Monday, November 30, 2009

God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa T. Bergren

In God Gave Us Christmas, we see the beautiful story of the true meaning of Christmas unfold before us. As a mother bear takes her young cub on a journey to find God and the meaning of Christmas, we see the wonders of God all around them. This adventure reminds us that Santa is not the author of Christmas. God has written a beautiful love story to His children and Lisa describes it beautifully. Laomai and I give this book four thumbs up!

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

God Gave Us Love by Lisa T. Bergren

God Gave Us Love is a cute book that takes the reader on a journey with a grandpa and a young cub. The grandpa explains the types of love God gives us and how God desires for us to love others. My daughter and I enjoyed reading this book together and talking about love. It delivers an easy to understand description of love for young and old audiences alike. It gives a beautiful reminder to love others no matter how we feel. We recommend this book to you.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Treasured by Leigh McLeroy

The idea behind Leigh's book is to know God by the things He might choose to keep in a treasure box. I thought it was an interesting idea and that is why I chose to review this book. Unfortunately, I could never get into the story. I hate to even say it. It didn't seem to flow. I struggled through the shallowness of comparing the life of Joseph to being evicted from a duplex. It lost me at the lengthy description of a love affair with Harry Potter. Perhaps I am expecting too much from a book about Christ and His treasures. Sadly, I cannot recommend this book to you.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

God is More Dangerous than Terrorists

Denbigh asked me a few weeks back if I felt a greater sense of urgency of late. Is anyone else feeling the birth pains of revival? I do. In these days when the enemy is trying to scatter, discourage, and confuse us, we must stay about the work. In fact, we must be more about the work than we have ever been before. I came across Bryan Padgett's post the other day and my heart started beating fast. I asked him if I could post it and he graciously agreed. Let's be about the Father's business. What is God calling you to do with what you hear? How is God calling you to support this vision?

"I heard the above quote last week during a training in Phoenix, AZ. I love it because it is truth. For so many years now, a weak, tame and small god has been preached week in and week out in churches all across this land. The result: Christians who are scared to death to take chances for the King because of the dangers that they could endure. We have become like that which we worship. We worship a god who is more concerned with our safety and our security. This, friends, is NOT the God of the Bible.

The God of the Bible is dangerous and good! He sends us out like sheep among wolves...dangerous! He calls us to die daily, take up the cross of suffering and follow Him...dangerous! He warns that following Him will make us a hated bunch and a persecuted bunch...dangerous! He calls us to love our enemies...dangerous! He calls us to make disciples of all nations...dangerous! He promises to be with us always...good! He has saved us through the death of His own Son...good! He has given us everything we need and all the blessings of heaven...good! He has reconciled us to Himself...good! Nothing can snatch us from Him and nothing can separate us from His love for us...good! OK, I think the point has been made well enough. He is dangerous and good!

I have heard much of my life that at the center of God's will is my comfort and my security. LIE! At the center of God's will is a bloody, deadly cross with the Father's Son on it! Yes, this cross has purchased for believers eternal comfort and security, but in this life will be much hardship and difficulty. Today there approximately 2,000 people groups that have not even been engaged with missionaries yet, let alone the gospel. 639 of those people groups have a population of 100,000 or more. Some of the largest unengaged, unreached people groups are in northern India and the Punjab of Pakistan. I am speaking about groups that have 10 million people or more with ZERO workers among them. There is a reason these groups are still unengaged. They are dangerous. I write this mostly to draw out the Paul-types who sit in churches week after week wondering what their purpose is. They will eventually get frustrated and go form a non-profit or start a business. They will inevitably re-invent the wheel while telling everyone they don't want to re-invent the wheel. For these unengaged peoples, THERE IS NO WHEEL!

I would like for people to ask themselves one question: "What am I willing to endure to see Christ worshipped among all peoples?" For some it will be leading a team to a place where no work is currently going on. For others it will be living more strategically here in the States so as to bless those who go to the unengaged and unreached peoples of the world. And for some it will be releasing your children into the Lord's hands to labor among the nations. There are many other options, as well. The point is that the Church in America needs to become far more reflective of her Husband, Christ. We need to function and live as dangerously as Christ, and as fixed on the Father as he was. As we fix ourselves on Him we will become like Him, for it has been written that we become like that which we worship. We are living in a day and age when the task of completing the Great Commission is close to being fulfilled. To steal a football analogy, we are in the red zone now. The field is shorter and it's harder to score. There are some hard places ahead of us, but Jesus is not a fool. He knows where He's sending us, and He knows full well what will happen to us. And as has been said to some many pioneers throughout history, God says to us, "Do not be afraid, for I AM with you!" No place can be too hard with that promise!

Enough of the status quo. Enough of the fear of terrorists. Enough of the excuses. Enough of the passion for comfort and security. OK, so here's my question: Are you ready to get in and get after these remaining people groups? If so, message me and let's get the ball rolling. I'm serious! Why wait any longer, let's begin the process and see where the Lord leads.

Would love to hear from you!

Bryan Padgett"
*You can find Bryan on facebook!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"the Jesus test" Giveaway to Fort Hood soldiers

On Friday, Denbigh and I had the honor of accompanying Robert Barge, author of the Jesus test to Killeen to give away copies of his book to soldiers. Armed with 500 books, we started handing them out. There are those who did not want a copy and I am sure a few who saw Jesus and thought we might be Jehova's Witnesses or something else cultish. With every book that was taken from one of our hands, I teared up.

I don't know about you, but the tragedy at Fort Hood really got to me. I thought about my own dad serving in the military. It could have been any number of people we love. I desperately wanted to do something, anything to show God's love.

One beautiful story that we heard was from a man who told us that his son had been estranged from him and had told him he never wanted to talk to him again. That young man was scheduled to be in that room that day and something happened so that he wasn't. That night, he called his dad.

Blessings to you, Robert Barge.
Thank you for letting us tag along.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dinner and a Show

What if you went to dinner with a friend and she was trying to share with you a story about a wonderful trip she went on with one of her children and you continually stopped her and asked her how the story applied to you? What if you constantly stopped the story to try to get something out of it for yourself, some bullet point to live by? Would she ever want to go to dinner with you again?

We do this to God. We are always trying to break apart the story to get the most out of it for ourselves. We are trying to obtain the 8 steps to have a better life from the book of __fill in the blank__. Perhaps, God just wants you to listen. Jesus was a story teller. People sat at His feet to listen. It was the main way He chose to reveal Himself to those around Him. We try to dissect every word we read without ever listening to the story all the way through. The funny thing is, that the principles we glean don't change us. The story changes us. Listen.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World by Dr David Jeremiah

In a time when people are losing the things they have worked so hard for, Dr Jeremiah sets out to call us to the confident life we can have in Christ. The world is more caustic than it has ever been, but we can have faith that God is in control and has a game plan for His chosen people.

I had a love hate relationship with this book. The pages are rich with stories of survival and dependence on God coupled with scripture that reminds us who and what we are in these dark times. He casts vision of the call of God for us to remain awake and aware. I thoroughly enjoyed the things in the book, but I drudged through it. It felt like an old Sunday school lesson that wasn't very well planned out. I didn't feel much at the end. I wanted to. I kept trying to convince myself to like it. There are good things contained in it, but my spirit rarely connected to them. This is rare. I like most every book I read.


I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Night With Donald Miller

On Tuesday night I had the joy of hearing Donald Miller speak about his new book at First Baptist Church in Georgetown, Texas. I enjoyed the drive there on the glorious toll road 130. Upon arriving, I see some of my dearest friends, Cosmo and Suzi who were coerced by my husband to join me. It is always a joy and a blessing to see them. We laughed at the opener, Susan Isaacs. She was funny, and angry, and funny. Then, the Donald, as I like to call him, came out and shared. I enjoy his writing. I enjoy his insight which makes me stare deep within into what I think and believe about God. His story telling causes me to search out God for myself.

One point that the Donald made was about conflict. I wrote about this idea in my book review several posts back. He told us that there was conflict in the Bible before the fall. Adam was naming all of the animals and he was lonely. This could have taken Adam up to one hundred years to name all of the animals on earth, so you can see he would start to notice everyone had a mate suitable but him. Lonely. That sounds like a post fall condition, but there it is. Adam was in conflict. God noticed and let him stay there for a while. This was meant to give Adam a deep desire for a mate. It was meant to stir thankfulness. Conflict is a gift.

He told of disgust at the books Christian authors are putting out with the 5 steps to get more out of Jesus. When we follow these paths if we succeed, WE succeed. If we fail, WE fail. We must thrust ourselves completely dependent into the embrace of the Almighty. There is such danger in us trying to apply the teachings of Jesus to ourselves like we would the teachings of Buddha or Muhammad. We are to put on Christ according to the glorious book of Romans, not dabble in His teachings.

At the end of the evening, the Donald said that something he discovered was "Terribly Interesting" Cosmo turned to me and said, " He reads your blog!" I bet he checks it every day. Blessings on your endeavors, Donald Miller. May God multiply insight and integrity to you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guest Blogger - Brent Weber

A friend of mine sent me this note which was resultant of his prayer time. I thought it was interesting. What do you think?

Good Samaritans in Life

You know I get so frustrated in life seeing Christ followers whose actions differ so much.

You have those who are walking down the path, but instead of focusing ahead on God and Jesus, they are walking backwards, focused on the things of the world. They may be walking the right direction, but only in motion.

You have those who are following the path and their sole focus is God and Jesus. They are so focused on this goal they actually will never reach of their own doing. They do not let their eyes waver from the goal. Though there are others walking the same road, they ignore them and kind of push past them. Those who are walking along backwards will cross their gaze every once in a while and they mutter something under their breath and quicken their pace a bit so as to hurry and get past them. Without realizing it they accidentally bump that person and knock them to the ground.

Then you have the others. They are walking forward in the right direction, but mindful of those around them. They see those broken down on the side of the road. They see those not able to walk well, but trudging along. They see those who are walking backwards. They see those who have been tripped. They see those who have given up and are slowly trudging in the wrong direction.

These people though realize this is not a race. You see a race is something you run knowing the outcome is in your hands, knowing your efforts can decide the winner.

We are called to be the latter group. Just as the good Samaritan stopped and helped, not just a person on the side of the road, not just a stranger, but an enemy, we are called to do the same. Make sure you are helping those on the side of the road. Help those that have fallen, get up and hold their hand as they walk with you. When one of those walking backwards hooks their heel and stumbles, catch them, turn them around, put your arm around them and walk shoulder to shoulder with them. Those who are struggling to walk, hold their hand and encourage them.

Remember that no matter how fast you run, you cannot cross the finish line by your own efforts.

Eternity is going to be a party. I want to hear those angels hootin and hollerin when me and my buddies arrive.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Walking on Water

The other day I was reading the account of Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14 and I saw a beautiful picture. We hear this passage preached about how Peter got discouraged and began to sink because he took his eyes off of Jesus. I even heard one preacher say it was about losing faith in yourself (this I think is misguided, unlike the aforementioned truth).
I saw a parable, a promise, and a prophesy.

Peter wants to believe that Christ is coming and says, "if it is you, call me to you." Jesus says, "Come." Peter begins walking and gets distracted by the wind and begins sinking.
Jesus catches him.

This to me was a prophesy of the failure of Peter, perhaps all of our failure. Jesus was showing him clearly that he was going to lose faith and get distracted by the conditions around him. That he did when he denied Christ three times.

I saw a promise that as we seek Christ that He is poised for rescue even before we know we are sinking. Jesus was giving Peter a picture to have in his mind later when he failed Christ to a much greater extent. He gave Peter the picture of His extended hand pulling him out of the fear and doubt that would seem to engulf him. After he denied Christ, he could remember his Savior's extended hand. When he later saw the Lord on the shore where he would be offered a chance of redemption, he would jump back into the icy waters he had begun to sink into because he remembered that no matter how he failed in faith, Jesus got him back in that boat. The promise is that if you have the tiny amount of faith to leap from the boat, the Lord will do the work of drawing you to Himself.

I saw a parable. We are going to be rocked in this world. We are going to be wanton of the faith to finish the task. We are going to fail. Jesus has given us a picture of His desire for us to come to Him. He will sustain. As the torrential waves of life seem to engulf us and we sink a beautiful thing will happen. As our body lowers, all of the people looking at us (like the disciples amazed at Peter) will no longer see us.

They will see the Christ.
They will see Him extend His hand.
They will see Him draw us near.
They will see Him get us back to the boat.

© 2009

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...