Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sun Stand Still

Founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church (Charlotte, NC), Steven Furtick, is a young man with a passionate message to share. "Sun Stand Still", subtitled What Happens When You Dare To Ask God For The Impossible is based on Joshua 10:12-13 "On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua spoke to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
    "Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
    and moon, over the valley of Aijalon."

    And the sun stood still and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on its enemies.
    Isn't this written in the Book of Jashar? 
    So the sun stopped
    in the middle of the sky
    and delayed its setting
    almost a full day."
I admit to being just a tad skeptical when I selected the book. If this was going to be another formulaic, 'name it and claim it', 12 easy steps to prosperity-type book, I wanted no part of it. While I am very familiar with the power of prayer, I also know that Christians are definitely not promised that life will be easy. So, I was glad to see that this is a well thought out reminder that we serve the same God as Joshua, Elijah, Moses, and the other people of faith we read about in our Bibles. These are not merely stories, but actual accounts of people who God used to demonstrate His glory and power.

Steven gives several examples of the power of "audacious faith" from both Biblical events and personal eyewitness. He also clearly admits that some prayers have a delayed answer and that sometimes the answer is "No". Many books make me feel inadequate because they are often about people who are least by worldly standards. I read this feeling that my prayers are no more nor less valid than any other who is willing to ask God for the seemingly impossible. We all have areas in our lives that only God can handle. This book encourages you to boldly ask for the impossible (& not selfishly), and to put your faith in action. Don't just sit idly by while you wait on God to act. I was also glad to have him stress that we should examine our motives and our sins. Instead of being just another young, 'rock-star' preacher spouting off the latest craze in feel-goodism, I found this to be a book that I can use to grow spiritually. I certainly do recommend it to others.

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

Adventures In Booga Booga Land (#2)

"Adventures In Booga Booga Land" are based on Richard Milner's allegories and published by Tommy Nelson (Thomas Nelson). The 3 titles and the parables upon which they are based are:

1. Squid Sushi Loses His Marbles (The Lost Pearl) Matthew 13:45-46
2. Wally The Waiter (The Soil and the Seeds) Matthew 13:24-30
3. The Flaming Monkey (The Wedding Banquet) Matthew 22:2-14

We are invited to "join Marty the monkey and Gerard the giraffe as they bungle their way through the paradise of Booga Booga Land inadvertently learning lessons that Jesus taught many years ago." I taught preschoolers for many years, and have had to use my imagination to make a point to tie together a story, but I simply had difficulty seeing the correlation between some of these stories and the parable they were meant to teach. Had I not been told on the DVD cover that these are parables of Jesus, I don't know that I would have made the connection.

Despite my age, I still love cartoons, and I got bored watching these. The humor did not even get a smile out of me and I found the characters to be cliched (an Irish cop, for example). There were bright colors and the stories were short (each lasts about 15 minutes), but I would not purchase these. I'm not even sure what age group would be interested. However, my biggest complaint is that if you are using a medium to promote the teachings of Christ, it would have been nice to have mentioned Him.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> 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 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Soulprint by Mark Batterson

The latest book by Mark Batterson (In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, Wild Goose Chase) is an insight into helping you discover the person you really are......and are not. God created you to be a unique individual so  you will be better enabled to serve and worship Him.

Mark uses David, the shepherd/king, as his example in choosing 5 defining moments in your life to help you in your search of the person you are meant to be. Do you get too focused on the mistakes you have made? Or, try too hard to be someone you aren't? Like when Saul tried to give David his armor, do you try to present yourself in a heavy, uncomfortable covering? This is just one instance the author gives in reminding us that we do not have to be weighed down by the expectations of others and how they think we should handle our own "Goliaths". God has given you the weapons & methods you need. Do not let others define you by their own standards: be the person God created you to be!!

This is perfect for a small-group discussion as you study and discuss the  defining moments described in the book. Your past, your sins, what you do or have done...these are all just a portion of topics to study, discuss, and to lead you to discover how they all add up and show you how they relate the the uniqueness of you. While this book did not "speak" to me personally as much as others by the same author, I do recommend it for group or individual study. It did give me much to think about, & I always find that satisfying.

This book was given to me free by WaterBrook/Multnomah  for this review. I was not required to give a favorable review.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Matthew Navarro

Matthew  3/6/74

Matthew David Navarro
January 11, 1974
Birmingham, Alabama 
    March 20, 1974 
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

There aren't many words to say about today. I remember January 11th as a joyful day, but rarely get through it without a few tears. I think anyone who knows me knows that my faith in Christ is what held me together when I unexpectedly lost Matthew, and what has continued to sustain me over the years. I just miss him more on days like this when I would love to pick up a phone to wish him a happy birthday. Yet, he is in the presence of his Heavenly Father and I rejoice with him.

Today, I will think about the joy he brought into my life. Believe me, he was already developing a personality that made me suspect there would be a battle of the wills in our future! Yet,  he also had a smile that filled my life with sunshine. He was only in my arms for 9 weeks, 5 days but he has been in my heart for years... and will continue throughout eternity.

Today, I will absolutely be missing him, but the knowledge that I WILL SEE MY SON AGAIN is not just a hope. It is a promise made to all of us who put our faith in Jesus Christ for our salvation.

Comfort About Christians Who Have Died
 "Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have died. We don’t want you to grieve like other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and came back to life. We also believe that, through Jesus, God will bring back those who have died. They will come back with Jesus. We are telling you what the Lord taught. We who are still alive when the Lord comes will not go into His kingdom ahead of those who have already died. The Lord will come from heaven with a command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the dead who believed in Christ will come back to life. Then, together with them, we who are still alive will be taken in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord. So then, comfort each other with these words!"~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Defiant Joy

Biography of G. K. Chesterton
Defiant Joy is subtitled "The Remarkable Life & Impact of G. K. Chesterton". Although I was aware of him as the author of the Father Brown mysteries and knew him to be a Christian apologist, I admit I had never read anything else he had written. Therefore, I was delighted to get the chance to have a good overall portrait of the man and his written works. Not only did I meet a man in these pages whom I would have enjoyed knowing personally, I now look forward to learning more about him by reading his books. It is easy to understand why he has avid fans even today-- nearly 75 years after his death.

 I was pleased to see that Chesterton was the type man that could disagree with his peers, yet it did not interfere with his friendships. To have the courage to stand staunchly by your convictions in an unwavering manner, without compromising relationships with those who disagree, can be a tightrope walk.  He certainly had the respect of his peers. One of the people whom he had a profound influence over, especially in his search for faith in Christ, was author C. S. Lewis. Lewis already admired the writing of G.K.C., but said that "Everlasting Man" was the book he most highly recommended.

My favorite quote:  
"The wise man will follow a star, low and large and fierce in the heavens, but the nearer he comes to it the smaller and smaller it will grow, till he finds it the humble lantern over some little inn or stable. Not till we know the high things shall we know how lovely they are." ~G.K. Chesterton (William Blake)

Author Kevin Belmonte has certainly put a lot of research into this biography and goes into much detail of the literary works published by Gilbert Keith Chesterton. At times I felt a bit weighted down with many of the details, but I would recommend this book to any who want to learn about the marvelous G. K. Chesterton. This book, published by Thomas Nelson, is a 318 page paperback that is full of information!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Family Movie Night: 1/8/11

Another Family Movie Night, sponsored by WALMART and PROCTOR & GAMBLE, is scheduled for this Sat. night (1/8) on FOX at 8/7c. 

Sometimes Life Gives You More Than You Bargained For

Up to this point, Sally Danville's life has played out just as she hoped it would. A beautiful and free-spirited musician, she and her fighter-pilot husband, Jason, live life on the go, free of domestic responsibilities. But with a single phone call from Child & Family Services case worker, Dorothy (Phylicia Rashad, The Cosby Show), she learns that things don't always go according to plan. Sally (Brooke White, American Idol) is met with the news that her best friend from college has died in a tragic accident on a Peace Corps mission and has named Sally the legal guardian of her four kids - 3 of them adopted from third-world countries. Now Sally and Jason (Joe Flanigan, Stargate Atlantis) must quickly learn to parent this instant family and help the kids deal with the culture clash of life in America. The story is both humorous and heartwarming, revealing how fulfilling life can be when you look beyond your own plans and invest in the lives of others.

Change of Plans is a heart-warming family movie promoting awareness & compassion towards adopting & fostering children. Make sure you watch the trailer!! Also, there is also an exciting contest you can enter to win some great prizes. Click link below to enter sweepstakes & share/post to friends!

Change Of Plans trailer & contest

Please show your support for movies like this that the entire family can sit and enjoy together. I hope everyone enjoys the movie and please LIKE Family Movie Night on Facebook by clicking on the link below. Thanks!!
I LIKE Family Movie Night

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A 'Radical' Challenge

Am I a follower of Christ...or a follower of the American Dream Christ? This is the question I asked myself as I began reading "Radical" by David Platt. Most of my adult life I have had much interest and concern over both the persecuted believers, and those who have yet to hear the gospel of Jesus. Yet, it has been so easy to slide into the more convenient social club/church lifestyle.

Dr. Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL, has written a book that challenges me to re-evaluate my own comfortable lifestyle. While it is easy to justify some of the choices we make in how we live out our faith, we can also get too caught up in the perception of that minimal is good enough. He does not say you have to give it all up, but to think about how you do spend your time, your talent, and your money. How much time do you spend reading the Word and praying? Do you reach out to those who don't have as much as you? And, I don't mean just financially. Have you shared the love of Jesus with someone who doesn't know Him? This is an excellent book that I recommend you read for yourself. Dr. Platt challenges the reader to take part in a year long "Radical Experiment", and I know that it has given me much to think about. Am I up to the challenge? Are you?

In compliance with the FTC guidelines of Dec. 9, 2009..."I received
this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review". I was not required to give a favorable review.