Category Inspirational

Faith to Foster

Product DetailsFaith to Foster
By T.J. & Jenn Menn
Abeille Books
Amazon Price:  $14.99

Book Description:  While our country is preoccupied with chasing the American dream, thousands of children long for a family and place they can call home. Foster children live in nearly every community, waiting in silent anonymity for someone to welcome them into their life.

Sometimes all it takes is exposure to prompt change.

Faith to Foster is a candid and vulnerable look into the life of ordinary foster parents TJ and Jenn Menn. It is a comprehensive journey chronicling their decision making process, how the children arrived, the birth parents struggle to rehabilitate, help from friends and family, emotional goodbyes, and how faith in Jesus empowered them through it all. This is a story they wished they d read before starting their foster parenting adventure.

TJ and Jenn share of their experiences and feelings in a way that encourages readers to serve their neighbors. Faith to Foster reminds Christians how God can use them to make a difference in their community. He can strengthen our congregations to change lives and redeem innocent children from harmful situations.

Indeed, Faith to Foster inspires believers to rely on the mighty power of our God as they seek to change their neighborhoods one child at a time.

Review

 This is a very valuable tool for understanding what it is like to be a foster parent and all that is involved with this type of ministry.   It gripped me from the first sentence.   The Menn’s writing is unassuming and there experiences are believable. They just couldn’t make this stuff up. I appreciate that they bust the “Pollyanna Myth” and don’t sugarcoat the experience.  Their candidness helps you to connect with not only the authors but the children as well. This book is an eye-opener, highlighting experiences that will both make you laugh and bring tears to your eyes as they share the ups and downs of fostering children and how God has been with them every step of the way.  It is a must read for anyone in human service work or ministry that involves children.
~Reviewed by Sarah J.
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    Choose Love Prayer and Study Guide

    Choose Love Prayer and Study Guide
    By StormieOmartian
    Harvest House Publishing
    Retail Price $9.99
    Amazon Price: $9.18

    Book Description: 

    A companion to Stormie Omartian’s brand-new book, Choose Love, this prayer and action guide will give you tools to help you

    • understand the depth of God’s love for you
    • let the power of His love transform you
    • learn how to effectively express your love to others

    Created for individuals or small groups, Choose Love provides thoughtful questions, helpful discussion insights, and other creative ways to go deeper in connecting with God.

    Review

    I read the book first as part of a book club and then decided to go through the study guide to help me learn and apply more of Stormies’ principles.   While I see the benefit it would be to go through this book in a small group, I think the study guide is perfect for individual reflection as well.  It is an excellent spiritual resource.

    ~Reviewed by Kathy R.

     

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      Backpacking with the Saints

      Backpacking with the Saints
      By Belden C. Lane
      Oxford
      Retail Price $24.95
      Amazon Price: $19.05

      Book Description: 

      Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the world’s great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the natural wonders he encounters–Bell Mountain Wilderness with Søren Kierkegaard, Moonshine Hollow with Thich Nhat Hanh–demonstrating how being alone in the wild opens a rare view onto one’s interior landscape, and how the saints’ writings reveal the divine in nature.

      The discipline of backpacking, Lane shows, is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Just as the wilderness offered revelations to the early Desert Christians, backpacking hones crucial spiritual skills: paying attention, traveling light, practicing silence, and exercising wonder. Lane engages the practice not only with a wide range of spiritual writings–Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi Muslim–but with the fascination of other lovers of the backcountry, from John Muir and Ed Abbey to Bill Plotkin and Cheryl Strayed. In this intimate and down-to-earth narrative, backpacking is shown to be a spiritual practice that allows the discovery of God amidst the beauty and unexpected terrors of nature. Adoration, Lane suggests, is the most appropriate human response to what we cannot explain, but have nonetheless learned to love.

      An enchanting narrative for Christians of all denominations, Backpacking with the Saints is an inspiring exploration of how solitude, simplicity, and mindfulness are illuminated and encouraged by the discipline of backcountry wandering, and of how the wilderness itself becomes a way of knowing-an ecology of the soul.

      Review

      I am rather new to reading the works of Belden Lane, but honestly, I find them intriguing.  The way he relates spirituality to the physical world is quite thought provoking.  As he treks through the wilderness, he shares his spiritual journey with us, encouraging each reader to seek his own quiet place to hear God’s voice.  He does a wonderful job giving insight to the classic works of the faith as he relates them to his journey.  It makes me want to throw a few selected titles in my own backpack and head out to my favorites spots to contemplate life and my place in it.  Very inspiring.

      ~Reviewed by Mike B.

       

       

       

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        The Unbreakable Boy

        Product Details

        The Unbreakable Boy
        by By Scott Michael LeRette
        Thomas Nelson
        Retail Price $24.99
        Amazon Price: $18.29

        Book Description: 

        Like any other teenage boy, Austin loves pizza, movies, dancing, and girls. But unlike most other eighteen-year-olds, he has a rare brittle-bone disease, was locked in a mental ward as a child, and is autistic. Yet Austin doesn’t let any of that stop him.His is a world where suffering a broken back is a minor inconvenience and the quest for the ultimate strawberry shake just might be the best day of his life.

        Written with remarkable candor by Austin’s father, Scott, and New York Times best-selling author Susy Flory, The Unbreakable Boy weaves the beautiful and often humorous tale of how Austin teaches his father—and everyone else he encounters—to have faith in God and trust that one day life’s messes will all make sense.

        Austin’s journey dares us all to believe that miracles are possible, that hope does spring eternal, and that we can find joyous moments to celebrate every day.

        Review

        The book very moving and inspirational.  Scott tells the life story of his son in such a way that you feel that you are with him on his journey. Even though the topics can be heavy, he relates them in a light, easy manner.  I could not put this book down and enjoyed it from start to finish!  It will encourage you to overcome the obstacles in your own life and come out on top. I highly recommend reading this book!

         

         

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          Hidden Blessings

          Hidden BlessingsHidden Blessings
          by Kim Cash Tate
          Thomas Nelson
          Retail Price $15.99
          Amazon Price: $11.95

          Book Description: 

          Diagnosis: breast cancer. Prognosis: terminal. 

          Life: only beginning.

          Her diamond caught the sun’s rays and refracted glittered light about the room. She’d asked herself again and again: How could she be so blessed? Partner at a prestigious law firm, engaged to the man of her dreams . . . there was no doubt. God had smiled on Kendra Woods.

          But the moment Kendra is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, her world collapses. Within days, Derek backs out of the wedding and the firm suggests a leave of absence during her treatment. Of all the roles Kendra has played over the years—daughter, sister, friend, student, attorney, bride-to-be—cancer patient seems the most unwelcome in the world.

          When her path crosses with youth pastor Lance Alexander, Kendra sees only the troublemaker she knew in high school. But Lance could prove an unexpected spark. In the darkness that covers her, will Kendra be able to embrace a glimmer of hope?

          Review

          This is a very moving story that will touch your very core.  Partly because this could happen in your own life.  You think you have everything you ever dreamed of and then, Bam!  It is all taken away.  The characters in this book are life-like and you go through their dark valleys with them until they come out the other side.  While this book has many sad elements, those are overridden by the hope and joy that the characters experience as God grows them during their trials.  The book flows very nicely and it was hard to put down.  It is a treasure.

          ~Reviewed by Janice B.

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            Plastic Donuts

            Plastic Donuts
            By Jeff Anderson
            Waterbrook  – aboyer@randomhouse.com
            Retail Price $9.99
            Amazon Price: $8.99

            Book Description: 

            Once you see your gifts from God’s perspective, your giving will never be the same.

            When she was a toddler, Jeff Anderson’s daughter opened his eyes to how delighted God is with our gifts. She brought him a plastic donut from her play kitchen, and he was surprised by the intensity of his reaction. His delight in receiving this simple gift—and his daughter’s joy in giving it—led him to dig deeper. Anderson would not rest until he found the scriptural connection between our gifts and God’s heart.

            Plastic Donuts removes the awkwardness and uncertainty that often accompany discussions about giving. Now you can think differently-and biblically-about what and how you give.

            Your gifts can capture God’s attention and connect you more intimately with His heart. Plastic Donuts brings everyone—leaders and followers, teachers and learners—onto the same page.

            Review

             

            The author has great insight on the issue of giving…not just monetarily but gifts from our heart to God’s heart.  He helps you to examine yourself to see why you are giving and how we view it.  He put the issue of tithing in a different perspective, which hit home with me.  When we give it not only pleases God, it helps us to grow in our relationship with Him.  The book is small and reads well, so you will get through it quickly.  But the best part is the life-changing affects it will have on you.  I highly recommend it.

            ~Reviewed by Allie B.

             

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              The Seven Decisions

              The Seven Decisions
              By Andy Andrews
              Thomas Nelson
              Retail Price $19.99
              Amazon Price: $15.13

              Book Description: 

              Just one of these decisions can alter the course of a person’s life.  What if you decided to master all seven?
              In this revised and repackaged version of Mastering the Seven Decisions, master storyteller and life coach Andy Andrews has fast-forwarded the concept of success and what it takes to make it stick.  Seeking out what separates the ordinary life from the extraordinary, Andrews has spent much of his life dissecting countless biographies and spending time with some of the most successful people on the planet in an effort to understand the principles that propel them toward greatness.The result: seven simple principles that – when applied consistently- render extraordinary lives. Through his entertaining, down-to-earth style, Andrews introduces these principles and offers all the tools necessary to make lasting changes in your life.

              The consistent application of the Seven Decisions brings about what can only be called miracles: What was once labeled “impossible” actualizes.  Opportunities that once eluded you are now attracted to you.  Dysfunctional relationships transform into harmonious ones.  Life, which was once a struggle, now becomes an exciting adventure!

               

              Author Andy Andrews is an American author of self-help/advice books that are couched in stories. He is known for his 2002 bestselling book The Traveler’s Gift.  He has written over 20 books and sold more than 3.5 million copies around the world. His ability to communicate practical truth about relevant topics through short stories is life changing for his readers.  This book is a bit different than many of his past books, but is just as powerful.  Here he shares his insights and advice about how to be successful and he gives a unique perspective on what success looks like.  I recommend any book by Andy Andrews, including this one.  It will change your life.

              ~Reviewed by Dave H.

               

               

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                God is Able

                God is Able
                By Priscilla Shirer
                B & H
                Retail Price $12.99
                Amazon Price: $9.81

                Book Description: 

                Got an IMPOSSIBLE situation? The anxiety it brings can wake you in the middle of a needed night’s sleep and then stalk you in the middle of broad daylight. It can sneak up on you and cast a cloak of fear and concern over your shoulders that you can’t seem to shake no matter how hard you try. It can take you down. Squash all hope. Stop you in your tracks.
                IMPOSSIBLE. IMPENETRABLE. UNCHANGEABLE. Maybe so . . . until God gets involved. No matter the details of your circumstance, His raw power potential and immeasurable ability refuse to cower in the face of any challenge. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing. Not even that thing.
                This is the uplifting, well-reasoned answer from New York Times best-selling author Priscilla Shirer—not a denial of life’s adversities and troubles, but a biblical reminder that God is always up to great things, even when His great things are greater then instant remedies and visible change. He is a God who cares . . . and a God who CAN. Believe it. Experience it. God Is Able.

                Review

                This book was a great reminder that when we are weak, God is strong. Where we might fail on our own, God is definitely able! When you are knocked down and feeling that you cannot get up, that’s when we need the reminder that even though we can’t, God can!  The book is organized nicely and it’s message is clear.  It is a very inspirational read.

                ~Reviewed by Patti C.

                 

                 

                 

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                  Rhinestone Jesus

                  Rhinestone Jesus
                  By Kristen Welch and Ann Voskamp
                  Tyndale Momentum
                  Retail Price $15.99
                  Amazon Price: $10.44

                  Book Description: 

                  In high school, Kristen Welch wore a big, sparkly rhinestone “Jesus” pin to school every day and carried her Bible wherever she went. (Yes, she was that girl.) But she didn’t realize her faith, though sincere, was shallow; much like her artificial accessory, it would one day tarnish, no longer a true fit for who she was. As real life catapulted Kristen into places and situations she’d never imagined, there came a day when she stood shocked in the slums of Africa and realized in one desperate moment that Jesus wasn’t enough for her. At least . . . she wasn’t living like He was. On the brink of a risk bigger than any she’d ever taken, Kristen knew she didn’t stand a chance—unless she was willing to put aside the rhinestones and get branded by the real thing. Rhinestone Jesus is the story of one woman’s journey from comfortably living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say yes to a bolder, more authentic, more dangerous way. This story of spiritual adventure throws the doors wide open for any woman who’s ever thought of herself as “just a mom.” Kristen will inspire and empower you to say yes to God right where you are—and stand amazed at how your life will shine.

                  Review

                  In this book, author Kristen Welch is real.  She opens her entire life to the reader…warts and all.  I respect that.  As I read, I laughed and I cried and she made me fee “normal”.  Like all families have their “stuff” and that is okay.  God will use it all for our good to grow us into the people we are destined to become!  This book is based on the life and work of the author and her family who helped to found Mercy House, a home for pregnant young women in Kenya.  She gives us the back story and shares their struggles to persevere in the mission God had laid on their hearts.   It was very interesting and inspiring.  It moves you to examine your own life to see where God is calling YOU!  I highly recommend it.

                   

                  ~Reviewed by Amy L.

                   

                   

                   

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                    The Secret of Grace

                    The Secret of Grace
                    By Steve McVey
                    Harvest House
                    Retail Price $12.99
                    Amazon Price: $9.75

                    Book Description: 

                    Are you “living by the rules” or letting the grace of God rule you?

                    If you’re living for God–living by the rules–you’ll always be exhausted. You’ll feel you’re not doing enough for Him and if you don’t “measure up,” He’ll be displeased.

                    But letting His grace have its way in you is entirely different! In the Scriptures it’s an open secret that the love of God for us isn’t based on our performance for Him. He sent Christ to set us free from rules. He didn’t make us His children so we could serve Him in our own feeble power, but to let His limitless power flow through us!

                    God the Father has provided everything we need for a truly meaningful, joy-filled life here on earth…all because of His marvelous grace. Rest in the grace of God, and let Him live through you. Find out how in The Secret of Grace.

                    Review

                    Grace is what appears to be a simple 5 letter word is not that simple after all. We all think we know what it means, after all we certainly have heard about it in church, sung about it from the hymnal, even named some of our children after it. But do we really know what grace is and appreciate what grace does? Grace is an unending, all encompassing gift from God and this books helps us to understand how understanding grace can set us free.  I read this book at a very hard time in my life. This book helped me to realize that grace has already been granted and I can go out as a different person. I will be passing this book on!

                    ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

                     

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