Mission Drift Review: Why This Should be Mandatory Readng

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The threat of “terrorist activities or violence of any kind” took a back seat to the threat of the Gospel. Our culture is growing in its suspicion of anything faith-based–enough to rank “exposure” to the Good News as more dangerous than terrorism. - Mission Drift, 51% through book, in reference to a foundation who invited the author to apply for funding.

Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer and Chris Horst is a book every Christian person and organization needs to read. We are all in danger of drifting from our mission whether through receiving funding from others who don’t share our beliefs, hiring people that don’t carry our vision, or on a more personal level, leaving our missional purpose slowly through every bad decision. Another drift mentioned were examples of leadership bending to the monster of political correctness when wealthy donors would ask a company to compromise just a little or allot on their Christian message.

Examples of companies who fell under the scrutiny of non-believers and have wandered far from their original message were mentioned in this book as well as examples of companies that have stayed Christian-strong for generations. I found it encouraging to read this book. For businesses who wish to leave behind a legacy, Mission Drift should be mandatory reading. It gives instructions by example how not to drift. At the time I was reading about WorldVision, they were in the news for compromising on their strong Christian beliefs. Mission Drift spoke about how WorldVision never wandered from its principles. The current news compared to when Mission Drift wrote about WorldVision tells me how easy it is to drift, even for a moment, in the face of public pressure. A believer in Christ must stay strong in the face of ridicule. It’s so rare to hear about people or companies standing for something. Those are usually accused of being judgmental or cold, even non-Christian, by some of our own Christians.

The stories of companies that, even today, stand for their Christian values urge me to stand firmer in mine. I gave this book four stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

The Bosnia List Review

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The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return by Kenan Trebincevic surprised me. When I read in another article how his Christian neighbors turned on him, I thought, “So this is going to be a Muslim rant against Christians?” Yet the war was much more complicated.

I remember the Bosnia war news stories, but I have to admit to not paying attention. At the time, I was a teenager. So the war was somewhere ‘over there.’ Kenan’s story reminds me of the Holocaust. The story begins in New York. The Bosnia List is an actual list Kenan wrote down on things he wanted to accomplish when he took his dad back to the old country. Kenan didn’t want to go, but pressure from his father, friends, and sibling changed his mind. Kenan returns to the old country years after the Bosnian war, and reflects on his trip with a much different spirit. I had just two problems with the book.

First, I really didn’t care for the swearing in the dialogue. It peppered the manuscript. Second, the prologue begins with, “December, 2009,” written in italics, and on page 7 jumps to 2010 in a regular paragraph without any extra spaces. When you put a title in italics listing a chapter as 2009, usually you don’t suddenly switch to another year. On page 11, he brings us to 2011 in the same prologue. Otherwise, the reader follows Kenan’s growth and healing from present day New York to the past during the war, and back again. It’s a great story with lessons we could all learn from it, like putting our belief in God and His values first above our nationality. This is not all though.

Kenan shows how some things he observed as a child were taken out of context, and he learns the truth during his visit to his home country as an adult. I really loved how he rounds out his whole experience from war to visiting home again post war. His last page made me nod and smile. What I thought would primarily be a rant against Christians stayed true to his story of how complicated the war became for him. I gave this book four stars.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by author to review.

See Difficult People Through His Eyes

2940016062969_p0_v1_s260x420It’s been a while since I returned to My Prayer Chair by Carla McDougal. In fact, my life has been chaotic, confusing, and joyful. Even in the midst of this past trial, I still saw God working through it and me. So when Carla talked about serving with a difficult person, it reminded me of what a friend said about seeing someone difficult through Jesus’ eyes. Intentionally, I have chosen to pray for the difficult people I encounter. Page 55 is the chapter that addresses this. More later!

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by author to review.

Emma of Aurora Review

www.randomhouse.com Emma of Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick is 1146  pages long; three novels in one. I wish I had read that before agreeing to review it. In spite of the length, I enjoyed it, but Emma of Aurora strayed from my expectations.

Early in my reading of this novel, I wrote a commentary on the extraordinary character of Emma here. Jane Kirkpatrick really does a great job building setting and people in all her novels, but unlike her other novels, like Where Lilacs Still Bloom and One Glorious Ambition, Emma of Aurora had an unremarkable ending. Emma is just an ordinary person who didn’t appear to make any kind of mark on the world except in the communities in which she lived. In One Glorious Ambition, Dorthea Dix made an impact on a nation. In Where Lilacs Still Bloom, Hulda Klager changed how lilies were grown. I went into this novel with higher expectations, and came away impacted by Emma, and only Emma. Emma is someone everyone who is overly independent and head strong can relate to, and fall in love with. Her mistakes are your mistakes. Her desire to impact her world is your desire, too. Emma is you and me.

In spite of its head-spinning length, Emma of Aurora is still an enjoyable reading experience. I gave this novel three and a half stars. Jane Kirkpatrick writes strong, likeable heroines based on historical record. Emma teaches us that our own stubbornness can lead us into a disaster of our own making, but God will always turn it into something good.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.

 

Favorite Reads: The Butterfly Effect By Andy Andrews

 

To buy this book, click on the link:

The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters

The book was an unexpected delight and at the same time unexpectedly short. I’m all ready wanting to buy this book for my nephew. It’s inspirational showing the effects of small, every day people who chose to do the right thing and in turn their actions saved lives in future generations. One man’s actions saved our country. I don’t think people realize how every action is important from the conversation you had with a woman at the grocery store to life decisions you make. Your action has a reaction. This book shows how God designed each of us for a purpose, and when you look at the whole picture it is amazing to see how the dominoes fall.

The Butterfly Effect begins like a history lesson, but reads like a novel. I would encourage you not to skip over the Author’s Note. It is very interesting. Give it away to someone who needs to see that their life matters. So much of the time we go through every day without realizing our value in God’s eyes. We are much more than just a grocery store clerk, a government employee, an IRS man, or a custodian. Won’t you spread your wings and beat the air and take a chance on life?

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review. This is a repost.

 

The Last Love Letter From Your Lover Review @jojomoyes

Last Letter cover.medThe Last Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes is You’ve Got Mail meets Desperate Housewives. The novel is surprisingly romantic and classy with spicy notes of scandal. The Last Letter From Your Lover is reminiscent of her last two novels, and just as addicting.

JoJo Moyes organizes her novel in much the same format as The Girl You Left Behind and Honeymoon in Paris. Two lives converge from different places in time connected by an object; in this case, that object is a packet of old love letters from the 60s. For forty-nine years, those love letters were entombed in the archives basement of London’s Nation newspaper until a floundering features writer, Ellie Haworth, discovers them. Immediately, Ellie resonates with the words.

Ellie is having an affair with a married man. When she reads about Jennifer Stirling’s love affair with a writer in 1964, Ellie begins to struggle between doing the right thing and wanting the kind of love she sees between Jennifer and her writer, Anthony. Jennifer is married to a cold, controlling man. The novel rockets us into the story when the first page we open is from Jennifer’s point of view as she awakens after an accident. As Jennifer’s memory slowly returns, its obvious love is not sparking between Jennifer and her husband. She tries to do the right thing to stay with her husband, but even sex lacks any chemistry. Jennifer begins to piece together her past from hidden clues in romance novels and mysterious love letters. As she remembers her lover, deceptive parties, acting in her best interest, have kept secrets regarding Anthony’s whereabouts. This is all part one. Part two is Ellie’s story.

John, Ellie’s married lover, only comes and sees her when he can get away from his wife. Ellie is unhappy, but not courageous enough yet to leave him. He comes when he wants a physical relationship. Ellie and Rory come together over the story of the love letter. A hint of a relationship begins to flower, but Ellie can’t let go of John yet. JoJo Moyes tells the story of the raw hurt on both sides of an affair with a surprising twist at the end. I loved this novel, just as I loved the last couple of her novels. The dialogue is snappy and Moyes manages to show emotion and not tell. The smallest details she writes of Ellie’s obsession with John propel the emotion forward, deepening our interest in the story. For a writer, this is a great novel to study as the techniques are wonderful.

The Last Letter From Your Lover is a five-star book. A Christian can rest in the knowledge the novel is mostly clean of offensive words or elaborate sex scenes. It’s a great romance novel.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Book given by publisher to review.

A Draw of Kings Review

A Draw of Kings

A Draw of Kings (The Staff and the Sword) by Patrick Carr is the third novel in the The Staff and The Sword Series. In a A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword), we meet Errol Stone, a drunken young man with no prospects until Martin and Luis discover he is a reader. The Hero’s Lot (The Staff and the Sword) find him part of the Watch, but trouble stirs in the church. Evil encroaches and King Rodran is dying. Now in A Draw of Kings, King Rodran is dead and the kingdom is threatened by evil on all sides of the kingdom.

One must have read the other two novels in order to fully understand book three. To some, that’s not a big deal, but I usually like each novel to be a complete story. Up until this novel, each book felt like a complete story. A Draw of Kings continues and ends the trilogy. The scene opens up to the heroes and heroine returning. Again, without prior knowledge of the past two books, it would be difficult to follow. A Draw of Kings is a wonderful wrap-up to the trilogy. Although, the ending mystified me as to how a dead man was able to live. I gave this novel five stars because, like the other two, I had to keep reading long after my husband went to bed.

Read my other reviews: A Cast of Stones and The Hero’s Lot.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Book given by publisher to review. I am participating in CSFF Blogtour.

Author Website - http://patrickwcarr.com/
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Favorite Reads: Why God Won’t Go Away by Alister McGrath

Buy book at this link:

Why God Won’t Go Away: Is the New Atheism Running on Empty?

Yet I’ve noticed recently that all is not well within these virtual communities. They had an upbeat feel in the heady days of 2006 and 2007 when the New Atheism seemed to be like a bright new sun dawning on the world. But not now. Is a “crisis of faith” beginning to emerge?” – Pg. 41

A recent debate with atheists and memories of old debates with atheist family members gave rise to the yearning to learn more about atheism and it’s roots. Alister McGrath, a former atheist, holds the chair of theology, ministry, and education at King’s College London, “having previously held the chair of historical theology at Oxford University.” This atheist-turned-Christian challenges the “Four Horsemen” of the New Atheism.

The term New Atheism was invented in 2006. Gary Wolf was writing an article for Wired, a British magazine aimed at “smart, intellectually curious people who need, and want, to know what’s next.” Wolf was looking around for a snappy slogan to refer to a group of three men who’d attracted media attention through best-selling popular books advocating atheism: Sam Harris with The End of Faith (2004), Richard Dawkins with The God Delusion (2006), and Daniel Dennett with Breaking the Spell (2006)….In 2007, the New Atheism movement gained a new hero when Christopher Hitchens God is Not Great became the latest atheist best seller. The phrase the Four Horsemen began to be used to refer to these writers, who rapidly assumed celebrity status and are now collectively identified as the intellectual and cultural spearhead of the New Atheism.” – Pg. 3-4

McGrath engages the New Atheism in friendly fire. He’s objective, having read books and publications from atheist writers, and proceeds to tirelessly refute each of their objections with grounded reasoning. He uses historical context to show the harm of the New Atheism. The shocking agenda of the New Atheism and the lengths they would go to eradicate all religion from society shocks other athiests. “Even says Sam Harris, ‘some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.’ This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live.”

Killing such people, he tells us, could be regarded as an act of self defense. The Inquisition, the Gestapo, the Taliban, and the KGB could not have put it better. To be honest, I found Harris’s statement to be morally repulsive.” – Pg. 10

The chapters are easy to follow, but you do have to read slowly. McGrath makes every sentence count and it reminds me of studying in school. There are two pages (front and back) of suggested “further reading” for those believers or atheists who choose to learn more, and 13 pages of notes detailing his sources. His index allows for readers to investigate certain phrasing without thumbing through the pages like I do in some book reviews. McGrath’s last chapter makes the New Atheism less threatening. Truth does not shy away from debate nor does it stick its head in the sand. Truth is open to discussion.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Book given by publisher to review. This is actually a re-post of favorite past reads.

Book Giveaway: The Last Letter From Your Lover

Last Letter cover.medJoJo Moyes is indeed a gifted storyteller. I have reviewed Me Before You, Honeymoon in Paris, and The Girl You Left Behind. I am in the midst of reviewing, The Last Letter From Your Lover. That review will post sometime before mid-march. Meanwhile, the publisher is doing a giveaway today. In the comments, tell me how many times you shared this link. For each time you share this link equals one entry into the contest (ex. Shared on twitter and facebook; two entries).

A name will be drawn on Wednesday, March 12 and announced on Thursday, March 13.

Book Review: The God-First Life

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God uses every medium to speak to us. In this case, The God-First Life: Uncomplicate Your Life, God’s Way by Stovall Weems hit me in part one when Stovall spoke about the urgent versus the important. You can read my commentary on it here.

Many of us can relate to this book. Everything, even the Superbowl, is put before God. Stovall makes a solid point in part one about putting your life in order.

“Once you decide to make God a priority in your life, the next decision is to make His family a priority” (Pg. 31).

The God First Life transitions into part two, New Family, where the topics range from how we fit into our new adopted family to how the church of Acts painted a picture of a true community. In Part three, New Life, Stovall talks about how discipleship was important in his walk with God. I especially loved how Stovall went into the definition of worship, what it is and what it is not. This was recently explained at a church meeting when someone talked about different music tastes. Stovall broke down the Lord’s prayer in his book to teach us how to pray; an expression of worship, not just a grocery list of wants and needs.

Part four is about our new freedom in Christ. He delves into Onesimus, a slave who ran away from his owner. Onesimus’ life was changed in an encounter with Paul. What is remarkable about this story is how Onesimus returned to his owner, bearing a letter from Paul, that asked the owner of the slave to set Onesimus free. Onesimus risked his life in returning to his owner. In those days, runaway slaves were put to death. Onesimus demonstrated strength as he trusted the Christ he recently came to know through Paul. In this chapter, Stovall teaches us how God can unchain our past. This book is perfect for the mature Christian as a refresher course and for the brand-new Christian who asks, “What now?”

I gave this book five stars. This book will be available on March 25.

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase this item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I might use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Book given by publisher to review.