Women Living Well challenges your priorities

I specifically chose this book to read and review as a part of the Booksneeze community because I thought it would be a great way to refocus for the new year. Courtney Joseph delivers an easy read and an encouragement to women to get back to the basics and to fill their lives with the priorities each of us are called to as women who are Christ-followers.
Because of her own tech-savy approach to life, I was encouraged by her words of wisdom about media and how it relates to our families. She quotes Proverbs 1:7 which says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Then adds, "The child who is loved and has a healthy fear of God will eventually be able to monitor his or her own media.” I enjoyed that section of her book the most. Although my family does not operate in many ways the way that her family does, there is sound information and words of wisdom in this book. Women Living Well will encourage women who desire to have a peaceful home, fulfilling marriage, and a purposeful approach to their everyday lives.

Book Review - The Power of Respect by Deborah Norville

_76_125_Book.95.cover Deborah Norville tackles a huge issue in our society that she believe is disapearing from our fabric as people - respect. She uses humor, fact, and great stories to help us understand how respect is one of the most valuable character qualities that we can exhibit as people.

I started this book awhile back and I was so impressed with how well she communicated such simple truths through storytelling. When you read example of people who used the Power of Respect to change their circumstances for good, change their communities for the better - these were wonderful examples for me.

Deborah says that "The Power of Respect begins at home." I could not agree more with this statement. My favorite part was her top five things to do to raise respectful kids. I highly recommend putting these up somewhere. I think I am goign to put them on my refrigerator!

This is a must read. If you lead people, interact with people, have children, or in anyway have to deal with the human race, you need to read this book!

Recreate 2010 Recap

The 10th Anniverary of cre:ate was ALL that and a bag of chips! By the time I leave every year, I am brimming over with ideas and a replenished soul...this year was no different. The word for the week was "authenticity." I was so struck by that character trait in SO many of our speakers and musicians. There were SO many amazing moments that I cannot recount them all.

I will fail to mention in this post all the details of the wonderful conversations at meals, at our tables, and at late night gatherings with friends and new friends. That is THE BEST part of recreate. So for me, here were some highlights during the conference:

  • IMG_1152  Our morning worship times with Ian Cron, Audrey Assad, and Matt Maher were the most spiritually enriching moments of the week. Look for a new song written by Audry and Matt called "Restless." It's not out yet, but look for it...I can't stop singing it!
  • I was overwhelmed by Stephen Mansfield and Dan Cathy...these men had SO much to say to us as church leaders, I was inspired by their authenticity and challenged by their ideas.
  • Sheila Walsh and Luci Swindoll shared amazing testimonies with us that inspired me and brought such perspective to being in ministry and living life in general.

IMG_8876  However, the most amazing and...well, the only word that I can use to describe it is "transcendent...was hearing Gungor perform their entire new album from start to finish with no talking or transition. What you hear on the recording, we saw and experienced live (including a string section) with amazing video elements that enhanced the musical experience. I haven't experienced any musical event that was as fresh, musical, worshipful, artistic, and as excellent as their performance. GO SEE THEM! It is amazing...I really have no words to describe it. Buy this record.

The founder of this conference, Randy Elrod, released his new book this week. I blogged about it here. It was so meaningful to hear Randy share his personal journey of writing this book. Randy and his wife Chris are life-long mentors and amazing people. They also have a 10 year old Maltese like me so that REALLY makes them special!

I feel so blessed that I have a such a safe place to go every year for 4 days and be encouraged, challenged, convicted, harassed :), to laugh, and to cry...all of this with friends!

I'm ready for what God has for me this year...and I know it is because He had my attention in a big way last week in Franklin, TN...

My review of Sex, Lies & Religion by Randy Elrod


Sex, Lies & Religion is a must read for those who are wiling to embrace a fresh perspective on the role of sex and how it connects with our spiritual lives. Randy challenges a lot of what you may have perceived as the role sex plays in our lives, especially as spiritual beings.

The first eight chapters give you an overview of some very specific thoughts from Randy on the role of sex, our bodies, and a brief history of how art has portrayed the male and female body as a celebration of God's design. Randy states very plainly how he sees that the church and religion have bound us to the truth of what God designed for the role of sex to be in our lives. He believes this constriction to God's plan for us has contributed to the moral failures that we see so often in our church leaders and in Christians.

Chapter nine really brought some perspective for me that I have experienced in my own life. This paragraph in particular from chapter nine really brought it altogether for me.

"Making love becomes a way of life. It is the spiritual essence of each day. And in this sense every day is foreplay. The soft brush of a fleeting kiss as you awaken,a brief time of thoughtful conversation over a cup of coffee, a warm and close embrace at hello and goodbye, showing affection to unruly children, expressing exuberance about life, practicing serenity in turbulent times, and displaying a sense of compassion to others, are all as much “making love” as when actual sexual intercourse takes place." - from Sex, Lies & Religion by Randy Elrod.

This book is not for the faint of heart. You will be challenged on your personal views on these matters. If you want to engage in a different perspective and are open to those views being challenged, you need to read this book.  To purchase your copy, click here - Sex, Lies & Religion.

My Review of What Difference Do it Make?


Yes, that is the correct title. If you read the first book, Same Kind of Different as Me, then it makes sense. The saying goes. "You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read." (attributed to Charles Jones) Same Kind of Different as Me was one of those books in my life. This book is a follow-up where Ron and Denver share in more detail their story together as well as how their book has influenced others to examine their hearts and their view of homelessness. It contains amazing recounts of people who after reading their first book, evaluated the role they could play in serving others, mainly those that are not in their circle. This book doesn't make sense unless you have read the first one and I highly recommend that you read BOTH in the order they were written. I was one of those people who thought that my kindness to those "less fortunate" at the holidays was a good thing...and it is in a way. But Denver's account as a homeless man of his thoughts when "nice white people" help out during the holidays was a wake-up call. He asked, "Do they think we don't need their help the other 11 months out of the year?" That honest statement has helped me to play a part in our church's response to a specific people group at Woodhaven Apartments year round here on the Island. We are are there every week and we have no intention of leaving. From restoring their community center, to helping kids with homework after school, to feeding them every week, to being there at the holidays...it is awesome to be a part of a ministry that thinks about the other 11 months more than just Christmas. In this second book, Denver encourages us to just give when we see the need. Don't worry about where it is going. Don't judge someone just because of their appearance. Do what you can with what you have and allow God to do the rest. There is such freedom in that way of living, don't you think?

My Review of "Fearless" by Max Lucado

_225_350_Book.72.cover The timing of this book could not be more perfect.  In a way that only Max Lucado can, he carefully weaves Scriptural truths into the most current of situations that we are all facing right now.  Fearless goes to the heart of an issue that is paralyzing our culture and the church today...we are afraid. We fear not making our mark in life, having enough money, our children being safe...Lucado shows us how Scripture gives us confidence and in living out those truths, we can become fearless when it comes to the day-to-day living of our lives.  I was convicted about how much I really do not trust God on certain things in my life because I choose to worry rather than pray and trust God to work it out. This book contains a great discussion guide that we are considering using for a Small Group this fall at our church. This book is a MUST read for everyone but very timely for anyone you know that is struggling with fear and anxiety in their lives. We all need to be reminded of who we are in Christ and the abundant life that He has for us...living fearless and without worry.

My Review of Between Wyomings by Ken Mansfield

What better way to tell the story of your life than on a road trip? That is what Ken does with such beautiful language - weaving personal stories into the physical landscape that is our beautiful nation. As he and his wife Connie leave their home in Bodega Bay in a they call "MOSES", they take a physical as well as mental journey to some of the most memorable places in their lives and recount for us the struggles, victories, and just plain interesting stories of their lives.  Having produced a few records myself on a MUCH smaller scale than Mr. Mansfield, I was drawn in with great interest to his recounts of working with major artists at Capital Records and the "intimate" stories of their interaction that could only be trusted to be true because HE was there to witness them.  At times, Ken rambles with his thoughts and I appreciate that he was allowed to do that in this book because as an artist, I SO connected with the way he eloquently expressed the feelings, emotions, confusion, and struggle of understanding the spiritual realm and how it interacts with the physical day-to-day life. I highly recommend this book to artists and creatives. It was an easy read and will encourage your faith journey as an artist.

Wasbi Gospel Book Bomb - TODAY!

Wasabiweb2 I love the way Shawn Wood communicates. He is one of those rare people who I believe is an excellent verbal communicator as well as an author. Reading his books are like hearing him speak and I like that. TODAY is the Book Bomb at Amazon.com....CLICK HERE to buy the book and I am telling you, YOU NEED to get this book!  It is difficult growing up in church, being around church, and working at a church my entire adult life to not become callous and "Yeah, I've heard that before..." The 1st couple of chapters of this book absolutely gave me the smack in my face that I needed right now in my life.  I like books that cut through the facade and say it. This is one of my favorite quotes from Sean in the book..." I like butter statements. I like the teachings of Jesus being churned down into an easy-to-swallow action step that I can add to the top of my already fat life as a spiritual topping. I guess sometimes I don't like getting slapped with the truth of what Jesus is really saying..." Wasabi Gospel  (pg.6) This is true for me. I don't want to deal with forgiveness, anger, bitterness...just give me a quick 3 points and an illustration so I can feel better...I hate to admit, but Sean is right. This is what we do as Christians - at least I do. I've been chewing on this "forgiveness" thing a lot. Last week's message at church was on this subject and then I have been reading this book.  This is what I need right now and Sean's book has just complemented what God has already been doing in my life. Need some water in your face? Get this book.

Little Leaders

417s3bwTK5L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_ I'm listening to Louie Giglio's book "I Am Not but I know I AM"  from a few years back on my ipod during my workout. I was so struck today by this chapter describing John the Baptist. He gets the ball rolling for God's Son, he baptizes the Son of God, then Jesus takes a good bit of his followers. How would we feel about that? Louie describes John the Baptist as a "Little Leader" because John saw his role to decrease and prepare the way for the Son of God....that was his goal. I really thought about that.  Is it my goal to decrease and let the Son of God increase even if that means I have to take a back seat?  When John's followers "brought it to his attention" that he was losing followers to Jesus, John's reply was, "He must increase, but I must decrease. " (John 3:30) Are we comfortable when others succeed? As church leaders, are we "a tad bit jealous" when another church hits a home run? How much of my time is spent on "positioning" myself  instead of seeing how much I can take myself out of the equation so that Christ is honored and not me? We all need encouragement and it's nice to get kudos, but, if we are living for that....just think about it.

Do you want to be a "Little Leader?"

What are you reading?

I'm a book junkie with ADD...the problem is I do not have the time to read everything that is sitting on my nightstand and that I see in B & N. So, I'm trying to make steady progress through the stack I've started that I haven't finished. I read fast, but I skim which means sometimes, I don't get it the 1st time!

I'm focusing on these right now...

1. The Multi-Site Revolution  - this is a re-read(remember, I skim) since I'm attending the conference at Seacoast in September.

2. Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands - Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership - Nancy Ortberg is one of my heroes and a gifted speaker and writer. She gets artists so I like her!

3. When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box  - This is our small group study for the fall. John Orberg shoots straight (oh yeah, he's married to Nancy - can we say "Power couple?")

What's on your nightstand?

"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking." -Jerry Seinfeld