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...