Friday, September 30, 2016

Open by David Gregory

If you are familiar with the book Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory, then this is along the similar lines. After relationship troubles and the feeling that she had "settled" on a number of fronts, Emma wonders, "Does God have time for me?" and asks "Where is his love when something happened that really mattered?" She starts to have doubts and decided Jesus wasn't enough and that the Bible didn't provide her with the answers she needed. Her real question was this-Does God exist?

Emma finds herself on a very personal adventure with Jesus that starts with her in a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in a horrible, gale-like storm. Jesus allows her to be an onlooker to many biblical events in order to prove that not only does God exist, but that He is in fact a very personal God that cares deeply for her.

This book was an easy read with short chapters, but challenging none the less. I envision leaving it in my guest room for travelers to enjoy, Christian and non-Christian alike. I know plenty of people who are wondering the same thing and asking similar questions as Emma. David Gregory does a great job relating Jesus' ministry to our modern day mindset. Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Review of a prayer and praise coloring journal

This journal contains more than 50 entries that include a prayer, a verse, and lined space for reflection. Peppered throughout are blank pages that include a verse and brief instruction to encourage meditation. It has many beautiful pages, I personally prefer the colored ones. A majority of the journal entries has an entire page dedicated to a quote or a Bible verse; which if you really liked, you could remove and frame. 
As far as the actual physical journal, I'm not a fan. It is hardcover, but has an added cardboard layer, that feels uncomfortable when I am holding it and writing. And at $14.99, it seems pretty steep for a simple journal.  Personally, I'm not a fan of adult coloring books as a means of relaxation and de-stressing, but that is for you to decide. And I'm not sure how I feel about the Mandala-like look to the journal's coloring pages. Overall, I give it a 3 out of 5 rating. 
I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Next door as it is in Heaven-living out God's kingdom in your neighborhood

This book by Lance Ford and Brad Brisco is all about empowering you to transform your neighborhood for the glory of God. The book can be summarized in this quote, "...we are seeking to give vision to what can happen when heavenly minded people determine to do earthly good in the places they live, work, and play" p 61. This book provides motivation and Biblical reasoning on the why's and how to's of hospitality. It was convicting for me, especially since we have recently moved into a new neighborhood. Perhaps our family can just start off on the right foot. 

The authors, friends and ministry leaders, Ford and Brisco address some of the reasons or excuses we choose not be the aroma of Christ. One of them is that American culture has undergone some dramatic shifts in terms of isolation and detachment. We tend to live as nomads and fail to establish "roots." They also believe that most Americans have resigned to pursing the "American Dream" at the expense of losing connectivity with people in general, but especially the people in our very own neighborhood. At the heart, they believe that most people truly do want to know their neighbors; the problem is that it doesn't just happen, we need to make it happen. So then many people give the excuse of "When?" They address that in a chapter about creating margin. Or "How?" They recommend reviewing your calendar on a weekly basis, do not schedule evening meetings, walk/stroll your neighborhood often with the idea to engage individuals along the way and lastly, unplug from electronics occasionally and ask God, "what is Your agenda for me, for here, for now?"

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation."
As Christians we are "in Christ" and His goal/mission is reconciliation. So what are you doing to live this out in your neighborhood?

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House.