Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Sneeze- Billy Graham in Quotes

I love quotes. I love the way a few words can speak of a simple deep wisdom.
Over 25 yrs ago I heard Billy Graham preach in Washington D.C.
He spoke in plain English, he shared not just his heart but the heart of God.
WAVES of people went forward for prayer.
In the midst of all the "achievements" and revival meetings, the convetion centers that were over flowing...Billy remained a humble servant of the Most High. " I look forward to seeing Christ and bowing down before Him in praise and gratitude for all He has done for us, and for using me on this earth by His grace-just as I am."

The book is set up so that you can read the quotes by subject.

"Many times it just takes one member of a family to initiate the action to bring a family back together."

"Your faith may be just a little thread. It may be small and weak, but act on that faith. It does not matter how big your faith is but rather, where your faith is."

"Perhaps the greatest psychological, spiritual, and medical need that people have is the need for hope."

"Marriage is the most serious long-term contract a couple will make in their lifetime, but many enter into it with a lack of maturity and knowledge. The growing number of divorces shows how imperative it is that young people be adequately prepared for marriage."

This is an excellent resource for teachers and preachers, and those in need of some plain spoken truths.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I am not required to write a positive review whatsoever. The opinions I have expressed are completely my own. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Sneeze- Limitless Life by Derwin Gray

In a society built of names, labels, genres and little boxes, it is good to remember we can break out of the boxes. All too often we allow some one to box us, or jump into the box willingly, and forget we do not have to live out of that box.

"A label is a soul-tattoo that is ingrained deep in our hearts, so much so that it determines how we see ourselves, And how we see ourselves determines how we live... A destructive label leads to a destructive life. There is a soul thief, a dark enemy, who wants to nail ruinous labels to your heart so that he can steal your life. Jesus wants to give you life giving labels that release your potential for the good of the world. " -Derwin L. Gray


 I love that Derwin addresses David, the boy, as living in a valley of sheep. Not just because I am addicted to wool and knitting....okay, maybe that has a lot to do with why I love that phrase. BUT the valley of sheep is where David faithfully did the task given him. He watched sheep, not knowing it was a training ground. He was a shepherd,  a protector and defender, and a worshiper. His focus was not on himself. This meant when he was needed to serve His Nation and His God, his focus was not on his own limitations.

" David was motivated by God's glory and empowered by His strength. He had faith in God's past faithfulness to him. God wants His glory to inspire you. He created you to do something unique for His glory. He wants to be your strength as you fulfill that task. When you live in fear, you limit the impact of what God desires to accomplish through you." -Derwin L. Gray

Not only are there wonderful scriptural refrences and excellent devotional material to meditate on, Derwin ends each chapter with an action to challenge you to DO SOMETHING. Derwin will move you to "marinate" on a thought, or sieze a moment for transformation as you read this book.

Derwin affirms who it is that Messiah says you are. Loved, Chosen, Free, Forgiven... and encourages you to live under those labels. This book is an excellent source of encouragement and exhortation to live an abundant life.
"We begin to see ourselves as God sees us and when that happens, everything changes. Life becomes limitless."

Tenth Ave. North has a song that is very fitting to this book review, You Are More:

You are more than the choices that you've made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You've been remade. 

'Cause this is not about what you've done, 
But what's been done for you. 
This is not about where you've been, 
But where your brokenness brings you to 

This is not about what you built, 
But what He built to forgive you, 
And what He built to make you know. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Book Sneeze- Overextended and Loving Most Of It

Being married to a man who pastors 2 congregations has not been easy. When my husband was ordained, I remember telling him that we were not going to do the "two church thing" ever again. (He was in youth ministry at one and senior pastor at the other at that time.) Little did we know 3 years later we would find ourselves once again doing the "two church thing". Our daughter's trip to Rwanda did introduce us to a man who pastors 10 churches. That was a good attitude adjustment to pour first world "problems".
Our Calendars are jammed packed. as I write this we have just finished plotting out the next 10 weeks. 1 weekend does not have an event we need to host, attend or be in support of.
Having 6 amazing children who tag along to most of these, and do so willingly, adds to the dynamic.

We are often chided by people that we will burn out. This is how it has been for 10 years so far. I do not anticipate it changing. Thus far, we have been given the grace and strength to do the tasks we have been given. We do not sit still very well.
IT HAS NOT BEEN EASY. Just having dinner as a family one nite a week is a stretch. There is almost always a good reason why he is not home. Some one is in the hospital, some one died, some one prayed to receive salvation.... I could easily feel like I am competing for my husband's attention if I do not stay surrendered. In the moments when I am functioning in my own strength, well, those are bad moments.

Lisa Harper gets this. "People are more important than projects."
She shares her adventures, the life-detours, and the unexpected ways and times G-d has her cram one more thing into her full schedule.
I am so glad to know it is not just "us" who are being stretched. Some how just knowing that adds strength. This book is a wonderful reminder as to WHO is the focus and to stay in a surrendered place.
"I've been stretched way beyond my comfort zone alot lately (and have stretched a few others right along with me). Beyond what I thought the elasticity of my heart and mind- and some days my reputation- could take. Interestingly enough, it has become more comfortable."

Through this book Lisa challenges us to:
*Love Bigger
*Fear Smaller
*Run headlong into the arms of Jesus every single day
* place your goal here

At the same time, I would like to offer a challenge to all those who say we are burning out. If you step up and do some of the tasks, the tasks would be more spread out amongst the church. Many hands make light work. You will find the tasks worth the effort. To see lives changed and hearts renewed is a great work to be allowed to be a part of.
Pray for your congregation's staff and leadership.
Join them in the tasks.
Buy this book for them.

More quotes  from the book:
"Sometimes the truth stings like a wasp on steroids."

"There are hard days."

"I believe that is what G-d wants for each one of us as well. For us to leap off our towering cliffs of fear, uncertainty, shame, anxiety, resentment, and religious propriety into the crystal-blue sea of extravagant faith in Jesus and compassion for others, because we know our Divine Dad is in the water below, waiting for us."

 In each of these vignettes illustrating Lisa’s overextended life, we learn that even in the middle of our own pure motives and hectic schedules, it is only by resting in God’s sovereign mercy that we are able to keep risking our hearts to serve his people and fulfill the callings he has placed on us.
Real life . . . abundant life . . . godly life is about loving Jesus and the people he allows us to rub shoulders with well—which means some days you’ll be stretched emotionally and physically. You’ll feel overextended. Thankfully God will expand our hearts and calendars to accommodate the calling. He is in the business of supplying us with new mercies every morning . . . new candles to burn, for more lives needing his light.  

I review for BookSneeze®

Book Sneeze- Secrets of Dynamic Communication

I hate public speaking. 20 years ago I would have a panic attack and get hives over speaking in public. This has been an area of great stretching in my life. G-d keeps putting me in a position where I have to speak to rooms of 15- 250. I am not great at it. I also have no idea what I am doing!
This book helps with that.

"It takes the reader through the process of selecting and developing a theme, giving it focus, fleshing it out, and communicating well with the audience.  The first half is devoted to preparation, the second to delivery."

"Nothing in the book is designed to change your style or restrict your creativity, but rather to bring the power of focus to your creativity."

"Communication is not about you or what people will think about you or how well you will perform. Communication is about the people sitting in front of you. It's about giving to them, helping them, instructing them, and persuading them of something that will enrich their lives."

"You must make the audience understand why you want to talk to them and make them believe that it is worth their time to listen."

Knowing the audience, setting the stage and delivering a speech that is properly put together are all skills you will learn and how to utilize in this book. 

SCORRE is an acronym that Ken Davis has come up with in order to help us remember the process of creating and giving a speech. While I will still be relying on G-d to do any public speaking, I feel as though I will be better prepared for what He asks me to do. Also I LIKE PLANS and I am fond of lists. This book gave me a step by step plan to follow.

I review for BookSneeze®

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Sneeze- Organic God

I picked this book in all honesty because of the author's last name. A book published by a christian company with a jewish last name. There are more and more jews who have come to believe that Jesus, Yeshua, Is the Messiah. It is considered the largest growing group in judaism. There are as many "messianic jews" as there are chasidic jews in America. Yet with that knowledge, some times as a jewish believer I feel like an anomaly. Too jewish for the church, too christian for the shul.

I connected immediately with Margaret's story of studying midrash with her bubbe.  She shared beautifully how she lived in 2 worlds. 

This book is an easy read but challenges you to do more than just read the words. Margaret weaves scripture throughout the book, placing emphasis on G-d's Word not her own. Liz Curtis Higgs said the goal of a christian writer should be that when they close "our" books the reader should open "His". Margaret has succeeded in that.

After reading this book I am now interested in reading more of Margaret's writings. Her website has some other great additional resources.
Maragret is currently battling cancer and can use our prayers and support as well.

This Organic God is the One Who “goes before you in this journey and makes it possible. God desires to restore relationship with us and embark on the journey each and every day.”

“Without his healing and forgiveness, my opinions become reactions, and in the process my spiritual life becomes more like a pendulum swing than a faith journey. The Organic God invites me to step off the pendulum and into a deeper, more balanced relationship with Him – where the way I want to live and respond is based on His guidance, His leading, and His wisdom rather than my own.”

I review for BookSneeze®