Sunday, March 30, 2014

March's Reading List

I used to keep extensive reading lists/reviews on the blog. It got tiring. I am no longer reviewing books for publishers.  I have been trying to stretch my brain, as well as relax, and thought I'd share what I've been reading in my spare time this month.  When family read alouds, and devotional study are added to this; it's an o.k. list.  I'd love to hear what you are reading! Leave me a title and author. I'm always looking for new reads. {Click the titles for Amazon links.}

A silly foodie mystery series - I can't remember the name but it involved cupcakes and was total brain candy....3 or 4 or maybe even 5 books of brain candy from the shelves of the county library.

A Modern Girls Guide to Bible Study: A Refreshingly Unique Way to Look at God's Word  by Jen Hatmaker
It's no secret I'm passionate about the Word. I know how much stability it has brought to my life and I wish the same for my friends. Some know I've taught "hard core" Bible study workshops - but in recent years have been reworking to teach things in bite size steps which can be applied in 15 - 30 minutes a day. I'm very familiar with inductive studies and a quick look told me where Jen was heading with this book. I don't like pot shots at other ministries...I had to get over an opening sentence about calling women, "Beloved." I know why that term is used and I also know it's dated.... I did get tired of being called "Girl" and "Girls" by the end of THIS book - dating myself here....but... I kept  reading because Jen's heart shines through these pages.  I found this book an easy and fun read.  Jen makes getting into the word and feeding ourselves easily accessible to all, with very practical suggestions. I would even dare to say everyone could find one or two things to glean from this book. I did.  The back of the book includes a five week group study guide. The first week is reading  five chapters of the book. From there on out you read one chapter and spend your other days in the word practicing a new study tool.  A leader's guide is included, as well as several options of smaller books in the Bible to study through after her book is finished.  The beauty of learning TOOLS is  you can feed yourself from any book of the Bible - alone or with a friend. The format reminds me of a group where we went through another book and e100 a few years ago. We learned tools and explored together, with the Holy Spirit as our teacher.   I recommend this book to those wondering HOW to get anything out of their devotional reading of the Word, as well as to those in leadership looking for a great mentoring tool.

AMMA: The Life and Words of Amy Carmichael  by Elizabeth R. Skoglund
I found this book at the library and LOVE it. I like it so much I've searched and purchased a personal copy.  The author of Amma tells us a bit about Amy's ministry in India, but most of the book shares Amy's writings  on a variety of topics. I plan to read this book again, slowly, with a highlighter in hand. I devoured it.   Reading this library book, without a pen and marker,  nearly killed this quote, "If I fear to hold another to the highest goal because it is so much easier to avoid doing so, then I know nothing of Calvary love." Or this one, "We must not be surprised by attack, as if it were a strange thing. We must be more spiritual in outlook and in expectation, more brave every way, more radiant." And this, "I wish to have no wishes left, But to leave all to Thee; And yet I wish that Thou shouldest will, Things that I wish should be." THIS, "We make His love too narrow by false limits of our own, and we magnify its strictness with a zeal He will not own."   Fourteen chapters that speak to suffering, ministry, parenting, death of a child, spiritual training, burn out, friendship....great book!  I did not find this to be brain candy. ::smirk::

Apples of Gold  By Betty Huizenga
This six week mentoring plan has been used by women's groups around the world. The basic premise is seven mentors (one cooking mentor and six topic mentors) invite a group of 10 - 16 women into a home for six weeks of mentoring based on Titus 2:3-5. They are served by the older women, they are welcomed, a safe environment is created and relationships are built. The topics included are kindness, loving your husband, loving  your children, submission, purity, and hospitality.  I've heard of several PWOC groups adapting this program to work for them. One, skips the meals, and has the weekly topics covered one a month during an evening tea/program. The book is used by the mentors as a resource, but meetings are not held in a home and meals are not prepared. The other group has done the program as written - subbing other meals. I finally read this book.  This book  DOES provide structure for mentoring. It also provides a group format, in a home, which I have found to be meaningful. There is a bit of "homework" for participants to begin thinking along the lines of the topic before the meeting. The cons I see are the cost of doing the program as laid out - $1000 - $1200 for a six week program and that does not include the books for each participant.  They share this can be gotten around by having "tastings" instead of dinner...but they do stress gourmet/special meals. I like the topics they've chosen to begin with - but I think there are many more topics just as important to spiritual formation.  If done weekly, there is a potential for burn out, both from those cooking the gourmet meals, as well as the ladies who need to attend each week and may have other studies to attend as well.  BUT the group I know who has done this has not seen ladies drop out of other chapel programs and participation has stayed high.  I'm still pondering...

Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul by Jennie Allen
As the publisher's review states, "Jennie Allen and her husband Zac prayed a courageous prayer of abandonment that took them on an adventure God had written for them.....'God, we will do anything. Anything.' Anything is a prayer of surrender that will spark something. A prayer that will move us to stop chasing things that just make us feel happy and start living a life that matters. A life that is...Surrendered. Reckless.Courageous. If we truly know a God worth giving anything for, everything changes."

This is a good book. The premise is life-changing. I love Jennie's heart. I did find myself slogging down a bit - wanting to dig deeper into the topic rather than restating with new examples. 

Your God Is Too Safe  by Mark Buchanan
Michael asked me to read this book. I've been reading a lot of "airy," women's books and when I began to read this it felt "hard." I picked it up again and raced through it. This is an excellent book. Mark Buchanan explores why Christians get stuck in the place of complacency, dryness, and tedium - and how to move to new levels of spiritual passion!  He describes a spot where believers often get stuck --borderland --an in between space beyond the "old life" but not quite too the abundant adventure promised by Jesus.  Mark shows our problem is that our God is too safe. 

"Why does our life in Christ so often gather moss rather than bear fruit?" In Part two of this book,  Mark describes "holy habits" which help us move into an abundant adventure with Jesus - living in the Holy Wild. 

Here's a quote I loved from Mark, "We are overly prone to see legalism lurking behind every exhortation to strive and make an effort to be holy...grace and effort are not opposites. Grace and EARNING are opposites. Working FOR your salvation is heresy. Working OUT your salvation is basic Bible. Grace and effort are allies." 

The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God by Dallas Willard
I am working my way slowly through this book with a friend. This is considered a classic and explores what it means to "apprentice" ourselves to Jesus. It fits nicely into the chapel's theme on discipleship and has kept the theme fresh for me. I've got a ways to go....This is one I read, put away, read again and mark ON MY iPAD, come back and copy the marks to the hard copy book and read it again. I don't really catch Dallas as quickly as some must - but this is a challenging book in many ways.

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Thanks for the recommends. I found a copy of Amma and look forward to starting it.