Hands down the best resource I have found for guiding parents who choose to keep their children in church. Rob Rienow's book Limited Church, UnlimitedHands down the best resource I have found for guiding parents who choose to keep their children in church. Rob Rienow's book Limited Church, Unlimited Kingdom was excellent for providing the theological backing for such a choice, and this book paired well in the application of that reasoning. So thankful I now look forward to Sundays in the pew with my 4 year old!...more
This book was a prayer life game-changer for me. Priscilla challenged me to dig deeper, too be more bold in my prayers...for the glory of His name. StThis book was a prayer life game-changer for me. Priscilla challenged me to dig deeper, too be more bold in my prayers...for the glory of His name. Step your way through Eph. 3:20-21 and stop boxing God into the things you know He is capable of. Ask Him to do More....more
This book doesn’t focus on prayer, but on removing distractions… on “coming away with” Christ and prioritizing our relationship with Him rather than hThis book doesn’t focus on prayer, but on removing distractions… on “coming away with” Christ and prioritizing our relationship with Him rather than hoping we can find the time to pray, read God’s Word, or just plain worship.
Many of us are happy to sing songs about Christ, write about Him, and talk about Him to other believers, but often when the true test of loyalty comes, we choose personal comfort over radical abandon to Him. (p. 13)
I worked through this book slowly, trying to take just one chapter at a time and then utilize the personal study and reflection questions as journal prompts. Do I have holy discontent for mediocre Christianity? Am I willing to embrace godly discipline in order to make my prayer life a priority? Have I been settling for counterfeit peace and joy? One of the great things about these questions (which I typically skip in most books I read, by the way) is Leslie doesn’t just ask you yes or no questions; she follows each one up with an application question, a “how will I change to make this happen?” or “what will I do differently as a result?”
As you consider what it means to be set apart for Christ, you must examine your life in light of a crucial question: Are you standing in the vicinity of the Cross, or are you clinging to it? (p. 25)
Leslie addresses distractions to living a set-apart life, including apathy, temporal distraction, drama/gossip, idolatry, and anxiety. What would a set-apart look like? Opposite of those things: passion, true satisfaction, a quiet spirit, faithfulness, and confidence, respectively. The Scripture she uses throughout this book encouraged me, knowing she did not rip it out of context to prove a point and she even directed my attention to verses I might not have applied to her point. She also frequently quotes “heroes of the faith,” such as Amy Carmichael and Leonard Ravenhill. Quotes worth contemplating.
It’s true that this set-apart life will look crazy to those around us. You might even call me a little extreme if I adopt even half of Leslie’s suggestions. But I carry a deep longing to know Christ on a deeper level than I ever have — even in the midst of changing diapers, cleaning up spills, and reading picture books. The call to set-apart living isn’t a call to live in a monastery; it’s an act of surrender. Those times when I say I need to “veg” after a long day — those are the times Christ invites me to find pleasure in Him first. Those times I just want to scroll and scroll and scroll on Facebook rather than try to focus on reading Scripture — those are the times I desperately need the discipline of seeking first His kingdom. And I found this book encouraging in such an endeavor.
God has promised that when we build our lives around His priorities, He will make sure all our needs are taken care of. But most of us are not willing to allow this principle to be proven true in our lives. (p. 66)
Much like the book Wrestling Prayer that Leslie wrote with her husband Eric, I need to place this book on the Yearly Re-read shelf. I need to periodically remember the call to come away with Christ and be enamored with Him in the midst of daily living, because it’s so easy to forget. Would I recommend this book? Yes. 5 stars all the way. But be prepared to be challenged in an uncomfortable way. The best kind of discomfort — for God’s glory.
I received this book for free via Tyndale House Publishers for this review. The perspectives above, not including direct quotes from the book, are entirely mine. This post does include affiliate links; read our disclosure policy here....more
Stop. Not just "slow down." Stop. My husband and I read this together and really enjoyed it. The author is a medical doctor and uses some memorable anStop. Not just "slow down." Stop. My husband and I read this together and really enjoyed it. The author is a medical doctor and uses some memorable anecdotes to begin each chapter. We found this really helped us to recall the main points of the book.
Missing the Sabbath could cost us 11 years of rest. That hit home with me. Excellent, thought-provoking take from a self-proclaimed "barefoot theologian."...more
Levitt made this comment, “…each of us has fulfilled the seven feasts in a unique way, before we were actually born!” Even when we do not completely uLevitt made this comment, “…each of us has fulfilled the seven feasts in a unique way, before we were actually born!” Even when we do not completely understand the symbolism inherent in each of the feasts, we have been created to praise Him from the point of conception, where life begins. I highly recommend this short read for anyone interested in better understanding the Old Testament feasts, from the perspective of a Messianic Jew, and/or understanding the pregnancy timeline. How great is our God!!...more
If you aren’t familiar with the Jesus Freaks books by DCTalk, you need to get acquainted. :D They are basically a modern version of Foxe’s Book of MarIf you aren’t familiar with the Jesus Freaks books by DCTalk, you need to get acquainted. :D They are basically a modern version of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, stories of men and women who gave everything for God. Well, Sister Freaks is devoted to stories solely about women. It’s really neat!
Of the 60 stories I read, I’m going to highlight 5% (that means 3) of them. Manche Masemola grew up in what is now S. Africa in the early 1910s-1920s. She heard the gospel somewhere around the age 16 and became a Christian the same night she heard it. Because the evangelist was affiliated with the Anglican church, she had to attend class to study the Bible and prepare for baptism. Her parents believed the gods would unleash their wrath on the family because of Manche’s choice, so they beat her in hopes of keeping her from attending classes. Manche was determined though; she continued to go to classes, even though she was never able to complete them. She was beaten and forced to drink a potion to “rid her of the evil spirits”; no one knows which killed Manche. The awesomeness of the whole story? Forty years later, Manche’s mother “accepted Jesus as her Savior and was baptizes, in part because of the witness of her daughter.” What an incredible testimony Manche was! Hmm… Manche sounds like a great name for an adopted daughter from Africa. :D
Purnima left her home at the age of 13. Why? She had converted to Christianity in the Buddhist country of Bhutan, and her choices were to 1) denounce her faith or 2) leave the country. After many ups and downs of being on the run to escape the country, including imprisonment, Purnima lives with her sister Maya and brother-in-law Sival, desiring to endure persecution alongside believing relatives. She also hopes to, one day, share the gospel with her mother.
Coming from a poor rural Chinese village engulfed in hopelessness, Li Pasang chooses a different way of life. As she battles cancer in deplorable conditions, her attitude is one of gratitude. How so? She says, “I am glad Jesus loved me enough to allow the tumor so that I could hear about Him through a doctor.” As a result of her testimony, 30 families in her village gave their hearts to Jesus and are equally thankful for Pasang’s tumor. Yet another instance of how good God really is.
These are short summaries of incredible stories. Each story is about 2 1/2 pages long and can be used in daily devotionals. Testimonies such as these show me how great is the God I serve and how He really could choose to do something like this through me. If you choose to read this book, be sure to have a box of tissues in close proximity....more
Bonhoeffer has some incredible things to say. In the first part of his book, he compares “costly grace” and “cheap grace.” How often we cheapen God’sBonhoeffer has some incredible things to say. In the first part of his book, he compares “costly grace” and “cheap grace.” How often we cheapen God’s grace! I underlined a lot in that section. In the second (and longest) of the three parts, he goes through the Sermon on the Mount in depth. Some of what he mentioned, I’d heard before; some I hadn’t. It was interesting to look at it with a different perspective. His third section is mostly about the Church and what we should look like in the world as a representation of Christ.
If you’re looking for a book that will challenge your views of Christianity (with Scripture to back it up) and help you see the seldom-taught meaning of discipleship, this is a must read....more
The layout of this book is like this: Eric writes the main portion of the book… He begins talking about the two mightiest generations in history, DaviThe layout of this book is like this: Eric writes the main portion of the book… He begins talking about the two mightiest generations in history, David’s and Jesus’. He uses this setup to show how David’s life & story is a type (a representation) of Jesus. Eric describes many parallels between the two that I have never seen before! Leslie writes “A Moment for Prayer” at the end of each chapter with a couple of pages about how to apply the principles Eric just discussed. (Applied knowledge is wisdom.)
I never expected this book to change my prayer life. However, in one of the beginning “Moments for Prayer” sections, Leslie challenges the readers to keep a journal of God’s faithfulness. Record prayers AND the answers/blessings that come from those. In the 2 weeks I have been doing this, I have already experienced 5 answers to prayer! A main point they make is this: Specific praying is the key to building faith. As with many Christians, I have a tendency to pray general prayers. I don’t want to box God in to my desires. Eric & Leslie explain that the key in being able to pray specific and to see such prayers answered is to pray God’s heart. Pray for things that God would desire (the key to knowing these things is to read His Word. He spells them out clearly there.); don’t waste prayers on selfish desires.
I cannot recommend this book enough. If your heart is open to what they have to say, God can use this book to radically change what prayer looks like to you. It can become so much more real....more
The American Dream. It’s something we’re conditioned to long for, work towards, and (hopefully) someday attain. It involves long hours of working to pThe American Dream. It’s something we’re conditioned to long for, work towards, and (hopefully) someday attain. It involves long hours of working to pay for “necessities,” like flat screen TVs and a better car than our parents had. Our house has to “enough space” – meaning more than we really need. We have financial goals, like having a nice cushion of cash to retire on. All this and more… at what cost?
In Radical by David Platt, he examines this mindset and, as my dad put it while we we discussing the book, “it’s a slap-in-the-face.” You think you’re doing just fine, but when Platt tells you of his experiences with the persecuted church, you begin to realize how we’ve lost the meaning of “faith.” “I am convinced that we as Christ followers in American churches have embraced values and ideas that are not only unbiblical but that actually contradict the gospel we claim to believe.” (p. 3) We don’t understand total obedience the way the disciples did; we do “just enough” to satisfy our convicted consciences and move on.
Platt takes a look at different Scriptures throughout his book (which are conveniently noted at the back of the book by chapter and order), and discusses issues such as our lack of fervor for studying God’s Word. We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in his Word, we might discover that he evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give him. (p. 29) Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator…until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, “No.” (p. 31) To know the Creator for Who He is and how He has conducted Himself from before time began, we have to be in His Word. This chapter challenged me to return to my First Love and fall in love with Him all over again. To desire to read His Word. And to desire to discuss it with others, rather than discussing who’s going to the playoffs or what the latest-greatest movie is all about.
Platt also talks about the importance of relying on God’s power. The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. (p. 46) In direct contradiction to the American dream, God actually delights in exalting our inability. (p. 47) In that chapter, Platt talks about how God desires to empower those who willingly set themselves aside in order to make much of Him. How little I trust Him!
I could quote this book for days. I’m pretty sure I highlighted at least every other page, and I definitely highlighted something on more pages than I left blank. In so many ways, God used this book in my life to refocus my attention. My money – I can spend it frivolously, I can save it selfishly, or I can give it away freely. My time – I can hoard it, I can give it away to those who “deserve” it, or I can share it openly with those who need it. My prayer – I can focus inwardly, or I can focus outwardly.
While this book it definitely a “slap-in-the-face,” it was a much needed read. It took a while for me to get through, even though it’s only 216 pages. Much of this was because it was so convicting that even though I wanted to read it, part of me couldn’t handle any more conviction. My theme of Simple Elegance beat strongly throughout this book, which is why I wanted to continue reading it. Here are Scriptural examples of how we are supposed to live simple lives for the sake of the God of the Gospel. Whether you want a challenging book or not, I highly recommend this book. ...more