Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Sneeze Let Hope In by Pete Wilson

Sitting in the shadow of shame? Dealing with the guilt and regret? Feeling Lost and Hopeless?

Are you feeling stuck and just do not know how to move forward? Sometimes you just need some one to tell you how, to give you a plan. This book is that plan.

"Discover how pain that is not transformed becomes transferred. Embrace the freedom of being okay with not being okay. Learn that a life of trusting is far more magnificent than a life of pleasing. Because hurt people hurt people, but free people have the power to free people."

"No matter how well put together the people around you may appear, I promise you, EVERYONE needs healing."

Learn how to trust people, not just please people.

It comes back to making 4 choices:
Choice #1: Choosing to Transform Instead of Transfer

Choice #2: Choosing to Be Okay With Not Being Okay

Choice #3: Choosing to Trust Rather Than Please

Choice #4: Hurt People, Hurt People, But Free People, Choose to Free People

Why? Because Hope Changes Everything!
"It can disarm guilt, shatter shame, and put your past in its place. All you have to do is make the choice to let it in. It won’t be easy. It won’t be quick. But it is possible and we serve a God who promises over and over again that anything is possible."

Pete Wilson is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee, a committed church community that he and his wife, Brandi, planted in 2003. Over the course of 11 years, Cross Point has grown to reach more than 5,000 people each weekend through its four campuses located around the Nashville area, and online.

Book Sneeze Co Parenting Works by Tammy Daughtry

I am not divorced, separated...not even thinking about it.
However, we have counseling situations and my dearest friend is going thru this with her kids.
This book is an excellent resource as it highlights things one may not have thought of addressing or considering. Statistics, surveys, advice and 10 yrs of experience come together in Tammy Daughtry's book.

 The Author seeks to help you become a TEAMM - an acronym for "The End Adult Matters Most". Part of that is being a stable and effective parent, which is the first topic dealt with in the book. 

Other topics include Parenting when things are impossible and when things go wrong, and advice on moving forward in your life after divorce. Two homes, two rooms and One Child? How to make the child feel at home in both locations.
"The life of a child of divorce is not the same as the life of a child from an intact family"

Tammy uses examples from "constructive and productive" coparenting families and shows how others have made it "work" for them. The book is a road map for finding a healthy, grace centric, way of co existing for the sake of the child(ren).

The fights between the parents at the "hand off" time. Kids know if you are fighting, "text" fighting on the phones, and stressed and anxious.

It even is available as an ebook for busy parents.

Links are provided to the author's web site and other support groups
Tammy Daughtry is the founder of Co-Parenting International (, and is dedicated to the critical impact of co-parenting on children of divorce. 
Sample :

What if your child’s “life-after-divorce” could be better than you’ve hoped for? Author, counselor, and co-parent Tammy Daughtry offers real world co-parenting strategies that can dramatically increase your child’s chances of leading a healthy, successful life. You’ll discover how positive co-parenting today can lead to a better and brighter future for you and your child.

Though you have made me see troubles,
    many and bitter,
    you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
    you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honor
    and comfort me once more. Psalm 71:20-21

Saturday, September 28, 2013

This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley

How does the beauty of Jesus’ reign break into the mess of our broken lives and world?

  Rick McKinley's book This Beautiful Mess from WaterBrook/Multanomah was provided to me for review (complimentary copy). I had seen it on the shelf at my local bookstore, but that had only succeeded in putting Sixpence songs in my head. I am grateful for the opportunity to read it. Rick McKinley serves as pastor at Imago Dei.
The book is divided into 3 main parts:
Part one Discovering the Kingdom.
Part two Re-visioning life in the Kingdom. Stop analyzing and be present in the Body.
Part three Practicing the presence of the Kingdom. (reminiscent of Brother Lawrence and AW Tozer)

Fans of Experiencing God will connect with recognizing where G-d is at work and letting Him do the work in and through us to bring about change.
Rick shares personal experiences as well, how their church is moving, growing and seeing change.

New for this edition: an updated preface, three bonus chapters, and a small group conversation guide.
“When I became a Christ follower, the sad truth is that I transferred Christ into my kingdom, into the context of my life. My kingdom consisted of my desires and aspirations, namely the future I hoped for, an agenda that allowed me to reign as I chose….I wasn’t good at ruling my little kingdom, though.” He goes on to say “I realize now that God was not abandoning me. He just wanted nothing to do with my kingdom agenda. First, we had to settle the kingdom dilemma. Had Jesus bowed to my agenda, He would not have been the true God.”
"The gospel of Jesus is usually taken to mean His announcement of the kingdom and the life He embodied in His loving actions toward the world. The gospel about Jesus refers to His atoning work on the cross and His resurrection, through which we can receive the forgiveness of sin through our faith and repentance.”

“When I became a Christ follower, the sad truth is that I transferred Christ into my kingdom, into the context of my life. My kingdom consisted of my desires and aspirations, namely the future I hoped for, an agenda that allowed me to reign as I chose….I wasn’t good at ruling my little kingdom, though.” 

"We become relevant when we are committed to being that signpost of heaven in some part of our world...Authentic relationships make us relevant."

“I realize now that God was not abandoning me. He just wanted nothing to do with my kingdom agenda. First, we had to settle the kingdom dilemma. Had Jesus bowed to my agenda, He would not have been the true God.”

"God has this amazing judo move that He uses to attack the kingdom of Darkness. He causes all things to work for good to those who love Him, the Bible says. God takes what is meant for evil and turns it for good, if we trust in Him at those times and embrace His sovereign goodness even in the midst of our pain and loss."

"If you start with the church, you might end with the church. If you end with the church, you may never get to the kingdom. But if you always start with the kingdom, you will get the church."

 "I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

SAMPLE of the book HERE

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Sneeze Forgiveness: Overcoming the Impossible By Matthew West

Forgiveness is more than an act of stuffing and "forgetting". This book contains 50 stories of how others have come to have true forgiveness, and find healing. These are stories of those who have gone through divorce, betrayal, addiction, abandonment, death, and pain, and have found healing.The book is divided in four sections: Forgiving Others, Asking for Forgiveness, Forgiving Yourself, and Embracing God's Forgiveness. With scriptural references along side the stories, this book makes an excellent counseling resource.

I do not know if forgiveness is every something that becomes easy or easier, however hearing the stories of those who have gone before, offers hope as well as opportunity for introspection. Where am I resentful? angry? holding on to past hurts? What areas do I need healing and forgiveness in? Is there hope after such pain?

"There's something that feels important when I sit down with the responsibility of somebody's life story in front of me. It's not important like, 'Look at this awesome thing that I'm doing,' but it feels important because this person has trusted me with their story and my responsibility is to them."

"Forgiveness---it's the hardest thing to do when you're hurting, and the most necessary in order to move toward healing and peace. Opening your heart to God's promises of faithfulness, West shares 50 real-life stories of divorce, betrayal, addiction, abandonment, and more to show how you can find freedom through forgiveness---whether you're giving it or receiving it." -MW

Publisher's Description: "This remarkable story and others like it bring peace and healing to the one needing and the ones giving forgiveness. Fifty powerful stories share forgiveness through divorce, betrayal, addiction, abandonment, death, and more. Each story ties into the promises of God’s faithfulness and healing, and ends with the story of God’s ultimate forgiveness through the message of salvation."

Matthew West's song  Forgiveness

Matthew West is a  contemporary Christian singer, has won two ASCAP Song of the Year awards and has also been a columnist forCCM.
"On every level it has been the single most fulfilling thing that I've had a chance to be a part of in my career. It's just the added element of emotion that I feel by having a chance to be a part of this person's story and to share their story with an audience. Something really special is taking place and I'm along for the ride for as long as it needs to go. As long as those stories come in, I think I'm going to keep making these kinds of records." -MW

Book Sneeze The Beauty of Broken By Elisa Morgan

There is a beauty revealed when we are vulnerable and share what G-d has done for us.

Elisa Morgan has served as the President and CEO of MOPS International, Inc. (Mothers of Preschoolers), a Denver-based non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging, equipping and developing every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ. As the leader of a thriving ministry, she could have easily portrayed the false face of perfection. Instead she has chosen share the struggles she has endured, and the blessings that came from heart ache.

2 Corinthians 1v 6-7 "If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is experienced in your endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that as you share in the sufferings, so you will share in the comfort."

Hoping that the comfort she has received, Elisa shares her story. As she writes, it may be a familiar story, it may be similar to your own. Coming from a broken family, striving to achieve the impossible, to be perfect and have perfect children, perfect families and perfect lives.
We are all broken. we can not achieve the perfection, the perfectly ordered (controlled) worlds that we may want. We live in a broken world. God makes beauty out of the broken.

At the end of the book you will find an "Appendix of Hope" as well as "Scriptures of Hope".

"I think this is God's growth goal for me, that I become a little more of what He intends me to be- each day."

" I knelt before the shambles of my Munna’s antique plate collection and wept for the layered loss it represented in my life. There was no way I could fix any part of the mess. Each plate was broken beyond repair. The portrait plate of Marie Antoinette and its mate of Louis XVI. The scalloped-edged porcelain of painted yellow poppies. The latticed baroque. I swept the shards into a dustpan, walked them to the trash can, and trickled the contents inside, hearing them tinkle into even tinier pieces as they met each other’s sharp edges.
When the hutch clattered off the wall in my dining room, spilling its treasured contents into ruin, I began my own toppling. For years I had poised my efforts to fix my first broken family and then to create a second family that would be immune from breakage. Despite my best efforts, my most sincere obedience to the ways of God and his Word, I still come from a broken family."

"The legacy of beauty we’re longing to have and to leave—in ourselves and in our families—ultimately comes through brokenness. Well acquainted with grief as a man who lost his wife, child, and mother in a horrific auto accident, Jerry Sittser wrote the book A Grace Disguised to process God’s presence in his grief. Nearly twenty years later he revisits his learning in A Grace Revealed, discovering that grace disguised today can be grace revealed tomorrow. “[God] wants to use the harsh conditions of life to shape us—and eventually the whole world—into something extraordinarily beautiful.”
I’m holding on to two sentences. I hold them out to you. Sentence Number One: God loves the broken. He loves broken families—and the broken people within them. Truly. Enough to die for us."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Being Both by Susan Katz Miller

Lauded as the first book to discuss an interfaith way of life for families. Being Both weaves the stories of Susan Katz Miller and others, primarily the Jewish and Christian families who have pioneered the concept of interfaith education for interfaith children. Susan  grew up with a Jewish father and Christian mother, and was raised Jewish. As one who struggled with her own identity and recognition as a Jew, she is one of the many who are choosing to raise children with both faiths.
Interfaith is more than  a growing trend.
This book is increasingly necessary. Recently Haaretz published a piece on Defining 'who is a Jew" (HERE) asking the question "If a Jew need not live in Israel, need not speak Hebrew, need not be committed to formal communal relations with other Jews, need not believe in the God of Israel and His Torah, and does not necessarily have to be the child of a Jewish mother, who then, is a Jew?"

"28 million Americans have a spouse or partner from a different religious tradition, and by 2030, there will be more “half-Jewish” than “fully” Jewish children in America. According to one study, 37 percent of Jewish/Christian families choose to raise their children as neither or both.”
Susan also helps readers wrestle with common spiritual questions (Do we believe in the same god?) and dilemmas (How do we talk about Jesus?).

Susan Katz Miller shares her experiences with the integrity and authenticity. Being Both is available in print and as an ebook ( 

If you are considering an interfaith relationship, marriage and home, this book is an invaluable resource. Beyond planning and preparing the wedding ceremony, this book helps with the planning of your home and lives. Maybe you are the grandparents of interfaith children? This book will give you insights into how to be supportive and be an active part of their lives.

From Being Both:

IFPP Responsive reading by Oscar Rosenbloom

Reader: We gather here as an Interfaith Community
To share and celebrate the gift of life together

All: Some of us gather as the Children of Israel
Some of us gather in the name of Jesus of Nazareth
Some of us gather influenced by each

Reader: However we come, and whoever we are
May we be moved, In our time together
To experience that sense of Divine presence in each of us
Evoked by our worship together

All: And to know in the wisdom of our hearts
That deeper unity in which all are one.

"Our community is an immense tree with branches growing in all directions, representing Jewish, Christian and other beliefs. No matter how much it irks some religious institutions, we insist on standing together to create a motley but massive trunk for this tree, a strong support for our children to climb and explore."

"Why should the idea of Jews and Christians singing, reflecting and, yes, praying together be so controversial?" (p47)

Interfaith Resources from the author's blog HERE

Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family by Susan Katz Miller
On Sale Date: October 22, 2013
ISBN: 9780807013199, 0807013196

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Sneeze Finding Roses In The Dust by Erin Brynn

Erin Brynn's travels have taken her from Africa to India to Southeast Asia and most recently to Afghanistan. As I do work with A Tour of Roses, I chose this book to review because of the title. And like myself she has 6 children. :)

Erin shares the history of Afghanistan and the people groups and cultures. The book is a compilation of letters written home and personal reflections as almost "post scripts", looking back on what she had prayed or hoped and how G-d fulfilled those.

Erin shares stories of trust, loss, hope and adventure. She shares with us the deep burden she acquired for the people and the country. I enjoyed the book very much. If you are interested in missions and adventure, you will enjoy this book.


"I knew the Lord had specific plans and purposes for the people we would encounter during our time in Afghanistan, but I never gave much thought to what He had in mind for me personally. God desires that we be His vessels of love toward others, but He also desires that we gain greater understanding of His love for us. Often, the Lord went to great lengths to show me something beautiful by simply showing me His heart. God’s heart is full of compassion and mercy towards people, and He desires each of us to know and experience that same compassion and mercy. God desires for us to extend His love toward others; but to do so, we must have a growing revelation of His love for us."

" As we were winding up the mountains, my view consisted not only of the city below me but of the small shoeless children walking up and down the steep terrain carrying plastic bottles and barrels full of water to their mountainside homes.

Some of the children I saw couldn't have been more than four or five years old. I wondered how many times each day they had to make that trip and if they ever had time to play and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. As far as I could see was city and dirt, not a patch of green anywhere. Donkeys attached to carts carrying goods up the mountain face as well as herds of fat bottom sheep lined the road. It was like stepping back in time. Most of the houses scattered upon the mountainside had no glass in their windows and their owners used old blankets and sheets to provide privacy from onlookers like me."

"While our girls’ team was playing, I heard our coach ask one of the players, “Who are you guarding?” The player answered, “The girl in black.” The other team was wearing black shirts, black pants, and black head wraps. The coach then asked, “Which girl in black?” The response, “The one wearing eyeliner.”

"Though the contrast is great and the emotional toll is heavy at times, we are so grateful for the provisions and blessings in our lives. On Friday, our family attended the memorial service for the ten team members killed here last month. The entire expatriate community came together to honor those slain. We heard story after story of the remarkable lives of these men and women: lives of love and honor that they lived for the people of this country, their commitment to live and work here in order that others may benefit. The experience was both humbling and challenging; it caused us to reflect on the important things of life, the moments, days and weeks that we have that are opportunities to live bigger than ourselves. The one theme that kept being expressed was that every team member who had lost his or her life would have gladly given it up over and over again for the causes he or she believed in and the beautiful people of this country. The “contrast” of life is not so difficult to contend with when one’s perspective is adjusted by an event like this."

"Yesterday was “National Women’s Day” in Afghanistan; sounds like an oxymoron to me. As a woman in Afghanistan, one has no real rights or freedoms. Women cannot choose who to marry or where to go to school or even whether to veil or not. They can never go out alone and can’t drive a car; but don’t worry, they will be celebrated one day each year. Actually, I wonder even how many of the women of Afghanistan even know there is holiday each year to honor them. Most don’t read or write and can’t afford a television.

As a foreigner, I was privy to several speeches and acts of kindness done throughout the city yesterday. I even received a rose from the children’s school for being a woman.

Someone said to me, “Women get this one day a year because 364 days of the year it’s ‘National Men’s Day!’ ” I think that sounds about right to me."

About the Author: Erin Brynn is a wife and mother of six with a passion for life. Her heart to serve the suffering and disenfranchised, along with a love of adventure and travel, has taken her to needy places around the world. Partnering with her husband in international disaster relief efforts and living with her family outside of the US have led to some amazing experiences and challenging situations. Her heart to serve the suffering, the broken, and the disenfranchised, along with a love of adventure and travel, has taken her to desperate and needy places around the world.


"These letters chronicle a year of my life living in Afghanistan, a country filled with war, evil, beauty, revelation, and friendships. God, through the everyday, broke the lenses of my perspective and replaced them with a clarity of vision that I believe is closer to the vision of the Father than I could have achieved on my own.

My prayer is that as you take this journey with me, you will allow God to redirect your focus to what He sees and enable you to perceive and love the way He does.

Afghanistan is a country that has been torn apart and broken by war for generations. In the spring and early summer, beautiful wild roses miraculously appear out of the dust of the land. Some roses defiantly emerge from garbage heaps while others quietly appear in corners completely unnoticed by those passing by. The roses fill the land with bright spots of color and beauty where usually there is only dirt and broken debris. The roses remind the people of Afghanistan what their country was like before it was destroyed by bullets and rockets. They remind me of the beauty of the people of this harsh place and the love that our Father has for them. The roses also remind me that no matter where I lay my head at night, regardless of how hopeless and difficult my surroundings may seem, there are always beautiful roses waiting to push through the dirt of my life. God desires to feed, cultivate, and weed the garden of my heart so that the most beautiful and vibrantly colored flowers can bloom and turn their faces toward the “Son.” They reminded me to daily look for the beauty amid the brokenness, for there is always beauty if we look hard enough."

Book Sneeze Death By Living by N.D. Wilson

N.D. Wilson is quickly becoming a favourite author. We had already amassed a collection of his children's books. Now here I am reviewing another of his books.

N.D. Wilson is a best selling author and it is easy to read why. Not only does he write beautiful words, you may find yourself needing to read them aloud to some one, just to hear them spoken.

Along with the written words, there are book trailers, youtube videos, and DVDs. READ the "unprofessional bio" on his blog!
Death by Living written after burial and loss in his family, has fallen into my hands from BookSneeze after burying 2 grandmothers. The desperate longing to live a life well lived, to embrace it all and drink every moment in, echoes through me.

As a family, we have often been teased about "having a story for everything". I have taken it as a badge of honour. We are "People of Story". I love the the master storyteller way N.D. Wilson has. You don't feel "preached at" but challenged, thoroughly and deeply, by a friend.
"As it turns out, there is a difference between asserting that life is a story and actually living life like a story. And there is another difference between living life like a story and living life like a good story."

ouch! Am I living life like a good story? Am I teaching my kids to live their stories?


"God calls our bluffs and makes narrative hypocrites of us all"

"Grabbing will always fail. Giving will always succeed"

"The five young souls closest to me are the first that I touch, and they are brother and sisters to a King. He treasures them more than I ever could, even at my most wistful. He shaped them from nothing. He called them here and burdened them with me as their father. He beats their hearts and His breath inflates their lungs. He knows their beginning and their ends. He know how many other souls He will bring from these five in the centuries to come just as He knows how many flakes He hurled at me on the mountain. We are all flakes, hurled with intertwining artistry."

"Living to live always reaches inevitable and pointless Darwinian burnout-bigger fears, deeper mortal panic; therefore, live to die,"

"There is a school of American thought that suggests we are supposed to live furiously and foolishly when young, slave away pointlessly when adults, and then coast into low-impact activity as soon as financially possible. Isn't that just a kiss on the lips (from a dog). The truth is that a life well lived is always lived on a rising scale of difficulty."

"Christianity is no good at all as an idea. Stop thinking that an asserted proposition is the same thing as faith. It's a start. But it can also be a costume. Enflesh it"

"Lay your life down. Your heartbeats cannot be hoarded. Your reservoir of breaths is draining away. You have hands, blister them while you can. You have bones, make them strain-they can carry nothing in the grave. You have lungs, let them spill with laughter"

"Drink your wine. Laugh from your gut. Burden your moments with thankfulness. Be as empty as you can be when that clock winds down. Spend your life. And if time is a river, may you leave a wake."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Blessed Church by Robert Morris

When I began this book I had never heard of Gateway or Robert Morris. This book was primarily written for pastors and ministry staff. I am not a pastor, but I am married to one. Which usually means that I read books, nudge him, and read him sections of the books.
This happened a lot with this book.

What would a culture of generosity look like for my church?
What part does rest play in a healthy church? 
How can I help my church stay focused on its purpose?

Stepping into a church that is 100+ yrs, we are stepping into the vision others have had and laid ground work for. The points made on looking at the areas in the ministry bring frustration are often places that need to have change/new vision was a good reminder. Peace can often be a barometer to nudge us that some thing needs attention, change or to be released.

We are a small church, that has doubled in size the last 2 yrs. We are not seeking to become a mega church. But we do desire to see the church be healthy. This book wasn't just a how to "succeed in church business" book. I appreciated the way Robert Morris stated over and over Habukuk 2v2, "to write down the vision, to make it clear."

Are we sharing a vision others can grab a hold of and run with?

Three things Robert says propelled Gateway Church to excellence: 1) deliver outstanding sermons, 2) provide an excellent worship experience, and 3) offer the best children's ministry possible.

Robert believes anyone called to pastor can deliver sermons with excellence. I am amazed at the way G-d's Word flows from my husband some days. He has been faithful in his devotional time and has strove to preach G-d's Word and not his own opinions. " It requires only a hard- headed determination to prioritize your personal time with God, in His word, and then faithfully carry to your people what you receive in those times of fellowship and study."

The worship part is a little harder. Too often it is a big emotional experience that people are looking for, and unfortunately there is often emotional manipulation that can take place when men try to create it. BUT when you have a worship leader who seeks to get to the throne room and fall on his knees before G-d, you really can't help but follow.

I think all 3 are good points. BUT I appreciate even more his desire to have a dor'v'dor (generation to generation), to equip those to serve who will then equip others to serve, outlook.
He also wrote of seeking Jesus' face instead of His hands. This is a great word picture when you think of a small child wanting to see what Daddy has brought home in his hands, a toy, a candy, a special surprise. The Church as a whole, is all to often in the "what did you bring me?" attitude rather than "I just want to be with You".

This book sparked some great conversations.

"What is the vision G-d has placed on your heart?"

"What frustrates you currently?"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Sneeze- Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl

Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl
Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
By N. D. Wilson

N.D. Wilson is the authour of 100 Cupboards. (my kids loved that book)
He brings that same imagination and inquisitive mind to this book on apologetics. He takes you on a journey where you have to ask questions and look for answers, and recognize G-d's ART.  Ex nihilo is Latin phrase "out of nothing". Used as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning "creation out of Nothing". This place, this earth, this "Tilt-A-Whirl" we call earth is G-d's Art. You can not just read this book, You need to watch N.D.'s videos as well. The passion and brilliance leap off the page and into those videos.
This book is billed as "post-modern apologetics" and I think that sells it a bit short and puts it in a box. There is so much more to this book. I am glad I actually "picked it up" which really means "clicked on it" and read it. (ebook) N.D. has the soul of an artist, a vibrant imagination, and a brilliant mind. I look forward to seeing more from him.

"Words. Magic words. Words spoken by the Infinite, words so potent, spoken by One so potent that they have weight and mass and flavor. They are real. They have taken on flesh and dwelt among us. They are us. In the Christian story, the material world came into the existence at the point of speech, and that speech was ex nihilo, from nothing. God did not look around for some cosmic goo to sculpt, or another god to dice and recycle. He sang a song, composed a poem, began a novel so enormous that even the Russians are dwarved by its heaped up pages…
Kick a stone. There are no tricks here. There are no props, no prefabbed white rabbits. The magic is real, and I stand blinking on the stage because of it. I’m real. I’m heavy. I’m matter. Cut me and I’ll bleed. But I’m not made out of anything, and if the Magician, the Poet, the Word, if the Singer were to stop His voice, I would simply cease to be.” (pp. 23-24)"

Video Trailer
I can't link it, but watch it!

"Most of my time is spent on the tilt-a-whirl and occasionally in the squirrel cages."

"We were the ones who got to participate in this Song, in this Art, and in the end we should know that living makes dying worth it."

"The only proper response to the fact that God has created you (from nothing!) is deep gratitude to the Author and Sustainer of life."

"Thinking about the world as a story helps us to understand the problem of evil because we  know that all of our favorite books and movies have evil and pain in them, and we don’t  think that the authors are evil or weak. And we certainly don’t think that the authors don’t  exist! Evil exists so that Good can conquer it. God ordained evil so that it could be nailed to his  Son on the cross and utterly defeated."

SAMPLE CHAPTER and a FREE Study guide

Interview with the authour:

Authour's website:
Youtube Channel:

Book Sneeze- You'll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times By Max Lucado

The story of Joseph is amazing. The favoured son who is cast down and out by his brothers. Over and over we read of Joseph in a place of elevation brought down to a new low, and a lower low. The roller coaster ride of Joseph's life is an encouraging one even more so with the wisdom and insight from Max Lucado.
We see the tender heart of Max Lucado, for the hurting in many of his books. He longs to reach the lost, alone, and those who are despairing and share the hope he has found in Jesus. It is more evident in this book.
If any of you ever cried and laughed til you cried over a little bird named "Chippie", you know you will most likely need tissues for this book.

We are currently in the midst of our own roller coaster rides right now. Job stability, health issues, and our children racing towards adulthood faster than we ever expected (which isn'y bad, just different). It has been a rough week has become a rough month, a rough year and even a rough decade.
There are some moments where I wonder why I do not have a nice quiet life, sitting at home with no pressing schedule. :) Then we laugh really hard because it would be soo boring!
Am I the only one fantasizing about that? Or do people really have "nice, quiet lives"?

Well, we are not promised nice quiet lives but trials and sufferings.

In his book, Max offers hope to those in the mirey clay, those in jail, those who just need the rain to stop for a day or two.

Book Trailer video:

Other Resources: Book, Dvds, Study Guide, Church Kits

Book Description: You fear you won't make it through. We all do. We fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. In the pits, surrounded by steep walls and aching reminders, we wonder: Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten?
In You'll Get Through This, pastor and New York Times best-selling author, Max Lucado offers sweet assurance. "Deliverance is to the Bible what jazz music is to Mardi Gras: bold, brassy, and everywhere." Max reminds readers God doesn't promise that getting through trials will be quick or painless. It wasn't for Joseph--tossed in a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned, forgotten and dismissed--but his Old Testament story is in the Bible for this reason: to teach us to trust God to trump evil.
With the compassion of a pastor, the heart of a storyteller, and the joy of one who has seen what God can do, Max explores the story of Joseph and the truth of Genesis 50:20. What Satan intends for evil, God redeems for good.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Sneeze 31 days to Happiness by David Jeremiah

The Title of this book bugs me soo much! When you write a book, you do not always get to pick the title, I am hoping this was the case with David Jeremiah. It has been a LONG time since I have read any of his books. So I was happy to review it.

Boring Title, Boring cover.
It does not tell you with the title that the book is a 31 day devotional through Ecclesiastes.
I think it is billed this way to make it "seeker-friendly" especially with statements like:
"Don't you deserve a little happiness?
Ever wonder . . .Why is life so frustrating?Is happiness within my reach?Is it too late for me?"


"If you thought happiness was only an empty hope, maybe you've simply been looking in all the wrong places. In this book Dr. Jeremiah reveals the way to the happiness you have longed for, the never-dimming light of your fondest dreams."

What it doesn't tell you is the book as it goes through Ecclesiastes, modern era stories from places like Sobibor, quotes and thoughts from philosophers such as Victor Frankl, Albert Camus, and others discussing "What is the meaning of life?".


"Life is not empty, random and godless, but full & precisely aligned and G-d ordained. It's not that your most important work is meaningless; it's that your most trivial moments are also significant."

"If our faith only works when when everything is rosy and upbeat, it's not worth very much. Faith kicks in when the roof falls in. We keep up our spirits and fortify our selves by trusting in G-d's presence and promises despite the dismal circumstances."
"The word why occurs 430 times in the Bible."

"Life-the awesome gift of God- should not be afflicted by the paralysis of analysis. We will either be frozen in fear over what comes next or so confused over the meaning of it all that we will not notice the joy leaking out through the seams of everyday living."

Book Sneeze- The Pink Bible, An invitation to Hope

Several weeks ago I opted to review "a book" for Zondervan. Since then a "mass" was discovered in my breast, blood work, tests, mammograms and ultrasounds to come. Following this morning's doctor appointment....I came home to The Pink Bible on my doorstep. Perfect timing? 

Zondervan's Pink Bible is available both as a physical Bible and as an ebook. (ebook sample can be downloaded for nook, iphone nook app and for computers).

Many awareness groups have adopted specific ribbons or colours. Pink is the colour associated with breast cancer awareness. "The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. Pink ribbons, and the color pink in general, identify the wearer or promoter with the breast cancer brand and express moral support for women with breast cancer. Pink ribbons are most commonly seen during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month." -wikipedia

The Bible is designed to make finding of verses of hope and encouragement easy. One of the ways this was done is specific verses of "Hope and Assurance" were listed in the index.

The Pink Bible is sized so that it can easily fit in a purse. Many of those who have used it, say they carry it with them to their appointments, and read it during the long sessions of radiation or chemotherapy. It also features a "lay-flat" binding. Fresh out of it's box it lays open very nicely. It feels good in your hands both the texture of the italian-duotone cover and the size.

Incase you wondered, yes, the Pink Bible is really pink.

If you do not want pink: the NIV Living With Cancer Bible will be offered in a navy and chocolate Italian Duo-Tone.

Zondervan has announced a partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) to help provide hope and aid to those fighting the disease.

"Zondervan is honored to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation and their noble cause," said Chip Brown, senior vice president and Bible group publisher. "We sincerely hope that the NIV Pink Bible and the NIV Living With Cancer Bible can help provide comfort and solace to people living with the physical and emotional pain of cancer."

The NIV Pink Bible also includes a foreword by Janelle Hail, founder and CEO of the NBCF. Hail shares her own personal battle against breast cancer and how God's Word has helped guide her and how she went to found NBFC to help others.

"It was an honor to write the foreword for the NIV Pink Bible," Hail said. "Knowing that my story is helping others is humbling. Having my story included in a Bible truly is a testament to how God has a plan for each of us."

About the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. ®

Recognized as one of the leading breast cancer organizations in the world, the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s (NBCF) mission is to save lives through early detection and to provide mammograms for those in need. A recipient of Charity Navigator’s highest 4-star rating for nine years, NBCF provides women Help for Today…Hope for Tomorrow® through its National Mammography Program, Beyond The Shock®, Early Detection Plan, MyNBCF online support community, and breast cancer research programs. For more information, please visit
Do self exams!

WARNING: this is the NEW NIV post 2010. After 2010 NIV and TNIV were merged into a single translation. There are MANY issues and controversies over this translation, including gender neutrality.

"Zondervan gave up its plans for several years, pledging to maintain the NIV as it was. When the blaze burned out, Zondervan continued publishing the NIV but added a gender-neutral TNIV (the T standing for "Today's") and tried to market it, with little success. Although Zondervan does not reveal overall stats, its Bible market share is probably less than half what it was in 1997. New, competing translations-most notably Crossway's English Standard Version-have emerged."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Sneeze- Combating the Lies of Satan

Over several decades of group Bible study this has been a consistent need as far as what believers need to know.
Satan is a liar, and the lies can only be fought with the truth.
The TRUTH is God's Word, not our own words.
God's wisdom, not our wisdom.
Combating the lies of Satan is a spiritual growth book to do literally what the title says. This book is specifically aimed at the American Christian. Many do not realize the attitude specific to Americans and American Christians until they venture to other countries and worship and fellowship with the believers in those countries. The fixation on prosperity is only one of the issues facing the church today. It is uneducated and crippled with believing lies.

Shirley White looks at 10 issues/Lies that are not only prevalent but not being fought.  Sadly many of the churches in America are focused on entertaining and not equipping. Shirley hopes to give the believer the weapons needed to fight the lies and doubts. The topics are broad: diety/messiahship of Jesus, what is truth, and political hot bed issues concerning abortion, Israel and marriage.

From the editor" Even though Satan’s concocting these lies, man is not an innocent party to this deception; Satan may be spreading lies, but man entertains them of his own volition and perpetuates them. Man is electing to reject God and the doctrinal teachings of the Bible; he prefers to indulge teachings that flagrantly contradict Scripture. Man is Satan’s accomplice; he is complicit and culpable because he disregards the Word of God and chooses lies over truth. Average people have no clue they’re being deceived by a clever and diabolical spirit. Satan’s deception and cleverness are so astute that he’s convinced many to believe the lie that he doesn’t exist. However, he does exist, and the purpose of this book is to expose him, his lies, and his deceptions and to expose, refute, and combat the numerous deadly lies so prevalent in our world today that many have embraced. Much in this book will be seen by many as controversial and politically incorrect, but this book is factual and biblically sound; it will equip you with knowledge and insights from the Word of God to prevent you from falling prey to Satan’s deceptions."

You may not think that this book is really needed. Sadly most pastors are taught more about rhetoric these days than how to study and read God's Word in the context it was written. This means fewer pastors are teaching their churches to do the same.

This book serves as a good reminder of what the truth is and is an excellent resource to give to newer believers or those who just have not been taught how to combat the lies.
I love that Shirley ends this book with: " You have read my arguments against these specific lies that Satan has infused into our society. I appeal to you to act and pursue truth for yourself."
Don't just take any one's word for it. Seek out truth. Seek out answers.
You can read a sample of the book HERE

and Shirley has a youtube channel as well

Book Sneeze- Turnaround God

"Don’t settle for less than what God can do."- Charlotte Gambill
This book kinda goes with an unchosen theme of the books lately. I chose to review random books, ones that are new, unreleased, or ones that looked "different. But some how they are all about the amazing ways G-d uses the unexpected and living under WHO He says you are rather than the labels of the world.

"Turnarounds by their nature are radical. They bypass nice and sensible, they freak out the orderly, and they do not line up with agendas. But turnarounds reveal our miraculous Savior to a messed-up world."

This book also I chose because we are currently in the days of "Teshuvah", not just repentance but turning.
I did not expect to have so many things in common with Charlotte, even serving in Belfast. I did not expect to cry and be challenged just in the first chapter.

"The greatest turnarounds always start from within our own hearts and lives."

"The more settled and satisfied we become with our lives, the more we can develop a turn aversion. We gradually allow our satisfaction to replace our seeking, and without the chaos crisis can bring or the drive that despair places in our lives for God's intervention, we fail to see a need for God to transform anything around."

"All too often like Abraham we decide the ending before God does. We count ourselves out of God's turnarounds for reasons that make no difference to a God who has no limitations. Age was not a hindrance to God nor was physical condition. God's selection is not based on any of the criteria we may create."

This book was exactly what I needed to read at this time. It may be exactly what you need as well. Maybe you are trying to manage your own direction.
Charlotte uses biblical examples and examples from her own life to encourage you where you are, & to remind us that as believers our lives are not our own when we surrender to the Most High Living G-d.
I enjoyed this book more than I had expected to.
Yoou can read more about her book on Charlotte's blog: HERE

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Dateline Jerusalem by Chris Mitchell

Being Jewish, I really have a hard time with most of the books written on the endtimes, the middle east, and revelatory prophecy. A lot of them are written from a replacement theology stand point even if the writer doesn't even realize it. Israel is thrown out and the "church" is the sole focus, forgetting the millenia of prophecies or there is a weird almost 'worship of the jews' that is a bit creepy.
 Add to this, that I have Arab family members and close friends. My Husband and I met because we were both jews working on arab humanitarian projects in the land of Israel. (arab bible college for my project, arab hospital for his). My daughter, 1 of the 4, did her Bat Mitzvah in Hebrew, Arabic and English to honour this family fusion.We have a love for all those descended from Abraham.

We hold our breath and voice concerns and pray a lot.
My children have friends serving in the Israeli military. More prayers.
I am a US military brat. More prayers.
There is media bias. More prayers.
There is a doctrinal Bias. More prayers.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem was a mandate for a reason!

We watch Arab Spring unfold and read Isaiah 19 and pray for the Coptic Christians who are currently the focus of bloodshed and ethnic cleansing. Syria has now added to the mix, killing their own citizens.

Why does the tiny nation of Israel, the not very glamorous city of Jerusalem get so much attention?

From the Publisher: In Dateline Jerusalem, CBN News correspondent Chris Mitchell connects the dots and unveils Jerusalem as the epicentre and crossroads of the spiritual, political and, yes, supernatural worlds. Jerusalem s powerful draw has always transcended simple economics, military strategy and religious affiliation. In our own time, as the Arab Spring threatens to become an Islamic Winter, one commentator warns: The Arab Spring doesn t lead to democracy, it leads to Jerusalem. Indeed, the fragile peace of Israel is in new peril as violent Islamic factions take control of surrounding governments. Yet Muslims are converting to Christianity in record numbers. Dateline Jerusalem untangles and chronicles all this through the riveting narrative of a Christian reporter in the upheaval of the modern Fertile Crescent. We live in a world where we cannot afford to be ill informed. What happens in the strategic Middle East, Israel, and Jerusalem is critical. It matters to you. Today s news might focus on Washington, New York, London or Moscow, but history s final chapter will be written in Jerusalem.

I am trying to add the video and it tells me that this video for the book trailer can not be found.
Which means you will have to copy/paste and go to the site because it will NOT embed.

I love how the movie, "O, Jerusalem" strove so hard to not be biased and show both sides. This is essentially impossible no matter how we try.

Joshua 5:13 "When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua approached Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our enemies?”
 “Neither,” He replied. “I have now come as commander of the Lord’s army.”
Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, “What does my Lord want to say to His servant?”
The commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so."

This is the only side we can be on, desperate for the Messiah to be revealed and for G-d to fulfill His purposes.

Chris Mitchell shares his account of his time in the middle East. As a reporter, he has had to research, investigate and walk some of the roads that lead to Jerusalem. Included in the book are some of Chris' works on Cairo, Turkey, Iran, Ukraine, Italy, and of course Israel. Like sharing one's personal testimony, it is harder to argue with eyewitness accounts.Chris shares what he saw and what he experienced. As we near the Jewish High Holy Days, he reminds us of the Yom Kippur war. He cites Ami Ortiz's story( Read more here) and what is going on globally with muslim communities. There are so many stories and experiences jammed into this book.
Chris shares the many miracles and ways he sees prophecy coming to life Ezekiel 36 and the desert blooming, he reminds us Israel is the Apple of God's eye Zechariah 2:8, cites Theodore Herzl and resolution after resolution that has been issued from the UN.
Chris sums it all up with the fact that there is more going on than just the stretching of national borders and governments rising and falling. There is a spiritual battle waging. and Israel is in the center. 
Chris calls you to pray: "It's certain that biblical events prescribed by the Lord will take place, but in these last days, could the church and its power of prevailing prayer have a unique and profound part to play at the end of the age?...Once again, perhaps it will be said that "history belongs to the intercessors."

People get ready.....

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.”

Greek to me

For "fun" really more than just academic, the guys at our house have decided to study greek.
The girls have opted for Literary analysis of Jane Eyre.

But this meant I had to dig out my books from textural criticism and manuscript comparison. I forgot how many great books I had! So just incase you are in need of biblical greek or if scrolls and manuscripts get you excited, here are some resources:

God of the Underdogs by Matthew Keller

I read about 20-25 books a month. I consume pages.
We feature a different book each month at one of our congregations. It helps keep everyone in the loop on book discussions and as iron sharpens iron, brings a bit of a challenge. So not a lot of light reading.

In the last few months, I can honestly say, Matthew Keller's book is the first one to make me laugh out loud and have to nudge my husband with "listen to this" or "have you ever considered" moments. Matt brings a fresh look to some of the stories we have grown up with. There is an interesting glance into the possible interpersonal relationships and dynamics of the underdogs we view as heroes.
"Every person G-d used had a justifiable excuse for why he or she couldn't or shouldn't be used by God to accomplish great things."

God of the Underdogs TM from Matt Keller Online on Vimeo.

Looking back, we already know the outcome and how the story will end with the miraculous. Some times it is hard to see just how dark a place the heroes had to come from. We read the words like prison, hiding threshing wheat, if I perish, I perish and we can forget the depth of the emotion behind them.
Just like He knew the outcome of their stories, G-d knows the outcome of yours and mine.

"To make matters worse we felt forgotten by many leaders who had influenced us before we moved. Men who had been mentors to me never called-that type of thing. It was a dark and painful season, to say the least. We were dealing with personal hurt and rejection and trying to get our little church plant off the ground."

Being 38, and no longer new to ministry, there have been soo many moments where I have looked at my husband and asked "Are we really alone in this?" and have had to remind ourselves it is G-d's gig.
Matt and his wife have also voiced those concerns and come to a place of using the encouragement they have gleaned. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 in action, the hope they have received they offer to those who are in need.

"The more we know about who Jesus syas we are, the less we'll believe who our past says we are. The more light we let in, the less darkness can stay."

"What happened can not be changed, but what you choose to do with it can. A minimized past is a minimzed platform. Minimized pain is pain that still has control over you. Stop minimizing and start surrendering your past to Jesus. He can do far more with your past than you can cover up or minimize."

This was a very enjoyable kick in the pants kind of book.
There is encouragement, focus adjustment and not just motivational talk but motivation from scripture.
Matthew Keller not only will make you laugh and think, but will encourage you to
"Go and Change the World Anyway." And I did geek out a bit with the interactive content/mp3 links for each chapter.
There is an outreach series Matt is starting Sept 14 (Yom Kippur/day of atonement....coincidental? I think not.) If you are interested in more involvement: Linkage to WebSite
There are chapter samples and other resources because Matthew doesn't just want to sell books he wants to see the church and the world CHANGED. Go check it out!

You may also get this song stuck in your head: