Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Genius marketing strategy in which Zondervan take sample chapters from ten completed books and stick them all together to make a new one.

And then charge for it.

Well all right, 99c is a pretty good deal for 213 pages of popular Christian teaching, especially if you use one of the money-off coupons at the back to actually purchase one of the books they're sourced from.

Me - I got a really good deal. I was given the thing as a gift so that I would have something to read on my very first flight to New Zealand back in Feb '04.

Though I did indeed peruse bits of it on that odyssey, it's taken me six years to get onto reading it all through properly, cover to cover, and out loud.

The excerpts are:

Chapter 1 of Rumours Of Another World by Philip Yancy

Chapter 1 of The God I Love by Joni Eareckson Tada

The introduction to The Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel

Chapter 1 of Breakthrough Prayer by Jim Cymbala

The introduction and chapter 1 of Focus On The Family: Going Public With Your Faith - Becoming A Spiritual Influence At Work by William Carr Peel, Th M and Walt Larimore, MD

Chapter 12 of Every Child Needs A Praying Mom by Fern Nichols with Janet Kobobel Grant

Chapter 4 of When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayer by Jerry Sittser

Chapter 17 of Boundaries Face To Face - How To Have That Difficult Conversation You've Been Avoiding by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend

Chapters 1 to 18½ of the Student Bible (NIV) edited by Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford

Chapters 1 to 3 of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Though I think I've found each chapter absorbing at the time, perhaps the real test here has been which bits have remained with me until the end.

From The God I Love, Joni Eareckson's picture of her family life when young is still quite strong.

From Going Public With Your Faith (I don't know why they italicised that word in the bookblock's headers but not on the cover) I found the "Microdirections Of Faith" chart on page 92 useful, which displays the different stages on a person's journey to faith.

The Boundaries one was quite interesting too.

The chapter that I found the most intensive though would have to be the Student Bible's take on the first third of Genesis. The accompanying notes really did offer fresh perspectives on a familiar text, and afterwards I made a point of completing it in my regular NIV Bible.

However I guess the final winner has got to be the only one of these books that I actually went out and bought, which ironically happened:

1. Shortly after I first landed in New Zealand,

2. Without having read the sample chapters, and

3. Completely failing to take advantage of the $3.00 off voucher.

It was The Purpose Driven Life which, as I've just re-read the first three chapters, I seem to be continuing through with again.

Though the title Fresh Voices is still pretty accurate six½ years on, those last few chapters now sound like old ones.

Available here.


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