Book Review w/ J. Curtis | Brother Lawrence & God’s Presence

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Title: The Practice of the Presence of God and The Spiritual Maxims
Author: Brother Lawrence
Publisher: Digireads
Year: 2016
My Genre Category: Christian Living/Disciple


Synopsis (5/5)

Certainly, the Monastic life is not for most people! Brother Lawrence also had struggles with this life, and especially the job he had – managing the kitchen and making meals! However, he made the most of the opportunity and simply focused on maintaining, as much as he could, an intentional gaze on the presence of God with him. In this work, he tried to explain his ups and downs in this process and share why he thought this the utmost goal of all believers, at all times. There certainly were aspects of the work where I struggled, for various reasons, however, the overall goal as Brother Lawrence presents it – focusing on God – is certainly an area where I have deficiencies (to put it nicely). In that regard, it was an important book to read.

Content/Writing (3/5)

There were times when I had difficulty in following Brother Lawrence’s thought. However, I am not certain if it was a lack of writing skills or a deficiency in intelligence on my part that made it difficult. Probably a combination of both. As such, I’m putting this in the middle of the road. Overall, however, the message is conveyed well and you can certainly takeaway the most valuable pieces. Lastly, hearing some of this struggles that he walked through I found encouraging in this current stage of my life.

Design/Font/In Hand (2/5)

This has probably been one of the least enjoyable books I have interacted with in a while. I do really like the cover design, but the layout, font, etc. was not too enjoyable to me. To be fair, it wasn’t really designed to be either. I do think the publisher did what they set out to do which was to make a simple and cheaper version easily accessible. There is much in that regard that I appreciate. Also, being overly simplistic is probably a great choice for a Monastic read! Nonetheless, if left me wanting for more.

Impact (4/5)

I have really been going through some challenges lately! It’s been tough, but also rewarding in how it is shaping me – I sincerely hope! – to be more like Christ. With this said, I would say this had a good impact on me. I was handed this book a few years ago, and I’m grateful I got around to it in this season. Focusing on the presence of God and living by faith certainly have been two important themes in my life over the last few years, but in particular, this last year.

Recommend (4/5)

For Christians, I would say this could be a great read. What’s nice is it has some challenging questions and probes well into how we are, and perhaps should be, living. It’s also a short read that you can plow through in a relatively quickly. For me, I am not ready to consider it a necessary read, but it is certainly a good perspective to wrestle with. I’m curious to see – if I read it again down the road – if my perspective on that changes.


“That this trouble of mind had lasted four years; during which time he had suffered much. But that at last he had seen that this trouble arose from want of faith; and that since then he had passed his life in perfect liberty and continual joy. That he had placed his sins betwixt him and God, as it were, to tell Him that he did not deserve His favors, but that God still continued to bestow them in abundance.” p. 8

Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God and The Spiritual Maxims (Digireads, 2016), 8.

“I say again, let us enter into ourselves. The time presses, there is no room for delay: out souls are at stake. I believe you have take such effectual measures that you will not be surprised. I commend you for it; it is the one thing necessary. We must, nevertheless, always work at it, because not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep. If the vessel of our soul is still tossed with winds and storms, let us awake the Lord, who reposes in it, and He will quickly calm the sea.”

Lawrence, 20.

“He often sends diseases of the body to cure those of the soul. Comfort yourself with the sovereign Physician both of the soul and body.”

Lawrence, 25.

Overview (3.6/5)

I would certainly recommend this book to Christians seeking to deepen their walk with God, but again wouldn’t consider a necessary read for me just yet. However, it does have some great nuggets in it. Hopefully I can come back to this one in a few years and see how it has grown on me.


© J. Curtis, 2022

Published in: on 7 AMpFri, 02 Dec 2022 10:00:00 -050000Friday 2016 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Book Review w/ J. Curtis | Coach Wooden

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Title: Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles That Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours
Author: Pat Williams
Publisher: Revell
Year: 2011
My Genre Category: Get it Together!


Synopsis (5/5)

John Wooden; extraordinary coach and extraordinary man! In this work, Pat Williams shares the 7-point creed that Joshua Wooden, John Wooden’s father, shared with Coach Wooden when he was a child. Coach Wooden lived by these creeds throughout his life and attributes his success as a man and a coach to his father’s wisdom. He also made sure to pass these points of wisdom along to others! Mr. Williams does a great job in telling many wonderful stories about Coach along with making these points applicable to daily living.

Content/Writing (4/5)

Mr. Williams delivers well on this goal. He shares the principles that Coach Wooden lived by in such a way that they are relatable and easily applicable. This is mostly done by the stories that he shares of Coach Wooden’s life as well as his own. Certainly straight-forward writing and not very artistic in that way, but this is to be expected in this type of work. Well done.

Design/Font/In Hand (3/5)

The book does feel good in hand. I used a hardback version from the public library. I like the front cover as well. The font is good size, but somewhat bulky. The chapters were broken up well and often had Wooden quotes boxed into the chapters on the margins. Again, a straightforward format which fit the style of the book.

Impact (4.5/5)

Overall, I probably would not rate the impact of this book quite so high. I would not consider this to be a must read. However, for me it has a high impact as I have looked-up to Wooden for many years now and I had read about these principles previously. Mr. Williams did a fantastic job capturing these principles well and making it an enjoyable ride. I thought these principles were profound when I first read them but enjoyed them even more when attached to the stories and challenging questions Mr. Williams shared.

Recommend (4/5)

I certainly would recommend this book for anyone looking to add some simple yet profound and wise principles to their lives. Also, for sports fans – especially basketball – since Coach Wooden is considered to be the greatest coach of all time in any sport. Lastly, for anyone looking to be an entrepreneur or leader, certainly worth considering! These are great principles to stand on.


I can’t get enough of Coach Wooden and his wisdom. And I can’t get enough of his father, Joshua Hugh Wooden – a man so wise and so rich in insight that he formulated these seven life principles:
1. Be true to yourself.
2. Help others.
3. Make each day your masterpiece.
4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
5. Make friendship a fine art.
6. Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live.
7. Pray for guidance and counsel, and give thanks for your blessings each day.

Williams, Pat, and James Denney. 2011. Coach Wooden. Revell. pp. 20-21

With each new morning, we receive the gift of 86,400 seconds, 86,400 ticks of the clock. We choose how to spend each second. We can invest each second, make it count, treat it as something rare and irreplaceable, or we can simply kill time. … Life is precious. Time is irreplaceable. You don’t have a moment to lose. So make each day your masterpiece.

Ibid, p. 84

A library of good books is a wise collection of friends, mentors, counselors, advisers, and encouragers. Books instruct and entertain. Books affect the course of our lives. Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard University in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, put it this way: ‘Books are the quietest and most constant friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.’

Ibid, p. 101

Overview (4.1/5)

Mr. Williams delivers a solid read and a great way to interact with Coach Wooden and ponder the wisdom he graciously and humbly shared with those he interacted with day-to-day. If you enjoy reading about sports leaders or about leadership in general, this will certainly be an enjoyable and worthwhile read. Enjoy!


© J. Curtis, 2022

Published in: on 7 AMpFri, 04 Nov 2022 10:53:25 -040053Friday 2016 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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