Devotional guides should be more than heart-warming stories

22 Dec

Make your own application - Work Woes and WisdomBook Review: Make Your Own Application: Volume 2—Work, Woes, and Wisdom; A 40-Day Devotional, Written by Michael Newnham

I was contacted by the folks at New Wind Business Solutions and their publishing arm, Reader Hill, to see if I was interested in reviewing a new series of devotional books by Michael Newnham, the nationally-known PHOENIX PREACHER blogger. While I had never heard of the author nor his website, “free” and “books” are two of my favorite words. So I agreed to take a look.

The author has written a series of 40-day devotionals under the heading of “Make Your Own Application.” The book I reviewed, Work, Woes, and Wisdom, is the second book in the series. Each devotional is 2-3 pages long, contains a story from the life of the author, and ends with the instruction, “Make your own application.” Some of the devotionals include one verse of Scripture, a few contain a paragraph of Scripture, and perhaps one-third contain no Scripture at all.

I cannot say I was impressed and I would not recommend the series as a devotional tool. At best, it might serve as a source for sermon illustrations. But it does not fit my expectations for a devotional guide. I want a devotional that gets me into the Scriptures, teaches the meaning of a verse or paragraph and guides me in applying the verse(s) in appropriate ways in my life. I find very little help in a feel good story with a verse tacked on that leaves the interpretation and application up to me. I think my negative reaction is also based on the fact that as a pastor, I believe my task is to explain the meaning of the Scriptures and what it looks like in daily life. It is a balance of explanation and application. The idea of merely telling a story without explaining the Scripture and then leaving the application up to the individual is foreign to my way of thinking.

In the bio section, the author claims that his website is one of the top 200 Christian sites on the Internet. It strikes me that his book is a collection of his blog posting and loosely grouped into topics. While the stories are interesting, I would not call them devotional thoughts.

I received this book for free from in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


1 Comment

Posted by on December 22, 2015 in Books, Spiritual disciplines


One response to “Devotional guides should be more than heart-warming stories

  1. Marie Surprenant

    December 22, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I agree Pastor. If it is not scripture driven. I would lose interest


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