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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Leading KidMin by Pat Cimo and Matt Markins

Leading Children's ministry in the local church is a challenge. As our culture is changing and demands on families increase, leaders in Children's ministries are challenged to reach out to families and their children. Working within the local church and making sure the ministry is aligned with where the church is headed is also a challenge. Pat Cimo and Matt Markins challenge leaders to look at the big picture and give leaders tools to lead and implement change.

There are a lot of helpful illustrations and leadership principles outlined in the book. While it is mainly geared toward those who are full time or part time employees in Children's ministries in a local church, volunteer leaders in smaller churches can also benefit by reading the book. The principles presented can apply to all those involved in working with children in the local church.

I received this book from Moody Publishers for this review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The 10 Greatest Struggles of Your Life by Colin S. Smith

This book presents new insights into the 10 Commandments. The subtitle of the book is "Finding Freedom in God's Commands." Usually when thinking of the 10 Commandments, people think in terms of do's and don'ts. Pastor Colin Smith takes a different approach in taking each commandment and fleshing it out, making it meaningful and practical in every day life.

He contends that we know what God's love is like by understanding the 10 Commandments. True love involves faithfulness, truthfulness, trustworthiness and contentment. He writes that these are the dimensions of God's character and that is why they are the dimension of love.

For example, the reason we do not commit adultery is because God is faithful; the reason we do not bear false witness is because God speaks the truth; and so forth. God is love and He calls us to live a life that reflects His character. Living this kind of life does not come naturally and we all struggle against our own sin nature. The 10 Commandments is where God meets us in these struggles and teaches us how to build healthy relationships with Him and with others.

There is a study guide in the back of the book which helps to discuss each commandment further and apply it directly to your life. It would be appropriate for both individual and group study.

I received this book from Moody Publishers for this review.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Discipling As Jesus Discipled by Dann Spader

The focus of this study is to study the life of Christ and in doing so understanding how Jesus made disciples. Based on John 17, the guide can be used as a small group or individual study to go for 10 - 12 weeks or could be adapted to go longer. There are 4 to 5 days of personal study leading up to the weekly group meeting.

The goal is for individuals to take what they learn and apply to their own lives first by living out His character and His priorities. Then the task is to make disciples who can make disciples. Following the great commission in Matthew 28, as Christians we are to go out and befriend unbelievers and share with them the gospel. When they become believers in Christ, you "baptize" them in identifying with the work and mission of Christ. And then you equip them to live as Jesus lived and help them to make disciples themselves.

Making disciples was the focus of Christ and should be ours as well as followers of Jesus. Not only do we need to continue to grow in our faith, we need to share that faith, make disciples and equip them to do the same.

I received this book from Moody Publishers for this review.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer

The setting is 1909 and the building of the Panama Canal. Cowboy, James Holt is sent to Panama at the request of Teddy Roosevelt to assist in asking questions about some mysterious accidents that have taken place in the areas involved in the construction of the canal. He meets Saffire, a young Mulatto girl, who asks him to help her find her mother who has disappeared.    

Nothing is as simple as it appears. After James has a run in with the national police, he gets further involved into not only the canal business and looking for Saffire's mother, but into revolutionary politics of Panama. As he navigates his way through all of that, he meets a woman who may change his life if he is forced to choose between justice and love.

I enjoyed learning more about the building of the Panama Canal and the events which led to the United States leading the way in building it.  This is a great book for anyone who loves a historical mystery.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Seeking Refuge by Stephan Bauman, Matthew Soerens, & Dr. Issam Smeir

This book answered many of the questions I had about the refugee crisis. The focus is on how local churches and individual Christ followers in the West and in particular the United States might best respond to the refuge crisis. Topics addressed include how to think biblically about migration; wrestling with the genuine concerns over refugee resettlement; understanding refugee resettlement; practical ways to respond to the refugees and understanding the challenges involved in resettlement; why policy matters; and responding to the larger issues that compel individuals to flee their country.

The book also shares stories of refugee families and allays many of concerns people have about allowing these families entry. I found the information about how the refugees are screened before being allowed to resettle very helpful. This is a valuable resource for any church that wants to be involved in ministering to refugees. It would be an excellent book for any Christian who wants to better understand the refugee crisis and how to respond. It changed the way I view the refugee crisis and I will use the resources at the back of the book to look for opportunities to respond with compassion and not fear.

I received this book from Moody Publishers for this review