Monthly Archives: September 2018

Calling All Control Freaks: I’ve got an Rx for ya… (with help from Jennifer Dukes Lee) Plus, Don’t forget Ann Gabhart is coming next week to Book Club!

Friends!  This Tuesday, 9/18, a new book hits bookstores and bookshelves everywhere.  It’s an invaluable resource:  I call it my “current traveling handbook.” You’ll tote it with you to check and recheck, believe me.

The book?  It’s All Under Control:  A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

I first met Jennifer at a She Speaks Conference in Charlotte, NC in July of 2017.  Of all the class offerings, Jennifer’s jumped out at me: “How a small-time blogger can get a book published.”  I was there with my second draft of my book, praying to take as many classes and meet as many mentors as humanly possible.

I found Jennifer to be sincere, honest, funny, and tremendously encouraging.  She also gave us her email address should we have further questions, saying, “I have soooo been there!  Don’t despair!  God’s got this!” I exited the class a few inches taller.

Fast forward to this year and I’ve been blessed to be on the Launch Team for this book.  I’ve highlighted and dog-eared many a page, also tagging numerous resources in the back of the book.

Thanks to Jennifer’s confessions of things I think but wouldn’t utter, take-home value is at a premium.  Three of many favorite chapters include:

1 – Her prayer to the Holy Spirit (Chapter 8 – “Clueless: What to do when God’s To-Do List Makes Zero Sense) is not to be missed!

2 – Her three important words we must force ourselves to use:  “I need help!” (Chapter 10), not to mention discovering a killer great quote:

“Asking for help requires a heart-unzipped intimacy with God, who saw your need in the first place.” and

3 – Getting the chance to learn if you’re a “Driver,” a “Devoter,” or a “Darling,” (Chapter 4 – “Superpowers:  Uncovering Your Strengths, Your Kryptonite, and That Line We All Tend to Cross), plus you’ll find a much more detailed explanation in the back of the book.

Each chapter ends with a “Crack the Control Code” section, giving you concrete, helpful solutions to relinquish that control we think we have, but never really had.  Anyone? (I also loved the chapters on waiting and rest, but was determined to only give you three.  Smile.)

Three additional resources in the back of the book can be used over and over. I’m beyond certain you and I will do exactly that:

1 – The Control Code Continuum.  I pray you won’t find yourself in the Danger Zone! (Can’t get the song  Highway to the Danger Zone outta my head.  Thanks so very much, Tom Cruise.) Confession:  I discovered I’ve been in an Unhealthy Zone, only one notch up from the Danger Zone.  Good news:  Jennifer offers a manageable, doable “response” to getteth thee outteth of that zone!

2 – The Decision Tree – “Should I hang on or let go?” This is a great filtering tool which will quickly allow you to stop spinning in circles.

3 – Do, Delegate, or Dismiss – “Task of _____________.”

I’m telling you, I wish I’d had this book thirty-plus years ago when we began raising our boys.  If you have young moms in your life, march out immediately and grab a copy for them!  They will love you for this! (My daughters-in-love will be getting this book in their stockings.  Shhhhh, don’t tell.)

Now you know what I’m going to say, “RUN, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab this book for yourself and for any of your friends you know could benefit from this book!’’

Finally, don’t forget to join us and bring a boatload of your friends, if you’re anywhere near Louisville, KY, next Monday Night, September 24th, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. for Branches Book Club at Middletown United Methodist Church.  Author Ann Gabhart is coming and will be talking about These Healing Hills and we’ll also get to hear about her newest novel, River to Redemption. Click here for additional information. 

‘Til next time!


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Do You Believe in Miracles? If you don’t, this book could change your mind…. (Thanks to Lee Strobel’s The Case for Miracles)

Friends!  Calling all guys and gals to hear snippets from a mind-blowing book on miracles.  Forever siding with Doubting Thomas, yet a huge fan of Lee Strobel, I grabbed his newest book, The Case for Miracles:  A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural.

Wow.  Just wow. While I could easily end this post right here and say, “Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and snag this book,” I wouldn’t dare do that to you without sharing a couple of quotes to show you why you must read this book.

It’s obvious from the first page that Lee’s background in journalism causes us readers to feel like we’re on this exploration of miracles right beside him in his passenger’s seat.

Stellar questions sprinkled throughout, Lee poses,

Lee answers these and many more questions in his book. He begins by defining what exactly a miracle is:

Lee proceeds to cross-examine experts, mining for answers.  He bravely begins by interviewing “the most famous doubter in the country—Dr. Michael Shermer, founder and editor of Skeptic magazine.” This is found in Part One:  The Case Against Miracles.

Lee admits Shermer’s office is the last place he normally would’ve landed, however in his days of being an atheist, it would’ve been a place he’d have enjoyed.  I viewed it as walking into a potential lion’s den. But we readers can perch overlooking Lee’s shoulder and be ever so grateful he’s driving the interview.

Lee told Shermer upfront he wasn’t there to debate him. I confess I wanted Lee to put Shermer in his place, but hang on, we get some answers further into the book. At one point, Shermer debunks another theory of a research study on prayer, conducted at Harvard.  I was upset over the findings, but later relieved at what another expert revealed about it.  Oh, and you can guess, you must read the book to find out. Bada bing.

My favorite part is found in Part Two:  The Case for Miracles.  It’s my favorite because it holds a fantastic discovery of a real-live genius living a mere seventy-nine miles from my desk, at Asbury Theological Seminary, in Wilmore, Kentucky.  Wilmore is a hop, skip, and a jump from my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.

In Part Two, we get to meet this proficient professor and author, Dr. Craig Keener, who Lee interviews extensively. I was stunned he’s been at Asbury all this time.  Reading about his volumes of books will blow you off your rocker.

Lee tweeted a picture of them together quipping, “Great time interviewing Craig Keener for a project. While we chatted, he wrote three new books.”

Keener was also an atheist.  His come-to-faith story is beautiful.  Lee obviously resonates with him. He and Lee teach us the difference between actual miracles and apparent miracles. (Chapter 5 – don’t miss it!) We also get a peek into numerous documented miracles.

In Part 3 on Science, Dreams, and Visions, you’ll meet Dr. Candy Gunther Brown who can be found at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Her credentials are off the charts as well. She teaches us wonderful lessons about intercessory prayer.

Next up, Missionary Tom Doyle shares beautiful, inspiring real-life stories. Tom and his wife, JoAnn work with Muslims.  He reveals what happened to him shortly after 9/11, “That was the day that God started to create space in my heart for Muslims. It comes down to this:  Are we able to see through Jesus’ eyes and not our own? He filters out all the news and prejudice. Once you have His eyes, you see people for who they are—made in His image.”

The most difficult to grasp information comes from Dr. Michael G. Strauss and J. Warner Wallace, MTS, in Part 4, The Most Spectacular Miracles. They teach on the Miracle of Creation and the Resurrection.  You may wish to have a bowl of oatmeal or something packed with protein to get your brain working on over-time in order to grasp how they answer Lee’s questions. (I’m not kidding.)

Moving forward while covering all bases, Lee surprisingly shares what to do when miracles do not happen.  I didn’t realize his wife, Leslie, has chronic fibromyalgia. They’ve prayed for a cure, and still no answer.  Lee openly and honestly reveals their struggles.

We also get to meet Douglas R. Groothuis, PhD. He, too, has a wife who suffers. She has progressive aphasia.  His honest memoir, Walking Through Twilight is a masterpiece according to Lee.

Their thoughts on suffering are full of hope as well as excellent reminders of why we must live with an eternal perspective.  Simultaneously, you’ll be struck with how very blessed we are in spite of our circumstances.

Finally, don’t miss my new favorite phrase Dr. Groothuis gifts us with:  spiritual sanity.  He says,

“When I’m angry with God, when I’m distressed and anguished and seething at my circumstances, I think of Christ hanging on the cross for me.  This brings me back to spiritual sanity. He endured the torture of the crucifixion out of his love for me. He didn’t have to do that.  He chose to. So he doesn’t just sympathize with us in our suffering; he empathizes with us. Ultimately I find comfort in that.” (emphasis mine)

Lee will ask you to come to your own conclusion about miracles at the end of the book.  I’d be curious to hear from you when you get there.  I’m so very thankful Lee took on this project, conducted extensive surveys, and interviewed so many experts. What a faith builder!

Now I can say this, “Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and snag this book!”

You’re welcome.

‘Til next time!

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