Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Blessed Church

If you read only one book this year on growing the church, let this be the one.  It is clear and concise as well as straightforward and thought-provoking.  Robert Morris has experienced how a healthy church can grow when God directs the path, and  he wants to encourage the rest of us to experience that growth.

Even though I am not a pastor, or even married to one, I was able to glean many treasures from this book.  I am more understanding of my pastor's need for dedicated time to study Scriptures and how he cannot be everything for everyone.

There is a need for more leadership in the church body where people use the gifts God has given them.  As the church grows, so does the need for more leadership.  I appreciate how Robert Morris uses both good and bad examples to support this idea.  He even admits to his own failures so that we can learn from his mistakes.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  For more information visit their website or read the first chapter here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Sky Beneath My Feet

The predicament that Beth falls into is not something I can relate to; however, how often in life do we find ourselves in unexpected places?  In this I can relate.  We all find ourselves in situations we never anticipated or expected.

Once Beth is left alone by her husband and ignored by her children, she must discover who she really is.  She wonders if the dreams she had as a young woman are still dreams for today.  She wants to connect with God in a deep way only to find that she can meet with God not in a geographical place but in a place within her heart.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  So often Christian fiction is too sappy and sweet with a few Bible verses thrown in for good measure.  Instead this book is real and authentic where believers struggle to hear God in the midst of the activity of life.  I could truly relate to the characters and the struggles they face.

Thomas Nelson provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.  I am not under compulsion to provide a positive review, only this honest review.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Your Beautiful Purpose

Every once in a while a book comes along that speaks directly to a woman's heart.  This is that book.  Like a breath of fresh air on a spring day, this book invigorates the soul and brings healing to a wounded heart.

Women are insecure.  I have yet to meet a woman who did not suffer from some measure of insecurity. Insecurity is when we look inside ourselves and see what we lack.  The opposite of insecurity is security which can only be found in God.  When we look to God, we see what we have which is abundant love and acceptance.  Susie Larson points us to God in many and various ways to give us hope.  She encourages us with a gentle touch and a reassuring pat on the back.  I am grateful for her words of wisdom and her inspiring ministry.

I read this book as a stand alone.  I did not get to view the DVD.  That being said, this book would make for a great study with a group of ladies.  The questions at the end of the chapter are more than just asking how you fell but challenge the reader to see what God says and to determine how we can respond to His truth.

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.  I am not under compulsion to provide a positive review, only this honest review.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Woman's Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year

Reading the Bible in a year has become a popular endeavor.  However, the quest can be daunting.  This book encourages women to meet the challenge and to do so with joy.

The unique thing about this yearly reading method is that it is broken down by weeks instead of days.  You can start any time since the weeks are not dated.  So it really you are reading the Bible in 52 weeks.  I also like that the New Testament books are interspersed throughout the year.

Diane Stortz encourages women not to do this alone but to join or create a group who reads through the Bible together.  The group will provide the necessary encouragement and accountability one needs to read through the entire Bible is just 52 weeks.

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Do Hard Things

As a mother of a teenager, I can attest to the growing movement of low expectations for the current generation of teens.  This pervasive attitude is subtle, yet so harmful.  For young adults today, it is a challenge to overcome this apathetic attitude of just do enough to get by.  

Just when I thought there was no hope for change, Alex and Brett Harris prove that teens can rise above the current culture and affect change in the world.  Not only do these twin brothers do more than just the average teenager, if one even exists, they also motivate others to do more, too.  They admit it is not easy, it will be hard, it will take you out of your comfort zone, and you can't do it alone.  But you can do it!

Thank you, Brett and Alex, for restoring my hope in teenagers of today.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Read the first chapter or check out this video.

Friday, February 8, 2013

To Honor and Trust

It is not hard to figure out the plot when the front cover of the book shows a bride and groom standing hand in hand.  However, the story begins with a young woman, Callie, who has sworn off marriage and a young man, Wes, who does not want to socialize with the many wealthy families who visit Bridal Veil Island.  So the reader expects the two to fall in love and get married before the end of the story.

Without ruining the story, Callie and Wes do fall in love as expected.  I was bored with the story line because it took 200 pages before Callie and Wes admit their affection for each other.  There were a few obstacles to overcome and some of the characters had to change their opinions and desires before the story was complete.  Yet none of these story elements involved significant drama or soul searching.  The pace of the story was slow and predictable.  It was not an exciting story but more of a nice read.

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Heaven's Lessons

Simple, short, and straight to the point.

Steve Sjogren has gone through a near death experience (NDE), and has written a book about it.  Unlike other books (90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven is For Real), he reflects not on what he saw but on what he learned from the NDE.  In this book, he summarizes the ten things he learned about himself yet apply to the rest of us.

For me, the chapter, "Get Over It", was the most applicable.  I struggle with bitterness and unforgiveness.  Steve explains, "The difference between those who flourish and those who merely get by is this: the successful choose to endure the pain necessary to live forgiving others."  Those were words that were hard to read, yet were exactly what I needed to hear.

Thomas Nelson provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Still Believe

I have always been encouraged by the music of Jeremy Camp and in this book, I was able to be inspired by the message behind the music.

Jeremy shares the raw emotion behind some of his most popular songs.  These songs were written in the midst of trials and tribulations.  He endured the loss of his first wife, Melissa, to cancer, yet he continues to sing of God's faithfulness in "Walk By Faith."  Only with God's strength and provision can he write and sing these songs.

It really is an amazing story, and one that is not finished.  His second wife, Adrienne, is understanding of Jeremy's platform and encourages him to continue to share his story from the stage and to sing of God's goodness even in the midst of trials and temptations.

I am grateful to Tyndale House who provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.