Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teaching Tuesday

So the BIG question today is: If what you did in the next 24 hours was how you'd spend the next 1,000 years, what would you do?  Think about this carefully.

People today are planning better for their retirements than they are planning for eternity.  That's a bit scary.

Everyone is going to face judgement...including Christian believers.  Many Christians don't think this is so, they think because they are born-again, saved, they won't face any judgement.  They think they've got a one-way ticket to heaven.  But that's not what the Bible says.

Believers won't be judged by their sins - the cross cancelled out their sins - they are counted as though they never happened.  God wiped them off the record.  Believers will be judged by what they were called to do.  Each of us, as believers, has been called to do something - its our job to seek God to find out what that call is and to do it.  God called each of us to the task He's assigned, before the very foundations of the earth!  And if we don't do what we're called to do - God will find someone else to complete it and we'll be judged in light of not doing what we were called to.

Knowing this, don't you think you should be thinking eternally?

These are just a few of the things we've been teaching every Tuesday.  First, we learned how to Break Intimidation, now we're being Driven by Eternity, so that we can move into living an Extraordinary life.

Just some food for thought, in between classes today.  Once we've completed the entire teaching series, I'd like to reteach those lessons here...so stay tuned and in the meantime, give some serious thought to how you'd live the next 24 hours of your life, it was to determine how you'd live the next 1,000 years because what we do in this life, will determine how we'll spend eternity.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

Being a book review blogger has afforded me the opportunity of reading books by authors that I've never read before...this is the case with Susan Meissner.  A Sound Among the Trees is the first book I've read by Meissner.

I chose to review this book because I've grown to love historical fiction, stemming from my interest in researching my family's history.  As a school-aged child and well into my teens, my least favorite school subject was history.  But when I discovered the roles my family's descendants played within our nation's history, it took on a whole new light.  When I read the snippet description of this story it intrigued me because I've been following the family's descendants and their roles in the Civil War - this story was billed as a modern-day story interwoven with a Civil War story.

I wasn't expecting it to read so much superstition and "ghost story".  It wasn't just a case of a 'ghost' haunting the house, but the house itself taking on the role of being the 'unhappy spirit' - so to me the book really stepped out and away from the Christian aspect of the genre. Let me just say, I'm not big into "ghost stories" of any kind. I don't think that "ghost stories" (paranormal stories) mesh with a Christian perspective, especially in this story with the medium, a seeming compulsion to ghosts and other supernatural phenomena. To me, this was a big let down.

In most of the books/stories I read, I make a connection with the characters, but that didn't happen in this story. In fact, finding out some of the background of this author, especially that she's a pastor's wife, sort of left me wondering what she was thinking with this story line and with the characters - mainly due to the type of language found in the story, especially in the way the Lord's name was used in ways that didn't bring glory to His name and so forth.  I actually lost a lot of interest in the story itself.  It was a chore to finish the book.

In my opinion, this story really does not fit into the category of Christian fiction. It only contains the slightest mention of God with no reference to salvation or living a Christian life. While I don’t think a book needs to be overly preachy to get the point across I expect more for one to be called Christian fiction. 

I don't like to give poor reviews, but there are times when a book just doesn't set well with me and in those rare times, I must be true to my feelings.  Just because I didn't enjoy this particular type of story doesn't mean that everyone is going to feel this way - to each his/her own, I say.  But for me, this just wasn't what I'd expected in a good Civil War historical fiction story and I wouldn't recommend this story to my friends.

I do wish to thank WaterBrook-Multnomah and their Blogging for Books program for providing me with this complimentary copy in exchange for my review.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where Has The Time Gone?

WOW! It's hard to believe that October is almost over...and I haven't been back here most of the month. How did that happen?  I know how that happened...it's called "study overload"!  I never in my wildest imaginations would have thought I'd have to put so much work into my latest Bible College class.  It gets kind of wild, teaching it, as well as taking the class.  I do more work on the course than all the other students, because I have to not only keep up with the current studies, but I have to do so much preparation and reading ahead in order to be fully prepared to teach!!  On top of all of this, we have had a lot of medical issues this month - translation: many more doctor office visits = a lot of time lost to other things :(  And, unfortunately, we still aren't finished...there are more doctor visits this week.  How sweet it will be when all the appointments are behind us.

We did manage to take some time this past week to go to the Halloween ZooBoo event at the Erie Zoo - as always, it was a lot of fun...but bittersweet at the same time, as Sami is now at the cut-off age for such fun.  Next year, she'd never pass for a child young enough to participate in the event.  She did have a great time this year, especially watching the magician in the kids edZOOcation building...she picked up on the secret of a couple tricks and she's going to be practicing them, so she can perform them for the children at Champions Children's Ministry.

Needless to say, with the busy schedule, I haven't gotten through many of the books in the latest stack, so I'm behind in my book reviews too.  Can I just say, that I'm not a fan of being this far behind in my normal routine?  I know, this too shall pass...I just need to be patient and enjoy the ride.

I did enjoy this weekend because it was filled with anointed teachings by my friend, Woody Woodson.  He taught at church Friday & Saturday evening, as well as in both Sunday morning services today.  What an amazing time.  His prophecies spoken over me, my daughter and my mother were confirmations of what we've been dealing with...and the encouragement we received revived us all.

I appreciate you being patient with me during this hectic time, please stick with me in this...there is some good stuff coming. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo

Is there life after death? Just ask 4-year-old Colton, who emerged from life-threatening surgery with astounding details about heaven! Colton's account includes floating away, looking down on his dad praying in the hospital, seeing God's throne, and meeting relatives---including his sister who died in a miscarriage (and whom his parents had never mentioned).
I was introduced to this book, when my cousin talked about buying for a friend of his who'd just had a miscarriage.  He'd bought the book to share with her.  After him telling me about this incredible story, I just had to read it for myself.  Since then I've heard several comments both good and bad about the book.  Personally, I don't waste my time with the bad comments I've heard.  There are just times in our lives when we need to not get too caught up in the theology of life, but remain innocent and childlike in our relationship with God.  Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down.  Since I completed my reading of this book, I suggested it for a highlight book in our church's book store and we've sold several copies.  Everyone's buzzing about it!  It's a definite must read.
I wish to thank BookSneeze for the free copy of this book in exchange for my review!

Walking as Jesus Walked: Making Disciples the Way Jesus Did by Dann L Spader

As a current Bible College student with only one more semester to finish to get my Bachelor's degree in Biblical Study and Ministries, I was excited to not only read this book, but perhaps to use it in conjunction with my studies.  I was not disappointed!  This will make a wonderful group study.  The only way to make disciples the way Jesus did is to study His life.  We need to pray the way He prayed.  We need to invest in the types of relationships He did.  We need our priorities to line up with His priorities. More than any of that, we need to know that what we do with Jesus matters.  Dann Spader has put together this 10 week study to help us really begin making disciples the way Jesus did.  In order to do this review in a timely manner, I simply had to read through the book, so I didn't have time to actually go through the 10 week course, but as soon as I have a semester break for the holidays, I plan to begin a more in depth study of the material contained in this book.

I wish to thank Moody Publishers for supplying me with this free book as part of their Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review.

Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin

This was the first time I've ever read anything by author Darlene Franklin.  I always approach a new-to-me author cautiously, but after reading Lone Star Trail - the first in Darlene Franklin's six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896, I can't wait to see how the series continues. 

In Lone Star Trail, (Jud) Morgan’s father dies for Texas’ freedom during the war for independence.  So when a group of german immigrants attempts to colonize a New Germany in his country, he takes a stand against them.

We're also introduced to Wande Fleischer - after her fiancĂ©e marries someone else, she's determined to make new life for herself in Texas.  Jud’s sister Marion helps Wande learn English and before long she becomes a trusted friend to the Morgan family.

While Wande cheerfully serves the Lord, Jud takes a liking to her, despite the fact that he dislikes the German invasion. Can he put aside his prejudice?

I can't wait to see what takes place in the next book in the series!

I'd like to thank Moody Publishers for sending me this free book as part of their Blogger Review Program. I wasn't required to give a positive review, just an honest one.

Beautiful Autumn Saturday

Hello All!  It's such a beautiful autumn Saturday here in Northwest PA!  Almost too nice to be indoors.  There won't be many more of these kinds of days before "Ol' Man Winter" awakens.  While the autumn colors are beautiful - although not as vibrant as I've seen other years, most likely due to the hot, humid summer we had - it's been a melancholy, reflective time for me.  The past two autumns, as I eagerly and excitedly raked up leaves in my backyard, I'd be on the lookout for the most bright, vibrant leaves to package carefully in air-tight storage bags to be shipped to my dear sister/friend, Leslie...but this year that won't happen.  So seeing the autumn leaves this year is a reminder of what I've lost.  As I sit here looking at the autumn colors, I'm reminded of the hysterical laughter of the first year's package.  I don't know if I laughed more at the fact that I was crazy enough to send something like leaves through the mail or if Leslie laughed more at receiving them!  I clearly remember the look on the mail clerk's face that first year, when she asked me if there was anything fragile, flammable, perishable or liquid in the package and I said, "Nope, just fall leaves".  I'm sure she thought I was crazy.  I probably was...heck, I probably still am...but knowing that it made for a special surprise for Leslie made my craziness worth it.  Then last fall, I packaged up more of the colorful leaves and sent them again - this time it was a delight for Leslie to share with her grandson, Tyler.  She took pictures of the leaves scattered on her living room floor with Tyler amidst them.  She even shared the leaves with the Kinder-kids in her class.  So while it's been kind of bittersweet looking at the leaves and knowing that I won't be packaging up any to send through the mail this autumn, it's been nice to remember back to how rewarding something so simple delighted so many.

Stay tuned readers...I have a few new book reviews to share...