Tag Archives: christian living

Book Spotlight: Box of Butterflies

7 Feb

The good people at Howard Books sent me several books a few weeks ago — wow! how generous. Unfortunately, this busy book blogger cannot get to all the books that make their way into my home. So, I spotlight a few that I think you’d be interested in. Box of Butterflies by Roma Downey of Touched by An Angel fame is one such book. Check out the blurb and author info and decide if this book is one you may like.

Roma Downey — best known as the beloved angel on the TV show Touched by an Angel — has created a beautiful book filled with encouragement and hope, assuring us of God’s comforting presence in our lives.

Ever since she was a little girl, Roma has seen butterflies as a reminder of God’s presence. They have appeared to her in moments when she needed encouragement and reminded her she is not alone. In this deeply personal book, Roma shares stories from her life, alongside quotes, poems, scripture, and artwork that she prays will uplift you as they have her. Each grace-filled chapter of this beautiful full-color book covers topics such as courage, strength, gratitude, love, and kindness.

Reminiscent of the message of her popular television series, Touched by an Angel, this book’s central theme is that there is a God, He loves you, and that even in your most difficult moments, He is by your side. That though you may feel alone, you are never truly alone. The subtle butterfly theme reminds us that the wonder of God’s love and kindness is sometimes reflected in the gentle whispers of his creation and that we all have the power to transform from simple caterpillars into exquisite butterflies.

Written in a way that encourages you to “dip in and out” of its flowing content, this inspiring book invites you to return to its pages again and again, as life brings new challenges or you find yourself in need of new inspiration.

Roma Downey is an Emmy-nominated actress and producer and has been creating inspirational content for twenty-five years. Born in Northern Ireland, she was classically trained in London. She gained fame for her role as the kindhearted angel Monica on the popular network show, Touched by an Angel. With her husband, Mark Burnett, they produced The Bible series, A.D., The Dovekeepers, and Answered Prayers for television, and feature films Son of God, Woodlawn, Little Boy, and Ben-Hur. Roma is president of LightWorkers Media — a joint venture with MGM. Downey also serves as chief content officer of LightWorkers.com, a destination website for inspiring and uplifting short form content. Roma is a longtime supporter of Operation Smile and Compassion and received the Sally Award from the Salvation Army for her contribution to entertainment and helping those in need. Roma and her husband live in California with their three amazing children and their three giant Irish Wolfhounds.

 

(A big thank you to Howard Books for a complimentary copy. I did not read this book, so this post is not intended as a review or recommendation.)

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Guest Review: Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places

30 Nov

51sNQrTF3GL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_Perhaps that’s the greatest reason why He calls us to dangerous places: so that we will know His astonishing, sacrificial, life-restoring love.

Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places is about what is lost and what is gained when we follow God at any cost.

Soon after 9/11, Kate McCord left the corporate world and followed God to Afghanistan —sometimes into the reach of death. Alive but not unscathed, she has suffered the loss of many things: comfort, safety, even dear friends and fellow sojourners.

But Kate realizes that those who go are not the only ones who suffer. Those who love those who go also suffer. This book is for them, too.

Weaving together Scripture, her story, and stories of both those who go and those who send, Kate considers why God calls us to dangerous places and what it means for all involved.

It means dependence. It means loss. It means a firmer hold on hope. It can mean death, trauma, and heavy sorrow. But it can also mean joy unimaginable. Through suffering, we come closer to the heart of God.

Written with the weight of glory in the shadow of loss, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places will inspire Christians to count the cost — and pay it.

 

916TXUwMb1L._UX250_Kate McCord lived and worked in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2010. During her years in country, she worked as a humanitarian aid worker, delivering projects to benefit the people of Afghanistan. She also learned the local language and developed deep and lasting friendships with local Afghans.

After evacuating from her home in Afghanistan, Kate transitioned into a mentoring, training, consulting and coaching role to other workers serving in the region. Prior to moving to Afghanistan, she worked in the international corporate community as a business process and strategy consultant. Today, Kate serves Christ through writing, speaking, mentoring and conducting workshops and seminars.

Kate is the author of In the Land of Blue Burqas and Farewell, Four Waters.

Kate McCord is a protective pseudonym. You can learn more at http://www.storytellerkm.com.

A Brief Word from Me:

Last year I read Kate McCord’s novel, Farewell, Four Waters, one of the most moving novels I have read based on the mission experience. (You can read my review HERE.) At the time I read that book, one of my oldest son’s best friends was serving God in a foreign country, a dangerous country that cannot be named. She visited with us a few months later following her return to the United States. Her heart was still with the people and place she had come to think of as home. I knew then she had to read Farewell, Four Waters, because the feelings she related were so much like McCord’s.

A few months ago, I was approached to review McCord’s latest non-fiction work, Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places. Well, I had a much better idea. I wanted AK to read it and tell you what she thought. The following is AK’s guest review.

AK’s Impressions:

The pages of this book speak to the collective we. We, the Body: the ones who sense the call as well as the ones who love those who sense the call. As someone who has lived in and returned from a place considered dangerous by many, I admire the total inclusion of the full network of people involved (family members, friends, the individual presently serving, the individual preparing to go, and the individual who has returned) in a book that seeks to answer the inquiry for all: Why? It is a conversation that often seems marginalized in communities of believers across America. It is a question worth far more discussion than it receives. Why does God call us to dangerous places? McCord suggests, and I agree, He calls individuals to dangerous places because He loves the people that live there and because we can’t touch people, heal their bodies, hand them a book, or worship and pray with them from [7,400] miles away. Love and truth takes on flesh and walks the earth, and He does so within us. McCord shares her deep-seated wisdom through analogies inspired by the human experience. Her experience and the documented experiences of others are unique in many ways, albeit entirely familiar for any individual who seeks to follow Christ more closely each day. I read most of the lines of this book through water-filled eyes because it was so in tune with the Spirit. Her writing resonates at the heart level.

There are guided questions at the end of every chapter; some may choose to read this book and skim or skip them altogether. I would highly recommend taking the time to digest the words of this book and its contents, particularly the questions provided in the guided discussions at the end of every chapter. It makes the topic that much more personal and sets the stage for great conversation to be had, whether that conversation is with others or in your own head and heart. The questions are chapter-appropriate and formulated in a way in which they could be for every perspective to answer. Each discussion guide encourages delving further into scripture, praying for specifics, and using a journal to document the journey of thoughts inevitably accompanying this book.

Upon completion of this book, I am left with an even greater desire for my own heart to be for the heart of the Father.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to Side Door Communications. All opinions expressed are AK’s and mine alone.)

You Might Be Interested

10 Apr

From time to time I get unsolicited books that look interesting but I just don’t have time to read/review. So I like to highlight them so you can do a little research and decide if they are something you would like to read. The following is a little info on How To Pick Up A Stripper And Other Acts of Kindness: Serving People Just As They Are. Catchy title, huh?

 

0529116871.jpgThe starting and ending points for all outreach have to be love. The most effective way to reach people for Jesus is through servant evangelism–showing God’s love in practical ways. This type of outreach is what Jesus modeled, is culturally relevant, and values people. The goal should be to invite people to take the next step from where they are.

Friendship Community Church, led by Pastor Todd Stevens, has experienced tremendous growth through acts of kindness. The church’s most radical servant evangelism project is Nashville Strip Church, founded by Erin Stevens. Erin’s life changed when God told her to “go feed the strippers.” With home-cooked meals and gift bags, Erin shows dancers that God loves them. How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness includes the story of a dancer who has come to know Christ, left the strip club industry through Erin’s ministry, and is now serving with Erin to reach other strippers.

From feeding the homeless, to Easter egg hunts for special needs children, to ministering in a strip club, How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness provides exciting ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways.

Features include:

Stories from servant evangelism events, including Strip Church

Ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways

Inspiration to step out of your comfort zone to serve people

 

ToddErinFamilyAbout authors Todd and Erin Stevens: Pastor, Todd Stevens, and his wife, Erin, both grew up in the Nashville area. They originally met during their years at Tennessee Technological University. They moved back to Nashville In March 2000 after living in Greenville, South Carolina for six years. They now have three boys. As you can imagine, there is never a dull moment at their home!

Todd worked for thirteen years as an information technology project manager. He served in bi-vocational positions in several churches in the Nashville area as associate pastor and interim pastor prior to the launch of Friendship Community Church. He has received post-graduate degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Tennessee Technological University. He says that he likes to read and exercise, but that he doesn’t seem to do enough of either.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for an ARC of this book.)

Book Spotlight: Christianity Lite

23 Dec

I received an ARC of Christianity Lite from Charisma Media. Here is a little peek. (Please note: I have not read this book and cannot make a recommendation one way or the other.)

Almost every food and beverage today also has a “lite” version—potato chips, whipped cream, maple syrup, soda, beer… You may even remember an ad campaign for a light beer a few years back, “Tastes great. Less filling.

362265Many of us have taken that same attitude—sometimes even without realizing it—and applied it to our faith. We want blessings, but without obedience. Comfort, but without sacrifice. Happiness, but without repentance. As a result, we have watered down, decaffeinated, and diluted the message of the gospel until it really has no effect on our lives or the lives of others.

In Christianity Lite Glen Berteau calls us back to the full gospel message: Jesus didn’t come to make our normal, selfish, sinful lives a little better. He came to radically transform life as we know it. This narrow way—the way of grace-inspired obedience—is the only way to find the real Jesus, real meaning, real hope, and a life where we’ll really live!

Book Review: Outrageous Courage

14 Dec

795542From the moment her motorcycle pulled up outside Kris Vallotton’s small country church years ago, Tracy Evans has been impacting lives. Mentored by Kris, Bill Johnson, and Heidi Baker, Tracy has never been afraid of putting her life on the line repeatedly for Jesus–and God has used her repeatedly to do amazing things for him around the world.

This is her story, as recounted to her closest friends. From treating rebel guerillas while captive on an Asian island, to having tea in a Mozambican hut with bullets whistling by, to caring for 900 HIV-positive orphans, Tracy’s story will entrance readers, inspire in them adventurous faith, and challenge them to be radically obedient. 

“Every story in this book is true and unembellished,” says Kris. “We hope and pray that Tracy will have the kind of impact on you that she has had on all of us. Put on your seatbelt and let the journey begin!”

Excerpt

15128Kris Vallotton is the senior associate leader at Bethel Church in Redding, California, where he has served with Bill Johnson for three decades. He has written several books, including the bestselling The Supernatural Ways of Royalty and Heavy Rain. His prophetic insight and humorous delivery make him a much-sought-after international conference speaker, and his personal testimony of deliverance from fear and torment brings hope and freedom to thousands. Kris is also the cofounder and senior overseer of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, which has grown to more than 1,300 full-time students, as well as the founder of Moral Revolution, an organization dedicated to cultural transformation. He has appeared on numerous media outlets, including The 700 Club. Kris and his wife, Kathy, live in Redding, California.

15953Jason Vallotton is the author of The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness and coauthor of Moral Revolution with his dad, Kris Vallotton. A pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California, he helps oversee the School of Supernatural Ministry. Jason currently serves on the board of Moral Revolution and is a sought-after counselor and speaker.

My Impressions:

Outrageous Courage is the chronicle of a life lived all out for God. Kris and Jason Vallotton give us the first person voice of Tracy Evans, a woman who from the beginning of her relationship with Christ thirty years ago, has lived her faith non-apologetically. Along the way she has learned from her mistakes and her encounters with fellow believers and non-believers alike. If you like non-fiction based on missional experiences, check out this book.

Tracy Evans shares her life from her rough beginnings into a new and unbridled faith through the adventures of ministry in the Philippines and Mozambique and beyond. Along the way God taught her to be fully dependent and obedient to Him. Her story shows her growth from the raw, undisciplined covert to a mature witness. But her zeal never grew dull, but was rather refined. Her stories of miracles and other super-heroes of the faith will amaze and astound you, and perhaps leave you wanting more in your walk with God. Only read Outrageous Courage if you want to be challenged to expect more from your faith.

Recommended.

(Thanks to Chosen Books for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Spotlight: The Overlooked Generation

5 Nov

372244_w185The Overlooked Generation: Parenting Teens And Tweens in A Complicated Culture. Parents are desperate to know how to handle teenagers in today’s society. As a trained counselor, former public school teacher, and full-time conference speaker, Shannon Perry addresses the issues that teens say cause them to feel “overlooked.”  As a result of feeling unnoticed, teenagers often make decisions that lead to harmful circumstances unless parents learn how to combat the onslaught of distractions that young people face in our culture. In “The Overlooked Generation,” Shannon addresses many important and timely issues including:

*Effective and necessary parent/teen communication

*Body image and self-esteem

*Dealing with bullies and how not to be become a victim

*Dating, purity and God’s promises

*Effects and dangers of Social Media

*Setting healthy boundaries for serious situations

*Cultivating quality friendships and relationships

  • ShannonPerrybluesweater_318x480Shannon Perry is a contributing writer toCrosswalk.com, one of the largest Christian websites in the world with over 24 millionpage views per month. Shannon’s book”Grace in High Heels” was quoted to the 5 million readers of Guideposts Magazine. Shannon has also written articles forCharisma Magazine, Believe.com, EverydayChristian.com, Christian Women of Today magazine, Christian Voice magazine, The West Side Story, among others.
  • Shannon’s new TV show, “Grace in High Heels,” airs every Tuesday morning at 10:30 am EST and every Friday at 2:30 pm EST on the NRB Network, broadcasting into 23 million homes.
  • Shannon had the distinct privilege of performing in Carnegie Hall and with the Houston Symphony.
  • Shannon also performed the National Anthem for 70,000 fans at a NFL football game.
  • Shannon hosts a 2-minute syndicated radio show called “Does the Shoe Fit?” which currently airs on stations in several different states with an audience of over half a million.
  • Shannon’s women’s conference “If the Shoe Fits” has donated over 2000 pairs of shoes to Dress for Success, a worldwide charitable organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
  • Shannon has led Praise and Worship for Lifeway conferences held annually in North Carolina and New Mexico.
  • Shannon has a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in counseling and worked in the public school system for over fourteen years.
  • Shannon has achieved national radio chart success with past recordings, and her latest CD was produced by Lifeway Christian Resources’ song writer & Producer of the Year, Paul Marino.  One song from the CD became a music video called “Bad Hair Day.”  The video was edited by Jeffrey Kubach who is known for his work on the TV show, Survivor.

Please note: I have not read The Overlooked Generation. I have provided the above information for you to explore this book further. Thanks to Adams PR Group for a complimentary copy.

Book Spotlight: Forgiveness

8 Oct

Periodically, I receive books that I just don’t have time to read/review, but deserve to be spotlighted. So here is a book that I thought you might like.

322565_w185Whether giving or receiving, forgiveness is the key toward true healing and blessing. 

God says there are no limits to forgiveness toward others or ourselves. And when Matthew West set out on a journey asking people to share their true life stories, Renée shared about how she chose to forgive the drunk driver who hit and killed her daughter. 

This remarkable story and others like it bring peace and healing to the one needing and the ones giving forgiveness. Fifty powerful stories share forgiveness through divorce, betrayal, addiction, abandonment, death, and more. Each story ties into the promises of God’s faithfulness and healing, and ends with the story of God’s ultimate forgiveness through the message of salvation.

220px-Matthew_West(From Wikipedia) Matthew Joseph West (born April 25, 1977) is an American Contemporary Christian musician and actor from Nashville, Tennessee. He has released five studio albums and is known for his songs More, You Are Everything, and The Motions. He was nominated for five Dove Awards in 2005, two of which were for his major label debut album Happy.

(I received Forgiveness from Thomas Nelson)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.