Book Tour! Day 8 – Leadership Promises

Welcome to my 10 Day Book Tour.  I love to read, and I am often given books to read for review.  Over the last year, I determined that I didn’t want to turn my blog into a book review site.  However, I can’t help that I LOVE books.  I truly do.  They add so much value to my life, because I learn from them and glean new perspectives from the authors who put their hearts to the page.  So, I’ve decided that each quarter, I’m going to do a 10 Day Book Tour.  What have I been reading, what do I honestly think about the book, and to whom I would recommend it.  Each day, for ten days, you will get a peak into my bookshelf.

I received a copy of Leadership Promises for Every Day, Daily Devotional by John C. Maxwell for the purpose of reviewing.  My thoughts and opinions are my own.

DAY EIGHT:  LEADERSHIP PROMISES FOR EVERY DAY by John C. Maxwell

Leaders really do need to be encouraged.   Leaders, good ones, are constantly pouring out into others.  We can’t pour out of an empty vessel, so leaders need to have someone who is pouring into their lives.  This isn’t always easy though, especially if you happen to the be at the top of the ministry ladder.  I love this devotional, where John C. Maxwell pours a daily dose of scripture and leadership wisdom into my life.

I’ve enjoyed the book so much, I have in turn found myself giving it as a gift to other leaders.  I would have preferred a “Day 1”, “Day 2″… format over a calendar dated format.  But, that may be my OCD talking… because despite flipping through it… I literally waiting until January 1st to official start using it.

Additionally, I get a lot of great feedback from those who received it as a gift.  Which really spurs me on to continue gifting it, knowing that it’s not just me… but various leaders who are benefiting from these devotions. 

Recommendations:  Pastor Appreciation Gift,  Ministry Leader Birthday, Anniversary, or “Just Because” gift, Speaker Gifts, etc.

 

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“Savor” the moments, right where you are.

It’s been a while since I had my hands on a good devotion book.  I’ve been spending more time digging into the word directly, school work with Christian Leaders Institute, and writing a curriculum on women’s ministry.  Most of the devotion books I have on my bookshelf require a little more effort than what limited time I have for supplemental reading.

Family Christian gave me the opportunity take review Shauna Niequist’s devotion book, Savor.  When I first opened the pages, I  was happy to see that these were devotions that were short and really got right into the heart of the message.  What I didn’t realize was how poignant they were going to be as I went through them.

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Like two days ago, as I was sitting on bench waiting.  My sixteen year old was taking her driver’s test, life was changing.  Shaunti’s words about embracing the here and the now, were so needed.  My youngest reached over and pressed down the right side of the book so I could snap a picture.  So aware of what I was doing, but suddenly part of it.  I closed the book and grabbed that little hand, holding on for a bit longer.

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Today, I read about being present with God in the demonstration of his power through his Word.  I find such joy in reading and studying scripture and bible history.  I find joy in teaching it to others, which is exactly what God has asked of us to do in the Great Commission.  It was an affirmation to the things God has been maneuvering in my life for quite some time, as I start seeing them fall into place today.

And, if a devotion book isn’t good enough on it’s own… I let you in on a little secret.   Scattered amongst the pages are savory recipes that fit the seasons; from summer salads to sweet fondues.    Each devotion page has a few questions on the bottom that serves as reminders of who we are, what God created us to be, and those who God has put into your life to help you get along in your journey.

This is a great devotion book, for you own use… but is also beautiful and would make a lovely gift for a friend or someone in your church body who is in need of a little pick me up.

The book Savor was provided to me by Family Christian for the purpose of reviewing on this blog.  The opinions, however, are entirely my own and without bias.

BOOK REVIEW: The Whole Bible in 16 Verses!

Family Christian offered me the opportunity to review the book “The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses” by Chris Bruno.  While Family Christian did gift me the book for the purpose of the review, the opinions in this review are entirely my own. 

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If someone came up to you, and asked if you could summarize the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, could you? What would be the key points you would want to include? What is the most important scriptures that you would want to convey? Those are some tough questions.

However, they are important questions for anyone serving in ministry. If we are teaching children, we need to understand the overall theme of the Bible. If we are leading a ministry or teaching bible studies, we should have a basic grasp of the overarching story line.

If you could only have twenty minutes with someone, to share the structure of God’s Word, there is a lot of text to shuffle through. Everything is important, it is the life breath of God in written word, that allows us to commune with Him. How do you cut anything out?

The good news, you don’t have to. Until you are at a place where you are an expert theologian, someone else has stepped up to the plate to identify the entire story of the bible, in just sixteen verses.

Chris Bruno tackles this task perfectly, but writing a concise and to the point guide through the scriptures that best represent that over all theme of The Word. The chapters are short and easy to tackle, making this book a perfect addition to your morning devotions. His organization of the selected scriptures covers everything from creation, biblical prophesy, fulfillment in Jesus Christ and the end of days, still to come. Bruno also takes care to help guide the new believer, or new Bible reader, on the next steps to take after finishing this book. Bruno points the reader back to the original text, God’s word. This clearly indicates this book is not a replacement for the true word of God, “read this and you’ll have all you need to know”. NO! Instead, Bruno gives us the prompting to learn more on our own and fill those gaps between the sixteen verses.

The chapters are structured in a manner that helps you not just understand the scripture, but how they each fit into the story over all.

If you are a new believer, or wanting to read the bible for the very first time, this is a great book to start with. It is also a great option for evangelism, have a few copies on your bookshelf to share and give away. It’s simple, easy to read and to the point; this book will not overwhelm someone who is encountering God for the very first time.

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – BOOK REVIEW

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As a parent of kids of varying ages, from High School to Elementary School, finding new devotion books that encompasses the needs of my entire family is hard.  If I shop with my teenager in mind, it ends up being too deep for my youngest.  However, if I shop with my youngest in mind… my teenager is usually bored to tears.

When I had the opportunity to get my hands on a copy of Mission Accomplished, thanks to New Growth Press, I was very impressed.

1)  The book covers two weeks of devotions, specifically written for Easter.  This is a book I reference year, after year.

2)  Each devotion starts with scripture, that supports the devotion theme.  It is followed with sections that encourage us to think about the context of the scripture, discussion questions, prayer prompts and even songs or activities to support that particular devotion.

3)  The devotions are quick and to the point, which is good for shorter attention spans or those with busy schedules.

4) The devotions are written in a way that will engage your older children, but can be explained by the parents when needed.

Overall, this is a great book for the family who spans a broad array of ages.  That said, if your family is predominantly young children, you may want to read the devotions ahead and reword to fit the age group you are working with.  You will find some words that your children may not be familiar with (depending on the verbiage your church uses), some of the discussion questions are better suited for older children who have a background of Sunday school classes, and some of the songs referenced in the “Sing About It” portions were not familiar to me.  This devotion is definitely written for a more seasoned believer, in my opinion.

I do love this devotion, and with all of the tools we have available; simply pre-reading the devotion can help identify areas you might want to brush up on before sitting down with the family.  Since they are short, you can skim it relatively quickly and use your bible or the internet to define unfamiliar words, or even look up the music for the songs.

Do not be intimidated to pick up this devotion, even if some of the references are unfamiliar to you as a new believer.  It will help your grow, understanding the Easter story better, and more accurately.  The devotions are not overwhelming and they do a great job of tying in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

If you are looking for a good devotion for the family, one that you can learn from & teach from… check out Scott James’ A Mission Accomplished.

BOOK REVIEW: Housewife Theologian by Aimee Byrd

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If you are like me, any book about being a housewife, mother, keeper of the home or helpmate will grab your attention.  Then slowly, over time… lose it.  Why?  I believe, in most cases, it is because these talented authors are not writing TO ME.  They are writing to the new mom, or a young mom.  They are writing to the newlywed.  They are writing more about relationships with your kids or spouse…  like how to “train up your children in the way they should go”; which is really more a parenting book than a devotional.  It’s more superficial, or about THEM and not as much about ME.

Now, I am not saying that advice of that kind isn’t good.  In fact, IT IS VERY GOOD.   It’s just never what I have been looking for.  As a mom with a teenager, I need a devotional that is going to go beyond potty training and temper tantrums.  As a wife of almost sixteen years, I need advice on how to break those habits we allowed to get out of hand for so long, and reconnect ourselves as a couple.  Or, even better, a glimpse into what the future is going to be like when the kids are grown and living their own adult lives.   As a believer, I am looking for more than a reminder that God loves me, that this too shall pass, children are a gift of the Lord, etc.   I am looking for depth & life application.  As a person with a chronic illness, sometimes I have only enough energy and stamina to get a few pages of reading in.  On those days, I need a solid dose of information versus a light and whimsical devotion, wrapped around letting go of the anger when your toddler spills the cherry kool-aid on your brand new carpet.  My soul cries for MORE.

Aimee Byrd… she delivered it.

In Regards to the Writer: Aimee Byrd

While the book jacket refers to her as “an ordinary mom of three”, I find her extraordinary.  Her writing style is one that I enjoy, because she writes as if speaking to someone with a solid head on her shoulders.  No, I am not talking about it being uber intellectual & so cerebral that the laywoman couldn’t read it.  However, it’s not watered down reading.  You can’t rush through this devotional and get the gist of it.  You really need to slowly ingest every word & take some time to digest it.  (Sorry for the food analogy, I’m trying to ignore the fact that I am hungry.)

I appreciate that Aimee Byrd sees that women not only want more out of devotions, but we need it.  She balances wisdom and information with warmth; you feel welcomed into her world.  She is witty and funny, and real.  You can relate to her.  If you have ever wanted a mentor in your life, she would fit the bill.   Aimee Byrd doesn’t underestimate her reader’s ability to delve into the word, and amplifies the need to do so.

In Regards to the Book:  The Housewife Theologian

I didn’t really catch on, at first, that the book was a devotional or small group style book.  I actually thought the introduction was the first chapter, and even marked out significant passages.  If you are a person who skips the introduction of books, DO NOT SKIP THIS ONE!  You won’t regret reading it.  The chapters are well written, building upon each other.  While I would consider them easy to read, they are also packed full of so much good information, you are not going to want to rush through them.  Each chapter is capped off with a list of Journaling Questions, which you can use for independent study and reflection.  However, these questions would also be great in a book club or small group setting.

Highlights from the Text:

“When you fall in love with your husband, are you satisfied at that moment to learn nothing else about him?  Of course not, the opposite is true; you want to know more and more of him.  And your love grows in this way.  Now think of our all-knowing, all-powerful God.  Can we ever exhaust our learning of Him?”  (Aimee Byrd – The Housewife Theologian)

“Our American do-it-yourself way of thinking may make it more difficult to understand the gift of righteousness.”   (Aimee Byrd – The Housewife Theologian)

“We can get so caught up in the struggle with sin that we can forget that it no longer has a reigning power over us.  We need to be reminded that we are under the reign of grace.” (Aimee Byrd – The Housewife Theologian)

“Women especially play a huge role in showing the face of Christianity to the watching world.”  (Aimee Byrd – The Housewife Theologian)

Information on the Book

Title:  The Housewife Theologian

Author:  Aimee Byrd

Publisher:  P&R Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-59638-665-5