Absolutely Surrendering: A Review

I’ll be honest here, cause well, I can. I don’t read alot of Biblical scholars. I just don’t. C.S. Lewis is about as far back as I go in reading some who are pillars of the faith. So when I decided to dig into an Andrew Murray that was re-released by B&H recently, I was challenging myself, my faith, and really struggling to pull through it.

But here’s the thing. This was perfect timing to read this. I got the very short book, running around 140 pages and thought, “Oh I’ll have this done in just a week or two. Six weeks later and I am digging back into it over and over.

B&H Publishing has gone through some classics in Christian writings and added reflections to the chapters, observations and applicable questions to reflect back on each chapter. I find that really valuable and strengthening in my own faith. Lore Ferguson Wilbert is the general editor on Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray.

This book format is in the same structure of Murray’s original, written from sermons given throughout his time and published in 1897. The chapters are short, but very dense, often causing me to sit and ruminate for days on one before coming back into reading. You walk through what surrender is, an absolute surrender and what that life defined by surrender will be. Murray talks about being a living sacrifice, and to be alive but fully dead to self.

The deeper I dug into this book to read and review, I found myself connecting to the reflections and observations, praying the prayers at the end of each chapter as I began wrestling with absolutely surrendering to God as well. Murray helps one who struggles with giving up all of oneself to God and those that didn’t realize just how tight they had gripped that sliver of self for so long.

I highly recommend this new collection of classics re-released by B&H for anyone seeking to delve deeper into the pillars of faith as they provide challenges to faith that are still applicable today, while giving questions to further ponder and dig into individually or as a group. This book would be a great small group study or to read on your own. Warning though, your surrender is at stake…and not just some of it. But absolutely all of it.

 


B&H sent this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review of this book.

Swipe Right to Friend: A Review

FullSizeRender (6)

Y’all, I have to say that I haven’t been very good with the female friendships in my life. I am more prone to male friendships over the years, as the guys I was close with in college can attest (except for Brooke and Angela). I found that women often brought drama and I wanted as far away from it as possible, still do.

As I have gotten older though I have found that I crave female friendships, women to connect with and talk with. There are certain things that frankly I just cannot with men-and honestly, should not. So I dug into Never Unfriended from Lisa-Jo Baker, her newest out from B&H Publishing over the last couple of weeks.

This book? Well I was prepared to think it was another in a line of gushy women-love books for believers. I was prepped to read alot of fluff and not much content, and oft mis-contextualized Scripture thrown in for good measure. But that was not the case y’all.

It chronicles Lisa-Jo’s own walk in female friendships, starting first with what we fear about them. Chapters dig into the realities of life lived outside of a computer/phone screen in real life with women around us. What holds us back from them, and what keeps us talking about them long after they’ve departed.

“For better or worse, female friendships take courage to start and courage to maintain.” (pg. 43)

She walks you through being the new girl, and y’all, we will always be the new girl at some point. And we’ll also be the girl to include the new girl. Always.

As you dig deeper into this book you’ll find sections on what you can do about your friendships and what you cannot do. We have to embrace both, as Lisa-Jo points out. There are points of application in some areas, and points to pray and seek further wisdom on. There were points where I had to put down the book and reflect on friendships I had let go of and ones I had so desperately clung to when I shouldn’t have.

This book is a much needed resource for women today. It highlights key areas I see continuously besieging friendships I am in, and those I am on the fringes of. You may disagree with her on some points, but allow the Holy Spirit to convict you as you read as well, opening up the space you have guarded off due to broken trust and hurt in past relationships. I highly recommend this book for women in a single context. I wouldn’t encourage a group study on this per say, as you need space to solely process and work through some areas she brings up…or maybe that was just me.

At the end you’ll find where you can start on never being unfriended, but you already have if you’ve picked up this book. Lisa-Jo provides more than platitudes with this book, she provides opportunities for women to connect and grow in community in real-life friendships, not the ones we see plaguing our jealous hearts across Instagram and Pinterest.


In exchange for this review, a free copy of the book was provided by the publisher, B&H. You can pick up this book at LifeWay Christian Stores or on their website, as well as other retailers nationwide.

But First, A Word from God

I love books. The fact that I currently have a stack on my bedside table just to read in the next couple of w

I review books as a blogger for a publishing company and I find solace in roaming through bookstores and piles of old books in thrift stores. My library card could have caught fire with how I burn that thing up using it so often.

scripture-and-psychologyBut the problem occurs when I put the words of even well-intentioned Christian authors ahead of Scripture. I can read about getting out of a pit, about loving others through what I do, and realizing the freedom I have in Christ. Yet, if I am not digging into His Word first? Well, then I am robbing myself of actual Truth.

Since Secret Church I have kept coming back to one particular area that David Platt taught on-the goodness of the Bible. And y’all, it is good. It brings us to Him directly instead of us relying upon another to reveal something to us. Just this morning I was really wanting to pour back into the book I am currently reading on friendships instead of the digging back into the book of Acts. Then I realized that I was placing more emphasis on someone else’s words, even a fellow sister in Christ, instead of Scripture itself, God’s very word to me.

There are days when I don’t feel like digging into His word, the hard of it. The messy of it. But it’s His truth, His divine words for me and for you for our lives and for His glory. When I put other’s words ahead of His? Well I start making myself a disciple of that person rather than of Him. (p. 125, Secret Church) I also miss out on the purpose God has for me for my life, because it is right there in Scripture. I give the glory that He is due and give it to that author, that writer, even to myself.

Please don’t hear me say that reading is bad, or that using resources by authors to draw God’s word out is a bad thing. But we first must come to His Word instead of that book. We have to devote ourselves to digging into what He says about Himself to then see how to become more like Him and less like ourselves.

You are Free

Y’all…you know I love the reading and the books and the writing stuff right? For the last couple of months I have had the privilege of being on Rebekah Lyons’s launch team for her book You are Free, which comes out TODAY!! To say I am excited for this book would be an understatement.

_MG_6992.jpg

I had heard about Rebekah around the women’s ministry circuit and in the Nashville ministry rounds as well. I will admit I have not yet read her first book Freefall to Fly but no matter currently because I have read the one hitting shelves and your shopping carts today twice. Yes, twice.

And that’s just in the last two months.

This book from Lyons is a game changer in my life already, and I know it will be for you and the people you know. Lyons goes personal quickly, sharing about her struggle in the enslaving nature of fear, living in bondage rather than the freedom we know we have in Christ as heirs.

Her circumstances of life may differ from yours, as we all do but we all find common ground on our knees in deep surrender, in searching for freedom in our lives. Rebekah leads you through different areas of freedom she has herself wrestled with and allowed God to reveal to her throughout the book. One thing that I absolutely loved was her ability to wrap Scripture into every area, leaning firmly on the foundation of the Word of God to be free in areas of life.

When it comes to our healing in the midst, so often we think we are the responsible parties. That in our human, independent natures we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and slap on the bandaids. As Rebekah’s words echo even know, the revelation becomes all to clear.

“We aren’t responsible for the healing, we’re only responsible for the asking.”

At the end of each chapter, you aren’t finding things neatly packaged up and wrapped with a bow on top. You are left pondering and seeking application in your own life. Rebekah has also placed prompts (3-4) at the close of each chapter to develop further thought and process for the individual. This was a big hit for me as I like application when I read on Christian living, and the struggles in it. It gives you space to look and pray, to stop and see what God might be speaking in to your life about through Rebekah’s words.

If you read my post over the weekend, you’ll see the effect of this book and Rebekah’s heart for freedom in us all already being an influence in my life. I know it will have an impact in anyone who takes the courage to be set free in faith.

 

She: A Review

Few books make we want to get to the know authors more than ones where real stories of transparency and vulnerability come through the pages, digging into some matters where I feel like a friend in conversation rather than a reader of a book.

Pasted-image-at-2016_08_12-01_16-PM.png
Photo courtesy of She Reads Truth online. 

She Reads Truth, out now from B&H Publishers, is the dual stories of it’s co-founders and the heart of their ministry with the online devotions. Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams (yes, that’s her real maiden name) have lined up a format in this book that isn’t uncommon but fresh in the Christian living world, where you alternate between their two stories of grief, loss, ministry and hope.

In this book, you see the interwoven story of two women very different now working for the call of ministry in a very unified and straight-forward manner…while showing that it’s not all flowers and butterflies and yet we survive. It’s not in your own will or dependence that you survive or make it through…it’s by seeing Truth as your daily need. To see His words laid out before you and come to write them on your heart, your life.

The women of the pages of this books strive to point each woman daily online and in the SRT community back to being in God’s word. This book does the same thing, interspersing Scripture as they delve into their own stories, and those often shared by many of their online community. While not married or having children, I didn’t feel the tug of awkward or unrelatable in this book.

It felt like hard and deep conversations you have for hours with friends, and now I consider myself a She as well, getting to share in their struggles and revelations on the permanence of God, His Word and His creation. But ultimately it all points back to Him. That He is permanent when all other things are passing away.

It’s that permanence that leads to Truth of Scripture and my need to read it…All of our need to read it daily as women. I highly recommend this read to any woman seeking to dig deeper into how Scripture lives out in our lives, in the very hard and the good.


In exchange for this review, I received the book at no cost from B&H Publishing. Interested in being a review blogger? Apply at bhbloggers.com. Read other reviews here.

An Ordinary Review

“But mission usually doesn’t involve doing sensational acts; it involves simple, ordinary acts done with a heart of love.” (P.52)

That is much of the position of Tony Merida in his book, Ordinary, out now from B&H Publishers. 

You find Merida’s writing straight to the point and grounded in Biblical foundations throughout the first half of the book. He doesn’t mince words about loving your neighbor as a missionary life, how to support and engage the orphaned and widow is our responsibility in the church, and how ordinary life should reflect the image of Christ always.

With it being under 150 pages, one may ascertain its more devotional and fluff than call to a mission-filled life of “ordinary.” However this book provides depth to what life in the suburbs or apartment building looks like, what missionaries living can be in a corner office or in the streets. He points to hospitality as a means of speaking the gospel to people.

It falls directly in the path of Christ’s journey here on earth, at the table having meals with non-believers, entertaining the outcast and lesser of society, seeking conversations with the prostitutes and adulterers. Merida lays out beautifully the life of ordinary, of daily loving others just as Christ loves, and the impact it makes in extraordinary ways in the journey of serving God.

The latter half of the book dives more into advocacy and ways to practically serve the marginalized of society. While many will enjoy this turn into practicality I felt it wasn’t a fluid move from one chapter to another. It felt very choppy and forced, as if these were add-ones for page counts. While advocacy is important and vital to our lives as image bearers it just didn’t seem to fit where it was placed in the book.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone doubting their life is missional, to anyone who thinks they have to do some big mission journey or that is skeptical of an ordinary life as one of mission as well. So basically, anyone can and should read this. It’s a great look and convicting message of how much more ordinary we need in our lives, rather than extraordinary. Let’s leave that business to God and live out the missional life He’s called us to live.


I received this book from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. Want to be a B&H/LifeWay blogger too? Apply at B&H Bloggers.