Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Shack by William P. Young

Someone at Naznet recommended "The Shack" by William P. Young some weeks ago and it sounded intriguing, so I requested that my public library purchase it for me and they did! All the reviews (here is a particularly informative review) I've read entice me and I can't wait to get started on it. I will post again once I've read the book or sooner if so inclined.

The back cover of the book says:

"If anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again."

~ William P. Young in The Shack

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope by Jenna Bush

World AIDS Day - December 1 is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of the HIV infection. On December 1 and beyond, I urge you to pray for all the victims of this disease and to lift in prayer those who minister to AIDS victims.

Jenna Bush wrote a book for young adults called Anna's Story: A Journey of Hope based on her work with Unicef and specifically time spent with a seventeen year old girl who was infected with HIV at birth. Ms. Bush has a section at the back of her book with ideas on how we can be involved in helping those who live with HIV/AIDS as well as information and websites to educate youth. Go here to find out more about Ana's Story.

My church also put out a missions book dealing with AIDS that was quite moving - Africa’s Soul Hope: The AIDS crisis and the church **by Ellen Decker.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meeting Jesus by Keith Schwanz

I'm reading an interesting missions book called Meeting Jesus by Keith Schwanz. The book is about taking the Jesus Film to various third world locations. The author begins each chapter with Scripture from the book of Luke and continues writing as if the story of taking the Jesus Film into the world was continuing the gospel of Luke. Mr. Schwanz isn't adding to the Bible of course, but he helps us to realize that what we do with our time on earth does matter and has eternal significance. He gave me reason to pause and ask myself how I am fulfilling the great commission...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas Reading

If you are looking for some tender, Christmas books, I have a few suggestions. The ladies at the library check-out counter will tell you that when I say a few it doesn't necessarily mean a few... I will update here as I read more. Some of the books listed below were read last year, others I just discovered this year on my public library's current release shelf.

The books in no particular order:

~ The Christmas Story: Luke 2, Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-23

~ An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson - A mother and her young adult son each have secrets, set in the 1960's.

~ Till Morning is NIGH by Leisha Kelly - A story that will help you to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Commercialism is far from the families represented in this book who barely have enough to survive, yet they do because of their faith in God, creativity, and by sharing their resources.

~ The Special Guest: A Christmas Story by Lee and Donna Hall - The authors wrote the book for their children, but it's a short story with a beautiful message that can be enjoyed by all ages at Christmas and throughout the year.

~ The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans - A children's book that I recommend reading aloud with children under 10 to make sure they understand what the author is attempting to teach to those with eyes to see. The book can be read in minutes, but the discussion that follows can help your children discover the true meaning of loving as Jesus loves and loving others as if they were Jesus especially at Christmas time.

~ The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans - A story of a widow and young family who moves in with her. Together they learn what Christmas is truly about.

~ The Gift by Richard Paul Evans - heart wrenching yet beautiful at the same time, story of a young boy's sacrifice and love.

The Red Glove Series by Karen Kingsbury (the next four books listed below).

~ Gideon's Gift by Karen Kingsbury - a story of sacrifice and unconditional love.

~ Maggie’s Miracle by Karen Kingsbury - predictable, but beautiful story of an 8 year old boy and his mother who is a widow. (Karen Kingsbury includes several suggestions for "Red Gloves" service projects to aid children at the end of the book.)

~ Sarah’s Song by Karen Kingsbury - a life changing story shared in a nursing home.

~ Hannah’s Hope by Karen Kingsbury - a sentimental Christmas story of a 15 year old girl whose only wish is to be held by the father she never knew.

~ A Carol for Christmas by Robin Lee Hatcher - two people discover the true essence of Christmas.

~ Christmas Vows $5.00 Extra by Lori Copeland - Discover the joy of Christmas in this endearing tale of a desperate father stranded with his three young children and an eccentric old woman they met by accident.

~ Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright - Beautiful Christmas story that has the potential to transform lives.

~ Boo Humbug by Rene Gutteridge - quirky and fun, "A Christmas Carol" with a twist. An attempt to get a town to embrace the true meaning of Christmas.

~ The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado - every 25 years an angel visits a candle shop and touches a candle - whoever receives that candle gets a miracle...

Friday, November 16, 2007

365 Things to Do with Your Kids...

I just finished a cute, little book by Bill Adler, Jr. 365 Things to Do with Your Kids: Before They're Too Old to Enjoy Them. Basically he comes up with an idea and expands and describes it. I already do many of his ideas and plan to try others. Some of my favorites I've listed below:

# 34 Play Imaginary Stock Market

# 66 Create a continuing story with your kids.

# 137 Sit around thinking up "what ifs"

# 214 Every year on their birthdays write your children a letter telling them how much you love them

# 219 Celebrate a half birthday

# 226 Make wave bottles using colored water and oil and other liquids.

# 227 Make hand prints in plaster on paper plates; then paint and hang from ribbons

# 234 Have a family scavenger hunt

# 297 Play a memory game

# 352 Talk about what you would do if you had one hundred million dollars

# 353 Talk about all the great things you would still have if you didn't have any money at all.

# 355 Write a contract with your child over something important

# 365 Think up your own ideas for things you'd like to do together before your children are too old to enjoy them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Four Seasons Series

I'm reading a neat series co-authored by Gary Chapman (author of "The Five Love Languages") and Catherine Palmer. The books are fiction based on Gary Chapman's love languages and four seasons of marriage non-fiction works. Mr. Chapman says that "marriages are always moving from one season to another."

The titles of the four novels are:

It Happens Every Spring
Summer Breeze
Falling for You Again
Winter Turns to Sping.

He describes the four seasons:

"Winter - discouraged, detached, and dissatisfied
Spring - openness, hope, and anticipation
Summer - comfortable, relaxed, and enjoying life
Fall - uncertainty, negligence, and apprehension"

He says that "the cycle repeats itself many times throughout the life of a marraige, just as the seasons repeat themselves in nature." If you want more information on the Four Seasons of marriage check out his book - The Four Seasons of Marriage.

Regardless of the season that your marriage is in at this time you will find helpful advice and encouragement in story form. Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The politics of Jesus : rediscovering the true revolutionary nature of the teachings of Jesus and how they have been corrupted

I was puruzing through the book review section of an online forum that I'm a member of and came across a book that sounds intriquing - "The politics of Jesus : rediscovering the true revolutionary nature of the teachings of Jesus and how they have been corrupted" by Obery M. Hendricks. My library has the book, so I'm adding it to my list of books to read. For a summary check here.

Of course this book is written by a man who has his set of beliefs and life experiences that may differ from the readers. We each have to take God's Word and determine for ourselves how HE wants us to live this life. We only get one chance and as Randy Alcorn says in one of his books, Safely Home “One moment after men die, they know exactly how they should have lived. But then it is too late to go back and live their lives over again. Too late for the unbeliever, in the jaws of hell. But also too late for the believer, who cannot relive his life, remake his choices, this time following his King more faithfully.”

So many people with different political stances claim to be following Jesus and doing His work. I wonder what Jesus thinks of it all?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Some years ago I read this allegory "Hinds' Feet on High Places." It dramatizes the journey each of us must take before we can live life in the high places. The first chapter was a bit of a challenge, but once I got past it and got into the main character's head I wanted to take the journey along side "Much Afraid." Much Afraid had some interesting traveling companions and had to face many issues that are easier left in a back drawer somewhere. BUT when those issues are tackled we are able to climb higher and bask in HIS love.

Habakkuk 3:19 is the Scripture the book is based on...

"The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like Hinds' Feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine High Places."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Online Book Club

I'm getting ready to start an online book discussion group through Yahoo. It is an open group and members can invite other people if they would like. The first book to be discussed is "Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands" by Gary Thomas. I'm really excited about this book.

We are going to limit the group to discussion of the book and the questions the author has provided to keep the mail volume down. Currently the plan is to cover a chapter a week starting mid to end of September, but it could change as needed by members of the group. If at anytime you need to you can change your subscription to no mail and just check messages through the website or you can get a daily digest.

The book is available through some libraries and the author's website or here or a host of other online groups and possibly local bookstores.I have set up some polls, links and files that you can check out once you join. Gary is also willing to answer questions from the group when we get to the half way point or finish whichever we prefer.

I'm excited and would love to have others join in this journey. If you are interested feel free to join - see link on the top left side of this blog.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Apples of Gold: A Parable of Purity by Lisa Samson

I just read a short story by Lisa Samson that I recommend mothers, grandmothers or women who care read with to their young teens. Its a fairy tale/parable that can help us teach the next generation about purity.

Apples of Gold: A Parable of Purity
By: Lisa Samson - Random House, Inc / 2006

Product Description
Apples of Gold teaches about sexual purity through a powerful and sensitive parable about two sisters entrusted with a precious gift from the ruler of the land. When the governor's son returns, which young woman will be chosen to serve the prince--based on how the treasure has been protected and cherished?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Grab Their Knees - WWJD?

I'm reading one of my church's missionary books "Africa's Soul Hope: The AIDS crisis and the church" by Ellen Decker and I came across a quote from Charles Spurgeon that really cut to the heart of the matter...

"If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."

What a task we have...Grab some knees and don't let go.

Near the end of the book this challenging quotes jumps out...

We can ask, "What would Jesus do?" or "What would John Wesley do?" or even "What is the Church doing? But the ultimate spiritual question is, "What will I do?"

What am I doing? What should I be doing? What will I do?

The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas

Some friends and I have just started to read a new book that will challenge us - "Sacred Influence: What A Man Needs From His Wife To Be The Husband She Wants" by Gary Thomas. So far we have only read chapter one and we are going to take it slow so we can digest, learn and apply to our lives and marriages. We just got an email back from the author today with study guide questions, so we are excited to begin this new journey.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

A mysterious invitation appears at the office of the Nick Cominsky to join Jesus Christ at a local restaurant for dinner....

From the website...

"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."

For book website or here - This is about the second book in the series. Nick's wife, Mattie spends the day on an airplane with Jesus.

From a web site book review - "What if a fascinating stranger knew you better than you know yourself?When her husband comes home with a farfetched 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?"

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Epic: The Story God Is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play by John Eldredge

I read "Epic" last March and it really encouraged me to put my hope in Jesus Christ alone - something I have been taught for years, but somehow allowed my heart to forget.

Direct quote from Epic...

“Something stronger than Fate has chosen you. Evil will hunt you. And so a Fellowship must protect you. And you will need yours (Christian friends). You must cling to those you have, you must search wide and far for those you do not yet have. You must not go alone. From the beginning, right there in Eden, the Enemy’s strategy has relied upon a simple aim: Divide, and conquer. Get them isolated, and take them out."

The devil wants to get us down and consumed in our troubles, he doesn't want us to share our trials with fellow believers, he wants us to think our issues, problems, and trials, etc. are unique. Satan wants God’s children to have no hope. He wants us to think that our time on earth is all life has to offer. He wants us to look at lives of people who look good (and appear to have it all together) and then tell us it’s out of grasp for us. This life is temporary... God's gift of eternity with HIM IS within our grasp ONLY because its a gift from GOD. Put your hope in Jesus the author and finisher/perfecter of your faith!

Satan doesn't want us to realize that this life is but a fraction of eternity to come. He wants us to think this life is all we get. People give up and commit suicide because they have lost their hope in this world. Our HOPE is in CHRIST JESUS ALONE! There is an enormous battle waging for our souls - Satan and his demons are fighting us and trying to discourage us... We have to keep our HOPE in JESUS through it all - no matter how long or how hard... Hope in JESUS!

God's Word says...

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:1-11

When I was in college, my Sunday school teacher, Clara Schuster, had our class sing the first verse and chorus of "The Solid Rock" each Sunday before we left her class. There words are...

The Solid Rock for the tune see - or click here

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.


His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.


When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne.


In, Epic John Eldredge tells us to remember three things...

* First, things are not what they seem.

* Second, we are at war.

* Third, you have a crucial role to play.

We have much to learn as we prepare ourselves for our ultimate role in eternity.

For more on Epic check out the web page

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Wait Until Then" by Randy Alcorn

Wait Until Then is a moving book that Randy Alcorn wrote to help educate children about heaven. It has beautiful illustrations and a story line that will appeal to children up to about 10-11 years old. My children ages 4 and 7 enjoyed it and called it "happy, sad." Its great to have a book made especially for children that teaches biblical principles. To see what the author has to say about the book see his blog or check out his website.

My seven-year-old daughter knows that I love to read Randy Alcorn's books. When I gave her the book and told her that I wanted her to read it to her brother. She read the title, then the author, and a look of amazement came to her face. She was thrilled to be reading the same author as her mama. She was so excited to be the first one to read our libraries' copy - it's those simple pleasures that bring the most joy.

You can purchase the book from a Christian bookstore, secular bookstore, from Randy online at his website or many other places. I requested that our library purchase the book and to my great joy they did! For more info click here

One wonderful thing about this book is that Randy Alcorn is donating the proceeds to Joni and Friends.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Children's Missions Books

Six new mission books correlate with each year's theme. Three books are written for all readers (grades 1-6), and three for Advanced Readers (grades 4-6).

All-Reader Books (grades 1 through 6) ...

A Monkey Ate My Homework —a story set in Cotonou, Benin
by Matt Price

Three third-culture kids shared a common experience, much like MKs. Born in one culture, they lived in another culture, and became products of both. The three friends attended a British school where their missionary teacher gave them a challenging assignment. For Shin, the assignment became more of a challenge than he expected.

The Jesus Jeepney—a story about evangelism and volunteerism in the Philippines by Wes Eby

When Benjy’s family moved to Manila so his father could teach at the seminary, Benjy learned how the Gospel is shared through creative transportation. Nine-year-old Benjy, an adventuresome boy, had a knack for getting lost. But he became instrumental in helping some “lost” Filipino boys find Christ as their Savior.

The Trail of the Wooden Horse—a story about an unreached people group in Ukraine known as Gypsies by Judi Wiegman

When fire destroyed their cabin, Luda joined a caravan in search of a better life for her children, Anna and Alex. Their journey brought adventure and intrigue when Alex wandered into a village for a JESUS film showing and Anna met Valya, a Nazarene pastor’s daughter.

Advanced Reader Books (grades 4 through 6)

Snowballs and Coconuts—a story based on the life of O. L. King, an early missionary to Antigua by Cheryl Crouch

Oscar thought he had everything he could possibly want until he tasted coconut. He determined someday he would have all he could eat. But his plan to purchase the coconut he spied in a store window was diverted by snowballs and a boy named Ben. Oscar’s obedience to God brought contentment, friendship, and a tasty reward.

The Captain, His Daughter, and Their Discovery—a collection of stories about life on the mission field by Harmon Schmelzenbach and his daughter, Danielle

When the Schmelzenbachs became missionaries, they soon discovered their lives had changed forever. Through Harmon and Danielle’s personal insights and perspectives, learn how they faced the challenges of unfamiliar, unpredictable, and uncontrollable circumstances and made their greatest discovery.

The Case of the Secret Box—a story that gives insight into Japanese culture and the work of a Nazarene tentmaker by Amy Crofford

To help Keiko learn about their Japanese heritage, her mother gave her a special box with a mystery to solve while in Japan visiting her cousin Ai. With Ai’s help, Keiko not only solved the mystery and earned her own special box, but met Jason Lovelace and learned about tentmaker missionaries.

TO ORDER CLICK HERE Or call Nazarene Publishing House 1-800-877-0700 (Toll-free)

Missionary Books

My church has a strong emphasis on world missions. Each year our church publishing house puts out six adult mission books. This years books are:

Adult Missions Books
** Indicates books also recommended for youth

Africa’s Soul Hope: The AIDS crisis and the church **by Ellen Decker

Like a giant tsunami, the AIDS crisis in Africa propels itself forward, wiping out entire communities and destroying everything in its path. What hope is there for those facing this insidious, life-sucking disease? How is the Church of the Nazarene providing soul hope to millions of desperate people? Open this book. Read thoughtfully and prayerfully. A word of caution, however: you will never be the same.

Baboons on the Runway: And Other Humorous **Stories from Africaby Richard F. Zanner

Do missionaries ever have fun? According to this author, the answer is a resounding yes! Join former regional director Richard F. Zanner on a journey into the world of hilarious encounters and unlikely escapades lived out among his Nazarene colleagues in Africa. From being chased up a tree by a rhino to experiencing a “resurrection” in a morgue, you can be sure it’s an adventure you aren’t likely to forget!

A Love Story from Trinidad by Ruth O. Saxon

How do you fall in love with a village? A village with a bad reputation? Only God could have created the love story between missionary Ruth Saxon and Chanka Trace, Trinidad. An unlikely courtship, to say the least, it has stood the test of time and resulted in newfound hope and healing. Open your heart to this moving tale of joy and sorrow, healing and heartache, hope and disappointment. And let this stir anew your own love for the Savior and His precious lost children.

Meeting Jesus **by Keith Schwanz

Witchcraft. Gangs. Demon possession. These are but snippets of the opposition faced by JESUS film team members as they share the good news of Christ around theworld. At the risk of their own lives, these brave individuals seek to reap a harvest of lost souls . . . people who matter deeply to God. Written in the style of the Gospel of Luke, Meeting Jesus propels you into a world where good conquers evil and lives are transformed for eternity.

The Nudge in My Side: Stories from Indonesia and the Philippines by the Bob McCroskeys

This father/son missionary duo has teamed up to share life-changing stories from the far reaches of Asia. In Indonesia and the Philippines, where life is often simple and isolated, God has moved in astounding ways to call men and women to himself. Open the pages of this book. Savor the truths of these tantalizing stories. And be prepared to never see the world in the same way again.

They Saw Only Feet: More Life Lessons fromMissionary Kids by Dean Nelson

The call of a missionary often means sacrifice and surrender. Nobody knows that better than their children. Yet as the missionary kids in this book will tell you, God is faithful to care for His own. Between these pages you’ll meet men and women whose life experiences on the field changed them forever. Listen to their hearts, and let your own faith be strengthened as you do.

Click here to see the book covers and more info.

"Divine" by Karen Kingsbury

"Divine" is a modern day Mary Magdalene story by Karen Kingsbury. Its one of Karen's most intense books that I've read. Make sure you have Kleenex close by while reading this story. Its a dramatic tale of tragedy and redemption. Mary Madison experienced unbelievable horrors from a young age, but she had the love and prayers of her grandmother through it all even at times when neither she or her grandmother knew the whereabouts of the other. Mary was set free by the divine power of God and she used her painful past to help and minister to other young women who have been battered and abused.

This verse describes Mary's mission for life: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Crime Series by Rene Gutteridge

Prequel - Storm Gathering
Book 1 - The Splitting Storm
Book 2 - Storm Surge

Interesting crime novels by Rene Gutteridge. The cover to each book has an interesting and sometimes eerie picture of a man's face with a close up on his eyes. Each book shares characters and has a unique, but sometimes connected mystery that spans over 10 years in time. I predicted the direction the books would take, but they were still entertaining to read. Family and salvation themes are also covered.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Books by John Eldredge

I've heard good things about several of the books that the Eldredges have written and my husband owns two of them. I borrowed "Epic: The Story God is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play" from the public library. It was a wonderful, little book that I recommend to seekers of truth. Check out the book's website to learn more.

from Ransomed Heart's webpage -

"Life, for most of us, feels like a movie we’ve arrived to forty minutes late. Sure, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things. But tragic things happen, too. What does it mean? We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, usually a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all. No wonder we keep losing heart. We need to know the rest of the story. For when we were born, we were born into the midst of a great story begun before the dawn of time. A story of adventure, of risk and loss, heroism … and betrayal. A story where good is warring against evil, danger lurks around every corner, and glorious deeds wait to be done. Think of all those stories you’ve ever loved--there’s a reason they stirred your heart. They’ve been trying to tell you about the true Epic ever since you were young. There is a Larger Story. And you have a crucial role to play."

A few things that empowered and encouraged me while reading Epic...

  1. My hope is to be in Jesus Christ alone.
  2. Spiritual warfare is REAL, so we need other Christians surrounding us with prayer as we face the battle.
  3. God has a purpose and reason for MY life and YOUR life.

Direct quote from Epic -

"We have reached the moment where we, too, must find our courage and rise up to recover our hearts and fight for the hearts of others. The hour is late, and much time has been wasted. Jesus calls you to be his intimate ally once more. There are great things to be done and great sacrifices to be made. You won't lose heart if you know what's really gong on here, where the Story is headed and what your Lover has promised you."

On the website for John and Staci Eldredge's ministry the following books are highlighted.

We offer a number of books and guided journals that present our message and our mission.

First came The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. Life is more than chores, and Christianity is more than duty. It is a Sacred Romance--a great love story set in the midst of a life and death battle. This little treasure is on its way to becoming a classic, not because of our brilliance, but because it recovers the treasure of the Gospel. Together with its workbook, it offers a journey towards personal restoration through intimacy with a healing God.

The Journey of Desire arrived ... or was birthed ... out of the pain of Brent's death. But we all share the same dilemma--we long for life, and we're not sure where to find it. Sooner or later life will break your heart. Or numb it, bury it, set it aside. But there is nothing of greater importance than the life of our deep heart. And if we are to bring our hearts along in our life's journey, we simply must not, we cannot, abandon our desire. How you handle your deep desires is how you handle your heart.

Wild at Heart had been stirring in John for many, many years before it was written. There is something fierce, passionate, and wild in the heart of every man. That is how he bears the image of God. And the reason most men "live lives of quiet desperation" (Thoreau) is because men have been told that the reason God put them on earth is to be a good boy. To be nice. But every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.

Waking the Dead explores the power of God’s New Covenant with us--the power to restore our hearts and set them free. For the heart of the believer is no longer wicked--it is good. Your heart is good. How God restores us is usually experienced through Four Streams: Counseling, Healing, Walking with God, and Spiritual Warfare. This is how we discover that “the glory of God is man fully alive” (St. Irenaeus).

Epic we explore the Larger Story. Think of all those movies you’ve ever loved, the stories that have stirred your heart--there’s a reason they move you so. They’ve been trying to tell you about the true Epic ever since you were young. It is a breathtaking story, and you play a crucial role.

Created for Work: Practical Insights for Young Men by Bob Schultz

I received information on this book in an email from a friend and thought it sounded great. Next stop for me is the website of my local library to see if they have this book... Thanks Lori!

All info below taken from - Prime Time Faith and Work Resources email from Church Growth Institute.

My son turned 8 last June. At a young age, I want him to discover that God created him for work, and I want him to develop a healthy attitude toward work and a willingness to work hard. That is why I gave my son "Created For Work: Practical Insights For Young Men." Far from a boring book about rules and regulations, the author tells inpiring stories about his own life as a carpenter -- real-world stories that fascinate boys. He uses these stories along with Scripture to reveal truths about diligence, initiative, honesty, promptness, responsibility, and much more.

Two of my son's favorite chapters are "Dirt" and "The Donut Race." "Dirt" is about a man who never let dirt get in the way of finishing a job. He always saw jobs through to completion. "The Donut Race" is about two boys who raced to the donut shop one morning before school -- one sped quickly and caught several red lights along the way, while the other boy consciously chose to obey the speed limit and you guessed it, won the race! It's a great lesson on avoiding hastiness in our work.

If you have a son, grandson, or know a boy or group of boys between the ages of 8 and 16, this book is highly recommended. Give it to them as a gift, or better yet -- read aloud with them to take advantage of the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Now for some non-fiction... Nancy Leigh DeMoss has some great books. I found, "Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom" in our town's public library in the current release section. Its a terrific book with lots of thought provoking quotations that can help you in your Christian faith and in your own journey to freedom.

Nancy's website says this about the book...

"Learn the liberating biblical solution to resolving life's most painful issues. Nancy presents us with the key that unlocks the prison we put ourselves in when we hold onto hurts. Her dynamic and scriptural approach, along with dozens of stirring stories and practical examples, will lead you on a pathway to freedom by choosing forgiveness." (Hardcover, 224 pages)

I highly recommend the book for anyone who needs to deal with forgiveness and that is all of us in my humble opinion. A Scripture that helped me years ago when I needed to forgive someone was...

"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25.

I've found that forgiveness is something I have to deal with frequently because we live in a sinful world and as someone said, "hurt people hurt people." Nancy shares many moving stories, gives powerful insight and backs it up with Scripture.

If you can't afford the book, please check your public library - they may be able to order the book for you if they don't already own it. Another possibility is the Inter-Library loan program where you can request books from other libraries in the system if your library doesn't have it and doesn't have the financial resources to order it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Martyr's Song Series by Ted Dekker

I first came across Ted Dekker's work in a book he co-authored with Bill Bright, "Blessed Child." It is a wonderful book that challenges the reader to seriously consider what is valued in this life. In this novel the main characters are an orphan, a relief worker and a woman who has severe burns on her body. If I recall correctly the woman was also a relief worker, but its been at least three or four years since I read the book. In this story God's power is poured out in amazing ways - ways that are almost beyond belief, but God does work beyond our capacities to understand. It was most interesting to see the things that hindered God's power and work - things we may not think of immediately. There is a second book in the series called, "A Man Called Blessed." Personally I liked the first book best, but they were both worth the time to read.

Now on to the series that I read this past winter - Martyr's Song. Ted Dekker suggests that we read "The Martyr’s Song" first to get an understanding of the story line. He says that the other books can be read in any order. I suggest the order below if you want things to be in chronological order, but it really doesn't matter.

1. "The Martyr’s Song" - This novel helps the reader understand that heaven is more real than life on earth.
2. "Heaven’s Wager" - He loses everything of value to him and comes up with the perfect crime or so he thinks - thought provoking.
3. "When Heaven Weeps" - An allegory that makes us think of the truest love story of all time. This novel helps us realize what we have to offer the Lord and what he endured to show us HIS love.
4. "Thunder of Heaven" - A terrorist story with a twist.

"When Heaven Weeps" touched me the deepest of all of the books in this series. I would have said "The Martyr's Song" but it is summarized in "When Heaven Weeps." But read them both for a greater understanding of the story. "The Martyr's Song" is a quick read if you have Kleenex handy. It is an absolutely beautiful martyr story - I know that sounds hard to believe, but it is. Reading this book was the start of changing my perspective on life and death and eternity. I've always believed in all of them, but somehow I felt that life here in the shadowlands was more important than life in Heaven - the real world. I guess its because I can touch earth and the people I love while Heaven is beyond my grasp at the moment. Reading Ted Dekker's books and Randy Alcorn's books have helped me to begin thinking of eternity with fresh vision. I'm longing for real life to begin of course in God's time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Restoration Series by Terri Blackstock

Last year I found Terri Blackstock in our public library - ok, I didn't find her just some of her books. I'd like to highlight the books in her "Restoration Series."

Book 1 - "Last Light"
Book 2 - "Night Light"
Book 3 - "True Light" (released summer 2007)
Book 4 - "Dawn's Light" (not published yet)

I've read books one and two and am still waiting for our library to order book 3 - hmm. Well, books one and two focus on what-would happen if their was a global catastrophe where all power, electricity, computer chips, etc. were no longer operational resulting in no mass communication or transportation and so much more. The story took us from the current times back to "Little House on the Prairie" days. Readers are invited into the lives of a family as they discover the depth of their spiritual life and what it means for them in a world wide blackout. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on books three and eventually the final installment.

A question to ask yourself... What would you do if the world suddenly lost all power and you had to rely on your creativity, team work and most importantly God to provide for survival?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lord Foulgrin's Letters by Randy Alcorn

I'm currently reading "Lord Foulgrin's Letters." It is book one in a series and I read book two first - oops. The second book is "The Ishbane Conspiracy." I highly recommend them both. They are very similar to C.S. Lewis's "Screwtape Letters." They are set in our times with situations that adults and young people are apt to encounter. The best thing about both books is they open our spiritual eyes to the unseen battle raging and encourage us to equip ourselves for that battle.

We must put on...The Armor of God

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." Ephesians 6: 10-13

Love to Read...

I love to read and do it as often as I can. Many times you can find me reading as I power walk on the treadmill (but if I start to jog or run the book just sits there wondering what the point is). I also sacrifice sleep on occasion to finish a good book.

I'm going to use this blog to share some of the books and authors that have challenged me.

Here goes...

A few of my favorite authors are...

More to come...