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Mere Churchianity really opened my eyes and forced me to think long and hard about my relationship with Christ and my place in the church.  I will start off by saying that I am not the target audience that Michael Spencer wrote this book.  He wrote this book for those followers of Christ who feel disenfranchised by the modern evangelical church.  They are tired of how thing are being done and they have already left or are seriously thinking about leaving.  They are not leaving the Faith but the modern construct of the church.  I have grown up in the church but I have never really felt disenfranchised or ready to make a jump out of it.  I have disagreed on numerous occasions about how things seem to be going but overall I am happy where I am.  So, I know I did not fully understand this book because it was not written to me.  But, it really made me think long and hard and for that I am very thankful.

One of the main things that I appreciated the most about Mere Churchianity was how honest and candid Mr. Spencer was about the modern church.  It was refreshing.  In many ways the church we see is a human construct and not that of Christ.  There are many flaws and those flaws are called out in this book.

But, it is important to say that the flaws of the church is not the point of this book.  Mr. Spencer points out these flaws because he wants us to see the difference between a “Church-Shaped Spirituality” and a “Jesus-Shaped Spirituality.”  We are called to seek out Jesus for our discipleship and growth, not the church and all its programs.  Jesus-Shaped Spirituality is honest, transforming, and often, not easy.  This is about vulnerable with your Savior and yourself and not covering up with the “Happy Little Christian” disguise.

Like I said before this book was not written specifically to me but I am so glad I read it.  I give it five starts because not many books make me think like this one.  I was forced to think about my own spiritual walk.  Is it true to Christ?  Is it open and honest? This book also helped me understand the people who are leaving the church, not the faith.  I can see why they think they way they do.  My mind is more open now to their reasoning.   I am so thankful for the opportunity to read and review this book.  I have no doubt I will be sharing it with my friends.

 

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program to review but these are my completely honest opinions.

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I loved this book and I hated this book.

I will start with what I loved about it.   I truly enjoyed the writing style of both authors.  I was constantly drawn into the stories and the descriptions and I often found it hard to put down. It is an easy read and for that I am thankful.  This busy wife and mom can rarely find more than a couple minutes at a time to read.  I loved the fact that this book is not your typical “Follow these steps and you too can be the best woman, wife, and mother God created you to be.”    Instead of focusing on what each woman can do to better her life, the authors focus on what every woman needs.  She desires to be loved and cherished.  She longs to be beautiful to someone.  This book reaches out to women in their most vulnerable place, their heart.  I found this book to truly uplift who I am as a woman and it encouraged me to reach out to my Lord Father as exactly as I was created.  He created me to be beautiful and no one knows that better than Him.

However, I found this book to be quite frustrating at the same time.  I have no doubt that there are so many women out there who were used and abused from childhood on and I in no way discredit what they endured.  I can’t even imagine.  But, there are also plenty of women, me included, who never endured any major abuse (for that I am eternally thankful).  This book focuses so much on women who were abused that one would think that all women were at some point.  That is not true.  One would also think that all women are over-emotional, soulless, and hurt.  This too is not true.

I would most definitely recommend this book to any woman who has suffered any form of abuse.  I believe it could help her start over and see herself as God created her to be.  I, however, would not recommend this book to all the women in my life.  I believe this book is marketed to all women when in reality it is written for a certain group.





This book was provided by BookSneeze.com as a review copy and this review reflects my honest opinion.

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I was excited when I received This Little Prayer of Mine from WaterBrook Multnomah PUblishing Group to Review for them. Prayer is so important to me and my family and I am always looking for ways to teach my son how to pray for himself. A children’s book seemed like such a resource.

Let me start with the positive aspects of this book.  First, the illustrations are absolutely beautiful.  My son and I both really enjoyed taking in all the pictures and talking about what they conveyed.  Second, this is a very easy to read book that speaks to children on their level about God and how to speak to him in a personal way.

Unfortunately, the negatives outweighed the positives in our household.  While this book is easy to read and written for children it also dumbs down theology.  I am a firm believer that there is no need to dumb down the truth of the Gospel for our children.  They are more in tune than we give them credit for. God is portrayed in a generic fashion.  There is absolutely no mention of Jesus, his death and resurrection, and his saving grace that makes it possible for us to pray directly to God in the first place.  I was especially upset at the very last page of the book.  I did not like at all that the book ends with the child praying for God to continue loving him/her.  What?!  Of course, God loves him/her and has never stopped loving.  In my mind that conveys that God’s love can be earned and that is so far from the truth.

If you are looking for a short, sweet book to teach your child about prayer from a simple, generic standpoint this is an excellent book and I recommend it.  If you are looking for a meatier book, I do not recommend it.




Note: I was offered this book by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group to Review. I was not required to offer a positive review and this post reflects my honest opinion.

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The Chronological Guide to the Bible is a wonderful spring board into further study into the Chronological order of the Bible and the history behind the scriptural events. It divides the Bible into nine historical epochs (Before the Patriarchs, The Patriarchs, The Rise of a Unified People, From Tribes to a Nation, The Fall of Two Nations, Exile and Return, Between the Two Testaments, The Coming of the Messiah, and The Church Age). Within each of the epochs there is a chronological reading guide, outlines for each book, and historical facts. The stories are put into context of the cultures of that time shedding more light on how and why things occurred the way they did.

This book is in no way an exhaustive study of Biblical History. But, I do believe it is just enough to whet someone’s appetite to go learn some more. For that reason I would recommend this book to my friends. I was also very pleased with how visually appealing this book is. The layout, illustrations, and use of color makes me want to pick it up and read instead of being bored by a monochromatic, textbook design. It is just big enough (just over 200 pages) to sit nicely with your Bible for easy reference.

I know that I will referring back to this book as I read through my Bible. I am already a history nut and Biblical History is even better. I can’t wait to dive further into the world before, during, and after the arrival of my Savior.





This book was provided by BookSneeze.com as a review copy and this review reflects my honest opinion.

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Imaginary Jesus: A Review




Imaginary Jesus is a “not-quite-true” story that is hilarious and convicting all wrapped into one fast read.

The story starts out with the author and main character, Matt Mikalatos, sitting in a cafe in Portland, Oregon with his best chum, Jesus. They are having a nice time together as they eat, talk, read, and listen to music. The scene abruptly ends when a messy looking man walks into the cafe, sits down with them, joins in the conversation, and ultimately punches Jesus in the face. Jesus very quickly flees the scene. What in the world?! The messy stranger then proclaims that that Jesus is not the REAL Jesus and merely an Imaginary Jesus. The remainder of this book is spent in a fast paced, whimsical search for the Real Jesus.

I was laughing out loud when I met TV Jesus, King James Jesus, Testosterone Jesus, etc. The social commentary is right on target and very witty in its presentation.

I was humbled and convicted when I realized how I too have many different Imaginary Jesuses in my life. I know I have Homeschooling Jesus, Homemaker Jesus, Mothering Jesus, Conservative Jesus, Intelligent Jesus, etc. They all speak to a certain aspect of my life and personality that are very important to me. But, they are NOT the REAL Jesus. The Real Jesus who is the one and only Son of God who came to our broken world to redeem us from our horrid sin. The Real Jesus who loves us with a love so deep that it is unfathomable to us. This book drives me to identify all my Imaginary Jesuses and then replace them with the REAL Jesus.

Thank you, Matt Mikalatos, for an incredible read. You have blessed this woman, wife, and mother.





This book was given to me as a review copy as a part of the Tyndale Blog Network. This review reflects my honest and humble opinion.

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Here Burns My Candle: A Review



Today I present the latest novel of Liz Curtis Higgs, Here Burns My Candle. I am new to reading Liz Curtis Higgs and I was not disappointed one bit.  I was totally engrossed by this book and found myself begging for more when I arrived at the end.  Thank goodness the sequel comes out next year.  I will be anxiously awaiting its arrival.  In the meantime, I think I will go back and read all her other novels.

Here Burns My Candle is a very clever retelling of the Book of Ruth. It takes place in 18th century Edinburgh, Scotland during a time of great upheaval in that mighty country.  For someone who adores historical fiction this book was a real treat.  The setting was convincing and the characters quite engaging.  I found myself becoming emotionally involved with all the delightful characters.  I loved how Higgs used the older ways of Scottish speaking and included a glossary at the of the book for easy reference.

I gained a new perspective on the book of Ruth by reading this book.  Walking the streets of Edinburgh with Majory and Elisabeth and watching their relationship and love for each other blossom helped me to understand how much Ruth loved her mother-in-law and was willing to follow her anywhere.

Thank you so much, Liz Curtis Higgs!  You touched me with this book and you have gained a new fan in the process.  WELL DONE!

Please look below for the book trailer to learn even more.







This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah and reflects my honest opinion.

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66 Love Letters: A Review




I have to say I love the idea behind 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb. I am such a hopeless romantic to begin with and I love to read good love letters. The idea of each book of the Bible as a Love Letter from God to us made my romantic heart flutter.

Dr. Crabb wrote this book to be a dialogue between a man and his God.  Each chapter corresponds with each book of the Bible.  The book is reduced to a sentence or a paragraph of what God is trying to get across to us.  Then, God speaks in more detail about how that particular book fits into his overall plan of love and redemption.

When I first started reading this book I had high hopes that the love story between God and man would sweep me away and I wouldn’t be able to put this book down.  I was wrong.  While this book is very good and has its place it is not to be read like a novel.  I believe my disappointment came from the fact that I didn’t quite understand what I was picking up before I started.

66 Love Letters stands strong as a devotional book or as a companion to your Bible Study.  For that reason, I still offer it four stars. I believe this book would offer a beautiful introduction to any book you are about to study and will offer an explanation of how it fits into God’s grand plan of salvation. I will be keeping my copy on my Bible Study table.

I received my copy from BookSneeze.com as a review copy but that did not influence my honest opinion.

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