Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Category: Book Review (page 1 of 3)

Eight Twenty Eight Book Review

eighttwentyeightA friend of mine blessed me with a complimentary copy of Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up.  Here’s my review:

This book is the story of Ian and Larissa, a couple who have inspired millions through this video testimony.

Ian and Larissa’s story started in a fairly typical manner.  They met during their college years, and a simple friendship began to transform in to something much more significant.  They began dating, and each of them sensed God was as work in this newfound love.   Ian began working to save for an engagement ring, and it was only a matter of time before he would propose marriage.

But their lives were interrupted by a horrific automobile accident that left Ian with severe brain injuries.  Larissa was told her boyfriend was not likely to live.  Ian did miraculously survive, but their future together was anything but certain.  Their relationship, if it survived at all, would never be exactly what either had planned.

Eight Twenty Eight takes the reader through Larissa and Ian’s extraordinary journey (through her perspective).  She watches Ian fight his way back from the brink of death and the darkness of a comatose state.  She reflects on memories of their courtship, all the while wondering if she will ever be able to relate to him again in a meaningful way (doctors warned that he may not even remember her).

I would say their story has a “happy ending,” but I don’t think that expression quite does it justice.  Larissa’s commitment to Ian becomes something more costly and beautiful than she ever would have imagined.

Read this book–it’s definitely worth your time.

Top Three Christian Dating Books

Holding Hands, Holding Hearts

Holding Hands, Holding Hearts

A few years ago I realized love, sex, and relationship issues were going to be a major theme of my ministry with students.  I read several Christian books on the topic because I wanted to see more than one perspective and look at new ways to explain the biblical principles.

I appreciate and recommend books that are true to biblical values without being legalistic.  With that in mind, these three are the best I have read so far:

1.  Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating (Richard and Sharon Phillips).

If I had to chose one book about Christian dating this would probably be it.  It is co-authored by Richard and Sharon Phillips (you guessed it–husband and wife), a couple that has years of marriage experience and ministry to singles.  This book is very balanced and practical while being completely faithful to biblical principles (sexual purity, wisdom, etc.).

2. Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart
(John Ensor)

Author John Ensor presents a “radically biblical alternative to the supposed wisdom of our age.”  The strength of this book is the emphasis on male and female roles within relationships.  Ensor starts with Genesis, looking at God’s original design for the family.  He then applies these principles to dating.

3. Undressed: The Naked Truth about Love, Sex, and Dating
(Jason Illian)

Two things stood out to me while reading this book: 1.  I appreciated reading something from the perspective of a single Christian guy–someone who had actually experienced dating, break-ups, etc.  2.  Illian is really funny, and his sense of humor makes this book a very entertaining read.

Note:  I’d highly recommend my books for those living here in the Philippines.

The God of the Mundane (Book Review)

This morning I finished reading The God Of The Mundane, by my friend Matt Redmond.

I was primarily interested in this book because of my friendship with the author. I met Matt when we were both part of a small campus ministry group at Jefferson State Community College (Birmingham, Alabama). Quite a few of us in that group felt called to do some kind of vocational ministry. Thinking of that time brings back memories of Bible studies, sweet tea, pizza, a Playstation, and countless discussions (ranging from theologically deep to completely frivolous). Memories like these are part of the reason I was drawn to do college ministry.

Matt and I lost touch somewhere between transferring schools and graduating. But we reconnected through Facebook and had lunch together a few years ago. There’s nothing quite like hearing from an old friend and seeing the evidence of God’s faithfulness in his life.

I couldn’t help but think back to our college days as I read Matt’s book. I’m guessing each member of our small brotherhood thought he would set the world on fire within a few years of graduation (I could just be speaking for myself, but I doubt it). I’m not sure if any of us have lived up to such grandiose visions.

But something just as meaningful has happened: most of my college friends have glorified God through faithful, ordinary lives. They are working, raising children, loving their spouses, and serving in their churches (some as pastors). This, Matt argues, is a work of grace we should not overlook.

Consider, for example, Paul’s exhortation to live “quiet lives” (1st Thessalonians 4:11). This and other verses remind us of the humble saints that made up the early church. Most of these believers are historically anonymous, remembered only by God Himself.

The God Of The Mundane is a book about experiencing God in “every single mundane moment.” Matt’s book has much-needed words of encouragement for “ordinary” believers—people who may wonder if their lives really matter.   Read it and you might just start looking at life with a new, child-like wonder.

Note: This book is available in a Kindle Edition.

Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It (Book Review)

I have another book recommendation for married or engaged couples: Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect ItI learned about this book from a blog post and decided to check it out.

The author emphasizes the importance of staying far away from sexual temptation as commanded in the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:22, etc.).  One of the best ways for married people to do this is through hedges: habits and behaviors designed to protect one’s marriage and keep temptation at a safe distance.

The first six chapters are more foundational in nature.  Jenkins discusses the damage caused by adultery and the reasons we should do everything in our power to prevent it.  The next seven chapters (6-13) are each devoted to a particular hedge the author has put in place to protect his own marriage.  Chapter fourteen contains two success stories, and the final section of the book is a fairly extensive study guide.

I found this book very helpful.  I greatly appreciate the way Jenkins presents his own hedges without coming across as legalistic or heavy-handed.  You can click here to order it (

Note for Pastors:  This would be an excellent resource for counseling with couples (engaged or married).


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