Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review: No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches by Jeff Davidson


I enjoyed this book that was written from the perspective of a dad who has a son with profound special needs. This is a book about their journey and how God has used it to change the author. I learned through reading this that many fathers abandon their families when they find out their children have special needs. This is a very sad thought. The author seeks to help families with special needs stay intact and thrive on this journey for it is not for the faint of heart.

I, personally, was encouraged much by this book because there are many who do not understand the journey of a parent who is raising a child with special needs. Reading this book was like reading my own journey with our special needs in our home and it was a breath of fresh air. It made me feel more "normal" and it kept pointing me back to Jesus.

Not only is this book written by an author who has experience in this area of life but also a Christian. This is another thing that makes this book unique. Not only does he address the journey but also addresses the most important things Christian's need to hear about trusting God on this journey.

I highly recommend this book because I believe it will encourage any reader. I think if you do not know what it is like to have a child with special needs this will help you find some perspective on it and how to better minister to those you know who do. I also think it is a great find for parents who are raising kids with special needs of any kind. The author has a son with various special needs but we all can relate to them in the knowing of what it is like as we journey this road (with various special needs) together.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon here.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Friday, November 14, 2014

How to Not Burn Out Before You Start: Missions


(Sorry this is highlighted in white...Cannot figure out how to change it...)

It has been six months since my husband returned from the land that our hearts desire to pour our lives into. Six months. Though on the grand scheme of things this time is not that long of a period, yet to us it seems like an eternity. Yet the Bible says, " But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8).

Also His word says that, "
 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth,having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place" (Acts 17:26).

We can assure our hearts that our entire life, which if we hit the unlikely ripe age of 100 years old, would only be a tenth of a day in God's time scheme. Just a tiny fraction for all those 100 years. So our six months is just a scratch in that light. 

God is kind in preparing us. He is teaching us so much as we wait.

  • He is teaching us to depend on one another more as a family unit. 
  • He is teaching my husband and I to be better friends. 
  • He is helping us learn that God is patient and moves in perfect timing and wisdom.
  • He is is teaching us how to adapt in cross cultural ministry.
  • He is helping us to see and cherish people right where we are in the present moment.
  • He is teaching us to love and trust His greater plan more.
  • He is teaching us to hold our plans loosely.
  • He is teaching us that prayer is the most important preparation, through vulnerable, dependent, child-like trust in our Father.

We are clearly being trained in the wait. We know that He will move us out when He is ready. He has already determined our boundaries and periods after all. In this we can trust as we wait right where we are and love this present city of Chattanooga well.

With all that we are learning I think we can conclude that the way we do not burn out is by keeping our eyes fixed on our Savior. In beholding His beauty we can trust His greater plan in our lives for every moment. As we do this we must do the next thing that He sets in front of us because every moment of our lives, every breath we take, is for the greater purpose of serving Him, bringing Him glory and enjoying Him forever right where we are planted. So we wait in joy and hope because the One who places dreams and plans in our hearts is the One who will see them through in their proper timing and way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Churchless by Barna and Kinnaman


This book is your typical Barna research type book. It is all that one who is familiar with Barna would expect. It is filled with statistics and trends of today's Churchless population. I found it vastly fascinating. Any book that deals with cultural trends is important for our generation. It speaks volumes as to the type of world that surrounds us today.

The book focuses in on how to best reach the growing number of people who are no longer engaging in church. It ranges from skeptics to seekers but what they all have in common is not seeing the importance of partnering with a local church.

The statistics are interesting and the book gives good suggestions as to how one should reach these people with the good news of Jesus Christ. It also is convicting because it shows what the church is doing wrong in so many ways. I am better off for reading it. I do recommend it to anyone interested in the world around them. It is important research and information to think about.

You can get a copy of this book from AMAZON HERE.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Book Review: Cross Cultural Connections by Elmer


This is a must read for anyone who desires to or is currently working with people from other cultures in any means. It addresses perspectives, differences, attitudes and skills necessary to be successful in other cultures or working with others who come from other cultural backgrounds.

Each chapter addresses a key area that is insightful for the reader to look through and really think about. At the end of each of these chapters there are questions included to inspire deeper thought and discussion. This would be a great resource for a group to read and discuss together. You can read it and learn a lot alone but a group would help the reader think through all the challenges that cross-cultural ministry can bring.

One huge pitfall in cross cultural work is the lack of training and wrong or unrealistic expectations. This book is a gem in helping you know all that is needed in this transition. It helps draw out of your heart what issues you may personally be challenged with in this work. I found it extremely helpful not only for thinking through future cross-cultural work outside my birth country but also for the work I do with foreigners within my own country. It was helpful all around by giving me eyes to see things with understanding within different cultures.

You can get a copy of this book from Amazon here.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Book Review: The Christmas Promise


This book was a sweet book about the Christmas promise of Jesus to us. It is a simplified Christmas story of the birth of Christ. My five year old loves this book and so do I. The illustrations are beautifully done. The story is easy to listen and pay attention to. It stresses the gift of the Forever, Rescuing King. I think this is a good resource for young children.

One thing I loved about this book is that it got the chronology of the wise men's visit correct! They did not come to see Jesus at His birth but later on when He was a bit older. This book illustrates the moment well and we fell in love with this picture of Jesus. It was a breath of fresh air to see a resource get this right in a children's book.

I do recommend this book. You can get a copy from Amazon here.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Social Media and Our Children


I am over at The End In Mind talking about social media and our children. You can read the full article HERE. It will link you to both articles that were recently written on the topic. I am very curious of your thoughts and policies regarding media with your own children. Let me know. It is a learning process for sure.

Last month I posted about contentment and social media here. The conversation needs to continue now because my daughter just turned that “magical” age of 13 where you are “legally” allowed to have a Facebook page. I am really trying to learn to walk this thing out with her being the second generation of social media. It is hard to believe that I was the first generation. I am still trying to figure it out myself but as I do I need to help her in this new online world that is at times more influential than the real world. READ MORE.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Life in the Kingdom - Things are Not Always What They Seem


There is a precious older lady in my church. At one point in time she was my daughter's Sunday school teacher. She adores my children so we have pleasant smiles or small talk often but I have not had a chance to hear her heart. I noticed for the past year that each Sunday she enters church late, sits in the back, and sneaks out early before we are dismissed.

When people do this, enter early and sneak out late, I assume they just don't want interaction with others or perhaps they want to beat the crowd to lunch. My mind always tends to veer toward the negative and I hate this about my mind. God is transforming it as I truly am growing in order to have eyes to see people rightly. This woman gave me a chance to see.

One Sunday morning I had the opportunity to really chat with her in order to get a glimpse into her heart. What I found was such beauty in her through gospel shaped, devoted and sacrificing love.

I found out that she is a caregiver now for her husband. For two years they were told he would not make it through another holiday and this year they are approaching a third. She expressed such joy to be his caretaker and joy for the time with him, however, he cannot be left on his own at all. Because of this her son comes after his time at church to sit with him so this dear lady can come to her home church. After service she gets herself right back with him so her son can get back to his duties.

My heart was so touched at that self-sacrificing love. Her acts of love done with all joy. She misses being at church and teaching the children but sees this season as a time to lovingly serve her husband as he lives his last days. This is living out the gospel.

I wonder if we just listened to people's stories if it would make us less apt to judge? We have no idea what is going on with other people and their lives.

I spoke to another dear lady who said her husband struggles with sleep apnea terribly so when they make it to church after a hard night he usually falls asleep and it embarrasses him terribly because of how people judge or make assumptions.

Then there is the family who has resolved to sit on the couches in the lobby during service because the sensory overload of the service is too much for their son with special needs. Seeing this family sit together is endearing to me because they are trying to make this work, trying to be with their church body despite the difficulty. Let us not judge them! Let us reach out and love them where they are. Let us welcome them and ask them how we can help. Let us embrace them and speak words of encouragement.

I am sure it would be easier to just not come to church at all for each of them yet they are brave and they come because they value the assembly of the body of believers. And we are better off for having them in our family at our little church. These are just three stories but if we really had eyes to see I know we would discover many more. They each encourage me greatly and help me to remember we have no idea what others are going through and instead of making assumptions we should be willing to extend love and grace and help.
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