~Reviewed by Rosie B.
~Reviewed by Rosie B.
Are you “living by the rules” or letting the grace of God rule you?
If you’re living for God–living by the rules–you’ll always be exhausted. You’ll feel you’re not doing enough for Him and if you don’t “measure up,” He’ll be displeased.
But letting His grace have its way in you is entirely different! In the Scriptures it’s an open secret that the love of God for us isn’t based on our performance for Him. He sent Christ to set us free from rules. He didn’t make us His children so we could serve Him in our own feeble power, but to let His limitless power flow through us!
God the Father has provided everything we need for a truly meaningful, joy-filled life here on earth…all because of His marvelous grace. Rest in the grace of God, and let Him live through you. Find out how in The Secret of Grace.
Grace is what appears to be a simple 5 letter word is not that simple after all. We all think we know what it means, after all we certainly have heard about it in church, sung about it from the hymnal, even named some of our children after it. But do we really know what grace is and appreciate what grace does? Grace is an unending, all encompassing gift from God and this books helps us to understand how understanding grace can set us free. I read this book at a very hard time in my life. This book helped me to realize that grace has already been granted and I can go out as a different person. I will be passing this book on!
~Reviewed by Rosie B.
In high school, Kristen Welch wore a big, sparkly rhinestone “Jesus” pin to school every day and carried her Bible wherever she went. (Yes, she was that girl.) But she didn’t realize her faith, though sincere, was shallow; much like her artificial accessory, it would one day tarnish, no longer a true fit for who she was. As real life catapulted Kristen into places and situations she’d never imagined, there came a day when she stood shocked in the slums of Africa and realized in one desperate moment that Jesus wasn’t enough for her. At least . . . she wasn’t living like He was. On the brink of a risk bigger than any she’d ever taken, Kristen knew she didn’t stand a chance—unless she was willing to put aside the rhinestones and get branded by the real thing.Rhinestone Jesus is the story of one woman’s journey from comfortably living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say yes to a bolder, more authentic, more dangerous way. This story of spiritual adventure throws the doors wide open for any woman who’s ever thought of herself as “just a mom.” Kristen will inspire and empower you to say yes to God right where you are—and stand amazed at how your life will shine.
In this book, author Kristen Welch is real. She opens her entire life to the reader…warts and all. I respect that. As I read, I laughed and I cried and she made me fee “normal”. Like all families have their “stuff” and that is okay. God will use it all for our good to grow us into the people we are destined to become! This book is based on the life and work of the author and her family who helped to found Mercy House, a home for pregnant young women in Kenya. She gives us the back story and shares their struggles to persevere in the mission God had laid on their hearts. It was very interesting and inspiring. It moves you to examine your own life to see where God is calling YOU! I highly recommend it.
~Reviewed by Amy L.
This book was a great reminder that when we are weak, God is strong. Where we might fail on our own, God is definitely able! When you are knocked down and feeling that you cannot get up, that’s when we need the reminder that even though we can’t, God can! The book is organized nicely and it’s message is clear. It is a very inspirational read.
~Reviewed by Patti C.
~Reviewed by Dave H.
Once you see your gifts from God’s perspective, your giving will never be the same.
When she was a toddler, Jeff Anderson’s daughter opened his eyes to how delighted God is with our gifts. She brought him a plastic donut from her play kitchen, and he was surprised by the intensity of his reaction. His delight in receiving this simple gift—and his daughter’s joy in giving it—led him to dig deeper. Anderson would not rest until he found the scriptural connection between our gifts and God’s heart.
Plastic Donuts removes the awkwardness and uncertainty that often accompany discussions about giving. Now you can think differently-and biblically-about what and how you give.
Your gifts can capture God’s attention and connect you more intimately with His heart. Plastic Donuts brings everyone—leaders and followers, teachers and learners—onto the same page.
The author has great insight on the issue of giving…not just monetarily but gifts from our heart to God’s heart. He helps you to examine yourself to see why you are giving and how we view it. He put the issue of tithing in a different perspective, which hit home with me. When we give it not only pleases God, it helps us to grow in our relationship with Him. The book is small and reads well, so you will get through it quickly. But the best part is the life-changing affects it will have on you. I highly recommend it.
~Reviewed by Allie B.
Her diamond caught the sun’s rays and refracted glittered light about the room. She’d asked herself again and again: How could she be so blessed? Partner at a prestigious law firm, engaged to the man of her dreams . . . there was no doubt. God had smiled on Kendra Woods.
But the moment Kendra is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, her world collapses. Within days, Derek backs out of the wedding and the firm suggests a leave of absence during her treatment. Of all the roles Kendra has played over the years—daughter, sister, friend, student, attorney, bride-to-be—cancer patient seems the most unwelcome in the world.
When her path crosses with youth pastor Lance Alexander, Kendra sees only the troublemaker she knew in high school. But Lance could prove an unexpected spark. In the darkness that covers her, will Kendra be able to embrace a glimmer of hope?
This is a very moving story that will touch your very core. Partly because this could happen in your own life. You think you have everything you ever dreamed of and then, Bam! It is all taken away. The characters in this book are life-like and you go through their dark valleys with them until they come out the other side. While this book has many sad elements, those are overridden by the hope and joy that the characters experience as God grows them during their trials. The book flows very nicely and it was hard to put down. It is a treasure.
~Reviewed by Janice B.
Austin’s journey dares us all to believe that miracles are possible, that hope does spring eternal, and that we canfind joyous moments to celebrate every day.
The book very moving and inspirational. Scott tells the life story of his son in such a way that you feel that you are with him on his journey. Even though the topics can be heavy, he relates them in a light, easy manner. I could not put this book down and enjoyed it from start to finish! It will encourage you to overcome the obstacles in your own life and come out on top. I highly recommend reading this book!
Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the world’s great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the natural wonders he encounters–Bell Mountain Wilderness with Søren Kierkegaard, Moonshine Hollow with Thich Nhat Hanh–demonstrating how being alone in the wild opens a rare view onto one’s interior landscape, and how the saints’ writings reveal the divine in nature.
The discipline of backpacking, Lane shows, is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Just as the wilderness offered revelations to the early Desert Christians, backpacking hones crucial spiritual skills: paying attention, traveling light, practicing silence, and exercising wonder. Lane engages the practice not only with a wide range of spiritual writings–Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi Muslim–but with the fascination of other lovers of the backcountry, from John Muir and Ed Abbey to Bill Plotkin and Cheryl Strayed. In this intimate and down-to-earth narrative, backpacking is shown to be a spiritual practice that allows the discovery of God amidst the beauty and unexpected terrors of nature. Adoration, Lane suggests, is the most appropriate human response to what we cannot explain, but have nonetheless learned to love.
An enchanting narrative for Christians of all denominations, Backpacking with the Saints is an inspiring exploration of how solitude, simplicity, and mindfulness are illuminated and encouraged by the discipline of backcountry wandering, and of how the wilderness itself becomes a way of knowing-an ecology of the soul.
I am rather new to reading the works of Belden Lane, but honestly, I find them intriguing. The way he relates spirituality to the physical world is quite thought provoking. As he treks through the wilderness, he shares his spiritual journey with us, encouraging each reader to seek his own quiet place to hear God’s voice. He does a wonderful job giving insight to the classic works of the faith as he relates them to his journey. It makes me want to throw a few selected titles in my own backpack and head out to my favorites spots to contemplate life and my place in it. Very inspiring.
~Reviewed by Mike B.
Created for individuals or small groups, Choose Love provides thoughtful questions, helpful discussion insights, and other creative ways to go deeper in connecting with God.
I read the book first as part of a book club and then decided to go through the study guide to help me learn and apply more of Stormies’ principles. While I see the benefit it would be to go through this book in a small group, I think the study guide is perfect for individual reflection as well. It is an excellent spiritual resource.
~Reviewed by Kathy R.