Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Double Review with a Giveaway!

I'm generally not a jump-on-the-bandwagon type of person. For example, when a new style comes out, I'm not the first to adopt it. I usually figure it's a fad that will soon fade. If it shows some staying power, I'll eventually cave in decide I like it. Of course, by the time I'm fully committed, it has usually run its course and I'm left holding the bag. Or the stirrup pants.

Sometimes that happens with books as well. A few years back, it seemed that everywhere I went, I saw a thin book that was all the rage. I never picked it up. Fortunately, in spite of passing it up then, I had an opportunity recently to read it, as well as its sequel. I was blessed by reading it and hope you are as well. And one of you will win a copy of the second book!

You are Invited to a Dinner with Jesus of Nazareth

The mysterious envelope arrives on Nick Cominsky’s desk amid a stack of credit card applications and business-related junk mail. Although his seventy-hour workweek has already eaten into his limited family time, Nick can’t pass up the opportunity to see what kind of plot his colleagues have hatched.

The normally confident, cynical Nick soon finds himself thrown off-balance, drawn into an intriguing conversation with a baffling man who appears to be more than comfortable discussing everything from world religions to the existence of heaven and hell. And this man who calls himself Jesus also seems to know a disturbing amount about Nick’s personal life.

"You’re bored, Nick. You were made for more than this. You’re worried about God stealing your fun, but you’ve got it backwards.… There’s no adventure like being joined to the Creator of the universe." He leaned back off the table. "And your first mission would be to let Him guide you out of the mess you’re in at work."

As the evening progresses, their conversation touches on life, God, meaning, pain, faith, and doubt–and it seems that having Dinner with a Perfect Stranger may change Nick’s life forever.

A provocative novella set almost entirely in a modern-day Italian restaurant, Dinner with a Perfect Stranger presents the opportunity to listen in as a skeptical young professional confronts Jesus with challenging questions about the claims of Christianity.

This was a great little book. I'm always very cautious about books detailing supposed encounters with Jesus, but this one was theologically sound. It also has a website that contains Reading Guides for small groups of varying length (1, 4, or 8 sessions). The single-session and four-session guides are also formatted depending on whether the group is composed of seekers or Christ-followers. A Bible Reference Guide also provides more than 100 specific references paired (by page number and line) with each of the statements made by Jesus in the book. A great witnessing tool, this book provides a way to initiate conversations with a friend.

What if a fascinating stranger knew you better than you know yourself?
When her husband comes home with a far-fetched story about eating dinner with someone he believes to be Jesus, Mattie Cominsky thinks this may signal the end of her shaky marriage. Convinced that Nick is, at best, turning into a religious nut, the self-described agnostic hopes that a quick business trip will give her time to think things through.

On board the plane, Mattie strikes up a conversation with a fellow passenger. When she discovers their shared scorn for religion, she confides her frustration over her husband’s recent conversion. The stranger suggests that perhaps her husband isn’t seeking religion but true spiritual connection, an idea that prompts her to reflect on her own search for fulfillment.

As their conversation turns to issues of spiritual longing and deeper questions about the nature of God, Mattie finds herself increasingly drawn to this insightful stranger. But when the discussion unexpectedly turns personal, touching on things she’s never told anyone, Mattie is startled and disturbed. Who is this man who seems to peer straight into her soul?

Mattie's experience occurs a couple of years after Nick's encounter. This second book is not just a repeat of the first, however, as her frustrations, skepticism, and disillusionment are presented from a different angle than Nick's. I cringed at (yet related to!) another encounter she has with a well-meaning Christian who, though concerned about Maggie's spiritual health, couldn't manage to quit witnessing at her to see her needs. As with the first book, the website contains links to a Readers Guide & Bible Reference Guide.

You can learn more about both of these books and purchase them here:
Dinner with a Perfect Stranger
A Day with a Perfect Stranger

David Gregory is the author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and coauthor of two nonfiction books. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning two master’s degrees. He is a native of Texas.

The publisher has provided a copy of A Day with a Perfect Stranger for me to give away here. To enter, please leave a comment on this post by 6:00 p.m. CST Wednesday, 3/4/09. (Continental US residents, only please) I'll draw a name and announce the winner Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

Happy Reading!


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Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

I, too, am hesistant to read books about purported encounters with any part of the Godhead, but I trust your judgment. This looks like an interesting read. Count me in! Maybe I'll get lucky and the random integer generator will throw out "1"!


Unknown said...

oOoOo these both look great! I must've missed the "craze". Was it during the Jabez time period?? (Still haven't read those.)

The Four Week Vegan said...

I have to say I shy away from books like this. But, since you seem to also and liked them count me in on the giveaway fun.

sara said...

I loved the first book and did not know there was a sequel!!! so, of course I would love to be in the drawing!

Kelly said...

Enter me! I've not read either, but would love to read both. I might check out the first one at the library. Very neat.

Anonymous said...

Both of these sound interesting to me. Thanks for the chance! If I don't win, I'll be sure to check 'em out at the library. :)

Beverlydru said...

I recently read the first one and really enjoyed it- in fact I did a give-away on my blog with it. Would love to read "Day with a Perfect Stranger". Thanks!

Unknown said...

I have not read either of the books but have heard about the first one and have meant to get it at the local library many times to read it. I might just get it this afternoon when we head there. Please count me in for this book I would gladly read it (and could use some uplifting given the chaos in my life right now)

Merry said...

I would love a chance to win this book. It reminds me a little of In His Steps. Thanks!

cpullum said...

Count me in!!!
Love to read these!