Sunday, April 23, 2017

Redefined: A Book Review

About The Book:

This book opens up and makes practical the basic Christian doctrine of justification, showing how it enables Christians to live with confidence and enjoy life in Christ.
God desires an abundant life for you. However, the biblical truth most likely to help you live abundantly has been tragically neglected by the church. Many Christians do not understand their status with God, and this leaves them with perpetual guilt. Every believer is declared righteous, through a wonderful exchange, where our sin is charged to Christ and his righteousness is accredited to us.
Redefined will teach you how to understand your status in God's sight, so that you can rid yourself of guilt, enjoy God's fellowship, walk in supernatural confidence, and truly live the Christ-honoring abundant life that God desires for you.
About The Author:
Kenneth E. Ortiz is a pastor, freelance writer and successful entrepreneur. Kenneth is a dynamic communicator with a fantastic conversational style of speaking and writing. He is a gifted Bible teacher, often using great relevant illustrations that deeply resonate with audiences and readers. Kenneth's words are always laced with incredible humor and friendly intimacy. As an itinerant evangelist, he has preached to tens of thousands of people across the nation and abroad. Kenneth currently lives in Winter Garden, Florida where he serves as a member of the ministry staff team of Mosaic Church. Kenneth is also the Director of Operations for YouthCanLead, Inc., and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for World Outreach International. Kenneth has earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Theological Studies. He has been an ordained minister since 2006.
My Review:
Written in a well-developed manner, Ortiz does well to help us understand how being redefined by God changes our lives for the better. Through a well-organized book, Ortiz reminds us who we are in Christ and how we can truly belief this change that happens when we trust fully in Christ. A great encouraging read about our true identity in Christ. 

I highly recommend this great read and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase Redefined online through Leafwood Publishers
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Leafwood Publishers, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The NKJV Woman's Study Bible' Grow in the Word Giveaway

You're invited to receive God's truth for balance, hope, and transformation in the fully revised and redesigned The NKJV Woman's Study Bible. The new edition features a beautiful, full-color redesign and poignantly reveals the Word of God with Scripture insights and the contributions of more than eighty women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds. Special features designed to speak to a woman's heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman's identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.

This spring, cultivate your heart's spiritual roots and enter to win the Grow in the Word Giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on April 27. The winner will be announced April 28 on the Litfuse blog.



Tracie Miles' 'Unsinkable Faith' Prize Pack Giveaway

Have negative thought patterns overtaken your life and shaken your faith? Learn how to anchor your heart in God despite what storms roll in in Tracie Miles' new book, Unsinkable Faith. Each chapter explores Tracie's and other women's personal stories, showing how they rose above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. Unsinkable Faith is a breath of fresh air for anyone longing for a heart full of joy, an unbreakable smile, and a new, more optimistic perspective on life.

Join Tracie and other readers on April 25th for a fun Facebook Live event and the Anchored in Faith Prize Pack Giveaway (details below)!


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 25. The winner will be announced at the Unsinkable Faith Facebook Live event. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and others searching for unsinkable faith, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 25th!

Your Cholesterol Matters: A Book Review

About The Book:

Two-thirds of the time, the initial symptom is a full-blown heart attack.
Doctors routinely tell patients to watch their diet, get regular exercise, and lose weight. They also increasingly prescribe "cholesterol lowering" drugs that patients will take every day for the rest of their lives. The pill makes us feel like we're doing something, so we slack off in our goals for a healthier lifestyle. To make matters worse, the pill solves only a portion of the problem, giving us a false sense of security.

Dr. Richard Furman wants you to know that you don't have to pin your health hopes on expensive medications that only address a small part of the cholesterol puzzle (and often have negative health-impacting side effects). In this practical guide to better health, he offers specific strategies to 

· lower your levels of "lethal" LDL cholesterol
· raise your levels of "hero" HDL cholesterol
· develop new habits that make healthy living easy and natural
· adjust your lifestyle in order to stay off of expensive medications
· and more 

Your aging process depends on the health of your arteries. Dr. Furman's advice will not only give you extra years but, even more important, it will improve the quality of those years, beginning today.


About The Author:

Richard Furman, MD, FACS, spent over thirty years as a vascular surgeon. Furman is past president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, past president of the North Carolina Surgical Society, and a two-term governor of the American College of Surgeons. He is cofounder of World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan's Purse, and is a member of the board of Samaritan's Purse. He lives in Boone, North Carolina.

For more information, please visit www.prescriptionforlifeplan.com.


My Review:

This book is a great resource for anyone who is dealing with heart concerns, cholesterol concerns or other health issues that affect the heart. It is full of a lot of medical information, yet is not overwhelming. The author writes in such a manner that an everyday person understands all the medical jargon without becoming lost in technical words. There are a ton of tips for getting healthy and avoiding heart problems, even if there is a family history to take into consideration. A well-written book that is full of great information. 

A great read that I highly recommend. 

BUY IT: You can purchase Your Cholesterol Matters at your favorite Christian book retailer from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Friday, April 7, 2017

Longing for Paris: A Book Review

About The Book:

For anyone who has ever daydreamed of another life . . .
Most days, you wouldn't trade what you have for the world. You love your husband and your kids, and you are grateful to God for your life. But there are days when you feel as though life is rolling over you in waves and you are just going through the motions. You find yourself aching for something more, something that is calling to depths of who you are, maybe for something you can't even name.

For Sarah Mae, it was Paris, a place that is known for breathtaking beauty, inspiring art, and exquisite food. But as she searched her heart, she found there was more to her longings than she anticipated.

Join Sarah Mae in Longing for Paris, a soul-searching, light-filled journey for the woman who knows she can't uproot her life to discover herself and her longings, but who desperately wants to uncover them so she can get unstuck and choose a life that is filled with beauty, adventure, and deep joy . . . right where she is.

About The Author:

Sarah Mae is an influential blogger, founder of the popular Allume conference, and coauthor of Desperate (with Sally Clarkson). She celebrates life with her husband and three children in the beautiful Amish countryside of Pennsylvania, where she often ponders what life would be like if she actually finished all the laundry.

My Review:

When I started reading this book, I knew instantly I was in for a treat. I had been reading Sarah Mae's blog for some time, so I was very eager to read Longing for Paris. I was not in the least disappointed. Sarah writes in such a way that I felt that I was in a coffee shop with her and have the loveliest of conversations. The writing style was so delightful and I found myself pondering my own life as Sarah reminds the reader that regardless of what dreams we thought we had for our life, that we need to look at the place we are in now and be ever so grateful for it, embrace it and thrive within it. It is still good to have dreams but not at the cost of our current place in life. Sarah did a remarkable job at doing this. Honest, raw and just a great read, evidenced by the large amount of underlining and post it notes throughout my copy. All women, and moms especially, need to read this book.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Longing for Paris online here

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of the author, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reaching Millennials: A Book Review

About The Book:

A Better Way to Reach Millennials With the Gospel
There's a reason you see fewer and fewer Millennials in your church. Typical evangelism methods often drive them away. People born between 1978 and 1998 have a different mindset than previous generations. But as nationally known church consultant David Stark shares, there are creative, biblical ways to engage Millennials outside the church, even those with negative views of Christianity.

In Reaching Millennials, you will learn how to
· Anticipate and overcome common barriers to faith
· Build trust and openness in genuine, welcomed ways 
· Plan events that attract Millennials and energize your own people
· And much more!

Based on principles that built the church of the New Testament, Stark shows how any congregation today--large or small, established or new--can share God's love with a spiritually hungry generation.


You can read an excerpt of this book here, in PDF format

About The Author:

David Stark (davidstarkcollective.com) is president of BusinessKeys International, a consulting practice that serves churches as well as businesses. A former pastor, he has worked with churches for more than twenty years, focusing on strategy, leadership, small-group ministries, and lay empowerment.

For businesses, he specializes in strategy, leadership, and culture issues. David's previous books include LifeKeys: Discover Who You Are and Christ-Based Leadership. He and his family live in Minneapolis.


Check out David's website here, for more information.

My Review:

Each generation has its highs and lows, ideas and ways of life that work for them. But generations before and after do not always understand these. That is where the book, Reaching Millennials comes in. It walks the reader through what a Millennial is and how we can reach them where they are at, for Jesus. It is well written and organized and was really easy to read. It is a quick read but has a ton of information that one could go back and read repeatedly and get something new out of it in subsequent readings. A great resource for all church ministrys that reach millennials like Young Adult ministry's, for example. 

I highly recommend this book and give it a thumbs up.

BUY IT: You can purchase Reaching Millennials at your favorite Christian book retailer from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Unveiled Wife: A Book Review

About The Book:

As a young bride, Jennifer Smith couldn't wait to build her life with the man she adored. She dreamed of closeness, of being fully known and loved by her husband. But the first years of marriage were nothing like she'd imagined. Instead, they were marked by disappointment and pain. Trapped by fear and insecurity, and feeling totally alone, Jennifer cried out to God: What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to us? It was as if a veil had descended between her and her husband, and between her and God—one that kept her from experiencing the fullness of love. How did Jennifer and her husband survive the painful times? What did they do when they were tempted to call it quits? How did God miraculously step in during the darkest hour to rescue and redeem them, tearing down the veil once and for all? The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4or4Ev38sas" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


About The Author:

Jennifer Smith began the Unveiled Wife blog in 2011 to encourage and inspire other wives. Today her blog has grown into an online community reaching over 450,000 women worldwide. Jennifer is author of the marriage devotional Wife After God. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Aaron, and their son, Eliott. Visit her at unveiledwife.com

My Review:

I have read Jennifer Smith blog for some time and am always encouraged each time I do. She has so much wisdom for women of all ages and stages in marriage and God is using her in many ways. The book is her journey through issues with sexual intimacy within marriage, an issue that far too many women experience yet so many do not discuss. The book encourages as you read it and allows you to also work on intimacy overall in a marriage and how God carries us through it all. The author was raw, honest and vulnerable, making her relatable to all who read this book. 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.

BUY IT: You can purchase The Unveiled Wife online here

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of the author, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Discipline That Connects with Your Child's Heart: A Book Review

About The Book:

You Can Connect With Your Child's Heart Through Discipline 
Parents want to raise respectful, responsible, and faith-filled kids. But when kids misbehave, parents often feel lost and confused, and don't realize that their discipline can make things worse in the long run. 

Jim and Lynne Jackson, founders of Connected Families, teach four powerful principles for discipline that shape both behavior and your kids' hearts. You'll learn to communicate--even when your kids are at their worst--that they are safe with you, loved no matter what, capable of wise choices, and responsible to make right the things they've made wrong. As you impart these messages, you'll create strong relationships, build lasting wisdom and character, and bring God's grace to life in your home!


You can read an excerpt of this book, here, in PDF format

About The Authors:

Jim and Lynne Jackson (www.connectedfamilies.org)have conducted over 1,300 workshops for parents and privately coached more than 1,000 parents since the early 1990s. They are media spokespeople for a variety of parenting issues, frequently speaking at churches and parenting conferences. The Jacksons have three children and live in Minnesota.

My Review:

This has definitely been one of the best parenting books I have read over the last 10 years I have been a parent. I have a select few that I would add to a "Top 10" list and this one is on it to be sure. It has so many practical ideas for parents in all stages of the game. Currently I am a mom of two tween girls. Parenting in and of itself is at times a journey, but during this stage it can be downright hard at times. This book has given me wisdom to impart that I will utilize for years to come. A few of the chapters that particularly hit me included the ones on understanding why my child is misbehaving, putting love into action no matter what and finding/building strengths, even in misbehavior. I especially loved a couple of the appendix topics, specifically those about homework, disrespect/sass and sibling conflict. 

This would be a fantastic gift idea for all parents and a great resource for all family ministry workers.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Discipline That Connects with Your Child's Heart at your favorite Christian book retailer from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***


Monday, April 3, 2017

The Creole Princess: A Book Review

About The Book:

Torn between loyalties to family and flag, one young woman is about to discover that her most important allegiance is to her heart.
It is 1776, and all along the eastern seaboard the American struggle for independence rages. But in the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is much quieter--though no less deadly. 

Lyse Lanier may be largely French in heritage, but she spends most of her time in the company of the ebullient daughter of the British commander of Mobile. When a charming young Spanish merchant docks in town, Lyse is immediately struck by his easy wit and flair for the dramatic. But is he truly who he makes himself out to be? Spies abound, and Spain has yet to choose a side in the American conflict. Is Lyse simply an easy mark for Rafael Gonzalez to exploit? Or are his overtures of love as genuine as Spanish gold?

With spectacular detail that brings the cultural gumbo of the Colonial Gulf Coast alive, Beth White invites you to step into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known slice of the American Revolutionary War.


You can read an excerpt of The Creole Princess, here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Beth White's day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers' Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.

My Review:

Book 2 of the Gulf Coast Chronicles, The Creole Princess, was a divine read. The characters were very well developed and I enjoyed this novel just as much as the prequel The Pelican Bride. While it is book two, it does very well as a stand alone novel as well, so please do not worry if you have not read the first book. I loved the historical details about New Orleans and Mobile, and it was clear that much research went into writing this great historical romance. It was delightful to read and I found myself up late into the night reading it. I look forward to reading more from author Beth White in the future.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Creole Princess at your favorite Christian book retailer from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Screens and Teens: A Book Review

About The Book:

If you feel like you're losing your teen to technology, you're not alone.
Screen time is rapidly replacing family time, and for teens especially, it is hardwiring the way they connect with their world. 
In Screens and Teens, Dr. Kathy helps you make sense of all this and empowers you to respond. She:
  • Exposes the lies that technology can teach your teen
  • Guides you in countering those lies with biblical truths and helpful practices
  • Shares success stories of families who have cut back on technology and prioritized each other
Kathy's research, experience, and relatability all come together for an inspiring book, sure to help you be closer with your kids.  
Grab a pen and get ready to underline, circle, and write "That's so us!" in the margins. Be equipped to keep your family connected. 
You can download a copy of the book's discussion guide, here, in PDF format
You can read an excerpt of Screens and Teens here, in PDF format
About The Author:
Kathy Koch is the Founder and President of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. She earned three degrees from Purdue University, including a Ph.D. in Reading and Educational Psychology. Before moving to Fort Worth to establish her ministry, Kathy served as a tenured Associate Professor in the education department at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. She has also taught second grade, coached at the middle school level, and served as a school board member for a Christian school. Kathy travels overseas twice each year, usually to help missionaries meet the educational needs of their children. She speaks to parents, women, educators, singles, students, and missionaries nationally and internationally and has been privileged to speak in 17 countries.
Kathy is author of How Am I Smart and Finding Authentic Hope and Wholeness, and is a regular contributor to three international magazines. She writes columns for Just Between Us, a magazine for women founded by Jill Briscoe, Interact, a journal for Christians educating their children overseas, and Teachers of Vision, a magazine for Christians teaching in public schools.
Kathy lives in Fort Worth, Texas.
My Review:
Technology is here to stay and for parents that does not have to be a scary thing. Author Kathy Koch does a marvelous job at explaining how technology, while overall not a bad thing, can be detrimental to the emotional and social development of teens when a balance between using it and not is not a good one. She reminds us about the needs that teens have and how technology and teens collide. This book reminds the reader how technology effects our teens and gives parents, teachers and youth ministry staff great tools to navigate the presence of technology in all our lives. A great read about technology and parenting from a great Christian worldview, that all parents need to read.
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.
BUY IT: You can purchase Screens and Teens online through Moody Publishers here.
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Moody Publishers, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Parenting: A Book Review

About The Book:
What is your calling as a parent?
In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.
Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy. 
You can read an excerpt of Parenting here, in PDF format
About The Author:
Paul David Tripp (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is also the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and the executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. He has written a number of popular books on Christian living, including What Did You Expect?Dangerous CallingParenting, and New Morning Mercies. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Luella and they have four grown children. For more information and resources, visit paultrippministries.org.
My Review:
There are literally thousands of parenting books on the market today, those that discuss discipline, how to deal with temper tantrums, and dealing with picky eaters and so many more. However, as great as many of those books are (and there are some fantastic ones out there), most do not teach according to what God wants in light of parenting. Paul David Tripp has done a wonderful job explaining, with strong scriptural references, real-life examples, and tips galore, how we as Christian parents, should parent in light of God's word. 
The 14 principles that Tripp presents in this book are as follows:
  1. Calling 
    Principle: Nothing is more important in your life than being one of God’s tools to form a human soul. 
  2. Grace
    Principle: God never calls you to a task without giving you what you need to do it. He never sends you without going with you. 
  3. Law
    Principle: Your children need God’s law, but you cannot ask the law to do what only grace can accomplish. 
  4. Inability
    Principle: Recognizing what you are unable to do is essential to good parenting. 
  5. Identity
    Principle: If you are not resting as a parent in your identity in Christ, you will look for identity in your children. 
  6. Process
    Principle: You must be committed as a parent to long-view parenting because change is a process and not an event. 
  7. Lost
    Principle: As a parent you’re not dealing just with bad behavior, but a condition that causes bad behavior. 
  8. Authority
    Principle: One of the foundational heart issues in the life of every child is authority. Teaching and modeling the protective beauty of authority is one of the foundations of good parenting. 
  9. Foolishness
    Principle: The foolishness inside your children is more dangerous to them than the temptation outside of them. Only God’s grace has the power to rescue fools. 
  10. Character
    Principle: Not all of the wrong your children do is a direct rebellion to authority; much of the wrong is the result of a lack of character. 
  11. False Gods 
    Principle: You are parenting a worshiper, so it’s important to remember that what rules your child’s heart will control his behavior. 
  12. Control
    Principle: The goal of parenting is not control of behavior, but rather heart and life change.
  13. Rest
    Principle: It is only rest in God’s presence and grace that will make you a joyful and patient parent. 
  14. Mercy
    Principle: No parent gives mercy better than one who is convinced that he desperately needs it himself. 

The book is very well organized, well-written and very easy to understand. It would be a fantastic gift idea for new parents, as well as a great resource for those in family/youth ministry in church's. I for one will be referencing this book regularly in the near future, as my husband and I begin to navigate the journey of parenting tween and middle school girls. 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family online through Amazon
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions and Crossway Books, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Give Yourself A Break: A Book Review

About The Book:

It's time to start treating yourself the way you treat others
As children we're taught to treat others the way we would like to be treated. But as adults, we often need to turn that old maxim around. We're good at showing compassion to other people--but many of us have trouble showing that same compassion to ourselves. We say things to ourselves we would never say to a friend. And all this negative self-talk can have a devastating effect on our lives and relationships.

Licensed marriage and family therapist Kim Fredrickson wants you to stop beating yourself up. Grounding her advice in Scripture, she offers practical steps, specific exercises, and compassionate words to say in order to build a loving relationship with yourself. Through inspiring stories of transformation, she'll help you learn to show yourself the kind of grace and understanding you offer to others--and to change your relationships, your outlook on life, and your view of yourself in the process.


You can read an excerpt of Give Yourself A Break here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Kim Fredrickson has been a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified Christian life coach for more than thirty years. An adjunct professor, speaker, and author, she loves helping people become equipped spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually with practical skills to live more effective and fulfilling lives. She has been married to her husband, Dave, for thirty-seven years and they have two grown children. Learn more and read her blog at www.kimfredrickson.com.

My Review:

As women, we are often our own worse enemy, particularly when it comes to being our own critic. Why do we do this and how can we change our emotional to stop and treat ourselves with the same respect we hope and pray others treat us. This book will help you work through that. It is well-written and gives many tips and ideas that will have you relying on God for self worth instead of relying on oneself or others, who always fail, but God never does. The author has a lot of practical, easy ways to do this but I feel there could have been more specific scripture references to get the reader to dig deeper into versus always looking to self. Overall, though it was a good read.

I recommend this book and give it a thumbs up.

BUY IT: You can purchase Give Yourself A Break at your favorite Christian book retailer from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Networked Theology: A Book Review

About The Book:

This informed theology of communication and media analyzes how we consume new media and technologies and discusses the impact on our social and religious lives. Combining expertise in religion online, theology, and technology, the authors synthesize scholarly work on religion and the internet for a nonspecialist audience. They show that both media studies and theology offer important resources for helping Christians engage in a thoughtful and faith-based critical evaluation of the effect of new media technologies on society, our lives, and the church.

About the Series

The Engaging Culture series is designed to help Christians respond with theological discernment to our contemporary culture. Each volume explores particular cultural expressions, seeking to discover God's presence in the world and to involve readers in sympathetic dialogue and active discipleship.

ContentsIntroduction: When New Media Meets Faith
1. Theology of Technology 101: Understanding the Relationship between Theology and Technology
2. New Media Theory 101: Understanding New Media and the Network Society
3. Networked Religion: Considering How Faith Is Lived in a Network Society
4. Merging the Network with Theology: Who Is My Neighbor in Digital Culture?
5. Developing a Faith-Based Community Response to New Media
6. Engaging Appropriately with Technology and Media
Index


You can read an excerpt of Networked Theology here, in PDF format

About The Authors:

Heidi A. Campbell (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She has been featured in the Chicago TribuneLA Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and on PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly and the BBC Radio World Service. Campbell is the author of Exploring Religious Community Online, has written numerous articles and encyclopedia entries, and participated in the Sir John Templeton Oxford Seminars in Science and Christianity.

Stephen Garner (PhD, University of Auckland) is head of school in the School of Theology at Laidlaw College in Auckland, New Zealand. He holds an MSc in computer science and worked in a number of fields in the information technology sector before entering theological studies. Garner has written various book chapters and journal articles on theology, technology, media, and popular culture. He speaks frequently on technology and new media.

My Review:

Modern technology, particularly social media platforms, are something I do not think most church's thought they would ever have to think about. For so many years I truly believe that churches did not embrace technology because they wanted to be pure, and not want to do the same as the world around them was doing. However, as time has shown in order to reach the world for Christ, sometimes we have to use the technology that is available to do that. But how do we do that and still spread the Gospel of Christ in a honest, humble and real way. This book will allow all those that read it to delve into that question and decide on a response to new technology that works the best for them or their ministry.

I give this book a big thumbs up and highly recommend it. 

BUY IT: You can purchase Networked Theology at your favorite Christian bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Different Kind of Happiness: A Book Review

About The Book:

True happiness comes from true relationship--and true relationship comes from sacrificial love

How to love when you don't feel like loving
Everywhere we look, we see evidence that love is in short supply. Terror and corruption, school shootings and troubled marriages, impatient online sniping and character assassination--all point to the fact that we do not know how to love one another as Jesus commanded and modeled. We put our own interests, comfort, and happiness first, despite the fact that the greatest happiness comes through sacrificial love.

A Different Kind of Happiness shows you a love that is deeper than being nice and serving others. It's a love that relates to others in such a way that they feel heard, seen, and valued. A love that sacrifices and suffers and keeps loving, even when doing so is costly. This kind of love, says Dr. Larry Crabb, is the kind of love shown to us by our Creator and Redeemer--and it's the kind worth fighting for in all of our relationships.


About The Author:

Dr. Larry Crabb is a well-known psychologist, conference and seminar speaker, Bible teacher, popular author, and founder/director of NewWay Ministries. He is currently scholar in residence at Colorado Christian University in Denver and visiting professor of spiritual formation for Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta. Dr. Crabb and his wife of almost fifty years, Rachael, live in the Denver, Colorado, area. Learn more at www.newwayministries.org.

My Review:

I have read a number of books from author Dr. Larry Crabb over the years, but honestly A Different Kind of Happiness, while overall a very good read, it was a difficult one too. Good because it taught me alot about relationships and how God fits into all my Earthly relationships. The biggest take away for me is to love on people even when I don't feel like it, or they don't deserve because I don't either. God loves me, so I should love others. 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase A Different Kind of Happiness at your favorite Christian retailer from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc,, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Losing Susan: A Book Review

About The Book:

The Story of Brain Disease and the Priest's Wife

This is the story of Susan--a wife, a mother, a Christian believer, a lover of children, a writer of stories, and a woman of extraordinary intellect. Susan was diagnosed with a brain tumor in her late thirties. Although it was successfully treated, the process led to her slow and unending decline throughout the remaining nineteen years of her life.

In this personal story of love and loss, seasoned pastor-theologian Victor Lee Austin shares how caring for his wife during her long, painful struggle with brain cancer and its aftereffects brought him face-to-face with his God and with his faith in unsettling ways. God gave Victor what his heart most desired--marriage to Susan--then God took away what he had given. Yet God never withdrew his presence. Weaving together autobiographical details and profound theological insights, this powerful narrative of suffering and love is told with bracing honesty. It shows that while we cannot tidily make sense of God's role in suffering, we are called to turn to him in the face of pain and death.


Contents
1. The Beginning


How We Met--How We Went to Church--That Summer--The Previous Christmas--Her Brilliant Childhood--A Hug--The Second-Best Book in the Bible--Rejection and Reversal--Heart's Desire--The Advent Calendar--The Tree of Life--Christmas Day--A Letter to Mr. Buckley--Susan Is Published on Abortion--Children--More Children


2. The Middle


Lights--To Do What Needs to Be Done--Prayer No Longer Makes Sense--Seizure Control--Where Was God?--He Taketh Away--On the Other Hand--God Intends to Kill Us--The Executive Function--How That Worked Out--Evil: Take One--Evil: Take Two--Evil: Take Three--The Hip--My Church Friends--Hydrocephalus--Graduations--Prevenient Grace--We Never Doubted God's Reality--Back to College--Back to Church--Susan Walking--Those Earlier Falls


3. The End

The Return of the Seizure--And Another--This Time in Hospital--Why I Witness to These Details--The Pebble Dare--The Year That Would Be the Last--At the Epilepsy
Unit--The Dark Night--Being Heard--Recovery--Anxiety--What the Body Knows--Blessed Speech Therapists--The Happy Return to October; Its Tragic End--The Best Book in the Bible--Sandy--What Is It?--The Kidneys Have Their Say--Crossing Another Line--Tears and Hope--December 17, 2012--May She Rest--A Christian Service--Little Lady--Why Have You Forsaken Me?--Divergence and a Dream


Epilogue: To Plumb the Depths of God's Love by Susan Austin


You can read an excerpt of Losing Susan here, in PDF format

About The Author:

Victor Lee Austin (PhD, Fordham University), an Episcopal priest, is canon theologian and theologian-in-residence for the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and Church of the Incarnation in uptown Dallas. He has taught in various academic settings and is the author of several books, including Christian Ethics: A Guide for the Perplexed and Up with Authority. He previously served as theologian-in-residence at the historic St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

My Review:

As an almost 12 year cancer survivor I anticipated being very affected by reading Losing Susan. I was not mistaken. I cried, a lot! While my journey through cancer was not even close to what Susan had, many of the emotional thoughts, the spiritual journey were similar. I was just in awe at how Austin wrote this memoir. My greatest take away from the book was that when we walk through a journey like this with people they do not want textbook/Bible answers, they want the person listening to listen with heart and use every day words to encourage. That's it, period. Such a hard read from an emotional standpoint but one that anyone who is walking through a health crisis/end of life situation with needs to read. Perfect for caregivers and care pastors for sure.

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Losing Susan at your favorite Christian book retailer from Brazos Press, a division of Baker Publishing Group

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***