Tuesday, October 31, 2017

fierce hearted by Holley Gerth - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Every day we struggle to find more freedom, joy, and purpose. What if the solution isn't trying harder or being better but embracing the fiercehearted woman already inside us? A fiercehearted woman looks life in the face and says, "You can't beat me." She lives fully and loves bravely. She never gives in, never gives up, and never lets go. She dares to be who she is--imperfect and beloved.

In her most powerful and personal book yet, bestselling author, counselor, and life coach Holley Gerth empowers and encourages women not simply through "how to" but by life-changing, heart-freeing "me too." Join Holley on this journey to becoming a fiercehearted woman and discover what she did: the freedom and courage to embrace life, love, and faith to the fullest because your struggles can no longer hold you back.

My Thoughts:
Our role is obedience, God’s job is results.  It’s all about loving him and the people he entrusts to us.  Serve whoever is right in front of you, and he will make a way.”  (p. 85)

God used this book to set me free in areas of my life that I’ve allowed to hold me hostage for years!  I cannot begin to tell you the sweet times of worship I had as I read the pages of this book!  I underlined, and highlighted, cried and rejoiced, texted passages to family and friends….this book has been a holy appointment in my life for which I thank God!!  I thank God for allowing Holly Gerth to write from her heart and share her own struggles, because as I read, it was if I heard a holy echo….you too?

Each chapter is a personal vignette that build seamlessly toward a simple, but profound truth.  Each life situation will feel familiar and make you feel as if you’ve just shared time with a trusted friend.  Living fully and loving bravely are mutually exclusive and until you are freed from fear and unrealistic expectations, you can’t live or love as God intended you to do.

I fully expect that Holly will receive an outpouring of thanks for writing such a transparent, bold book that reveals her heart so clearly to others.  This book has been a treasured gift to my heart, and I can’t begin to express my gratitude to God for guiding Holly to write such an amazing book!!

About the Author:
HOLLEY GERTH can often be found at a quiet corner table in a coffee shop with a hot latte and her banged up, beloved laptop. She’s the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of You’re Already Amazing and several other books as well as a counselor and life coach. Until you can join Holley for your favorite coffee or tea, she’d love for you to hang out with her at www.holleygerth.com.

Monday, October 30, 2017

She's Got the Wrong Guy by Deepak Reju - REVIEWED

About the Book:
The control freak. The angry man. The lazy guy. The unteachable guy. The promiscuous man. The unbeliever. The lone ranger. The unchurched guy. The new convert. The commitment-phobe.

For any woman who has struggled with failed relationships, this may seem like a familiar list. These are the men your friends and family have in mind when they think, “she’s with the wrong guy.” And while the reasons women choose these types of men are complicated and varied, ultimately, they will all let you down.

In She’s Got the Wrong Guy, Deepak Reju offers a different kind of dating book, discussing the types of guys women should not marry and offering biblical reasons why they aren’t suitable spouses. Writing from his years of experience as a pastor and counselor, Reju shares with women his perspective on how to assess a relationship’s strengths from the beginning, how to identify possible pitfalls, and how to have the courage to wait for a relationship that will be a blessing for both of you. Using stories that single women can relate to and highlighting contemporary issues in the modern world of dating, Reju gives readers clear, biblical direction on how to have positive, life-giving relationships with members of the opposite sex.

With a strong, Christ-centered focus, women will better understand why they “settle” for less than what God intends for their romantic relationships and learn to put their hopes and find their happiness in Jesus, not marriage.

Unlike typical dating books, this book highlights the type of men Christian women should not marry.
Details ten profiles of the wrong type of guys, and offers biblical reasons why they are not suitable spouses.

Written by a pastor and counselor with years of experience in addressing these issues and seeing the harm that unhealthy romantic relationships can do.

A strong, Christ-centered focused that helps readers put their hope in Jesus, not marriage.

My Thoughts:

We need God’s standard to ring loudly in our ears because the voice in us and the voices around us want nothing more than for us to abandon God’s Word.”  (p. 49)

There are not enough words or enough emotions in the world to express how I feel about the importance of this book.  After experiencing the end of 22-years of marriage, I’ve ministered to a lot of single women, and I KNOW the teachings in this book are true, accurate and biblically sound.  I want to buy cases of these books and scatter them like so much confetti to all of the single women I know – to all of the single men I know!!  THIS IS A TOOL straight from the Father’s heart to minister to everyone who has settled for anything less than God’s principles for relationships.

This isn’t a book of “do’s” and “don’ts’s”, rather, this is a book written from years of counseling men and women who settled for relationships that were less than God’s best.  God’s grace covers all of our relational mistakes and His forgiveness draws us back to His heart if we submit to Him.  Pastor Reju tenderly guides readers through principles and truths from God’s Word to equip them to choose and live wisely as unto the Lord – to wait patiently and serve God with our whole hearts as we become the people who live yielded to His will and plan for our lives.

I thank GOD that this book has been written, and I plan to use it as a teaching tool for friends and small groups at the earliest opportunity.  I want to live for Christ and Christ alone so that others will see and know that He is enough.  He sustains, guides and loves us through this lifetime and into the next.  I don’t have to settle than less than His best for me!! EVER!!  AMEN!!!

Purchase your copy HERE!!

About the Author:

Deepak Reju, MDiv, PhD, serves as the pastor of biblical counseling and families at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) in Washington, DC, as well as president for the board of directors of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He is the author of several books and articles, including Great Kings of the Bible: How Jesus Is Greater than Saul, David and Solomon, The Pastor and Counseling, and On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church. Deepak and his wife Sarah have been married since 2001 and have five children.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet - REVIEWED

About the Book:

OCD, ADHD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder . . . these are no longer just technical terms and medical diagnoses, they are part of our common vocabulary and culture. As Christians, we shouldn’t isolate ourselves from this discussion or dismiss these important issues. But we also should be careful not to accept the entire secular psychiatric diagnostic and treatment enterprise without question. What we need is a balanced, biblically (and scientifically) informed approach that neither blindly accepts nor harshly dismisses psychiatric labels, diagnoses, and medicines that are prescribed to help those who are suffering.

As both a Biblical counselor and medical doctor, Michael R. Emlet, MD, gives readers a Christ-centered approach to psychiatry and guides both lay and professional helpers through the thicket of mental health labels and treatments with a biblical lens. In a clear and thoughtful way that puts the person experiencing mental health issues at the forefront, Emlet uses Scripture to show how the Bible engages in the discussion of psychiatric labels and the medications that are often recommended based on those labels. The first book in the “Helping the Helper” series, Descriptions and Prescriptions will give readers a biblical, gospel-formed perspective to help them understand and minister to those struggling with mental health issues.

Purchase your copy HERE.

My Thoughts:

At the end of the day, the goal is not to confirm or condemn a given diagnosis but to carefully, persistently, lovingly, and biblically bring God’s redemption to bear upon people who struggle with the problems encapsulated in a diagnostic description.”  (p. 48)

I have to admit, that when I first saw this offering, I almost passed on the opportunity to review the book.  I’m so glad I chose differently!  This book, although written by a physician/counselor, is a fantastic tool for anyone to use as they walk in any type of ministry setting.  I would think pastors that do any type of counseling would find this to be an invaluable tool in the library!  I lead women’s small groups for my church, and I can tell you that in the four years since I began serving my church family, I would have love to have the knowledge and explanations in this book at my disposal!  Mental illness, or a diagnosis along the spectrum, presents a unique and challenging problem in today’s world.

What I appreciate most about this book is that a layman can understand the concepts.  Dr. Emlet tackles a very controversial topic with compassion and empathy.  He doesn’t hide the facts about how little is still know about both the physical function of the brain and its chemical components, nor the medications currently used to treat people who suffer the effects of mental illness.  As I read, I couldn’t help but be both thankful for the relief given to those suffering the effects of a mental issue, but I was also left feeling a little fearful about the way folks might have to suffer through a trial and error type path to find the help they need.

I have been prescribed and taken medications for depression off and on over my lifetime.  I have been fortunate to have physicians who approached this in a holistic way and listened to and responded to my concern over the course of treatment.  I’ve also been blessed with really fantastic counselors, and I see the value in both.  I’ve also had friends who have suffered the effects of mental illness to the point of almost leaving this world prematurely.

In short, I feel this book offers a significant amount of information for anyone in ministry on any level.  This issue affects more people than you can imagine, and must be dealt with in biblical truth and love.  I highly recommend this book!

About the Author:

Michael R. Emlet, MDiv, MD, practiced as a family physician for over ten years before becoming a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He is the author of the book CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet, the minibooks Asperger Syndrome; Chronic Pain; Angry Children: Understanding and Helping Your Child Regain Control; and Help for the Caregiver: Facing the Challenges with Understanding and Strength, and many counseling articles.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Everywhere You Go There's a Zacchaeus Up a Tree by Roger Campbell edited by Timothy Campbell

About the Book:
Every week for nearly forty years, Roger Campbell took up his pen to craft a newspaper column that would make a difference in the lives of his readers. His tales of fishing, family, friends, and fun helped them to trade their fears for faith, their sorrows for songs, and their doubts for certainties.

Everywhere You Go There's a Zacchaeus Up a Tree is an anthology edited by his son, drawn from these weekly columns. Based on Roger's experiences in the world at large, the pastorate, his community, and his family, these brief but wise essays are enriching, instructive, and gently challenging. Roger's habit of humbly talking with people from all walks of life wherever he went provided ample opportunity to impact generations of folks. His warm words still bear witness to the truth that God meets us where we are and uses us when we are willing.

Always starting with a Scripture reference, these short entries can be read as a daily or weekly devotion.

For those longing for a simpler time and the flavor of small-town life, Everywhere You Go There's a Zacchaeus Up a Tree shares a deep, abiding, homespun faith that knows, as Campbell wrote, that "God loves you no matter which way the wind blows."

My Thoughts:

"Whether at the post office or at the back, a restaurant or the super market checkout lane, everywhere you go, there's a woman at the well and a Zacchaeus up a tree!"  (p. 10)

I imagine that Timothy Campbell cherishes this book, because these articles were written by his earthly dad and changed the lives of many people over several decades.  I will always be grateful he chose to share these treasures with the public, or, sad to say, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the benefit of Roger Campbell's godly wisdom.

This is a book that contains a treasure trove of personal and spiritual insights gleaned over decades of spending time immersed in God's Word and in serving others.  The one thing that is consistent and very evident is Campbell's love for God and his people.  There is an humbleness about the words he chooses to share that open the reader's heart to receive the truth of God's Word as it is given in the context of everyday living.

The Campbell household was blessed to have a husband and father who lavished words of encouragement and godly wisdom upon them.  And I'm quite sure as they shared the relationship with the world as his weekly articles were publishes, that their own heart were transformed by the power of God's Word as it was shared through Campbell's pen.

This is a unique and powerful little book - to be ingested slowly and thoughtfully.  I highly recommend this to everyone!!

About the Author:

Roger Campbell (1930-2015) was in the ministry for over fifty years. He spent many years as a pastor, and in the late 1970's he launched Roger Campbell Ministries, an evangelical ministry through which he produced radio broadcasts, wrote weekly newspaper columns, and spoke at church Bible conferences. He is the author of nearly 30 books, including the acclaimed Preach for a Year series.

Timothy Campbell, Roger Campbell's son, is owner of and counselor at Life Resource Christian Counseling Center in Lapeer, Michigan, and an ordained chaplain.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Counseling Under the Cross by Bob Kellemen - REVIEWED

About the Book:

Martin Luther was not only a theologian, a writer, and a preacher, he was a pastoral counselor who longed for peace with God. Now, 500 years after he posted his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church, his teachings on gospel-centered and cross-focused pastoral care can transform our approach to soul care, and teach us that daring faith in Christ alone can change our life today and give us peace forever.

In Counseling Under the Cross, biblical counselor and noted author Bob Kellemen mines the riches of Luther’s letters of spiritual counsel to give readers a new understanding of how Luther engaged in the personal ministry of the gospel. He guides pastors, counselors, lay leaders, and friends toward a deeper understanding of the gospel that will directly impact their personal ministry to others. Through lively vignettes, real-life stories, and direct quotes from Luther, readers will be equipped to apply the gospel to themselves and others, and learn that pastoral care is what every believer does in one-another ministry.

As one of the most influential figures in Christian history, Luther was not only the father of the Reformation, he was also the father of “gospel-centered counseling.” As sons and daughters in the faith, we have much to learn from him. Counseling Under the Cross equips us to apply the gospel richly, relevantly, and robustly to suffering and sin so that we find our hope and help in Christ alone.

My Thoughts:

Grace is Christ’s prescription for our disgrace – forgiving medicine for sin, preventative medicine for victory over temptation, and cleansing medicine for victory over Satan’s condemnation.” (p. 169)

This power-packed truth is what is referred to in Bob Kelleman’s book, Counseling Under the Cross, as a “tweet sized summary.”  Lest you think this is a light, non-relevant book, think again!  This brilliant author has made a very complex and historically foundational giant of the faith VERY relevant and very timely!  Martin Luther began a movement away from religion and toward relationship with Christ that has changed the very heart of Christianity.

Kelleman takes a look at the life of Luther and places in the context of his desperate longing to know and walk in the freedom of God’s grace that was purchased for us at Calvary.  At the end of each chapter he closes with “Timeless Truth for Life and Ministry Today.”  He realizes that now, more than ever before, we need to be able to tell others why we cling to the truth of Christ.  He speaks to a generation that has walked away from religion and is hungry for relationship. 

I must confess, I haven’t read all of this book yet.  The mailman delivered it to a neighbor, and it wasn’t returned to me until just a few days ago.  But I’ve read enough to be able to tell you that this is an important book for church leaders and pastors who want their body to be healthy and strong in a time where many are walking away from the church all together.

I am happy to recommend this book!  It is a powerful teaching tool that will make a difference in many lives.

About the Author:

Bob Kellemen, PhD, is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Chair of the Biblical Counseling Department at Crossroads Bible College and the founder and CEO of RPM Ministries. He is also the author of many books, including Gospel-Centered Counseling and Gospel Conversations. Bob and his wife Shirley have two children and two grandchildren.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

If We Make It Home by Christina Suzann Nelson - REVIEWED

About the Book:
An exciting story of survival and spiritual renewal

When four college friends graduated from the University of Northwest Oregon, their lives stretched before them, full of promise and vows to stay connected. But life has a way of derailing well-laid plans.

Now they haven't spoken in twenty-five years. But against all odds, three of them have found themselves back in the same place--at their alma mater, wondering how they got there. When they discover their fourth friend, Hope, has died, Jenna, Ireland, and Vicky decide to embark on a wilderness adventure to honor her memory--and for secret reasons of their own. Jenna wants to show her husband that she's more than a helpless, overweight, middle-aged empty nester. Ireland wants to get back to the nature she loves and hide from the charges being pressed against her. And Vicky wants to show she cares for something besides her ministry--and put off the disaster waiting at home for as long as possible.

They never bargained for the dangers they face in an unforgiving wilderness. Now they'll have to work together if they hope to make it home alive. While the three women fight to survive the elements, their toughest battles may be with themselves.

My Thoughts:

"I told my story, all of it, and I wasn't rejected. I was revived." (p. 265)

Granted, this thought comes at the end of Christina Nelson’s novel, If We Make it Home, but, to me, it beautifully epitomizes  the end goal (or rather, result) of a very harrowing tale.  Nelson masterfully weaves the story of three former college friends who end up on a very unintentional journey of  self-discovery.  The circumstances that bring them together are very plausible, and each of the women represent a part of the “mask” we all put on during our lifetimes to become what others perceive or demand we become.  In the process, we lose ourselves and wind up in situations we never dreamed possible.

This book hit a nerve for me, because even though none of us has a clue what life has in store for us when we are young adults, life throws all of us some unexpected curves and bends in our journey that force us to either take an honest look at ourselves or disappear altogether.  These three women not only must face their inner demons, but they wind up fighting for their very lives when they choose to go on an extreme survivalist hike trying to outrun their own life choices.

This is a very well-written and poignant novel of discovery. I recognized part of my own brokenness in the lives of all three of the main characters.  This novel encouraged me to continue on my own journey of self-discovery after facing my own survivalist experience!  I encourage everyone to read this book with an open heart and mind.  Don’t be afraid to take an honest look at your own life and begin the hard, but very rewarding journey, of becoming the person God created you to be! 

This is a phenomenal book, and I highly recommend it to everyone!  Be willing to fight to become who you were meant to be! 

About the Author:
Christina Suzann Nelson is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and ACFW. Her essays have been published in the Cup of Comfort series. Nelson lives in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with her husband and four children. This is her first book.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig - REVIEWED

About the Book:
When You Stare Into the Abyss It Also Stares Into You

The bullet that rips into Cole "Tox" Russell was never meant to kill. It was meant to send a message. Only one man is skilled enough to have taken the shot, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming

My Thoughts:
What concerns me….is that he’s treading a fine line between fighting evil and becoming it.”  (p. 91)

I was introduced to Cole “Tox” Russell in January of this year when I reviewed the first book of this stellar series Conspiracy of Silence.  This second book of the series, Crown of Souls, takes a suspense and thrill read to an entirely new level of shudders!  I mean, Kendig combines the military prowess of a black ops team, the historical background of an historical anthropologist and layers it with a REALLY creepy element of the supernatural that isn’t out of the realm of believability at all!

All that said, Kendig even takes time to build relationships between her characters that are realistic and believably challenged by the careers they have chosen for their lives. Cole, well, he is a guy that you want to hug and say, “it’ll be alright” and comfort him. But comfort isn’t in the realm of possibility when a soldier goes rogue…well sort of…he had a little help...I can’t tell you details because that will spoil your fun!!

So…go!!!  Go now!! And grab a copy of this amazing book!  You can understand it without reading this first book in the series, but if you haven’t read it….read it first.  You will gain valuable background and understanding!  This….oh this….this is my kind of read!! LOVE IT!!!!  You will too!!  Enjoy!!

About the Author:

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She's penned over a dozen novels, including The Quiet Professionals series and the A Breed Apart series. She and her hunky hero hubby have a fun, crazy life with their children and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia.