Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This Means Love


Do you agree that service is "love in action"? We serve God by serving others. We share God's love with others by serving them. I'm excited about the This Means Love kit from Group Publishing. This kit makes it super easy for women to plan simple service projects that will make a huge impact. The kit contains 12 project guides providing supply list, brief devotion, complete instructions for each activity, and practical tips, 1 convenient graphics CD that includes reproducible materials for various projects and for promotion, and a copy of the This Means Love Bible Study. The Bible Study includes six sessions on what the Scripture says about loving and serving others, based on the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. Each session has three sections: Connecting With Each Other, Connecting With God, and Connecting to Life. Each one ends with Random Acts of Service.

The 12 projects are simple but effective, ranging from helping the homeless and caring for the elderly, to offering cheer & comfort to teens and children in need. Craft-making. Cooking. Sewing. Leading games. Gardening. Gift-wrapping. Collecting. Organizing. Writing. Cleaning. There are so many creative ways to serve people. If you and your friends desire to serve and make a positive difference in your community but don't know where to start, check out this easy-to-use kit. All necessary components are laid out for a small group of women (any ages) to plan and carry out these service projects. Needs are all around us; we've just got to reach out! It's truly a privilege and joy to serve and share Christ's love with others. Have fun! I believe this kit would be a great tool for me to use with my homeschool mom group this coming fall :).


~I received a free This Means Love kit via the B&B Media Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A.C.T.S. Part III: Grow in Your Walk with God Every Day

For moms with kids in school, the most hectic months of the year are usually September and May. The end of the school year involves parties, playoffs, and final projects. The beginning of the year has moms and kids feeling overloaded with shopping trips, sign-ups, and new schedules. I'm glad we homeschool :)!

Establishing healthy, positive routines is a tough job. Too often, music lessons, sports practices, and after-school clubs can overshadow the routines that build family and healthy habits—both physically and spiritually.
One of the great new Adventures in Odyssey products released this year is 90 Devotions for Kids, aimed at kids 8 to 12. This soft-cover book draws you in with illustrations, puzzles, and kid-friendly applications. It also includes a daily Bible verse, daily challenges, words of encouragement from different AIO characters, and more. Even if your kids aren’t already Adventures in Odyssey fans, they’ll enjoy these daily devotionals, and get to know the Odyssey crew along the way.

This devotional, and the edition coming this fall (90 Devotions for Kids: Life Changing Values from the Book of Matthew) are great tools to help your kids put a regular pause in their day for Bible reading, prayer, and thoughts about God. If you start now—by the first day of school, you’ll already have a spiritual component scheduled into your kids’ routine. After that, everything else will hopefully just fall into line!
   

*FREE download of an excerpt from 90 Devotions for Kids: http://www.tyndale.com/blog/index.php/aio-90-devotions-for-kids/

GIVEAWAY: You can win a copy of 90 Devotions for Kids.
To Enter: Leave a comment here with your email address. Please share how
you encourage your kids to have a regular quiet time with God and His Word or share what your favorite devotion for kids is.
Deadline: July 31st at midnight Pacific time
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review: Fed Up with Flat Faith by Kathy Howard



About Kathy
Kathy Howard calls herself a “confused southerner.” Raised in Louisiana, she has moved with her engineer husband around the U.S. and Canada. She says “pop” instead of “Coke” and “you guys” as often as “ya’ll.” But those things are just superficial – she’s still a southern girl at heart!

Kathy longs to see women stand firm in their faith in God no matter the circumstances of their lives. She encourages them to cling to God through troubles and trials to find strength, protection, comfort, and guidance. Kathy will help women:
  • Develop the courage to follow God even when it means taking a risk
  • Connect the wisdom and guidance of God’s Word to the decisions you face each day
  • Find relevance for life in your relationship with God
  • Stand firm in God’s strength, guidance, and peace when life’s circumstances are shaky
  • Gain satisfaction and joy through a deeper, more intimate relationship with God
The author of five books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and a certificate in Women’s Ministry from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary. She has been teaching the Bible for over 25 years and speaks regularly at women’s retreats and events.

Kathy and her husband live in the Houston area and have three children, a son-in-law, and one precious grandson. When the family gets together there are also five dogs in the mix. Kathy writes to have something to do while she drinks coffee and eats chocolate.
Her Statement Of Faith

 
MY REVIEW:

How would you describe your faith? Fiery or flat? Vibrant or withered? Passionate or parched & passive? Growing or stunted? Do you feel like reading the Bible is a drudgery or praying makes you snooze? Would you like to feel alive and active spiritually and live your faith out loud and enthusiastically? Fed Up with Flat Faith encourages and equips you to move towards that goal. The author, Kathy Howard, presents five attitudes and five actions that aim to help readers adjust and align themselves to be ready for God's work in their lives. She shares from her own experience and shares what Biblical principles have helped her overcome her flat faith condition. She also uses some Bible characters as examples such as Mary and Martha, Abraham and Sarah, Eli and Samuel, Noah, Rahab, Paul, David, Joshua, and more.

I'm really glad that the author is realistic (mentioning that this won't be an easy, instant fix and that following all the steps doesn't guarantee you will be having "mountaintop" experiences at all times and never have spiritual lows again) and that her teachings are Scripturally sound & Christ-centered. She emphasizes a life of total surrender to God and of obedience while warning against the false belief of the Prosperity Gospel and/or thinking that obedience results in a problem-free life. I also like the fact that she is missions-minded and loves the Body of Christ. I enjoyed reading this faith-fueling book and I highly recommend it. At the end of the book, you will find questions for reflection and discussion for each chapter. Great for a small group study! The author also includes Appendix 1: How to Have a Relationship with Jesus and Appendix 2: Recommended Study Helps (lists of Bible Dictionaries, Bible Handbooks, Bible Commentaries, and more). If you are fed up with your flat faith, then it's time to fire up your faith and let it burn brightly for Jesus! Check out this book and get ready to be pumped up and go forth living for God and serving Him with gusto!

"The relationship with Jesus is primary; good works and church activity flow out of this relationship as I obey Him." (p. 21)

"There's a sweet spot of faith where we walk closely with Jesus and our lives produce the fruit of good works He desires." (p. 50)

"Our salvation does not depend on adhering to God's commands, but the quality of our relationship with Him certainly does." (p.135)

"A godly life without a verbal witness does not introduce people to Jesus.
A verbal witness without a godly life is hypocritical and meaningless.
But a verbal testimony to Christ proven with a godly life is a powerful witness. We need both to truly make an impact.
" (p. 158)


"Living a life fully submitted to Christ is not easy, but it's worth it. Only in obedient submission can we fully experience the rich, intimate, and passionate relationship with Christ that's possible...Safe faith is flat and dry. Risky faith--faith that yields all to God--is ready to burn." (p. 175)

~ I received a free copy of this book via The Book Club Network Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Read the first chapter

Purchase Fed Up with Flat Faith (available in print, Kindle, and Nook formats):

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Album Review: Court Yard Hounds' Amelita



Amelita is Court Yard Hounds' second album. Court Yard Hounds is a country-pop-folk band started by Emily Robison and her sister Martie Maguire. They were members of the Dixie Chicks. I have never listened to the Dixie Chicks and have never listened to Court Yard Hounds' first album. Amelita is an upbeat, hopeful, fun album. I enjoyed the instrumental parts and the voices are beautiful. However, I discovered that it's not really my style. The songs are all originals, co-written by the sisters and/or people they know. The track that stands out the most to me is "Phoebe".  It's a fun-filled fiddling jam! "Sunshine" is a surprise song because it's about a sarcastic name given to a person who finds ways to bring others down. "The World Smiles" is a happy song of optimism. Other songs that stand out to me include "The Road You Take" (it's about decision-making), "Gets You Down", and Amelita (a warning message to a friend).
  • The new direction is apparent on title track “Amelita,” which has a breezy south-of-the-border sound, or “Phoebe,” which calls in a frenetic, anxious melody, and chillingly close harmonies. Lead single “Sunshine,” co-written by acclaimed singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke along with Martin Strayer and Alex Dezen, oozes with irony as the girls flash their carefully manicured claws through silken harmonies.
    Robison’s vocals captivate listeners as she sings lead on most tracks, while Maguire co-wrote seven of the 11 songs on the album, penned “Road You Take” herself, and sings lead on “Guy Like You,” which she wrote with guitarist Martin Strayer.
    The girls teamed up with the same producer, Jim Scott, who they’ve had a true connection with since their first album. Surrounding themselves with Jim and guitarist Martin Strayer, who was also an integral part of the first album, the girls took a comfortable and pro-active approach to creating their music this time around. “I think we’ve approached it differently because we felt like okay, we are a band. We aren’t just two ex-Dixie Chicks anymore, we’re a band and we like our sound and we’re going to continue to do this and hopefully get better at it, and share something new this time around,” said Maguire.



    Amelita Track Listing:
    1. Sunshine
    2. Amelita
    3. The World Smiles
    4. Aimless Upward
    5. Guy Like You
    6. Rock All Night
    7. Phoebe
    8. Divided
    9. Gets You Down
    10. Watch Your Step
    11. The Road You Take


Media Links:

Links To Buy Album:

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

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: 31 Day Spiritual Mindset Makeover by Carlene B. Charlemagne


About the book:
31-Day Spiritual Mindset Makeover by Carlene B. Charlemagne
ISBN: 978-1-4787-1190-2
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Date of publish: April 2013
Pages: 257
S.R.P.: $39.95
About the author:
Carlene B. Charlemagne, MBA, is a spiritual life coach who lives with her husband and children in Somerset, New Jersey. She recognized her calling very early in life as a mentor and coach who inspires and motivates other to live a life of greatness based on the Word of God.
My Review:
I love reading the book of Proverbs. It is filled with practical wisdom for our daily lives. I enjoyed using this book because I love journaling while having my quiet time with God. Each "Day" in the book starts with Today's Reading (a chapter in Proverbs), Today's Scripture (one verse to focus on), Today's Wisdom, Today's Spiritual Mindset, Spiritual Mindset Journal, and Spiritual Mindset Action Plan. Each "Day" ends with worksheet that includes thought-provoking questions and blank lined pages for writing down your answers/thoughts. I underlined throughout the book and wrote down my thoughts. It helps me to go beyond knowing the Word to evaluating how well/successfully I have applied what I know. The author wants readers to examine their lives through God's Word, put into action what they learn, and prepare to be transformed. At the end of the book, you will find "The Power of I AM" affirmations and a "365-day Bible Reading Plan" calendar. If you feel that your spiritual growth is somehow stunted, check this book out. When your spiritual mindset is transformed through the book of Proverbs, your mind/thoughts will be filled with God's wisdom and you will experience purposeful and joyful living.

"How do you know that you are walking in alignment with God's plan and purpose for your life? When He uses your talents, skills, and experiences to bless you and those around you...God's purpose for your life ALWAYS blesses others as well as advances His kingdom." (p. 18)

"If I know the voice of God, I will never be misled by the voice of the enemy." (p. 48)

"Do not let unimportant, unproductive, and unfruitful things make your life so busy that you do not have any time to spend with God." (p. 50)

"He will allow you to be challenged in this life; He will allow situations that are uncomfortable and bring about changes that are unfamiliar in order to help you develop through the tests that will eventually produce your testimonies." (p. 96)

"An obedient ear is required to receive rebuke. A person willing to receive it without offense because of pride or shame will walk in knowledge and increase in strength." (p. 184)



~I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.