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Bad News: Branches Book Club next Monday the 23rd is cancelled…GOOD NEWS: Don’t miss the page-turner novel (review below) while we’re all inside, and, DO Look Forward to our April 27th Meeting!

Friends! In my wildest imagination, never in a million years, could I have predicted what would be transpiring over the past two weeks. Each day and hour bring changes.  As many of you have reminded us, “Praise God He’s Sovereign and is surprised by none of this.”

Another most gracious-gift from God happened last Monday when I had my right hip replaced.  Had that been this week, it wouldn’t have happened given the surgeries that are being postponed.  The Lord sent guardian angels disguised as nurses and physical therapists last week and this week.  The stories are so uncanny, you wouldn’t believe me unless I told you.  We praise you, Lord.

So, because many churches have been cancelling big gatherings, our Branches Book Club falls under that category, thus we will not meet next Monday the 23rd.  We were to have read Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel.

Don’t miss reading this clever novel!  It’ll give you something to do and will keep you guessing until the last page.

Author Lindsay Harrell was most gracious and made us a video to show at our meeting. Since we’re now cancelled, Nancy Tinnell’s posting the video on our Branches Facebook page. Don’t miss it!

lindsayharrel.com

One of the many reasons this novel grabbed me from the get-go was thanks to the character, Sophie, who decides to get away for the season, dashing across the pond to a lovely area known as Cornwall, England.  Oh, and this gets better!  Sophie has rented an apartment above a bookstore and part of her deal will be she gets to work in the bookstore! Can you dream of anything better?!!!

Both Sophie and the bookstore owner, Ginny, have relationship challenges with their significant others, and we readers get to see firsthand how they learn to deal with them. Their fast friendship is fun to watch, seeing how they bounce ideas off of each other.

Early on, Sophie finds a notebook in the bookstore  which has journal entries from a woman named Emily Fairfax.  Emily was a governess who lived in Cornwall over 150 years ago.

So as not to give away their discoveries, join Sophie and Willam (Ginny’s brother-in-law) and Ginny as they make connection after connection uncovering things you never could’ve predicted. Their thought processes make Sherlock Holmes’ look dim. Oh, and we also get to be in on more than one budding romance…

Author Lindsay Harrel does an absolutely stellar job in toting us readers along with her characters, never knowing what’s around the next bend.  I found the entire journey delightful and didn’t want the book to end.

Checkout Lindsey’s message to us (on Branches’ Facebook page) and we will hope to see all of you at our last meeting of the season, on April 27th (Lord willing), when we discuss Margaret Feinberg’s Taste and See:  Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers.

Prayers for all of you to stay healthy and safe during this COVID-19 situation. While we wait things out, may you and your family savor your time together and perhaps read LOTS of good books!

 As Barbara Bush once said, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal, you will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.”

‘Til next time!

 

 

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What’s Your Point of View? You Don’t Want to Miss Our Book Club Meeting Next Monday, 1/27! (…with fascinating discussion of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s Book.)

Friends!  Load up your car with friends next Monday night, January 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. and join us for what promises to be a super fun-in-every-way night.  Branches Book Club, at Middletown United Methodist Church will be discussing a new book by Elisabeth Hasselbeck called Point of View:  A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom.

I learned a lot about a lot of topics, most of which I had no clue regarding Elisabeth’s life and career.  I knew she’d been a contestant on Survivor in 2001 and soon afterwards got a chair as a co-host on The View.  But who knew she was a walk-on for the softball team at Boston College?  Or a shoe designer? Throw in three young children and a husband that played in the NFL and she’s spinning multiple plates!

Before we dive in, let’s hear from some of Elisabeth’s endorsers:

Roma Downey says, “…Elisabeth’s book carries a powerful message that reprioritizes the great truth: He calls, He equips, He never leaves.”

Lysa TerKeurst says, “In a world that sometimes begs us to do the total opposite, Point of View is a great resource that will help us process having a godly perspective.”

Candace Cameron Bure is who took Elisabeth’s place on The View when her contract wasn’t renewed.  As God would orchestrate, they became dear friends.  Candace wrote the Foreword to this book. I love how she ends it:  “God changes our point of view when we understand just how blurry our vision really is without Him.”

Each and every chapter offers beautiful reminders that our Sovereign Lord is in charge. The lengths to which He went for Elisabeth are astonishing.  Elisabeth offers us many metaphors also in each chapter sprinkled with pertinent Scripture to lean on.  She dubs her friends “spiritual optometrists who have helped me look at something differently or more closely and pointed my eyes to a different point of view.”

I also never made the connection that the same year Elisabeth was on Survivor, our very own Rodger Bingham, a/k/a  “Kentucky Joe” was too.  He and Elisabeth were on the same team. She says they quickly developed a father/daughter type of relationship.  While each participant was allowed their own, personal “survival item,” Elisabeth chose a crafty headdress she made from a collection of scarves that were important to her.

Kentucky Joe’s survival item was his Bible!  He often taught Elisabeth from the Bible and they bookended their days with prayer and Scripture. She shares, “Every night and morning we prayed, beginning with praising God and thanking Him, praying for our families back home, and asking for safety in the long, uncertain days that lay ahead of us.”

Numerous lessons Elisabeth shares will bless you and strengthen your faith. She says, “Rodger pointed my eyes, through our alliance in heart, to reliance on faith.”

Leading up to the Australian Outback where they’d be for Survivor, (noting 9 out of the world’s 10 most deadly snakes are found in the Outback), Elisabeth and other potential contestants had a series of tests to take.  (I’d have thrown in the towel long before I ever got started.) I found myself shaking my head a lot,  saying, “No way!”

Elisabeth’s ten years on The View were anything but easy.  Having a Biblical worldview and discussing “Hot Topics” usually got her in the hot seat and highly criticized, however, she held her ground.  She attributes a large part of her strength and stamina to putting on the FULL ARMOR OF GOD every morning.  She says, “I prepared my heart each morning with the armor of God because I knew each day would have its challenges.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 spells out the full armor of God for us:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Some fun parts of the book include Elisabeth’s sweet relationship she had with the one and only Barbara Walters.  Interviews with major celebrities and opportunities to dinners at the White House, etc. were frequent.  Not all of them went swimmingly.  Don’t miss these!

When she learned her contract on The View wasn’t being renewed, she decided to stay as long as possible and daily recited, Psalm 3:3,

We readers also benefit from the many lessons Elisabeth learned along the way such as “how to leave a job well.” She also shows us how not to take a new job at the expense of your little ones.  Her vulnerability on how she crashed and burned with Fox is eye-opening and impressive she has the guts to share this with us. She realized, “it was time for my family to get the best of me, not the rest of me.”

We look forward to a lively discussion and more lessons we can all take home from our book club meeting this coming Monday. Our theme is “All American,” so plan to bring a snack related to that if time allows. Be thinking of some friends you can bring and please join us next Monday night, January 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.!!! Middletown United Methodist is at 11902 Old Shelbyville Road, in Louisville, 40243.

RSVP to Nancy Tinnell at (502)245-8839.

We look forward to seeing you!

‘Til next time!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

 

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You’re Invited to Book Club and a Christmas Party on 11/25! “Christmas in Winter Hill” by Melody Carlson

Friends! This coming Monday, November 25th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., please make some much needed time for yourself before all the Thanksgiving and Christmas madness and head over to Middleton United Methodist Church for a full night of fun and holiday cheer! You won’t want to miss our discussion on Melody Carlson’s newest Christmas novel, Christmas in Winter Hill.

We’ll navigate Krista Galloway’s struggles with Christmas past and her journey in discovering the true spirit of Christmas with her eight-year-old daughter in a new town famous for its Christmasville celebration.

Here’s a description, courtesy of Amazon:  “Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, ‘Where’s the snow?’ Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you’ll never forget–and never want to leave.”

Christmas in Winter Hill is sure to encourage engaging discussions!

And, as is tradition during our November gathering, we’ll get to enjoy a huge spread of holiday treats! Have a to-die-for favorite appetizer? Bring it with you, and check out all of the other delights that are sure to please. We can be your guinea pigs if you’re trying out a new recipe on the fam this Thanksgiving. There are so many options, you won’t go away hungry!

To top off our night of holiday fun, bring a wrapped Christmas ornament and join in our annual Ornament Exchange! This is always a hit, and a fun way to add a new ornament to your tree.

Grab your friends, and join us on Monday, November 21st from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. And please do have a most Happy, Blessed Thanksgiving on the 28th!!!

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

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

‘Til next time!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

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“You’re Invited to Book Club, Monday 10/28! “Afraid of All the Things” Guarantees Hilarity, Encouragement & a Personal Message from Scarlet Hiltibidal!

Friends!  Load up your car with buddies and head to Middletown United Methodist Church (MUMC) next Monday night, October 28th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. 

We’ll be discussing a highly unique book called Afraid of All the Things:  Tornadoes, Cancer, Adoption, and Other Stuff You Need the Gospel For by Scarlet Hiltibidal.

Scarlet isn’t afraid to tell you why she’s been afraid of you-name-it most of her life.  Her various antics, some real, and some imagined, will have you crying from laughing so hard, God bless her.

The gift she gives us readers is her discovery of holding up the Gospel to her fears.  Our sweet Lord teaches her He is her answer. His perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

One of many favorite quotes is:

A favorite Scripture she reminds us of is: “I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)

Scarlet blesses us readers with Scripture after Scripture, promise after promise, we can cling to for many scenarios.  Through her many trials, we see her put this into action. (These are great lessons we can take note of.)

One of Scarlet’s scariest moments dealt with her Mother’s cancer.  Some of you may not know who her mom is.  I bet many of you know of her. She’s often interviewed on the Eric Metaxas Show.  Curious?  Scarlet’s Mom is Victoria Jackson from Saturday Night Live!!! Who knew?

You also don’t want to  miss how Scarlet and her family came to adopt a deaf orphan girl from China.  How it comes down is astonishing and obviously an only-God-could-orchestrate this endeavor.  Watch the beauty of others embracing them during this time and helping to assimilate their daughter into the United States.  This is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.

Checkout Scarlet’s website:  www.scarlethiltibidal.com

Also, friends, you don’t want to  miss the sweet, personal video message Scarlet sent us from her farm!  She’s tickled pink we’ll be discussing her book this Monday!

You’ll also be amused by her newest book, He Numbered the Pores on My Face:  Hottie Lists, Clogged Pores, Eating Disorders, and Freedom From It All . (And she just announced she got a contract for another book!  We don’t know its topic yet.  No telling given her hilarious titles.  Congrats, Scarlet!)

Come and laugh with all of us and be encouraged.  Bring your friends! Sky’s the limit on snack options.  From the below quote in Scarlet’s Acknowledgments, can you guess what I’m bringing???

We hope to see you Monday, October 28th, from 6:30-8:00!

RSVP to Nancy Tinnell @ (502) 245-8839.

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are “affiliate links.”

 

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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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“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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Happy Holy Week! You’re Invited to Our Last Book Club Meeting of the Season, Cliffhanger and All, Next Monday, 4/22 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. (Don’t miss the Rx for Anxiety near the end…)

Friends! Come one, come all to what promises to be a super fun finale for our season. Terri Blackstock’s If I Run is not only suspenseful, it’s a cliffhanger and will provide you with two more books you’ll want to read to find out what happens. Yes, it’s #1 of 3 in a series!

Nancy Tinnell was most gracious to write a teaser for us. (If you’ve not read the book yet, you’re going to want to!). Here’s Nancy:

”Terri Blackstock’s suspenseful novel, If I Run, is our final book club selection this year. We will be discussing it on Monday, April 22nd, and you are invited to join us! I apologized in advance to the group last month for the cliffhanger ending in this story. It provides an automatic summer reading suggestion for us: books two and three of the If I Run Series. Those titles are If I’m Found and If I Live.


Casey Cox, the anxious young woman at the heart of the story, is in a desperate situation. She has discovered a crime scene, knows that DNA evidence will point to her, even though she is innocent, but she doesn’t have much faith in the local authorities. She feels they let her down at the time of her father’s death thirteen years earlier. Casey is so wounded in her spirit and feels so alone in this dilemma that she chooses to run.

In this story, we follow her as she constantly changes her location, her appearance, and her identity, so she can buy time to think through the situation and decide what to do. There is a lot of suspense involved here, so be prepared to feel a bit anxious yourself.

Enter the love interest! Well, Dylan is not a love interest yet. He’s one of the authorities trying to track her. But we can see it coming. I just know it! He has a knack for analysis and can see that the details don’t add up to her guilt, even if the DNA evidence does implicate her. Also, Dylan’s back story makes him a sympathetic character.

At book club, we’ll be discussing these characters and several others, in addition to probing Casey’s suspicions about this crime and the circumstances surrounding her father’s death.

Since Casey has to live on fast food on the road, our suggested snack theme for our April meeting is “food on the run.” What do you fix when you have to fix something super-fast? Or what do you “drive through the drive-through” to pick up when you are in a hurry? Or what leftovers in the fridge can you pull together quickly? Food on the run, lots of fun! See you on the 22nd, book lovers.”

Thank you, Nancy! We will also announce our selections for our 2019-2020 season. We had a meeting last week and chose four fiction and three non-fiction books, all of which look wonderful!

The Living Word Bookstore in Southeast Christian Church is partnering with us to carry our selections for our new season. You may call them at (502) 253-8220. (Their website is: www.livingword.org ) They’ll be happy to order your books for you.

Gather up a carload of your friends! We hope to see you Monday, April 22nd, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Middletown United Methodist Church. Please RSVP to Nancy at (502) 245-8839.

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

 

Finally, since this week is Holy Week, here’s a reprise from last year should any of you have any anxiety about anything at all…our friend Max Lucado has just the help we need:

Anyone lugging around worries that are making you anxious? (I’m just realizing lug is in luggage.) Luggage denotes “inconveniently heavy baggage.” Well, take heart, I’m bringing you good news to lighten your load and bless us this Holy Week!

Many of you know how often I quote author Max Lucado. His book, Anxious for Nothing—Finding Calm in a Chaotic World, is a current favorite, its’ many pages already highlighted and dog-eared.

I’ll share a few of many favorite quotes which I pray will ease our anxiety, perhaps even erase it altogether, blessing us with a peaceful Holy Week. In the meantime, you may wish to grab this book as it’s a resource you would return to time and time again.

Max begins with, “Anxiety is a meteor shower of what-ifs…
Anxiety is trepidation.
It’s a suspicion,
An apprehension.
Life in a minor key with major concerns…
You’re part Chicken Little and part Eeyore. The sky is falling and it’s falling disproportionately on you.” Anyone?!!! Max not only cracks me up, he often perfectly depicts my own moods.

Flip on the news or grab a newspaper and “anxiety disorders” are usually the front runners. Epidemic proportions.Max states what we think, yet fear to admit:

One would think Christians would be exempt from worry. But we are not. We have been taught that the Christian life is a life of peace, and when we don’t have peace, we assume the problem lies within us. Not only do we feel anxious, but we also feel guilty about our anxiety! The result is a downward spiral of worry, guilt, worry, guilt.”

What’s a person to do? Thankfully, Max gifts us with the solution straight from Scripture. Philippians 4:4-8 says:

Max shows us that these five verses include, “four admonitions that lead to ONE WONDERFUL PROMISE: ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.’” (v. 7)

Additionally, this book blesses us throughout by equipping us with a simple acronym, the word “CALM”. Put this in your anxiety arsenal and you will have a peaceful Holy Week:

The concept of “CALM” is introduced in Chapter One, and expounded on throughout the book. You’ll never look at it again in the same way! (See page 10 for starters!)

We readers are reminded to consult the Apostle Paul’s words and actions. Max says, “Paul believed in the steady hand of a good God. He was protected by God’s strength, preserved by God’s love. He lived beneath the shadow of God’s wings.”

What does that look like for us? It translates into savoring God’s sovereignty. Clinging to His sovereignty and reminding ourselves daily that God is still on the throne. Always occupied. Always interceding for you and for me…

This Holy Week as we march toward Good Friday and Easter, may we remember the acronym “Calm”, and hear Max’ reminder: “God took the crucifixion of Friday and turned it into the celebration of Sunday.”

Max’ book also includes a Study Guide which would be great for anyone, but also super for a Small Group to work thru’.

Have a blessed Easter.

‘Til next time!

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