Sunday, December 15, 2013

Plastic Donuts

Plastic Donuts shares stories of people applying faith by giving generously.  It is full of relevant testimony that helps broaden one's perception of tithing.  My Sunday School class read parts of this book and discussed. The Plastic Donuts website has fantastic video testimony and other great complimentary resources. We handed out the brochure from the website that helps assess spending and setting goals for better giving.  Our faith walks vary, so do "our best" gifts to honor God. This book puts you in the shoes of a father receiving a precious gift from his child.  Oh how loved receiving this gift makes him feel and how his heart swells with delight over this gift.  How do your gifts make your heavenly father feel?  This quick easy read deepened my understanding of giving and prompts me to dig deeper in how I give.

Amazingly Powerful Life and Perspective

Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic
Nick's life oozes the hand of God. Clearly Nick's strength, courage and wisdom come from God. How can I complain? No reason for anyone not to be more passionate about their own place in God's story.  Nick's triumph over his disability as well as his triumph over some of the same things that all of us face- is tremendously inspiring. Overcoming suicidal thoughts to become one of the most encouraging people on the planet. This book will have you seeing the blessings in your own life with greater clarity and the obstacles will start looking smaller. Beautiful testimony from a beautiful person.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Captive in Iran

          Captive in Iran is a nonfiction suspense thriller and a triumphant testimony of two faithful Christian women who refused to deny their faith, even facing death. I received this book in participation with a book review program.

          Few books fall into the Christian nonfiction suspense genre. My heart was fully engaged as I read Captive in Iran. It raced anticipating what dangers lay in the next chapter. Simultaneously my heart grew from the relentless faith that Maryam and Marziyeh showed time and again. Their love for their fellow prisoners, their courage to share their beliefs and their perseverance to show the fruits of the spirit no matter what pain the day brings convicts me to live a more surrendered life.

          Having always lived in America, I rarely take a moment to just be thankful for my many freedoms. I am fearful for a person mentioned on page 241 still living in Iran who the authors protect by not identifying. Even under the tremendous restrictions and dangerous repercussions of the Iran government, this person bravely tipped off the United Nations to help rescue Maryam and Marziyeh. It is frightening how many people have been unjustly prosecuted for fostering better human rights in Iran. I was moved to pray for the person unnamed on page 241 as well as the many people that remain hidden today seeking the courage to instigate change for a better Iran when opportunity presents.

          As I read of how the authors tried to help the least of these among the prisoners and share what little they had, I became inspired to act more boldly.  If God can use them so powerfully under close watch inside a prison, clearly I should reach out more to others with my life.  The lovely foreword by Anne Graham Lotz set the bar high. Captive in Iran does not disappoint. Four out of five hearts.

This book is set for release April 2, 2013.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Circle Maker Small Group Study by Mark Batterson

            Circle Maker Small Group Study is good for audiences from the seeker to mature believer. Mark believes that the one thing you can not afford to delegate is prayer. The video that goes with this study is very engaging, mixing testimony from various people weighing heavily on Mark’s experience starting National Community Church.  Mark talks about the kind of faith it takes to walk in God’s will even when you don’t have a copy of the game plan.  The Circle Maker, a four week study, focuses on a stronger prayer life providing helpful ideas, biblical truthes and even a prayer challenge. Mark says that God loves bold prayer because bold prayer honor’s God. Four out of five hearts. Have you done the Circle Maker study?  What did you think?

           More info on Circle Maker @

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Voice by Thomas Nelson

            For three years, I have used The Voice translation of the bible.  When I use it in a group to read aloud, people always ask what version.  The flow is current and beautiful.  This translation keeps me in the word.  I did a study on Luke that focused on a chapter a week.  I got so engrossed reading that I was quickly finished and into Acts before it hit me that I was done.  For all the people who have a hard time digesting the prose of other versions of the bible, give this bible a try.  The Voice makes me want to go back, read and reread the bible.  Five out of five hearts.

            More info on The Voice

The website offers free download of the new testament as well as emailing out a verse of the day.           

The White Umbrella by Mary Frances Bowley

            “Though out history in the dark night of need, God awakens ordinary people to the torrent of his love, shattering the silence and fueling in their hearts an unquenchable desire to spread the love they've found to the broken and discarded.” Louie Giglio wrote the forward to this book including the previous quote.  Reading The White Umbrella, it becomes clear that Mary Frances Bowley is really good at choosing to let God use her to shine His love on people suffering in the shadows with no voice.  The White Umbrella narrative shares perspectives with all of the people connected with the Wellspring Living facility that rehabilitates the lives of those who have survived sex trafficking.  This is happening in the United States.  All proceeds of The White Umbrella go to the Wellspring Living facility.  Four out of five hearts.
            More info on helping sex traffic survivors

            A quote from the book, "When God’s people come together to fight this good fight against the exploitation of innocence, the weight of oppression is exchanged for the weight of glory. The time has come to let our children be little girls once again. The time for freedom is now."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Life without Limits by Chrissie Wellington

            While I enjoyed this book, the title still strikes me as egotistical.  Often limited by injury and lack of confidence, Chrissie Wellington, had a spirit that never gave up.  She is a fighter who over came tremendous challenges with her mental perseverance and exceptional physical discipline.  A Life Without Limits chronicles Chrissie Wellington’s journey to be the top female IronMan athlete. Three out of five hearts.

            More info on Chrissie Wellington 

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

            The day I read, Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, Dr. Mark Couture had just shared 1 Peter 3:15, explaining that as Christians it is our responsibility to be able to explain why our hope is in Jesus.  If you can’t quickly come on those words, Dinner with a Perfect Stranger will aid you to explain to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  J  This book validated my faith and gave me quick sound bites to share with those who wonder why I believe.  It is quick easy read of only 100 pages.  Three and a half out of five hearts.

            More info on David Gregory 

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

            Ever wondered what next?  What is my purpose? Donald charts his days asking these questions about his own life. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is a compilation of people and stories that guided him to realize his bigger purpose. Donald’s profound revelations will resonate in your own perspective on the point of your life.  Donald Miller is an exquisite writer. I was hooked from his first chapter noting if our lives are focused on attaining the best material items, it would make a terrible movie.  Donald challenges us to be more focused with our lives so that at the end it is not an aimless journey.  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years gave me a fire to “find my subplot in God’s story.”  Five out of Five hearts.
            More info on Donald Miller 

Love Does by Bob Goff

            The main take away from Love Does is- love is a verb. Why are we so often content with love that never moves from feeling to action?  If it crosses my mind to take my neighbor some of the meal I cooked, I might think twice about it, wondering what they’d think.  In this world of you get what you deserve, where does unearned grace have a place?  When is it okay to show the kind of over the top bold love that God has for us?  Seems Bob Goff would say every day we should show bold sunset-over-the-ocean kind of love.  Matching Bob’s big love is his humility and sense of humor. When I saw that Love Does went on the New York Times Bestseller list, I was so excited as all of the profits from the book go to a nonprofit called Restore International which “finds audacious ways to restore justice to children and help the poorest of poor.” Five out of Five hearts.        

            More info on Bob Goff @

A quote from the book, "There's a passage in the Bible that says people who haven't met Jesus are going to think the people who have met Jesus are crazy. I get that look sometimes, and its usually from people who don't have a lot of creativity or haven't experienced whimsy.. The people who slowly became typical have the greatest problem wrapping their minds around a dynamic friendship with an invisible, alive God. There's nothing wrong with being typical, I guess, but there is nothing fundamentally right about it either. I've never read in Genesis that God created "typical" and called it good. Instead, I think men who were bored made up typical and called it, if not good, at least acceptable. People who follow Jesus, though, are no longer typical--God is constantly inviting them into a life that moves away from typical. Even if they have normal jobs, live in normal houses, and drive normal cars, they're just not the same anymore. The ones Jesus first picked to follow Him started out typical, to be sure. They were unschooled and ordinary. Fishermen, business people, blind people, loose women, rip-offs, and vagrants. They were..folks who had been injured in life and patched together with gum and leaves and grace. But..what Christ-followers lack in velocity, they make up for in intensity. They are people who have experienced an intensely intimate friendship with Jesus and move forward with and intensity to parallel that experience."