Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My recent reads

What a summer! I have only been home for 10 days all summer, so on my vacations I have read a number of great books!

**** The Shack (friends everywhere have also been reading this)—it’s a brain-bending work of fiction that causes one to look at God in a totally different (yet positive) way. A broken man has a weekend makeover with God in three persons (literally) and God causes him to re-think all of his preconceived and somewhat negative images of God. It causes one to examine a lot of beliefs that are not necessarily directly scriptural, but are part of one’s thinking when “churched.” It also presents a somewhat more inclusive idea of those who will be in heaven; those seeking a relationship with God, although not always/only those who fit into the traditional “Christian” definition.

***** If Jesus Were a Parent—by Naz. Pastor Hal Perkins. A fascinating and inspiring book about having a discipleship plan for children to teach them to listen to God and develop a relationship with him. I really loved this book and found it spiritually motivating and encouraging. He and his wife had a plan—they began praying for their children and determined their overriding goal in parenting was for their children to have authentic relationships with Jesus. The author’s mission was to disciple his children as Jesus would, to develop Christ followers and then disciple makers. He talks about how he developed a relationship with his kids including having a special outing with each of them weekly starting at a young age so that he would trust and talk with him. These weekly dates continued through their teen years and he gives true life examples of the fruit of this in his children’s lives. He also explains how to teach children at a very young age to discern God’s voice, follow His lead in their lives, and pray meaningfully. It was really inspiring and I’m hoping to implement these techniques with my kids. The forward says, “This book is all about helping you understand how to cooperate with God in positively influencing and winning your child’s heart.” For parents, it also gives direction on developing spiritual maturity.

***** Captivating—by John and Stasi Eldridge—discusses a woman’s heart—desire for romance, beauty, and God’s desire for wholeness. It's the sister book to Wild At Heart which was/is sort of a rage at churches for small groups for men. The book talks about core desires of women--to be in an adventure, to be beautiful and to be loved and then all the complications with this while living in a fallen world. The book is a refreshing reminder of Jesus' love and desire for wholeness for us and a relationship with us. There's a chapter about men "arousing Adam" that I found very interesting, too. It basically says every man is wounded and looking for approval, first from his father and then from a woman. "His search for validation is the driving force of his life." On page 151, it says this is the root of most affairs. The book goes on to say that we should validate each other, but our primary validation has to come from God. (It also says that this works both ways--women look to men to meet all their needs instead of God, etc.)

***1/2 How to Listen to God—by Charles Stanley—I had an older (1985) edition. It discusses various ways God speaks to his people today. It is a pretty short book and put together a lot of things I’d heard before, but has affected some of the decisions I’ve made since reading it.

*****+ I’ve also watched Love & Respect seven hour DVD marriage series by Emerson & Sarah Eggerichs—AWESOME! The series humorously explains male and female differences--how God made us different, not good or bad. The essence is that men need respect and women need to feel loved. If this is not happening the couple gets on the crazy cycle and everything starts setting them off spinning. It has caused me to look at male/female interaction differently and explained oh so many things in life. I bought it and am planning to share with all my friends who are interested (let me know!). It’s in book form, too. Info and purchasing info is at: I mention this because I couldn’t find it on amazon or when I was looking and one opened set sold on ebay for $20 more than retail!

*** The Mommy Diaries—This is a MOPS book, sent to all MOPS moms this year. It is definitely more like a Chicken Soup book than the Nanny Diaries! It has many brief essays about adventures in motherhood and lessons learned along the way.

*** Focus on the Family’s Growing a Healthy Home edited by Yorkey—an older book with many chapters relating to family /marriage/child raising/health issues.

**** Book: Breathing Grace by Dr. Harry Kraus—uses a medical model to explain grace. I’ve been learning more about grace in my Establishing God’s Peace class ( and this totally agreed with that teaching. I have this on CD and have listened to it several times. As Christians, we don’t have to earn God’s favor, we already have it and we can live fully with gratitude to Christ for his sacrifice for us. The book is really a beautiful reminder that we don’t have to have this heaviness over our shoulders, will I be good enough, do enough, etc.—Jesus paid the debt for our sin and our motivation for service is not out of fear, but out of love.

**** The Five Love Languages of Kids by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. This book is a follow up to the best seller book for couples-The Five Love Languages—that is awesome and I like to give as a wedding gift. Anyway, it talks about filling a child’s love tank by understanding how they like love expressed to them, whether by words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, gifts, or acts of service. They say that it really isn’t possible to detect your child’s primary love language until they are about five—so express love in all these ways while they’re young and until you find out which way is most meaningful to them. One way to determine their primary love language is just to ask them how they know you (the parent) loves them and see whether they describe presents, time together, things you’ve done for them, etc.

**** A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle—This was the book for Oprah’s online class. He uses a lot of scripture and some Buddhist principles as well, discussing concepts like living in the present, enjoying nature and contemplating it (as Jesus said “see how the lilies grow”), how not to get stressed out, contentment, spiritual oppression (he called it a pain body), not taking life or yourself too seriously, not defining yourself by the role you play, etc. It was very interesting and in some cases presented Biblical truth with a fresh explanation of it that was helpful. I wasn’t in agreement with all of it, but will “cling to what is good.”

***** The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. My college friends who considered me a feminazi will roll on the floor when they hear this title. However, I love this book and am now reading it for the third time (I need lots of reminders!). It is just full of common sense wisdom about how to have harmony in marriage by giving up the desire to always be right, have everything done your way, have the last word, etc. Here’s a typical nugget (p. 55), “Either you hold your tongue and preserve harmony or you speak critically and create a chasm of resentment and resistance.” Like the previous book—it just re-states scripture in another way which is helpful. It also meshes very nicely with the Love & Respect DVD message.


Mrs. N. said...

I had no clue you had a blog. It's delightful. I love all these book rec.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a sad commentary that a book (apparently) primarily focused on women being self-empowered has to wear the fig leaf of "surrender." When women decide to take care of themselves and their lives and their households, and quit waiting on a man to do it for them, and therefore quit nagging a man when he does it wrong or fails to even make the attempt, this is empowered. Apparently women's empowerment is still so threatening it has to be termed "surrender." Certainly no one should let a semantic detail keep them from achieving more empowerment. It's meant by God as a blessing to everyone.