Thursday, January 27, 2011

God Gave Us the World by: Lisa Tawn Bergren art by Laura J. Bryant

So I thought what a better way to review a children's story, than to read it to my children! And that is exactly what I did! My girls were so excited to get a new book first of all no matter what the story is they are always willing to listen, however they do let me know what they think of it!

In the book "God Gave Us the World" by Laura Bryant, I felt it was a really great message wrapped into a cute and entertaining story! At the beginning of the book it introduces a Mama Bear and a Little Cub. They are walking in the snow sticking out their tongues to catch the snow! My girls just laughed and laughed at this, and one of them even stuck out her tongue and began to pretend it was snowing in our living room! When Mama Bear tells Little Cub he has the pinkest tongue she has ever seen, Little Cub wonders if all bears are the same as him.

Mama Bear begins to explain to Little Cub that God created all kinds of different places to live and different types of bears. So they begin taking a journey through a Bear Exhibit in order to see a glimpse of all that God created. They talk about many different types of bears, where they live, what they eat, and how each bear is made unique by our Creator. No bear is quite the same! They talk about how Big God is and how the world reflects God's work. It is God's nature to create, and our purpose here on earth is to worship Him. I felt it went a little green at the end of the story, talking about how we need to be good stewards of our world, take care of the world because it is God's gift to us.

After we were done reading the story my girls looked up at me and said "that was a great story mom, can we read it again?!" I guess that comment can speak for it's self! Even my 5 month old LOVED looking at the pictures! Over all I think the story was great, the message was great and it was easy for the kids to interact with the story.

~I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.~

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Shadowed Mind A Dinah Harris Mystery by Julie Cave

What is human life worth to you. Should people who are alcoholics, homeless, disabled, or mentally disturbed be considered a burden to society? If we got rid of everyone who have these problems will it strengthen society for the greater good? According to "The Movement" group, eugenics is better for everyone, but what if that meant murder?

In this mysterious tale "The Shadowed Mind" by Julie Cave, Dinah Harris is in search of a murderer. With each murder well thought out and planned it gives Dinah and the detective a run for their money with the search for the mysterious man with black eyes. During their investigation they stumble upon a eugenics group called "The Movement", who does not believe that life is precious. With Dinah's recent alcoholic background and her struggling to stay sober, things take a turn when she becomes the killers next target. Will Dinah turn to God and surrender to His will, or will she take things upon herself and go back to her old ways?

Although I'm not much of a Mystery person, I though this book was an amazing picture of God's love and grace. It shows us how no matter who we were in the past, God is able to transform us with His love into who he wants us to be. Highly recommend this book!

~I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing for this review.~

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slave by John MacArthur

When asked what a follower of Christ means, not many people will respond by saying that it means to be a slave to Christ! Most people respond by saying they are a servant of Christ, or a follower of Christ. In John MacArthur's new book "Slave", he talks about how the word "slave" has gotten lost in translation of the bible. He explains how the word "slave" or "doulos" in Greek, appears 124 times in the original text but is only actually translated into the word "slave" correctly 1 time in the entire KJV of the bible. Instead they used the word "servant".

MacArthur goes on to explore what the true meaning of being a "slave" of Christ means. He goes back to Roman times and explores in and out of what being a slave meant back then. He talks about everything from being bought, to how they were treated, and what their circumstances were if they did not obey their master. Then he paralleled it to our walk with Christ, and what being a slave of Christ means to for us. MacArthur explains how we will always be a slave to something! We will either be a slave to sin, or a slave to Christ. By being a slave to sin we are in constant fear of our master, and are promised death for eternity. But when we were bought with a price by Christ, he freed us from sin, and we also became free to live a life of righteousness, and are guaranteed to live forever with Him. We were freed from sin and enslaved to God.

I received some really great insight from this book. I've never looked at my life as being a slave to anyone. By turning the word servant, into slave it definitely turned my outlook on my walk with Christ upside down, but in a good way! This is definitely a life changing book, and worth the read.

*** I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255***

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mark of the Lions den series Book 1 "A voice in the wind" by Francine Rivers

So It took me forever to finish this book, not because the story was not good and not because it wasn't a captivating story; but because it's so detailed and lengthy! I love Francine Rivers and her books especially "Redeeming Love" and this one was amazing as well, but they are so hard for me to read through! I feel like they take me forever!

I borrowed this book from a friend because I heard it was a must read and she was totally right! The first few chapters I didn't care for just because it talked a lot about war, and I'm not big on reading about war. Watching it is okay but reading it is a bit boring to me. Once I got past the first three chapters the book really started to take off!

It's the story of a Jewish slave girl, who is a Christian. She sacrifices everything for the love and truth of the one True God! This is an amazing story of love, sacrifice, & betrayal but in the end God always wins!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What I learned in 2010

When I think about how I teach my children about Creation, and how God made the earth and all that is in it. It just humbles me to think that he already knew all the lessons in life he was going to teach us before he ever created us. He already knew how to be the perfect father and didn't have to learn by trial and error. He knew what we needed because he knew us personally before we even knew Him.

Thinking back over the last year, I find it interesting how long it takes us humans to learn simple lessons God is trying to teach us. Some of us can sit and listen to a friend talk about their experiences over and over, and how painful the outcome of things were because of their mistakes; and then we go out and do the exact same thing and expect different results! Over and over again we do the same selfish, self-destructive things to ourselves and still we do not learn! I'm guilty as well of needing the Lord to hit me over the head with a brick before I can say "OH WOW! So that's how it's suppose to be!!" I feel like when it comes to life lessons from God, he teaches us in parts. Little by little, piece by piece he puts things together for us over long periods of time. Each year I feel like my life lessons have gotten more intense, more in depth and harder and harder to figure out what exactly God is trying to say at times!

2010 was a huge eye opener for me spiritually speaking. I believe that God has shown me one of the most important lessons of my life this year, piece by piece . For the last 12 years, I've gotten up on Sunday mornings, put on my Sunday best, put on shoes that make me grit my teeth in pain and went to "Church." I'd walk in say hello to whoever crossed my path on the way to my seat and do whatever ministry duties I had that day. Some days I'd sit behind/beside people and listen to them talk about what that person was wearing in the Choir, or this person's shoes or that person's hair style; and some day's I felt like it was a huge fashion show that I was not classy enough for. Some day's were better than others, there were some day's I could walk in and out and have not ONE person notice or say hello to me; but some day's when I would be so caught up with talking to people I couldn't get out of the building. I felt that people based my faithfulness to God on my attendance, how much I volunteered or how much money I gave. I'm not speaking of one particular "Church" that I've attended, but several of them. My overall experiences in "the church", I have to say has not been so great!

I found myself pulling away from "The Church" (not one in particular) wanting to seek the Lord on my own. I felt that I had grown more from spending my Sunday's and Wednesday's pouring over my bible myself, then I had in the last 12 years sitting in "the Church" building. As this began to happen in my life, the Lord piece by piece began to bring people into my life to explain to me what "The Church" really is! Last summer, I believe it was, we received a visit from my husbands old roommate in College; Pastor Jamal Jivanjee. Jamal started talking to us about a book he was reading called "Pagan Christianity" He told us all about his thoughts on "the church" and how a lot of things we do today in "the church" are old pagan traditions. He talked about how "the church" isn't a building full of people but a community of people. I listened to Jamal talk and my first reaction was "I like the traditions".

As time went on, my husband was asked to lead worship for a friend of ours at a new church plant one night. After the worship, we talked to him about the model of "the church" it seemed similar to what Jamal had talked about. The thing he said to us was "if you are ready to be a missionary in this county then this church is for you!" Basically it's a group of believers meeting together in a house, reaching out to non-believers in their neighborhood. Then eventually someone will start another community in another neighborhood and on and on. But the emphasis here is not on "Growth" of "the church" it's on growth of "THE CHURCH"; reaching non-believers.

For months we talked about this new "church" model. And for months I wrestled with what this meant for me, and for my future. Then last week I finished the most life changing book that brought everything God has been trying to show me together! "Radical" by David Platt.

I've learned this year that "The Church" is what has been separating The Church from being "THE CHURCH" - Yes you heard that right. WE are the church, our body is the Temple. The holy spirit does not just move at the alter of a building, or in the presence of one man standing on the pulpit preaching a sermon. The Holy Spirit moves within the Temple, it moves within all of us not just one of us, we are a mobile church, in need of community with other believers. "The Church" is not a building, or a denomination, or a service that caters to seekers, and ignores believers; nor is it a service that caters to believers. It's not for our entertainment and it's not for our comfort. "The Church" is us, the body of Christ coming together for one common purpose. "The Church" isn't about how big we can grow "the church". Jesus only had 12 disciples of whom were not schooled, but trained to go into the world and teach the good news. Looking at the New Testament it seems Jesus was more successful with those 12 disciples then some "churches" are with 10k members! From my experience getting people to volunteer for things in "churches" is like pulling teeth sometimes. In the book "radical" it talks about people saying things like "that's just not my calling!" I for one am guilty of using that excuse myself, but it also talks about how when Jesus says "GO" it doesn't say "if you are called" because he has called everyone! It's not about being comfortable in our church buildings, and not stepping on peoples toes, the watered-down gospel doesn't satisfy; it's about being uncomfortable and offending people for the gospel!

Why it took me this long to be able to look at how Jesus did things and say "Hey that is how your suppose to do church" I have no idea. It has been right in front of me all this time and I'm just now being hit with the brick! It would make since that we would duplicate everything our Savior did, if we are Christ-followers. I mean really he showed us how to do everything from prayer to living a godly life; why wouldn't he have shown us how to BE the church too?

I'm thankful for the lessons the Lord has been teaching me. I'm looking forward to what he has in store for us in 2011 since I've finally grasped what he was trying to say to me in 2010. Praying for lots of spiritual growth this year! God Bless and Happy New year!