Sunday, February 6th, 2011
The last book on my “To Review” Docket was Becoming a Woman of Influence by Carol Kent. This book is put out by NavPress, which is always a really reliable publishing company. I tend to enjoy the quality of books they put out.
Becoming a Woman of Influence is about encouraging the reader to invest in the lives of younger women. Kent outlined some key points in how to make a lasting impact on others. Much of the book was a review for me, but for someone who has never taken a younger woman under her wing, this would be an excellent book to read. There is no hokey-ness to this book- only real examples from real people about what it looks like to mentor someone. I especially liked her chapter on Storytelling, which emphasized that we often learn best through hearing others’ stories. Sometimes mentoring can focus on information transfer, but often the power of stories is underestimated.
Anyway, an easy, refreshing read that had solid content. If you’ve been mentoring others, you probably don’t need to read this book, but if you would like to encourage another woman to invest her life in others (and you know she hasn’t), this could be a good gift!
After reading this, I’m curious… in your experience, what are some of the characteristics of women who have invested in you?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Friday, January 7th, 2011
Being a student at Asbury has been really enlightening to me in the way of learning about other denominations, particularly Methodism. One thing I have noticed about students at Asbury is their appreciation of the liturgical year.
The liturgial year begins with Advent, moves to Christmastide, then some Ordinary Time, Lent, Eastertide, Pentecost, and then more Ordinary Time. With each season there is a different thing to focus on, and much in the way of spiritual contemplation and formation that goes with it. For some reason this has really resonated with me, so when The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister became an option on booksneeze (Thomas Nelson’s book review program), I jumped at it.
Although the book started out slow and slightly redundant, when Chittister moved into discussing the parts of the Liturgical year, their histories, and the spiritual themes that went along with them, I couldn’t put the book down. I actually learned a lot of new things- things that will hopefully help our family to better start some intentional, life-giving traditions as it relates to holidays (Jake and I were waiting until after this book was read to start discussing/brainstorming on what that could look like). Anyway, Chittister does a good job of succinctly explaining the feasts, and helps the reader to understand that the reason for us celebrating these days and weeks is not to impress anyone or to work at some holiness. Instead, it’s about pressing into the life of Jesus, learning to think as He thinks and live as He lived. There is a beautiful paragraph on page 179 of the book that I want to leave you with:
Liturgical spirituality is about learning to live an ordinary life extraordinarily well. Fidelity to the liturgical life is the cement that keeps us grounded in Jesus, no matter what other elements of life emerge to seduce us as the years go by. It gives us the sense of balance we need to choose between spurious and things sacred. By its very unremitting regularity, it dins the Word of God into our very souls until we can finally hear it. Then, alive in that Word, we find ourselves becoming what we seek. It is fidelity that keeps us on the road when we would most like to simply sit down in the dust and let the world pass us by.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers, I received this book free to review! Thanks so much, TN!
Monday, December 27th, 2010
Real-life Discipleship by Jim Putnam provides an overview of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho. Their whole church centers around making disciples…moving people from spiritually dead to spiritual infants to spiritual young adults to spiritual parents. Each category of people has specific needs. This paradigm helps them to be intentional and thorough in their disciple-making. The book explains each category and gives some ideas of what that group may need in terms of teaching. The pastor is adament that gaining knowledge is only a small part of growing as a disciple. Real growth will happen through real life experiences. In their small groups (this church has over 700 of them), all of them use Bible story-telling as the curriculum for their small groups.
Overall this book was a good overview. I think for churches who are looking for a really basic schema to get them started, this may be something to get them started. This overview leaves lots of the details out, which is great, because those details would be ones that specific church leadership should come up with on their own. The chapter I liked best was the one that discussed the characteristics and needs of spiritual young adults. I think that’s where most “leaders” are in the church, especially ones my age, and it was helpful in pointing out some weaknesses that we may have.
p.s. I received this book free from NavPress through their book bloggers program- thank you!
Thursday, December 16th, 2010
The other evening, Jake, Ashley and I watched the movie The Least Among You. It’s produced by Lionsgate, which (I think) is a Christian production company. You can read about what it’s about here on imbd. I just have to say that I really liked the movie because of the interesting issues that it brings up- not only in how things were in the 60s and 70s, but how things are today regarding race, diversity, and the church. For people who are interested in thinking more about this topic, this would be a really good movie to watch to begin conversations… what if you used it in a small group or with a group of friends to kick off some good and really important conversations?
Diversity is a really hard thing for people in general to deal with- it doesn’t matter if it’s because of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, or education level. People just have a hard time really accepting and loving and embracing people who are “other.” Watch The Least Among You and allow these issues to bubble up inside of you, and be sure to have time to reflect and ruminate in whatever is going on inside of you after the credits start rolling.
EDIT: JUST KIDDING. LIONSGATE IS NOT A CHRISTIAN PRODUCTION COMPANY .
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Sunday, September 26th, 2010
Knowing that finding a local church to settle into is difficult, Jake and I had made a little strategy to help us find a local church and get involved quickly, especially since we are most likely only here for a year. Wilmore, Nicholasville, and Lexington have a TON of churches and it was a bit overwhelming to even think about the possibilities. SO, we decided at the very beginning to visit three churches that were all very different from one another but had unique aspects that could fit our family and where we could fit them. One was a small new monastic community in downtown Lexington, another was a huge (10,000 person) megachurch in Nicholasville, and another was a much smaller non-denominational church right down the street from us in Wilmore.
We visited each. Really liked each for very different reasons, and ended up deciding that the church in Wilmore was the best fit for us and us for them. We decided on this one because:
1. It’s just right down the road– like a 2-3 minute drive.
2. They joyfully provided opportunities for us to jump right into serving with them. Jake will be teaching K-2nd grade every other Sunday morning and I’ll be hanging out with their college group. Hopefully the whole family will be able to participate in their many serving around Wilmore opportunities.
3. It’s a multi-cultural congregation. There are people from all over the world, including Kenya (i know, how could we not choose here?!)
4. They are incredibly mission-oriented- local, national, world.
We’re excited to be a part of this local congregation this year. For myself, I’ve already been really thankful for them…I really like the pastor and his wife (very personable and thoughtful people!) and the sunday morning set-up is fun for our family– we’ve been keeping Aly and Asante with us during the music worship, and then taking them to their separate classrooms during the sermon (this is what they do with all kids who are not birth-3, but Aly loves music and we really felt like she could grow a lot by seeing others worship God through song).
We love the church’s focus on unity and their actions that support that. In addition, prayer is really important to the congregation, and I know that that is something that the Lord has been challenging me in – slowing down, praying, believing in His power, trusting in Him, cultivating that deeper relationship.
Of course, we’re human and they are human and things will happen that we or they don’t like or agree on, but I’ve been refreshed by the congregation so far. We can only hope that we do the same for them!
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
In Sunday School, we’ve been talking about the nature of the Kingdom over the past few months and what that means for the way we live within that Kingdom.
Out of this discussion we’ve talked about various organizations in Columbia and around the world, and the value that they add to peoples’ lives. Some people choose to serve in and through the local church only, while others see the great things that secular organizations are doing to lift people out of poverty or help them in some other way. We even talked about how sometimes the secular ones are more “successful”, maybe because of the time, energy, and money that is put in those, versus a bunch of volunteers in the church doing one thing a month to help the local neighborhood.
BUT, what if God wants us to focus more time on working through a local church, EVEN IF we’re replicating what’s being done by a secular organization. I know, I know, last week I would have said that was silly. And maybe it is.
What if God wants to use the body of believers, together, to reach our communities and world IN HIS NAME? Does the work of the Holy Spirit pour special favor out on those who working together with the local church specifically? I guess a deeper question would be what is the ultimate mission of God? Is he most concerned with people being fed and clothed? Or is he most concerned about people coming to know Him? And how does He want to use His Bride, specifically united and as a unique body, in that?
Now, I know that the HS works through us individually in the places we’re serving. I get that. BUT, what if that’s a little too individualistic? What if that line of thinking has grown out of a very individualist culture? What if the community DOES matter? What if the collective is MORE important than the individual effort? What if God is wanting to use us more as an organized body of brother and sisters, reaching out to people … but in the name of Jesus?
What do you think?