Thursday, January 24, 2013

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Radical Well-being by Rita Hancock

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:


and the book:

Siloam (January 8, 2013)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Rita Hancock is a board-certified Physical Medicine specialist with subspecialty board certification in Pain Management, and she has been in full-time practice in Norman, Oklahoma for fourteen years. Currently, she serves as the Oklahoma delegate for the Christian Medical And Dental Association, as well as their official spokesperson on matters of diet and nutrition. Dr. Hancock is married to Ed and they have two children.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


What’s blocking you from experiencing total wellness?

Research increasingly shows a strong connection between our spiritual life, our emotions, and our physical well being. Yet too often our physical conditions are treated without taking our whole lives into account. In Radical Well-being, Dr. Rita Hancock shows you how your mind, body, and spirit are connected and addresses the factors that can contribute, and even cause, illness, addictions, and chronic pain.

If you suffer from medical conditions like fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, neck or back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, jaw pain, food and drug allergies, depression, anxiety, or unwanted behaviors such as overeating, an eating disorder, overspending, drug abuse or alcoholism, Radical Well-being will show you a biblical, whole-body approach to overcoming your condition. With nearly twenty years of experience counseling patients from a balanced, mind/body/Holy Spirit perspective, Dr. Rita gives you practical nuts-and-bolts advice.



Product Details:
List Price: $16.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Siloam (January 8, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616389737
ISBN-13: 978-1616389734:


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Don’t Believe Everything You Think

If I asked you to look at a group of women and pick out the person with the eating disorder, you wouldn’t choose Helen. She doesn’t fit the stereotype. She’s a slightly overweight, sixty-year-old grandmother. Surprise! Not all people with eating disorders are skinny, teenage girls.



As I interviewed Helen about her knee pain on that first medical visit, she repeatedly pointed out that she was desperate to lose weight so her knees would hurt less. On the surface that made sense. However, something wasn’t right about this particular situation. She seemed more fixated on the prospect of weight loss than on relieving the knee pain.



That’s when she starting asking me about my previous book, The Eden Diet. Apparently her daughter had lost a fair amount of weight on the diet, and Helen now wanted to try it.



I have to admit that I was a little confused by this point in the visit. She was on the schedule as wanting to be seen for her knees. So I just came out and asked, “Shouldn’t we be talking about your knees?” Helen looked down at the ground and then back up at me. “Well, I heard you don’t see just anybody for weight loss. I heard you mostly treat pain-management patients and just counsel them for weight loss on the side. I guess I figured that you could help me kill two birds with one stone.”



You have to commend her persistence. That’s faith and desperation rolled into one! I figured I’d better help her or she’d get some people to take the shingles off the roof of my office and lower her into the





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exam room through the ceiling on a stretcher while thinking, “If only I touch the hem of her lab coat, I’ll lose weight.”



As Helen and I dialogued in subsequent visits, I gleaned some insight into her underlying problem. As a child she internalized lies that led her into an eating disorder in her teenage years. She believed her mother would love her only if she was skinny. Her mother had been a dancer in her youth and pressured Helen and her sisters to not eat too much or they wouldn’t be wanted (by men). But Helen understood that nobody, not even her own mother, would want her if she were overweight.



Hence the eating disorder. She was trying to “works” her way into being good enough by manipulating (or trying to manipulate) her weight. Hidden lies and feelings of inadequacy, such as those Helen entertained, lead to emotional stress and strife. In turn those lies lead to overeating and other physical manifestations, such as pain and illness. It’s a common tale, one that another of my patients knows well.



A Little Girl Named Nancy



Nancy’s parents rarely had time for her. Her father was an attorney in a big Chicago law firm, and if he didn’t work long hours he wouldn’t stand a chance of becoming partner. Based on his own standards for success, that would have meant he was a total failure in life. He learned that way of thinking from his dad, who was also a highly successful, perfectionist, workaholic lawyer with low self-esteem deep down.



Nancy’s mother was a legal secretary in the same firm. She didn’t have to work overtime with her husband all those evenings, but she did so anyway, saying it was to help her husband get home earlier. Truthfully she just wanted to keep tabs on her good-looking, wealthy husband. She didn’t trust him around the perky little legal interns.



The one source of constancy in Nancy’s early life was her paternal grandfather. He babysat her most evenings after day care or school when her parents worked overtime, and he watched her most Saturdays too. The babysitting job kept him from getting lonely and depressed





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since his wife had passed away a few years before. Without the pairing,

both he and Nancy would have been alone.



Despite Nancy’s company Grandpa was still lonely in a different

kind of way. To fill that need, he fell into reading inappropriate magazines. He made a halfhearted attempt to hide the magazines from little Nancy but failed. She found them by accident one day shortly after her seventh birthday while looking for magazine pictures she could use

for a school art project.



A flurry of questions ran through her little mind when she found those pictures. “Why would Grandpa look at those magazines? Is this how men are supposed to look at women? Is this how women are supposed to be looked at?”



Though Nancy was young, she knew instinctively that her Grandpa’s magazines were naughty, and she felt bad about herself for having seen them. In fact, she experienced not just a single crush but a double crush to her self-esteem over this.



On one hand she couldn’t help but identify with the women in the pictures. If they were just lowly objects, then maybe that’s all she was too. After all, she was female, just like them. On the other hand, Nancy identified with her grandfather and felt deep shame. “Grandpa is bad for looking at these,” she thought, “so I must be bad too, because we’re

related and that means I’m like him.” The blow to her self-esteem stayed with her for a long time, compromising her romantic relationships with men later in life. She couldn’t trust them. Were they looking at her as a piece of meat or as a person? Would they betray her like her daddy betrayed her mommy? Or would they abandon her like her parents abandoned her to focus on their work? She was never sure.



This incident also marked the beginning of her overeating. On a subconscious level seeing those pictures at that impressionable age caused Nancy to feel vulnerable and out of control in addition to bad and dirty. Nancy decided she didn’t want anyone to look at her the way her grandfather looked at those women. So she ate to put a layer of insulation around her body. It backfired, though, because people looked anyway since she was so large.





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This issue with her grandfather wasn’t the only reason Nancy gained weight as a child. On some level, even though her daddy ultimately made partner in the firm and was able to spend more time at home, Nancy always felt a sense of abandonment due to his earlier absence. She figured that she was unworthy of Daddy’s attention. If she were a good enough daughter, maybe he would have stayed home.



These feelings of low self-esteem and abandonment gave her another reason to eat to keep people away as an adult. If nobody became interested in her romantically because she was overweight, then nobody would abandon or betray her later on.



Of course, during her childhood Nancy was totally unaware of these buried feelings. It wasn’t until she underwent counseling to save her third failing marriage that she began to understand the psychology that motivated her to eat as a child.



Through counseling, Nancy learned that she felt shameful, vulnerable, and out of control as a child, especially sexually but also emotionally. Eating was her unconscious attempt to feel safe and in control. She ate to medicate her low self-esteem and anxiety, and she ate to keep away unwanted attention.



Composite Patients



Can you relate to any part of Helen’s or Nancy’s story? They actually represent composites of a multitude of women that I’ve counseled for weight loss, pain, and other stress-related health problems over the years. In fact, all the patient examples that I present in this book are composites—yet every situation I describe is real.



As you can see by Helen’s and Nancy’s examples, fear, sexuality, and feeling inadequate or out of control are common themes that contribute to aberrant eating behavior in women. Other common issues include guilt, low self-esteem, abandonment or loss (such as parental divorce), parental alcoholism, and physical illness during childhood. Because I hear these themes frequently in my medical practice, you’ll see them often in the patient composites I include in this book.



My intent in presenting these composites is to help you understand



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and manage your emotional triggers and, consequently, have an easier time letting go of your addictions, unwanted health behaviors, and physical pain. Even better than the physical benefits though, is the peace, love, and joy you feel when you break free from false beliefs and feel more of the fruit of the Spirit in your life. I assure you that the freedom from emotional bondage feels even better than the physical health benefits.



The Lies That Bind



In the following pages I list fundamental beliefs that have triggered feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety in some of my patients. In many cases the emotions caused by these beliefs led my patients to reach for false comforters (food, alcohol, gambling, spending, overworking, etc.) to try to feel better.



Before you read the list, please pray (see Appendix A for more help with prayer). Ask God to reveal only the information that you can handle, and ask Him to reveal if you should dig through these subconscious beliefs with the help of a Christian counselor. Not everyone is meant to “go there” without the help of another human. God gave us Christian counselors and psychologists for a reason.



Now if the time is right (and only you and God can be the judge of that, so proceed at your own risk and do so prayerfully), read the list and see if any of the lies strike a nerve. Make a checkmark by each one that does.



Keep in mind that everything on the bulleted list is a lie. Even though you see the accusations against you in print, don’t be fooled into believing them.



• You’re fat.



• You’re ugly.



• You’re stupid.



• You’re unlovable.



• God doesn’t love you.



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• You’re bad (or not good enough).



• You’re worthless.



• You’ll never amount to anything.



• You shouldn’t have been born.



• They’re going to leave you.



• You don’t deserve to be loved.



• It’s all you’re fault.



• You’re dirty.



• You’re shameful.



• It’s your fault your parents divorced.



• You’re unforgivable because of the abortion.



• You’re a bad mother for giving up your baby when you were a teenager.



• If you were worth anything, she wouldn’t have given you up for adoption.



• Your parents adopted you to fix their marriage; now their happiness is up to you.



• If you were good, your dad (or mom) would have stuck around.



• It’s your fault your mom or dad drank.



• It’s your fault your dad abused your mom (or vice versa).



• It’s your fault he sexually abused you.



• You deserve to be treated badly.



• She’ll never let your daddy hear the last of it if you tell on him.



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• Your mother won’t believe you if you tell her about the abuse.



• It’s your fault he (or she) left.



• It’s your fault he (or she) died.



• You’re just like your bad mother.



• You’re just like your bad father.



• You’re not as good as your brother or sister.



• You’re an accident.



• You weren’t wanted.



• You can’t be forgiven for what you did.



• They’re going to leave you if they find out you’re bad.



• You have to try to be perfect to make up for being bad.



• You don’t deserve anybody’s time.



• God’s promises aren’t meant for you.



Remember, these are lies that have nothing to do with who you are today. It’s important to identify the beliefs that you learned in the past, as we will see. Realize that the time has come to let go of the lies, and I help you do that in this book. Now let’s talk about other sources of false childhood beliefs.



Lies That Make You Think You’re Fat



Because my daughter is a teenager, I spend a fair amount of time watching the effects of peer pressure on the kids in her age group. Even the more wholesome TV programs that are geared to her age group show perfectly manicured, extremely cute girls with perfect clothing and most excellent hair. Naturally, real-life girls of that age group are bound to feel inadequate.

I know about peer pressure for another reason. I temporarily volunteered my services to online “ask the expert” websites. I quit after



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having to answer the same anonymous question a thousand times from teenage girls: “Dr. Rita, please tell me how to lose thirty pounds in the next three weeks. I’m going to be in my sister’s wedding, and I’m a total blimp. I’m over one hundred thirty pounds, and I’m only five foot seven inches. I want to get down to the same weight as the other bridesmaids.”



How did I respond? “Honey, your real problem isn’t your weight. You may have an eating disorder. You should talk with your parents and get some counseling.”



I wish I could have spoken freely about my faith to those girls on that secular site. If I had been able to, I would have said, “No matter how hard you try, you will never be somebody else, and you will never feel that you’re good enough after you lose weight if you feel inadequate before. Your greatest journey is to get in line with God’s will for your life, not to get in line with God’s will for somebody else’s life.”



Thinking you’re fat eventually makes you become fat. Your actions affect your attitudes, and your attitudes affect your actions. Watch what you think because it will affect what you do.



You Have to Ask the Questions



If you aren’t sure about what triggers you to reach for false comforters, start asking questions: “Immediately before I feel tempted to [eat, drink, gamble, shop, overwork, etc.], do I feel fear, anger, or low selfesteem? Do I feel stupid, worthless, or out of control? Or do I feel unnurtured? Or is it something else?”



And how do I feel after I utilize my false comforter? Do those emotions go away? If so for how long do they go away?” As I said, the false comforter is not the underlying problem. It’s only the attempted solution to get away from the unwanted emotion.



Many people feel out of control and hence, fearful or anxious. They use their false comforters to try to regain a sense of control. “Nobody can tell me what to [eat, buy, smoke, drink, feel, etc.].” Or they use the false comforters as short-term distractions to escape their emotions.



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They cover their anger, fear, or low self-esteem with alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, cutting, or some other unhealthy behavior.



The Right Questions Break Down Barriers



Surveying and assessing your emotions can definitely help you identify your triggers. However, it’s even better to petition the all-knowing Creator of the universe for answers. He knows the nature of your deep-down issues better than you do!



You may be thinking, “But I’ve asked Him for answers a million times, and He doesn’t answer!” If you feel as if God isn’t answering you, or if you feel “lost” in your journey for answers, realize the problem isn’t likely to be on God’s end. You may have barriers that prevent you from hearing from God.



Many factors can serve as barriers that block your reception of God’s healing. For example, maybe you believe lies about yourself as a result of childhood events or abuse. Or maybe you need to repent of past sins. Maybe you need to extend forgiveness to those who hurt you. Maybe you are mad at God because you couldn’t find Him during your times of trouble. Maybe you feel ashamed and are hiding from God. Or maybe it’s something entirely different. Maybe you have emotional or physical barriers.



No matter what caused your barriers to go up, asking God the right questions about the nature of those barriers can help to tear them down.



To help you overcome your barriers, at the ends of the chapters in Parts 1-4, I offer sample questions that you can ask God during prayer. To formulate these questions, I borrowed from a number of healing disciplines, including Christian inner-healing ministry, psychology, physical therapy, and manual medicine, all of which talk about overcoming barriers of one form or another. That way, once your barriers come down, you can better receive healing truth from God and, in turn, experience freedom from your emotional triggers and bondage to false comforters.



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Action Point

Ask God in Prayer



* Express your thankfulness and confidence, “Dear Lord, thank You for the healing truth that I am about to receive.”



* Ask for a new start, “As I recall my past sins, please forgive me, wash me clean, and make me brand new.”



* Ask God to help you drop your defenses, “Lord, please amplify my ability to hear and/or understand deep healing truth as I read.”



* Ask for compassion, “Lord, please help me to have compassion toward myself and others. Help me forgive those who hurt me.”





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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DVD Review and Giveaway: Abel's Field


Release Date: January 22, 2013 
Genre: Drama 
Rating: PG
Length: Approximately 104 mins.





About Abel's Field
Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (SOUL SURFER’S Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light.

My Review
:
My kids and I enjoyed watching this DVD but found the ending sort of vague. We really sympathized with the main character, Seth, 17, who carries lots of burdens on his shoulders. He has to work 2 part-time jobs to support his 7 year old twin sisters. His half brother hates him and wants nothing to do with him. He is about to lose his home. He also has to deal with a bully (the captain of the football team) at school. Then, as a punishment, he's ordered by the football coach to help the school's groundskeeper, Abel, install a sprinkler system on the football field. Abel is reclusive and secretive. In the movie, he is seen praying in his field (next to his mobile home) three times, but it's unclear what the significance of those scenes is and what he's praying about. We don't know much about Abel until near the end of the movie (even then...still very little information). Abel encourages Seth to seek God's help and to realize that he's never alone because God is always with him. A pastor also encourages Seth to pray to God and ask for others' help if needed. Seth has to make his own decisions...difficult but necessary. Family problems. Financial pressure. Peer pressure. Secret past. Moral dilemma. Abel's Field is a wonderful family-friendly movie about faith, family, friendship, forgiveness, and facing struggles. Great performance! Beautiful cinematography!

Warning: Mild violence (fistfights), alcohol-drinking, smoking, immodest clothing (showing cleavage), lying, flirting

GIVEAWAY
(open to all, including international residents): You can win a copy of this DVD.
Deadline: 2/24 at midnight (Pacific time)
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Please share what the hardest thing you've ever had to do in your life is.

For Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter 


~
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

CD Review: Emmy Rossum's Sentimental Journey


 
Sentimental Journey Track Listing:


  1. “Sentimental Journey” (Les Brown, Ben Homer, Arthur Green)
  2. “The Object Of My Affection” (Pinky Tomlin)
  3. “I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover “(Mort Dixon, Harry M. Woods)
  4. “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)” (Eric Maschwitz, Jack Strachey)
  5. “(I’ll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time” (Albert Von Tilzer, Neville Fleeson)
  6. “Summer Wind” (Heinz Meier, Johnny Mercer)
  7. “Many Tears Ago” (Winfield Scott)
  8. “All I Do Is Dream Of You” (Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed)
  9. “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” (Jimmy Cox)
  10. “Autumn Leaves” (Joseph Kosma, Jacques PrĂ©vert)
  11. “Things” (Bobby Darin)
  12. “Pretty Paper” (Willie Nelson)
MY REVIEW:
Sentimental Journey is a collection of classic beloved American songs from the 1920s to 1960s. I really didn't know what to expect when I agreed to review this CD :). I didn't grow up in America so I'm not familiar with these classic American songs at all. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to the CD. I enjoyed it. Emmy Rossum is a gifted actress (I have never watched any of the shows she's in, though) and singer. Each of the 12 songs on this album represents a month in the year. "Each song needed to either lyrically or emotionally reflect the corresponding month," Emmy explained. "Some songs were obvious fits, like Summer Wind for June, and Pretty Paper for December. Others songs were less literal fits. I chose Nobody Knows You (When You're Down and Out) for September because, to me, the plaintive melody and lyric emotionally reflect the cold weather creeping in and the sense of melancholy we can get in the fall months." Emmy has a pretty, smooth, silky voice. This CD is easy-listening and includes happy songs, funny songs, as well as gloomy songs. The music is beautifully done. I especially like Autumn Leaves (she also sings it in French...I love it!), The Object of My Affection (funny lyrics, upbeat music...and I love the whistling), and Things (fun song about reminiscing).

TV Appearances:
  • Emmy will performing a track from Sentimental Journey on Access Hollywood Live on January 25th.
  • Emmy will also be appearing as a guest on Conan on January 28th, Chelsea Lately on January 29th, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on February 6th.
Links To Buy Album:


~ I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: The 5 Money Personalities


The 5 Money Personalities
Written by Scott & Bethany Palmer

Releasing January 2013

About The 5 Money Personalities
The hidden key to a healthy relationship is not just managing money but understanding how the other approaches money.
Every couple argues about money. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for 40 years or dating for 4 months, money touches every decision you make as a couple—from the $5 cup of coffee to the $50,000 car. And when the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye on how much to spend or how much to save, that’s when arguments turn into ugly toxic fights that leave both persons feeling hurt and angry. It’s why money has become the #1 cause of divorce in the U.S. Obviously, something needs to change. The reason this crisis has not been addressed is because it has never been identified, defined, or given a name. Scott and Bethany Palmer, aka “The Money Couple,” have identified and defined this problem and offer concrete solutions to fix it.
Once you know your Money Personality, you can get to the root of money arguments and start really working together. You’ll discover what has an impact on your loved one’s money decisions, and you’ll learn how to talk about money in a way that’s actually fun! You’ll figure out how to put an end to money secrets and lies once and for all.
It’s not just about money management, and it’s definitely not just about overcoming debt. It is a whole new way of living that will change everything in your relationship. Tens of thousands have already been transformed. Are you ready? 

About Scott & Bethany Palmer
"The Money Couple", have dedicated their lives to helping other strengthen their relationships with the 5 Money Personalities. With 43 years of combined financial planning experience, they launched "The Money Couple" and are regulars on national TV and radio and speak internationally about love and money. Scott and Bethany enjoy an active lifestyle in Colorado with their two young sons, Cole and Cade.

My Review:

Have you and your spouse ever argued about money? I'm thankful that my husband and I hardly argue about money but it is not non-existent :). This book helps me to understand the difference between how my husband and I handle money. We took the Money Personality Profile on the website. There are 5 money personalities: Saver, Spender, Risk Taker, Security Seeker, and Flyer. My primary money personality is Flyer and my secondary money personality is Security Seeker (which surprised me...I'd have guessed Saver, instead). My husband's primary money personality is Risk Taker and his secondary money personality is Saver. The book talks about the opposite dynamic between our own primary and secondary money personalities and about how opposite money personalities attract (I can see that in my husband and me :)). The authors encourage readers to view their and their spouse's different money personalities as assets and strengths that they can use to work together to their advantage. "We've learned that we make far better decisions together than either of us would make on his or her own." (p.88) Have you ever heard the term "financial infidelity"? I had never heard of it until I read this book. You and your spouse can take the Financial Relationship Index and find out your level of financial infidelity (the lower the score, the better) so that you can evaluate what the issues are in your relationship and how to address them. Thankfully, both my husband and I totally trust each other about everything, including money so we don't have this financial infidelity issue. The "money relationship" between spouses is not so much about money, as it is about the issues of trust, respect, communication, cooperation, and commitment. The authors offer tools for you and your spouse to work together even when you and your spouse fight about money. The book includes the 5 money personalities survival guide. Want a healthier way to handle money-related conflict in your marriage? Check this book out!

GIVEAWAY (open to all, including international residents): You can win a copy of this book.
Deadline: 1/31 at midnight (Pacific time)
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Please share why you would like to win this book.

For Extra Entries (please leave a separate comment for each one that you do):
- Follow this blog via GFC or NetworkedBlogs
- "Like" my page "Christ Alone" on Facebook
- Follow me on Twitter: @treasuredbyGod
- Share the link to this giveaway post on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter

~
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to Raise Mission-Minded Kids

Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ~Jesus (Matthew 4:19)

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20)

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

We shall have Heaven forever, but we only have a short time for evangelism here on earth. We must not waste the opportunity. We must help our children see the importance and the urgency of the Great Commission. “Go, send, or disobey!” ~John Piper

How do we raise our kids to be missions-minded? There’s no formula. There’s no guarantee. Only by the grace of God! I’m just going to share what we’ve done and are still working on in our family :). Hope you’ll find it helpful!

1. Discipling
Teach and train your children to live Christ-centered, Gospel-focused, missions-minded, eternal perspective-embraced lives. Equip them to be able to disciple others. Lead them to be solidly grounded in the Word and in apologetics. Turn everyday experiences into teaching moments. Encourage them to reach their God-given potential and to be like Jesus (our Ultimate Role Model).

2. Modeling
Walk the talk! Live your faith and your conviction out loud! Your kids can tell whether you are passionate about missions or not. They can tell by looking at where you invest your time, talents, and treasures to support. Give generously and cheerfully to mission organizations that make an eternal impact in the lives of people. Help those in need whenever and however you can. Share the Gospel with others whenever opportunities arise.

3. Exposing
Help your kids be aware of the world’s problems such as abortion, persecution of Christians, unreached people groups, poverty, war-torn areas, disasters, human trafficking, etc. and how they can be part of the solution!
- Books/Magazines about evangelism, martyrs, missions, and missionaries
- DVDs (plenty of free DVDs available through mission organizations)
- Mission conferences such as Mission ConneXion http://www.missionconnexion.com/
- Mission trips
- Child sponsorship
- Missionary sponsorship
- Invite missionaries to your home
- Give your kids opportunities to care about the needs of others such as giving their money to mission organizations, packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, giving their clothes to the homeless shelter, raising funds for Pregnancy Resource Centers, visiting nursing homes, etc.
- Host a Bible study in your home for unbelievers/seekers
- Get your family involved in a ministry or an outreach

4. Keeping ourselves and our children accountable
Regularly check our priorities in life. Spend plenty of time in the Word and in prayer lest we grow cold/lukewarm towards God and the Great Commission and lose sight of an eternal perspective and God’s will for our lives. To be effective witnesses for Christ, our lives and our children’s lives must reflect Christ accurately. Hypocrisy is what often turns people away from Christ. Instill in your children Godly character and virtues and help them become men and women of integrity. Help guide them to make wise decisions so that their testimony will not be destroyed or discredited. That goes for us, too!

5. Praying
- Pray for your kids that God’s vision will be their vision, that God’s passion will be their passion, and that God’s mission will be their mission.
- Pray (with your kids) for the lost
- Pray (with your kids) for the unreached
- Pray (with your kids) for the persecuted church
- Pray (with your kids) for missionaries
- Pray (with your kids) for different countries, especially those in 10/40 window
- Pray for opportunities to serve God and others & to share Christ’s love and the Gospel

My final advice: Love God and others. Live intentionally for God and the furtherance of His kingdom. Serve God faithfully and enthusiastically. Pray unceasingly.

Questions to ponder: How can my family glorify God today? How can we train our kids to think about living in the light of eternity and not just for the here and now? How can we put others above ourselves? How can we help our kids grow spiritually? How is our relationship with our kids? Are we willing to die for the cause of Christ–to be faithful to the end?

Don’t let the world change your children; raise your children to change the world for Christ!


Recommended resources and websites:
- Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
- Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan
- Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris
- Radical by David Platt
- Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado
- Jesus Freak Vol. I and II
- Operation World (http://www.operationworld.org/)
- http://www.samaritanspurse.org                            
- http://www.persecution.com
- http://www.kidsofcourage.com/
- http://www.gfa.org
- http://www.compassion.com
- http://www.worldvision.org
- http://www.30-days.net/
- http://www.jesusfilm.org/
- http://wayofthemaster.com/
- http://www.wycliffe.org/
- http://www.opendoors.org/
- http://www.historymakers.info/
- http://harvestministry.org/store/free-resources

Please share what works for your family and any resources you would recommend. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Top 12 Reads of 2012

I read lots of good and great books in 2012 so it's difficult for me to pick my usual top ten reads for the year. I will instead post my top 12 reads (12 is my favorite number, anyway :)).