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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Better Together by Rusty George


Better Together: Discover the Power of CommunityBetter Together: Discover the Power of Community by Rusty George
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I read through Better Together, I thought that I should tell everyone longing for community and everyone in a community group to read it. It’s a cut above the cookie cutter idea of community. It’s a call to vulnerability and admitting we do need someone.

The pages dive into the “we” of scripture and the Jewish culture.

“I remember when WE crossed the Red Sea, when WE were fed by manna, when We heard that Jesus was the Messiah, when wE found out Jesus was alive...” It dismantles the western ideal of me and my experience. It reminds us to take joy in the success of others.

“Our problem is not the monster, the clown, or even the haunted house. Our problem is that we have failed to lock arms, circle up, and walk bravely into the darkness.”

This book is full of beauty and reminders of real men like CS Lewis and fictional men like Frodo who found healing in community and went on to heal others in community.

It’s grand. Read it. Be encouraged to love again.

This book was graciously provided by Bethany House Publishers for review.






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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Y'all. This Holy Interruption.

 
Today we were holy interrupted. We had just sat down on the back porch of our cottage in Gruene when this woman apologized for wandering in to our space. I told her she wasn’t bothering us and we’d be totally happy if she just joined us on the porch. She started telling us how she had just had a divine encounter on a rock out back. She was walking by and thought about standing on the solid rock. She climbed up there and she was stunned by how being three feet off the ground (on the rock) changed her perspective. I thought that was such a powerful sentiment. Standing on the rock changes your perspective. Emily and I thanked her for sharing her story and maybe told her we loved her and her boldness.She told us she was on an new journey and then went off exploring more. As I sat there, I thought of someone I wanted to share her story with so I called out to her and asked if I could get a picture of her on that rock. That’s when the deeper story began to unfold...
As we walked over to the rock she told us that she wanted to tell us the reason her encounter was so powerful. Her kids were still asleep in the room and she went to eat breakfast by herself alone. This was the first time she had eaten alone since her husband died three weeks ago. She went on to tell us that she had lost her dad in February as well. Her husband had a heart attack while they were out sailing and he fell in the water. Her daughter jumped in and held his body. Her son then administered CPR. At the ER, she was on her knees outside of the area where he was with her hands in the air praying and believing God for a miracle. She said all of a sudden her hands dropped and she just surrendered to whatever God wanted to do. That's when the nurses came in and told her that they had been working on him for some time and he wasn't responding at all. So she went to the kids and asked if they wanted the good news or the bad news. Good. "Daddy is with Jesus."

You know we had to climb up on that rock ourselves. I was honored to get to pray with her. Then, we took a selfie and exchanged numbers. Jesus stuns me with his ability to bring 3 people together that didn't know each other, but needed one another so much. 
Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you kindly for stopping by. 
Love y'all,
Steph

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Rescue by Jim Cymbala



The Rescue: Seven People, Seven Amazing Stories…The Rescue: Seven People, Seven Amazing Stories… by Jim Cymbala
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These six stories are soul stirring and faith building. Each story is the worst case scenario of perpetrators and perpetrating. There is deep sin with a great foothold. But, when God writes a story... there is redemption.

The thing that stood out to me the most is how simple acts of kindness brought these people to Christ. It was not some great movement, it was simple words and gestures. One man living in an alley heard a tv from one of the apartments above him saying that Jesus was the only way. He was able to get off drugs and out of homelessness after this encounter. It spoke to me because it is so easy to be discouraged and not feel like small acts of kindness do anything. These six stories help us remember that no act is to small to be used by Christ.

I am a big fan of Ann Spangler and the stories that come out of the Brooklyn Tabernacle via Jim Cymbala.


View all my reviews

Publisher's Description:
By New York Times bestselling author and pastor Jim Cymbala, The Rescue tells the powerful, true stories of men and women whose lives should have ended badly but miraculously didn't. Something unexpected happens to each of them and their incredible stories will take you by surprise and restore your hope.





Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have recently realized that I have been following Connilyn from the beginning of her career as an author. Every thing I have read from her has been gripping and hard to put down. This book is no exception. I was tied in knots the entire time.

There were so many interesting facts that I learned reading this book. I knew what cities of refuge were, but had no clue about the complexities of the law. If you accidentally killed someone, you could go to a city of refuge and ask for trial because the next of kin could legally kill you. I never thought about how hard or treacherous these journeys could be. If the avenger beat you there, he could kill you at the gate.

The romance sometimes seemed over the top to me, but it definitely kept me tuned in to the story. It also showed what happened to these people who were forced to leave their families and live in these cities when an accident had occurred.

The thing that sticks out to me at the end of the book is the fact that when the high priest who gave them asylum in these cities dies, all the manslayers (accidental killers) go free. His death pardons all of their sins. What a clear picture of the gospel.


This book was graciously given by Bethany House Publishers for review.


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Monday, March 12, 2018

Raising Passionate Jesus followers by Phil and Diane Comer


What a great book on parenting! I underlined or took notes from almost every page. I found some nugget that I could pray for in nearly every paragraph. This is one of the best practical books I’ve read on parenting by faith to infuse faith. 




If you are like me and had little guidance in this area, this is a book for you. So often we feel like we don’t have it together and the time we have to train our children is slipping through our hands. Phil and Diane give practical, thoughtful, timely guides for igniting a passion in our children for Christ. Of course, only Christ can give faith, but we as parents can make delighting in him so much easier. I don’t know about you, but I need reminders to reach through the chaos and remind me to pray, teach, love. 

This book is broken up into sections according to age and the basic areas of character you are working towards in each. I can see many areas where I could use some help and some where I am thriving. The main thing is that it gave me specifics to pray and practical steps to take. Even if you just prayed through the book, I feel like it would be a good investment. We may not be able to perfectly showcase Christ to our kids, but with guidance and prayer, we can try.




This book was graciously provided by Zondervan Publishers for review.