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Midnight Jesus
Where Struggle, Faith, And Grace Collide . . .
By Jamie Blaine

“The heart of God can be found in the unlikeliest places, in the unlikeliest people.”

Jamie Blaine is a christian psychiatric crisis interventionist called to “the least of these”. Much like the books slogans we realize through true stories that God is visible in the midst of the marginalized people he works with. Story after story expresses the heart of God and the redemption of Jesus.

I was at a meeting tonight actually where somebody said “God turns our mess into a message” and that is exactly what this book does. This book showcases hope in the midst of the brokenness of people’s lives with light writing that makes the heaviness of the stories more palatable.

I think this speaks well to something that God has been teaching me more and more about… Looking at people through the lens of Jesus. Can we truly love people with no strings attached? When you truly operate in this manner you will find yourself, as Jamie does, Seeing Jesus’s strength in the frailty and weakness of man.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Double Book Review

December 5, 2015 — Leave a comment

The Carols of Christmas
By Andrew Gant

I was very excited to get this book because I think these days there is a disconnect with the songs we sing and understanding why they even exist in the first place. It showed up at my door at a time when I was doing a sermon series at my church on the correlation of christmas carols to the gospel and this was very helpful. This book has a nice feel and has a good number of songs. Of course it can’t cover all of them but I did feel there were a few obvious ones like “i heard the bells on christmas day” that were missing. However that could just be my hang up.
The author is a professor and church musician and sadly this comes across as more of a text book in some ways. With that said it is chock full of interesting facts and connections. I think for those who are not passionate about history and music and maybe looking for a light story read, it may be a bit of a bore. For people like me it was quite enjoyable and I am glad I got this.
3 of 5 stars

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The Miracle in the Middle
Finding God’s Voice in the Void
By Charlotte Gambill

In the middle…
When you are tired and stuck in the valley.
Sounded like the book to me. I had been through times of burnout in life and ministry and spent a lot of time researching and studying this topic. I loved Charlotte’s creative example of being on a trip with kids and them asking constantly “are we there yet”. Being a dad with 4 kids, this hit home for me.
I think this is fantastic book and what I loved most about it is that it doesn’t give you all the answers. It leaves room for not only the mystery of God but for the reader to have to use their brain and pray through the content.
This is not a quick read. Not because it’s a long book but instead because each chapter really needs to digest inside.
Seems to be a trend, but this book spurred on a sermon that I preached about being stuck in the middle between a promise and the promised land. I applaud any author who has the guts to write about the realities of real life’s frustrations and teaches biblically how to deal with such feelings.
4 of 5 stars

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Unoffendable
How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
By Brant Hansen

I have no right to be angry?
There is no such thing as a human’s righteous anger?
Offense is wrong and vengeance is the Lords?

That is pretty much what I read as the description of this book when I got it in the mail to review. I thought to myself. “Ok.. I will try this out because I know that offense and bitterness can kill my soul, but righteous anger is wrong?”

So I dove into it already offended by a few situations in my life, family and work. Now I am on chapter 2 and quite frankly offended by the book.

I am an artist… a Thinker and feeler. I have read many books on the use of anger and pain as the force that precedes GREAT actions. I completely understood that fact in my journey and have attempted to leverage it as much as possible. It always seemed the safest way to release offense and anger.

Brant says that instead we should make LOVE the best foundation for GREAT action.

“Choosing to be unoffendable, or relinquishing my right to anger, does not mean accepting injustice. It means actively seeking justice, and loving mercy, while walking humbly with God. And that means remembering I’m not Him. What a relief.”

Forgiveness and love are such tough things to embrace as a person of faith. As much as we strive to readily receive both we work much less at the act of giving them. Yet we are most like God when we do both.

Jesus had a right to be offended and a right to be angry. Quite frankly he was the only one who truly had that right and He chose to sacrifice that right on the cross so we could be forgiven and marked by grace.

I found myself by the end of the book not only not healed, but also still a sinner. However after taking an inventory of my heart and soul I realized that while I wasn’t easily offended or sensitive, but I had been deceived that I had a right to be angry over justice and truth.

Brant says we should “forfeit our right to be offended”… I’m realizing that when I don’t.. Joy does not come in the morning.

This was a great book. I highly recommend it. Reading it, but more so ingesting it has helped me release things to God that I was holding on to and given me a new peace in some areas I didn’t have.
I am still a daily work in progress… As we all are.

 

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Divided: When the Head and Heart Don’t Agree by Bill Delvaux Review

This book consists of three parts:

#1.  Viewing the Divide: How it Began and What it Destroys.

#2.  Tackling the Divide:  Three Terrains to Navigate.

#3.  Closing the Divide:  What the Journey Feels Like.

It is very simplistic in nature in the way it wants to tackle the divide between the heart and the heat. I can’t say that this has been a particular issue for me in my walk. As much as I have always been a thinker and love theology I have also learned the importance of aligning my heart with God’s. It is a nice place to start your journey I would say delving into thoughts and concepts like this.

With that said meditating on the word versus just reading the word is less about trying to break down that divide. I think far too often we spend a ton of time focused on ourselves and how to synch all that up. I am convinced that the mind can lie because it tries to know everything or justify everything. And our hearts can lie because they are focussed on feelings and not always rooted in truth.
For me bridging that divide requires the church, the eucharist, and prayer that is rooted in aligning your heart to the fathers.

Again.. a pretty good book and maybe a good starting point for new believers.

Disclosure of Material Connection:

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Transcending Mysteries
Who Is God, and What Does He Want from Us?
By Ginny Owens & Andrew Greer

“We fell in love with Jesus. Then we had to decide what to do with God.” In Transcending Mysteries: Who Is God, and What Does He Want from Us? Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens take readers on a journey to answer the question: is the God of the Old Testament the same God we relate to and worship today?

I read and LOVED “how to pick up a stripper and other acts of kindness” last year and it was the first book in this “refraction” book series. I had huge hopes for this one and was excited to read it. The idea of trying to reconcile a God who judges in the OT with the loving sacrifical God of the new testament is a hotly debated topic. I was intrigued by what it would be like to read a book that tackled this but with two authors going back and forth.

Sadly, I think this one fell short. Both Ginny and Andrew are great artists and they for sure have a testimony to tell, but I think the concept was to big for their stories. What I mean is, you can read this book and find hope from their stories, but The theology portion was lacking. This would have been better as a story book that showed the faithfulness of God in their lives and through the dark moments. This disconnect created a read that was a bit of a chore because it never really theologically did what the title promised to do: connect the dots of OT and NT.

If this read like a back and forth blog post with different authors I may have enjoyed it, but instead it was two authors weaving completely separate stories to some how create a succinct thought. I don’t believe it work.

Again… Read this for the life stories because they are pretty great, but reading for anything else you will be disappointed.

1 out of 5 Stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from booklookbloggers for books to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”