Why Biographies Matter

posted in: Books | 2

My favorite genre of books is (well, besides cook books) memoir or biography.  I think they are important for so many reasons, but today I just want to tell you the most important one.

For believers, memoirs/biographies matter so future generations will know your life and what you believe.

In an age of social media, we often get so wrapped up in taking a pretty picture or engaging SEO stats, that we forget about what really matters.  This life is not all there is.  There is life after this life and that is eternal.  So, what we believe about Jesus and the Gospel in this life will determine (based on the grace of God) what our next life looks like.

Jessica Ronne, in her book, Sunlight Burning at Midnight, not only decided to tell her story, one mixed with pain and smiles, but decided to keep Jesus in it.  Since He is clearly the author of our stories, we need to know what He does in them.  What does His word say?  Where does He move us?  What does he bring to our lives that make us look directly at Him?

And what I’ve known now for the last 6 years is so true, in reading this book, and in living my life since those last 6 years: God is big enough to wrestle with us – when we bring to Him our questions, our misunderstandings, our unbelief.  As Aslan would say “draw near”.

Jessica is giving one of you readers a chance to win your own copy.  To enter: just tell me what memoir/biography is your favorite.

 

 

Imperfect Justice

posted in: Books | 0

I heard recently that if we are believers we have to think about and do something about injustice in the world, because our God is a God of justice.

This world will never be perfect in justice – for that we get to wait for Heaven.

But, Cara Putman, works hard to bring out these thoughts of justice in family relationships and family messes in her book, Imperfect Justice.  Being that I love legal thrillers in the movies and netflix, this was a good choice.

So, if you love justice, Christian fiction, and a well-written legal thriller, this would be a good book for you.  And if you haven’t read the first book in the series, don’t worry – this one is a good stand alone.

Thanks Litfuse for this book.  All thoughts are my own.

As Kingfisher’s Catch Fire

posted in: Books | 0

Some preachers have a way of writing that gets deep into your soul and changes the way you read Scripture or understand Scripture.

There have been multiple pastors for me over the years, both personally and from afar, who have done that for me.  Who have made my eyes be more open to the truth and life of God’s Word.

Eugene Peterson is one of them.  And his new book, a collection of sorts of his writings/sermons, has caused me to think on certain passages in a new way.  I am still reading his new book, As Kingfisher’s Catch Fire, and will continue to do so.

As with the Message, I don’t read it as my main Bible version, and neither will I used these sermons as my main source of commentary.  But, I love how he brings new things to light in the reading of Scripture.

You will be challenged if you read this book.  You may not agree with everything he says, but as you process, take all to the Word and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for this book and Russell Moore for recommending it.

World View

posted in: Books, World Events | 0

Are you ever confused by everything you see on the news?  On your Facebook feed?  In the your Twitter feed?

Do you ever wonder how you are supposed to respond to all the happenings that take over everyone’s conversation?

New Growth Publishers and Marvin Olasky have put together a book of short writings that will help you know how to think with a Gospel-centered world view.  And there is nothing new under the sun.  So, while these essays will eventually not be headliners – the problems they talk about will just happen in a new way.  With new people.  In a new country or city.

Sin affects everything in our world.  And the entire world is groaning for the return of its Maker.  And Olasky helps us think rightly about the events happening in our world.  This is definitely one to read and discuss – or at least keep a journal on.  It is not a quick read – even though the articles are quite readable in length.  But, if you care about the world and how sin and the gospel impact our world, then you will want to read and digest the articles in here.

Thanks to Litfuse for this book.  All opinions are my own.

The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible

posted in: Bible, Books | 0

I’ve not been this excited about a preschooler/toddler Bible in…EVER.

My friend Jared Kennedy makes this book a winner – by beautifully written stories and everything pointing back to Christ – for young kids.  Of course I love the Jesus Storybook Bible, but its more for older children, say 5-6yo.  But, this Bible, the Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, is perfect for preschoolers.  And that’s just where my boys are.

This Bible isn’t about us.  Its not about how to get our kids to behave better or obey a list of rules (even good rules).  This Bible is about Jesus.  And that’s what the God Story is all about anyway.

Jared hits it out of the park with this one.  And after we finish our current family worship book, and Advent, we are going to use his.

Thanks to Litfuse for this book.  All opinions are my own.

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus (Giveaway)

posted in: Books, Christmas | 2

We still have apple pie leftover from Thanksgiving yesterday, but already we are getting in the mood for Advent over here.  My mister is busy with other preparing for the Christmas cantata at our church and planning for the Christmas Eve services.

We’ve done our Black Friday shopping and stood in line with others – thankfully everyone was in a good mood as we stood in line buying our Christmas goodies!

But, even though I didn’t grow up with Advent (I’m Baptist by the way), I have come to appreciate it the last ten years.  It helps me slow down, focus on Jesus, think about the waiting period that happened in the world (both in the silence waiting for Jesus and the time we spend now waiting for his return), and plant meaningful traditions around my home and in my children even through the busy Christmas season.

My friend Asheriah Ciuciu has written a new book called Unwrapping the Names of Jesus.  This is a book that is short – not overwhelming – and focuses on 20 names of Jesus that you can study either by yourself or with your family.

Each day has Scripture, a prayer, application, prose, and Scriptures for further study.  The book also includes some information about why Advent – why celebrate it and what it is for or the intent of the church.  I’m glad that it is simple and asks questions.  We sometimes get so wrapped up in everything that we add our Advent study to the list of things we have to do instead of resting in just being with Jesus.

So, to help you start Advent, I’ve been given the opportunity to give a copy of Asheritah’s book away and with it comes this download that I did featuring all the names studied in the book.  PS: you can just click above and go buy your download, its only $5.

Thank you to SideDoor Comm and Moody Publishers for this book to giveaway!

To enter giveaway: share a Christmas or Advent tradition!  That’s all.

Indescribable (Giveaway)

posted in: Books, Kids r Readers 2 | 2

 

I’ve been influenced by Louie Giglio’s ministry since college.  That’s the time that Passion started, went to One Day 2000, all the Passion music throughout seminary, then just a few years ago we moved to Atlanta and I got to attend some events at Passion City Church.

If you’ve heard much of Louie’s preaching – you know he loves God and Jesus and the Cross.  You also will quickly learn that he loves space, science, stars, galaxies, etc.

And I want my boys to be influenced by writers and teachers who love creation and the God who created it.  That’s why Indescribable is such a good book.  Of course its a bit over their heads (I think this book would be good for grade school kids), but it is still a wonderful resource to have.

If you want to use it for family worship time, it would be a good “topical study” book.  There are 100 devotions for kids (of all ages!).  He includes good illustrations that kids will be able to understand.  There is a Scripture and prayer.  This would even be a good tool for homeschooling parents.

Thanks to Tommy Nelson Mommies for the book.  All opinions are my own.  And if you’d like a chance to win, just a leave a comment about your favorite part of science.  I love weather!

9 Characteristics of Wise Parenting

Six years ago, we were newly married, starting our journey together as husband and wife.  We weren’t even pregnant yet.  We decided we would go through the book of James together.  My husband memorized it. I prayed it daily for him, myself, us, and our future.  We entered into our marriage with difficult relationships around us.  We needed wisdom for how to navigate these relationships and for how to head into our future together.  James was a perfect book to study through as newlyweds.

Today, our boys are five and four.  And I’m going through the book of James again with a small group of women.  I need these verses and the Lord’s voice to enter in to my parenting and give me great wisdom as to how to parent these two little boys.  With the Lord’s help, not the world’s wisdom, we can parent well.

He has promised to help us.  He has promised to give wisdom to those who ask.  He has also given us His Word.  This is how the Lord defines wisdom from above.  How can we have parenting that is wise – with His wisdom.  The following is from James 3.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is pure.  It is not bought or coerced.  It is done with pure motives.  It is without error.  This is why we need Jesus in our parenting.  We are not perfect.  We will always fail in our parenting. Our boys do not ultimately need us – they need Jesus.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is peaceable.  Where we don’t raise our voices or cut off our children because we are doing something and they are interrupting.  We seek to bring peace (not fairness) to our children’s lives when they are interacting with each other.  I seek to appease and pacify, but I find it truly difficult to bring peace in our home.  That is why our sons need Jesus – He is our Prince of Peace.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is gentle.  Amazingly I find this difficult unless I’m showing affection.  I get irritable because I’m being interrupted.  I am not gentle if they are doing something wrong.  I need a Gentle Shepherd to shepherd my heart so I can in turn shepherd my children’s hearts.

(Parenting) wisdom is open to reason.  This is getting easier for me, by the grace of God.  Open to reason in parenting is (I think) being willing to hear help from others.  These tips and help may come from my husband, my friends, my pediatrician, books I’m reading, etc.  Find those moms and dads who are (generally) ahead of you in the parenting game and seek them to pour into your life as a parent.  Watch them.  Learn from them.  And that is why we need Jesus, He is all-wise and the perfect teacher.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is full of mercy.  Isn’t God so rich in mercy!  I love it.  I apply this to some discipline.  And hear me out – this does not mean never disciplining your children when they have disobeyed.  This means walking in step with the Savior who showed you great mercy and plead with them to know how to interact with your children at all times.  They may have done something wrong.  And the best way to show them Jesus in that particular moment is by talking to them about Jesus – not giving them a timeout or spanking.  Jesus is lavish in mercy to us!

(Parenting) wisdom from above is full of good fruits.  Abundantly pouring out in good fruits.  This is an opportunity for you to encourage your kids.  One saying we use in our our is “God is helping you become more…”  We don’t want to tell our kids that they are acting better to focus on their good works.  We want to help them realize that everything good in them is from God.  And to not wait for the big things they do, but be encouraging them in the times you see any kind of good fruit – even a little bud.  And Jesus helps us bear fruit if we abide in Him!

(Parenting) wisdom from above is impartial . See the pure paragraph above.

(Parenting) wisdom from above is sincere.  It is hard to be a mom.  Even those who love being a mom every moment find some moments hard.  But, let us sincerely think about Jesus has called us to.  To shape little hearts and minds.  To point them to Christ.  To grow little boys into men who will one day shape the world around them.  Jesus sincerely came to this world to save us.

(Parenting) wisdom from above will reap a harvest.  We can definitely know that God will bless efforts to shepherd our children and reward us.  It is a promise.  And he is faithful.

One tool I’ve found in helping me pass on wisdom to my children – and hope in the Gospel – is Pass it On by Champ Thornton.  It is a Bible study on Proverbs, with a great introduction to the book, commentary some, focusing on the Gospel (how Jesus fulfills wisdom).  But it is also a journal for you to fill out and pass along your thoughts to your children.  I’ve started doing this for my sons.  It could be used once a week, 30 minutes, and it would take you less than a year for each kid.  What a treasure it would be for your children.

Pass It On was given to me by Litfuse.  All thoughts are my own.

 

Dear Mr Knightley

posted in: Books | 2

I think I might be becoming more of a fiction reader.  As long a its good fiction.

With being a mom and a creative and a wife, sometimes I don’t have the mental capacity to read a Christian living non-fiction book.  Its a lot of hard heart work.

And Christian fiction really doesn’t do it for me a whole lot because it is filled with cheesy loaded Christian-ese, and it is sorta predictable.

This is why I liked about Katherine Reay’s book Dear Mr. Knightley.  About halfway through the book I looked on the spine to see Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher.  I was surprised.  I just thought it was a clean novel, chicklit, that was fun with a good story.

By the time I finished the book (2 days later), I had fallen in love with the author’s way of storytelling, loved her letter forms for this novel. and couldn’t wait to get my hands on her other books.

If you love non-overbearing Christian fiction, Jane Austen, books, literature, a good chicklit story without a bunch of sex and language – then this is your book.

What I loved about this book from a personal side : growth.  I thought back to what I was like when I was 23.  I had just started seminary.  I moved away from everyone I knew.  I was on my own.  I was thin for the first time in my life.  I could really choose to be anything I wanted.  I was growing.  I was growing in faith.  I had finally come to realize that the world as I knew it wasn’t perfect.

And you know what, I keep growing. I keep going through experiences and daily life that make me think, ponder, and grow.

I like reading books that help me think about who I am – and make it entertaining too.

A Letter From Lancaster County – a Review

posted in: Books | 0

I remember almost 20 years ago, my first trip to Amish County.  I traveled together from St. Augustine for a wedding of two of my dear friends in northern Indiana Amish Country.

Our borrowed mini van cruised into a country of small stores, pretty house lit with candles, and wagons that were pulled by horses.  It was certainly idyllic and different from tourist beach land where I was from.

Since then I’ve been a fan of most Amish fiction, some of the books good enough to rope me in during the first chapter, compelling me to keep reading it until I finish.

Kate Lloyd’s A Letter From Lancaster County was one of those.  I finished it in about 3 days and found myself really identifying with both of the main characters.

I think that’s what a good fiction does.  It pulls the reader in and makes you want to be in the setting, joining in on the conversation.

Her fiction tale of two sisters, an aunt, and a love interest of course, helps you think about marriage, singleness, death, life, living, and adventure pulls you in and helps you think about your own life.

For a married reader, I do find it hard to read romance fiction, even if I have a happy marriage, because it takes any romantic thoughts pulls you away from your spouse to another man, which never good.  So, while this is very light in romance, I would still caution readers to guard your heart.  Its not going to ruin the story for you to skip to the next chapter!

Thanks to Litfuse for the book.  All opinions are my own.  You can win some goodies by clicking on the above link!