Friday, October 26, 2012

The High Calling's Weekly E-Newsletter

Today I was given a unique opportunity - to review The High Calling's Weekly E-Newsletter.  There were links to audio, print and video stories on several different topics.

From the About Us section of the High Calling website: Welcome to, an online magazine and community founded on the belief that God cares about our daily work. On our site, you’ll discover a broad range of articles, interviews, devotionals, and inspirational stories—all specifically created to help you find God in your work, family, and the broader culture. Our writers and bloggers tell engaging stories crafted to encourage you in the high calling of your daily work.
      Honoring God in our daily work is much more than mere evangelism. Our work itself should be a testimony to our creator. That is why we encourage each other to remember the high calling of our daily work.
      The High Calling is also a safe place to ask difficult questions about work, leadership, culture, family, and faith. Our community of Christ followers shares differing opinions about matters of faith and doubt.  We believe in the power of open dialog, and aim to be a safe place to raise difficult issues. We simply ask that each person be respectful of others, rooted and grounded in love.

     The issue I chose to read and review was for the week of October 24, 2012.

 Some of the interesting stories I checked out were:

Right Idea, Wrong Time?
By Howard E. Butt, Jr.

Lending a Hand at Work
By Charity Singleton
Micromanagement: Leadership Style or Pathology
By Christine A. Scheller
Small Rebellions
By Kimberly Coyle
Video: "What Have Your Kids Taught You About God?" - Scott Wesley
By The High Calling

The last entry, the video entitled "What Have Your Kids Taught You About God" - Scott Wesley was probably the most interesting.  Of course, I love the testimonies of others.  Here is the copy of the transcript.

TRANSCRIPT: I have three daughters and a son, and I was an estranged father for nine years of their life. I was completely out of the picture. After I got saved and got out of prison and started living right, I began the challenge of rebuilding that communication between me and my kids. My three daughters are all on board with that, and I'm very close to all three of them. And, I have a son that to this day doesn't want anything to do with me and was hurt and damaged by the fact that I was gone out of his life for so many years.
What I've learned is—the last time I tried to talk to my son and he wouldn't have anything to do with me, what came out of mouth was kind of like a Holy Spirit thing that I wasn't intending to say ... and didn't really come from me at all. To me it was what God was trying to teach me at that time. What I told my son as he walked away from me was, "You can't hate me enough to make me stop loving you." When I said that I realized that was a God thing, because I had been an enemy of God for a big portion of my life and God didn't stop loving me.

Overall it was a pretty interesting newsletter.  You can find out more information, as well as subscribe, at the High Calling website ( or you can "like" them on Face Book, follow them on Twitter.

I'd like to thank Handlebar Publishing for the opportunity to review this e-newsletter.  A positive review was not required.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Lego® Principle by Joey Bonifacio

Publisher's Description:
Love God.
Love your neighbor.
Jesus called these the two most important commandments of all time. When He said this, He was making something clear to His listeners then as He does now: in life, it all boils down to our relationships. Using the example of LEGO®, a company that has been transforming the way people play for more than fifty years, Joey Bonifacio shows you how to make a difference—one connection at a time. 
Regardless of size and color, LEGO®s are designed to do one thing: connect. They connect at the top (God) and at the bottom (others). Hence The LEGO® Principle: connect first with God and then with others.
Joey Bonifacio writes about "the one thing" the church should be producing - discipleship. As the  author notes:“Discipleship is God's strategy for transforming the world.” The joy of discipleship is connecting with God and others.

There are four universal building blocks of relationship (trust, love, forgiveness, communication). The author tells how each of these building blocks apply to discipleship.

Discipleship should be your main value. Bonifacio writes:“What we value, we are willing to sacrifice for.” 
He looks at four values (people, Jesus, ministry, every day) and the corresponding discipleship principles.

The author reminds us that relationship with God and with others isn't just for our enjoyment but for reaching others. 
Bonifacio tells lots of encouraging stories, as well as shares factual tidbits about LEGO®s, making this overall, an interesting book. 
I'd like to thank Charisma House Publishers for the complimentary copy of the book.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola

The back cover of the book states that "Biographies of Jesus generally have been written by those trying to investigate the historical Jesus, with little attention given to the grand narrative of Scripture. On the flip side, those interested in tracing the theology of Scripture are typically disinterested in historical Jesus studies. These two approaches have yet to converge. . . until now."
Sweet and Viola weave the narrative of Jesus from Creation to The Return of The King. It made me pick up my Bible and compare notes as I read along (having a Bible and a notebook to jot things down in while reading is highly recommend--simply highlighting text isn't enough!).
I can't begin to imagine the amount of work that went into creating this book. The end-notes are extensive; there are over 80 in the introduction alone. I greatly appreciated that the authors did this; it shows they are willing to let anyone see what they used and where their ideas originated.
I am enrolled in a Masters level biblical training school and while I still feel I don't have the knowledge of great biblical scholars, I found this to be a worthwhile read that sparked my curiosity and kicked my questioning and wondering brain into gear. Rather than just telling someone about the Bible, reading this book encourages one to go to the Bible itself to explore the claims. In this, Sweet and Viola place the focus on Jesus, as it should be.  This book isn't too deep for the average reader to grasp, but it's filled with deep insights and will challenge all levels of understanding.

I wish to thank Book Sneeze's blogger review program for the complimentary copy of this book for review.

A Season for Tending by Cindy Woodsmall

My only problem with this book is that it ended..until the next installment, anyway!  I truly love Cindy Woodsmall's books; she is a great story-teller. This one is a compelling page turner and a big insight into the strength of Amish family life.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11 - this inspiring Scripture sums up the theme for this book.

Every year, since she was a little girl, Rhoda Byler received a berry and an herb plant from her father for her birthday. Now a grown woman, Rhoda's garden has grown to an acre in size and she is the operator of a successful canning business called Rhodes Side Stands. Rhoda is a very intuitive woman, which along with her desire to use herbs as a healing property, has caused some problems for her in her community. She also carries a load of guilt and wishes she had followed her intuition before it was to late.  As with all communities, people are not always what they present themselves to be. People who claim to love the Lord and then do violence to another one is an example. Poor Rhoda has been bullied by some in her Community because she told the truth about this individual. When first her garden, and them her beloved fruit plants are destroyed, she is beyond grief.

Ever since he was a little boy, Samuel King's grandfather gave him the very first apple harvested from Kings Apple Orchard. Since his grandfather passed, Samuel has been in charge of the apple orchard. Due to a series of unfortunate events, Samuel is forced to look for help as well as a solution to the orchards overabundance of cider apples - when a chance meeting with Rhoda, gives him an idea.  Maybe Rhoda is the solution?

Will Rhoda agree to help the Kings? Will she be an outcast in the Kings community as well as her own?

This book had me captivated from beginning to end. When I thought I had it figured out, Cindy offered up a new twist in the plot. She takes the time to properly introduce her characters before diving into the heart of the story. A Season for Tending is going to be a well-worn favorite of mine for sure!

I wish to thank Waterbrook-Multnomah's Blogging for Books program for the chance to review this book.  While I do prefer print copy books, this was only available to me in eBook format from  Edelweiss by Random House.  I had numerous problems with the download of this eBook and will not choose to do a book review in eBook format again.  In order to fulfill my obligation for this review, I borrowed a print copy from a friend.