Tag Archives: Alistair Begg

Come Enjoy 5 Fun Treats at Book Club Monday, 11/27 (“Christmas Playlist” by Alistair Begg)

Friends! Be thinking of who to bring with you to our next Book Club gathering on Monday, November 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. You won’t believe what all is on our agenda!

First up, we have some special guests coming who will serenade us! Yes, the Cincinnati Christmas Carolers are joining us! (www.cincycarolers.com )They will not only get us in the Christmas spirit, they will be the perfect segue way into our book we’ll be discussing, Christmas Playlist—Four Songs that Bring You to the Heart of Christmas by Alistair Begg.

Many of you know of Alistair and have been blessed by his preaching on the radio via Truth for Life. (www.truthforlife.org )  He’s been the Senior Pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio since 1983. (www.parksidechurch.com )

I used to listen to Alistair every morning after dropping off the children in carpool.  His Scottish brogue, along with his inspiring message, calmed my frazzled self to enjoy the day.

The second treat we’ll experience is watching a short-but-sweet video message Alistair made just for us! How fun is that?

Thirdly, all the while this is going on, we can taste fun Christmas party appetizers everyone is bringing (how about that Christmas tree-shaped cheese mold?!!!) to share.  Get creative, but please do avoid fruit cake. (Nobody quote me on that, and please do forgive me, I know some of you actually like the stuff.) And relax, no judgment will surface if you blow into Kroger and buy something readymade.  Food is food is food.

Fourthly, we’ll have a lively discussion about the book, your favorite songs, Christmas traditions, you-name-it.  This will be a sure cure for any potential Scrooges to infiltrate your homes.

The four songs Alistair shares with us straight from Scripture will prepare our hearts and minds to embrace the Christmas season. Unlike the innkeeper who said, “Sorry, there’s no room in the inn…”, we will uncover ways to make room for Jesus and celebrate His birthday in the best possible way this Christmas.

Fifthly, and finally, in addition to your Christmas party appetizer, please bring a wrapped ornament for our Ornament Exchange! This was so fun last year and a huge bonus to have a new ornament to take home and hang on your tree. This will be our grande finale to a most outstanding and uplifting meeting.

Make arrangements now to join us, toting friends with you, at our Christmas Book Club gathering, Next Monday, November 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church.

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

Please call Nancy Tinnell to RSVP:  (502) 245-8839.

‘Til next time!



1 Comment

Filed under Book Clubs, Holidays

Great Summer Reading Suggestions! Announcing the 2017-2018 Book Club Season…

Friends!  Need ideas for your summer reading?  You’ve come to the right place.

It’s with great excitement I bring you the 2017-2018 Branches Book Club line-up.  Grab them now for a summer of fun reading. Then you’ll be ready to join in our delightful discussions at our meetings.

We meet on Monday evenings, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., on the below dates, at Middletown United Methodist Church.  As we get closer to these dates, I’ll be sending out more details as to our theme and food ideas for each meeting. Such details make our time together that much more fun!

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

First up, on September 25th, we’ll be discussing Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs.

The following synopses of each of these books are thanks to our friends at Amazon:

“In Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs shares personal stories, biblical truth, and examples of how others have courageously walked the path God paved for their lives by remembering all God had done, loving what was right in front of them, and seeing God in the everyday—whether that be nature, friends, or the face they see in the mirror.

Intensely personal, yet incredibly powerful, Looking for Lovely will spark transformative conversations and life changing patterns. No matter who we are and what path God has us on, we all need to look for lovely, fight to finish, and find beautiful in our every day!”

This is her latest book, plus she has several other excellent books as well. Checkout her website:  www.anniefdowns.com

Our October 23rd selection is a page-turner of a novel by  Kentucky author, Laura Frantz who is coming to be with us that night!  The book is  A Moonbow NightYou won’t want to miss meeting Laura and getting to know her. Here’s her website:  www.laurafrantz.net   Don’t miss her fun recipes!

“On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?

With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beacons readers to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.”

Our November 27th selection is a fun little petite book that packs a punch by none other than Scottish minister and author, Alistair Begg.  It’s called Christmas Playlist.  Catch one of his sermons via www.truthforlife.org  You’ll love his Scottish brogue. Alistair is the senior pastor of Cleveland’s Parkside Church. (www.parksidechurch.com)

“Music is everywhere at Christmas chart-toppers, carols, children’s tunes… Alistair Begg takes us to four songs that were sung by people at the very first Christmas (and his favorite carol).

In this short, winsome book a teenage girl, a respected priest, a group of angels and an old man bring readers to the heart of Christmas, showing them the joy and peace that comes from meeting a baby who lay in the food trough and changed eternity.”

For our January 22nd, 2018 meeting, what better way to kick off the new year than by reading a more-than-enthusiastic (understatement of the century if you’ve heard him speak) author named Bob Goff.  His book will be just what we need:  Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World. Don’t miss his website: bobgoff.com

“As a college student Bob spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren’t good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean’s office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world’s best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world’s most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it’s not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob’s love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.

When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don’t want to miss.

Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob’s life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.”

A little p.s. on this…I’m currently reading Bob’s wife, Maria’s book, Love Lives Here:  Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You WantIt’s an excellent read as well.  Big thumbs’ up.

February 26th finds us back in fiction:  Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon. Irene is amazing.  She’s written fifty plus books and has received many awards.  Read more about her on her website:  irenehannon.com

“Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities–including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either–but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different–and better–future planned for them than either could imagine.”

On March 26th, we’ll discuss Choosing by Rachelle Dekker. Rachelle happens to be the oldest daughter of bestselling author Ted Dekker.  Read more about her via rachelledekker.com

“Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for―her Choosing ceremony―to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.”

We’ll finish out our season on April 23rd, reading a novel by a favorite author of mine, Julie Klassen. Her book we’ll be reading is The Innkeeper of Ivy HillShe loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austin.  We will have fun with this novel!  Read more about Julia via her website:  julieklassen.com  (The book I read long ago and loved was The Apothecary’s Daughter.)

“The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora’s wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them–and her future–in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?”

Get these dates on your calendar and be thinking of friends you can invite!  You’ll enjoy this variety of Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction and your summer all at once! We look forward to seeing you in the fall!

‘Til next time!

P.S.  Next week I’ll have details to share about an amazing event with even more amazing speakers on August 5th from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Save the date!



Comments Off on Great Summer Reading Suggestions! Announcing the 2017-2018 Book Club Season…

Filed under Book Clubs

What’s on Your Christmas Playlist? (With help from Alistair Begg)

Friends!  It’s Christmas Week!   I pray your heart is at peace, your mind is at rest and not in frenetic motion, and you’ve got a skip in your step.


If you’re saying, “Yeah, right.” I bring you good news along with some mighty fine tunes. Hang with me…

Few things help my mood more than music.  You? Our grown children talk about their playlists non-stop.  Little country here, little soul/dance-band-college-song there, sprinkled with a little worship music. (See their favorites at the end of this post.)

Hubster and I enjoy a little bit of everything.  We had friends over for dinner this week and he put on a “dinner party” tract, thanks to Pandora, that was perfect. Think Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, ahhhh.

Some mornings when I’m about half awake, I have three go-to worship songs which almost immediately transform my mood from “ho-hum” to “let’s go!” Give these a try when you have time:

#1 – We Will Feast in the House of Zion by Sandra McCracken

Here’s the chorus:

“We will feast in the house of Zion.  We will sing with our hearts restored.  He has done great things, we will say together, We will feast and weep no more.”

#2 – O Church Arise by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Favorite part:

“Come, see the cross, where love and mercy meet, as the Son of God is stricken; Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet, For the conqueror has risen! And as the stone is rolled away, And Christ emerges from the grave, This victory march continues till the day Ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.”

#3 – In Christ Alone by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Two favorite stanzas slay me every time:

“In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm….My comforter, my all in all—Here in the love of Christ I stand.”

“There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sins’ curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine—Bought with the precious blood of Christ.”

On the rare occasion when Nancy Aguiar and I are in the same room hearing the above song (usually sung by Travis Cottrell at a Beth Moore Conference), puddles of tears splash about our feet. We are undone, 100%.

So where does Alistair Begg figure into this equation?  Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Big smile.

Alistair has written a clever-while-petite Christmas book, perfect for one’s stocking:  Christmas Playlist – Four Songs that Bring You to the Heart of Christmas.  You could read it in an afternoon over a cup of coffee.  Or, you can savor it during this Christmas/winter season, and the next, and the next. (How cute is the cover?)


Alistair hails from Scotland.  If you’ve ever heard him on his radio program, Truth for Life (www.truthforlife.org), you love his accent and his preaching like the rest of us.  Alistair pastors Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio.  He’s been there since 1983. (www.parksidechurch.com )

He was recently on The Eric Metaxas Show which is how I learned about Christmas Playlist.  (www.metaxastalk.com ) Hearing Eric attempt Alistair’s brogue is worth the effort above and beyond the program itself!  Alistair says Eric sounds like a very sick Mrs. Doubtfire.

Two very fun surprises from Christmas Playlist blessed me before I dove in:

First, Webb Simpson wrote the Foreword.  You golfers know him.  I had to call our resident golf expert, our middle son, Gordy, to find out about Webb. Gordy said, “Oh yeah, Mom.  I know him.  He’s a great golfer.  Won the U.S. Open in 2012.” Awesome.

Webb tells us, “This book is about eternity…Allistair takes us to the first Christmas and to what, or who, that first Christmas was truly all about—Jesus.  In Him, I’ve found a sense of fulfillment and peace that no number of major golf championships could ever bring me.”

Webb adds, “On the 17th hole of the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open, when I was…just a few shots from winning the golf tournament I’d dreamed of winning, I had a conversation with my caddie, Paul Tesori. We reminded each other that if we won that day, it would not make any difference to our sense of satisfaction, because we couldn’t take the trophy with us beyond this life anyway. There was a more important contest that would matter for all eternity, and the one who was born at that first Christmas had already won it for us.”


Second surprise will shock your socks off.  One of Alistair’s endorsers is Alice Cooper!  He says, “Connecting the Bible’s songs to modern songs makes this book come alive.”  (Checkout his Christian testimony)

Back to the book…Alistair’s Christmas Playlist walks us through:

Mary’s Song: What is God like?,
Zechariah’s Song:  Why do you need God?,
The Angel’s Song:  How did God come?, and
Simeon’s Song:  How did God do it? 

Alistair tell us these four songs of the first Christmas “were heard before, during and after the birth of the baby who lies at the heart of the real Christmas…This is a playlist that helps us to prepare for Christmas properly, and to celebrate Christmas joyfully.”

We readers journey through the Gospel of Luke in Chapters One and Two, plus Twenty-three and Twenty-four as Alistair points out the importance of the crucifixion and resurrection. He notes, “Luke’s Gospel finishes in a very similar place to where it began. We began with angels appearing, and we finish the same way. We began with an angel announcing the presence of life where it is, humanly-speaking, impossible—in the wombs of a woman who was infertile and a woman who was a virgin. We finish with angels announcing the presence of life in a tomb—the resurrection of a crucified criminal to eternal glory.”

In the conclusion, Alistair reminds us, “Christmas provokes a decision. At the first Christmas, Jesus came to you. Now you must decide:  Will you come to Him?”

Rick Warren said in a recent Daily Hope email, “We have a hard time missing Christmas as a cultural phenomenon, however we can miss the very point of Christmas.  Take the innkeeper for example.  Are you too busy with your work to make room for Jesus this Christmas?  Is your schedule, your plans, or your budget too tight to let Jesus in this Christmas?”

Let’s keep those questions in our hearts while we praise the Lord for another Christmas season…


I pray you and your family have a most Blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.  As we used to say on the last day of school before Christmas Break, “See you next year!”

P.S.  Wednesday, December 14th was a banner day in the Hoagland Household for two reasons:

First, it was the 33rd anniversary of Hubster proposing to me. We celebrate our engagement almost as much as our wedding date.

Secondly, we were blessed to attend “The Big Reveal Party”, hosted by our oldest son, John Jr.  and his lovely bride, Diana.  See the amazing-after-thirty-years-of-boys results below…

Merry Christmas from our family to yours:


Coming May 4, 2017, Lord willing:  Claire Elizabeth Hoagland

We’d covet your prayers for a healthy pregnancy and baby! (Pictured left to right:  Woody and LT, Hubster and Yours Truly, Diana, John Jr., Lauren and Gordy)

P.S. Again!  (Oh, you’re so glad I’m not blogging again until January…)

I polled our family for their favorite songs/genres/playlists FYI:

John Jr. says it’s a two-way tie between country music and audio books.

Diana says it’s a tie between country and Christian music.  She especially loves the group NeedtoBreathe.

Gordy’s current favorite song is the classic New York, New York by Frank Sinatra. (They just returned from a fun trip to the Big Apple this month.)

Lauren loves country and Christian music with her favorite artists being Lauren Daigle and Thomas Rhett.

Woody’s current fav is Love Me Now by John Legend.

LT loves the worship group Bethel along with John Mayer, Johnny Swim, and pop music.

Hubster parks mostly on country channels while I flip back and forth from Christian to jazz to classical to songs from our college days in the ‘80’s.

I cannot be still if Earth, Wind, and Fire are playing.

I maintain Phil Collins is one magically talented musician.

However, after seeing and hearing Nicole C. Mullen sing My Redeemer Lives in Nashville this summer, I’m a forever fan. Mercy.

Please comment and tell me your favorite artist, song, or genre?

‘Til next time!


Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Holidays, Music