Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Managing God's Money by Randy Alcorn

If you are looking for one book to answer all your money questions, “Managing God’s Money,” by Randy Alcorn is the book you must add to your library. When I say this book answers all your money questions I am not exaggerating. Rightly so, he starts off with what the Bible actually says about money and stewardship then jumps into everyone’s first misconception about money, “Does the Bible say money is evil?”

This book contains a lot of information. I will admit when I first received it and flipped through the pages I thought it was too much information in one book. But the format of the book is what makes it easier to approach. The book is broke down by sections, each section is broke down by chapters then each chapter is written as if it were the FAQ section of a pamphlet. Some of the questions included in the book are: Is it possible to follow God and money? Why does God prosper us sometimes? What does it mean to store up treasures in Heaven? Should reward be our only motivation? Isn’t tithing legalism? Should we tithe on our gross or net? Are we to blame for people’s poverty? Is gambling okay? The list goes on and on.

This would be an excellent resource for recent college graduates that are potentially going to be at their first full-time job making their own money decisions or a newlywed couple that will be making those decisions together. If this book would have been given to me for either of those occasions I probably wouldn’t read it straight through but instead I would read the Table of Contents and look up the questions I had first and get those answered and keep the book around when I approach different phases of life and need a refresher.

Thanks to Tyndale Publishing for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pure Pleasure, by Gary Thomas

In February I had the opportunity to hear Gary Thomas at a marriage conference that was held at our church. I had never heard him speak and I had only read portions of his books. But I did follow him on Twitter. Does that count for anything? While speaking he referred to the book, “Pure Pleasure.” I couldn’t wait to go home and see if it was possible for me to review it. I could review it! I did review it! It did not disappoint.

The subtitle to this book is, “Why do Christians feel so bad about feeling good?” In typical Gary Thomas fashion he jumps right into answering that question in the very first chapter where he said, “We can build lives of true, lasting pleasure and so fortify ourselves against evil because evil has lost much of its allure—or we can try, with an iron will to “scare” ourselves away from evil while still, deep in our hearts, truly longing for it.” I wonder sometimes if we enjoyed our lives more if more people would come to Christ as a result of that rather than constantly condemning ourselves and others. Asking myself that question I moved on to chapter two where he says, “…our self-imposed misery doesn’t erase someone else’s misery; on the contrary, it may simply increase God’s displeasure.” I could go on and on with quotes from this book but I will let you answer your own questions by reading it.

This book is an easy read while some of the chapters are a little longer than others. It is not an easy book to read if you have a toddler and an infant. But while they are napping it is pretty easy to get a chapter in. I’m always a sucker for books that have discussion questions at the end. Of course, this one does. It could be quite effective in a small group setting for a six week study given you read one chapter a week.

Thank you to Zondervan publishing for allowing me to review a complimentary copy of this book.

To read a sample chapter of this book visit their website here

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Michael W. Smith

A crazy long time ago when I first started listening to Christian music the top three artists you always heard on Christian radio were Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, and DC Talk.  I know I have pretty much dated myself but that's okay.  Occasionally I'm a little old school when it comes to my music selections.  A couple of days ago Chris told me that Michael W. Smith was going to do a private concert for Dayspring employees at our church and the staff was invited but they couldn't tell anyone because the concert really wasn't opened for the public.  I was super excited but I didn't tell anyone...until the day of!

Below I have included my top three favorite Michael W. Smith songs:

Place In This World
This was the first Michael W. Smith song I heard on the radio.  To completely let you figure out how old I am I kept a blank cassette in my radio so the next time the song came on the radio I could record it!  Yep, I was compiling a mixed tape!

The Giving
This was off his completely instrumental album.  This is my favorite Michael W. Smith album ever!  This song was actually played at our wedding as our families were walking in.

There She Stands
I grew up with insanely patriotic grandparents and several of my family members have served in the military and I am forever grateful for their sacrifices.  The story behind this song is pretty cool too.  Perhaps I'll post it for the Fourth of July.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dug Down Deep, by Joshua Harris

The perfect sentence to describe, “Dug Down Deep,” by Joshua Harris was written in the introduction by the author himself.  He said, “I’ve tried to keep things very simple in the hope that people who never paid attention to theology will find it accessible (and also because simple is the only way I understand things).”  I would be one of the people that preferred not to pay attention to theology.  I knew what I believed but if someone ever doubted me on it I probably wouldn’t know what to say. 

Like most believers the word, “theology,” brings to mind seminary professors and preachers.  But in the first chapter the author starts off with why theology and doctrine are important to him and why it should be important to everyone.  He states, “We’re either building our lives on the reality of what God is truly like and what he’s about, or we’re basing our lives on our own imagination and misconceptions.”  Simply put the remainder of the book builds from that idea.  Each chapter focuses on one aspect of Christian doctrine:  the Bible, Sanctification, the Holy Spirit, God, Redemption, etc. 

Unlike most books on Christian doctrine and theology I didn’t once have to pull out a dictionary.  But I also didn’t feel as if Harris was “dumbing down” the gospel either.   To make the book even more memorable there is a discussion guide in the back that is perfect for discipleship or small groups. 

Thanks to Blogging for Books for a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.  

To read the first chapter click here.  
To watch a video summary click here.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

Harper: 2 Months

Today Harper is two months old!  The past two months have gone by so fast.  It seems like just yesterday I was super huge and cranky just waiting for her to be born! 

Here are the stats straight from the doctor's office today:

Height:  21 inches
Weight: 10.2 lbs
Clothes:  0-3 months
Shoes:  0 (yes, they do make size 0 shoes and yes, my daughter wears them)
Diapers:  1

She is almost sleeping through the night.  She gets her last bottle around 7-7:30 PM and usually wakes up between 4:30-6:00 AM.  Every once in a great while she'll stay asleep until 7:00 but right now she's pretty determined to wake up at 6:00.

She might also have reflux.  Yuck.  She spits up A LOT!  According to her doctor she was being over fed (my bad).  So we're knocking back her feedings to 3 1/2 oz and we'll see how that goes.  If she is still spitting up a lot then we'll go for an upper GI to see if she has reflux.

Other than the reflux junk she is perfectly average!  Here are some pictures of the cutest 2 month old little girl I know:

For real, have you seen a prettier little girl?!

8 week shots!  Not so fun.

Starting to calm down just a little bit.