Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Sneeze Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome By Owen Strachan

I have seen this book categorized as "radical" and for "college students". Which I think really says a lot about the state of things in our churches. As if taking risks and being "radical" is only for the young. I am, I hate to admit it, not considered young. I am really close to 40. But in our town and congregation where most are retired, I am still just a "whipper snapper".
I would like to think that this book is aimed at the Church Body, not the youth and college ministry. The whole body needs  gospel-driven discipline, to working for God's glory and not our own, committing to the you attend church (which might mean the scary M word- membership), and building an evangelistic witness that is not shameful. The "cultural lingo" maybe considered younger in general , but the lesson applies to all generations.

 "God's awesomeness should propel our faithfulness."

Book Description:
How do you access a real, thriving, vibrant faith? You trust a big God, and you start living like he’s real. It’s time to put our comfort and ease and false security on the line. If we know God is real, let’s pray as if he’s actually listening. If we know he’s good, let’s reflect that goodness in the world. When our problems feel big, let’s lean on the One who is bigger. Is that risky? “Sure,” says Owen Strachan. “Embrace it anyway. It’s literally the only way to live.”

Is this really own for the "next generation?!
We were made for something more and it is time we start living like it!
The book neatly divides into two sections, 1-  why risk should be a way of life for all Gospel-centered Christians  and 2- how to take these concepts and apply them.
“Gospel Risk.” is defined as “trading in small things that produce a shallow defeated life for the life shaped by the gospel, one devoted to God and his glory.” (66)

Book Sneeze Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook, Volume 3 By Dr. O. S. Hawkins

I remember the Pastor's annual sourcebooks from the late 1990's. This is not a planned order of service with which hymns to sing. This is better. It is not a book of "cheats". The sermons are indepth sermon outlines. Which always amazes me. I would have to have every word written out. When my husband writes his own sermons, they really are basic outlines, a couple bullet points, and Bam! a sermon comes out of all of it.

As Dr. Hawkins says, “It is not designed as an ‘easy fix’ for late Saturday night sermon preparation. Rather, it is a sourcebook designed to lay alongside all your other tools of word studies, exegesis, commentaries, prayer and analytical thought that goes into a fully developed and crafted sermon.”
I have known too many pastors in the past who have said they do not study for their sermons, they just trust that the Holy Spirit will give them the words. THIS IS NOT something I advocate! It is how we get too many scriptural inaccuracies preached from the pulpit. 
Preparing a sermon has been likened to the equivilent of 8 hrs of hard labour. I believe it. I see the time and resources that go into a well prepared sermon, not to mention the prayer and seeking of direction. Throw in all the people who drop in with out an appointment, the hospital and home visits, the emergency phone calls....a Pastor has so much on his plate. The church office hours are just a drop in the bucket, his job is 24/7.
As I, thankfully, am not doing any preaching, this is not a reference I can say I will be putting to use. But it is nice to know it is there if "he" needs a quick topical sermon. ( He preaches verse by verse both Saturday and Sunday, so the occasions for this are rare.)

This sourcebook has a companion DVD with  notes and outlines from the book. (in case you are really swamped and just need to print something out last minute.) It includes articles as well as special services such as baptism, funeral and weddings....

Over all it looks like a great resource for some one in ministry.

Publisher's Description
Preach great sermons and plan innovative worship services with the newest edition of Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook. This is the same sermon planner you have come to depend on for more than ten years, now with a disc included for your convenience!. In this volume, look for sermons, articles, and sermon starters by Daniel L. Akin, Dr. Mark L. Bailey, Dr. Phillip R. Bethancourt, Matt Carter, Steve Dighton, David Epstein, J.D. Greear, Ph.D., Jim Henry, Dr. Jeff Iorg, Dr. James MacDonald, Dr. Russell D. Moore, Dr. Adrian Rogers, Steven Smith, K. Marshall Williams,Sr., and Dr. O.S. Hawkins, general editor. These outstanding pastors provide an entire year’s worth of preaching and worship resources with a new, topical focus. Look for a new volume every fall.

Features include:
Sermons, creative outlines, illustrations, and quotes
Worship helps, including hymns, prayers, and Scripture texts
Inspirational thoughts and preaching techniques
Sermons for special occasions and holidays
Disc included containing all sermons and sermon starters

Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebooks sold to date: More than 135,000

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Sneeze Asylum The Circeae Tales By Ashley Hodges Bazer

The story was intriguing and interesting.
Sadly it was not a "beginning of a series" book, so I feel like there was some back story I could have used in the characters themselves. ( I think this is supposed to be book 1, so a prequel book would be lovely, dear author). Be sure to check out the reference in the back
Still I enjoyed it.

Dystopian rebel honeymooners, Chase and Trista, serve a King, dis-enthroned by the Legacy. In trying to help Chase, Trista takes an assignment for him. This leads to her capture by the Legacy. Chase refuses to believe that Trista has been executed.Throw in time manipulation and sci-fi technology and the whole book is quite inventive.

Over all a decent book, from an author who has promise. Looking forward to reading more in the future.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Sneeze The Spiritual Mentor by Jim Grassi

Based on Romans 12, this is a discipleship and mentoring study for men.

"Don't be fooled, spiritual mentorship is not something to be left to "the professionals". If you know what it means to follow Christ, each day just one step at a time, you are ready to begin this adventure"
-Phil Downer from the forward

The author brings out the fact that on any Sunday 39% of a church (if you are lucky) are men. For decades churches have been decorated in a mauve fashion, to be welcoming to women. Men have been neglected and even thrown under the bus in some ministries that cater almost completely to women or small children.

This book focuses on the man's role in the church, manliness, how to start a mentoring ministry in your congregation and pass on the vision for a healthy church.

"Jesus didn't tell us to go and make a church; He told us to go and make disciples.We should not be focused upon building big churches, but should focus our efforts on building spiritually deep disciples" pg 17

"What will save out nation and Christianity is for believers to band together like the first century church and become radical about discipiling others." pg 18

This book seeks to help you make a plan and put it into action. One of the ways to do this is by looking at the health of the church you are in. One question asks: "What things are you finding in your church that seem divisive or hindering to an effective outreach and discipleship?

This is an excellent resource and does a great job at making the focus and burden not being all on the paid staff but a community issue. I look forward to placing copies of this book in the hands of several men and see where they are lead.

Book Sneeze 'No Cape Required: A Devotional' by Kristen Parrish

In "No Cape Required". Kristen Parrish gives you a fictional hero and a character trait that we can learn from them. 52 lessons, one a week.
Heroes range from comics, movies, beloved books, from The Chronicles of Narnia to Shawshank Redemption. This is a book that will connect to many, using pop culture icons to speak of truths and remind you that you don't have to be a mutant or alien to be a hero. The devotions are written to remind you that the ability to be a hero is in you and has been all along.

I am a SciFi and comic book geek. This book was replete with characters I adore.
It would make an excellent gift and is not generation specific.
Have some one in your life that just needs to be told "I believe in you"? This is for them.

Topics include:
Spock and Kirk's Friendship
Superman’s Justice
Robin Hood's Charity
Eustace's Repentance
Dorothy’s Courage

What do Katniss Everdeen, Spider-Man, and Huckleberry Finn have in common? They’re heroes—and you can be just like them.

As children, we dream of throwing on a cape and changing the world. Then we grow up, we learn to see the flaws in our movie stars and athletes, and we accept that true heroism is not possible in the real world. You continue to dream, though. Isn’t that why you still love watching heroes on the big screen? It’s more than just wish fulfillment. You resonate with Superman’s justice and Dorothy’s courage because you have those same qualities within yourself.

In these pages, Kristen Parrish looks at the qualities of fifty-two heroes, and then shows how you can acquire every one of those qualities. No gamma rays or radioactive spider bites are needed. You can unleash your inner hero through prayer and practical action.

Men and women, boys and girls alike, will find role models within these pages. While others watch and dream on the sidelines, you can step out in faith, learning from heroic examples and praying for God’s help to make you who you were meant to be.

The Holy Spirit enables us to do great things. Find out how. No cape required.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Sneeze Merlin's Blade By Robert Treskillard

Treskillard brings a new tak on the Arthurian legend and builds a character in Merlin that you want to win. Lawhead's Pendragon series is still one of my absolute favourites, But Treskillard does a decent job with his own twist on the legend, so the book is far from disappointing but engaging.

Christianity in Britain is in a battle with the ancient druidic beliefs. With a meteorite;s strange power , the druids seek to take  control of the people and ultimately all of Britain. Merlin, the partially blind son of the  blacksmith, and a handful of others seem to be immune. Their ability to resist the druids and the meteorite may be the only thing that can save the village from spiritual and physical oppression.

Merlin's struggles have molded him into the hero this village needs. Is Merlin willing to become that hero?

My 15 yr old son took over my  nook to read this and enjoyed the story as well.

From the Publisher: When a meteorite crashes near a small village in fifth-century Britain, it brings with it a mysterious black stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow---a power the druids hope to use to destroy King Uthur’s kingdom, as well as the new Christian faith. The only person who seems immune is a young, shy, half-blind swordsmith’s son named Merlin.
As his family, village, and even the young Arthur, are placed in danger, Merlin must face his fears and his blindness to take hold of the role God ordained for him. But when he is surrounded by adversaries, armed only by a sword he’s named Excalibur, how will he save the girl he cherishes and rid Britain of this deadly evil ... without losing his life?

Book Sneeze- Payback in Panama By Noel Hynd

Noel Hynd has millions of books in print from decades of writing. Payback in Panama is the final book in Noel Hynd’s Cuban Trilogy.

U.S. Treasury Agent Alex LaDuca has a battle between her faith and her job. How will her faith also influence her choices? When the choices boil down to kill or be killed what will she choose?
Alex has stuggled in her faith and she experienced loss. She had given up hope for a happy life shared with some one she loved. In this final book she has found love again but may not get to have a life together as death stalks her every step.

Dosi Cartel, her long time enemies, come after her with a vengeance.
The whole series is a thrilling adventure, and the character has been well developed through out the series. The final book brings  together all the pieces, but with unexpected plot twists. You are never quite sure that if things will actually work out for Alex.  Can Alex survive the assassination plots and have a life with the man she has come to love?

Over all it is a thrilling book that you do not want to put down. You definitely need to start at the beginning of the series to get the full depth of character development.

From the Publisher:
U.S. Treasury Agent Alex LaDuca enters the endgame of her long-running and treacherous duel with the heads of the Dosi Cartel, an international money laundering and drug smuggling ring. Reaching deeply into her Christian faith for guidance and calling on trusted contacts from the past for a do-or-die operation, Alex moves resolutely against her foes. Her path takes her into the criminal underground of America's east coast, south into the violent underworld of Central America, across Honduras and El Salvador, and finally to Panama for a shattering confrontation. With the prospect of romance on the horizon for the first time since her fiance was killed in Kiev many months earlier, Alex's career, her life, and her future with the man she loves are all at stake. After a final payback in Panama, nothing will ever be the same.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Sneeze The Church Builder - A.L. Shields

"Why not place certain religious themes at the heart of a story?"
The Christian themes are subtle, It is a story that you may not see as a "christian book. Which is a refreshing thing. The goal was to have a good story, faith naturally comes into it.  Well written and captivating.

 A thriller with secret codes, secret societies, and deathbed confessions.  Nothing is as it seems and  no place is really very safe.
Bethany is on the run from a murderer and the government is after her.
What is the real reason her friend was killed?
Can she prove that the evidence against her is false?
What is truth?

No spoilers, you have to read the book, it is well worth reading.

I love these names:
The Wilderness dedicated to the destruction of all religious faith. \
The Garden, seven members led by  the Builder, try to protect the church.

From the publisher:
"Bethany Barclay is running for her life. She’s a struggling attorney who’s been framed for the murder of a client. To clear her name, she must follow the trail left by her friend Annabelle to find out who killed her and why. Meanwhile, members of a centuries-old secret society known simply as The Garden track Bethany’s every move, aiding her when they can. Because The Garden knows that Bethany has been targeted by the ruthless Wilderness Society . . . and to advance their agenda in a centuries-old battle they’ll find out what she knows and then kill her too."

If you like intrigue, suspense and a good thrill, you will enjoy this book.

Book Sneeze To Know you by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel

Julia has had  two daughters by fathered by two different men that she has given up for adoption. Neither of the men stuck around, and she has not seen the children since they were given to their adoptive families. 20 years after those choices, her son is dying and the only one who can help is one of these daughters.

But can Julia face her choices and consequences, and find healing? Can she find ask a young woman—a stranger really, to save a brother she’s never known? Can the daughter get to a place of forgiveness so this boy may live? Will her daughter repeat Julia's own mistakes? Can a family be redeemed?
This is a great story about how G-d uses different circumstances for His glory and for His healing. 
The imperfect lives and broken pieces are brought together to make a whole family.
Like Stitch says "This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good."

This is a lovely book.

From the Publisher:"Years ago, Julia Whittaker gave up two daughters for adoption. Now she must find them to try to save the life of her son.

Julia and Matt Whittaker’s son was diagnosed with biliary atresia at birth. Dillon has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds—and his liver—crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a transplant. He can receive a “living liver” transplant but neither his parents, nor various family members and friends, are compatible.
The transplant list is long and Dillon’s time is short. Very short.
He has two chances for a compatible liver: his two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart and adopted at birth.

But can Julia ask a young woman to donate a portion of her body to a brother she’s never known? Will either sister even be a match for their half-brother? Will either of them show mercy and courage if they are?

Julia knows she’s probably on a fool’s errand—reaching out to the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs them. But what other choice does she have except to try?"

Book Sneeze NIV Essentials Study Bible

This edition includes the entire NIV Bible text (NIV and TNIV combination) with the world’s best notes for learning. One of the nice things is that in the table of contents, the spotlights are also listed. 

Besides the archaeological study notes, and the historical back grounds, there are study notes to help break down "Christian-ese" so newer believers can decipher what is being said. It does not take for granted that the reader knows "what does it mean to pray?" " love my neighbor?",  "...are good works necessary for eternal life?". This brings together all levels of one's spiritual journey. 
Page 1203 Has a Reflect and Respond devotional section prompting you to read, think, live and take it to the next level on prayer. Why do we pray? What does G-d's word say and why? 
It is suitable for those just discovering the Bible and those who are interested in what Josephus said, timelines, charts, and cultural context. There are also promots to personal application "How would you respond to...?" , "Why do you believe...?" This is a great resource for your personal devotions and can enrich your time spent in Scripture.
It incorporates the finest content, images, and study tools from the most popular Bibles that are loved and used by Bible readers just like you. It features:
  • Flyover Lens: Start each book of the Bible with the right perspective from easy-to-read introductions from the popular Essential Bible Companion.
  • Unpack Lens: Easily understand and interpret Bible passages with bottom-of-the page study notes and in-text charts from the best-in-class NIV Study Bible.
  • Dig Deep, Look Close Lens: Understand the fascinating historical significance of the Bible with articles and photos from the bestselling NIV Archaeological Study Bible.
  • Q&A Lens: Get concise, easy-to-grasp answers to your most perplexing questions about the Bible with questions and answers from the beloved NIV Quest Study Bible.
  • People Lens: View Scripture from the perspective of the 100 most important people in the Bible with notes for the student of any age excerpted from the timeless NIV Student Bible.
  • Guided Tour Lens: Get a bird’s eyes view of Scripture with a Guided Tour, also excerpted from the category-leading NIV Student Bible.
  • Insight Lens: Find meaning in the Bible by reading these magazine-style call-outs from the NIV Student Bible.
  • R&R Lens: Reflect & Respond with this quick inspirational focus time, which unveils the sweeping narrative of the Bible as seen in the award-winning The Great Rescue, NIV.
Text Comparison via 
What is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?a
5You have made thema a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned thema with glory and honor.
What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?a
5You have made thema a little lower than the angels
and crowned thema with glory and honor.
a 4 Or what is a human being that you are mindful of him, a son of man that you care for him?
a 5 Or him
a 4 Or what is a human being that you are mindful of him, a son of man that you care for him?
a 5 Or him