This book was provided free to me by the booksneeze blogger review program. I am not obligated at all to give a positive review. Just so you know!
“Gods At War” is my first experience with Kyle Idleman. i had heard lots of buzz about ‘Not A Fan”, so when his newest title came up for grabs, I was happy to oblige. The main theme throughout is the idols that fight for our affection, stealing the place of Jesus as first in our heart. We are constantly pursuing things other than Christ, so Idleman calls idolatry THE issue rather than one among many. This is interesting to me. While clear to me now that it’s been laid out for me, most of us don’t go through life thinking of idols stealing our affection for Jesus. But they are there, ready to distract us if we let them. Part 2 resonated with my current place in life. He talks about the pleasure idols that can steal us away. On pg. 83, Idleman says “Eating is good. The problem is that every gift God gives us can be twisted into a lure to pull us away from him.” This chapter felt like a ringing bell in my ears trying to get my attention. It is the same with entertainment for me. TV shows, movies, music, etc…These things aren’t bad, but when they become idols in our lives, we twist the goodness in them.
At any rate, I enjoyed the book. As someone who feels weary from constant battles with things that steal my affection for Jesus, this was encouraging and very important. Would recommend to any christian struggling with keeping God first in your life. 4.5/5 on the blair-o-meter.
Every night, before I can sleep peacefully, I have to make sure my kids are still breathing. It isn’t enough to just see them wrapped in their matching princess comforters.
Whatever, jerk, I’m still hardcore. I’ll punch Cinderella in the face.
I need to walk up, put my hand on their back, and feel their deep, peaceful breaths, inevitably followed with the annoyed roll over that comes from their stupid idiot dad disturbing their slumber. I like to believe that they know I’m there, and it helps them sleep easier, even if it annoys them in the present.
Deep breaths. All is at peace. Knowing my kids are safe, dreaming of pudding pops and unicorns. Whatever it is kids dream of, it gives me peace to feel their breath, steady; resting. It doesn’t matter how tough my day has been with both of them. Bella cries and thinks I’m a monster for rushing her to put her shoes on when we’re 10 minutes late already. Makena lipping (not flipping, although im sure thats coming someday) me off for not playing Nintendo 24 hours a day, like a good dad would. It doesn’t matter what they feel towards me or the world around them in that moment. The fact that they are safe, sound, in my care and I can feel their breath. It brings me peace. Most of the time.
I am having a night where the peace isn’t quite so forthcoming. Anger. Frustration . Exasperation might be a better descriptor. Exhaustion. Defeat. Weariness, not of the kind an 8 hour sleep will cure. These nights come once in a blue moon, whatever a blue moon is. Must be rare or something. One of the few things that calms me is knowing my kids are happy, safe and sound. It helps when I remember Gods love for me.
Rarely do I let it sink in enough to give me peace. I live most days running from one thing to the next, unaware of Gods hand on my chest, trying to calm my gasping breath. In my exasperation, anger, resentment, bitterness, he holds me close and says “rest.”
The truth is Gods touch isn’t always so in tune with my life. Rather, I’m not so in tune with his touch. But during nights like tonight, all I can pray for is rest and that tomorrow will bring hope. It nearly always does.
If God loves me the way I love my kids when they reject me, hurt me, run to me for comfort, depend on me for survival; if God really does love me like that, then peace should be the most natural of feelings. My kids believe in my love for them.
My prayer tonight is that I feel Gods immense, Immeasurable, insatiable love for me in the smallest of doses. To feel Gods hand on my back so I know he’s there and can sleep peacefully. I know that’s a small prayer, but a small dose of Gods love is an ocean of my own. I believe it in my head. the idea must make its way to my heart.
Deep breaths. Now go, enter the rest.
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“The call to live & die for bigger things.” That’s the tagline for this book, which immediately had me intrigued when I saw it on the review selection page for booksneeze. I was having a conversation with a friend recently about the lack of happiness, and more so the presence of heaviness, in the lives of the people we know. There seems to be more and more people struggling with depression and a general feeling of something missing in our western culture. Ken Wystma is on to something in this book when he suggests that we are feeling empty because we are missing our calling to pursue justice in our world. There is a deep connection between our joy and the joy of others. When we work towards justice for others, we are living into the calling of Christ. This book is filled with hope and encouragement. He begins with a biblical definition of justice, tying in the many parts of love, mercy, charity, integrity, etc… together. Justice is not simply one thing to Christ followers. It is multi-faceted and must be held together to have proper understanding. My favorite chapter was 4, where he describes pursuing justice as a joyful pursuit. I’ve wrestled with this at times, feeling more obligated and exhausted than joyful and exuberant. I love his description of happiness as more than pursuit of self-gratification. Giving our life to others is a fulfilling walk. At any rate, I certainly recommend this book to anyone, particularly those who have not felt fulfilled or have felt as if their walk with Christ might be missing something. Whether your already pursuing justice, or this is a new concept for you, this book will help you navigate the road in a healthy, uplifting and inspiring way. 5/5 on the blair-o-meter.
Booksneeze & Thomas Nelson provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I am in no way obligated to give a positive review.
Dirty God is the first book I have read by Johnnie Moore. Until this point, I had only read an article of his on Huffington Post, but the idea intrigued me. God comes down to us in our mess and meets us here. There isn’t another religion that claims this kind of God! Grace is what is so unique about God. I agree! This is the beautiful thing about the God we serve. In our brokenness and vulnerability, he doesn’t crush us or squash us like a bug. But he meets us there and lifts us up. The grace of God is controversial, as Moore states, because it’s so easy to get and more than we can handle. Grace also must move us to give grace as much as we have received it. Moore challenges us to live in this grace and extend it to others. I enjoyed this book.
I received this book as a review copy from booksneeze blogger review program. I’m in no way obligated to give a positive review. Johnnie Moore nails it. I was pretty hesitant when I saw an endorsement from Mark Driscoll once I received it. That put my guard up, as I disagree with much of what he stands for. But Moore was gracious and this book is something everyone needs to hear. 4/5 on the blair-o-meter.
The latest offering I received from booksneeze blog review program was “Everything”, by Mary Demuth. I have never heard of her or any of her writing before, but I saw the endorsement from Leonard Sweet and the description was compelling enough to cause me to choose this title. I’m glad I did!
Demuth writes about the idea that everything in our lives without exception is the way we grow into the full lives Jesus wants for us. We can either hoard all we’ve been given tightly and stagnate, or we can give it all up to Jesus, let him take over everything in us, and we grow closer to him and closer to our calling.
Here’s a favorite passage in regards to the church and how we’ve softened the gospel…
“We love all the love, but we shrink back when we’re called to love our enemies. We love the grace, but when we have to extend it to a perpetrator, we cringe. We love Jesus’ unselfish sacrifice on our behalf, but we’d prefer that others serve us, doing everything we’d love for them to do. The gospel isn’t a life management program.”
She calls us to revisit what the gospel is and the power found in following Jesus. It’s only in the act of following Jesus and giving up everything that we receive everything and more in return. The life Jesus wants for us is so much more than what we’ve made it when we hold on to everything in our lives. 4.5/5 stars on the blair-o-meter.
booksneeze in no way demands a good review be written in exchange for this book. i just happen to choose books that are compelling and i generally enjoy.
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I’ve long been a fan of Tony Campolo, and while Shane Claiborne is newer on my radar, he’s been a favorite since I read his new book. It was with great anticipation that I received this book from Booksneeze. ‘Red Letter Revolution” is a conversation, or rather a series of them, about the church, God and His people. They really cover the gamut of topics with everything from the church’s response to LGBT people to political engagement and being a part of the church. In a way, it’s kind of like sitting down for coffee and shooting the breeze about some very important discussions between two close friends. What I love about Campolo is that he has been around for several years, stands on his convictions, and isn’t afraid to challenge people, no matter how uncomfortable that might make us. Claiborne is very similar in many respects. The beauty of this conversation is two different generations coming together to share the gospel in a loving, kind and challenging way. Both these guys speak to groups the other might not be able to speak to in the same way. I’m excited about the Red Letter Christian movement and what they are bringing to the conversation. This book certainly adds to the important discussion of how we are to live as Christ followers. 5/5 on the blair-o-meter.
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Max Lucado has grown on me over the years. I’m not sure if he’s getting better, or if I’m getting more mature. Most definitely the latter. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his last two books, “Outlive Your Life” and “Fearless”. The one criticism I’ve had of Lucado over the years is that it’s often a pretty simple read. But the older I get, the less that criticism is valid because millions of people worldwide have been buying his books for the past couple decades. His impact is universal, and speaks to both left wing and right, mainline churches and denominations, and that is rare to find these days, at least in the books I read. It’s rare that I read a book and think to myself, “Everyone will love this!” Usually, there is controversy, or a reason a group of people wouldn’t enjoy a book and the author’s viewpoints. Lucado does a great job of transcending those divisions and speaking to many different listeners.
In Grace, Lucado paints a beautiful picture of the gift of grace God has given to us. God’s grace isn’t small, it is bigger than anything we could dream, and it would overwhelm us if we understood it. I loved chapter 4, his discussion of weariness in working to earn God’s favour. We don’t need more spiritual badges to gain God’s acceptance. Grace is a gift, and we can rest now. That message resonates with me. The very next chapter challenges us, though, that grace is given freely to us, but we are also called to give it to others, which is much more difficult. We are to follow the example of Christ.
At any rate, very good book. 4/5 on the blair-o-meter. Thanks booksneeze!