on Complex Cultural Issues

As a Lifeway Women Ambassador, I won a copy of this wonderful book. Again, I feel like God is using it to dispel my fears and equip me for cultural engagement, specifically as a parent.

This book has discussion questions if you want to hold a small group study with other parents, or you can use it as a stand-alone study. Its main focus is the essential role parents play in teaching the Christian faith to their children. The authors paint an accurate picture of the unique challenges parents face in the current culture. The cultural landscape is without precedent and has no limit for expansion, so we must engage differently than parents in previous generations.

Christ-Centered Parenting has a reassuring, empowering voice. We are called to be faithful in our teaching and examples, and we can teach our children to serve as salt and light in their circles of influence.

This book has teaching segments that are customized for the ages of your children. You can use the book with preschoolers all the way to young adults. This book provides thoughtful discussion guides on these important topics:

  • Gospel Framework (the importance of a Bible-based worldview)
  • Human Dignity
  • Identity
  • Sexuality
  • Relationships
  • Technology

I plan to read this entire book myself and go through it one-on-one with each of my children. Also, I will consider leading a small-group study with other parents.

I cannot say enough about the great value and timely message of this study. If you are a Christian parent, I highly recommend Christ-Centered Parenting.

Questions for you:
  • Does the current culture cause you concern? Why?
  • How do you serve as salt and light in your world?
  • How are you teaching the children in your life to follow Jesus?
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  • shootingstarsmag

    Thanks for sharing! I do like reading “self-help” type of books. You can learn a lot.


    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Lauren! Thanks for your visit. I enjoyed your blog post today!

  • That first book sounds like something I need to read right now… heading to Amazon! 🙂 Thanks, Sarah!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Christine…it’s really a fresh perspective. Hope you like it!

  • Dropping by from Meg’s link up! The first book sounds fascinating! The second one might make a great gift for our daughter :).

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Anita–I am glad you like them both. I will recommend the second book to all the Christian parents I know!

  • My 16 year old grandson wants to study Apologetics. “So I can share my faith without offending, Nana,” he explained. I’m going to buy him this book for Christmas; he likes to read and is a junior in high school. Thanks, as always, for the recommendations.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Wow! That’s great he already has a love for God’s truth. I think he will be intrigued by what Chris has to say. Blessings to you!

  • Thanks for sharing these reviews! I’m especially intrigued by the first book- it sounds like an important issue to consider right now. I’ll have to check it out.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Lesley–it’s a powerful read, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Do you battle cultural darkness in the UK too?

      • Yes, in a lot of ways it is only getting darker.

  • Books with a timely message, Sarah. And another great image!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thank you Michele. Canva is a great helper for me!

  • Salt and light. Yes, yes, that’s who I want to be …

    • Sarah Geringer

      Me too, Linda!

  • Liz

    I need to stop reading your reviews… You always make me want to buy more books! Thanks for sharing!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thank you Liz–I hope you find some time to breathe, relax, and read as you step away from your messy desk sometime soon! Blessings to you!

  • It was great to hear Mr. Hodges at SS, wasn’t it? For whatever reason, I’d never heard of him before July! Not sure what that’s about, but glad to know of him now. The parenting one looks great too. Love when books and programs are thorough enough to break out the age groups. So helpful when parenting multiple ages. Thanks for sharing, Sarah. 🙂

    • Sarah Geringer

      I hadn’t heard of him before then either, Brenda. I was so glad to get a free copy of his excellent book. His personality and humility shines through it. If you know anyone at church who needs parenting help, I highly recommend the other book too. Blessings to you!

  • Thank you for the book reviews. I love hearing about book you read my only problem is I have a stack so big I don’t think I will ever get through them in my lifetime. Blessings, Maree

    • Sarah Geringer

      Me too, Maree! I have a shelf of about 50 real books waiting to be read, and even more on my Kindle. But, I’m about 70 books into my 100 book goal for 2017, according to Goodreads. I feel pretty good about it!

      • I am so impressed. What a huge goal.

  • I’m so glad you enjoyed The Daniel Dilemma! Pastor Chris is the pastor where my daughter goes to church. He is currently doing a sermon series on the book, and they are all reading along. When my daughter finishes with her copy, I definitely want to read it too!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Wow! I bet his sermon series is very powerful and thought-provoking. Your daughter has a privileged view of the book, and she’ll be able to fill you in on so much more about it than me!

  • Both of these sounds a-maaazing. Thanks much for sharing!