Mindy’s Good Reads 2016

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One of my life-long goals is to read an average of one book a month… Unfortunately, I read less this year than I had hoped.  Here are the best books I read in 2016:

My Favorite NonFiction Book of the Year – Parables: The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told by John Macarthur, 2015. (kingdom of God and the parables)

Favorite Fiction Book of the Year – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, 2014. (WW2 historical novel)

Others Worth Reading (alphabetical):

 Chasing Elephants: Wrestling with the Gray Areas of Life by Brent Crowe, 2010. (decision-making principles for areas where the Bible isn’t specific)

Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck, 2016. (discipleship and intentional leadership development)

Fervant: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer, 2015. (intentional prayer)

Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger: Finding Your Purpose Following the Warrior Christ by John McDougall and Stu Weber, 2015.  (Ranger chaplain on Jesus’ mission and kingdom)

Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels, 2015. (life management)

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges, 2008. (sovereignty and trust, class text)

Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work by Otto Kroeger, 1989. (Myers Briggs type analysis in-depth)

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving the Church by David Kinnaman, 2011. (why twentysomethings leave and how to bring them back)

Invisible Girls: A Memoir by Sarah Thebarge, 2014. (Ethiopian refugees in the USA)

Did you have a favorite this year?  Please comment and share – I love recommendations!

Mindy’s Good Reads 2015

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One of my life-long goals is to read an average of one book a month… And I have my book club to thank for keeping me on track!  Here’s what I read in 2015:

These three were absolutely extraordinary:

Epic of Eden by Sandra Richter (Old Testament theology)

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi (Muslim intellectual encounters Jesus)

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller (marriage)

The rest of the list (alphabetical):

Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown (Olympic rowing team)

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Iceland, murder mystery)

Counting by 7’s by Holly Sloan (Young adult, brilliant child in foster care)

Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers (women in the genealogy of Christ)

Lord, Is It Warfare? Teach Me to Stand by Kay Arthur (Ephesians, spiritual warfare)

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (autobiography that inspired the prison series)

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (American orphans 1800s)

Return of the Prodigal by Henri Nouwen (analysis of the prodigal son parable)

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst (life management)

The Strategy of Satan by Warren Wiersbe (my fall teaching topic)

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (England, plague in the middle ages)

Did you have a favorite book in 2015?  I’d love to hear about it!

Leadership Lessons From The Boys in The Boat

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My book club just finished reading “The Boys in the Boat” about the BoysInBoatunlikely rowing team that won a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics.  As I prepared to lead the discussion, I came across this fantastic article that draws eight Christian leadership lessons from the book.  I highly recommend the article, even if you haven’t read the book!

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/september-online-only/boys-in-boat.html?paging=off

Daring to Be a Courageous Parent

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“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4

We’re doing a parenting Bible study that coincides with our Vacation Bible School (VBS).  We picked Dr. Kevin Lehman’s series called “Making Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours” which is Biblically based, but not overwhelming to a non-churched crowd.

Lesson 1 was about developing the courage to do what is best for your kids!  Here are some key thoughts:

AUTHORITY.  God has placed you in authority over your children.  They are to obey you.  This is right.  You must be the parent (which is different from being the friend).  Exercise your authority.

LOVE and DISCIPLINE go hand in hand.  “Just loving” your kids is a recipe for disaster.  You must also discipline them.  True love involves training and discipline.

HAPPINESS IS NOT THE GOAL.  It’s ok for your children to be unhappy sometimes.  That is the reality of life.  Children need to learn from difficult periods.

Reality Discipline is an action-oriented way to make your children ACCOUNTABLE for their actions.  The goal of this is to develop children who are able to deal in practical ways with: (1) Accountability, (2) the Authority of God, and (3) the Realities of life.  … more to come on that topic!

How do we keep from provoking or exasperating our children?  “Get behind their eyes and see the world as they do.”  Have clear rules and clear/fair consequences.  Be consistent.  Train your children to do what is right, not just punish them when they do wrong.  Do not parent in anger.

Cute little baby?  She’s a hedonistic (pleasure-loving), selfish, little sinner!  Like all of us – who either hide it better or have been reformed by the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives.

As Dr. Lehman says, “Children are like wet cement that must be formed early, before it hardens!”

‘Children obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord.  Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:20-21

What Teens Can’t Learn from You Tube

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Great discipleship metaphor!!

Guest blog today from Courtney Veasey who blogged today on Lifeway’s “Inside Girl’s Ministry” at http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/girlsministry/

Does God ever speak to you while you are driving?

I have found that when I actually have the radio turned down low enough and am not giving a personal concert to others in traffic around me, that God does speak to me in the car. This recently happened to me during my visit home to Florida for Christmas. Santa had indeed visited our family, and with cars packed full of new gifts and old suitcases, I lead the brigade as my family caravanned back to my dad’s house from where we had spent the holidays. The road we were all traveling on was long and winding as it went through the backwoods of North Florida, and I had gotten far ahead of the pack. Suddenly I came upon every speed demon’s nightmare… a state trooper, tucked sneakily behind the brush. Thankfully I was going the speed limit and he didn’t pull me over, but not wanting any of my other family members to get caught by the trap, I called those following to let them know what was ahead.

As I continued on my drive that day, the Lord began to show me how this situation could easily relate to speaking truth into the lives of teen girls and younger women. All of us are on this journey down the long and winding roads of life, but I just happen to be in a place that is a little bit further down the road than younger girls, and I can see some of the traps and dangers that they could find themselves in if they are not aware. Sometimes we can make discipleship seem more difficult than it really is. We come up with excuses for not speaking truth into the lives of girls: “They won’t listen,” “I can’t relate to them,” and so on. But sometimes discipleship can be as easy as sharing stories of your experiences on life’s journey, helping girls to be aware of situations that they should both embrace and avoid along the way.

Never doubt how much they really need your human touch and life experiences shared with them. Sure, with a click of a button, today’s teen girls can learn how to style their hair in different ways or make culinary masterpieces. But there are just some truths about life and the faith that they can’t get from YouTube. They can only get it from YOU.

Book Reviews July 2011

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One of my favorite things about summer is that I finally have time to read!  Here are a few books I have read recently and would recommend: 

When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box, John Ortberg.

There is a German proverb that says, ”The last shirt has no pockets.”  and Psalm 49:17 warns us that “He will take nothing with him when he dies.”  Sometimes we get lost in the demands and chaos of life and it can be difficult to keep an eternal perspective.  Ortberg reminds us to be mindful of death.  His challenge is to rethink our priorities, choices, the value we place on our “stuff”, or desire for control, and our time management.  He teaches us what is important to God and calls us to value people, integrity, character, and the inner life and reminds us to be gracious at all times.  It’s a good reminder – and easy to read!

 A Woman’s Guide to Discipling, Dana Yeakley

This is a little, practical book that women who disciple others should read!  Yeakley is on Navigator staff and has collected many well-known illustrations into a succinct book.  She deals with the Great Commission,  facing your fears, the path to spiritual maturity (“B process” not the pipeline), learning to give a testimony, the Wheel of basic disciplines, the Hand, selecting a disciple, FAT-ness, topics to share on, and starting a discipler’s reference notebook.  It has some questions in each chapter and would be a great start for a mentors’ small group or one-on-one training materials.

A Resilient Life, Gordon MacDonald

“Life is not a sprint, it is a distance run and it demands the kind of conditioning that enables people to go the distance.”  Using his experiences as a distance runner, MacDonald encourages us to develop a spirit of resilience, perseverance, and endurance in life – to finish what we start, weather adversity, and never be satisfied with anything short of God’s best for us.  He outlines 25 characteristics of those who run with intentionality and finish well.  MacDonald is a great story-teller and has endured some difficult times.

 Power of  a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian

I am liking this book!  I blogged about it earlier and wonder why I didn’t read it years ago – I could have started praying for all these things (in an organized fashion) a long time ago.  It’s making me think about my life and my husband – and relationships, priorities, reputations, temptations, purpose in life, choices, attitudes, and so much more.  It’s been a wonderful discipline for the last month and a half and I expect to refer back to it frequently.

 And I also picked up Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo for my plane trip back to the U.S.  A pastor’s son nearly dies on the operating table and for the next couple of years his parents piece together bits of his experience in heaven.  It’s not a theological treatise but it’s well written and will make you ponder what you know and believe about heaven.

 Happy reading!   Mindy