GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Kregel Tour: Bible Stories Gone Crazy by Josh Edwards


About the Book:

Eight Bible stories are depicted in bright color and comic, cartoony illustrations. There is a sentence or two explaining the scene at the top, and then details to spot, mistakes to find, and questions to answer along the sides of the picture, such as, “Did Noah’s workmen REALLY have power tools?” and “How many rabbits are in the picture?” Children will love scouring the illustrations to find the answers and spot more amusing details in the busy artwork of Emiliano Migliardo.

The stories are Noah and His Great Ark, Moses Crossing the Red Sea, Joshua and the Fall of Jericho, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Big Fish, Feeding the 5,000, and Man Through the Roof.

You can purchase a copy at Kregel Publications.

My Opinion:

I enjoy interesting ways of presenting Biblical truths to my children and when Bible Stories Gone Crazy popped up to be reviewed I knew I wanted a copy for my home. The overall goal is to get children interested in learning more about the Bible and the history inside, so Scripture references are given so that children and adults can easily find the real account of what is going on in the pictures. There are also many mistakes in Emiliano’s drawings, and while some may take offense of some characters that resemble KISS in a book on the Bible, for us it was humorous because my husband enjoyed KISS. There are questions around the picture such as “Did a rock band really play when the walls fell down?”, obviously for the adults the answer is no, but the goal is to get children digging into the Word, and for non-churched children this book will have a way of resonating with them.

Children should also be on the look out for all the teddy bears hidden through out the book – an answer guide in the back will tell how many bears are to be found in which story. The heavy laminated pages are durable and can withstand some heavy use and are very smooth, which may be appealing to children who have sensory issues. The hardcover book lays flat when opened to allow full viewing of all the pages and their illustrations, which is great for children who may get frustrated at not being able to see the whole picture. All three of my children, ages 13, 11 and 9 enjoy looking at this book and it kept two of them busy in the back seat on our eight hour drive to vacation. I definitely recommend this book to really get children of all ages engaged with the Bible and all the history of the Christian and Jewish faith that is contained within.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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FIRST tour: Making Money From Home by Donna Partow


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Donna Partow

and the book:

Making Money from Home

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 4, 2010)

***Special thanks to Maggie Rowe of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Donna Partow is a bestselling Christian author whose books have sold almost a million copies. She has travelled in ministry on six continents and has been featured on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including the Focus on the Family daily broadcast. Donna has operated her own home-based business since being laid off as an investment banker in 1988, routinely generating a six-figure annual sales volume. She has spoken nationwide on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship, including two engagements at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Donna also appeared three years in a row at Senator John McCain’s conference for Arizona women. She attended the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts & Sciences, and Wharton Business School. She holds a B.A. in English from Rutgers University. Donna and her family live in Arizona.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1589976088
ISBN-13: 978-1589976085

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Part I

Foundations for a

Home-Based Business

Seven years ago, Kimber King was a busy stay-at-home mom with three boys, ages six, four, and two. She wasn’t looking for a way to make money from home, but when she began using a line of products that dramatically impacted her health; she couldn’t help telling everyone she knew about it. Kimber recalls, “The products were sold through a network marketing company and I actually had a very negative view of the industry. But the results I had with my own health far outweighed all the negative things I felt about the business.” So she quickly signed up enough family and friends to reach the top rank level in her company in the first six weeks. Within ninety days, her monthly earnings matched the full-time income she had previously been paid in the corporate world.

Kimber soon began reaching beyond her immediate circle of contacts through social networking on the Internet. She recalls, “One night I stumbled upon a site on the Internet that described itself as a business networking site. It was free and on the site you had the opportunity to create a profile page for yourself. I dove right in and started connecting with a ton of people. I did some things very naturally that literally launched my business on the Internet and to this day, from this one site I have an organization of six thousand plus members. Then I started branching out onto other sites like message boards and forums. I began cultivating online relationships mostly focusing on other stay-at-home moms.”

Another of Kimber’s success secrets is working with a personal business coach. Although she was earning a great income from home, she was working long hours on the computer and her income had remained the same for nearly two and a half years. “It was a very lucrative income for a stay-at-home mom of three,” she says, “But I began to have great goals for my family and helping others, and I was frankly stuck.”

Within eight weeks of working with the network marketing coach, Kimber was earning a monthly five-figure income and an annual six figure income while reducing her workload to less than twenty hours per week.

Kimber also credits her parents for much of her success. “My dad instilled a spirit of excellence in me. By watching my mother work in her own hair salon, I learned how to treat customers.” Kimber says the key is focusing on others. “It’s always about them and not me! What are their needs? What are their goals? What are their strengths? What are their desires? It’s never been about me and my income goals or rank advancements. If you focus on others, all that will come! One of my mentors says it like this: ‘If you focus on the mission, you get the commission!’ ”

Trust in God is also central to her business approach. As she explains, “When I start a dialogue with someone, my main intention is to discover how I can bless them. It might not be about business at all. It’s all about relationships first and then anything that flows out of it from there I leave up to God! I trust Him completely with my business and that He will also put those in front of me that I am supposed to serve. When people ask what I do to create success in my home business, I tell them two simple things: Pray and take action. I pray for those who are looking for me and for those I can serve. Then I pick up that phone

or connect with someone. “Faith without works is dead!” I have faith in my heavenly Father to provide the way but I also know that I have to step out on that path in faith.”

Kimber has stepped out in faith knowing that God is the provider in her home business and that’s made all the difference. Now seven years later, she earns a six-figure income from home, working part-time, raising her sons, and modeling the same entrepreneurial spirit she saw in her own mother.

1

Discover the

Advantages of

Working from Home

Let me begin with a brief look at the “why ” of running a home-based business to show you the benefits, because your motivation and belief in the benefits are what keep you going when the going gets tough. But then we’ll quickly shift gears to the more essential and practical how-to suggestions on the following pages.

Like any job, working at home offers both advantages and disadvantages. In the days and months ahead, times of discouragement will come. You may struggle with prioritization and time management. In addition to those burdens, the physical and emotional demands of promoting your business can drain you. You may begin to wonder if all your hard work is worthwhile, and you may even be tempted to give up your plans. In those moments, turn back to this chapter, reexamine the many benefits of working at home, and redouble your efforts to succeed. Remember, anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Your Home Can Be the Center of Your Life

There’s no place like home. I believe that with all my heart. Home can be the center of our lives, not just the place we come to recover from our lives. We can create an environment that fosters creativity and launch not just one narrow home business but a broad range of income-generating activities.

My first home-based business was in marketing communications: writing press releases, brochures, and ad campaigns. It was hard to get people to take me seriously as I tried to compete with the big-city advertising agencies. But I had a talent for writing and was absolutely determined to be a stay-at-home mother. I landed my largest client when I walked into his office wearing a dark pinstriped business suit and pushing my newborn in her stroller. Thisman said he was impressed with my motivation and touched by my priorities.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve launched countless different moneymaking enterprises. Some were dismal failures; others were wildly successful. Most were somewhere in between. As of this writing, I have a dozen income sources. Granted, some provide only $20 here and there. But hey, $20 is $20!

Let me illustrate. While away on a recent missions trip to Mozambique, I received checks from three businesses, totaling $800.The amazing part is that it was all passive income from businesses I had set up on autopilot on the Internet.

How would you like to earn $800 a week? Would you be thrilled with $800 a month? Maybe you plan to become a business tycoon and earn $800 a day. It’s up to you! But whatever your financial goals, I’m here to tell you that anyone can make extra money or have a full-time career from home if he or she is willing to work smart.

For almost twenty years, I’ve been a leader in promoting home-based businesses for women. I have spoken around the country on the topic of women’s entrepreneurship, including two events at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and three conferences hosted by Senator John McCain. I have loudly proclaimed my firm conviction that every man and woman in America should develop some creative way to make extra money from home. And, under appropriate learning conditions, children, too, should develop those skills.

You Can Be Available for Your Children and Others

By working from home, you can avoid the hassles and costs of day care (which are far more substantial than most people realize) and enjoy spending time with your children. Even if you have to hire a babysitter to watch your kids in your home while you work, you’ll be available at a moment’s notice if needed. And you can keep a watchful eye on all that

goes on throughout the day rather than sitting at a desk wondering if your children are okay.

My older daughter, Leah, is now in college. She was homeschooled much of her life, and I was a stay-at-home mom throughout her entire childhood. Although I was often extremely busy working forty hours a week, and even more on my businesses, I was always available when she truly needed me. Won’t it be nice, when your children reach adulthood, to look back and say the same?

Perhaps you have a disabled family member or are caring for elderly parents. Maybe someone in your home has a chronic illness, and you need to be available for doctor and other appointments. Working from home allows you to be there to care for them and gives you the flexibility to take time off during the day, setting your own schedule.

You Can Be a Positive Role Model for Your Children

Some would argue, “I’m too busy raising my children to run a home business.”

I counter, “Don’t you think it just makes sense to include your children in your business so they learn to be entrepreneurial and self sufficient under God’s sufficiency? Don’t you think that training them to run their own businesses might prove to be more significant than running them around to various afterschool activities?”

Fortunately neither of my daughters has the mind-set that some corporation is going to give her a paycheck and job security for the rest of her life. That is an absolute delusion. We need to train our children for the real world, where wise people use the gifts God has given them to mind their own businesses—even if they also have careers. Both of my daughters, who are now nineteen and thirteen, have already had many moneymaking businesses. They’ve done everything from making bookmarks and jewelry to running my book table and processing credit-card orders from my Web site.

When my oldest daughter was fifteen, she organized a teen missions conference that attracted seven hundred people. I had very little involvement. How did she know how to do that? She’s been working at Christian conferences since she was two years old! Leah has also raised thousands of dollars for her various missions trips by making and selling

crystal bracelets

In addition to being able to watch my children grow while I worked from home, they also watched me grow as a businesswoman. By observing me model entrepreneurship, both ofmy daughters learned valuable business skills.

You Can Help Shoulder the Financial Load

Not only can you work from home; you should. With few exceptions, it’s unwise to rely solely on one income source in today’s unstable economy. Now more than ever, I thank God that I have multiple streams of income from my various home-based enterprises. All over the world, mothers not only nurture their families, but they also play a vital role in ensuring the economic survival of their families. I’ve seen this with my own eyes as I’ve traveled worldwide—from the subsistence farmer in Africa bent over her crops with a baby slung on her back to the Asian mother selling items in the local market while children sit nearby, often working as well.

Women throughout history have contributed to the economic survival of their families. We can do the same, and if we exercise wisdom, we can do so in a way that won’t detract from our role as nurturers. In fact, working from home will enhance all of the roles we play and increase our stature in the eyes of our family members. My children not only love me, but they also openly admire me. How can you put a price tag on that?

You Can Enjoy a Sense of Accomplishment

One of the most important things I hope my children have learned from observing me making money from home is that productive work is not a punishment; in fact, it’s inherently rewarding. Many of us have experienced that exhilarating feeling of working hard to complete a project or the joy of beholding something we’ve made with our own hands. A home business will provide abundant opportunities for you to enjoy that exhilaration.

As the old saying goes, “If Mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s equally true that when Mamma is happily enjoying a sense of accomplishment, everyone around her benefits. I think I’ve modeled a wonderful lifestyle for my daughters. It’s a lifestyle I’m quite certain they’ll choose to replicate.

You Can Be Your Own Boss

Many people fear dependence on a corporation because they have had the rug pulled out from under them or have seen it happen to so many of their colleagues. The days when you could rely on a company to look out for your best interests are long gone. While you’re working diligently for XYZ Corporation, it’s entirely possible they’re filling out your pink slip. Once you establish your own home-based business, you’ll have the pleasure of signing your own paycheck. And when you think you deserve a raise, you can give yourself one.

When you work for an employer, you’re required to work when, where, and how they choose. When you have your own home business, you have more control over when, where, and how you work. Of course, you’re still responsible to your customers, and there will be crunch times when you don’t have a choice about how many hours you put in. But there is usually much more time flexibility when you are your own boss.

Once in a while when I’m struggling with some aspect of my home business, one of my relatives will joke, “Donna, you should go back to banking.” But we all know I’m completely unemployable! I’ve been my own boss for too long, and I don’t think I could ever go back to having someone else tell me what to do with my time.

You Can Continue Your Career

Many women spend years training for a career before their children arrive on the scene. Teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and many other professionals can quite easily transfer their hard-earned skills to a home-based business. Knowing that your career isn’t on hold will give you satisfaction, even though the majority of your time may be spent with family. This is especially important if you want to resume your before children career after the children have grown.

The amazing thing about the Internet is how easy it now is for a woman to stay current and relevant in her field while mothering and earning money from home. These types of opportunities were hard to come by when I wrote my first home-based business book. Now they abound. Let’s hear it for technology!

There Are Opportunities for Tremendous Success

When you work nine to five for someone else’s company, to a large extent your boss controls how well you do. But when you work for yourself, only your ability and determination set the limits, assuming you start with a great product or service people want. Maybe there’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing. Now is your chance to do it! You

may aspire only to make a little extra money, but there’s always the chance that your “silly idea” will catch on, and you’ll find yourself transformed into a very successful entrepreneur. Someone has to think up those great ideas. Why not you?

I know a number of Christian women who earn six-figure incomes thanks to their home businesses. Yes, you read that right. Six figures! I even know women who’ve earned more than a million dollars, and one woman who has earned several million. With few exceptions, these women did not set out to achieve such tremendous success. They were just doing what they loved, and the success followed. Put another way, they were walking in obedience, and God’s blessings chased them down the street and overtook them. It could happen to you!

The Top Ten Ways to Avoid Scams

1. Surf with caution. Understand that the mainstreaming of the Internet has created both good news and bad news for aspiring home-based business entrepreneurs. Good news: Opportunities abound. Bad news: Scams abound.

2. Beware advertisements. No legitimate company on the planet will advertise to hire an employee to work from home. Not gonna happen. Never. No, not ever. Why? Very simple: If a company had a legitimate interest in hiring employees to work from home, there would be an instantaneous pileup of current employees and their circles of influence. The very fact that a company is advertising work from home is your first clue that it’s a scam.

3. Never buy a list or directory of companies that supposedly hire people to work from home. These are phony! Once and for all: The answer to the question of who will hire you, keep you secure, pay you lots of money, and grant you the freedom to set your own hours from home is no one. You don’t need a list or directory of no one.

4. Choose freedom or security. I constantly hear from people who want the freedom of working from home as well as the perceived security of a job. Freedom and security are always a trade. Will you give up some of your freedom for security? Or will you give up some of your security in return for freedom? You’ll never have both in full measure. Accept reality: You cannot ha e your cake and eat it too.

5. Understand the role of oDesk and similar outsourcing Web sites. In the introduction, I mentioned the emergence of Web sites like oDesk and, in one sense, this is an example of companies looking for people to work from home. And yes, many Americans are trying to capitalize on this new trend. Some are e en succeeding. Howe er, for the most part, companies who post on oDesk aren’t “hiring”; they’re simply outsourcing on a project-by-project basis for the express purpose of not hiring employees. So although some opportunities exist, I belie e sites like oDesk are actually bad news for any North American woman who wants to work from home and is hoping she might find someone to hire her. If you thought the competition was fierce when millions of Americans were looking to work from home, now millions more people around the globe are in the mix. You’ll ha e to compete with people who are willing to work for a few dollars an hour, and it’s nearly impossible to build a successful North American business like that. Now, if you’re willing to move overseas, that’s a whole new ball game, and oDesk can become your very best friend. That’s well beyond the scope of this book, but if it’s something you’re interested in pursuing, read The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss.

6. Know the code. As soon as you hear phrases like “more work than I can handle” or “looking to train someone” or “just want to help others duplicate my success,” run for the door. Or click the mouse. It’s a scam. If these people really had more work than they could handle, their relatives and friends would be beating down the door to get in on it. But since it’s a scam and they’ e already driven away all their friends and relatives, they’re on the Internet trying to scam you. Don’t be fooled. . Beware whirlwind friendships. There are some unethical people whose entire marketing strategy consists of befriending people just to recruit them for this, that, or the other “business opportunity.” Over the years a number of people have swept into my life with a friendship that felt more like a whirlwind romance. In every instance it turned out they were in a network marketing business. As soon as they discovered I wasn’t interested, the whirlwind friendship ended, and they moved on to the next person.

8. Check it out. Don’t rely on information provided by the person trying to sell you. Turn to Google, the Better Business Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to verify the claims and promises.

9. Take your time. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a decision on the spot. If it’s a great opportunity today, it will be a great opportunity a week from today.

10 . Big dollars should raise a big red flag. It shouldn’t cost more than $500 to $1,000 to launch a business from home.

My Opinion:

Coming soon!

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A Family Bible Story Book: Mighty Acts of God by Starr Meade


From Crossway:

Each story in Mighty Acts of God is retold in lively, modern-day language from a Reformed perspective, and is followed by an application section with several discussion-sparking questions and prayer points. By moving chronologically through both the Old and New Testaments, parents and children glimpse the person of God as one of consistency, vibrancy, passion, and love.

My Opinion:

This is a beautifully done hardcover Bible story book that each family will enjoy reading for daily devotions or just to let thier children learn more about the stories that are still pertinent to us today. While I’m not sure what historic Reformed Christianity is, and it’s not something I want to delve into theologically, I will say I found nothing that would diminish what we believe.

Done in chronological order, we read about the Creation all the way to the book in Revelation all in an easy to read and understand way but also not dumbed down for the older children. This is unusual for some authors as not everyone can write a book and include a large age range from 4 to 10 years old. All three of my children ages 8, almost 4 and almost 6 have enjoyed looking at, reading or being read from this beautiful book.

The book is illustrated by Tim O’Connor and the pictures are just beautiful which adds to the overall effect of the hardcover book. It is definitely worth the price for this book which would will be used over and over to bring home Biblical truths to all the children in your family and it will enable them one day to learn more and be able to defend thier faith.

I was provided a copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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FIRST Tour: Dragons of Starlight 1: Starlighter by Bryan Davis


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Bryan Davis

and the book:

Starlighter

Zondervan (March 19, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler, Associate Director of Public Relations, ZonderKidz for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bryan Davis is the author of the bestselling fantasy series Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire and Echoes from the Edge. He and his wife, Susie, have seven children and live in western Tennessee where he continues to cook up his imaginative blend of fantasy and inspiration.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (March 19, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310718368
ISBN-13: 978-0310718369

TO BROWSE THE BOOK, CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW:

Browse Inside

My Opinion:

With this being teen fiction I wasn’t sure what to make of it however I must say that I was surprised and it did turn into a fantastic read. It reminds of an allegory similar to what C.S. Lewis wrote, however this resembles a parallel-like world in which fire-breathing dragons live with humans as their slaves that they stole from the parrallel world.

I don’t think this is a book I’d let my young teen read however I would let my older, mature teen read it (when my children get to that point) with the stipulation this is to be seen as a Biblical allegory and nothing else. There is a great plot outline that does grip the reader and pull you in, if you are an adult you need to keep in mind this is teen fiction and not written with adults in mind.

I think this would be perfect for young men to read, especially since I’m finding out that there isn’t much on the general market that is affordable to most families for young men to read. Given that fact I would say this with it’s allegorical line would prove to make an interesting read for a young man who strives for valor and the right way to live and needs to stand up in a world of evil.

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The Rewards of Simplicity by Pam and Chuck D. Pierce


From the Bethany House website:

In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven times, Christians feel stressed out and overly busy. Many are left longing for simpler days, unaware that these days are within their grasp, made possible by getting rid of spiritual and material clutter.

  • Respected prophetic leader Chuck D. Pierce and his wife, Pam, remind Christians of the rewards of living simply. Together they weave biblical teaching with practical tips that will help readers answer questions like these: How can I…
  • clear out unnecessary clutter in my home?
  • overcome anxiety?
  • rely on God for my sustenance?
  • get free from too much technology and/or entertainment?
  • preserve a Sabbath rest?
  • free myself from the stronghold of materialism?

Sharing their insights to help readers break free of anything that enslaves them, Pam and Chuck empower Christians, both materially and spiritually, to live a clutter-free life.

My Opinion:

Normally I don’t enjoy books that talk about simplifying or how to rid myself of unnecessary things in my life but I wanted to see what the authors had to say. I’m glad I did! I really think this was God’s way of telling me I needed to rethink all the things I’ve been accumulating and start simplifying my life. God talks to us all but sometimes we ignore Him because we don’t want to hear what He has to say, even if it would make our lives better!

Reading this book was fun and easy and gave me lots of ideas on how to reduce my clutter – and I don’t have to get rid of everything, however I can if I want. I really enjoyed the fasting chapter (such as fasting for a time from internet or if that is too much then fasting from Facebook) and the money and possessions chapter both spoke to me. I think this is God’s way of paving a path for me to be more simple. A good thing since I enjoy learning about the Anabaptist way of life but have no way to convert (that was sort of a joke).

Overall, I do recommend this book who want to learn more about simplifying from a Christian perspective but need to do it slowly so as not to totally overwhelm themselves. When a Christian looks at something from a Biblical standpoint I think it can make it easier to implement and that is the way with this book. The authors talk simply, not simple as in they think we won’t understand, but simply in that they don’t want to make it a burden to simplify our lives.

**I received this book through Bethany House’s review program in exchange for my honest review.

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I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman’s Journey to reclaim Her Heritage by Mary-Ann Kirkby



Book description from the Book Sneeze website:

A fascinating journey into the heart and culture of a reclusive religious community.

I Am Hutterite takes readers into the hidden heart of the little-known Hutterite colony where author Mary-Ann Kirkby spent her childhood. When she was ten, her parents packed up their seven children and a handful of possessions and left the colony to start a new life. Overnight they were thrust into a world they didn’t understand, a world that did not understand them.

With great humor, Kirkby describes how she adapted to popular culture, and with raw honesty she describes her family’s deep sense of loss for their community. More than a history lesson, I Am Hutterite is a powerful tale of retracing steps and understanding how our beginnings often define us.

My Opinion:

I was impressed with this book, since I am into studying the Anabaptist faith and cultures this book caught my eye when I requested to review it. The author, Mary-Ann Kirkby was raised Hutterite, which is a segment of the Anabaptists like Amish, Mennonite, etc however they live communal life, sharing all they have.

Mary-Ann made you feel as if you were sharing her journey of her life in Canada as part of a Hutterite colony as well as living apart from them. The hardships both in colony life and regular society is felt in her words, I could feel the taunts from school mates and the feelings of her first love. She realizes that the world was not as safe outside the colony but her parents along with her siblings made a safe haven at home.

Gripping from the first page Mary-Ann Kirkby weaves a fascinating story, all of it true, of life in a communal setting which provided for the needs of all including safety and a way to worship God. If you’d like to know more about the Hutterities then this book will give a great glimpse into this seemingly secret way of life and religion – however as you read you’ll also see how friendly these people can be, but also see how human they are and that even they have bad days.

**I received this book through Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review. To see my full disclosure see the above tab.

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FIRST tour: "Let’s Have A Daddy Day" by Karen Kingsbury


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Karen Kingsbury

and the book:

Let’s Have a Daddy Day

Zonderkidz (April 13, 2010)

***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of ZonderKidz for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury has written more than forty of her Life-Changing Fiction titles and has nearly sixteen million in print. Dubbed by Time magazine as the Queen of Christian Fiction, Karen receives hundreds of letters each week and considers her readers friends. Her fiction has made her one of the country’s favorite storytellers, and one of her novels, Like Dandelion Dust, is under production for an upcoming major motion picture release. Her emotionally gripping titles include the popular Baxter family novels, the 9/11 Series, Even Now, Ever After, and Between Sundays. Karen and her husband, Don, live in the Pacific Northwest with their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. You can find out more about Karen, her books, and her appearance schedule at her website.

Dan Andreasen lives in Medina, Ohio, with his wife and three children. He has illustrated more than thirty picture books. When his daughter was asked by her first grade teacher, “What kind of work does your daddy do?” she replied, “He colors.”

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310712157
ISBN-13: 978-0310712152

TO BROWSE THE BOOK, CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW

Let’s Have a Daddy Day

My Opinion:

This is a beautifully illustrated book written for children and their dads. Karen Kingsbury has done a wonderful job in making this book flow together and it’s easy-to-read style keeps the child(ren) engaged. It’s beautifully illustrated with a dad, his son and daughter. These pictures also keeps the children engaged in the story and it provided fodder for their imagination.

A wonderful hard covered book this will be a keepsake for the dads and children in your life and would make a great gift for dads on Father’s Day to read to their children. I’ve read Karen’s books for adults and her writing style shines through in this beautiful children’s book as well.

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FIRST tour: "Catherine’s Gift: Stories of Hope from the Hospital" by John Little


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

John Little

and the book:

Catherine’s Gift: Stories of Hope from the Hospital

Monarch Books (March 4, 2010)

***Special thanks to Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

John Little spent 25 years working as a reporter and producer in television current affairs before becoming a full-time author. He has written eight books, including The Hospital by the River (with Dr Catherine Hamlin); Down to the Sea; Jem, a Father’s Story; Christine’s Ark; and Maalika (with Valerie Browning). He lives with his wife, Anna, and son, Tim, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

(Picture taken from John’s website.)

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 185424955X
ISBN-13: 978-1854249555

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

From the PROLOGUE

It’s the rainy season in Addis Ababa. The day begins with a promise. At the hospital by the river, patients who are not confined to bed throw off their woolen shawls and gather in the sun to gossip. The girls groom one another’s hair, sew and bicker and joke. Some, perhaps speaking a rare tongue, sit by themselves on the low stone wall by the outpatients department, or squat on the ground watching the activity. In this self-contained little world, walled off from the chaos of the city, there’s always something to see – new patients arriving, mud-stained, stinking and weary after travelling on foot over flooded tracks, vehicles bringing medical supplies, ferenji visitors from another planet, gardeners tending the lawns and flower beds, workers regularly hosing away the puddles which gather under the waiting patients.

These are peasant women. The seasons rule their lives. They savor the morning warmth, for they know that by midday black clouds will begin to form over the hills which ring the city and the thunder will grumble like a cranky old man leaving a warm bed. At two-thirty the rain begins – they could set their watches by it if they owned such things – and it does not stop until late at night.

In the highlands where many of these women come from, the rains can cut off villages for weeks on end. When doctors Reg and Catherine Hamlin first began treating the women half a century ago they could always count on some respite at this time of year. But for the past few years the rainy season seems to have made no difference. Is it because there are more cases than ever? Or just because the hospital has become so well known? Whatever the reason, every day up to half a dozen women arrive seeking help.

Sometimes they are alone – bewildered and frightened by the brutal indifference of the city. Sometimes a friend or relative has come with them. A few, with injuries so severe they are unable to walk, are carried in. They come from the desert, from remote highland villages, from the plains and the rainforest. They speak 80 different languages. They are Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Animists, or sometimes a mixture of faiths. They all have one thing in common – they are suffering from the medical condition known as obstetric fistula.

It is a cruel affliction. Ethiopia has its lepers and cripples, as does any poor African country. The diseased and the lame and the mad are on any street corner for all to see. But if there is a scale of human misery, the fistula women are up near the top. They believe they are cursed by God. And you have to wonder what God had in mind when he allowed a woman’s most cherished act, childbirth, to produce this outcome. No matter where they live, 10 per cent of all women will experience some kind of problem, such as obstructed labor, during childbirth. In the west they simply go to hospital and have a caesarean section or a forceps delivery. For a peasant girl in a remote Ethiopian village it’s not so easy. She will squat in her circular hut, or tukul, sometimes for days, trying to force the baby out. After a couple of days the baby inevitably dies. The prolonged labor, with the baby stuck in the birth canal, may cut off the blood supply to parts of the mother’s body. The tissue dies, leaving a hole, or fistula, in the bladder. Because they are so offensive to be near, fistula sufferers are invariably divorced by their husbands and banished from their village. Theirs are lives of loneliness and despair, often in some ruined dwelling away from everyone else, or they may be forced to beg for a living in the town. We are not talking about some minor medical curiosity here. There are 200,000 fistula sufferers in Ethiopia; two million throughout the world.

Amid the comings and goings, some of the girls may notice a tall, slim, grey-haired woman wearing a white doctor’s coat, passing through the outpatients department into the main ward. Dr Catherine

Hamlin is 83 now. She was 35 when she and her husband, Reg, also an obstetrician/gynecologist, first came to Ethiopia and saw the plight of the fistula women. ‘Fistula pilgrims’, Reg called them, on account of the formidable journeys they made to seek help. Since then the hospital has restored more than 32,000 from wretched despair to joyous new life.

Reg died in 1993 but Catherine carries on, and at an age when most women are content just to reflect upon their memories, she is working as hard as ever. She is intimately involved with every aspect of the hospital, still doing rounds, still operating.

At the nurses’ station inside the ward she consults her colleagues about tomorrow’s list. There are seven cases of varying degrees of difficulty. She pores over the notes, contained in green cardboard folders. They give a brief history of the patient – how many days she was in labor, where she came from, how she got here, how many previous children she has borne, any medical information that will affect her management. The doctor who did the initial examination has drawn a diagram showing the location and size of the fistula. Catherine chooses her cases.

Let us meet them…

My Opinion:

If you are looking for a book that shows inspiration and healing then I suggest you get “Catherine’s Gift”, it’s a book you won’t soon forget. Travel to Ethiopia and visit with women who have a birth injury called a fistula – I didn’t know what this was until I read this book so it’s also educational. These women are rejected by their villages, cast out from their families and often times divorced by their husbands because they smell so bad. It isn’t an easy for women in labor to get to a hospital so some labor for a week (maybe more) and end up delivering a dead baby and having a fistula.

Catherine Hamlin and her husband saw the need when they arrived in Ethiopia and knew that God wanted them to do something. I couldn’t imagine seeing these injuries day in and day out – but Mrs. Hamlin does it and she does it all with the grace of God. She gives women their lives back and some are able to resume life in their village, remarry if their husbands have divorced them and some even go on to have a child. In a country where women are still seen as virtual livestock – Mrs. Hamlin restores their value and expects nothing in return.

You’ll read heart rending stories of women who’ve lost all they had including the baby and then you’ll read of their joy when they are deemed cured or if not cured then they are fixed enough so they can be trained to have a way to support themselves. As you read you’ll meet the other doctors and nurses who work with Mrs. Hamlin as well as doctors and midwives who are trying to get out into the field to other unreachable areas. If you’re a mom, midwife, doctor, nurse or just one whose heart aches for mission work then this book is a must have!

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A Multi-Site Church Road Trip by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon and Warren Bird


From the Zondervan website:

The multi-site church movement is reshaping the way we do church. But how does it actually work? And is it right for your church? Enjoy a guided tour of multi-site churches across America and see for yourself how churches are growing and reaching their communities. This companion to The Multi-Site Church Revolution gives you on-site pictures of the new and creative ways churches are expanding their impact through multiple locations.

My Opinion:

I was a bit skeptical at first simply because I am not a mega church person, the impersonal and sometimes lacking Biblical teaching really throws me for a loop, but like a lot of books I’ve been reading lately I’ve been pleasantly surprised! With the authors the reader will take a trip covering 15 churches all over America who have gone multi-site and not all of them are mega-churches (or weren’t when they started).

I liked being introduced to how churches of varying sizes were able to grow and reach more people wether in the United States or internationally through internet based campuses or through buildings in other countries. These churches and those who pastor them do really seem to care about those who come in every week and for some many service throughout the week – I didn’t notice anything about it being impersonal. While some of the more main sermons are given via simulcast or DVD each campus or site has their own Pastor and their own ministries allowing the church community to grow and reach others for Christ. The main points in having multi-sites (from what I gathered from my reading) is that it’s a way to gather more people for Christ and continue growing in their (babes and those mature Christians) relationship with Him.

I’m not sure if I see some of the smaller churches in my area going this route, but the authors say it doesn’t matter how small your congregation is, it can be done. However, at my church there are only about 50 to 60 people and that includes the children – would it be feasible and financially responsible to do this – I don’t know. I do know not everyone can get to where my church is located, out in the country, since public transportation doesn’t run there and it would be neat to reap more harvest for God by going multi-site but financially can it be done? This was a great book for lay people who want to get a bigger vision of reaching people for Christ or just want to get more of an idea of what multi-site is all about.

YouTube video for “A Multi-Site Church Road Trip”

**I was provided a copy of this book through Zondervan in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.**

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FIRST tour: Eats With Sinners by Aaron Chambers


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

Arron Chambers

and the book:

Eats With Sinners

Standard Publishing (November 20, 2009)

***Special thanks to Blythe Daniel of The Blythe Daniel Agency, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Arron Chambers, author of Running on Empty: Life Lessons to Refuel Your Life (Life Journey, 2005), Scripture to Live By (Adams Media, 2007), and Remember Who You Are! (Standard Publishing, July 2007), Yendo Con El Tanque Vacío (Spanish Translation of Running on Empty–Zondervan, November 2007), Go! (Standard Publishing, July 2009), and Eats With Sinners (Standard, November 2009) is the Lead Minister of Journey Christian Church in Greeley, Colorado.

He is also an Adjunct Professor at Florida Christian College, Contributing Editor and Blogger for The Christian Standard, President & Founder of Tri Life, Inc., an inspirational speaker, husband and the father of 4 kids.

Arron is also the Executive Producer and on-air host of the prime-time TV program, Enjoy the Journey with Arron Chambers. Arron holds the following degrees: Master of Arts (Church History/Theology): Abilene Christian University, May 2000; Bachelor of Theology: Florida Christian College, May 1993; Bachelor of Arts (Major-Preaching; Minor-Counseling): Florida Christian College, May 1992.

Visit the author’s website.
Visit the book’s website.
Visit the author’s blog.
Visit the author’s church website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Standard Publishing (November 20, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0784723184
ISBN-13: 978-0784723180

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

One impurity in our lives can easily pull us—and the lost people who know us—off course. If we want to be effective in reaching lost people, we must be people of integrity—fixed points of reference that people can follow and find their way to God. I want you to understand that lacking integrity is our problem, not God’s. Like true north, God is a fixed point of reference that never changes and will always be exactly where he’s supposed to be.

People, on the other hand, aren’t always trustworthy. We’re all over the place, so we have to sign contracts, put our right hand on the Bible, pay deposits, and back up our word by saying, “Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.” (Stick a needle in my eye? Who comes up with this stuff . . . the CIA?)

My friend Gary Mello from Orlando told me a story from his high school days. He worked on a 125-foot scallop boat, the Rodman Swift IV, that sailed out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Hard and dangerous work, scalloping paid well, and many young men jumped at the chance to fish for scallops in the North Atlantic. The crew worked long hours, rotating shifts and manning every station during all hours of the day and night.

One evening they put out from New Bedford on an eight-hour trip that would take them past Nantucket to the scalloping grounds in the Atlantic. Early in the trip Gary was assigned to the wheelhouse and told not to touch anything but to watch the steering compass and make sure the boat stayed on course. The gyro repeater (a steering compass) had been set to a heading of 280 degrees N, so the ship was set to autopilot to its destination. A gyro repeater steers the ship to the coordinates determined and set by the captain. It’s a complicated system that works extremely well because of the dependability of the magnetic pull of true north. Gary was simply to make sure that the ship didn’t deviate off course.

“No problem,” Gary replied, as he took his seat next to the compass and prepared for a long—and boring—night.

At some point early in the evening, Gary became thirsty, so—knowing he couldn’t leave his post—he hollered to his friend Stoney to bring him a canned soft drink. Gary finished his Coke, set it next to the compass, and returned to intermittent glances at the compass and the nautical maps he had secured to figure out where the boat was heading.

Hours passed, and Gary started to grow concerned because he was sure that he was starting to see land out of the window on the starboard side.

The compass still pointed at 280 degrees N, which would be taking them away from land and far out to sea for an early-morning rendezvous with the fishing ground, so he figured he was mistaken and tried to relax. But something didn’t feel right.

Eventually his concern grew to the point that he felt compelled to leave his post and tell the captain. Into the damp darkness of the captain’s quarters, connected to the wheelhouse, Gary softly whispered, “Cap, I’m not sure we’re heading in the right direction.”

Half asleep, the captain asked if the compass still pointed to 280 degrees N.

“Yes,” Gary replied.

“Then I’m sure we’re fine. You’re probably just seeing ground fog. Don’t worry about it.”

With the captain’s reassurance, Gary made his way back to his post, convinced that if the captain wasn’t worried, then he shouldn’t be either. Several hours passed as the ship steamed toward its early-morning appointment with a multitude of mid-Atlantic scallops. And everything seemed OK until the first light of morning confirmed Gary’s worst nightmare.

Land!

In a panic he interrupted the captain’s slumber one more time. “Captain,”

Gary whispered, “I think I’m seeing land.”

“It’s just ground fog,” the captain muttered.

Convinced that something was amiss, Gary shouted, “No, I’m seeing land!”

“Impossible!” the captain grumbled as he quickly dressed and headed to the wheelhouse, where he verified Gary’s fears. The ship was not heading 280 degrees N, but south down the coast to Long Island, New York!

“Gary, what did you do?”

“Nothing. I just sat here and stared at that compass all night long like you told me to.”

“Did this compass stay on 280 degrees N all night?”

“Yes, sir. And I haven’t left the wheelhouse except to get you.”

The captain reset the compass while he searched for some reason for the deviation. It didn’t take too long to identify the source of the problem. “Gary, is this your can of soda?”

It was.

“The metal in your #@%$#@#$ soda can messed with the magnet in the compass, and it’s caused the whole #@%$#@#$ ship to deviate off course! Do you see what you did?!” the captain shouted.

The can had disrupted the magnetic field around the compass, and the Rodman Swift IV and her crew went eight hours off course. Gary learned an important lesson about compasses, magnets, navigation, and the ability of a scallop-boat captain to invent new curse words when he is extremely angry. He also learned how easily a ship can be pulled off course by something as simple as a soft drink can.

Jesus had integrity. Like true north, his life was a fixed point of reference that others could follow and find their way to God.

The apostle Mark described an encounter between Jesus and some Pharisees and Herodians (Jews who were supporters of Rome), who tried to trap Jesus in his words and find some way to accuse him of being a fraud, a false prophet, or a threat to Judaism. They began by confirming Jesus’ reputation, saying, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance

with the truth” (Mark 12:14).

Understanding the importance of pointing people to God—and his role as the way—Jesus, with hair still damp with the waters of baptism and with the loving words of an approving Father ringing in his ears, followed the Holy Spirit into the desert. For forty days he was tempted by the devil. His mission to find wayward people began with allowing himself to be led away—into the desert—and having his integrity confirmed through testing, testing that was essential to the success of his ministry and the key to his understanding our struggles.

If Jesus had fallen in the desert, there would have been no hope for this fallen world, so it’s a good thing that he did the good thing when tempted. In the desert and throughout his life, Jesus was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15), but he did not sin—an example of both the reality and power of integrity.

I believe that before we can truly help lost people find their way through the desert of temptation and back to the Father, we must, like Jesus, survive our own deserts of temptation—defining moments when we grow into more or shrink into less. Jesus’ ministry to reach lost people began with a defining moment in the wilderness when he had to choose (three times, actually) between right and wrong. Would he give in to temptation, become just another sinner, and hinder his ministry; or would he do the right thing? He chose to do the right thing.

Unlike Jesus, we are not perfect. We all sin, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be people of integrity. In the end, for people who aren’t going to die on a cross for the sins of the world, a life of integrity is not defined by a moment of weakness. We are going to make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be used by God to make a difference, if we’ll only learn from our mistakes and refuse to let them pull our lives off course and away from integrity.

Living a life of integrity is essential if we want to have a truly effective ministry. You can have integrity without a ministry, but you can’t have a ministry without integrity.

This is why God required the high priest, under the old covenant, on the Day of Atonement, to clean himself before entering God’s presence. The high priest was to bathe before putting on the sacred garments (Leviticus 16:4) and to deal with his own sins before dealing with the sins of the people. Before he shed one drop of animal blood to atone for someone else’s sin, the high priest had to shed the blood of a bull for his own sin and the sin of his household (vv. 6, 11).

God required that the high priest make his first ministry to himself and his household, because if that ministry failed, no one would care to hear what he had to say about God. The priest was God’s representative to the people, so it was essential for him to be godly and to have integrity.

This is why God led Jesus, our high priest (Hebrews 4:14), from the waters of baptism into the wilderness to prove his integrity.

This is why God wants us, his priests (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10), to be people of integrity before we begin our ministry to lost people.

It’s the purpose behind the whole log-in-the-eye story that Jesus told on that mountain near Capernaum. Trying to teach us the importance of dealing with our own integrity issues before attempting to help others with theirs, Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? . . . You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Luke 6:41, 42).

What a hilarious picture!

What important truths for each of us to remember before we eat the first morsel of food with a lost person!

First, Jesus does want us to get specks out of other people’s eyes. Don’t miss that point.

Second—which really comes first—before we attempt to get specks out of other people’s eyes, we must first take the planks out of our own eyes. Pretty humbling. But Jesus wants our ministries to be characterized by integrity, not hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is cancerous to evangelism, rendering Jesus a joke and his message a punch line in the hearts and minds of lost people.

Integrity Produces Authenticity, Not Hypocrisy

One of my favorite Hans Christian Andersen fables describes the life of an emperor who was arguably the most famous hypocrite of all time.

The emperor loved new clothes. One day two swindlers came to his city. They made people believe they were weavers who could manufacture the finest cloth to be imagined—but that the quality of the clothes was so high, the clothes would be invisible to anyone who was not very discerning or was unpardonably stupid. These charlatans worked hard but made nothing. Nonetheless, when the emperor was shown his “new outfit,” he acted impressed even though he saw nothing, and he agreed to wear the outfit in a parade through his kingdom.

As the emperor marched through the streets, everyone who saw him cried out, “Indeed, the emperor’s new suit is incomparable! What a wonderful suit!” The people didn’t want others to know they saw nothing. The universal praise continued until the emperor passed by a little child who cried out, “The emperor’s not wearing any clothes!” At this, everyone in the kingdom acknowledged the same fact and joined the child in proclaiming, “The emperor’s not wearing any clothes!” The charade was over.

Our charade must end too.

Just as sure as that delusional emperor was buck naked and needed to admit it, you and I are sinners who need to get authentic and admit both our tendency to sin and our need of salvation. We’re all sinners who fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Let’s be authentic and admit it.

Integrity Produces Courage, Not Fear

Integrity doesn’t just manifest itself in authenticity; it also manifests itself in courage.

Telemachus, a fifth-century monk, was a man of integrity who faced his fears and in so doing saved lives and pointed lost people to God. The story is told of how Telemachus followed the crowds to the Coliseum in Rome and watched sadly as two gladiators fought to the death. Telemachus tried to get between them, shouting, “In the name of Christ, stop!” Enraged that this man was interrupting their entertainment, the crowd stoned Telemachus. When the people came to their senses and saw the monk lying dead in a pool of blood, they fell silent and left the stadium. According to tradition, because of Telemachus’s death, three days later the emperor ended the practice of gladiators fighting to the death.3

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1). Telemachus was as bold as a lion, and we should be too.

To reach this world with the saving message of Jesus Christ, we’re going to have to be courageous, and we will be . . . if we are also righteous.

Sin makes cowards of us all.

A father who smoked pot in college may be afraid to tell his son to say no to drugs.

A mother who slept with other men before marriage may feel intimidated about trying to persuade her eighteen-year-old daughter to save herself for marriage.

The pastor who struggles with an addiction to pornography may find it impossible to preach against the very monster that privately stalks him late at night while his family sleeps upstairs.

Private sin is an evil warden that Satan employs to keep us locked up, silent, and hopeless in a dungeon that reeks with fear. But private sin is also an illusion. We can’t fool God.

God searches our hearts (1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 7:9; Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23) and knows the sins we struggle with. He stands ready to “forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). His forgiveness, and his forgiveness alone, makes us righteous—people with integrity who should be courageous in the face of sin…and sinners.

Integrity Produces Faithfulness, Not Perfection

Men and women with integrity are unstoppable.

You can be unstoppable.

When Nehemiah needed someone to make sure the gates in the newly rebuilt walls around Jerusalem were not opened until the right time, he called on a man named Hananiah, “because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do” (Nehemiah 7:2).

When Satan wanted a man to prove human frailty, God offered him a man of integrity who would be faithful to the end, saying, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 2:3).

These men were faithful—not perfect.

Think about King David, the man who slept with a woman who was not his wife (Bathsheba) and then had her husband killed in battle. The apostle Paul reminds us of what God thought about David: “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). God said this not because David was perfect, but because David was faithful (Hebrews 11:32, 33). Yes, David was a sinner, but he didn’t allow himself to be defined by sin but by faithfulness. He was a man who—when confronted about his sin by the prophet Nathan—admitted he was a sinner (2 Samuel 12:13) and took significant steps to mend his character.

David’s life was not defined by a moment of weakness.

God told Solomon, David’s son, to follow his dad’s example: “If you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, . . . I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever” (1 Kings 9:4, 5). God wanted Solomon to look at his father’s life as a point of reference. Not because David was perfect, but because he was faithful. And David was faithful because he had integrity. God wants us to be people of integrity.

Meal Prep • Walking with Integrity

1. Personal Devotions: Get your Bible, find a quiet place, and start reading the book of Luke. After reading for a while, stop and spend some time in prayer. Ask God to help you identify the areas in your life that are not as pure as they should be.

2. Find an Accountability Partner: I meet with other Christians every week for the sole purpose of ensuring that I’m growing in my faith and living the kind of life I should be living. Find a Christian—of the same gender—with whom you can meet on a regular basis and by whom you can be held accountable for living a life of integrity.

3. Church Attendance: Are you regularly meeting with a local church? If not, it’s time to get involved with one. This will put you in fellowship with other Christians and in a place where you will be exposed to biblical teaching—both of which will help you to live a life of integrity.

Why does God call us to be people of integrity? First, for our own good. And second, he doesn’t want our lives to pull off course the lives of the lost people who are following us.

Delmar, one of the elders at the church where I serve, is a man of integrity.

Delmar leads a Saturday morning Bible study at a local bar called The Fort. This gives him the opportunity to reach people with the gospel in a place where they feel comfortable. He reaches people for Jesus because his life is a fixed point that the people at The Fort can follow straight to Jesus.

Those people at The Fort don’t realize it, but they need Delmar to be a man of integrity. They need us to be people of integrity . . . fixed points of reference they can follow to find themselves . . . not lost, not heading south to Long Island . . . not even heading 280 degrees N, but heading back to where they were supposed to be all the time.

For Personal Study and Reflection: In the space below write the name of a Christian you think is a person of integrity. List three adjectives that describe this person and prove he or she is a person of integrity.

For Group Study and Discussion: Ask your group members to each bring a photo of someone they believe to be a person of integrity. As the group time begins, have people show their photos and tell why they believe the person in the photo has integrity.

1. Who first introduced you to Jesus Christ? Describe what happened.

2. As you reflect on your conversion and how God used this person to introduce you to Jesus, which of the following had the biggest impact: what the person said to you, how the person lived, or some other factor?

3. Describe a time when God gave you a chance to share your faith. What were your three biggest concerns during this evangelistic experience? Read Luke 4:1-13. In this passage Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by the devil. Satan wanted Jesus to lose his way in the wilderness, but Jesus withstood the test and became “the way” (John 14:6) for us.

4. Jesus was hungry, and then Satan tempted him to turn some stones into bread (Luke 4:3). What does this teach us about Satan? What can we do to prepare ourselves for attacks like this?

5. Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and then offered them all to Jesus (v. 6). Understanding that Satan doesn’t own anything, what does this temptation teach us about him?

6. The devil quoted Scripture to Jesus. What does this reveal about Satan? What is one thing you can do this week to learn more Scripture?

7. Jesus rebutted Satan’s attacks by quoting Scripture (vv. 4, 8, 12). What can we learn from this example about the power of God’s Word to help when we are being attacked by the devil?

8. What would have happened to Jesus’ ministry if he had given in to any of these three temptations?

9. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23) who will, at one time or another, experience a moral failure of some type. How does a moral failure that has not been dealt with impact our efforts to share our faith with lost friends? On the other hand, how does a moral failure that has been dealt with help us as we share our faith?

10. What did this time of testing reveal about Jesus’ character? How did this time of testing prepare him for his ministry to lost people? How have your times of spiritual testing prepared you to be a better evangelist?

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