Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Review: "Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life" by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Love, Henri: Letters on Love, Hope, Faith, and VocationUpon his death in 1996, Henri Nouwen left behind a vast collection of personal letters. Archivist Gabrielle Earnshaw spent many years identifying, sorting, and cataloguing these letters and eventually collected thousands of letters from the original recipients. She compiled these letters into this first volume released in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of his death. Spanning 23 years and covering a wide range of topics, these letters are introduced with a brief description to put them into context. The book is divided into three sections, each covering a certain period of time. It is an intensely personal look into the life of Henri Nouwen and an absolute treasure to have a collection such as this.

I do not typically write in my books, but I made an exception for this one. There were so many beautiful thoughts and passages that I want to remember and be able to come back to over and over again. While I don't agree with everything that he shares, his wisdom is profound and his love and concern for each person he writes to is obvious. This is not a book meant to be read through quickly; rather, it's one that is meant to be savored and pondered over slowly. It's an absolutely beautiful book that I will certainly re-read.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Review: "Waves of Mercy" by Lynn Austin

Waves of MercyWhen asked by her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to write her memoirs for her town's Semi-Centennial celebration. She sifts through pieces of the past, starting with emigrating to Michigan from the Netherlands fifty years earlier. Reliving her memories of the regrets, hardships, grief, and joys of the past helps her to see just how God has proven to be with her time and again, as well as giving her a unique way to help out a young woman from a nearby hotel who is struggling with similar issues to Geesje's from years ago.

I have loved Lynn Austin's books for years and found with this latest novel that she is still a stellar writer. Her ability to weave together a complex story and intertwine the lives of seemingly unconnected people is incredible. I appreciated the depth of the characters and the details of the stories. The overarching themes of choosing to love in marriage and of never being left alone by God shine through this novel. I got to the end of it wishing for more--always a sign of a truly well-written book.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Review: "Falling Free" by Shannan Martin

Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always WantedShannan Martin, a blogger from Indiana, poignantly shares the story of her family's journey from comfort and the American Dream to living on "the wrong side of the tracks" in her first book, "Falling Free." The Martin family lived on a quiet, idealistic farm with their three children, but one day, they began to sense God calling them to leave it behind and pursue a greater adventure. They eventually sold their farm and moved to a city neighborhood that, at first glance, didn't offer much for their family. But through their obedience, they began to experience a life like no other, one that only God could create for them.

Martin writes beautifully and shares her family's story and experiences in a way that tugs on your heart strings. She challenges the reader to expand our horizons and see the different ways that God may be calling us to step outside our comfort and security zones in order to make a tangible difference among the least. It's a wonderful story, filled with many thought-provoking and eye-opening statements. I highly recommend this amazing book!

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Review: "Rhythms of Rest" by Shelly Miller

Cover ArtSabbath. A word that calls forth many ideas and misconceptions. In this book, "Rhythms of Rest," Shelly Miller addresses the topic of Sabbath. She seeks to dispel the myths around Sabbath and invites the reader to take steps to integrate Sabbath into a regular weekly routine.With busyness and productivity pushing people to their limits, learning to bring rest into our schedules helps give us space to ultimately enjoy life.

Miller writes beautifully--prose with the soul of poetry. Even reading the book invites the reader to slowly savor it, to linger over the chapters, paragraphs, and phrases. She takes the time to unpack what Sabbath truly is and what it isn't. She shares how Sabbath looks in her life, as well as the lives of those who are part of her "Sabbath Society." I truly appreciated how thought-provoking this book is. It challenged me to see how I can start integrating Sabbath in my life, even in small increments to begin with. This is a truly lovely book that I will return to for fresh encouragement on bringing rest into my life.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Bethany House Publishers through the Book Blogger program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)




Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Review: "A Mile Wide" by Brandon Hatmaker

A Mile Wide: Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper FaithI've been a fan of Brandon's wife, Jen Hatmaker, for a while now. It seemed natural to pick his book after reading and enjoying several of hers. His book, "A Mile Wide:  Trading a Shallow Religion for a Deeper Faith," did not disappoint. He helps the believer walk through that desire for "something more" that we all feel at some point or another, that longing for depth that we can't seem to find no matter how hard we try. With so many churches and individuals talking about authenticity, it seems like depth would be easier to find. But, alas...it's not as easy as it seems! Hatmaker shares plenty of Scriptural insights and practical ideas for developing and nurturing the authenticity and depth that so many of us long for.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 5, "A Better Community." This chapter is loaded with ideas and reflections on how to bring greater depth to your church and small group. With my husband and I about to start a small group at church, this chapter helped spark some thoughts on how to bring our group closer together and find ways to get involved with service projects to help us grow in our faith. This was a great book that was thought-provoking and challenging.

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Review: "Dirty Glory" by Pete Greig

Dirty Glory: Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You"Dirty Glory" by Pete Greig is the second book in the Red Moon Chronicles. With fifteen years experience working with 24-7 prayer, Greig shares many more stories and adventures from this movement. The stories meander all over the globe, with powerful testimonies of the work of God coming from all over. The book is broken down in five separate sections:  Presence, Prayer, Mission, Justice, and Joy. The chapters in each section share insights, Scriptures, and stories that pertain to each particular theme. My personal favorite was the section on Justice. It was such an encouragement to not just sit on the sidelines while others work for social justice, but to seek ways for practical involvement as well, even in my own little corner of the world.

This book stirred something in my soul, giving me a greater longing for the kind of prayer and passion that characterizes the lives of those deeply involved with 24-7 prayer. It's a compelling read that can sometimes leave the reader shaking his head in wonder over the works of God. The book also includes a study guide for small group discussion or for the individual reader who wants to explore each chapter in greater depth. It was a good follow-up to "Red Moon Rising." It will be exciting to see where God takes 24-7 prayer in the future!

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)


Friday, September 23, 2016

A Review: "Uninvited" by Lysa Terkeurst

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and LonelyThe newest offering from Lysa Terkeurst, "Uninvited," looks at the issue of rejection and how it plays out in our daily lives.  Lysa shares openly and candidly about her experiences with rejection, both actual and preceived. So many people have internalized rejection from an early age and it still causes havoc years down the road. The roots of rejection can run deep and can hinder our relationship with our Creator. Rejection is a powerful tool used by Satan to hinder the good works that God wants to do in and through us.

I've been a fan of Lysa's work for a while, and this book was no exception. I deeply appreciated the Scriptures that she brings forth and the stories that she told from her own personal experience. I especially appreciated her encouragement to replace negative self-talk with truth and the reminder that we need to be grounded and rooted in the unchanging truth of who God is and who He says we are. This book is a true gift for all who ever struggle with believing that you are accepted and loved by God. I finished each chapter breathing out "I'm so glad I'm not alone!" I highly recommend this book!

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)