Category Archives: Book Reviews

YOU’RE INVITED TO OUR FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING OF THE SEASON, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd! Special giveaways and message in store…

Friends!  Branches Book Club gals would like to invite you and your friends to kick off our season Monday night, September 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., at Middletown United Methodist Church.

 

We’ll be discussing Amanda Barratt’s excellent novel, My Dearest Dietrich.  You can read my review of it here.

 

 

Amanda has been most gracious and sent us a boatload of goodies:  bookmarks, postcards with quotes by Bonhoeffer, recipe cards for Apple Kuchen, etc.  You can take these home with you.

 

Amanda also made us a lovely, personal video we’ll get to watch.  She was on a book deadline for her next novel which we’ll get to hear about, so it was extra generous of her to take the time to speak with us!!

 

You’ll be stunned at her wisdom and strong faith at such an early age.  I hope you caught her on the Eric Metaxas show recently. Here’s the link to her interview.

 

If time allows, please bring something German to eat.  (Kroger has German potato salad.  LOL). Please call Nancy Tinnell to rsvp (502)245-8839.

 

Load up your car with friends and neighbors!  You don’t want to miss this fun night!

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

We hope to see you Monday night, September 23rd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.!

 

‘Til next time!
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Brace Yourself for What David Platt is Serving Up

Friends!  Ever find yourself a tad uncomfortable while reading a book?  Such was the experience for me while reading David Platt’s newest book, Something Needs to Change:  A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need. (This is a GOOD THING tho’, hang with me…The book releases September 17th.)

David does an outstanding job of taking us readers with him on a hair-raising week in the Himalayan mountains.  We join him and his team of four others, complete with wild helicopter rides, bus rides, hiking on trails where a misstep could be your last, sleeping in a sleeping bag in places with no electricity, freezing temps, and plenty of jumping spiders. I kept thinking, “They are way braver than I’d ever be…”

David tells us from the get go:

He tells us that that is his prayer for this book. (And you’d best tuck your toes under the table as they’re about to get crushed. Again, this is a good thing.)

One favorite aspect of the book is David’s journal entries. He works his way thru’ the book of Luke during his week in the Himalayans.  His insight and life application ideas are worthy of copying into our own journals.

Each chapter is a day of their week’s travel, usually to a different village each time.  We learn frightening stats, such as, “half the children were dying before their eighth birthdays. Many weren’t making it to their first.” Another awful discovery was the death of sixty people from cholera because a village had poor sanitation and unclean water. Yet another huge problem is the amount of trafficking of young girls “often starting when they’re about seven but even up to fifteen years old.”

They learn the traffickers are smart, knowing how poor most of the villagers are.  They pretend they’re trying to help these families and they lie by promising they’ll help these girls get jobs, giving them money up front to entice them. Sadly most of them never return.

David poses many questions we, ourselves, would also consider.  The big “why?” pops up multiple times accompanied by pleading with God in David’s journal entries.  Many villagers David and his team meet have never heard of Jesus. The mystery the team all agrees on is this question:

Aaron answers David with why we need “to believe the Bible and to show that belief by spending your life sharing His truth and love in a world of urgent spiritual need. Not merely physical need, as important as physical need is. But to live like people’s spiritual need is their most urgent need.”

They discuss the village that was so adversely affected by the cholera.  They were able to get water filters and medical kits and a sanitation system to them…”but, as helpful as those water filters are, the fact is, they won’t get anybody in that village to heaven…What that village needs more than anything else is the truth of God’s love, which will give them life forever.” Let that soak in for a minute…

Halfway thru’ their week, David and his team get to attend a church service in another village.  They arrive after a grueling, two-hour hike.  They notice “tiny lights in the distance slowly making their way up the trail.”  David recalls the stress some of his congregants experience in a mere fifteen minute trip to attend church in the States.  The villagers that night made a “two-hour hike up a narrow mountainside in the freezing cold, followed by a two-hour hike back down the same mountainside in the pitch-black darkness after the service.” Yes, well, that will make you never take our freedom and flexibility of attending church services for granted again, right?

Likewise the prayers David concludes each chapter with not only make you think, they move you to action.  One morning David prayed,

Later that day he met a gal named Maya who chose to come up the mountain and work in a medical clinic after going to nursing school.  Maya repeated almost verbatim David’s prayer when asked why she was there.

Don’t miss the science lessons revealing the creativity of God in Day 5.  Who knew trout poop would lead to food for villagers in the Himalayan mountains?  And how a tree in northern Alabama is uniquely designed by God to soak up horse urine for the spread of the gospel in the Middle East. Huh?

Spiritual warfare is another challenge not only David’s team encounters, but one the villagers live with daily.  Some don’t know enough about it to recognize it.  The stories the team learn will make your hair stand on end.

David admits their seven days in the mountains felt like weeks.  We readers would agree considering all they accomplished each day.  I believe the Lord stretched their time to show them multiple needs to be addressed, opening all of our eyes.

The entire point of this book is found in its’ title:  Something Needs to Change.  David’s questions at the end of each chapter give us readers ideas, causing us to realize the sense of urgency with which we should all be living.

Don’t miss the opportunity to read and savor this book.  It will kick your brain into high gear plus David’s vulnerability on every page will do two things:  First, it’ll make you feel better that such a man of huge faith and trust can waiver and question God just like we do.  Second, it’ll make you just as uncomfortable with these challenging scenarios as David is and will cause you to become more aware of ways we can help those around us.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and grab Something Needs to Change.

‘Til next time!

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Next Time You’re Down in the Dumps, Grab “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet—Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things” by Sara Hagerty

Friends! Havin’ a bad day? One of those where everything goes wrong? Chances are, if you’re not, someone you know is.

I’ve got just the cure. It’s one we all know, and yet forget daily.

My good buddy, Liz, loaned me a boatload of books recently, and this one, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things by Sara Hagerty has been an eye-opening blessing for this woe-is-me girl. 63823EB Many times when I read a book, I try to come up with one, single, take-away word. “Adoration” is our inspiration in this book and “adore” the verb to put into action.

You may already be familiar with Sara’s blog, www.everybitterthingissweet.com She has information on her book, resources, her posts for the blog, plus an incredible section with fantastic printables under “Adoration”. (I chose this word before I knew she had an entire section in her blog about it!!!)

Brutally honest, Sara journeys us readers thru’ some tough times in her life. She’s been blessed with friends who she says “wore a brand of Christianity that was attractive, but foreign.” (to her) She continues, “They acted as if they believed God didn’t just tolerate them; He enjoyed them.” These fascinating friends “approached their days with a confidence that God had something for them…” Wow, don’t we all want that?

In the midst of three equally difficult trials (infertility, lengthy adoption processes and her father dying of cancer), Sara said, “God was revealing this kind of availability to me in both the big aches and the everyday small ones.”

With eyes opened to a different perspective, she told her husband, “…all this mess—was fodder for discovering His love anew.” Small newborn baby legs in mothers lovely hand with soft focus on babie's foot Here comes the adoration part….This is what Sara does and what we all can do. She reveals, “My first step in inhaling adoration was inviting that language into my everyday ache.” She began with one word or phrase from the Bible, depending on her particular need or worry. For example, from Psalm 36:5 and 57:10 she read, “Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Sun Ray Shining Through The Clouds In The Blue Sky Then she’d pray:

God, You are faithful.

You are faithful when I am fearful.

I can count on You.

You will not leave me when You see my failure.”

Here are just a few of Sara’s discoveries about adoration (This is my favorite part of the book and what I believe to be the most powerful):

“Adoration is exploration. The Father loves to be explored.

Fear loses oxygen when every moment suspends itself under the purpose of bringing Him glory.

Adoration makes walking with God more than just reacting to a series of externals.

Adoration CALLS the circumstances, no matter how high or low, into proper submission in our hearts.

Adoration ROOTS us in a reality that no amount of pain and no amount of blessing can shake.

Adoration STEADIES US. Inspirational Typographic Quote - Slow and Steady It REPATTERNS our thinking.

It CENTERS our lives around a God-man instead of forever trying to make sense of the God-man thru’ the lenses of our circumstances.

Adoration ALIGNS US under Him… THIS IS THE PLACE WHERE LIFE IS FOUND.”

Another excellent part of the book is found at the end of each chapter where Sara gives us several Scriptures to look up which pertain to the chapter. The “For Your Continued Pursuit” passages bring light and promises from His Word to bless you, the reader.

Sara’s vivid style makes you feel like you’re riding in the car with them many times and you say, “Oh no!” out loud more than once! However, with her “adoration-eyes-on”, she shows us God is on her side, fighting for her and her family. And just wait ‘til you see how God builds their family. (Not spoilin’ the fun! You must discover this for yourself! You need to take the journey with her.)

I pray we’ll all open our eyes, filled with adoration for our Creator, our Heavenly Father, our Constant Companion.

Sara says the experience is like a “minute-by-minute communion” that makes her feel alive. Wouldn’t you love that too?

Romans 15-13 ‘Til next time!

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Letters and Papers from Prison Pack a Punch from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friends!  Don’t you love it when one book leads to another because you want to find out “more of the story?”

Such was the scenario upon finishing Amanda Barratt’s compelling novel, My Dearest Dietrich.  (Here’s my review on her book…) Amanda graciously gives us readers several books for further exploration.

I immediately ordered one of her recommendations.  It has cut me to the core, but in an inspiring way.  If any of you hear me complaining about anything from here on out, you have my permission to bonk me over the head with this very book!

The book?  Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison compiled by Edward Bethge

These letters are from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to his family and friends, along with letters in return from them, plus Dietrich’s notes on various topics such as books, types of music, favorite hymns, as well as lessons he learns and occasional poems. His dear friend, Eberhard Bethge, put all of these together in book form. A mere 436 pages, we readers simply cannot rush thru’ these gems. (Don’t miss the two important words in the title, “from prison.”)

What’s evolved for me (you may prefer to read it differently) is I’m only reading a few of the letters each day, devotional-style.  Because Bonhoeffer references so many Scripture verses, it’s nice to look them up and figure out where he’s leading us. There are more pearls hidden in these letters than one can count.

What’s terribly convicting, yet in a positive way to grow our own faith, is Dietrich’s deep contentment and joy in spite of being imprisoned, treated unfairly, many times starved (although he said, “The mind’s hunger for discussion is much more tormenting than the body’s hunger for food.”), all the while enduring air raids, bombing, etc.  His faith never wavered.

As time progresses, Dietrich befriends some of the prison guards as well as the inmates, often helping in the sick bay.  Fellow prisoners look up to him, many times seeking his thoughts and wisdom. We readers gain a beautiful visual of why he was also known as Pastor Bonhoeffer.

His correspondence with family and friends obviously helps him cope with his circumstances.  He once told his fiancé, Maria, that their engagement was a source of strength to him.  He was able to convert “his annoyance at the limitations of our relationship, into a hopeful and eager expectation and challenge.” Maria was allowed monthly visits.

Dietrich said of his relationship with Maria, “I believe our union can only be a sign of God’s grace and kindness, which calls us to faith.” And in regard to trusting in the future, he said, “This is where faith belongs. May God give it to us daily.”

Often Dietrich reminds himself about the importance of worshipping God, praying to God, and doing so every single day.  His resolve and exuberant love for the Lord is the most beautiful aspect of these letters. I kept asking myself, “HOW does he go on?  How can he stand this?”  And yet, he never complains. Ever.

One of my favorite discoveries is the sincerity with which he closes each letter, always personalizing it for the recipient. In a letter to Dietrich’s friend, Eberhard, from 7/21/44 in Tegel prison,  he closes with,

Eberhard organized Dietrich’s letters and papers into four parts in the book:

Knowing of his death in April of 1945, as that date approaches in the book, I found myself getting nervous for Dietrich. From his letters, of course he has no idea, although more than once he directs Eberhard to feel free to use any money of his needed and how to dispose of his things should he not make it out of prison. He also sought out an attorney to prepare his will.

In October of 1944, Dietrich was moved from Tegel, to the Gestapo prison.  It became impossible to visit him there.  We’re told there was an air raid in February and the prison was badly damaged, so Bonhoeffer was moved out of Berlin. Maria goes looking for him, at three different prisons:  Dachau, Buchenwald and Flossenburg. She could not find him.  Upon his death, it took months for Maria and Dietrich’s parents to find out. So, so sad.

On a happier note, one of my favorite entries by Dietrich comes from May of 1944, entitled:  “Thoughts on the Day of the Baptism of Dietrich Wilhelm Rüdiger Bethge.”  Eberhard and Renate named their first born child, a son, for Dietrich.  Dietrich tells young Dietrich his three names bear reference to three houses “with which your life is, and always should be, inseparably connected.” Dietrich continues, “I look forward to your future with great confidence and cheerful hope.”

Dietrich’s sermon teaches young Dietrich about many things such as the security of a good home.  He calls it one of the greatest gifts saying his home “will be a bulwark against all dangers from within and without…”

Children will be drawn into their parents’ protection, and they will seek refuge, counsel, peace, and enlightenment,” adding ,”your parents’ home will be a storehouse of spiritual values, helping dissolve your perplexities and purifying your character and sensibility, and in times of care and sorrow will keep a ground-bass of joy alive in you.” (Ground-bass is a musical reference the families would’ve understood given their musical talent.)

And this phrase Dietrich adds can be prayed for, for all of our homes:

“The piety of your home will not be noisy or loquacious, but it will teach you to say your prayers, to fear and love God above everything, and to do the will of Jesus Christ.”

Then we’re gifted with Proverbs 6:20-22

This is but one of many, many verses Dietrich includes for little Dietrich.  It’s the dearest piece of writing and one I’m sure little Dietrich and his family cherished. Additionally these few quotes I’ve included from other letters are a mere minutia of the gold you’ll dig out of this book.

Eberhard Bethge, who assembled these many letters for Letters and Papers from Prison, also wrote a biography on Bonhoeffer.  You know where I’m going with this…Here’s the cover:

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab any of these three books!  My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt, Letters and Papers from Prison from Dietrich Bonhoeffer compiled by Eberhard Bethge, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer:  A Biography by Eberhard Bethge.

Please fill your car with friends and come join us at Branches Book Club on Monday, September 23rd, at Middletown United Methodist Church from 6:30-8:00 p.m.  when we discuss My Dearest Dietrich.  Amanda Barratt, while she lives in Michigan, is going to send us a video message you won’t want to miss!

‘Til next time!

 

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“My Dearest Dietrich” Encourages Readers to Learn More about Bonhoeffer…

Friends!  Don’t you love it when you finish a book and want to learn more about its subject?  Such will be the scenario when you dive into My Dearest Dietrich:  A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love by Amanda Barratt.

I recently heard an interview with our author, Amanda Barratt, and Eric Metaxas on the Metaxas Talk Show. (www.metaxastalk.com) One could argue over which of the two knows more about Bonhoeffer given Amanda’s research for her novel and Eric’s tome

Not having learned much about Bonhoeffer’s fiancee, Maria von Wedemeyer-Weller, I was delighted to learn of Amanda’s new novel, My Dearest Dietrich, especially since Branches Book Club will open their season with it come Monday, September 23rd. (Mark the date on your calendar!  6:30-8:00 p.m., at Middletown United Methodist Church! Load up your car with friends and come!)

Hearing the interview further fueled my desire to read Amanda’s book, promptly causing me to order it. The Living Word Bookstore currently has lots of copies for you book clubbers! Call to reserve your copy:  (502) 253-8220.

The most astonishing discovery of this talented author is her age.  Wait for it: Amanda is only TWENTY-THREE YEARS OLD.  Huh?  You’ll flip even more once you dive into her book, her words wrapping around you like a warm blanket.

Gaining a peak into Dietrich and Maria’s relationship is delightful.  We readers must remind ourselves this book is a novel, yet we feel as if we are right there with them, almost afraid to disturb their privacy.

For me, seeing this side of Bonhoeffer, my eyes were opened to a much, much different man.  While I’ve always respected him as a ten-talent theologian who continues to inspire thousands, I’d never considered the softer side of him.  Additionally, I knew of his close ties with his family, and still didn’t ponder exactly how close they were.

Finishing Amanda’s novel only made me want to learn more.  Bless her for listing suggestions for further reading at the end of her book, one book of which, I’ll be reporting on soon!  (Letters and Papers from Prison by Bonhoeffer, compiled by Dietrich’s dear friend, Eberhard Bethge.)

The other kicker for me, was, since I knew the outcome of Bonhoeffer’s life (Spoiler alert:  he was hung in prison the morning of April 9th, in 1945.), somehow I still hoped we’d see him freed from prison, and see them married off.  Nevertheless, My Dearest Dietrich is the quintessential page-turner.

The novel opens in June of 1942.  We get to see how Dietrich and Maria meet, his involvement with the Abwehr, his writing habits, along with snippets of his resume which intimidate Maria. For example:  She calls him “a thoroughgoing academic, earning his doctorate in theology at the age of twenty-one, going on to pastor in Spain, complete a postdoctoral degree, study in America, lecture at Berlin’s University, and actively participate in maintaining ecumenical communication between foreign churches. He also became one of the foremost leaders in the Confessing Church—a group that fought desperately both to counter the false teachings of the Reich Church and to keep alive a church founded on Scripture’s doctrine rather than Herr Hitler’s.”

Dietrich, in his 30’s, and Maria, a mere teenager, become engaged much to the chagrin of her mother, insisting they wait a full year to date including no letters and no visits. Thankfully this changes once Dietrich becomes imprisoned. Soon letters become exchanged and Maria gets to visit him once a month. Reading about their visits is simply breathtaking.  They’re also frustrating given the officers who feel compelled to be present.

We see through Maria’s eyes both a serious side of Dietrich as she recounts hearing him preach, counting sixty-eight times his use of the word, “God.” As well as a lighter side: in the same afternoon she witnesses him “trounce everyone at table tennis.”

Another element I particularly enjoyed was the musical influence over his entire family, Dietrich included.  Often they play classical pieces together, everyone playing a different musical instrument, Dietrich at the piano. This was their way of life.

Their family meals seem perpetually challenging intellectually.   I find this fascinating as time around the table is not a part of our way of life today, sadly. Although we can certainly aspire to such! (In a perfect world, a round table is my favorite with our family, you?)

During the frightening times of the Hitler regime, never knowing when one could potentially be arrested, the Bonhoeffer’s made the most of their time together.  Maria said Dietrich’s words were always “full of purpose, clarity, and even rarer, hope.”

Dietrich shared a revelation about his faith with Maria.  He told her what he enjoyed most about his visit to America was in the Abyssinian Baptist Church.  He said,

As time marches on, the intensity of the war builds, the conspirators remain on edge, yet standing firm. Their ultimate goal was to assassinate Hitler.  Black-out curtains are hung in all the windows. Cars begin stalking them and we readers find ourselves on edge as well.  Amanda’s skill at foreshadowing is key.

One of many favorite quotes comes from November 11, 1942, in Berlin:  “The time might come when Dietrich would be among those reduced to starvation rations, and as his gaze traveled the table, the faces of his parents, he committed it all to memory, storing up each scene like an art collector locking away his beloved masterpieces.”

While many of their friends become arrested, others die either from war or suicide.  Dietrich learns of many soldiers suffering, “the young men who had once been his students, the lifeblood of his illegal seminary…”

Dietrich declares in a meeting of the conspiracy, “Above all, these concerns must be taken to God. His is the only authority to which we can rightfully answer. Seek Him, He will not fail you.”

Many fellow prisoners and guards, after becoming acquainted with Dietrich comment on his remarkable peace and tranquility he exhibited.  His steadfast faith and trust in the Lord is wonderfully inspirational. You find yourself reading with your jaw open in astonishment over his ability to stay calm, forever seeking the Lord in prayer, day, after day, after day.

Don’t miss all the beautiful details of Dietrich and Maria’s relationship as well as their inspirational faith.  More than once I asked myself, “Could I, and would I react like this?  Would my faith hold true?”

Now you know what I’m going to say, “Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and grab My Dearest Dietrich.”  You’ll be so glad you did.

And don’t forget to save the date: September 23rd to join us at Branches Book Club, Middletown United Methodist Church from 6:30-8:00 p.m. when we discuss this excellent novel.  You won’t want to miss this! We’re hoping to hear from Amanda via a video message (I’ll confirm this closer to our meeting) and of course, we’ll have apple strudel among other German delights!

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

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A Man Walks into a Bar…(When Today May Be Your Last)

Friends! Lest you think I’m vying for late night TV, a man really did walk into a bar.  John and I were right there, and this is no joke…

Being empty nesters for a handful of years, we’ve developed hilarious habits. My favorite habit happens to be eating out. (Emphasis on O-U-T.)

Recently, while dining at one of our favorite haunts, Porcini’s (www.porcinilouisville.com), something happened which opened our eyes… porcini-store-front2 John and I were talking to one of our favorite waitresses who informed us EMS would be arriving soon. Seems a guy literally walked in off the street and hollered, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Sure enough, we began to hear sirens. A fire truck and an ambulance pulled up out front. Before we knew it, the EMT’s were whisking a stretcher, occupied by this guy, thru’ the door, and up into the ambulance. Off they went. Ambulance car back at the white background While I don’t know the outcome, it sure made me think: What if that evening, that man didn’t live to see the next morning?

Which of course leads me to pose three huge questions to us all:

What if today was your last day on this Earth?

– Are you sure you’re Heaven bound?

– While you’re at it, are you aging gracefully?”

Not too long ago, several of us were finishing up the Bible study on Acts of God—Why Does God Allow So Much Pain? by Bob Russell. As God would orchestrate, we were on Chapter Eleven which discusses the trials of aging.

Bob shares the painful process of watching his Mother succumb to Alzheimer’s. Several of my friends are dealing with this very scenario as I type. It’s not easy by any stretch. My own Mother died of Advanced Dementia.

Bob tells about two final encouraging visits he had with his Mother, long after she quit recognizing him. They began as seemingly futile. One visit, when Bob was about to leave, he decided to read the 23rd Psalm to his Mother. Like a switch was turned on, she began to quote it with him, word for word. psalm23 On another visit, Bob and his brother, John, began singing a hymn, and their Mother suddenly sang along with them. Bob said, “God is at work in ways we never see. I thanked Him and praised Him on my way home.”

Here’s the bottom line: “It’s only human to fear the unknown, of course, but at some point, genuine trust in God should make the difference.” May we truly trust, daily.

Bob reminds us, “Revelation 2:10 is a promise from the mouth of Christ: ‘Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.’”

Bob talks about people aging gracefully, and of some who do not. You’ll be astonished to learn about Florence Nightingale.

You’ll get tickled when Bob discusses those who get so consumed with all their aches and pains they take themselves out of the battle before it’s fought. Does anyone or several someones come to mind? Clouds and female hand waving with a white flag to surrender Or have you heard, “Oh, we must make the trip, for this could be Aunt Edna’s (or fill-in-the-blank of your longest living relative) last Thanksgiving!” Bob says if we are to age gracefully, we must “live life to the fullest, and let God decide when the curtains are going to close.”

Finally, one more point to consider: “The truth of heaven should also impact our feelings of urgency in sharing the Gospel with those we love.” Old Bible With Sword Do you have a friend or family member who needs to hear the Good News? I keep thinking of that man We saw who came into the restaurant, right off the street. Did he know the Lord? I pray so.

Bob concludes, “Every act of God carries more meaning than our minds can grasp. No matter how we mourn, no matter how sad some days can be, we must believe that God is loving and good, and that someday, in His presence, we’ll see the whole picture and understand that the darkest moments of this life were necessary ingredients to the brightest miracles he was planning.”

May our eyes be opened to those God places in our path.

Press on, friends.

Be ready.

‘Til next time!

(FYI: The teaching DVD’s to Acts of God are incredible. They include clips from the movie of the same name, memorable teaching by Bob, and helpful nuggets from God’s Word. I highly recommend it for your small group/Bible study. You can find these at The Living Word Bookstore, www.livingword.org or, you can order them from www.actsofgodthemovie.com or www.cityonahillstudio.com )

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Don’t Miss This BRAND NEW Must-Read by Bob Merritt: “Done With That: Escape the Struggle of Your Old Life”

Friends!  Come August 1st, a hot-off-the-press book will be available to you.  Guys and gals will want to bolt to your nearest bookstore to grab this compelling book! Trust me on this…

I’ve been blessed to get a sneak peak.  Bob is a gifted writer as well as a quintessential story teller.  He’s also brutally honest (many times you’ll say to yourself, “Wow, I think that, but I’m not about to publicly confess that.”).

Let’s start with some of Bob’s endorsers—they’re most impressive. One of my favorites is by author Mark Batterson.  Mark says, “…Bob shows that less means more.  Less regret means more joy. Less loneliness means more belonging. Less angst means more contentment. Bob’s hard-fought battle will help you win yours.”

Our own Senior Pastor, Kyle Idleman, says, “Freedom in Christ is one of the most powerful gifts of the gospel. But knowledge of that freedom and walking in that freedom are two different things. This book moves us from knowledge to action, with practical application for every person who is truly ready to move.”

The book’s divided into three parts:  Getting Honest, Aha Moments, and The New Life is Less and More, four chapters per part, with Bob taking us by the hand throughout the entire book.  The Intro’ causes you to say, “I’m so glad I found this book.” Once you get into the chapters you’ll say, “Wow, I need this book.”

Thirty-six excellent discussion questions, three per each of the twelve chapters, are included for your small group or Bible study buddies. Chapter 10 – Fewer Possessions, More People, has my favorite of all the thought-provoking questions in it:  “Create a list of the people who really matter to you. Who are the ten who will cry at your funeral, and is there anything you need to change to make sure those ten are getting your best?”

And look at this:

In Chapter One we learn from Dallas Willard re: “the challenge of living the Christian life.  He said the word disciple appears 269 times in the New Testament but the word Christian appears only 3 times.”  Bob continues, “The cost of discipleship is real, but the price of non-discipleship is a life that NEVER improves and stays stuck in relational breakdown and personal strife.”

Bob shows us that spiritual growth takes time and regardless of where we are, (see below…)

Numerous Scripture verses and Biblical character’s actions build Bob’s points in each chapter.  I found myself logging many of them into my journal, each one pertinent to whatever day I was reading.

Chapter Four gives us a point thanks to a golf analogy that’s also killer funny at Bob’s expense.  Bob manages to tear his rotator cuff (ouch) and suffers thru’ intense physical therapy. We readers feel his pain.

This chapter is about leaving our old life for a new one. It’s easy to get comfy in our old life. And in Bob’s case, things weren’t going to change for him unless he turned himself in for some help.  By that time, Bob reveals he’d seen “two doctors, four physical trainers, and one therapist.”  He says, “I’d read a dozen articles, watched four videos, and received fifteen pages of exercises. I was determined to overcome my problem and resume playing the game of golf as God intended.”

The pain is what was teaching Bob he had to change. Here’s where we’re given three steps toward change:

Humility,

Honesty, and

Hard work… (Don’t miss this chapter!)

Bob’s revelation is:  “Just as there is physical therapy for shoulder pain, there is spiritual therapy to develop our faith:  both require a commitment to doing the work…It took humility, facts, and action to abandon the old life of failure and pain and move squarely into the new life of golf and happiness.”

Totally a guys’ guy, Bob relays some hysterical hunting stories. I’ve read these out loud to my husband while both of us howl ‘til we cry.  My husband is so happy my copy of the book has come in the mail now so he can dive in. (I was reading digitally.)

(Be sure to catch some of Bob’s sermons from his church’s website.)

Finally, I’ll share a few tidbits from my favorite chapter, Chapter 8 – Turning Points. (Never in a million years would I’ve thought an illustration using skinny jeans would grab me.)

Hang with me…the “Spiritual Turning Point” is hugely an “aha!”  We’re gifted with four practices to help us “open up the channels for God’s Spirit to speak:”

1 – Read God’s Word

2 – Read inspiring books (My personal favorite!)

3 – Reduce the noise in your life (Warning:  This is a tough one.)

4 – Confess your sins (Not for the faint of heart.)

Sound impossible?  Bob clarifies, “…these major turning points don’t happen every day. But a major spiritual turning point can happen in an instant, in an hour or two, or over several days. And when it occurs, it’ll feel as though you’ve been saved or freed from something, as though you’ve had a breakthrough, and as though you’re about to enter a new stage of life—a better, stronger, wiser, and more spiritually centered stage…”

These are just a minutia of the WEALTH of helpful information you’ll gain from reading this book.  And, if you haven’t read , Get Wise, also by Bob, here’s the review link.

‘Til next time!

 

 

 

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